Professor Ramon Estruch - Spain

Professor Ramon Estruch is currently the Senior Consultant at the Internal Medicine Department of the Hospital Clinic (Barcelona)where he has worked since 2002. He is also Associate Professor in the School of Medicine at the Barcelona University since 1996.

The main research lines developed are the following: 1) Effects of chronic alcohol consumption on heart, liver and brain; 2) Cardiovascular effects of Mediterranean diet; 3) Mechanisms of the effects of moderate wine and beer consumption: Effects on the expression and function of cellular and endothelial adhesion molecules related to development of atherosclerosis; 3) Effects of different alcoholic beverages on immune system; 4) Effects of olive oil, nuts and cocoa in lipid profile and inflammatory biomarkers related to atherosclerosis.

In the last years, his group has received grants from the European Commission, National Institute of Health (NIH) from USA, CICYT, Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agroalimentaria (INIA) del Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria (FIS) and Instituto de Salud Carlos III del Ministerio de Sanidad (ISCIII). In addition, Prof. Estruch is the leader of the Thematic Network “Mediterranean Diet and Cardiovascular Disease” from the ISCIII (Spain).

Twenty years ago the group started a research program on the toxic effect of alcohol on cardiovascular (N Engl J Med 1989, Ann Intern Med 1994; JAMA 1995, Arch Inter Med 1995) and central nervous systems (Arch NeUrol.1995; Ann Neurol.1997). In 1994, a new research program on the effects of key foods (alcoholic beverages) on atherosclerosis started. First, they analyzed the effects of alcoholic beverages on adhesion molecules related with the development of atherosclerosis (Alcohol Clin Exp Res 1998 and 1999; Thromb Haemost 2002). Moderate consumption of red wine reduces serum inflammatory markers related to atherosclerosis (Atherosclerosis 2004), ex-vivo adhesion of human monocytes on an endothelial line (Am J Clin Nutr 2004) and oxidative stress parameters (Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2010). Finally, in 2003, they started an ambitious study (PREDIMED) to evaluate the effects of a Mediterranean Diet and its main components on the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in high-risk patients, into which almost 7,500 patients have been enrolled .

All these studies are being performed in collaboration with foreign universities such as: Columbia University in New York, Loma Linda University in California, Harvard School of Public Health in Massachusetts, Human Nutrition Research Centre in Tufts University, Massachusetts, USA and Mario Negri Sud, Santa Maria d’Imbaro, Italy.