October is Mental Health Month: Mind and Body – Dr Phil Tully

Oct 5 – Oct 12 is Mental Health Week and October is Mental Health Month,aims to improve community awareness and knowledge about mental health illness and reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health problems..

The Centre’s research on prevention, detection, and effective management of chronic disease in men recognises the importance of the “mind-body connection”.  The role of mental ill-health in disease was reinforced by NHMRC Neil Farley Post-Doctoral Research Fellow from the FFCMH, Dr Phil Tully, who recently chaired the Psychophysiology session at the 28th Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, Innsbruck Austria (left).  Phil is currently on his post-doctoral research placement at the University of Freiberg in Germany.

Phil and Flinders Medical Centre colleagues have also recently published their research in the Journal of Australian Critical Care describing how depression and anxiety disorders affect coronary artery bypass graft surgery outcomes.   Physiological measures of 113 patients with anxiety or depression disorder and 57 age and sex matched patients with no disorder were compared.  For patients with depression disorder, there was significantly longer operating times at higher body temperatures (>37°C)  and also higher maximum post-operative levels of the cardiac inflammatory marker troponin. Patients with anxiety disorder presented with significantly higher creatine kinase, a blood marker of heart attack, and higher intra-operative glucose levels.

Phil’s research on the influence of depression on the mortality outcomes of heart failure patients has already resulted in changes to depression identification and management for cardiovascular disease in tertiary hospitals across Australia.  This current research also highlights the important of depression and anxiety management in terms of perioperative outcomes.


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