Another successful meeting for the ICCR

The International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk (ICCR) held the 7th meeting of its international academic board in Budapest, Hungary on December 13, 2008. On December 12, the Hungarian branch of the ICCR also held its formal plenary meeting. During this session, the national associations involved in the Hungarian branch, which is chaired by Dr. Csaba Farsang, presented their consensus position on cardiometabolic risk assessment and management. The research and educational activities of the Hungarian branch were also presented and discussed. The Scientific Director of the ICCR, Dr. Jean-Pierre Després, and Pr. Marja-Riitta Taskinen, President of the European Society of Atherosclerosis, congratulated Dr. Farsang and his colleagues for their tremendous efforts towards enhancing both lay and medical awareness of the concept of cardiometabolic risk in Hungary.

On the following day, the formal meeting of the ICCR opened with the Jean Vague/Per Björntorp Award Lecture. In 2008, the award was given to Pr. Yuji Matsuzawa of Osaka, Japan, for his pioneering work on intra-abdominal (visceral) obesity. Professor Matsuzawa was among the first investigators to document, in the 1980s, the importance of intra-abdominal adiposity as the critical correlate of metabolic abnormalities that had previously been related to excess fatness per se. Furthermore, Pr. Matsuzawa’s team has been among the early groups to discover a major cytokine produced by adipose tissue, adiponectin, whose levels are markedly reduced in intra-abdominal obesity, type 2 diabetes, and in patients with coronary heart disease. Pr. Matsuzawa’s scientific contributions to the entire field of obesity and to lipid metabolism, as well as the array of landmark basic and clinical studies that he and his group have published, made him an obvious choice for the award.

His award lecture was followed by a plenary talk given by Pr. Nick Wareham from Cambridge University. Professor Wareham is very well known for his work on the epidemiological aspects of type 2 diabetes and for his contribution to cardiovascular epidemiology. He reviewed the well-known EPIC-Norfolk prospective study and provided the group with insight on future directions for the field of cardiovascular epidemiology, providing some very helpful suggestions for the design of future studies. A talk by Dr. Caroline Fox followed his excellent lecture. Dr. Fox reviewed the computed tomography imaging study of the Framingham study for which she is the Principal Investigator. This is the largest imaging study to confirm the importance of intra-abdominal adiposity (as opposed to subcutaneous adiposity) as the best correlate of the metabolic complications of obesity. Dr. Christie Ballantyne then provided an update on the ARIC study, and the morning session was closed by Pr. Philip Barter, who summarized the key findings of INSPIRE-ME, an international epidemiological study on abdominal obesity and the metabolic syndrome.

The afternoon session was devoted to reviewing the activities of the Québec Heart Institute relevant to cardiometabolic risk. A summary was presented by a new member of the International board of the ICCR, Dr. Paul Poirier, from the Québec Heart Institute. Thereafter, Dr. Robert Ross presented an interesting and intriguing progress report on the activities of the ICCR subcommittee on waist circumference and on how to use waist measurement as a function of body mass index. Finally, the Executive Director of the ICCR, Jean-Claude Coubard, provided the group with an extensive progress report on the Chair’s activities in 2008. The meeting was followed by several video interviews generously given by meeting participants and board members. These interviews will be edited and posted on our website this year. So check our website often for this and other compelling content that will be appearing in 2009. The ICCR is your best resource to learn more about abdominal obesity and its contribution to global cardiometabolic risk!