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dr. S.L. (Sanne) Nijhof Assistant Professor - medical

  • Integral pediatrics patient care

S.L. Nijhof


Research Programs


Sanne was trained as a medical doctor (2006) and pediatrician (2015) at the UMC Utrecht. In 2013 she obtained her PhD on her thesis entitled: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Adolescents – treatment, features and epidemiology.

She adapted an existing face-to-face cognitive behavioral therapy into a novel e-health application under supervison of Dr. van de Putte and Prof. Bleijenberg, which led to the Fatigue In Teenagers on the interNET (FITNET) trial discussed in her thesis in 2013.

In 2013 she received a two-year fellowship for clinical research by the UMC Utrecht, which enabled her to expand her research and to focus on fatigue in other childhood conditions: rheumatology, pulmonology, and oncology. She probed the severity and impact of fatigue and pain, and translated these insights into tailored e-health interventions.  


Her most recent project is an interdisciplinary project within the UU Dynamics of Youth strategic theme, which focusses on play (‘Healthy play, better coping’). Play is an important part of behavior and is thought to be vital for the healthy development of children. Chronic illnesses, such as cystic fibrosis, juvenile arthritis and cancer can negatively impact children’s physical, social-emotional and cognitive development, beyond the actual illness itself. This project aims to build a strong network of scholars from various disciplines across the UU campus to help answer our main question on different levels: what is the adaptive functionality of play in children with chronic diseases? In this consortium there is argued and worked on stimulating or modifying play behavior, either through preventive programs, (applied) games or interactive technology which could enhance adaptation of the child to the stress of a chronic illness to promote short- and long-term cognitive, social-emotional and psychomotor development. They strive for systematic research focusing on healthy play which will help young patients to better cope with the negative consequences of their illness and stimulate healthy development.

The future goal of Sanne Nijhof is to make evidence based e-health platforms available to all children, treating their fatigue and pain and daily consequences associated with various somatic conditions. From January 2016 onwards she works as a post-doc appointed by the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital to develop these innovative web-based platforms, and to empower personalized care and clinical research for patients/families with a pediatric chronic of life-threatening disease. As of then she also works as a general pediatrician with a focus on social pediatrics and rheumatology/immunology.

Side Activities

    • Member of Cyberpoli; giving medical advice to fatigued children and their parents (2014 – onwards)
    • postgraduate TULIPS  MD PhD curriculum, masterclasses in Paediatric Science organized by the Dutch Pediatric Society (NVK)

Fellowship and Awards

  • 2018 Selected for the Elisabeth Steyn Parvé Program for talented female researcher.

    2017   Co-applicant of HUB grant from Dynamics of Youth for the development of our project proposal ‘Healthy play, better coping’ into a position paper within an interdisciplinary team. €75.000. See: https://www.uu.nl/en/research/dynamics-of-youth/research/the-child-expertise-center/healthy-play-better-coping. Unrestricted grant from patient association ‘Doorgaan met CVID’ and ‘Stichting Koen’ for further development FitNet-plus portal and research. €18.000 

    2017     Citrienfonds NFU e-Health ‘Digital interaction’, ZonMW: Ecological Momentary Assessments in fatigued children with chronic of life-threatening diseases. €30.000

    2016     Personal grant 'WKZ Fund': grant application for the conduction of the PRO-active study investigating patient reported outcomes in chronically diseased children.(€150.000)

    2015     Personal 'unrestricted grant' from CSL Behring for the development of a FitNet+ portal (€25.000)

    2015     International collaboration towards translating and adopting FitNet in English and to facilitate international research on chronic fatigue. Collaborators: Dr. E. Crawley, University of Bristol, UK. Co-applicant of HTA grant Investigating the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of using FitNet to treat paediatric CFS/ME in children in the UK (£999,977.80)

    2014     Personal grant for the postgraduate course in translational medicine ‘6th Eureka Annual International Certificate Programme’ organized by Prof. Dr. B Prakken. Siracusa, Sicily, Italy

    2013     Personal grant for the two year postgraduate MD PhD course ‘Training Upcoming Leaders In Pediatric Science (TULIPS)’  organized by the Dutch Pediatric Society (NVK)

    2013     Personal grant 'UMC Utrecht Fellowship Klinisch Onderzoekstalent' (€60.000): two-year fellowship for clinical research issued by the Board of the UMC Utrecht

    In 2013, Dr. Nijhof received a two-year fellowship for clinical research to continue the research on fatigue in combination with her residencies in general pediatrics. This grant was issued by the board of the UMC Utrecht. Aim: to explore the benefits of web-based fatigue treatment in pediatric auto-immune diseases and cancer survivors. International collaboration towards translating and adopting FitNet in English and to facilitate future international research on chronic fatigue.


    -         Collin SM, Nijhof SL, van de Putte EM, Crawley E. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or myalgic encephalitis (ME) is different in children compared to adults: a study of UK and Dutch clinical cohorts.  BMJ Open. 2015 Oct;5(10):e008830

     -         Nijhof LN, Wulffraat N, van de Putte EM, Nijhof SL. Prevalence of debilitating fatigue in adolescents with pediatric rheumatic diseases. Arthritis Care and Research. 2015 Aug 28. doi: 10.1002/acr.22710

    -         Nijhof LN, Nijhof SL, van de Putte EM. Capita Selecta Kinderarts en   Wetenschap:  summary of article in Dutch. Kinderarts en Wetenschap 16 (2015), 33

    2012     Maarten Kapelle Tweeling publication award (€1250) for best clinical research by Dutch Pediatric Society (NVK) 

Research Output (31)

Healthy play, better coping:The importance of play for the development of children in health and disease

Nijhof Sanne L., Vinkers Christiaan H., van Geelen Stefan M., Duijff Sasja N., Achterberg E. J.Marijke, van der Net Janjaap, Veltkamp Remco C., Grootenhuis Martha A., van de Putte Elise M., Hillegers Manon H.J., van der Brug Anneke W., Wierenga Corette J., Benders Manon J.N.L., Engels Rutger C.M.E., van der Ent C. Kors, Vanderschuren Louk J.M.J., Lesscher Heidi M.B. 1 dec 2018, In: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 95 , p. 421-429 9 p.

Non-pharmacological options for managing chronic musculoskeletal pain in children with pediatric rheumatic disease:a systematic review

Nijhof Linde N., Nap-van der Vlist Merel M., van de Putte Elise M., van Royen-Kerkhof Annet, Nijhof Sanne L. 1 nov 2018, In: Rheumatology International. 38 , p. 2015-2025 11 p.

No evidence found for an increased risk of long-term fatigue following human papillomavirus vaccination of adolescent girls

Schurink-Van't Klooster T. M., Kemmeren J. M., van der Maas N. A.T., van de Putte E. M., Ter Wolbeek M., Nijhof S. L., Vanrolleghem A. M., van Vliet J. A., Sturkenboom M., de Melker H. E. 19 sep 2018, In: Vaccine. 36 , p. 6796-6802 7 p.

Management of fatigue in children and adolescents with cancer and in paediatric recipients of haemopoietic stem-cell transplants:a clinical practice guideline

Robinson Paula D., Oberoi Sapna, Tomlinson Deborah, Duong Nathan, Davis Hailey, Cataudella Danielle, Culos-Reed Nicole, Gibson Faith, Götte Miriam, Hinds Pamela, Nijhof Sanne L., van der Torre Patrick, Cabral Sandra, Dupuis L. Lee, Sung Lillian 1 mei 2018, In: The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health. 2 , p. 371-378 8 p.

Prevalence of severe fatigue among adults with cystic fibrosis:A single center study

Nap-van der Vlist Merel M., Burghard Marcella, Hulzebos H. J., Doeleman Wytze R., Heijerman Harry G.M., van der Ent Cornelis K., Nijhof Sanne L. mei 2018, In: Journal of Cystic Fibrosis. 17 , p. 368-374

Pharmacologic interventions for fatigue in cancer and transplantation:A meta-analysis

Tomlinson D., Robinson P. D., Oberoi S., Cataudella D., Culos-Reed N., Davis H., Duong N., Gibson F., Götte M., Hinds P., Nijhof S. L., Van Der Torre P., Cabral S., Dupuis L. L., Sung Lillian 1 apr 2018, In: Current oncology (Toronto, Ont.). 25 , p. e152-e167

Investigating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of FITNET-NHS (Fatigue In Teenagers on the interNET in the NHS) compared to Activity Management to treat paediatric chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME):Protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Baos Sarah, Brigden Amberly, Anderson Emma, Hollingworth William, Price Simon, Mills Nicola, Beasant Lucy, Gaunt Daisy, Garfield Kirsty, Metcalfe Chris, Parslow Roxanne, Downing Harriet, Kessler David, Macleod John, Stallard Paul, Knoop Hans, Van de Putte Elise, Nijhof Sanne, Bleijenberg Gijs, Crawley Esther 22 feb 2018, In: Trials [E]. 19

Physical activity reduces fatigue in patients with cancer and hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients:A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials

Oberoi Sapna, Robinson Paula D., Cataudella Danielle, Culos-Reed S Nicole, Davis Hailey, Duong Nathan, Gibson Faith, Götte Miriam, Hinds Pamela, Nijhof Sanne L., Tomlinson Deborah, van der Torre Patrick, Cabral Sandra, Dupuis Lee L., Sung Lillian feb 2018, In: Critical Reviews in Oncology Hematology. 122 , p. 52-59 8 p.

Publications are not the finish line:Focusing on societal rather than publication impact

Kools Farah R.W., Mirali Sara, Holst-Bernal Stephanie, Nijhof Sanne L., Cavalli Giulio, Grandner Michael A. 1 jan 2018, In: Frontiers in medicine. 5

Authors’ response:Letter to the Editor ‘Anaemia and iron deficiency in relation to fatigue in cystic fibrosis’

Nap-van der Vlist M. M., Burghard M., Hulzebos H. J., Doeleman W. R., Heijerman H. G.M., van der Ent C. K., Nijhof S. L. 2018, In: Journal of Cystic Fibrosis. 18 , p. e6-e7

All Research Output (31)
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