Smoking tobacco and physical inactivity are key preventable risk factors of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Perfect Fit aims to prevent CVD, promote well-being, and reduce healthcare costs, particularly targeting disadvantaged populations where smoking and physical inactivity are prevalent.

The Research
The project develops tailored, evidence-based, near real-time computer coaching for quitting smoking and enhancing PA. For every individual, a personal model is designed which generates personalized recommendations based on high-quality existing and newly collected data, and adapts to changing circumstances/progress (similar to a TomTom navigation system), using machine learning techniques and incorporating domain-specific expert knowledge (e.g. health behaviour change strategies). Virtual coaches (VCs) communicate advice in a motivating way that fits individuals’ persuasive communication styles.

Perfect Fit integrates big-data science, sensor technology, and personalized real-time feedback to support smoking cessation and promote adequate physical activity (in both gym settings and daily life). The key questions of this study are:

  • Which adaptivity is needed to create a robust, safe, and effective interaction between individuals and machines?
  • How can we develop advanced data science methods and embed this in current smoking cessation and PA coaching practice?
  • How do measurement modalities, feedback and communication affect individuals’ smoking status and PA?


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Heart failure represents a significant healthcare challenge due to its high morbidity and mortality rates. Historically, the emphasis has been on heart failure with reduced ejection fraction characterized by left ventricular dilation. However, nearly half of heart failure patients involve diastolic dysfunction due to heart chamber stiffening, known as diastolic heart failure or HFpEF. The Focus Research conducted by our consortium indicates that impaired kidney function is an is a strong risk factor for HFpEF. Patients with chronic kidney disease are more prone to developing HFpEF and have higher mortality rates from associated complications. The specific mechanisms by which even slight declines in renal function worsen cardiovascular risk and impact the development and prognosis of HFpEF are not yet fully understood. Insights from RECONNECT highlight the pivotal role of systemic inflammation and microvasculature in this context. The Research RECONNEXT(Renal connection to microvascular disease and HFpEF: the next phase) is a multicenter consortium dedicated on advancing medical research on heart failure - particularly heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) - in relation to impaired kidney function. RECONNEXT builds upon the success of RECONNECT, established in 2015 (see Figure 1 below). The RECONNEXT consortium consists of nephrologists, cardiologists, general practitioners, and scientists from five leading academic centers in the Netherlands (UMC Utrecht, Erasmus MC, UMC Groningen, Amsterdam UMC, Leiden University) renowned for their expertise in heart failure, vascular biology, and chronic kidney disease.
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Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and dementia are closely intertwined, often resulting in cognitive impairment among individuals with cardiovascular or cerebrovascular conditions. Approximately one-third of dementia cases are linked to vascular injury, emphasizing that vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) is a preventable aspect of cognitive decline. The Focus The Heart-Brain Connection Crossroads (HBCx) consortium investigates hemodynamic alterations as reversible contributors to VCI, seeking to enhance our understanding of the connection between cardiovascular health and cognitive function. The Research HBCx builds upon the foundation laid by HBC1 (CVON 2012-06), which established a national network dedicated to studying, diagnosing, and treating VCI. Clinical investigations within HBC1, focusing on patients with chronic heart failure (CHF), carotid occlusive disease (COD), and clinically evident VCI, emphasized the role of hemodynamics along the heart-brain axis in VCI. These findings underscored significant associations between heart-brain connections and VCI. The HBCx program, launched in 2019, takes a comprehensive approach by investigating hemodynamics in key cardiac conditions such as atrial fibrillation and heart failure, while also exploring vascular factors and their interplay with amyloid pathology. Moreover, HBCx considers modulating factors like age and sex. The program aims to improve early detection, identify treatable targets, and integrate the Heart-Brain Connection approach into routine care. Ultimately, the long-term vision of HBCx is to reduce VCI prevalence among CVD patients through enhanced understanding and innovative treatment strategies. Grants, awards and Dissertations Alzheimer Nederland (2020) - L. Exalto: Does sexe modulate the phenotype and prognosis of vascular cognitive impairment. Cross Cohort Collaboration, NIH project from Unit Texas - Arfan Ikram. PPS project ÏmProVas" Hartstichting met Quantib and HBC partners (EMC, AUMC, UMCU) - Esther Bron Doeschka Ferro (27-10-2020) Dissertation: Causes and consequences of cerebral microinfarcts Characterizing the “(in)visible”lesion Eline Oudeman (4-7-2019) Dissertation: Transient Neurological Attacks Annebet Leeuwis (2-7-2019): Dissertation: Connecting heart and brain: vascular determinants of cognitive impairment and depressive symptoms Frank Wolters (5-9-2018) Dissertation: On the Origin of Dementia. A Population Perspective on Risk and Aetiology Publications A selection: CBF TAVI Microinfarcts in COD Cerebral arterial perforator on 7T MRI Microinfarcts HF  CBF en cognition Sex differences Neural tract segementation HBC clinic Cognition baseline  CBF LV segmentation long axis Hypotension  Vasoreactivity  Vascular cognitive impairment  Excersion-VCI design HBC1 Design  HBC approach Dutch
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