Team 3 : Age-related cognitive disorders

Claudine Berr, Sylvaine Artero

The main purpose of our research program is to identify the risk factors and biologicial/cerebral markers implicated in age-related cognitive disorders in order to target populations at risk and elaborate new prevention and treatment strategies at early stages of cognitive decline. Our project will also examine the multiple and interacting determinants of cerebral ageing. This work is based on neuropsychological data, neuropsychiatric scales, clinical data as well as magnetic resonance imaging, both structural and functional.

Since 1999, we have participated in a multicenter longitudinal study of cerebral aging in the general population, the 3 City Study, which aims at analyzing the relationship between vascular risk factors and cerebral ageing (dementia and Alzheimer disease, stroke). This study and the clinical projects are carried out within the Centre Mémoire Ressources et Recherches (CM2R) at the Montpellier University Neurology Hospital. As the consistency of results from different populations or periods is of major interest in epidemiology, these studies are developed in collaboration with other national and international teams (See 'Our partners') and give us access to data from different cohorts (EVA, GAZEL, E3N, Whitehall II, WHICAP-Washington Heights Inwood Columbia Aging Project). These projects will allow us to :

• Study the part played by psychiatric pathologies, especially depression, in the onset of cognitive disorders taking into account environmental factors (stressful life events) and cerebral modifications.

• Study the impact of nutritional and metabolic factors in the onset of neuropsychiatric disorders

• Identify the determinants of different types of cognitive ageing, taking into account the importance of cognitive reserve using biomarkers obtained from cerebral imaging, plasma biomarkers or neuropsychological evaluation. The Crescendo (Cognitive REServe and Clinical ENDO phenotype) study has been initiated to assess this question and consisted to organise a new follow-up at 12-year including the 400 younger participants of the E3C-ESPRIT cohort. We specifically aim to investigate the neural implementation of cognitive reserve by performing a task-related activation during the fMRI acquisition. As the concept of cognitive reserve has been proposed to help account for the apparent discrepancy between effects of age-related neural changes (pathology measurements assessed by structural and functional MRI) and their clinical manifestations, we wish to study whether  neuro-physiopathological markers (global and regional atrophy, white matter lesions, patterns of hypoperfusion measured in Crescendo study) are associated with cognitive decline by examining the extent by which cognitive reserve might modulate these associations.

• Have a better understanding of the natural course of cognitive disorders in order to improve care and health services for persons suffering from dementia in the general population

Doctor in epidemiology, Director of research Inserm

Biologist and Epidemiologist, Senior Research Fellow Inserm

Psychiatrist, Hospital Practitioner

Neurologist, University Professor / Hospital Practitioner

Doctor of Public Health, University Professor / Hospital Practitioner

Hospital Practitioner

Neurologist, Emeritus Professor

Clinical Research Assistant Behavioral Neurology Hospital Engineer


Researcher, Inserm Post-doctoral student

Researcher, Inserm Post-doctoral student

PhD student Inserm

PhD student Inserm

Psychologist Neuropsychologist, Clinical Research Associate, Hospital Higher Technician

Statistician, Research Assistant Inserm

Research Assistant Technician Inserm


(IF : impact factor of the journal)
Vellas B, Andrieu S, Sampaio C, Coley N, Wilcock G, Portet F, Touchon J, Group ETF. Endpoints for trials in Alzheimer's disease: a European task force consensus. Lancet Neurology. 2008 May;7(5):436-50. (IF: 14.27)
Ritchie K, Carriere I, Ritchie CW, Berr C, Artero S, Ancelin ML. Designing prevention programmes to reduce incidence of dementia: prospective cohort study of modifiable risk factors. Brit Med J. 2010 Aug;341. (IF: 12.82)
Akbaraly TN, Portet F, Fustinoni S, Dartigues JF, Artero S, Rouaud O, Touchon J, Ritchie K, Berr C. Leisure activities and the risk of dementia in the elderly Results from the Three-City Study. Neurology. 2009 Sep;73(11):854-61. (IF: 7.04)
Sarazin M*/, Berr C*, De Rotrou J, Fabrigoule C, Pasquier F, Legrain S, Michel B, Puel M, Volteau M, Touchon J, Verny M, Dubois B. Amnestic syndrome of the medial temporal type identifies prodromal AD: a longitudinal study. Neurology. 2007 Nov 6;69(19):1859-67. (IF: 7.04)
Akbaraly TN, Ancelin ML, Jaussent I, Ritchie C, Barberger-Gateau P, Dufouil C, Kivimaki M, Berr C, Ritchie K. Metabolic Syndrome and Onset of Depressive Symptoms in the Elderly: Findings from the Three-City Study. Diabetes Care. 2011 Feb 23. (IF: 7.35)
Akbaraly TN, Kivimaki M, Ancelin ML, Barberger-Gateau P, Mura T, Tzourio C, Touchon J, Ritchie K, Berr C. Metabolic Syndrome, Its Components, and Mortality in the Elderly. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Sep 1;95(11):E327-32. (IF: 6.20)
Portet F, Scarmeas N, Cosentino S, Helzner EP, Stern Y. Extrapyramidal signs before and after diagnosis of incident Alzheimer disease in a prospective population study. Arch Neurol. 2009;66(9):1120-26. (IF: 5.87)
Akbaraly NT, Hininger-Favier I, Carrière I, Arnaud J, Gourlet V, Roussel AM, Berr C. Plasma Selenium over time and cognitive decline in the elderly: results from the EVA study Epidemiology. 2007;18(1):52-8. (IF: 5.40)
Artero S, Ancelin ML, Portet F, Dupuy A, Berr C, Dartigues JF, Tzourio C, Rouaud O, Poncet M, Pasquier F, Auriacombe S, Touchon J, Ritchie K. Risk profiles for mild cognitive impairment and progression to dementia are gender specific. Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. 2008 May 1;79(9):979-84. (IF: 4.62)
Mura T, Dartigues JF, Berr C. How many dementia cases in France and Europe? Alternative projections and scenarios 2010–2050. Eur J Neurol. 2009;17(2):252-9. (IF: 2.73)
Berr C, Vercambre MN, Bonenfant S, Singh Manoux A, Zins M, Goldberg M. Occupational Exposure to Solvents and Cognitive Performance in the GAZEL Cohort: Preliminary Results. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders. 2010 Jul 5;30(1):12-9. (IF: 3.14)