J.L. Kenemans

Universiteit Utrecht, Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands

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Publications (170)222.54 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: It has long been postulated that exogenous cannabinoids have a profound effect on human cognitive functioning. These cannabinoid effects are thought to depend, at least in parts, on alterations of phase-locking of local field potential neuronal firing. The latter can be measured as activity in the theta frequency band (4Hz-7Hz) by electroencephalogram. Theta oscillations are supposed to serve as a mechanism in neural representations of behaviorally relevant information. However, it remains unknown whether variability in endogenous cannabinoid activity is involved in theta rhythms and therefore, may serve as an individual differences index of human cognitive functioning. To clarify this issue, we recorded resting state EEG activity in 164 healthy human subjects and extracted EEG power across frequency bands (δ, θ, α, β). To assess variability in the endocannabinoid system, two genetic polymorphisms (rs1049353, rs2180619) within the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) were determined in all participants. As expected, we observed significant effects of rs1049353 on EEG power in the theta band at frontal, central and parietal electrode regions. Crucially, these effects were specific for the theta band, with no effects on activity in the other frequency bands. Rs2180619 showed no significant associations with theta power after Bonferroni correction. Taken together, we provide novel evidence in humans showing that genetic variability in the cannabinoid receptor 1 is associated with resting state EEG power in the theta frequency band. This extends prior findings of exogenous cannabinoid effects on theta power to the endogenous cannabinoid system.
    Behavioural brain research. 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The cholinergic system is implicated in visuospatial attention and inhibition, however the exact role is still unclear. Two key mechanisms in visuospatial attention are bias and disengagement. Bias refers to neuronal signals that enhance the sensitivity of sensory cortex, disengagement is the decoupling of attention. Previous studies suggest that nicotine affects disengagement and (related) inhibition. However the exact relation is still unknown. Furthermore, nicotine-abstinence in 'healthy' smokers may resemble some anomalies of visuospatial attention and inhibition as seen in Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder. Smokers and non-smokers (32 male students) performed in a visuospatial cueing (VSC) task, to assess bias and disengagement, and in a stop signal task (SST) to assess inhibition. It was expected that nicotine abstinent smokers compared to non-smokers, would show poor disengagement (indicated by an enhanced validity effect) and poor inhibitory control (indicated by an enhanced SSRT). It was expected that nicotine would positively affect disengagement and inhibition: hypothesis 1 stated that this effect would be larger in smokers as opposed to non-smokers, in terms of smoking related deficient inhibitory control. Hypothesis 2 stated the exact opposite, in terms of drug-tolerance. Results indicated no baseline differences. Nicotine enhanced inhibition more in non-smokers relative to smokers. Integrating the results, nicotine-abstinent smokers do not seem to resemble ADHD patients, and do not seem to smoke in order to self-medicate a pre-existing deficit pertaining to mechanisms of visuospatial attention and inhibition. Nicotine may affect inhibition more in non-smokers relative to smokers, consistent with a drug-tolerance account.
    Neuroscience 07/2014; · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The role of the cholinergic system in inhibition remains to be elucidated. Nicotine is a potent tool to augment this system, but most studies investigated its effects solely on behaviour. Reference to brain activity is important to specifically identify inhibition-related mechanisms. In the current study the objective was to elucidate the role of the cholinergic system in inhibition. 16 healthy non-smokers performed in a stop task while EEG was recorded. A pre- versus post-treatment, within subjects, placebo controlled, single-blind design was used. It was hypothesized that nicotine would decrease stop-signal reaction time (SSRT) and increase the amplitude of inhibition-related event related potentials, the stop N2 and stop P3. Behavioral measures show nicotine shortened SSRT, but only when pretreatment values were not taken into account. On EEG measures, an enhanced stop P3 under nicotine was found, but only in a subsample sensitive to nicotine based on diastolic blood pressure. The results are indicative of enhanced inhibitory activity possibly reflecting enhanced activation in the superior frontal gyrus.
    Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 03/2014; · 2.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Empathy has been associated with decreased antisocial and increased prosocial behavior. This study examined empathy and prosocial behavior in response to sadness and distress in disruptive behavior disorder (DBD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Six- and 7-year-old children with DBD (with and without ADHD) (n = 67) and with ADHD only (n = 27) were compared to typically developing children (TD) (n = 37). Parents and teachers rated affective empathy in response to sadness and distress on the Griffith Empathy Measure. Children reported affective empathic ability in response to sad story vignettes. Empathy-induced prosocial behavior in response to sadness and distress was assessed with a computer task, the Interpersonal Response Task (IRT). Compared to TD, children with DBD (with and without ADHD) and those with ADHD only were rated as less empathic by their teachers, but not by their parents. No differences between groups were observed in children who reported affect correspondence. Children with DBD (with and without ADHD) showed less prosocial behavior in response to sadness and distress compared to TD. Children with ADHD only did not differ from TD. An additional analysis comparing all children with a diagnosis to the TD group revealed that the difference in prosocial behavior remained after controlling for ADHD symptoms, but not after controlling for DBD symptoms. These findings of impaired empathy-induced prosocial behavior in response to sadness and distress in young children with DBD suggest that interventions to ameliorate peer relationships may benefit from targeting on increasing prosocial behavior in these children.
    European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 03/2014; · 3.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The cholinergic system has been implicated in visuospatial attention but the exact role remains unclear. In visuospatial attention, bias refers to neuronal signals that modulate the sensitivity of sensory cortex, while disengagement refers to the decoupling of attention making reorienting possible. In the current study we investigated the effect of facilitating cholinergic neurotransmission by nicotine (Nicorette Freshmint 2mg, polacrilex chewing gum) on behavioural and electrophysiological indices of bias and disengagement. Sixteen non-smoking participants performed in a Visual Spatial Cueing (VSC) task while EEG was recorded. A randomized, single-blind, crossover design was implemented. Based on the scarce literature, it was expected that nicotine would specifically augment disengagement related processing, especially manifest as an increase of the modulation of the Late Positive Deflection (LPD) by validity of cueing. No effect was expected on bias related components (cue-locked: EDAN, LDAP; target-locked: P1 and N1 modulations). Results show weak indications for a reduction of the reaction time validity effect by nicotine, but only for half of the sample in which the validity effect on the pretest was largest. Nicotine reduced the result of bias as indexed by a reduced P1 modulation by validity, especially in subjects with strong peripheral responses to nicotine. Nicotine did not affect ERP manifestations of the directing of bias (EDAN, LDAP) or disengagement (LPD).
    Behavioural brain research 12/2013; · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to examine facial mimicry in 6-7 year old children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and to explore whether facial mimicry was related to the severity of impairment in social responsiveness. Facial electromyographic activity in response to angry, fearful, sad and happy facial expressions was recorded in twenty 6-7 year old children with ASD and twenty-seven typically developing children. Even though results did not show differences in facial mimicry between children with ASD and typically developing children, impairment in social responsiveness was significantly associated with reduced fear mimicry in children with ASD. These findings demonstrate normal mimicry in children with ASD as compared to healthy controls, but that in children with ASD the degree of impairments in social responsiveness may be associated with reduced sensitivity to distress signals.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 07/2013; · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: : Major depressive disorder has a large impact on patients and society and is projected to be the second greatest global burden of disease by 2020. The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene is considered to be one of the important factors in the etiology of major depressive disorder. In a recent study, alpha power was found to mediate between BDNF Met and subclinical depressed mood. The current study looked at a population of patients with major depressive disorder (N = 107) to examine the association between the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism, resting state EEG alpha power, and depression severity. For this purpose, repeated-measures analysis of variance, partial correlation, and multiple linear models were used. Results indicated a negative association between parietal-occipital alpha power in the eyes open resting state and depression severity. In addition, Met/Met patients showed lower global absolute alpha power in the eyes closed condition compared with Val-carriers. These findings are in accordance with the previously uncovered pathway between BDNF Val66Met, resting state EEG alpha power, and depression severity. Additional research is needed for the clarification of this tentative pathway and its implication in personalized treatment of major depressive disorder.
    Journal of clinical neurophysiology: official publication of the American Electroencephalographic Society 06/2013; 30(3):261-7. · 1.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The late positive components of the human event-related brain potential comprise electrocortical reflections of stimulus-driven attentional capture (the anteriorly distributed P3a) and top-down control detection of relevant events (the posteriorly distributed P3b). As of yet, the neuropharmacologic and neurogenetic origin of the P3a and P3b is not fully understood. In this study, we address the contribution of dopaminergic and serotoninergic mechanisms. Sixty healthy females completed an active auditory novelty oddball paradigm while EEG was recorded. In all subjects, genetic polymorphisms within the dopamine system (dopamine transporter [DAT1], catecholamine-O-methyltransferase val158met [COMT val158met]) and the serotonin system (serotonin transporter [5HTTLPR]) were assessed. Across genotypes, novels (relative to standards) elicited a fronto-centrally distributed P3a, and targets (relative to standards) a parieto-centrally distributed P3b. Genotypes effects were observed for both P3a (COMT, 5HTTPLR) and P3b (DAT1, COMT, 5HTTLPR) only at prefrontal electrode location (Fz). Specifically, the frontal P3a was enhanced in COMT met/met homozygotes, but not in DAT1 9R. The target-related P3b was enhanced in COMT met/met and DAT1-9R relative to its genetic counterparts, but only at frontal electrodes. This 'anteriorized' enhancement may reflect either an additional frontal component in the target-related P3 dependent on dopamine, or a more subtle shift in the neural ensemble that generates the target-related P3. Results for 5HTTLPR short allele homozygotes mimicked those in COMT met/met homozygotes. In all, the present findings suggest involvement of frontal-cortical dopaminergic and serotoninergic mechanisms in bottom-up attentional capture (COMT val158met, 5HTTLPR), with an additional top-down component sensitive to striatal signals (DAT1).
    Behavioural brain research 04/2013; · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Genetic differences in the dopamine and serotonin systems have been suggested as potential factors underlying interindividual variability in risk taking and in brain activation during the processing of feedback. Here, we studied the effects of dopaminergic (dopamine transporter [DAT1], catecholamine-O-methyltransferase val158met [COMT]) and serotonergic (serotonin transporter [5HTTLPR]) polymorphisms on risk taking and brain responses following feedback in 60 healthy female subjects. The subjects completed a well-established experimental gambling paradigm while an electroencephalogram was recorded. During the task, risk-taking behavior and prefrontal brain responses (feedback-related negativity [FRN]) following monetary gains and losses were assessed. FRN amplitudes were enhanced for nine-repeat-allele carriers of the DAT1 and short-allele carriers of 5HTTLPR, which are both presumably linked to less transporter activity and higher neurotransmitter levels. Moreover, nine-repeat DAT1 carriers displayed a trend toward increased risk taking in general, whereas 5HTTLPR short-allele carriers showed decreased risk taking following gains. COMT val158met genotype was unrelated to FRN amplitude and average risk taking. However, COMT met/met carriers showed a pronounced feedback P3 amplitude independent of valence, and a gradual increase in risk taking during the gambling task. In sum, the present findings underline the importance of genetic variability in the dopamine and serotonin systems regarding the neurophysiology of feedback processing.
    Cognitive Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience 07/2012; · 3.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Preliminary studies have demonstrated that school-aged children (average age 9-10years) show mimicry responses to happy and angry facial expressions. The aim of the present study was to assess the feasibility of using facial electromyography (EMG) as a method to study facial mimicry responses in younger children aged 6-7years to emotional facial expressions of other children. Facial EMG activity to the presentation of dynamic emotional faces was recorded from the corrugator, zygomaticus, frontalis and depressor muscle in sixty-one healthy participants aged 6-7years. Results showed that the presentation of angry faces was associated with corrugator activation and zygomaticus relaxation, happy faces with an increase in zygomaticus and a decrease in corrugator activation, fearful faces with frontalis activation, and sad faces with a combination of corrugator and frontalis activation. This study demonstrates the feasibility of measuring facial EMG response to emotional facial expressions in 6-7year old children.
    International journal of psychophysiology: official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology 05/2012; 85(2):195-9. · 3.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Feedback-related negativity (FRN) is associated with reinforcement learning and punishment sensitivity. Furthermore, reinforcement learning proficiency can be predicted from pre-task baseline EEG theta/beta ratio. In this study it was examined whether there was a relation between baseline theta/beta ratio in rest and FRN amplitude during a gambling task, and if such a correlation would be related to theta activity or to beta activity. Baseline EEG and a self-report measure of punishment sensitivity (BIS) were obtained from 52 healthy volunteers. FRN was recorded during a gambling task. FRN amplitude was negatively correlated with theta/beta ratio in high BIS individuals. Furthermore, source localization indicated that baseline theta activity generated in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) accounted for this correlation. For low BIS individuals no correlation was found. An association between high baseline theta/beta ratio with low amplitude FRN and high risk-taking can be found in individuals who score sufficiently high on the BIS scale. This relationship is carried mostly by baseline theta activity, but not by beta activity. This link between baseline brain activity, self-report measures and feedback processing may contribute to further understanding the biological basis of conditions that are accompanied by abnormal theta/beta ratio and reward processing, such as attention deficit hyper activity disorder (ADHD).
    Clinical neurophysiology: official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 04/2012; 123(10):1958-65. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Decreases in GH secretion with age may contribute to cognitive changes associated with aging. We evaluated the relation between GH secretion and cognition in elderly males by assessing correlations between GH secretion and performance on cognitive tests in conjunction with recording of event-related potentials (ERPs) to assess underlying neurophysiological mechanisms. GH secretion of 17 elderly male participants was assessed by a GHRH-GHRP-6 test. Standardized neuropsychological tests were used to assess cognitive function. EEG/ERPs were recorded to assess on-line electrocortical correlates of sensory-cortical processing and selective attention. GH secretion was significantly correlated with target detections and speed of responding in the selection-potential task. Furthermore, GH peak was significantly correlated with the performance letter-digit span test. The present data confirm that cognitive performance in elderly males is associated with GH secretion, with respect to target detection and speed of responding in conditions of selective attention, short-term memory, and basic processing speed.
    Neurobiology of aging 03/2012; 33(3):582-7. · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to investigate the relation between growth hormone (GH) and attentional electro-cortical responses to task-relevant stimuli (N2b), target detections, speed of responding, P300 latencies, and performance on neuropsychological tests in 19 patients who received external beam radiation therapy for brain tumors in adulthood. In addition, we studied the association between IGF-I and activation of the motor cortex responses (lateralized readiness potential, LRP). Brain function was assessed using event-related potentials (ERPs) during a go/no go selective-attention task, including N2b, P300 and selective motor preparation as reflected in the LRP. Correlations were calculated between peak GH levels after a standardized growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH)-arginine test, plasma IGF-I, and cognitive functions. We separately studied four patients who were diagnosed with GHD according to the GHRH-arginine test. Performance on WAIS digit span backward and the Rey-Osterrieth complex figure test correlated positively with GH peak. GHD patients performed worse than non-GHD patients on Stroop interference, trail making B/A attentional shifting and Rey-Osterrieth complex figure test. At trend-level significance, trails A performance was better in patients with lower GH levels and higher radiation doses, and GHD participants detected fewer targets in the go/no go selective attention task. N2b was not significantly altered by GH status. Furthermore, plasma IGF-I was positively correlated with the sum of digit span forward and backward. No relations with P300 were observed. In this study only 21% (4/19) of the patients who received fractionated radiotherapy for a non-endocrine brain tumor were diagnosed with GHD. GHD in these patients was associated with impaired interference control, attentional shifting, and visual long-term memory. The results for interference control and attentional shifting suggest an additional effect of the radiation history.
    Growth hormone & IGF research: official journal of the Growth Hormone Research Society and the International IGF Research Society 02/2012; 22(1):42-7. · 2.35 Impact Factor
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    Psychopharmacology 04/2010; · 4.06 Impact Factor
  • European Neuropsychopharmacology - EUR NEUROPSYCHOPHARMACOL. 01/2010; 20.
  • European Neuropsychopharmacology - EUR NEUROPSYCHOPHARMACOL. 01/2010; 20.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Cannabis intake has been reported to affect cognitive functions such as selective attention. This study addressed the effects of exposure to cannabis with up to 69.4mg Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) recorded during a visual selective attention task. Methods: Twenty-four participants smoked cannabis cigarettes with four doses of THC on four test days in a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Two hours after THC exposure the participants performed a visual selective attention task and concomitant ERPs were recorded. Results: Accuracy decreased linearly and reaction times increased linearly with THC dose. However, performance measures and most of the ERP components related specifically to selective attention did not show significant dose effects. Only in relatively light cannabis users the Occipital Selection Negativity decreased linearly with dose. Furthermore, ERP components reflecting perceptual processing, as well as the P300 component, decreased in amplitude after THC exposure. Only the former effect showed a linear dose–response relation. Conclusions: The decrements in performance and ERP amplitudes induced by exposure to cannabis with high THC content resulted from a non-selective decrease in attentional or processing resources. Significance: Performance requiring attentional resources, such as vehicle control, may be compromised several hours after smoking cannabis cigarettes containing high doses of THC, as presently available in Europe and Northern America.
    Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 01/2010; 96(1):67-74. · 2.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is well known that parts of a visual scene are prioritized for visual processing, depending on the current situation. How the CNS moves this focus of attention across the visual image is largely unknown, although there is substantial evidence that preparation of an action is a key factor. Our results support the view that direct corticocortical feedback connections from frontal oculomotor areas to the visual cortex are responsible for the coupling between eye movements and shifts of visuospatial attention. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)-guided transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was applied to the frontal eye fields (FEFs) and intraparietal sulcus (IPS). A single pulse was delivered 60, 30, or 0 ms before a discrimination target was presented at, or next to, the target of a saccade in preparation. Results showed that the known enhancement of discrimination performance specific to locations to which eye movements are being prepared was enhanced by early TMS on the FEF contralateral to eye movement direction, whereas TMS on the IPS resulted in a general performance increase. The current findings indicate that the FEF affects selective visual processing within the visual cortex itself through direct feedback projections.
    Journal of Neurophysiology 10/2009; 102(6):3469-80. · 3.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fear-potentiated startle has been suggested as a translational model for evaluating efficacy of anxiolytic compounds in humans. Several known anxiolytic compounds have been tested as well as several putative anxiolytics. Because results of these studies have been equivocal, the aim of the present study was to examine another pharmacological permutation of the human potentiated startle model by comparing two anxiolytic agents to a non-anxiolytic sedative and placebo. Twenty healthy volunteers participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study with four sessions in which they received single doses of the anxiolytics alprazolam (1 mg) and pregabalin (200 mg), as well as diphenhydramine (50 mg) as a non-anxiolytic sedative control and placebo. The design included a cued shock condition that presumably evokes fear and an unpredictable shock context condition presumably evoking anxiety. None of the treatments reliably reduced either fear- or anxiety-potentiated startle. Alprazolam and diphenhydramine reduced overall baseline startle. Alprazolam was found to only affect contextual anxiety in a statistical significant way after two subjects who failed to show a contextual anxiety effect in the placebo condition were excluded from the analysis. Pregabalin did not significantly affect any of the physiological measures. The negative findings from this study are discussed in terms of methodological differences between designs and in variability of startle both between and within study participants. Even though fear-potentiated startle may be used to translate preclinical evidence to human populations, methodological issues still hamper the application of this model to early screening of putative anxiolytic drugs.
    Psychopharmacology 06/2009; 205(1):73-84. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background and Aim: External beam radiation therapy on the brain can lead to growth hormone deficiency (GHD) by damaging the pituitary. Reduced concentrations of growth hormone (GH) and circulating insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) are both found to be associated with deteriorated cognitive performance. The objective of this study was to assess in patients with or without GHD after radiation therapy on the brain, the effect on cognition and the distinctive roles of GH and IGF-I. Subjects and Methods: We recruited 21 patients (8 females, age 32-62, males age 30-62), who received external beam radiation therapy for brain tumors. Four GHD (mean age 46, range 36- 57; 1 female of 57) patients were compared to 16 non-GHD patients. GHD was diagnosed using the standard Arginine-GHRH test. Plasma IGF-I was assessed at baseline. Cognitive functions were assessed by standardized neuropsychological tests. ERPs were recorded during a go/ no go selective attention task. Results: In the selective attention task, GHD subjects detected fewer targets (trend-level effect) and had smaller N2bs on average. GHD subjects performed worse compared to non-GHD patients on critical measures of the Stroop interference, trail making B/A attentional shifting and Rey-Osterrieth complex figure test. IGF-I levels did not differ between GHD and non-GHD subjects. No correlation was observed between plasma IGF-I and GH peak response to Arginine- GHRH in both groups. Conclusion: Patients with GHD after external beam brain radiation have impaired cognitive functioning in certain domains, i.e. interference control, attentional shifting, and visual & nonverbal memory. As no association was observed between these cognitive measures and IGF-I, we suggest that in subjects with GHD after external beam radiation on the brain impairment of the GH/IGF-I axis is limited to GH secretory capacity.
    ENP 2009; 06/2009

Publication Stats

2k Citations
222.54 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1986–2014
    • Universiteit Utrecht
      • • Division of Experimental Psychology
      • • Division of Pharmacology and Pathofysiology
      • • Division of Psychofarmacology
      Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 2005–2007
    • University Medical Center Utrecht
      • Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
      Utrecht, Provincie Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 1991–2007
    • University of Amsterdam
      • • Department of Psychonomics
      • • Department of Psychology
      Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 2004
    • Maastricht University
      Maestricht, Limburg, Netherlands
  • 1996
    • GGD Rotterdam-Rijnmond
      Rotterdam, South Holland, Netherlands