Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease has a great impact on the quality of life of those suffering from it, as well as on their families and friends. In an ever growing population, Alzheimer's will be part of someone's life sooner or later. The discovery of early stage markers of dementia and knowledge about its progress throughout the whole brain is of high value in current research.

Successful aging includes independence, retaining of precious memories and the possession of a great social network. But what if you can't remember the most important events of your life? What if you're not able to recognize the people that mean the most to you? The content of your life is literally taken away from you through Alzheimer's disease.



Currently, I am doing research on the effects of prolonged sleep disturbances on cognition and the development of AD at the Radboudumc in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

A variety of studies in the past has shown that Alzheimer patients suffer from sleeping disorders. We think that there is a bi-directional relationship. Sleep is not ‘just’ a symptom of AD but might actually precede the disease. During sleep, waste products which accumulated over the day (amyloid-beta) get cleaned from the brain. Poor sleep or not enough sleep prevents this from happening, the result: amyloid accumulation, one of the hallmarks of AD. Poor sleep might, therefore, be one of the risk factors for developing AD.

To research this, we set up the SHIP (Sleep-Cognition Hypothesis In (maritime) Pilots) study. In this study, we investigate the effect of prolonged sleep disruptions in maritime pilots who are sleep disturbed due to their shift work. We will compare their cognitive performance to that of normal sleepers.

Interested in our results?

I want to continue research to help Alzheimer patients

You can make that happen

Are you looking for an opportunity?

The SCHIP study has collected a lot of interesting results which need further exploration. The research about the association between sleep and AD has only just begun! If we can mark poor sleep as one of the risk factors to develop AD, we can create more awareness for individual sleeping behavior and delay or even prevent the onset of the disease!

Imagine the impact we can make.

To continue to make an impact, this project needs funding. Let's work together


I am Jana Thomas

Master of Science in Neuropsychology

I am 27 years old and obtained my Master's degree in Neuropsychology at Maastricht University (UM). I am interested in researching Alzheimer's Disease (AD). More insight of why people develop AD not only contributes to a better understanding of the disease but also leads to more efficient treatment approaches and ways to prevent AD.


About me

My experience with both clinical settings and scientific research makes me a capable researcher with a diverse toolset. Throughout the years, my curiosity for the biological mechanisms of the brain has turned my interest into an expertise on the aging brain. I have an excellent scientific background which, supplemented with a fluency in Dutch, English and German, enhances the communication with team members and potential patients.

Educational background


Clinical as well as research internship at Adelante Zorggroep under supervision of Prof. Dr. Rudolf Ponds.

During the clinical part of my internship, I collected the BAPD credits (Basisaantekening Psychodiagnostiek) and gained insights into the clinical activities of neuropsychologists, psychological test-assistants and cognitive trainers.

Besides that I also conducted my own research project with patients at Adelante which focused on dealing with daily challenges after brain injury.

Aarhus University

I spent my exchange semester in Aarhus during which I conducted my own research with a group of experts at the Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience (CFIN) in Aarhus about the effect of oxytocin on interpersonal synchronization. The project was continued with a bigger sample and will likely be published this winter.

Whilst abroad I followed two additional courses which focused on personal development in old age and cognitive neuroscience.

Maastricht University

Bachelor of Science in psychology. I especially enjoyed the courses that had a biological background: 'learning and memory', 'neuroanatomy', ‘biological psychology', 'sensation and perception', 'psychopathology' and many more inspired me to choose the Master track of Neuropsychology.

Master of Science in Neuropsychology. The Master included 4 courses, namely 'brain damage', 'behavioral disorders', 'arousal and attention' and 'aging'. I enjoyed every single one of them because they focused on the brain and its contribution to healthy or pathological changes during life.

Let's discover the possibilities!