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Maria Eriksdotter

Professor/senior physician

About me

Dean at KI South, departmental group South, responsible for coordination of 7 departments). You can meet me in the NEO-building, Blickagången 16 floor 7, Campus Flemingsberg.

Professor of Geriatrics since 2010 associated with an appointment as Senior Consultant in Geriatrics (now Theme Aging) at Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge. After graduation and doctorate, I worked as a full-time physician between 1989-2003 and then worked as a university lecturer at KI and later as professor. Between 2013-2018 I was Head of the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society (NVS) - one of the largest departments at KI. My research is about treatment and care of, in particular, people with Alzheimer's disease.

 

Commissions of Trust:

Member of the management group for the KI-Region Stockholm cooperation

Scientific advisor in Cognitive Disorders to the National Board of Health and Welfare

Member of the boards of the Foundations of Silviahemmet, Swedish Dementia Center and the Stockholm Burghers Enkehus and Gubbhus.

Between 2005 and 2013, deputy director of the national research network, Swedish Brain Power, which coordinated 70 nationally leading research groups on neurodegeneration.

Research description

Today, Sweden has 150,000 people with different dementia diseases, of which Alzheimer's disease is the most common. I have extensive clinical experience in investigating and treating patients with memory disorders and dementia diseases. My research is about improving investigation care and treatment of patients with dementia with a focus on Alzheimer's disease.

 

My research has two main focuses:

1. Cell therapy with nerve growth factor (NGF) in patients with Alzheimer's disease.

In Alzheimer's disease, the brain cholinergic nerve cells degenerate. They are dependent on a growth factor, NGF for their survival. In Alzheimer's disease, there is a lack of NGF. Therefore, delivery of NGF could have a therapeutic potential for Alzheimer's disease. I'm PI of the first study in the world on patients with Alzheimer's disease in which a new method of implantation of capsules with cells that release NGF placed by stereotactic neurosurgery in the basal forebrain was introduced. The hypothesis is that NGF will prevent the destruction of nerve cells and thereby inhibit the progress of the disease. We have shown that the method is safe and well tolerated with positive effects in a subset of patients. Further clinical studies are planned, but until then in vitro studies are ongoing on how to optimize cell survival and release of NGF as well as connections to the cholinergic system. The study is a collaboration with pre-clinical and clinical researchers and with the biotech company NsGene Inc, USA, which has developed the cell therapy method with encapsulated cells.

 

2. Factors that affect progress and survival in patients with dementia based on data from the world's largest quality records on dementia diseases, SveDem, www.svedem.se

I led the work to develop SveDem, the Swedish Dementia Registry, a national quality register, with the aim to improve dementia care across the country. Data from SveDem has shown that the quality of dementia work-up in primary care has improved in recent years with better adherence to national guidelines. Newly diagnosed patients with dementia are monitored over time. At present there are over 75,000 patients from memory clinics, primary care and from the municipalities in the registry. More than 30 scientific articles have been published. Studies in research, drug treatment, cognition and mortality in various dementia cases are ongoing, in which interaction with other registries is an important part.

Teaching portfolio

Seminar leader and lecturer in histology for medical students KI, 1984-1989

Seminar leader and lecturer in “The structure and function of the nervous system” for medical students KI, 1984-1989

Responsible for the development of the medicine course semester 5 and 6 in the new medical curriculum established in 2007.

Course Leader for medical students in Geriatrics in semester 11 1998-2007

Course Leader for medical students in Aging in semester 5-6, 2007-2012

Lectures for the public, healthcare professionals, decision makers.

Education

Med Dr 1988 at the Department of Histology, KI.

MD-degree KI 1989. Board certified physician1991.

Specialist in Geriatrics 1996 and General Internal Medicine 1997.

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