Welcome to the official website of the UNIVRSE consortium!
The Uniform Neuro-Imaging of Virchow-Robin Spaces Enlargement (UNIVRSE) Consortium is a global initiative that was established to overcome the current limitations in VRS research. The cohorts of the UNIVRSE consortium have collected tens of thousands of MRI scans, for which ratings are performed using a validated protocol developed by the two founding members. Working groups focus on specific topics such as risk factors, cognition, stroke, and genetics.
The UNIVRSE consortium brings together:
25.000 MRI scans
Rotterdam Study - founding member:
Kamran Ikram, MD, PhD
Saima Hilal, MBBS, MPH
Cornelia van Duijn, PhD
Sven van der Lee, MD
Charles DeCarli, MD
Sudha Seshadri, MD
Arfan Ikram, MD, PhD
Meike Vernooij, MD, PhD
Hieab Adams, MSc
Reinhold Schmidt, MD
Hans Grabe, MD
Austrian Stroke Prevention Study (ASPS) - founding member:
Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP):
Epidemiology of Dementia in Singapore (EDIS):
Erasmus Rucphen Family (ERF) Study:
Framingham Heart Study (FHS):
Epidemiological Prevention study Zoetermeer (EPOZ):
Mohamad Habes, PhD
The UNIVRSE Consortium design
Rating method for dilated VRS
In 2010, the Rotterdam Study and Austrian Stroke Prevention Study entered a collaboration with the goal to develop a robust VRS rating method that is reliable, incorporates relevant brain regions and can be easily applied by other researchers. This method is now used in the UNIVRSE consortium.
Reference: Adams HH, et al. "Rating Method for Dilated Virchow–Robin Spaces on Magnetic Resonance Imaging." Stroke 44.6 (2013): 1732-1735.
Determinants of dilated VRS
Enlargement of VRS could reflect various pathologies, including cerebral amyloid angiopathy and cerebral small vessel disease. It is hypothesized that underlying pathology might differ according to location. We investigated risk factors for enlarged VRS in the UNIVRSE consortium.
Reference: Adams HH, et al. "Risk factors of Virchow-Robin Spaces enlargement: the UNIVRSE Consortium" Abstract in press. Manuscript in preparation.
Cognition and dementia
Work in progress
The presence of enlarged VRS is accompanied by the presence of pathology in the brain, and could therefore potentially indicate beginning cognitive deterioration. Given the nature of VRS, it is possible that it is already associated with the first signs of impaired cognitive function, even before other MRI markers.
Common and rare genetics
Work in progress
The genetics of enlarged VRS remains largely unknown. In a large sample of both unrelated and related persons, we aim to determine the heritability of VRS enlargement and putative genes associated with this MRI marker.
Correspondence: M.A. Ikram, MD, PhD, Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC University Medical Center.
Address: Dr. Molewaterplein 50, 3015 GE, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Telephone number: +31 10 70 43930.
Fax number: +31 10 70 43489
Email: m.a.ikram [at] erasmusmc.nl.
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