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Conference: Translational Strategies for Therapeutics Discovery Through Dementia Biomarkers

$6mil Centre Grant over 3 years (2010-2013), funded by National Medical Research Council


Contact Details:

A/Prof Christopher Chen
Tel    :    6516 5885
Fax   :    6873 7690
Email   :    christopher_chen@nuhs.edu.sg

Level 9, Centre for Translational Medicine,
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine,
18 Medical Drive,
Singapore 117601 



A/Prof Christopher Chen


Magnetic Resonance

Imaging in Dementia


Principal Investigators:

Prof Peter Wong

Prof Xin-Yuan Fu

Dr Mitchell Lai

Prof Tien Yin Wong

A/Prof Anqi Qiu

A/Prof Simon Collinson

A/Prof NV Ramani


Co-Investigators & Collaborators:

Prof B Halliwell (NUS)
A/Prof M Wenk (NUS)
A/Prof BS Wong
Dr MG Tan (SGH)
A/Prof A Chen (NTU)
A/Prof SK Sze (NTU)
Dr KH Chuang (SBIC)
Dr C Cheung (SERI)
A/Prof Kamran Ikram (SERI)

Dr A Chou (CGH)
Dr LL Ng (CGH)
Dr D Seow (SGH)
Dr P Yap (AH)
Dr V Sharma (NUHS)
Dr R Merchant (NUHS)
Prof EH Kua (NUHS)
A/Prof TP Ng (NUHS)
Dr B Chan (NUHS)


International Advisors:

Prof E Koo (USA)
Prof P Francis (UK)
Prof C Tzourio (France)
Prof D Nyenhuis (USA)
Prof C Holmes (UK)
Prof G McKhann (USA)
Prof M Albert (USA)
Prof W Jagust (USA)


Aims and Research Theme


One area of dementia research important to Singapore and Asia is Vascular & Neurodegenerative Mechanisms in Dementia. Vascular disease is prominent among ethnic Asian dementia patients. Compared to Caucasian populations, a higher prevalence of VaD has been reported in Asian countries such as Japan and China. Moreover, studies have revealed a vascular basis contributing to the etiology and pathogenesis of AD. The identification of biomarkers for vascular and neurodegenerative mechanisms, and insights into the mechanisms of interaction may lead to potential therapeutic approaches.

This will not only give rise to novel scientific insights and advances but also be of immense potential benefit to Singaporeans and the biomedical industry since the increasing numbers of patients suffering from dementia exact a massive toll in health care costs, disability and lost productivity for both patients and caregivers.

NUHS can play a vital role in translational clinical dementia research because of strong interactions between clinical and basic science departments, which may lead to interventions that can prolong independent community function, delay institutionalisation and therefore lower healthcare expenditure.


Altered Subcortical Shapes in

Alzheimer's disease _ (Qiu Anqi)

The clinical and epidemiological studies will provide novel insights into the risk factors and biomarkers for dementia as well as patients for biomarker and interventional studies of cognitive decline and dementia.


These clinical cohorts will be recruited into Neuroimaging (MRI and retinal imaging) studies which may in turn help identify high risk groups for intervention as well as mechanisms to be targeted for further investigations, as may the Neurochemical studies on brain samples and Animal Models which will also provide opportunities to validate biomarkers.



Core Research Projects:


  1. Neurochemistry, Molecular Pathology and Biomarker Discovery
  2. Dementia Neuroimaging using Multi-Modal Magnetic Resonance and Retinal Imaging
  3. Improving the Diagnosis of Vascular Cognitive Impairment by Prospective Longitudinal Clinical Studies
  4. Epidemiology of Dementia in Singapore: Ethnicity and Risk Factors  




6th Asian Society Against Dementia and 17th Malaysian Conference on Psychological Medicine Awards (14th-16th June 2012)

1. Best Oral Award (Free Paper Presentation) - Comparison of MoCA and MMSE in Detecting md-MCI: A Community-based study.

- First Author: Lee Wah Yean and presented by Dong Yanhong

2. Best Poster Award (Free Paper Presentation) - Feasibility and Acceptability of the Informant AD8 in a Primary Healthcare setting.

- First Author: Dong Yanhong and presented by Dong Yanhong


3. Best Poster Award (Free Paper Presentation) - Discriminatory Ability of the Test Your Memory (TYM) to detect Early Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) in Singapore.

- First Author: Lim Ben Swie Leon and presented by Lim Ben Swie Leon  












13th Asian Oceanian Congress of Neurology Award (4th-8th June 2012)

Young Investigator Award - Discriminant and Convergent Validity of Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) in detecting cognitive impairment in Parkinson Disease patients in South-East Asia.

- First Author: Koay Way Inn and presented by Koay Way Inn








Selected Publications

Altered gene expression in Alzheimer’s Disease
Chong MS, Chin JJ, Saw SM, Chan SP, Venketasubramanian N, LCS Tan, Hong CY, Saw SM. Screening for dementia in the older Chinese with a single question test on progressive forgetfulness. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2006; 21:442-8
Sahadevan S, Saw SM, Gao W, Tan LCS, Chin JJ, Hong CY, Venketasubramanian N. Ethnic differences in Singapore’s dementia prevalence: the stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, epilepsy and dementia in Singapore study.  Am Geriatr Soc 2008; 56:2061-8


K Narasimhalu, S Ang, DA De Silva, MC Wong, HM Chang, KS Chia, AP Auchus, C Chen. Severity of CIND and MCI predict incidence of dementia in an ischemic stroke cohort. Neurology 2009; 73:1866-72


N Kandiah, K Narasimhalu, J Lee, CLPH Chen Differences Exist in the Cognitive Profile of Mild Alzheimer’s Disease and Subcortical Ischemic Vascular Dementia. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2009; 27:399-403


De Silva DA, Liew G, Wong MC, Chang HM, Chen C, Wang JJ, Baker ML, Hand PJ, Rochtchina E, Liu EY, Mitchell P, Lindley RI, Wong TY. Retinal vascular caliber and extracranial carotid disease in patients with acute ischemic stroke: the Multi-Centre Retinal Stroke (MCRS) study. Stroke. 2009; 40(12):3695-9.
Lindley RI, Wang JJ, Wong MC, Mitchell P, Liew G, Hand P, Wardlaw J, De Silva  DA, Baker M, Rochtchina E, Chen C, Hankey GJ, Chang HM, Fung VS, Gomes L, Wong TY; Multi-Centre Retina and Stroke Study (MCRS) Collaborative Group. Retinal microvasculature in acute lacunar stroke: a cross-sectional study. Lancet Neurol. 2009; 8(7):628-34.
Baker ML, Hand PJ, Wang JJ, Wong TY. Retinal signs and stroke: revisiting the link between the eye and brain. Stroke. 2008; 39(4):1371-9.


Qiu A, Notestine CF, Dale AM, Miller MI; Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Regional Shape Abnormalities in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease, NeuroImage 2009, 45:656-661.


Qiu A, Taylor WD, Zhao Z, MacFall JR, Miller MI, Steffens DC, Krishnan KRR. APOE Related Hippocampal Shape Alteration in Geriatric Depression. NeuroImage 2009, 44:620-626.


Tan MG, Chua WT, Esiri MM, Smith AD, Vinters HV, Lai MK. Genome-wide profiling of altered gene expression in the neocortex of Alzheimer’s disease. J Neurosci Res 2010; 88:1157-69.


YH Dong, VK Sharma, B Chan, N Venketasubramanian, HL Teoh, R Seet, S Tanicala, YH Chan, C Chen.The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) is superior to the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) for the detection of Vascular Cognitive Impairment after Acute Stroke J Neurol Sci 299 (2010)


JH Lee, G Agacinski, JH Williams, GK Wilcock, MM Esiri, PT Francis, PTH Wong, CP Chen, MKP Lai Intact cannabinoid CB1 receptors in the Alzheimer's disease cortex. Neurochemistry International 57 (2010) 985-89


MK Lai, CP Chen, T Hope MM Esiri. Neurofibrillary Hippocampal neurofibrillary changes and aggressive behaviours in dementia Neuroreport 21 (2010) 1111-15


Tsang SW, Keene J, Hope T, Spence I, PT Francis, Wong PTH, Chen CPLH, Lai MKP. Serotoninergic Basis for Hyperphagic Eating Changes in Alzheimer's Disease J Neurol Sci 288 (2010) 151-5


NE Mohamed, Y Zhao, MG Tan, JH Lee, YL Leong, MM Esiri, GK Wicock, AD Smith, PTH Wong, CPLH Chen, MKP Lai. Upregulation of AMPA receptor GluR2 (GluA2) subunits in subcortical ischemic vascular dementia is repressed in the presence of Alzheimer's disease Neurochemistry International 58 (2011) 820-825


N Venketasubramanian, S Sahadevan , EH Kua , CPL Chen, TP Ng. Inter-Ethnic Differences In Dementia Epidemiology - Global And Asia-Pacific Perspectives Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 30 (2011)


K Narasimhalu, S Ang, DA De Silva, MC Wong, HM Chang, KS Chia, AP Auchus, C Chen The prognostic effects of CIND, CIND severity, and domain specific cognitive impairments in an ischemic stroke cohort Stroke 42 (2011)


MKP Lai, SY Tsang, MM Esiri, PT Francis, PT-H Wong, CP Chen. Differential involvement of hippocampal serotonin1A receptors and re-uptake sites in non-cognitive behaviours of Alzheimer's disease. Psychopharmacology 213 (2011)


SY Ong, CYL Cheung, X Li, EL Lamoureux, MK Ikram, J Ding, CY Cheng, BA Haaland, SM Saw, N Venketasubramanian, CPL Chen, TY Wong. Visual Impairment, Age-related Eye Diseases and Cognitive Dysfunction : The Singapore Malay Eye Study Archives of Ophthalmology (2012)


Y Wang, JA Catindig, S Hilal, HW Soon, E Ting, TY Wong , N Venketasubramanian, C Chen, A Qiu, Multi-Stage Segmentation of White Matter Hyperintensity, Cortical and Lacunar Infarcts. Neuroimage (2012)


Y Sheng, JH Lee, AD. Medhurst, GK. Wilcock, M Esiri, PTH. Wong , CP Chen, MKP Lai Cortical histamine H3 receptors in ischemic vascular and mixed dementias J of Neurological Sciences (2012)