Cardiovascular physiology and physical (in)activity
This research group focuses on the field of cardiovascular physiology and physical (in)activity. The work strongly focuses on understanding the impact of exercise training and physical activity on reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.read more
Cardiovascular physiology and physical (in)activityThis research group focuses on the field of cardiovascular physiology and physical (in)activity. The work strongly focuses on understanding the impact of exercise training and physical activity on reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
Specifically, Dick examines the impact of physical activity on the quality and structure of arteries, and the role of hemodynamic forces (such as shear stress and pressure) on these adaptations. Recently, this work was summarized in an invited review for the leading journal Physiological Reviews (IF35.5)
In his work, Dick adopts state-of-the-art ultrasound-based techniques, such as flow-mediated dilation, pulse wave velocity, echocardiography and transcranial Doppler. To further improve their insight into the topics above, Dick also invests into the development of novel techniques to non-invasively measure vascular function (i.e. carotid artery reactivity) and cardiac function (i.e. deformation-area loops). This work recently resulted in the publication of the first papers on these novel techniques (J Hypert, JACC: CV Imaging, Ann Surg, J Physiol), which demonstrate enormous potential for future work and the potential of clinical and prognostic value.
In addition to examining ‘traditional’ modes of exercise training (e.g. endurance, strength, high-intensity interval), Dick's work has also focused on novel strategies to improve health. For example, he performed studies on the impact of prolonged sitting on cardio- and cerebrovascular systems and potential strategies to prevent these detrimental effects, including in clinical populations such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and dementia (Exerc Sports Sci Rev, Diabetes Care). In addition, his lab has introduced the concept of exercise preconditioning (JAMA Cardiology) to explain how exercise protects against cardiovascular events. His lab was the first to explore the impact of (repeated) ischaemic on cardiovascular health (invited review in Exp Physiol).
- Understanding of the impact of hemodynamic stimuli (such as shear rate) in mediating vascular adaptation in response to exercise training and physical activity.
- Examine how improvements in vascular function-structure contribute to the cardioprotective effects of regular exercise training.
- Assess the role of hemodynamic stimuli (specifically blood flow or shear rate) in the process of atherosclerosis in central and peripheral arteries.
- Examine the role of physical inactivity or sedentary behaviour (i.e. too much sitting) in the development of non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders, but also other disease states characterized by physical inactivity (e.g. dementia, Parkinson’s Disease).
- Development of novel ultrasound-based techniques to examine cardiac (i.e. strain-volume loops) or vascular function (i.e. carotid artery reactivity) to improve physiological understanding of disease processes and predict future events.
- Explore the impact of exercise preconditioning in protecting against the severity of cardiovascular events, and identify potential factors interfering with these effects.
- Understand the potential clinical impact of (repeated) ischaemic preconditioning in improving cerebral and peripheral vascular health in healthy and diseased populations.