Editorial: Recent activities of the Chair

The International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk (ICCR) held another productive meeting in Paris on December 15, 2007. The meeting was a success on several fronts and enabled us to generate content for the next issue of the CMReJournal, our new e-journal that provides concise reviews of recent key publications and endeavours to convey important clinical and public health information in plain language. A half-day session was held the morning of December 15 to pay tribute to two pioneers in the field of abdominal obesity and adipose tissue distribution: the late Professor Per Björntorp from Gothenburg University, Sweden, and Jean Vague from Marseille, France. To recognize the seminal work of these two scientists, the ICCR created the “Annual Per Björntorp/Jean Vague Award Lecture,” which was given this year by Professor Ulf Smith, also from Gothenburg University, who is well known for his work in diabetes, insulin signalling, and adipose tissue biology. Professor Peter Arner also gave a superb lecture on his latest work on adipose tissue physiology. Irene Juhan-Vague (the daughter of Jean Vague) and Professor Gerald Reaven (the father of the insulin resistance syndrome concept) rounded out the morning session by providing excellent overviews of their work. The highlights of this session will be published in the next issue of the CMReJournal.

The afternoon of December 15 was devoted entirely to a symposium on physical activity and cardiometabolic health. Epidemiological studies and clinical trials that used exercise to improve the metabolic profile were discussed. This, too, was an exceptional session, and the Chair has asked Professor Robert Ross, an expert in exercise physiology, to coordinate a special issue on physical activity/exercise to be published later in the year. Our newsletter will keep you informed about this pending publication.

We also took advantage of the fact that most members of the Chair’s international, multidisciplinary panel of experts were present in Paris to record interviews for a full afternoon on predetermined topics. Accordingly, the Chair has produced six different discussion panels with Chair members on results reported last fall at the EASD and AHA meetings. Topics covered include: 1. Atherogenic dyslipidemia, with me interviewing professors Marja-Riitta Taskinen and Edward Horton, 2. A tribute to Per Björntorp and Jean Vague, with interviews with professors Ulf Smith (a close colleague and friend of Per) and Irene Juhan-Vague (a pre-eminent scientist and the daughter of Jean Vague), 3. Physical activity/exercise and cardiometabolic risk, with interviews with professors Tim Church and Robert Ross. For the fourth panel, Professor Ulf Smith discusses adipose tissue biology and the “new” role of adipose tissue as an endocrine organ with professors Marja-Riitta Taskinen and Michael Jensen. The fifth and sixth sessions are led by Professor Peter Libby, who is on the Chair’s Executive Committee. He discusses some new findings on waist circumference and their implications with Robert Ross and me. The last panel discussion is devoted to the concept of global CVD risk and its assessment and to the concept of cardiometabolic risk. I took part in that discussion, sharing the set with Dr. Libby and Professor Richard Nesto. Our afternoon in the TV studio spurred a number of lively, rewarding discussions. We hope that you will enjoy them.

On a related note, the Chair is committed to producing more educational material. I am pleased to announce that, on March 1, the Chair will publish a supplement on cardiometabolic risk in the European Heart Journal. New slides will also be added to our slide library in addition to our regular features.

In closing, we wish to thank all of you who frequently visit our website and download our slides and educational materials. The number of visitors to our website is growing exponentially every month, demonstrating that our website on abdominal obesity and related cardiometabolic risk meets a definite educational need. In the coming months and years, we will work hard to enrich our site with further content, develop additional educational material, and report on key findings/studies and other relevant events. The Chair also intends to forge formal ties with independent multidisciplinary groups as well as with scientific and professional organizations around the world. We are proud of our relationship with organizations such as the IAS, the EAS, and with other sites such as Lipids Online.

We are also looking forward to creating local branches of the Chair. In this regard, we wish to congratulate our Hungarian colleagues for their tireless efforts to establish an independent, multidisciplinary branch of the Chair in Hungary. This new project was announced in Budapest on February 15, 2008. A number of other countries are also developing regional affiliates of the Chair, which continues to branch out with the goal of creating a truly international network to improve the assessment and management of global cardiometabolic risk.

The year 2007 was a busy one for the Chair and the year 2008 promises to be even busier. As we move forward in making our vision a reality, we hope that you will continue to join us on the journey.