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Retinal and cognitive dysfunction in type 2 diabetes: unraveling the common pathways and identification of patients at risk of dementia


Start Date
End Date
Total Funding
€ 5 998 273
Funding Programme
In recent years there is mounting evidence that type 2 diabetes (T2D) is associated with cognitive impairment and dementia, which can be considered as a “new” long-term diabetic co-morbid complication with dramatic consequences for patients and their families and a significant impact for healthcare systems. At present there are no reported phenotypic indicators or reliable tests to identify T2D patients at risk of developing dementia. Since the retina is ontogenically a brain-derived tissue, we propose that the evaluation of retinal parameters related to either neurodegeneration or microvascular disease will be robust and valuable biomarkers to identify those T2D patients at higher risk of developing cognitive impairment and dementia. On this basis the overarching aims of the project are: 1) To investigate the common mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of DR and cognitive impairment in the T2D. 2) To use the retina as a tool to identifying individuals with T2D at a higher risk of developing cognitive decline or dementia. Our multidisciplinary consortium (RECOGNISED) consist of top research leaders in the field belonging to 15 prestigious institutions as well as EATRIS, IDF-Europe and Alzheimer Europe and 3 SMEs. RECOGNISED will apply innovative approaches to identify the molecular mechanisms involved in the high prevalence of cognitive impairment and dementia in T2D population and will use this knowledge to characterize clinical phenotypes (personalized medicine) based on retinal functional and structural characteristics and serum biomarkers in order to stratify the risk and severity of cognitive decline. Previously collected data from registries, cohorts and biobanks will be appropriately exploited and robust new data will be generated that will guide clinical recommendations and open up new therapeutic strategies. Ultimately, RECOGNISED project will help to reduce the huge societal and economic burden associated with diabetes-related cognitive impairment.
Project partners
Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Maggiore Della Carita Novara
Universita Degli Studi Di Roma Tor Vergata
Eatris Eric
Klinicki Centar Crne Gore Podgorica
Institut Catala De La Salut
Anaxomics Biotech Sl
Genesis Biomed
Aibili Associacao Para Investigacao Biomedica E Innovacao Em Luz E Imagem
The Queen'S University Of Belfast
Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht
Syddansk Universitet
Ospedale San Raffaele Srl
Federation Internationale Du Diabete Region Europe Aisbl
Universita Degli Studi Di Milano
Fundacio Assistencial De Mutua De Terrassa Fundacio Privada Catalana
Academisch Medisch Centrum Bij De Universiteit Van Amsterdam
Javna Ustanova Univerzitet Crne Gore Podgorica
Alzheimer Europe
Universidad De Cadiz
Fundacio Hospital Universitari Vall D'Hebron - Institut De Recerca
Alzheimer Europe's database on research projects was developed as part of the 2020 Work Plan which received funding under an operating grant from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014–2020).