Research Impact: Professional Training Heart and Mind: Dr Phillip Tully

Dr Phillip Tully is a Psychologist and a post-doctoral Research
Fellow in the FFCMH leading the Vascular and Brain Health research group. He is funded by a TRIP (translating research into practice) Fellowship from the Commonwealth Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council.
Phillip’s clinical and research interests focus on two of the three
leading causes of disease burden in Australian men and women,
cardiovascular disease and mental health.

His research examines the links between heart health and brain health. He has published extensively on how the management of depression and anxiety in persons with heart failure reduces the likelihood of early death and improves health outcomes after cardiac surgery. His research has led to routine depression and anxiety screening
in cardiology units in hospitals across Australia.

In two separate workshops in July, Dr Tully trained more than 1000 Australian mental health professionals and 25 National Heart Foundation nurse ambassadors on the identification and treatment of depression in people with cardiovascular disease.

Dr Tully also leads an international consortium involving Centres from the USA, UK, France, and the Netherlands to collect data to examine blood pressure variability in relation to brain health. A person’s blood pressure variability may be more important than their blood pressure category (e.g. high, average, low) in predicting their risk of stroke. This has the potential to change how stroke risk is screened for in general practice.Dr Tully is also investigating whether blood pressure variability leads to dementia conditions such as Alzheimer disease. The Commonwealth Government, Dementia Australia, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (USA) and the Rebecca L Cooper Research Foundation are funding this research which includes looking at the potential of blood pressure lowering (antihypertensive) drugs to reduce the risk of dementia.

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