Health & Well-Being

Digital technology can help promote healthier lifestyles, create healthier environments, optimize detection, diagnosis and treatment of disease and well-being of patients, and advance the quality and efficiency of care, both at home and in institutions. Digital technology should be designed and delivered according to the needs of end users, aimed towards limiting inequalities in access to care. It should help manage the costs of care for populations of all ages. These and related societal challenges are addressed in programme line Health & Well-Being.

Academics that are working on finding solutions to societal challenges related to Health & Well-Being:

Expertise

Aarnout Brombacher is Full Professor of Design Theory and Information Flow Analysis. Brombacher has an interest in field-data analysis of complex systems in interaction with users and user communities, data analytics and the resulting customer perceived design quality models. His early career at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) focused on quality and reliability management, both in the Department of Industrial Design and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He has extensive experience in industrial quality and reliability improvement projects and developing tools and analysis methods for this field. Later, his interests shifted to sports, activity and human health, using the increasingly available amounts of individual activity data to help create opportunities for more people to become active. He is currently member of the National TopTeam (advisory body of the Dutch government) on Sports and Vitality representing the 14 Dutch universities in this field.

Expertise

Dekker is a full professor of Clinical Data Science at Maastricht University and lead the GROW-Maastricht University research division of MAASTRO Knowledge Engineering. His research focuses on three main themes: building global data sharing infrastructures; machine learning cancer outcome prediction models from this data; applying outcome prediction models to improve lives of cancer patients. Their scientific breakthrough has been the development of a data sharing and distributed learning infrastructure that does not require data to leave the hospital. This has reduced many of the ethical and other barriers to share health data. They have shown this approach works in more than 20 cancer centres worldwide.

Expertise

Andrea Evers is professor of Health Psychology and chair of the Health-Medical-and-Neuropsychology-Unit at Leiden University. After her PhD (cum laude), Andrea Evers obtained several personal grants for excellent researchers (NWO-Veni 2004, NWO-Vidi 2009, ERC Consolidator Grant 2013, ERC Proof of Concept 2015, NWO-Vici 2017) for her innovative, interdisciplinary and translational research on psychoneurobiological mechanisms and treatments for health and disease. Her research is characterized by a strong interdisciplinary focus, particularly due to connecting Social Sciences with Biomedical and Life Sciences, in addition to collaborations with Neuroscience and Humanities. In addition to her broad clinical and teaching experience, she uniquely combines fundamental and applied science in her translational research, by focusing both on basic research on psychoneurobiology (e.g. stress mechanisms) and translational research on screening and innovative interventions for somatic conditions (e.g. e-health tools). She published more than 200 international and national articles in her research topics.

Expertise

Feskens is Professor in Nutrition and Health over the Lifecourse. The chair group Nutrition and Health over the Lifecourse (within the Division of Human Nutrition and Health) led by Feskens focusses on nutritional needs and interventions to achieve and maintain optimal health throughout the life span. Dietary intake, nutritional status and functional outcomes are studied at the individual level as well as in public health related interventions. Research and training is concentrated on nutrients, foods and dietary patterns, is physiologically oriented and targeted both at western and non-western settings.

Expertise

Lisette Van Gemert-Pijnen is Professor of Persuasive Health Technology. The research and tuition conducted by Lisette van Gemert focuses on the design, implementation and evaluation of technology in the healthcare sector with the aim of improving the overall quality of health and safety. The research in particular is oriented towards human-centered and value-driven technology and includes three subthemes: user centered development, persuasive technology design, and business modelling (implementation). Research is part of the Persuasive Health Technology lab, Research center of the Center for eHealth &Wellbeing Research at the University of Twente.

Expertise

Hermens is Professor in Neuromuscular Control at the University of Twente. He was the initiator and coordinator of the SENIAM project, which had a substantial impact as it resulted in a broadly accepted worldwide standard on surface EMG electrodes properties and their placement on the muscles. He was co-founder of Roessingh Research and Development, originating from the Roessingh Rehabilitation Centre, which has grown now in the largest institute in the area of Rehabilitation Technology and Telemedicine in the Netherlands. He was also one of the initiators of the Center for Care Technology Research, where he is now director Technology, being one of the 8 Centres of Research Excellence of the Innovative Medical Devices Initiative. Hermie is coordinating the H2020 project Council of Coaches, focusing on disruptive new way of coaching using multiple artificial coaches and the recently funded Data2person project EDIC (exceptional and deep intelligent coach). He is the coordinator of the UT wide multidisciplinary research program on “Personalised eHealth technology”.

Expertise

Natasha Maurits is Professor of Clinical Neuroengineering at the University of Groningen. Her interests include Clinical neuroengineering, esp. neurodiagnostics, Multimodal neuroimaging (EEG-EMG-fMRI), computational biofluid dynamics, (r)TMS, biomedical signal analysis.

Expertise

Heleen Riper is Professor of eMental-Health and works at the VU University Amsterdam, GGZ inGeest (Research Department of a large mental health service organization in Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and at the Leuphana University (eMental-Health Research Centre), Lüneburg, Germany. Over the past 15 years her research focus has been on the development of eMental-Health interventions for common mental disorders and substance use disorders, the assessment of their clinical and cost-effectiveness and their implementation in routine practice. In addition, I have studied the requirements and impact of eMental-Health on both national and international health policy-levels. The scope of her current research activities includes the innovative use of mobile health, social media and blended care for the prevention and treatment of common mental disorders. New methodological challenges include the use and evaluation of mobile ecological momentary assessments and interventions, serious gaming for mental health and intelligent reasoning systems for modeling the virtual patient.

Expertise

Margriet Sitskoorn is a full professor of Clinical Neuropsychology (Department of Cognitive Neuropsychology) at Tilburg University in the Netherlands and is registered as a Clinical Neuropsychologist, Specialist BIG-registration (49050992625). She is the Health & Wellbeing programme leader from Tilburg University’s Impact programme. Within the VSNU Digital Society programme Health & Wellbeing, she represents Tilburg University with a specific focus on cognition, personalised care and creating data from both big- and experience data within the field of Health and Wellbeing. Margriet Sitskoorn worked as a clinical neuropsychologist and cognitive scientist at several institutes in the Netherlands and stayed at Henry Ford Hospital Detroit, USA. Sitskoorn has received and continues to be awarded multiple grants from different organisations (e.g. ZonMw, KWF, Fonds Nuts Ohra, Czfonds). She was, amongst others a member of the Dutch Health Council’s Special Committee electromagnetic fields, a board member of STT foresight images of the brain, and is a member of the Supervisory board of the Dutch TopSportCommunity of the Netherlands. She also functions as a consulting editor for the peer-reviewed scientific journal Neuropsychology.

Examples

Inspiring and scientifically proven health advice at 'Healthy University' days

‘It's mad,' says Professor of Health Psychology Andrea Evers. Our scientists as medics and psychologists are telling patients how to live healthier lives, and our students are developing treatment plans for all kinds of target groups as part of their study programme. But this knowledge isn't being used within the university, and that while staff and students are just as likely as others in society to suffer from a chronic illness arising from genetic misfortune or an unhealthy lifestyle.
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Enabling remote assessment of cognitive behaviour through mobile experience sampling

Cognitive decline is among the normal processes of ageing, involving problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment, happening at different times and affecting people’s live to a significant extent. Traditional clinical methods for cognitive assessment are conducted by experts once first symptoms appear. Mobile technologies can help supporting more immediate, continuous and ubiquitous measurements, thus potentially allowing for much earlier diagnosis of cognitive disorders.
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Smart Machines To Empower Oncology Docs and Patients

Machines cannot satisfy the inherently human function of physicians in health care; they cannot interact adequately with patients, said Andre Dekker. But artificial intelligence can provide the tools that will make this interaction more beneficial, he told a standing-room-only crowd of hundreds who attended the talks about AI. “AI will allow us to share decision-making,” said Dekker, medical physicist and head of knowledge engineering at the MAASTRO clinic and professor at Maastricht University. “We will be able to ask: “If treatments A to Z have these predicted outcomes, what fits you best? Is the toxicity worth it? Is the benefit worth it?”
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