Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Visiting C-PAN at Deakin University, Melbourne Australia

This week I am a guest at the Behavioural Epidemiology group of the Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research (C-PAN; please see, Deakin University, Melbourne Australia. This group really does work of great interest to ring behavioural nutrition and physical activity research a few steps further. In their work on explaining and promoting healthful nutrition and physical activity behaviours, they have adopted a social ecological perspective, and a main focus is on social and physical environmental determinants of these behaviours. Socio-economic differences in these behaviours is another topic that they excel in. Their studies include children and adults, observational and intervention studies. Productive as they are, they appear rather relaxed, taking plenty of time to discuss their work, but also making sure that I am well-fed and that I have a bike during my stay to attend to my cycling addiction. The groups is led by professor David Crawford and Drs. Jo Salmon, Kylie Ball and Anna Timperio. You should check out their work, for example via pubmed (see ).
Although you see quite some cyclists in Melbourne, I suspect that these are the really dedicated few. The cycling infrastructure is not that good. There are some very nice bike routes, especially the main Yarra trail, along the Yarra river, but cycling for transport is something else. Not many designated bike lanes, and if you do encounter one, they are often used to park cars…See and for more information on cycling in Melbourne and the Melbourne city bike plan.

Monday, October 8, 2007

A new chair in epidemiology of common mental disorders

On Friday October 5, Professor Brenda Penninx gave her inaugural address for her new position as professor of epidemiology of common mental disorders. Professor Penninx coordinates the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety disorders, a large-scale and unique longitudinal study primarily focussed on two of the most common mental disorders: depression and anxiety disorders. During her address, Brenda Penninx provided a clear overview of some recent results from this ongoing study and her plans for further research in the years to come. She touched upon her research showing the associations between these mental disorders and other important burdens of disease, such as cardiovascular conditions, as well as with lifestyle determinants such as nutrition, physical activity and smoking habits. A few years ago she received a VIDI grant for her work from the Netherlands organisation for Scientific Research, NWO, one of the most prestigious grants available (see and se is also a member of the ‘Young Academy of the Netherlands Academy of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (see and Professor Penninx work is part of the Common Mental Disorders program of the EMGO Institute, and her work illustrates very nicely the fruitful interdisciplinary and interfaculty collaboration within our institute. She works with colleagues from the Psychiatry, Clinical Psychology and General Practitioners departments in mapping causes and effects of common mental disorders, and in exploring and evaluating ways for prevention and early treatment.