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Saskia Pluijm

co Principle Investigator
Saskia Pluijm
Lifestyle and healthy aging
Phone +31 (0) 6 45 14 24 8

I am Saskia Pluijm, independent senior-scientist (Co-PI), connected to the Kremer group, with a strong background and interest in lifestyle and aging studies, and research methodology.

My research focuses on healthy aging during and after childhood, adolescence and young adulthood (CAYA) cancer by supporting (ex)patients (´survivors´) of childhood cancer adopting and sustaining to a healthy lifestyle. This includes physical activity, not smoking, a healthy dietary intake and body weight, sufficient vitamin D and relaxation. Recent research indicates that a process of accelerated aging occurs in survivors of childhood cancer due to the intense treatment with chemotherapy and radiotherapy which may be prevented or delayed by a healthy lifestyle. Examples of aging-related chronic conditions that often co-occur in survivors of CAYA cancer at young adult or middle age are osteoporosis (loss of bone mineral density and risk of fractures), sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass/strength), poor physical performance and frailty.

Within the Dutch Childhood Cancer Survivorship Study, we examine the prevalence of participation into a healthy lifestyle and its association with accelerated aging. Within an EU project (PanCareFollowUp), I am a PI of a study on the development and evaluation of an e-health lifestyle intervention using mixed methods (systematic reviews, qualitative and quantitative studies). Moreover, I am co-chair of an international guideline group on osteoporosis and member of a pan-European Network of professionals, survivors and their families that aims to reduce late side-effects of treatment of children and adolescents with cancer (PanCare).

Finally, I like to puzzle with methodological/epidemiological issues and to support students and other researchers how to solve them.

I love being in nature (for cycling, skating and hiking with our white boxer), to perform and teach yoga and meditation and to cook and eat with family and friends. My intention is to age as healthy as possible by adapting and sustaining to a healthy lifestyle, and to support other adults and children in doing that as well. This is not always easy, as motivation, will power and consciousness are needed to release an unhealthy lifestyle pattern and to adapt sustainably to a new healthy pattern.

Key Publications:

Ness KK, Kirkland JL, Gramatges MM, Wang Z, Kundu M, McCastlain K, Li-Harms X, Zhang J, Tchkonia T, Pluijm SMF, Armstrong GT. Premature physiologic aging as a paradigm for understanding increased risk of adverse health across the lifespan of survivors of childhood cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2018 20;36:2206-2215. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2017.76.7467. Epub 2018 Jun 6.PMID: 29874132 (citations: n=14)

van Atteveld JE, Pluijm SMF, Ness KK, Hudson MM, Chemaitilly W, Kaste SC, Robison LL, Neggers SJCMM, Yasui Y, van den Heuvel-Eibrink MM, Wilson CL. Prediction of low and very low Bone Mineral Density among survivors of childhood cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2019 2019;37:2217-2225. doi: 10.1200/JCO.18.01917. Epub 2019 May 31. .

Hartman A, Pluijm SMF, Wijnen M, Neggers SJCMM, Clemens E, Pieters R, van den Heuvel-Eibrink MM. Health-related Fitness in Very Long-Term Survivors of Childhood Cancer: A Cross-Sectional Study. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2018;65. doi: 10.1002/pbc.26907. Epub 2017 Dec 22

Oosterom N, Dirks NF, Heil SG, de Jonge R, Tissing WJE, Pieters R, van den Heuvel-Eibrink MM, Heijboer AC, Pluijm SMF. A decrease in vitamin D levels is associated with methotrexate-induced oral mucositis in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Supportive care cancer 2019; 27:183-190. doi: 10.1007/s00520-018-4312-0.

Kuchuk NO, Pluijm SM, van Schoor NM, Looman CW, Smit JH, Lips P. Relationships of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D to bone mineral density and serum parathyroid hormone and markers of bone turnover in older persons. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009;94:1244-50. doi: 10.1210/jc.2008-1832. Epub 2009 Jan 21.