Erik Scherder

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+31 20 59 88761
faculteit der gedrags- en bewegingswetenschappen ( klinische, neuro-, en ontwikkelingspsych )

Professional interests

The program Neurodegenerative Neuropsychology is chaired by prof. dr. Erik Scherder and hosts four lines of research. One line focuses on the relationship between physical activity and behavior (cognition, sleep-wake rhythm, and mood) in people with and without dementia. The most robust effects of physical activity on cognitive functions are observed in older sedentary persons without dementia. Of note is that particularly executive functions such as impulse control and set-shifting show the most promising effects after participation in an exercise program. In patients with (advanced) dementia, the effects of physical activity on e.g. cognition are inconsistent, implying that both positive and negative effects have been observed. Despite the fact that beneficial effects of physical activity on cognition and behaviour in patients with dementia are not consistent, physical INactivity during the day will further enhance the cognitive deterioration of these patients. In other words, the focus of our research is both on physical activity and physical inactivity in patients with dementia.

The second line of research concerns the relationship between pain, physical activity, and behavior (as described above) in people with a cognitive impairment (dementia, intellectual disability). neuronal systems in the brain that are involved in the processing of pain are identical to the neuronal systems that play a role in cognitive processes such as executive functions and memory. In case of gray matter neuropathology, e.g. atrophy, one might expect that a decline in cognitive processes will coincide with a decline in the p[rocessing of pain. In contrast, white matter lesions might impair cognitive functions on one hand, and enhance the experience of pain on the other hand. Particularly this latter negative relationship is clinical relevant as a decline in cognitive processes and an enhancement in pain experience,  increases the risk for undertreatment of pain. A clinical consequence of an increase in pain might be that the patient becomes inactive as moving might provoke pain even more. Alternatively, an increase in pain in patients with dementia might be reflected in agitated behaviour. it is striking that on the psychogeriatric ward, apathy (inactivity) and agitation are often considered symptoms belonging to the dementia and not signs of pain or discomfort.

A third line of research focuses on brain injuries after sports (e.g. soccer) and behavior, more specifically on ‘return to play’.  Remarkably, when a soccer play suffers from a (mild) traumatic brain injury during the game, there is hardly any medical procedure concerning 'return to play'. This line of research focuses on a baseline measurement of all players at the begining of the season concerning cognitive functions and the sleep-wake rhythm and on a re-assessment directly after a (mild) traumatic brain injury. Only in this way, it is possible to check whether the player has fully recovered from his injury and will be able to perform at his most optimal level. Importantly, this medical approach protects the player against (further) brain damage. An extension of this line of research is the inclusion of (young) kick boxers.  

A fourth line of research concerns the relationship between physical (in) activity, cognition (in particular impulse control), and behaviour (in particular aggression) at the psychiatric penitentiary department of five prisons in the Netherlands. It is known that the prefrontal cortex matures late and plays a crucial role in executive functions, among which impulse control. Enriched environment is essential for the maturation of the brain, specifically for the maturation of the prefrontal cortex. In contrast, an impoverished environment, like a prison, will hamper the development of the brain/prefrontal cortex. In other words, for those who already have a decline in impulse control, as is the case for most criminals, prison will further aggravate the dysfunction of the prefrontal cortex and hence the decline in impulse control. Insight into the (negative) influence of isolation and prison on cognitive and behavioural functions in which the prefrontal cortex is involved is clinical relevant as a further decline in impulse control will enhance the risk for aggressive incidents in- and outside the prison. Within this project, also a pilot study will take place aimed at enriching the environment in prison by e.g. participation in a physical activity program. In another substudy of this project, the effects of running therapy on cognition and behaviour will be examined.




Selection of papers 2008-2013


Scherder EJA, Scherder R, Verburgh L, Königs M, Blom M, Kramer AF, Eggermont LHP. (2013). Executive functions of sedentary elderly may benefit from walking; a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry, in press.

Verburgh L, Königs M, Scherder EJ, Oosterlaan J. (2013). Physical exercise and executive functions in preadolescent children, adolescents and young adults: a meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med.

Blankevoort CG, van Heuvelen MJ, Scherder EJ. (2013). Reliability of six physical performance tests in older people with dementia. Phys Ther. 93(1):69-78.

Scherder EJ, Plooij B. (2012). Assessment and management of pain, with particular emphasis on central neuropathic pain, in moderate to severe dementia. Drugs Aging 29(9):701-6.

Eggermont LH, de Boer K, Muller M, Jaschke AC, Kamp O, Scherder EJ. (2012). Cardiac disease and cognitive impairment: a systematic review. Heart 98(18):1334-40.

Verwijk E, Comijs HC, Kok RM, Spaans HP, Stek ML, Scherder EJ. (2012). Neurocognitive effects after brief pulse and ultrabrief pulse unilateral electroconvulsive therapy for major depression: a review. J Affect Disord 140(3):233-43.

Plooij B, van der Spek K, Scherder EJ. (2012). Pain medication and global cognitive functioning in dementia patients with painful conditions. Drugs Aging. 29(5):377-84.

Plooij B, Swaab D, Scherder E. (2011). Autonomic responses to pain in aging and dementia. Rev Neurosci. 22(5):583-9.

Scherder E, Eggermont L, Visscher C, Scheltens P, Swaab D. (2011). Understanding higher level gait disturbances in mild dementia in order to improve rehabilitation: 'last in-first out'. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 35(3):699-714.

Volkers KM, Scherder EJ. (2011). Impoverished environment, cognition, aging and dementia. Rev Neurosci. 22(3):259-66.

Lobbezoo F, Weijenberg RA, Scherder EJ. (2011). Topical review: orofacial pain in dementia patients. A diagnostic challenge. J Orofac Pain. 25(1):6-14.

de Knegt N, Scherder E (2011). Pain in adults with intellectual disabilities. Pain. 152(5):971-4.

Weijenberg RA, Scherder EJ, Lobbezoo F. (2011). Mastication for the mind--the relationship between mastication and cognition in ageing and dementia. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 35(3):483-97.

Scherder E, Statema M. (2010). Huntington's disease. Lancet. 376(9751):1464.

Blankevoort CG, van Heuvelen MJ, Boersma F, Luning H, de Jong J, Scherder EJ. (2010). Review of effects of physical activity on strength, balance, mobility and ADL performance in elderly subjects with dementia. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 30(5):392-402.

Eggermont LH, Blankevoort CG, Scherder EJ. (2010). Walking and night-time restlessness in mild-to-moderate dementia: a randomized controlled trial. Age Ageing. 39(6):746-9

Scherder EJ, Bogen T, Eggermont LH, Hamers JP, Swaab DF. (2010). The more physical inactivity, the more agitation in dementia. Int Psychogeriatr. 22(8):1203-8.

Appels BA, Scherder E. (2010). The diagnostic accuracy of dementia-screening instruments with an administration time of 10 to 45 minutes for use in secondary care: a systematic review. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen 25(4):301-16.

Oosterman JM, Dijkerman HC, Kessels RP, Scherder EJ. (2010). A unique association between cognitive inhibition and pain sensitivity in healthy participants. Eur J Pain 14(10):1046-50.

Scherder EJ, Eggermont LH, Geuze RH, Vis J, Verkerke GJ. (2010). Quadriceps strength and executive functions in older women. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 89(6):458-63.

Oosterman JM, Vogels RL, van Harten B, Gouw AA, Poggesi A, Scheltens P, Kessels RP, Scherder EJ. (2010). Assessing mental flexibility: neuroanatomical and neuropsychological correlates of the Trail Making Test in elderly people. Clin Neuropsychol. 24(2):203-19.

Scherder E, Eggermont L, Achterberg W, Plooij B, Volkers K, Weijenberg R, Hooghiemstra A, Prick AE, Pieper M, Blankevoort C, Zwakhalen S, van Heuvelen MJ, Hamers J, Lobbezoo F, Swaab D, Pot AM. (2009). Pain and physical (in)activity in relation to cognition and behaviour in dementia. Tijdschr Gerontol Geriatr. 40(6):270-8.

Eggermont LH, Swaab DF, Hol EM, Scherder EJ. (2009). Walking the line: a randomised trial on the effects of a short term walking programme on cognition in dementia. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 80(7):802-4.

Scherder E, Herr K, Pickering G, Gibson S, Benedetti F, Lautenbacher S. (2009). Pain in dementia. Pain. 145(3):276-8.

Eggermont LH, Swaab DF, Hol EM, Scherder EJ. (2009). Observation of hand movements by older persons with dementia: effects on cognition: a pilot study. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2009;27(4):366-74.

Oosterman JM, van Someren EJ, Vogels RL, Van Harten B, Scherder EJ. (2009). Fragmentation of the rest-activity rhythm correlates with age-related cognitive deficits. J Sleep Res. 18(1):129-35.

Eggermont LH, de Vries K, Scherder EJ. (2009). Psychotropic medication use and cognition in institutionalized older adults with mild to moderate dementia. Int Psychogeriatr. 21(2):286-94.

Oosterman JM, de Vries K, Dijkerman HC, de Haan EH, Scherder EJ. (2009). Exploring the relationship between cognition and self-reported pain in residents of homes for the elderly. Int Psychogeriatr. 21(1):157-63.

Scherder E, Dekker W, Eggermont L. (2008). Higher-level hand motor function in aging and (preclinical) dementia: its relationship with (instrumental) activities of daily life--a mini-review. Gerontology 54(6):333-41.

Eggermont LH, Knol DL, Hol EM, Swaab DF, Scherder EJ. (2009). Hand motor activity, cognition, mood, and the rest-activity rhythm in dementia: a clustered RCT. Behav Brain Res. 196(2):271-8.

Eggermont LH, Scherder EJ. (2008). Ambulatory but sedentary: impact on cognition and the rest-activity rhythm in nursing home residents with dementia. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 63(5):P279-87.

Stoter AJ, Scherder EJ, Kamsma YP, Mulder T. (2008). Rehearsal strategies during motor-sequence learning in old age: execution vs motor imagery. Percept Mot Skills. 106(3):967-78.

Eggermont LH, Scherder EJ. (2008). Gender and analgesic use in nursing home residents with dementia. J Pain. 9(10):970-1.

Dijkstra B, Zijlstra W, Scherder E, Kamsma Y. (2008). Detection of walking periods and number of steps in older adults and patients with Parkinson's disease: accuracy of a pedometer and an accelerometry-based method. Age Ageing. 37(4):436-41.

Oosterman JM, Vogels RL, van Harten B, Gouw AA, Scheltens P, Poggesi A, Weinstein HC, Scherder EJ. (2008). The role of white matter hyperintensities and medial temporal lobe atrophy in age-related executive dysfunctioning. Brain Cogn. 68(2):128-33.

Oosterman JM, Van Harten B, Weinstein HC, Scheltens P, Sergeant JA, Scherder EJ. (2008). White matter hyperintensities and working memory: an explorative study. Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. 15(3):384-99.

Scherder E, Posthuma W, Bakker T, Vuijk PJ, Lobbezoo F. (2008). Functional status of masticatory system, executive function and episodic memory in older persons. J Oral Rehabil. 35(5):324-36.

Scherder EJ, Rommelse NN, Bröring T, Faraone SV, Sergeant JA. (2008). Somatosensory functioning and experienced pain in ADHD-families: a pilot study. Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 12(6):461-9.

Bröring T, Rommelse N, Sergeant J, Scherder E. (2008). Sex differences in tactile defensiveness in children with ADHD and their siblings. Dev Med Child Neurol. 50(2):129-33.

Scherder EJ, Eggermont L, Plooij B, Oudshoorn J, Vuijk PJ, Pickering G, Lautenbacher S, Achterberg W, Oosterman J. (2008). Relationship between chronic pain and cognition in cognitively intact older persons and in patients with Alzheimer's disease. The need to control for mood. Gerontology 54(1):50-8.









Neuropsychology (Bachelor, 2nd year)

Aging & Dementia (research master Cognitifve Neuropsychology)

Medical Neuroscience & Neuro-anatomy (coordinator) (Research master Cognitive Neuropsychology)

Aging & Dementia (clinical master Neuropsychology)

Personal interests



Amsterdam Centre of aging - Bestuurder Amsterdam, 12 maart 2014
Convent Hoogleraren Klinische Neuropsychologie Nederland - Voorzitter Amsterdam, 12 maart 2014
European workgroup on pain in persons with a Cognitive Impai - Partner Amsterdam, 12 maart 2014
Lezingen Erik Scherder - Directeur/eigenaar Amsterdam, 12 maart 2014
Stichting Nieuwzorg - Voorzitter Bussum, 12 maart 2014
Stichting Papageno - Adviseur Laren, 12 maart 2014
Van Groesbeek-Aschenbroek Stichting - Voorzitter Amsterdam, 12 maart 2014
Laatste wijzigingen Nevenwerkzaamheden: Amsterdam 27 januari 2017