High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia


HBPRCA Email Newsletter

March 2009


Welcome Note from Geoff Head

Welcome to the first e-news issue for 2009. We have a bumper newsletter so we have included a list of links to each section below so you can easily access those areas of interest. This issue we feature an article by Alex Brown from Alice Springs who will be the Colin Johnston lecturer for this years Annual Scientific meeting. Lots of other exciting news and information about bananas?


Don’t forget to mark in your diary that the ASM will be held a little earlier this year from 1 – 3 December but at a wonderfully appropriate venue in Sydney (Luna Park).


NB Early bird registration for ESH closes 31st March (http://www.eshmilan.org/)


ISH210 – PowerPoint slides for speakers to include at the end of their presentation to assist with advertising ISH2010 are available here.


President’s Message

2009 Annual Scientific Meeting News

2009 Workshop News

2008 Annual Scientific Meeting News

Student Liaison News

Student Member on Council

Membership News

Society Liaison News

Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) Working Group Initiative

Feature Article: Cardiovascular Disease and ‘Closing the Gap’ for Indigenous Australians

International Society of Hypertension Corner

Upcoming Meetings


Pfizer Australia Cardiovascular and Lipid Research Grants  (CVL Research Grants)

Article of interest: Going Bananas!



President’s Message from Stephen Harrap

Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback on our HBPRCA Family Tree. We are at a stage now where we’d like all members of the Council to check that we have the details and linkages correct. Where corrections or additions need to be made, please let us know so that we can complete the tree(s). Having gone to such efforts, I think that we should nurture the tree and add to it as the Council grows, so that 30 years from now we can chart the where things began and the impact and reach of the modern day Council. It will be great to see our young student members of today with their own branches extending as their careers blossom.

I’d also like to raise the issue of blood pressure guidelines. We introduced this briefly at the last AGM and we promised to canvas the Council broadly for their views. The first question to address is the need for guidelines in principal and the second is, if needed, what form should they take? This could range from a large and comprehensive review of all relevant literature with a detailed set of recommendations, to a very simple reminder to practitioners to measure the blood pressure, believe the results and act accordingly. In between there might be simple, brief, electronic and updateable guidelines that are basically the “bottom lines” of treatment options. In considering these points, you might like to ponder the role of the Council in taking leadership and responsibility for the development of any guidelines. This has implications for resources and commitments by individuals.

Please send you thoughts and comments under the subject heading blood pressure guidelines to our secretariat so that we can collate responses and feedback to members.

On a related topic, as you know we have been thinking about ways in which might influence Government and raise their awareness of the importance of blood pressure. In addition to the large and representative group of bodies interested in this issue, I’m pleased to say that our esteemed colleague John Funder has agreed to be involved. John has insight and contacts in government and one of his first suggestions is that we should consider a review of blood pressure by Access Economics. This would be a commissioned project, but one that would result in a document that is in a form that government recognises and understands. This is something that we shall consider among those on the Blood Pressure Awareness Coalition and I’d like to thank John for terrific input already.

Enjoy reading the rest of the eNews.



2009 Annual Scientific Meeting News from Kate Denton and Markus Schlaich

Plans for this years meeting are well in hand.  We have made spectacular progress in terms of invited lecturers, invitations were sent out for all 3 of our guest spots and were accepted within 24 hours- I was stunned, no hassle, no chasing people up!  I guess this is an acknowledgement of the respect the HBPRCA carries both nationally and internationally.  We can look forward to some very interesting and stimulating talks.


RD Wright Lecturer: Professor Frans Leenen

Frans H.H. Leenen received his PhD and MD from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. He completed his residencies in internal medicine and cardiology at the University of Utrecht Medical School and teaching hospitals. He obtained postdoctoral research training at the University of Utrecht and the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Leenen is currently Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at the University of Ottawa School of Medicine, and Director of the Hypertension Unit at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Dr. Leenen’s current areas of research are 1) brain mechanisms determining sympathetic hyperactivity in salt-sensitive hypertension and congestive heart failure; and 2) genetic basis of salt-sensitive hypertension. He is a fellow in the cardiovascular section of the American Physiological Society, a fellow of the Council for High Blood Pressure of the American Heart Association, and a fellow of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences. For many years he was a Career Investigator of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, and since 2004 the first recipient of the Pfizer Research Chair in Hypertension, an endowed chair supported by Pfizer Canada, the Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation, and Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He is also the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Dedicated Service Award from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. He has published more than 270 peer-reviewed papers in respected journals, such as the American Journal of Physiology, Hypertension, Circulation, and Circulation Research. He is/was a member of editorial boards for American Journal of Hypertension, Blood Pressure, Canadian Journal of Cardiology, Hypertension, Journal of Hypertension, American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs, and Therapeutic Advances in Cardiovascular Disease.


Austin Doyle Lecture: Professor Michael Cowley

Professor Cowley returned to Monash University after ten years in the US, more recently as Associate Professor in the Division of Neuroscience, Oregon National Primate Research Center, Oregon Health and Science University, US where he specialised in research into obesity.  Research within the Cowley lab began by studying the cellular and neural circuitry responses to signals of energy status: how the brain determines how much energy (fat) is stored in the body. Mapping the pathways that are engaged by signals of energy state, and how these pathways relay information to the rest of the brain. Using this map of the melanocortin circuits in the hypothalamus new signals were discovered within the body that regulate energy balance and describe how other known energy signals exert their effects on the brain. Research in the lab now focuses on how these signals from the body lose ability to control our weight once the person is obese.  We seek to determine how and why the brain becomes resistant to signals that are meant to convey that the body has sufficient stores of energy, and should start to burn more, and eat less. A possible explanation for the recent increase in obesity relates to the very rewarding aspects of highly palatable foods, in other words why are sweet or fatty foods more "tasty" than other foods? Furthermore, why do we continue to engage in eating behavior that is obviously bad for us? We wish to determine how the reward based pathways and homeostatic pathways interact, and how reward overrules homeostatic signals of satiety (the feeling that one can always squeeze in one more piece of chocolate cake…). We seek to better understand the structure of the neural pathways by which the reward and homeostatic circuits interact.


Colin Johnston Lecturer: Dr Alex Brown

Dr Alex Brown is an Indigenous doctor, who has been working in Aboriginal Health, Aboriginal Health education, policy, communicable disease control, service delivery and public health, epidemiology, research and research ethics for the last 9 years. Dr Brown is currently the head of the Centre for Indigenous Vascular and Diabetes Research, for the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, based in Alice Springs. Dr Brown’s research interests include Indigenous cardiovascular disease disparity and its determinants, clinical and epidemiological cardiovascular research, chronic disease policy development, health services research, Indigenous Male Health, and unpacking the psychosocial determinants of Indigenous health. 


Please put this in your diaries now!

1 – 3 December 2009

Luna Park Sydney



2009 Workshop News from Geoff Head

ASM Workshop Tuesday 1st December 2009: “Environmentally Influenced Cardiovascular Disease: From the Fetus to the Adult”.

 Obesity and its associated conditions, both metabolic and cardiovascular, are a major threat to human health. The increased incidence of obesity is observed worldwide, but is highest in westernised countries including Australia. The cardiovascular consequence of this trend is disturbing but quite predictable since there is a very strong relationship between body mass index and levels of blood pressure. Management and treatment of obesity related hypertension poses a formidable challenge with recent data suggesting that up to 70% of newly diagnosed hypertensive cases in the Framingham study are attributable to obesity. This phenomenon is affecting not only adults but there is increasing recognition that there is a relationship between hypertension and obesity that affects children. We are now realising that even the fetus is very much affected by its in utero environment such that factors influencing fetal development can program the offspring to develop obesity, hypertension and related cardiovascular disease. This increased incidence of overweight status in young children is alarming and suggests that this problem will only escalate in the future.


This workshop held over a single day will attempt to bring together various streams of research by scientists and clinicians involved in the environmental influences leading to cardiovascular disease. The plan is for sessions involving fetal programming, children's issues through to the adult with attention to special areas of concern such as indigenous Australians.


Workshop Committee: Geoff Head, Kate Denton, Markus Schlaich, Louise Burrell, James Armitage, Mary Wlodek, Bruce Neal and Annemarie Hennessy



2008 Annual Scientific Meeting News

Report from our RD Wright Lecturer, Carlos M. Ferrario, M.D.

I will remember the 30th Anniversary of the HBPRCA as one of the most rewarding and pleasant experiences of my professional life.  I was truly impressed by the level of the science and the camaraderie among the faculty and the younger participants.  Indeed the sessions dedicated to showcase the work of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows were quite impressive and denoted a real commitment to foster and increase participation of young investigators toward the mission of the Council.  The conference dinner was delightfully fun leaving both Jewell and I impressed with the effort.  Particularly special were the words of Stephen Harrap who vividly articulated the contribution and personas of the founder members of the Council.  I truly believe that other professional societies could learn a great deal from the spirit and enthusiasm of the organizers of this meeting.





Report from Michelle Buttfield

When you are responsible for organising a large project, such as the HBPRCA conference, you can be so engrossed with the day-to- day logistics and planning it becomes almost impossible to see the overall ‘big picture’.  As an objective outsider, Professor Geoffrey Head, secretary of the HBPRCA, asked me to share some of my thoughts and experiences about the HBPRCA meeting, which I attended last December. Firstly, let me introduce myself.  I certainly qualify as an ‘outsider’ as I work in the pharmaceutical industry.  I do however consider myself fairly well rounded as I once practiced as a doctor, obtained postgraduate medical qualifications and had the wonderful opportunity to have a very brief folly into the world of research.  Despite all this, over the years I never actually attended a conference!  So for me, attending the HBPRCA meeting was a first.  I am fortunate to have wonderful support from my employer and was able to attend the preceding workshop more for my own education than for business purposes.  I was exceptionally impressed at the quality of the research and presentations. Throughout the entire conference I was reminded how privileged we are in Australia to have such motivated young researchers and it was refreshing to see them embrace the opportunity to take centre stage and present the fruits of their hard labour.  The workshop created a non-threatening environment in which all researchers, irrespective of experience, felt comfortable in taking part in discussion.  During the conference, there were also inspirational presentations from more established researchers and, of course, the plenary speakers.  I have no doubt that they too fed off the enthusiasm generated by the sheer quality of work presented over the three days. I found the presentation by Faline Howes about the use of qualitative research methods to identify the barriers general practitioners face in diagnosing and managing hypertension in Australia to be exceptionally enlightening. What was most noticeable was the interest shown by the audience in all the presentations, reflected in the numerous and far-reaching questions and subsequent discussions in the breaks. I thoroughly enjoyed the conference.  Of course the science was outstanding, but almost more importantly to an outsider, was the overwhelming sense of acceptance irrespective of background or circumstance.  I never once felt excluded.  The atmosphere was certainly one, which nurtured enquiring minds. The HBPRCA is now in it’s 31st year.  I am absolutely certain that the quality of research will continue to flourish and that in not too many years time, some of the students who took up the challenge to present at the 2008 conference, will have matured into some of Australia’s greatest researchers.  I very much look forward to this year’s conference and wish everyone a productive year of research ahead. 

Michelle graduated from the University of Southampton, UK in 1999, Practiced as a doctor (Medicine/Anaesthetics and Intensive Care) in the UK from 1999 until 2005 when she moved to Australia in 2005.  Currently writing up a Masters of Philosophy - Medicine at the University of Sydney. Michelle joined Novartis Pharmaceuticals as the cardiovascular Medical Scientific Liaison in April 2008



Student Liaison News from Ann Goodchild

At the end on last year, the Executive Committee put a call out for a student member to sit on Council. Three applications were received. It is with great pleasure that I announce Erin O’Callaghan as your representative. Please see her introduction below.


I would like to thank all students who sent in their feedback regarding the student symposium and student's choice poster award. Feedback was very positive and we will be holding these again this year.


We encourage comments or further suggestions for the annual meeting from any student member and encourage discussion of these with Erin and/or myself at any time during the year.



Student Member on Council from Erin O’Callaghan

I am writing as the new student member of the Executive Committee for 2009.  I am a third year PhD student in the Department of Physiology (University of Melbourne) and my project is in the field of central cardiovascular regulation.  I have been a member of the Council since 2008 and I presented posters at the 2006 and 2008 HBPRCA Annual Scientific Meetings.  Like many students I have seen how senior HBPRCA members encourage student involvement and I applied for this role to promote the high standard of student contribution to the Council and at Annual Scientific Meetings. 


Specifically, I will endeavour to:

o         increase student awareness of opportunities and scholarships available to HBPRCA student members

o         create more opportunities for student mentoring from senior council members and post-doctoral fellows 

o         improve on the highly successful “Student’s Choice” awards and judging program inaugurated at the previous meeting

o         maintain the high standard of the student symposium next year by including insights and advice from early post-doctoral and senior research scientists

o         organise an inclusive and entertaining student mixer event!


If any students wish for more information about the council and its activities or have suggestions to make for future meetings, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly via e.o’callaghan@pgrad.unimelb.edu.au or phone (03) 8344 5851. 



Membership News from Doug McKitrick

Membership in the HBPRCA is at an all time high and the Council continues to expand a leading role in hypertension research and treatment. It is a great time to be involved! The table below shows the institutions to which our members belong. If yours isn't the leader of the pack perhaps your colleagues might consider joining to raise your representation in the Council.


Austin Health


ProSearch International Australia


Australian National University


RMIT University


Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute


Royal Adelaide Hospital


Bernard O'Brien Institute of Microsurgery


Royal Melbourne Hospital


Centre for Eye Research Australia


Royal North Shore Hospital


Concord Hospital


Royal Prince Alfred Hospital


Corbett Research


South Australia Health


CSIRO Preventative Health Flagship


St George Hospital


Dandenong Hospital


St Vincent's Hospital


Deakin University


The George Institute for International Health


Flinders Medical Centre/ Flinders University


The Heart Research Institute


Geelong Hospital


University of Adelaide


Griffith University


University of Ballarat


Howard Florey Institute


University of Melbourne


Liverpool Hospital


University of New South Wales


Logan Hospital


University of Newcastle


Macquarie University


University of Queensland


Menzies Foundation


University of South Australia


Menzies Research Institute


University of Sydney


Mercy Hospital for Women


University of Tasmania


Miln Walker and Associates


University of Western Australia


Monash University


University of Western Sydney


Murdoch University


Vectus Biosystems


National Health and Medical Research Council


Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute


Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre


N/A Retired


Prince Henry's Institute of Medical Research


Corpoarte Memebers


Princess Alexandra Hospital





March 31st is the annual subscription due date for the HBPRCA. If you have thus far overlooked paying it’s still not too late! Simply go to the HBPRCA website (www.hbprca.com.au) and follow the link on the left for access to the secure payment site or to download a form for return by post. If you don’t have internet access, can’t remember if you have paid, or just need a bit of help, contact the Secretariat by phone, fax or post (details below).


Don’t forget to encourage your graduate students and post docs to take out membership with the Council. The special initiatives are have been introduced are specifically intended to benefit student and early career members.




Society Liaison News from Bruce Neal
British Hypertension Society

The British Hypertension Society has just put out its call for abstracts and is inviting members of the HBPRCA to make submissions as part of our new arrangement for members to attend the British meeting.  Attached to this eNews and on the member area of the Website you can find the abstract instructions and information about the BHS meeting.  The abstract deadline is May 1st and the meeting will be held on the 14 – 16 September. You will remember that the BHS meeting is usually restricted to its membership but that up to ten members of the HBPRCA are now invited to attend as guests of the president.  You will have to cover your own travel to Cambridge in the UK but the subsidized registration fee will secure two nights of accommodation and two days of high quality science, entertainment, meals and drinks.  Elena Velkoska, the winner of the award is, of course, already on the agenda for the meeting but we hope that one or two others will also be able to make it.  Please let us know if you decide to make a submission or plan to attend the meeting.


Franco – Australian Exchange

After the successful award of the inaugural Franco-Australian Exchange travel grants last year we are now seeking applicants for the second year of the program. To download the registration form, please click here.  Once again acknowledgement must be made of Louise Burrell who has secured from Servier Australia the funds that will support the Australian Fellow.


Paris, the centre of fashion, culture and scientific research

Tye Dawood

Centre de Recherche des Cordeliers INSERM UMRS 872 is located on the medical university campus, in the heart of Paris. The university has a very rich history dating back to the 13th century, when the convent of Cordelier was built. Later, during the French Revolution in 1789, the government took possession of all the buildings and turned the refectory into the headquarters of the Club of Cordeliers, the society of human and civil rights. Then at the beginning of the 19th century, the convent was demolished and replaced by a hospital and the faculty of medicine, where medical teaching and scientific research continue to this day. In 2007, the Cordeliers Research Centre was created, housing four departments comprising 17 groups, one of which is headed by Professor Jean-Luc Elghozi. Being part of old university buildings, the research centre may not have the luxuries that modern research institutes have, but it certainly has a unique character and charm that only historical buildings possess.


Statues on the university campus


Jean-Luc Elghozi, Dominique Laude, Veronique Baudrie and Kesia Palma-Rigo made up the four members of Jean-Luc’s team, and I was the fifth member for a month last spring (or autumn in Paris). I was part of the Franco-Australian Exchange Program supported by the HBPRCA to spend one month in a lab in France. I was going to examine the stress reactivity hypothesis of cardiac risk in mental disorders by investigating autonomic activity during mental stress in patients with anxiety disorders. This sabbatical complemented some of my data that was analysed and published in conjunction with Dominique and Jean-Luc in the past.


Kesia hard at work

Tye’s work area

Franco-Australian ties, French and Australian lab members reunite


Working with Dominique proved to be a very rewarding experience. I learnt more about baroreflex sensitivity, heart rate variability, a little on visual basic (in both French and English!) and I increased my French vocabulary. I analysed hundreds of data files, and on my return to Melbourne I was able to write an abstract, utilising these results, with a view to presenting them at an international conference in June this year to be held in…Paris, of course!


Just having ‘cake’ for Tye’s final day in the lab


Thank you to HBPRCA for the award; and, to Jean-Luc Elghozi, Dominique Laude, Veronique Baudrie and Kesia Palma-Rigo, my lab in Paris.



Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) Working Group Initiative

Members: Geoff Head, Susie Mihailidou, Karen Duggan, Alexandra Bune, James Sharman, Arduino Mangoni, Peter Howe, Narelle Berry, Diane Cowley, Michael Stowasser, Lawrie Beilin, Jonathan Hodgson, John Chalmers, Carla Morey, Mark Nelson, and Mark Brown


At present, while ABPM equivalents exist for the diagnosis of hypertension, there is only limited ABPM equivalents for target blood pressure in the management of hypertension. While the PAMELA study provided an ABPM equivalent for the diagnostic level of 140/90, this study from Monza in Italy does not readily provide ABPM equivalents for target blood pressures such as 125/75, nor is it necessarily relevant to the Australian population (Mancia G, Sega R, Bravi C, De Vito G, Valagussa F, Cesana G, Zanchetti A. Ambulatory blood pressure normality: results from the PAMELA study. J Hypertens. 1995;13:1377-1390).  It is therefore important to derive a robust algorithm, which can provide relevant ABPM target blood pressures. 


Aim: This HBPRCA clinical research collaborative initiative aimed to collect clinic blood pressure and ambulatory recordings from contributing centres (mostly hypertension clinics) through out Australia in order to provide sufficient data to derive the Clinic- ABPM relationship and will also be able to account for sex or age differences.


Progress:  So far we have collected over five and a half thousand recordings from 6 states and 11 centres, which included both seated and supine clinic BP.  We presented our findings at the council meeting in December and also have submitted an abstract to ESH in Milan. The working group is now finalising the work for publication over the next few months.  We are liaising with the NHF in order to use this database for updating the current ambulatory guidelines. If you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact us via Meetings First.



Feature Article: Cardiovascular Disease and ‘Closing the Gap’ for Indigenous Australians

The life-expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians remains one of contemporary Australia’s most enduring health divides, and has recently become a target for enhanced government and health system reform.  Further, there is increasing evidence to suggest that these differentials are, largely, widening instead of contracting. However, sustainable reductions in life expectancy differentials have and will prove difficult to deliver, requiring unparalleled coordination across health and social institutions, increased investment, and previously unseen levels of commitment from all sectors of Australian society.


On an ever-growing list of health and social contributors to the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous, cardiovascular conditions loom large. CVD remains the principal cause of death among Aboriginal males and females, and as a consequence, is the single largest contributor to the life expectancy gap; CVD alone accounting for almost one third of the 17 years less that an Indigenous child could expect to live when compared to a non-Indigenous child born at the same time. When combined with closely related (and often co-morbid) illnesses such as diabetes and renal disease, this cluster of conditions accounts for almost 50% of the life expectancy differential.


Despite all that is known about population-wide and high-risk approaches to CVD control, many of which have led to significant declines in cardiovascular mortality across the globe, these remain theoretical, rather than realised benefits within Aboriginal Australians.  Further complicating this picture, and as a consequence inhibiting coordinated action, the drivers of this disparity remain poorly explored.


With these challenges in mind, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute established the Centre for Indigenous Vascular and Diabetes Institute at the beginning of 2007, with the explicit objective of reducing the burden of cardiovascular and related conditions among Indigenous Australians. The centres’ activity is guided by two fundamental questions. Firstly, what drives the enormous gulf in cardiovascular and related conditions between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians? Secondarily, what can and must be done to reduce this disparity? 


Whilst seemingly simple questions, the complexity of cardiovascular disease aetiology, the profound disadvantage of Indigenous Australians, the mismatch of resourcing and level of need, and the intractable barriers to necessary care experienced by Indigenous communities make answering these questions difficult.


The work of the centre was commenced by thinking of the principles that could guide targeted research through such a complex space.  Firstly, the hierarchy of vascular disease causation and prevention in this population could only be addressed through the integration of epidemiology, basic science, social and behavioural research, clinical and health services research. Secondly, scientific innovation and knowledge generation must lead to measurable improvements in outcomes for Aboriginal people. Thirdly, there exists a moral, ethical and scientific responsibility to reduce the unacceptable disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal Australians. Lastly, nothing less than excellence will deliver improved outcomes for Australia’s most marginalized population.


In order to move from motherhood statements of intent, to concrete action, the Centre has focused on developing several interconnected, foundational themes of research, including:

·          Outlining the complex and inter-related burden of diabetes, heart and renal disease among Aboriginal Australians across the life-course.

·          The identification and management of early markers of vascular disease in Aboriginal people.

·          The identification, development and evaluation of effective methods of prevention and management of vascular conditions in Aboriginal people, and

·          Outlining the pathways by which disadvantage contributes to chronic disease causation in Aboriginal populations.


Whilst each of these themes in isolation could form a long-standing program of research, the need to unpack the complex pattern of CVD in Aboriginal people, and its alleviation, requires integrating multiple understandings across several critical domains.


For example, population differences in traditional risk factors are likely to be important contributors to cardiovascular disparity experienced by Indigenous Australians. Smoking, diabetes, hypertension, abdominal obesity, psychosocial stress, dietary fruit and vegetables, exercise, alcohol consumption and adverse lipid profiles account for most if not all of the population-attributable risk of myocardial infarction.  For all of these predictors, Indigenous Australians fare worse than their non-Indigenous counterparts. Yet in isolation, traditional risk factors are unlikely to account for such stark disparity. The pattern and interplay of chronic disease co-morbidity, largely diabetes and renal impairment, looms as a critical contributor and target of sustained research to improve outcomes for Aboriginal people.


Further, psychosocial factors and socioeconomic position are emerging worldwide as major independent risk factors for coronary heart disease. The evidence linking CHD and depression is consistent and strong, and is increasingly accepted as a factor of importance in aetiology among those without established disease, and recurrence, progression and mortality in those with established disease. ‘Psychosocial stress’ induced by social isolation, poverty, hopelessness and lack of empowerment and control over life chances, has also demonstrated important associations with CHD.


These, and other factors such as racism, poverty, separation from land and family, intergenerational trauma, marginalisation and grief and loss, have long been considered as direct causes of the devastating burden of ill-health experienced within Aboriginal communities. Understanding the psychosocial determinants of health disadvantage clearly requires recognition of the intricate connections between the cultural, biological, social and psychological realities of Indigenous Australians.


Clarification of the potential pathways between ‘psychological stress’ and heart disease is of the utmost importance to understanding the burden of disease suffered by Indigenous Australians, to increasing health professionals’ understandings of the broader constructs of health and well-being, and further, to the development of preventive strategies across the social and health care spectrum.


Finally, the better identification and targeted management of cardiovascular risk in Aboriginal people, utilising an already existing evidence-base, but framed and adapted to better meet the needs of Indigenous Australians is essential. The critical thinking may not be about new science, but the application of existing knowledge in the complex context of disadvantaged communities. 


Despite the challenges, there exist significant opportunities in the pursuit of improved cardiovascular outcomes for Aboriginal people. Given the profound age-related burden of chronic disease, their impact among Indigenous people may offer a window into the needs of an aging Australian population. Developing models of care that are effective, affordable and culturally aligned can guide health system reform aimed at improving care for other groups with chronic disease.  Further, a young Indigenous population structure requires novel approaches to alter the trajectory of adolescents and children toward healthful behaviour across the life-course. This becomes all the more important in the context of a growing epidemic of obesity and related conditions in progressively younger Australian cohorts.   


Given the sector-wide shortfall among allied health, nursing and medical personnel in rural and remote Australia, there is also a critical need to equip the existing workforce to better manage cardiovascular risk and develop alternative models of health care delivery across the sector.


An extension of current policy, largely focused on primary care incentive payments for risk factor screening, must address a more comprehensive approach to risk management. This will require significant shifts in the way in which cardiovascular preventative health care is delivered within Australia.  More specifically, how do we best deliver what we already know must be done to manage elevated risk and disease in Aboriginal people?  


What is known is that life expectancy differentials between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians are largely driven by cardiovascular and related conditions, and as such, afford significant opportunity for change. Unfortunately, many Aboriginal people are at extremely high risk of CVD. In those that develop cardiovascular events; their outcomes are significantly worse, independent of known clinical predictors. There is also evidence to suggest that the system is not delivering all available care to Aboriginal people according to their need. This is beyond a philosophical issue of equity, but one of significant moral, ethical, scientific and economic importance.


Unfortunately we remain limited in our understanding of several key issues. Despite awareness of what should be delivered, the mechanisms by which to achieve significant improvements remain elusive. Whether these will require a focus on improved primary care across the population, or improved hospital management and secondary prevention of existing disease in high-risk groups has become a point of considerable policy debate. In reality, however, reducing the unequal burden of CVD in Aboriginal Australians will require both, as is expected to be delivered to all Australian citizens.


This will, by necessity, involve not just those involved in the delivery of services and research endeavour within Aboriginal communities, but the broader research and medical community who have so much to offer our most vulnerable population.



International Society of Hypertension Corner

Hypertension News - An Electronic Newsletter

I am delighted to let you know that the latest issue of  "Hypertension News - An Electronic Newsletter" (Opus 18, March 2009) is now available! Please click here to view a copy.


This issue includes amongst other things:

o         The President's Report - a summary of the Society's current activities

o         Vancouver 2010 - an exciting taster of what awaits you at the ISH Meeting next year in beautiful Vancouver

o         News from around the world - an introduction to some of our Affiliated Societies

o         Asian-Pacific Society of Hypertension - read a report from their recent meeting in Kuala Lumpur

o         Meeting Dates - check Hypertension News so you don't miss out on important dates for your diary


We hope you enjoy reading the newsletter - do let me know if you have any suggestions for future issues.


With best wishes,


Lars H. Lindholm

Editor, Hypertension News


ISH Foundation, Research Scholar Fellowship Award

We are pleased to announce a new initiative: ISH Foundation, Research Scholar Fellowship Award. This programme supports the training of postdoctoral scientists in the formative stages of their careers to conduct clinical, epidemiological/population science, or outcomes research.  It provides the successful candidate with a period of mentored research as part of collaboration between the Scholar and a Sponsor at an established research institution.  The ISH will provide up to US $30,000 for one year of support of the Scholar's salary.


Please click here for further information and to download the application forms (deadline:  1st November 2009)



We should like to invite you to apply to become a Member of the International Society of Hypertension.


The Society has an active membership of over 750 individuals working in the field of hypertension and cardiovascular disease in over 60 countries.  ISH comprises researchers in basic, clinical and population science, academic scientists and clinicians ranging from senior professors to junior fellows.   We invite you to become part of this international community of experts on high blood pressure and to receive timely and comprehensive information about the latest events and discoveries so that you can keep at the forefront of hypertension research.


Please visit our website - www.ish-world.com – for more information on the Society and its activities.


As a member, you will:

o         gain savings on conference registrations;

o         receive an annual subscription to the Journal of Hypertension, the official journal of the Society and the ESH

o         obtain copies of the quarterly newsletter, Hypertension News

o         be eligible to apply for support through the new initiative of ISH Research Scholar Fellowship Award

o         be updated regularly on Society activities via reports from the President

o         enjoy broader opportunities to build relationships and network with peers, mentor others, and develop your career as a leader in your field

o         be eligible to receive or nominate candidates for the Biennial ISH Awards, generously supported by our Corporate Members.


Those new members joining the Society who permanently reside and work in certain developing countries are eligible for a reduced membership fee (please see http://www.ish-world.com/documents/countries_eligible.pdf for a list of the eligible countries).


To become a member of the ISH, please complete the downloadable Application Form, which can be found at



Applications must be accompanied by:


o         A written statement by two members of the Society (names of regional/national members can be provided by the Secretariat) as to the qualifications of the nominee, and;

o         A list of the nominee’s academic degrees, professional positions, and a list of five best and five most recent publications relating to hypertension or allied fields


Nominations are initially reviewed by the Membership Committee and approvals are subsequently ratified by the Society at its biennial scientific meetings.


We hope that you will wish join the ISH in 2009 and look forward to hearing from you.


Yours sincerely,


International Society of Hypertension Secretariat

On behalf of Professor A.M. Heagerty, ISH President



Upcoming Meetings
ISAN09, the 6th Congress of The International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience

European Federation of Autonomic Societies (EFAS) in Sydney, from 1 – 4 September 2009. We are expecting about 350 international and national delegates having clinical and/or basic scientific research interests in autonomic neuroscience. This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase Australia’s strength in this area. The congress is supported by the Foundation for High Blood Pressure.


Plenaries speakers are Darwin Berg (UCSD), Hugo Critchley (University of Sussex) Max Hilz (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg) and Elspeth McLachlan (Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute).


The 18 symposia programmed include those entitled

“Autonomic mechanisms contributing to the control of the long term blood pressure level”

“Central cardiovascular control: plasticity in response to normal physiological challenges”

“Control of neuronal functions by the endothelium in the autonomic and neuroendocrine brain”

“Linking emotional stress to autonomic function”

“Human evaluation of autonomic activity”

 “Autonomic Neuropathies - recent advances”

“Autonomic disorders in Parkinson's Disease”

 “Chemo-baroreflex interactions in physiological and pathological conditions”

“The autonomic nervous system in spinal cord injury – bench to bedside”


This promises to be a very exciting meeting and we encourage all to attend.


Further details of the meeting can be found at http://www.iceaustralia.com/isan2009/


Any sponsorship enquiries should be directed by email urgently to ann.goodchild@vc.mq.edu.au


The 23rd Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Hypertension

The International Society of Hypertension (ISH) invites you to participate in the 23rd Scientific Meeting (ISH 2010) to be held September 26 - 30, 2010 in beautiful Vancouver, Canada. The theme of the 2010 Meeting is Global Cardiovascular Risk Reduction. Future perspectives, new research, treatment and prevention will be showcased through the Scientific Program covering four days of invited plenary talks and oral and poster presentations. Keynote speakers will include pioneers and leading investigators in the fields of cardiovascular, renal, and metabolic health. The Meeting will also include Industry and Investigator-initiated Symposia held before and after the Scientific Program at various locations in Vancouver and throughout the province of British Columbia.


ISH 2010 will begin accepting abstracts in June 2009. Early decisions on acceptance of abstracts will give participants a longer lead time for visa applications.


There is a world to discover when you visit Vancouver – Spectacular by Nature, and Beautiful British Columbia. A variety of social events that showcase the diversity and richness of Canadian culture will be planned along with optional local and regional tours that will be available both pre and post ISH 2010.


Visit www.vancouverhypertension2010.com for further information.




ASMR Research Awards

ASMR offers two Research Awards annually. These awards support a postgraduate student member of the ASMR nearing completion of their studies or a recently graduated (2 years maximum) postdoctoral member to undertake a short period of research in a laboratory outside of Australia ($5,000) or in a distal laboratory ($2,000) within Australia. The award specifically excludes support for conference attendance and travel for an extended period of postdoctoral studies. Applicants for these awards must have been members of the ASMR for at least 12 months immediately preceding the year in which the Award application is to be considered. Applications for download. Applications close September 30, 2009.


ASMR Newsletter

Please click here to view the March 2009 issue.



Pfizer Australia Cardiovascular and Lipid Research Grants  (CVL Research Grants)

Grants of up to $55,000 (incl. GST) to be awarded in 2009

The Pfizer Australia Cardiovascular and Lipid Research Grants program is looking for medical graduates who have entered the field of research (or have returned to research after an appropriate break) within the last 5 years. Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents and the majority of research must be conducted within Australia.


Research funding is awarded for clinical research across the fields of (but not necessarily confined to):

·          Cardiovascular Disease

·          Stroke

·          Lipid Disorders


Application closing date 15th May 2009


For more information or to obtain an application form visit: www.cvlgrants.com.au



Article of interest: Going Bananas!

A professor at CCNY for a physiological psych class told his class about bananas. He said the expression 'going bananas' is from the effects of bananas on the brain. Never, put your banana in the refrigerator!!! This is interesting. After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again.


Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fibre. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.


o         Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

o         PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

o         Amenia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of haemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of amenia.

o         Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

o         Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brainpower. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

o         Constipation: High in fibre, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

o         Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

o         Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body; so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

o         Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

o         Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

o         Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

o         Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

o         Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

o         Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a 'cooling' fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

o         Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

o         Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

o         Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

o         Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

o         Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!


So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, 'A banana a day keeps the doctor away!'




HBPRCA would like to acknowledge the support of the following companies:


Corporate members


Corporate Sponsors




Meetings in 2009

19th European Meeting on Hypertension

12 – 16 June 2009
Milan, Italy

Click here for meeting website

ISAN09, the 6th Congress of The International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience

1 – 4 September 2009

Click here for meeting website




1 – 3 December 2009
Luna Park Sydney

Click here for meeting website

The 2nd International Conference on Fixed Combination in the Treatment of Hypertension, Dyslipidemia and Diabetes Mellitus

10 - 12 December 2009
Valencia, Spain

Click here for meeting website


Meetings in 2010

2010 Medical Applications of Synchrotron Research Meeting
15 - 18 February 2010
Melbourne Exhibition Centre

Click here for meeting website

EDDP 2010 – International Conference on Early Disease Detection and Prevention
25 – 28 February 2010

Munich, Germany

Click here for meeting website



HBPRCA Secretariat

Athina Patti at Meetings First

4/184 Main Street



Phone +61 3 9739 7697

Fax +61 3 9739 7076

Email hbprca@meetingsfirst.com.au

Web www.hbprca.com.au