Nathalie de Vent and Joost Agelink van Rentergem of the University of Amsterdam are the winners of the Amsterdam Science & Innovation Award 2017, the annual award for the most innovative scientific idea of all Amsterdam knowledge and research institutes.
They received the award for the Advanced Neuropsychological Diagnostics Infrastructure (ANDI), a new online infrastructure for the improvement of neuropsychological diagnostics.
The High Potential Award was won by Kenneth Chin of the Academic Medical Center for a new optical imaging technique for nerve identification during surgery.
The Audience Award went to Juultje Sommers of the Academic Medical Center and Marike van der Schaaf of the Academic Medical Center and the University of Amsterdam for the ICU Mill: a mobile, simple and safe solution for rehabilitation of patients on Intensive Care.
Advanced Neuropsychological Diagnostics Infrastructure (ANDI) is a website for the analysis of neuropsychological test results to improve the diagnosis of brain trauma or brain disease. ANDI has a large database of representative standard data of healthy controls, which makes the comparison of a patient with the standard group more precise than when the traditional standard tables are used. Also, demographic background variables are taken into account in this equation. Nathalie: “This way, ANDI facilitates and improves neuropsychological diagnostics, which can also improve care for patients with brain diseases.”
Nathalie de Vent and Joost Agelink van Rentergem received the prize of € 10,000 from Mirjam van Praag, chairman of the jury. “ANDI can make the difference for thousands of people. The jury was initially surprised that such a platform did not already exist: it sounds like something that is practically possible and that serves a clear question. ANDI takes this up and uses big data and networks in an innovative way, “said Mirjam van Praag.
The € 5,000 award was won by Kenneth Chin, a student and researcher at the Academic Medical Center. “What started out as a crazy hobby project with my cousin Patrick, is now a new optical imaging technique that is capable of recognizing nerves in operations in real time thus preventing nerve injury in patients,” said Kenneth. With the current techniques it is difficult to distinguish, in particular the smaller nerves, from other tissue, unfortunately causing nerve injury during surgery. By selectively looking at the unique polarized light scattering of the nerves we can distinguish the nerves during surgery. Prevention of nerve injury is beneficial for patients and therefore has a positive effect on healthcare.
Chairman of the jury Mirjam van Praag: “The optical imaging technique is a very innovative idea. We are very impressed with Kenneth’s entrepreneurship based on a promising scientific basis.”
Juultje Sommers and Marike van der Schaaf received the € 2.500 award from VU rector Vinod Subramaniam for the ICU Mill: a special treadmill that helps with rehabilitation of intensive care patients at an early stage. Seriously ill patients on the intensive care (IC) experience a drastic decline in walking power resulting in a prolonged rehabilitation period. Marike and Juultje have therefore developed a mobile treadmill. Juultje: “Walking again gives hope and offers a perspective for going home. However, walking with IC patients is difficult because they are often weakened and stuck to different lines (respiration, ECG, infusion cables, etc.). That is why we have developed a weight supported treadmill, which can be placed next to the bed, so no lines need to be disconnected. The weight support makes it possible for patients who are not able to walk without this support, to already start rehabilitation.”
Marike van der Schaaf is a physiotherapist/researcher and special lecturer rehabilitation in acute care at the Academic Medical Center and the University of Amsterdam and Juultje Sommers (MSc) is a physiotherapist and researcher at the Academic Medical Center.
A special honorable mention went to Monalisa Goswami and Moniek Tromp from the University of Amsterdam for XASPect, a bench-top X-ray spectrometer. This is a machine that helps you to see what everything around you is made of and how it works, from auto catalysts, to batteries and paintings. “We make pictures and videos of materials to understand what (chemical) processes are occuring and why, for example, batteries explode or paint discolors on paintings,” said Moniek Tromp.
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