Monday, 1 May 2017

Monash researchers advance our understanding of cardiovascular disease in older age

Professor Ebeling, Dr Sabashini Ramchand and Alexander Rodriguez
at the ENDO annual meeting
In a world-first, Monash researchers have shown the impact of low bone density on cardiovascular health.

Monash University PhD student Alexander Rodriguez was selected to present his research into the links between bone loss and cardiovascular disease at the 99th Annual Scientific Meeting and Expo (ENDO) of the Endocrine Society in Orlando, USA last month, the world’s largest event for presenting and obtaining the latest research in endocrine science and medicine.

Alexander’s research focusses on determining the effect of bone density and calcification on the cardiovascular system.

“Currently we understand that with advancing age we lose bone density and subsequently our blood vessels become ‘calcified’, where calcium material is deposited in blood vessels,” Alexander said.

 “My study showed that calcification places an extra burden on our hearts as it tries to pump out blood—we call this ‘cardiac workload’.”

“My research has shown for the first time a relationship between this phenomenon and low bone density,” Alexander said.

“I think these results are useful in that cardiac workload is very simply quantified and may be used to indicate underlying macrovascular disease which may significantly benefit clinical practice.”

Senior study author and Head, Department of Medicine at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health Professor Peter Ebeling said there is growing interest in understanding how bone loss effects our hearts and blood vessels and Alexander’s findings are one further piece in the puzzle.

“Bones are dynamic organs and great attention needs to be given to poor bone health and how this can affect other aspects of our health,” said Professor Ebeling, who is also Chair of Medicine at Monash Health.

“I am very proud of Alexander in securing an oral presentation at ENDO as this conference is the largest in endocrinology and was attended by nearly 9000 delegates.”

Alexander was also selected to attend a pre-conference workshop called the “Early Career Forum” for young scientists identified as future research leaders.

Alexander’s results were published in the prestigious bone journal Osteoporosis International

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