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Lara Vlietstra

Thesis title

Screening and treating pro-dromal sarcopenia in middle-aged adults.

Areas of study

  • Gerontology
  • Healthy Ageing
  • Body Composition
  • Sarcopenia

Lara is also a member of the Collaboration of Ageing Research Excellence (CARE)

Supervisors

Lara's primary department is the Department of Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine. 

  • Dr Kim Meredith-Jones (Department of Medicine, DSM)
  • Associate Professor Debra Waters (School of Physiotherapy and Department of Medicine)
  • Dr Lynnette Jones (School of Physical Education, Sport, and Exercise)

Education Background

  • 2017: Master of Science, Clinical Health Sciences, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • 2017: Master of Science, Geriatric Physical Therapy, Avans Plus, Breda, The Netherlands
  • 2014: Bachelor of Science, Physiotherapy, Avans University of Applied Sciences, Breda, The Netherlands

Publications

  • Vlietstra L. (2020) Ageism: Can millennials turn the tide? An opinion piece that was written for the Office for Seniors. www.superseniors.msd.govt.nz/news-events/news/2020/ageism-can-millennials-turn-the-tide.html
  • Waters D.L., Vlietstra L., Qualls C., Morley J.E. & Vellas B. (2020) Sex-specific muscle and metabolic biomarkers associated with gait speed and cognitive transitions in older adults: a 9-year follow-up. GeroScience. 2020. 42(2), 585–593.
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11357-020-00163-7
  • Hendrickx W., Vlietstra L., Valkenet K., Wondergem R., Veenhof C., English C.,& Pisters, M. F. (2020) General lifestyle interventions on their own seem insufficient to improve the level of physical activity after stroke or TIA: a systematic review. BMC neurology. 2020. 20(1), 168. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12883-020-01730-3
  • Vlietstra L., Stebbings S., Meredith-Jones K., Abbott J.H., Treharne G.J. & Waters D.L. (2019)  Sarcopenia in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: The association with self-reported fatigue, physical function and obesity. PLoS One. 2019. 14(6):e0217462. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217462
  • Waters D.L., Qualls C.R., Cesari M., Rolland Y., Vlietstra L. & Vellas B. (2019) Relationship of incident falls with balance deficits and body composition in male and female community-dwelling elders. Journal of Nutrition, Health & Ageing. 2019. 23(1):9-13. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12603-018-1087-4
  • Vlietstra L., Meredith-Jones K., Stebbings S., Abbott J.H., Treharne G.J. & Waters D.L (2017) Sarcopenic-obesity is more prevalent in osteoarthritis than rheumatoid arthritis: are different processes involved? Rheumatology.  https://doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/kex303
  • Vlietstra L., Hendrickx W. & Waters D.L.  (2018, online) Exercise Therapy in Older Adults with Sarcopenia; a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Australasian Journal of Aging. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajag.12521

Presentations

  • “Sarco-osteopenia in Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis: Implications for clinical practice” Vlietstra L., Meredith-Jones K., Stebbings S., Abbott J.H., Treharne G.J. & Waters D.L. Joint Annual Scientific Meeting New Zealand Rheumatology Association and Australian Rheumatology Association, Auckland (NZ), May 20-23, 2017.
  • “Sarcopenia; a clinical point of view” Vlietstra L. Department of Medicine Seminar Series 2017, University of Otago, June 2nd, 2017.
  • “Raising awareness for the age-related loss of muscle mass” Vlietstra L. 2 Minute Talks: Young Women in Science, New Zealand International Science Festival, Dunedin, July 11th, 2018.
  • “Screening and treating pro-dromal sarcopenia in middle-aged adults, a PhD proposal” Vlietstra L. CHARR Seminar Series 2018, University of Otago (NZ), July 17th, 2018.
  • “Screening and treating pro-dromal sarcopenia in middle-aged adults, a PhD proposal” Vlietstra L. Department of Medicine Seminar Series 2018, University of Otago (NZ), July 20th, 2018.
  • “Exercise interventions in healthy older adults with sarcopenia: A systematic review and meta analysis” Vlietstra L., Hendrickx W. & Waters D.L. Physiotherapy New Zealand Conference 2018, Dunedin (NZ), September 14-16, 2018.
  • “Researchers Working on Emerging and Promising Topics in Ageing Research” Speaker during the webinar presented by the New Zealand Association of Gerontology and the Australian Association of Gerontology, October 23rd, 2018.

Poster presentations

  • “The first 6 steps towards a world without age without age-related loss of muscle mass - a PhD journey by Lara Vlietstra” Vlietstra L. Dunedin School of Medicine Poster Competition 2018, Dunedin, May 30th, 2018.
  • “Early middle-age prevalence of pro-dromal sarcopenia, osteopenia and osteosarcopenia in a birth cohort” Vlietstra L., Meredith-Jones K. & Waters D.L. Australia New Zealand Bone Mineral Society Annual Scientific Meeting, Queenstown (NZ), September 2-5, 2018.
  • “Prevalence of pro-dromal sarcopenic-obesity in middle-aged adults: association with BMI and physical function” Vlietstra L., Meredith-Jones K. & Waters D.L. Australian and New Zealand Society for Sarcopenia and Frailty Research Annual Scientific Meeting, Dunedin (NZ), November 23-25, 2018.
  • "Protective and Harmful Factors Associated with Pro-dromal Sarcopenia in an Early Middle-aged Birth Cohort." Vlietstra L., Meredith-Jones K. & Waters D.L. Australian and New Zealand Society for Sarcopenia and Frailty Research Annual Scientific Meeting, Sydney (AUS), November 22-23, 2019.
  • "HIIT to counteract pre-sarcopenia in middle-aged adults, a randomized controlled trial." Vlietstra L., Waters D.L. & Meredith-Jones K. International Conference on Sarcopenia & Frailty Research, Toulouse (FR), March 11-13, 2020.
  • "Development and validation of a prognostic screening-tool to predict the risk of pre-sarcopenia in middle-aged adults." Vlietstra L., Waters D.L. & Meredith-Jones K. International Conference on Sarcopenia & Frailty Research, Toulouse (FR), March 11-13, 2020.

Why did you choose the School of Physiotherapy?

As sarcopenia is a syndrome that is not yet widely researched, it is hard to find qualified, experienced and enthusiastic researchers. Aging well is a topic that has been on the research list at the University of Otago, and especially the School of Physiotherapy, for a long time and the University of Otago has gained global reputation by, for instance, the Otago Exercise Program. My supervisors are renowned for their knowledge and research within the sarcopenia area and it is therefore an amazing opportunity to conduct research under their supervision; there is no doubt that their expertise and connections will help me kick-start my academic career.

Best thing so far

Even though I am partly supervised by the School of Physiotherapy, they always invite me to all the exciting workshops and meetings that they host and make me feel welcomed!

Contact

Email: vlila664@student.otago.ac.nz

Twitter: http://twitter.com/laravlietst