The research program Cardiovascular Epidemiology is one of four research programs of the UMC Utrecht Julius Center. The coordinator of the research program is prof. Y.T. van der Schouw, PhD.
The mission of the research program Cardiovascular Epidemiology is to delay vascular aging across the lifespan and thereby reduce the burden of vascular diseases. This is achieved by performing innovative epidemiological scientific research on circulatory health in patients and populations, with clear relevance for clinical practice and for public health.
The principles of the research program are that its research is of excellent quality, innovative and relevant for patients and populations. The research is multidisciplinary, and encompasses all Julius Center scientific disciplines (Epidemiology, General Practice, Public Health, Health Technology Assessment & Medical Humanities, and Biostatistics & Research Support) and is embedded in the UMC Utrecht Strategic Program ‘Circulatory Health’.
The research program Cardiovascular Epidemiology has the following aims:
1. To increase the understanding of the contribution of vascular, genetic, reproductive, metabolic, psychosocial, and lifestyle risk factors to normal and accelerated aging of the brain, the heart, and the vasculature and precursor conditions, such as overweight, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
2. To develop new, potentially important interventions for slowing down accelerated aging of the brain, the heart, and the vasculature and precursor conditions, and to assess the efficacy of these interventions.
3. To evaluate the diagnostic value of new and innovative markers to assess the presence of accelerated aging of the brain, the heart, and the vasculature and precursor conditions.
4. To evaluate the prognostic value of innovative markers of accelerated aging of the brain, the heart, and the vasculature and precursor conditions.
5. To develop prediction models for predicting prognosis of patients with accelerated aging of the brain, the heart, and the vasculature and precursor conditions.
Within the research program there are three main research themes, i.e. Brain, Heart, and Vasculature and Precursor Conditions. The research activities of a staff member can be broad such that the work fits within more than one theme. Even within one project, aspects may cover different themes.
The program uses approaches that include the full range of state-of-the-art statistical and epidemiological research, multicenter randomized studies on the effects of preventive and therapeutic interventions as well as large and small cohorts, case-control and cross-sectional studies. The program has a close collaboration with the Methodology research program.
The studies of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology research program include part of the large multinational EPIC study (EPIC-CVD and InterAct), the Leidsche Rijn Health Project (LRGP, a population of more than 10,000 inhabitants of the Leidsche Rijn), UCC (cohort of all vascular patients in UMC Utrecht), SMART, and Global Health research.
There is also close cooperation with various divisions of the UMC Utrecht, including Imaging, Heart & Lungs, Brain Center Rudolph Magnus and Woman & Baby.