Erasmus Summer Programme

Erasmus Summer Lectures [ESP64]

Event highlights

Course Code





August 20, 2018

Total hours


Course days





Erasmus MC, Querido Lecture Room

In these lectures timely topics in study design of epidemiologic and clinical studies will be addressed. Four renowned researchers will address advanced study design issues in a seminar format.

Moderator Professor Arfan Ikram, MD PhD

The Erasmus Summer Lectures are open without registration or fee for participants of the Erasmus Summer Programme, the NIHES programmes, employees of the Erasmus University Medical Center and public at large.


Monday August 20, 2018
Using epidemiology to guide discovery: Repurposing anti-hypertensive drugs to prevent dementia.
Basing drug target identification on observational epidemiologic cohort studies has many unique advantages that compliment other strategies for drug discovery. The case of hypertension as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease provides an example of using observational epidemiologic data to identify drugs that reduce AD risk.  A brief overview will be given on blood pressure-brain epidemiologic and trial findings, as well as methodologic issues in studying these relationships. Preliminary data will be presented from a meta-analysis of population-based follow-up studies examining the risk for dementia associated various anti-hypertensive medications.

Lenore Launer, PhD
Senior Investigator, Chief, Neuroepidemiology Section, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging, NIH. Visiting Fellow at the Department of Psychiatry, Oxford University, UK



Tuesday August 21, 2018
Nutrition science: challenges and opportunities
Nutrition is vital for health and plays a role in the prevention and even cure of several diseases. But what is the healthiest diet? And why does it seem as if everybody has a different opinion on this? Why are reports on health effects of nutrition in popular media sometimes so contradicting and who should we believe? Is kale really a superfood? Should we eat less fat or less carbs? Will eating processed food kill you?
In this lecture we will focus on the challenges and controversies in nutrition research. Because how do you perform a double-blind randomized controlled trial on health effects of broccoli? But we will also discuss the strengths of current nutrition research and opportunities for future research. What alternatives for the traditional RCT do we have? How should we integrate and interpret the results from these alternative study designs? And is the current evidence on health effects of nutrition really that contradictory?

Trudy Voortman, PhD
Assistant professor Nutritional Epidemiology
Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands



Wednesday August 22, 2018
Getting science across: working with media and public opinion.
Science has a moral and legal obligation to share its knowledge with society. That means getting involved with media and public opinion, which is both challenging and risky. In this session we will try to explore the media dynamics in reporting on science (how do ediorial teams choose and handle science subjects?), and media use and dynamics in public opinion when science is involved. The idea is to have an open discussion on this and look at a few cases in which science got entangled in fiercy debates, e.g. chronic fatigue syndrome, antidepressants, or any affair participants would like to discuss.

Willem Schoonen
Science editor at Trouw daily newspaper and editor of Onderzoek Nederland, a newsletter on science policy, the Netherlands



Thursday August 23, 2018
The epidemiology of sleep
Are we on the verge of a short sleep epidemic or is not all that bad? Can sleep help us fight mental and physical diseases? In this lecture the epidemiology of sleep will be discussed, a field of epidemiology much younger than most other fields, but experiencing a surge of interest in the last decade. Specific attention will be paid to sleep in the population and the role of sleep in mental health.

Annemarie Luik, PhD
Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands and Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

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