For decades, the Greek island of Crete was renowned as one of the healthiest areas in the world, where cardiovascular diseases or cancer hardly occurred. The ‘Seven Countries Study’, a large-scale international health study in the sixties, showed that the inhabitants of Crete owed their excellent health to their Mediterranean diet. But times have changed and Crete’s golden health has disappeared. Dr. Constantine Vardavas found out why.


Good intentions, bad execution

In Body
Monday, 23 August 2010 11:35

Veni research into planning strategies for healthy behaviour

If you think motivation alone is enough to stick to good intentions, you’re sadly mistaken. Doing more exercise, eating more healthily, using sunscreen when you sunbathe: there’s a considerable gap between intending to do something and actually going through with it. The reasons that good intentions tend to fall through are so divergent and at the same time so universal that we can all come up with a few. More interesting is how we can bridge this gap. And this question lies at the core of Dr Liesbeth van Osch’s research, which she will carry out with the help of a Veni grant over the next three years.


Putting the brakes on arteriosclerosis

In Body
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 00:00

Christian Weber holds the Molecular Cardiology chair at RWTH Aachen University and a professorship at UM’s School for Cardiovascular Diseases (CARIM). He was awarded the Vici grant for his project proposal ‘Putting the brakes on arteriosclerosis’. Arteriosclerosis is caused by an inflammation in the arteries that leads to fatty plaques in the vascular wall. The development of the inflammation is controlled by proteins. So how do these proteins work exactly, and how can they be stopped without creating damaging side effects?


A fair chance for healthy offspring

In Body
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 00:00

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is a method for testing embryos for genetic defects or chromosome abnormalities before they are implanted in the uterus. It is an alternative for prenatal diagnosis and selective termination of pregnancy in couples with a high risk of transmitting an inherited condition, such as Huntington’s disease or cystic fibrosis, to their offspring. PGD helps these couples to decide in a very early stage wether they want to go on with getting offspring, thus avoiding the difficult choice of abortion. The Maastricht University Medical Centre+ (MUMC+) has the only PGD license in The Netherlands. A state-of-the-art by Professor Joep Geraedts, head and Dr. Christine de Die-Smulders, medical coordinator of the Maastricht PGD Centre.


Self-control. This is where it often falls apart for obese people who struggle to lose weight, and then to maintain their new weight. So help is needed, says Anita Jansen, Professor of Eating disorders at the Department of Experimental Clinical Psychology. And not only in the form of dieticians, but more importantly from cognitive behaviour therapists. Wim Saris, Professor of Human nutrition at the Department of Human Biology, takes a different view. ‘Behavioural therapy could play a role but I don’t think we should put all our eggs into that basket’.


Big doctor is watching you

In Body
Wednesday, 31 March 2010 11:18

Intelligent activity monitor observes patients at home

A patient with a chronic heart condition that requires three months of rehabilitation should not just sit around afterwards. Instead, they should remain active to prevent further health problems. The same is true for people with the lung disease COPD and other chronic conditions. To more precisely monitor how active a patient is after being discharged, kinesiologists, technicians and healthcare professionals have jointly developed an intelligent activity monitor: the CAM. This facilitates quicker intervention in the event that a patient cannot or will not be sufficiently active at home.


Tracking crime

Tuesday, 16 March 2010 11:43

State-of-the-art DNA research in Maastricht

DNalysis Maastricht, the DNA laboratory of Maastricht University and the Maastricht Forensic Institute (TMFI), gained the accreditation required to legally perform DNA research at the end of 2009. The Accreditation Council thereby acknowledged the advanced research techniques employed by DNalysis, a young DNA laboratory that hopes to challenge the renowned Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) and other laboratories—injecting some healthy competition with new players in this arena. Jos Herbergs is the scientific director of DNalysis.


Holding on to a dream

In Body
Friday, 01 January 2010 00:00

Liliane Mpabanzi always wanted to make a difference

As an African woman living in the Netherlands, I am thrilled to be asked to profile another African woman, Liliane Mpabanzi. This medical PhD-student turns out to be a courageous and self-assured young woman who defies easy labels. She has just won a prestigious research grant - the Mosaic scholarship awarded by the Dutch research council (NWO) to improve the representation of ethnic minorities in academic research. One of only 20 recipients country-wide, Liliane Mpabanzi embarked on a four-year PhD course at the Maastricht University medical school in October 2009.


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