By: Dr. Larissa Niemeyer
On: 16 July 2019

“When I stop my medication, everything goes wrong” – why some patients take their prescribed drugs and others don’t

When going to a doctor, you mostly aim for two things to happen: one, you want the doctor to tell you what kind of disorder you are currently suffering from and two, you hope for him or her to give you adequate treatment. While most people are able to follow their physician’s instructions well enough when they have to take medication like antibiotics for a few days, the longer the therapy needs to be, the less likely they are to “adhere”. Adherence is a term to describe to what extent a person’s behavior in taking medication corresponds with agreed recommendations...

By: Dr. Lizanne Schweren
On: 21 June 2019

How do our personalities influence what we eat?

Why do we eat what we eat? What makes us choose an apple over chocolate cake, or the other way around? How do we decide whether or not to have that tempting dessert, despite feeling satiated after a hearty meal? I previously wrote about how our daily food choices are, at least in part, influenced by our genetic make-up, but there are many other factors determining what, when, where and why we eat. Today I will discuss the importance of personality traits. Personality is a set of relatively stable traits, that together determine who we are. While some characteristics of...

By: Prof. Henrik Larsson, Lin Li
On: 20 June 2019

How the LifeGene data can help us to explore the links between lifestyle and mental health

In our Eat2BeNice project we want to know how lifestyle-factors, and nutrition contribute to impulsive, compulsive, and externalizing behaviours. The best way to investigate this is to follow lifestyle and health changes in individuals for a longer period of time. This is called a prospective cohort study, as it allows us to investigate whether lifestyle and nutrition events at one point in time are associated with health effects at a later point. Luckily we can make use of the LifeGene project for this. LifeGene is a unique project that aims to advance the knowledge about how genes, environments and lifestyle-factors...

By: Ekaterina Veniaminova
On: 16 June 2019

Why do we use mouse models in diet research?

Rates of obesity and metabolic diseases are rapidly growing, and much attention is paid to study the effects of consumed foods on human health. We know already that dietary preferences can be a serious factor of diseases and even a cause of them, in a man. However, we do not know molecular and cellular mechanisms behind these effects. Thus, we do not know how these negative processes can be neutralized or diminished by preventive or curative interventions. As such mechanistic studies are needed. These studies can be in principle carried out in vitro or in vivo. Food consumption and consumed...

By: Dr. Mariliis Vaht
On: 13 June 2019

A violent history: how genes and environment influence aggression

Represented by a conscious propensity to harm others against their will, aggressiveness is a complex behavior depending on which environmental conditions we have been living in, and the kind of features we have inherited from our ancestors. Humans tend to be an aggressive species. Among mammals, members of the same species cause only 0.3 percent of deaths of their conspecifics [1]. Astonishingly, in Homo sapiens the rate is nearly 7 times higher, around 2% (1 in 50)! More than 1.3 million people worldwide die each year because of violence in all of its forms (self-directed, interpersonal and collective), accounting for 2.5%...

By: Dr. Jeanette Mostert
On: 6 June 2019

Can physical exercise or light therapy help people with ADHD?S

Feeling more happy after a run? Or feeling a bit blue during the dark winter days? Regular exercising and regular daylight exposure can influence your mood, behaviour and sleep-wake cycle 1,2,3. But can this also be used in a therapeutical setting, for instance in addition to or instead of the usual treatment with medication? The PROUD trial aims to investigate the potential of bright light therapy and physical exercise to improve and prevent depression and obesity in adolescents and young adults with ADHD. This clinical trial is part of the CoCA research project, in which comorbid conditions of ADHD are...

By: Margreet Bierens
On: 15 May 2019

Should we offer yoga classes as early as in kindergarten?

Yoga practice has become very popular in the last two centuries. In most western countries, yoga studios are booming. For example, Dutch practitioners are said to spent 325 million euros per year on yoga classes, clothes and events.In scientific research, yoga and it’s beneficial effects on physical and mental health, have also become a serious topic of interest. In a previous post, Hannah Kurts had already outlined the positive effects of yoga for several psychiatric disorders. Recently, the effects of yoga on cognitive performance and behavioral problems in 5-year old children have been examined. A group of Tunisian researchers offered...


On: 12 May 2019

The bacteria in your gut affect blood insulin levels and may influence your chances of developing type 2 diabetes

Developing type 2 diabetes is for a large part influenced by your diet but also genes. However, a recent study has now shown that your gut microorganisms might also play an important role in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). The article published in Nature Genetics entitled “Causal relationships among the gut microbiome, short-chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) and metabolic diseases”, claims evidence that bacterial metabolites such as SCFA’s are able to influence insulin levels and increase the risk of getting T2D. Various studies have suggested that increased SCFA production benefits the host by exerting anti-obesity and antidiabetic effects,...

By: Dr. Margus Kanarik
On: 6 May 2019

What makes us crave (junk)food?

Why do some people have a higher craving for carbohydrate-rich and junk-food than others? Why are weight-loss programs more effective in some individuals than others? And why are some people more physically active? The dopamine system in the brain plays an important role in regulating how much you eat and whether or not you gain weight. When this system does not function optimally, people have a higher craving for junk-food, lower physical activity and unsuccessful body weight control. There are, by large, two mechanisms that determine food-related behaviour. The more direct, homeostatic, mechanism constantly surveys the body’s energetic needs and...

By: Hannah Kurtz
On: 2 May 2019

Does yoga help with psychological complaints?

The popularity of yoga practice has risen sharply in recent years. In 2006, already 2.6 million people in Germany practiced yoga regularly (1). The arguments for yoga are widely spread in the population, for example the energy and immune function are increased and back pain, arthritis and stress are relieved (2). For others, the practice of yoga is an important factor in doing something good for themselves, while for others the discipline and control of the body is more in focus. But, where does yoga come from?The yoga tradition originates from India, the religion of Buddhism, and has a philosophical...