Research Departments Physiology 20211014 PhD degree for Carlijn Maasakkers
14 October 2021

Carlijn Maasakkers successfully defended her thesis entitled "Sitting brains won’t stand. Sedentary behaviour, brain health, and cognitive function in older adults".

Outline of this thesis
One in four people will be diagnosed with dementia during their lifetime. Currently, there is no treatment. However, it is known that lifestyle factors are associated with an increased risk of dementia. An important risk factor is an inactive lifestyle. This includes too little sport and too much sitting. Playing more sports seems to be a difficult goal; sitting less may be easier to achieve. Therefore, this study examined how sitting behaviour is related to cognitive functioning and brain health. Sitting behaviour acutely caused increased blood pressure and cerebral vascular resistance, but had no short-term effect on cognitive functioning. However, in combination with other cardiovascular effects of sitting, excessive sitting over time may cause changes in the brain. After many years, this can put high-sedentary older people at greater risk of cognitive decline. At the same time, changes in the brain may also increase sitting behaviour.

Carlijn Maasakkers (1993) obtained her Master's degree in Nutrition & Health, cum laude, from Wageningen University in 2017. She conducted the above research in the departments of Geriatrics and Physiology at the Radboudumc, within the Radboud Institute for Health Sciences. In 2019/2020, Carlijn worked as part of her PhD at Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) to collaborate with researchers from TILDA.

Click here to acces Carlijns thesis digitally.

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