29 October 2020

We congratulate Vincent Aengevaeren! After defending his thesis entitled: ‘Potential Detrimental Effects of Exercise on the Heart’ on 28 October, Vincent attained his PhD degree with honors. Vincent had been appointed on a RIHS Junior Researcher grant.


The beneficial effects of exercise are indisputable and the current physical activity recommendations suggest more exercise is better. Nevertheless, there is discussion whether one can exercise too much. Research in this thesis showed that the most active middle-aged male athletes more often had coronary atherosclerosis, although of a more benign composition, than their less active peers. Also, myocardial fibrosis was relatively common in athletes, but predominantly present in specific locations which are likely less detrimental. The consequences of these adaptations is currently unclear and require further research. Additionally, exercise-induced increases in markers of myocardial injury were associated with future mortality and cardiovascular events. In the future, these findings may allow for early detection and treatment of vulnerable individuals. Exercise can hurt the heart of certain vulnerable individuals, however the benefits of exercise far outweigh the harms for most individuals.


Vincent Aengevaeren (1991) studied Medicine at the Radboud University and obtained his medical degree with first-class honors in 2015. The research in this thesis was performed at the department of Physiology, within the Radboud Institute for Health Sciences. Currently, he is a postdoctoral fellow at the Physiology department. In 2021, he will start with his cardiology training at the Radboudumc.


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