Cardiometabolic Diseases

Interview with our experts in the field

​​​​​​​Chief Editor, Nature Reviews Cardiology talking about the recent developments and future in cardiovascular research as well as research into cardiovascular disease in women

Tell us a little about your role and research background?

I am the Chief Editor of Nature Reviews Cardiology, which publishes Reviews, Consensus Statements, opinion pieces, and news articles covering the breadth of clinical cardiology and translational cardiovascular research. Before joining the journal, I studied for a BA in physiological sciences and a DPhil in cardiovascular medicine, both from the University of Oxford, UK. My doctoral research focused on the role of nitric oxide in modulating heart contractility in health and disease.

What do you feel has been the most significant development in cardiovascular research in the past 5 years?

The past 5 years have seen substantial advances in pharmacotherapy in various subspecialties of cardiology: non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs; direct thrombin and direct factor Xa inhibitors) for the prevention and treatment of venous thromboembolism and for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation; the dual angiotensin receptor–neprilysin inhibitor (ARNI) for heart failure with reduced ejection fraction; and PCSK9 inhibitors for lowering of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. These agents enhance our ability both to reduce cardiovascular risk factor levels and to treat cardiovascular disease.

Can you tell us more about the collection on Cardiovascular disease in women? Why is this collection specifically focused on women and this disease?

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death around the world. Prevention, early diagnosis, and effective treatment are important strategies to combat CVD. A complicating factor is that differences exist in the prevalence of particular forms of CVD between women and men. These diseases can also manifest with different symptoms between the sexes, which can lead to underdiagnosis, often in women. Sex-specific considerations and biases are also important in determining the availability and types of treatment received. To draw attention to these disparities, we compiled this collection of Reviews to highlight the sex-specific differences in various forms of CVD, including atrial fibrillation, acute coronary syndromes, microvascular dysfunction, ischaemic heart disease, and heart failure.

What excites you most about the future of research into cardiovascular disease in women?

Improving the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease in women is highly achievable. We already have the diagnostic and therapeutic tools in the clinical armamentarium; we just need to ensure that they are targeted to the appropriate individuals. Campaigns to enhance physician and patient awareness of atypical signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease in women are on-going and very important to achieve this aim.

Tell us a little about these types of collections and drive behind them at Nature Research?

These collections draw readers’ attention to cutting-edge content from across Nature Research. They allow editors to curate content on a particular theme to highlight an area of rapid development, or a topic of particular public health concern. For example, we have recently also published collections on the immune system in cardiovascular disease and on atrial fibrillation.

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Gregory Lim

MA (Oxon.), DPhil

Chief Editor, Nature Reviews Cardiology

Professor of Medicine & Epidemiology talking about her contribution to the Cardiovascular disease in women collection

Tell us a little about your role and research background

I am a Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health; a clinical cardiologist at Boston Medical Center, an urban safety-net hospital; and a cardiovascular epidemiologist. I have conducted research at the Framingham Heart Study since 1988, with particular expertise on the epidemiology of atrial fibrillation. I am author of about 600 peer-reviewed original research articles, reviews, and scientific guidelines. I also am Assistant Provost of Faculty Development at Boston University Medical Center, and am deeply dedicated to training and mentoring the next generation of academic health scientists and educators. Finally, I am a committed volunteer for the American Heart Association, focused on Continuous Lifelong Learning, and Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics (PMID: 28122885).

What is your involvement as an Advisory Board member of Nature Reviews Cardiology? 

The editors at Nature Reviews Cardiology are highly professional, intellectually curious, and very open to ideas pitched by Advisory Board members. It is a privilege and important practice to brainstorm with staff about the critical issues facing cardiovascular medicine that Nature Reviews Cardiology should address.

What has been the most exciting content to which you have directly contributed and why?

Honestly, I do not have favourite children! It has been intellectually exciting to synthesize and communicate about the global burden of atrial fibrillation (PMID: 25113750) and the epidemiology and treatment of atrial fibrillation in women (PMID: 27053455; PMID: 27786235). In each project, it was an honour and joy to mentor talented early career investigators in how to: a) write a valuable Review article, b) articulate future directions in the field, and c) develop terrific tables and figures to summarize salient concepts effectively.

You authored two Reviews in the ‘Cardiovascular disease in women’ Collection — can you tell us about your part in this?

My contributions were to help to conceptualize the project so that it provided a framework of the current understanding and future critical research questions regarding why the epidemiology and treatment of atrial fibrillation varies between women and men. In addition, we went through multiple drafts to ensure that the content was comprehensive yet relatively succinct. Finally, we brainstormed about the best way to visualize the critical concepts in the articles.

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Emelia J. Benjamin


Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology / Boston University School of Medicine

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