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Biomedical research supported by Rotary

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Published on Friday, 10 March 2017

The Rotary Clubs from Luxembourg have successfully supported brain research for years now. In order to further endorse biomedical research, the Rotary Clubs from Luxembourg, in collaboration with their Rotarian friends from Briey and Salernes, as well as the Rotary Foundation, which celebrates its 100th anniversary, have launched the project “Hope 4 Parkinson”.

Thanks to this project, it was possible to handover the new instrument, worth 75,000 EUR, to the researchers and doctors, who attended the solemn inauguration at the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg (CHL) Wednesday evening. This instrument is in fact an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) device, which generates high definition three dimensional images of biological tissues.

Prof. Dr. Nico Diederich, neurologist at the CHL and research partner of the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) at the University of Luxembourg, explains: “This device permits to look deeply into the human eye. However, for the first time, the donation from the Rotary will be used in a completely different area, namely the neurological research. We want to study whether and how the OCT-examination can facilitate the diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases.”

The focus of this research project is the detailed analysis of the retina: earlier studies have indicated that, in case of a neurodegenerative disease, such as Parkinson’s Disease (PD), Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) or Multiple Sclerosis, the retina seems to be thinner than usual. In this way, the eye could be seen as a ‘window to the brain’. Together with the researchers from the LCSB, Prof. Dr. Nico Diederich wants to test this and other hypotheses, to discover more indicators, also called biomarkers, of neurodegenerative diseases. Researchers and doctors hope that those biomarkers, together with other visual and cognitive tests, improve the diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases in the near future.

Prof. Dr. Dirk Droste, Norbert Friob, Prof. Dr. Nico Diederich, Lydia Mutsch, Dr. Romain Nati, Prof. Dr. Rudi Balling

Among the guests were the Minister of Health Lydia Mutsch, who is also a Rotarian, the Head of CHL Dr. Romain Nati, the Past District Governor D1630 Norbert Friob, Prof. Dr. Nico Diederich and the CEO of the LCSB Prof. Dr. Rudi Balling. At this inauguration, the guests had the possibility to visit and witness the first demonstration of the OCT-instrument.

To conclude, Prof. Dr. Nico Diederich thanks the Rotary Clubs: “We are very grateful to the Rotary Clubs and the Rotary Foundation for this generous donation and for their continuous support of the research. This enables us to establish new technologies for the good of the patients here in Luxembourg.”

Photo: © Michel Brumat / University of Luxembourg and LCSB