Researchers from the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) will use a grant from the Brain Foundation to investigate whether the removal of harmful proteins from the brain can be improved. Previous research has shown that the brain has a 'waste system' that influences the removal of the toxic protein amyloid beta from the brain. The idea is that stimulating this waste system reduces the risk of brain haemorrhage. They will try to achieve this in two ways: by stimulating deep sleep and by activating a specific nerve.
In one group of patients, sleep will be stimulated with GHB, a drug that works very well for people with narcolepsy. Another group is given a device that they place in their neck for a few minutes three times a day. This gives small electrical impulses that travel to the brain via a specific nerve (the 'vagus nerve'). A third group of patients receive both treatments. The research is led by neurologist Marieke Wermer and neurologist and sleep specialist Rolf Fronczek.
Recently developed special MRI scanning techniques will be used to check whether the cleaning system is actually stimulated. This part of the research is being done by the radiology department, led by Lydiane Hirschler and Thijs van Osch. The cerebrospinal fluid of participants is also examined for the secretion of harmful proteins.
The study is likely to begin after this summer. The researchers hope that patients with Katwijk's disease will want to participate. As soon as it becomes clear when the study can start, you will learn more about who can participate and how to register.