Reversing Brain Drain: Sant’Anna School Institute of Life Sciences welcomes back Italian researcher to study cardiac - cognitive dysfunction and work on “ETHERNA” project

A talented Italian researcher, motivated by a deep interest in improving the lives of the elderly, has returned to Italy from UK to work on the “ETHERNA” project, which supports innovative research in cardiac dysfunction and cognitive impairment in older adults. Giulia Furini, biologist, will explore brain (poor blood flow) and cognitive dysfunction during ageing and future strategies to tackle dementia. After spending 5 years, working at the University of Nottingham, Furini has won the Institute of Life Sciences fellowship to carry out long-term research in preventing or reversing the development of cognitive decline.

Professor Vincenzo Lionetti, anaesthesiologist at Sant’Anna School Unità di Medicina Critica Traslazionale (Trancrilab),will act as supervisor for Furini’s work in a joint research project with the Department of Biology (University of Pisa), the Istituto di Fisiologia Clinica of National Research Council – Pisa and the Fondazione Toscana ‘Gabriele Monasterio’ Tuscany Foundation.  

 “The ETHERNA’ project is funded by Fondazione Pisa and coordinated by Professor Antonino Cattaneo, physiologist at Scuola Normale Superiore.

“Studies have shown a rise in cognitive dysfunction in patients with arterial hypertension. With prolonged life expectancy and the growing prevalence of uncontrolled hypertension, the worldwide incidence of patients with dementia is expected to double by 2030.

Given the link between Sant’Anna School and Scuola Normale Superiore, ‘ETHERNA’ is the first joint project which offers a specific focus on midlife hypertension to prevent future cognition impairment. Giulia Furini as a young talented researcher will take important steps by examining visual memory, reaction time, and reasoning ability in an unprecedented cohort study” said Vincenzo Lionetti.