Philip Scheltens

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Philip Scheltens (born 1957) is a Dutch professor of neurology and Director of the Alzheimer Centre, VU University Medical Center Amsterdam.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Philip Scheltens was born in Dordrecht, Netherlands, where he grew up in a family of four. His father led a factory and played an active role in the local society. His grandfather developed Alzheimer’s disease in those years, which made an important impression on his grandson. Philip attended the Christelijk Lyceum, where he graduated in 1976. As a teenager he was an enthusiastic drummer in several bands and fostered a fascination for science and mechanics.

After his graduation, he studied medicine at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam, while working night hours as a portiere in a famous Amsterdam nightclub, where he met many Dutch celebrities. He obtained his medical degree in 1984 and started his career in neurology. During his PhD he developed MRI criteria to score hippocampus atrophy for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.


Scheltens’ work has changed the way Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed. While diagnosis used to be based on specific signs and symptoms and exclusion of treatable causes, he was the first to add MRI criteria for hippocampal atrophy, associated with Alzheimer’s’ disease in the 1990s, which improved the diagnostic classification of this type of dementia and fueled development of new diagnostics.

He was one of the first in the Netherlands to start a dementia clinic and started the Amsterdam Dementia cohort, currently the largest collection of clinical and biomarker data. This enabled him to initiate, together with colleagues, new diagnostic research criteria for Alzheimer’s disease based on the presence of a clinical phenotype and the presence of amyloid, as reflected in cerebrospinal fluid. This change from a phenomenological, purely symptom driven, diagnosis to a diagnosis based on biomarkers greatly enhanced sensitivity and specificity. Higher diagnostic precision is the crucial step to develop effective therapy, as patients with homogeneous underlying pathology can be included for therapeutic trials targeting the causative mechanism. The new protein-based diagnostic criteria he fathered are now implemented for trials worldwide and the first hopeful results have emerged.

Scheltens has improved societal awareness and acceptance of dementia, and prioritized dementia among the top necessities on the Dutch and European research agenda. He initiated a large scientific and societal action plan to improve prevention, treatment and care for dementia in the Netherlands, entitled Deltaplan Dementie in 2012, which has already supported a large number of research projects on dementia, increased societal awareness and improved health care for dementia patients.

In 2011 Scheltens became a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.[1]

In November 2018 Expertscape recognized Dr. Scheltens as #6 in the world for expertise in Alzheimer's Disease. [2]

Present occupation and academic tasks[edit]

1991–present: Staff neurologist

2000–present: Full Professor of (Cognitive) Neurology

2000–present: Director of the Alzheimer Centre, VU University Medical Center Amsterdam.

2008–present: Management team Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam

2013–present: vice-chair Board of Directors Dutch “Deltaplan Dementie” (2013-2021).

Co-editor-in-chief of the series: Current Issues in Neurodegenerative Disorders

Member editorial board Dementia Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, Alzheimer’s Disease &

Associated Disorders, Int J geriatric Psychiatry, J NeuroImaging,

Chief Editor supplement to Dementia Geriatr Cogn Disord entitled ‘White matter disease’

Associate editor of J Neurol Neurosurgery Psychiatry

Co-editor-in-chief, Alzheimer's Research & Therapy[3]

2012–present Member Supervisory Board Hersenstichting Nederland

2012-2015 Member International Scientific Program Committee AAIC

Member Scientific Advisory Council ISTAART

2013–present Member of the jury of the BRAIN PRIZE (Grete Lundbeck Foundation)[4]

2015–present Member Program Committee EAN annual conference

2015–present Board member Dutch Academy of Science and Arts (KNAW)[5]


Scheltens has authored or coauthored over 700 publications, from which some frequently cited studies are listed below.[6]

  1. Dubois B, Feldman HH, Jacova C, ..., Scheltens P , Cummings JL. Advancing research diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease: the IWG-2 criteria. LANCET Neurol.2014;13(6):614-629.
  2. van Harten AC, Visser PJ, Pijnenburg YAL,....,Scheltens P , van der Flier WM. Cerebrospinal fluid Aβ 42 is the best predictor of clinical progression in patients with subjective complaints. Alzheimers. Dement. 2013;9(5):481-7.
  3. Scheltens P. Dementia: Mild cognitive impairment—amyloid and beyond. Nat. Rev. Neurol. 2013;9(9):493-5.
  4. Visser PJ, Vos S, van Rossum I, Scheltens P . Comparison of International Working Group criteria and National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer’s Association criteria for Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimers. Dement. 2012;8(6):560-3.
  5. van der Flier WM, Pijnenburg Y Al, Fox NC, Scheltens P. Early-onset versus late-onset Alzheimer’s disease: the case of the missing APOE ɛ4 allele. Lancet. Neurol. 2011;10(3):280-8.
  6. Frisoni GB, Fox NC, Jack CR, Scheltens P , Thompson PM. The clinical use of structural MRI in Alzheimer disease. Nat. Rev. Neurol. 2010;6(2):67-77.
  7. Dubois B, Feldman HH, Jacova C,..., Scheltens P . Revising the definition of Alzheimer’s disease: a new lexicon. Lancet Neurol. 2010;9(11):1118-27.
  8. Dubois B, Feldman HH, Jacova C,..., Scheltens P . Research criteria for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease: revising the NINCDS-ADRDA criteria. Lancet Neurol. 2007;6(8):734-46.
  9. Gauthier S, Reisberg B, Zaudig M,..., Scheltens P , Tierney MC, Whitehouse P, Winblad B. Mild cognitive impairment. Lancet 2006;367(9518):1262-70.
  10. Biessels GJ, Staekenborg S, Brunner E, Brayne C, Scheltens P. Risk of dementia in diabetes mellitus: a systematic review. Lancet. Neurol. 2006;5(1):64-74.


  1. ^ "Philip Scheltens". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Expertscape: Alzheimer Disease, November 2018". November 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-15.
  3. ^ "Alzheimer's Research & Therapy". BioMed Central Ltd. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  4. ^ "Philip Scheltens". Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  5. ^ "Academy Board". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  6. ^ Search Results for author Scheltens P on PubMed.