VvE Publication Award Junior Researcher 2023
The board of the Netherlands Society for Epidemiology is very pleased to offer the VvE Publication Award Junior Researcher 2023 to:
With the publication: “Simulating the multicausality of Alzheimer’s disease with system dynamics”
The jury consisting of Prof. Myriam Hunink from Erasmus MC, Prof. Yvonne van der Schouw from UMC Utrecht and Prof. Bart Kiemeney from Radboudumc Nijmegen has drawn up the following jury report:
“Many excellent papers were nominated for this year’s publication award making it difficult to choose the one deserving the prize. The choice is always rather subjective. Also, although the award goes to the first author, we recognize that an entire team is behind the publication.
Our choice was motivated by several factors. Alzheimer’s disease is a common problem in our aging population, making it a very relevant topic to study. This study addresses the multiple interlinking causal factors of cognitive decline of Alzheimer’s disease which is an important contribution to this field. Jeroen Uleman and his colleagues took a novel approach to do this using a system dynamics model. The system dynamics model goes beyond causal inference models by including feedback loops, visualizes the causality in an intuitive way, and uses triangulation of published and expert knowledge. The model looks at different levels – brain health, physical health, psychosocial health – and estimates the strength of the 148 causal links. Bayesian methods were used to incorporate prior knowledge and to estimate uncertainty in the posterior probabilities. Subsequently, validity of the model was tested using empirical datasets. Finally, interventions on 15 modifiable risk factors were simulated, the results of which can guide future RCTs. All-in-all we were very impressed by the innovative nature of the approach, the comprehensiveness of the project, and its relevance.”
The VvE Publication Award Junior Researcher was awarded on 23 June 2023 during the annual epidemiological conference (WEON), organized by Erasmus MC Rotterdam.