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1.  Temporal Trends in Self-reported Functional Limitations and Physical Disability Among Community-dwelling Elders: The Framingham Heart Study 
American journal of public health  2008;98(7):1256-1262.
To determine change in the prevalence of functional limitations and physical disability in community-dwelling elders across three decades.
We studied original participants of the Framingham Study, aged 79 to 88 years, at exam 15 (1977–1979, 177 women, 103 men), exam 20 (1988–1990, 159 women, 98 men) and exam 25 (1997 to 1999, 174 women, 119 men). Self-reported 1) functional limitation defined using the Nagi scale and 2) physical disability defined using the Rosow-Breslau and Katz scales.
Functional limitations declined across examinations from 74.6% to 60.5% to 37.9% (p< 0.001) in women and 54.2%, 37.8%, and 27.8% (p<0.001) in men. Physical disability declined from 74.5% to 48.5% to 34.6% (p< 0.001) in women and 42.3% to 33.3% to 22.8% (p=0.009) in men. Women had a greater decline in disability than men (p=0.03). In women, improvements in functional limitations (p=0.05) were greater from exam 20 to 25 whereas for physical disability (p=0.02) improvements were greater from exam 15 to 20. Improvements in function were constant across the three examinations in men.
Among community-dwelling elders the prevalence of functional limitations and physical disability declined significantly from the 1970s to the 1990s.
PMCID: PMC2424084  PMID: 18511716
functional limitations; physical disability; trends; elders
2.  Depressive symptoms are associated with visceral adiposity in a community-based sample of middle-aged women and men 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;21(8):1713-1719.
To examine the relation between measures of adiposity and depressive symptoms in a large well characterized community-based sample, we examined the relations of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) to depressive symptoms in 1581 women (mean age 52.2 years) and 1718 men (mean age 49.8 years) in the Framingham Heart Study. Depressive symptoms were measured using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale. Regression models were created to examine the association between each fat depot (exposure) and depressive symptoms (outcome). Sex specific models were adjusted for age, body mass index, smoking, alcohol consumption, diabetes, hypertension, total and HDL cholesterol, lipid lowering treatment, CVD, menopause, C-reactive protein, and physical activity. Mean CES-D scores were 6.8 and 5.6 in women and men. High levels of depressive symptoms were present in 22.5% of women and 12.3% of men. In women, one standard deviation increase in VAT was associated with a 1.3 point higher CES-D score after adjusting for age and BMI (p<0.01) and remained significant in the fully adjusted model (p=0.03). The odds ratio of depressive symptoms per 1 standard deviation increase in VAT in women was 1.33 (p=0.015); results were attenuated in fully adjusted models (OR 1.29, p=0.055). In men, the association between VAT and CES-D score and depressive symptoms was not significant. SAT was not associated with CES-D score or depressive symptoms. This study supports an association between VAT and depressive symptoms in women. Further work is needed to uncover the complex biologic mechanisms mediating the association.
PMCID: PMC3748158  PMID: 23666906
3.  The Search for Longevity and Healthy Aging Genes: Insights From Epidemiological Studies and Samples of Long-Lived Individuals 
Genetic factors clearly contribute to exceptional longevity and healthy aging in humans, yet the identification of the underlying genes remains a challenge. Longevity is a complex phenotype with modest heritability. Age-related phenotypes with higher heritability may have greater success in gene discovery. Candidate gene and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for longevity have had only limited success to date. The Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium conducted a meta-analysis of GWAS data for longevity, defined as survival to age 90 years or older, that identified several interesting associations but none achieved genome-wide significance. A recent GWAS of longevity conducted in the Leiden Longevity Study identified the ApoE E4 isoform as deleterious to longevity that was confirmed in an independent GWAS of long-lived individuals of German descent. Notably, no other genetic loci for longevity have been identified in these GWAS. To examine the conserved genetic mechanisms between the mouse and humans for life span, we mapped the top Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology GWAS associations for longevity to the mouse chromosomal map and noted that eight of the ten top human associations were located within a previously reported mouse life-span quantitative trait loci. This work suggests that the mouse and human may share mechanisms leading to aging and that the mouse model may help speed the understanding of how genes identified in humans affect the biology of aging. We expect these ongoing collaborations and the translational work with basic scientists to accelerate the identification of genes that delay aging and promote a healthy life span.
PMCID: PMC3326242  PMID: 22499766
Longevity; Genetics; Epidemiological studies
4.  Parental Intermittent Claudication as a Risk Factor for Claudication in Adults 
The American Journal of Cardiology  2011;109(5):736-741.
Little is known about the familial aggregation of intermittent claudication (IC). Our objective was to examine whether parental IC increased adult offspring risk of IC independent of established cardiovascular risk factors. We evaluated Offspring cohort participants of the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) who were 30 years or older, cardiovascular disease (CVD) free, and had both parents enrolled in the FHS (n= 2970 unique participants, 53% women). Pooled proportional hazards regression was used to examine whether the 12 year risk for incident IC in offspring participants was associated with parental IC adjusting for age, sex, diabetes, smoking, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, anti-hypertensive and lipid treatment. Among 909 person-exams in the parental IC history group and 5397 person-exams in the no parental IC history group there were 101 incident IC events (29 with parental IC history, 72 without parental IC history) during follow-up. Age and sex adjusted 12-year cumulative incidence rates per 1000 person-years were 5.08 (95% CI: 2.74; 7.33) and 2.34 (95% CI: 1.46; 3.19) in participants with and without parental IC history. Parental history of IC significantly increased the risk of incident IC in offspring (multivariable adjusted hazard ratio of 1.81, 95% CI 1.14, 2.88). The hazard ratio was unchanged with adjustment for occurrence of CVD (1.83, 95% CI 1.15, 2.91). In conclusion, IC in parents increases risk for IC in adult offspring independent of established risk factors. These data suggest a genetic component of peripheral artery disease and support future research into genetic causes.
PMCID: PMC3288128  PMID: 22154319
claudication; peripheral artery disease; risk factors; family history
5.  Breastfeeding in Infancy and Adult Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors 
The American journal of medicine  2009;122(7):656-63.e1.
Public health recommendations advocate breastfeeding in infancy as a means to reduce later-life obesity. Several prior studies relating breastfeeding to cardiovascular risk factors have been limited by lack of adjustment for maternal and participant confounding factors.
We ascertained breastfeeding history via questionnaire from mothers enrolled in the Framingham Offspring Study. In their young to middle-aged adult children enrolled in the Framingham Third Generation, we examined the relations between maternal breastfeeding history (yes, no) to cardiovascular risk factors, including: body mass index (BMI), HDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting blood glucose, systolic and diastolic blood pressure. We applied Generalized estimating equations (GEE) to account for sibling correlations and adjusted for maternal and participant lifestyle, education and cardiovascular risk factors.
In Third Generation participants (n=962, mean age=41 years, 54% women), 26% of their mothers reported breastfeeding. Compared to non-breastfed individuals, breastfed adult participants had lower multivariable-adjusted BMI [26.1 kg/m2 vs. 26.9 kg/m2, p=0.04] and higher HDL cholesterol levels [HDL 56.6 mg/dL vs. 53.7 mg/dL, p=0.01]. Upon additional adjustment for BMI the association between breastfeeding and HDL cholesterol was attenuated (p=0.09). Breastfeeding was not associated with total cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting blood glucose, systolic blood pressure or diastolic blood pressure.
Breastfeeding in infancy is inversely associated with adult BMI and positively associated with HDL cholesterol. Associations between breastfeeding and BMI may mediate the association between breastfeeding and HDL cholesterol.
PMCID: PMC2704490  PMID: 19559168
Breastfeeding; lactation; risk factors; early nutrition; infancy; body mass index; HDL cholesterol
6.  Cross-sectional Relations of Multiple Inflammatory Biomarkers to Peripheral Arterial Disease: The Framingham Offspring Study 
Atherosclerosis  2008;203(2):509-514.
Emerging evidence suggests that different inflammatory biomarkers operate through distinct biologic mechanisms. We hypothesized that the relation to peripheral arterial disease (PAD) varies for individual markers.
In a community-based sample we measured 12 biomarkers including plasma CD40 ligand, fibrinogen, lipoprotein-associated phospholipase-A2 mass and activity, osteoprotegerin, P-selectin, and tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 (TNFR2); and serum C-reactive protein, intracellular adhesion molecule-1, interleukin-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, and myeloperoxidase in Framingham Offspring Study participants (n=2800, 53% women, mean age 61 years). We examined the cross-sectional relation of the biomarker panel to PAD using 1) a global test of significance to determine whether at least one of 12 biomarkers was related to PAD using the TEST statement in the LOGISTIC procedure in SAS and 2) stepwise multivariable logistic regression with forward selection of markers with separate models for 1) ankle-brachial index (ABI) category (<0.9, 0.9 to 1.0, >1.0) and 2) presence of clinical PAD (intermittent claudication or lower extremity revascularization).
The group of inflammatory biomarkers were significantly related to both ABI and clinical PAD (p= 0.01 and p= 0.02, respectively, multi-marker adjusted global significance test). Multivariable forward elimination regression retained interleukin-6 and TNFR2 as significantly associated with PAD. For one standard deviation change in interleukin-6 and TNFR2 concentrations, there was a 1.21 (p=0.005) and 1.19 (p=0.009) increased odds of a change in ABI level respectively. Similar results were observed for clinical PAD.
Interleukin-6 and TNFR2 were significantly associated with PAD independent of established risk factors and each other, suggesting that each marker represents a distinct biologic pathway.
PMCID: PMC2690511  PMID: 18701106
peripheral arterial disease; ankle-brachial index; interleukin-6; tumor necrosis factor receptor 2
7.  Genetic diversity is a predictor of mortality in humans 
BMC Genetics  2014;15(1):159.
It has been well-established, both by population genetics theory and direct observation in many organisms, that increased genetic diversity provides a survival advantage. However, given the limitations of both sample size and genome-wide metrics, this hypothesis has not been comprehensively tested in human populations. Moreover, the presence of numerous segregating small effect alleles that influence traits that directly impact health directly raises the question as to whether global measures of genomic variation are themselves associated with human health and disease.
We performed a meta-analysis of 17 cohorts followed prospectively, with a combined sample size of 46,716 individuals, including a total of 15,234 deaths. We find a significant association between increased heterozygosity and survival (P = 0.03). We estimate that within a single population, every standard deviation of heterozygosity an individual has over the mean decreases that person’s risk of death by 1.57%.
This effect was consistent between European and African ancestry cohorts, men and women, and major causes of death (cancer and cardiovascular disease), demonstrating the broad positive impact of genomic diversity on human survival.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12863-014-0159-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4301661  PMID: 25543667
Heterozygosity; Human; Survival; GWAS
8.  Genome-wide Association Study for Coronary Artery Calcification with Follow-up in Myocardial Infarction 
Circulation  2011;124(25):2855-2864.
Coronary artery calcification (CAC) detected by computed tomography is a non-invasive measure of coronary atherosclerosis, that underlies most cases of myocardial infarction (MI). We aimed to identify common genetic variants associated with CAC and further investigate their associations with MI.
Methods and Results
Computed tomography was used to assess quantity of CAC. A meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for CAC was carried out in 9,961 men and women from five independent community-based cohorts, with replication in three additional independent cohorts (n=6,032). We examined the top single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with CAC quantity for association with MI in multiple large genome-wide association studies of MI. Genome-wide significant associations with CAC for SNPs on chromosome 9p21 near CDKN2A and CDKN2B (top SNP: rs1333049, P=7.58×10−19) and 6p24 (top SNP: rs9349379, within the PHACTR1 gene, P=2.65×10−11) replicated for CAC and for MI. Additionally, there is evidence for concordance of SNP associations with both CAC and with MI at a number of other loci, including 3q22 (MRAS gene), 13q34 (COL4A1/COL4A2 genes), and 1p13 (SORT1 gene).
SNPs in the 9p21 and PHACTR1 gene loci were strongly associated with CAC and MI, and there are suggestive associations with both CAC and MI of SNPs in additional loci. Multiple genetic loci are associated with development of both underlying coronary atherosclerosis and clinical events.
PMCID: PMC3397173  PMID: 22144573
cardiac computed tomography; coronary artery calcification; coronary atherosclerosis; genome-wide association studies; myocardial infarction
9.  Sustained and Shorter Bouts of Physical Activity are Related to Cardiovascular Health 
Whereas greater physical activity (PA) is known to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD), the relative importance of performing PA in sustained bouts of activity versus shorter bouts of activity on CVD risk is not known. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), measured in bouts ≥10 minutes and <10 minutes, and CVD risk factors in a well-characterized, community-based sample of white adults.
We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 2109 Framingham Heart Study Third Generation participants (mean age 47 years, 55% women) who underwent objective assessment of PA by accelerometry over 5–7 days. Total MVPA, MVPA done in bouts ≥10 minutes (MVPA10+), and MVPA done in bouts <10 minutes (MVPA<10) were calculated. MVPA exposures were related to individual CVD risk factors, including measures of adiposity and blood lipid and glucose levels, using linear and logistic regression.
Total MVPA was significantly associated with higher high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, and with lower triglycerides, BMI, waist circumference and Framingham risk score (P <0.0001). MVPA<10 showed similar statistically significant associations with these CVD risk factors (P <0.001). Compliance with national guidelines (≥150 minutes of total MVPA) was significantly related to lower BMI, triglycerides, Framingham risk score, waist circumference, higher HDL, and a lower prevalence of obesity and impaired fasting glucose (P < 0.001 for all).
Our cross-sectional observations on a large middle-aged community-based sample confirm a positive association of MVPA with a healthier CVD risk factor profile, and indicate that accruing physical activity in bouts <10 minutes may favorably influence cardiometabolic risk. Additional investigations are warranted to confirm our findings.
PMCID: PMC4166425  PMID: 22895372
accelerometer; heart disease; exercise; guidelines
10.  Association of sex steroids, gonadotropins, and their trajectories with clinical cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality in elderly men from the Framingham Heart Study 
Clinical endocrinology  2013;78(4):629-634.
Emerging data from longitudinal studies suggests that low sex steroid concentrations in men are associated with increased cardiovascular risk and mortality. The impact of longitudinal trajectory patterns from serial sex steroid and gonadotropin measurements on the observed associations is unknown to date.
We prospectively evaluated 254 elderly men (mean age: 75.5 years) of the Framingham Heart Study with up to four serial measurements of serum total testosterone (TT), dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and total estradiol (EST); and constructed age- and multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazard regression models relating baseline hormone concentrations and their mean, slope, and variation over time (modelled as continuous and categorized into quartiles) to the incidence of clinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality at 5-years and 10-years of follow-up.
We observed no association between baseline concentrations of sex steroids, gonadotropins, and their trajectories with incident clinical CVD over 5-years and 10-years follow-up, respectively. Although higher baseline TT concentrations were associated with lower mortality risk at 5-years (hazard ratio per quartile increment, 0.74; 95% confidence interval, 0.56 – 0.98), correction for multiple statistical testing (p <0.005) rendered this association statistically non-significant. Repeat analyses at the 10-year follow-up time point also demonstrated no significant association between sex steroids, gonadotropins, or their trajectories and mortality.
Investigating longitudinal trajectory patterns of serial sex steroid and gonadotropin measurements, the present study found no consistent associations with incident clinical CVD and all-cause mortality risk in elderly men in the community.
PMCID: PMC4161203  PMID: 22901104
sex steroids; gonadotropins; testosterone; men; cardiovascular disease; trajectories; longitudinal; Framingham Heart Study
11.  Body Fat Distribution, Incident Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, and All-cause Mortality 
To determine whether ectopic fat depots are prospectively associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer and all-cause mortality.
The morbidity associated with excess body weight varies among individuals of similar body mass index. Ectopic fat depots may underlie this risk differential. However, prospective studies of directly measured fat are limited.
Participants from the Framingham Heart Study (n=3086, 49% women, mean age 50.2 years) underwent assessment of fat depots (visceral adipose tissue, pericardial adipose tissue, and periaortic adipose tissue) using multidetector computed tomography, and were followed longitudinally for a median of 5.0 years. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to examine the association of each fat depot (per 1 standard deviation increment) with the risk of incident cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality after adjustment for standard risk factors, including body mass index.
Overall, there were 90 cardiovascular events, 141 cancer events, and 71 deaths. After multivariable adjustment, visceral adipose tissue was associated with cardiovascular disease (HR 1.44, 95% CI 1.08–1.92, p=0.01) and cancer (HR 1.43, 95% CI 1.12–1.84, p=0.005). Addition of visceral adipose tissue to a multivariable model that included body mass index modestly improved cardiovascular risk prediction (net reclassification improvement of 16.3%). None of the fat depots were associated with all-cause mortality.
Visceral adiposity is associated with incident cardiovascular disease and cancer after adjustment for clinical risk factors and generalized adiposity. These findings support the growing appreciation of a pathogenic role of ectopic fat.
PMCID: PMC4142485  PMID: 23850922
obesity; visceral fat; body fat distribution; cardiovascular disease; cancer
12.  Genome-wide association study of age at menarche in African-American women 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(16):3329-3346.
African-American (AA) women have earlier menarche on average than women of European ancestry (EA), and earlier menarche is a risk factor for obesity and type 2 diabetes among other chronic diseases. Identification of common genetic variants associated with age at menarche has a potential value in pointing to the genetic pathways underlying chronic disease risk, yet comprehensive genome-wide studies of age at menarche are lacking for AA women. In this study, we tested the genome-wide association of self-reported age at menarche with common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a total of 18 089 AA women in 15 studies using an additive genetic linear regression model, adjusting for year of birth and population stratification, followed by inverse-variance weighted meta-analysis (Stage 1). Top meta-analysis results were then tested in an independent sample of 2850 women (Stage 2). First, while no SNP passed the pre-specified P < 5 × 10−8 threshold for significance in Stage 1, suggestive associations were found for variants near FLRT2 and PIK3R1, and conditional analysis identified two independent SNPs (rs339978 and rs980000) in or near RORA, strengthening the support for this suggestive locus identified in EA women. Secondly, an investigation of SNPs in 42 previously identified menarche loci in EA women demonstrated that 25 (60%) of them contained variants significantly associated with menarche in AA women. The findings provide the first evidence of cross-ethnic generalization of menarche loci identified to date, and suggest a number of novel biological links to menarche timing in AA women.
PMCID: PMC3723312  PMID: 23599027
13.  Association of Adiposity Genetic Variants With Menarche Timing in 92,105 Women of European Descent 
Fernández-Rhodes, Lindsay | Demerath, Ellen W. | Cousminer, Diana L. | Tao, Ran | Dreyfus, Jill G. | Esko, Tõnu | Smith, Albert V. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Harris, Tamara B. | Launer, Lenore | McArdle, Patrick F. | Yerges-Armstrong, Laura M. | Elks, Cathy E. | Strachan, David P. | Kutalik, Zoltán | Vollenweider, Peter | Feenstra, Bjarke | Boyd, Heather A. | Metspalu, Andres | Mihailov, Evelin | Broer, Linda | Zillikens, M. Carola | Oostra, Ben | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Lunetta, Kathryn L. | Perry, John R. B. | Murray, Anna | Koller, Daniel L. | Lai, Dongbing | Corre, Tanguy | Toniolo, Daniela | Albrecht, Eva | Stöckl, Doris | Grallert, Harald | Gieger, Christian | Hayward, Caroline | Polasek, Ozren | Rudan, Igor | Wilson, James F. | He, Chunyan | Kraft, Peter | Hu, Frank B. | Hunter, David J. | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Willemsen, Gonneke | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Byrne, Enda M. | Martin, Nicholas G. | Montgomery, Grant W. | Warrington, Nicole M. | Pennell, Craig E. | Stolk, Lisette | Visser, Jenny A. | Hofman, Albert | Uitterlinden, André G. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Lin, Peng | Fisher, Sherri L. | Bierut, Laura J. | Crisponi, Laura | Porcu, Eleonora | Mangino, Massimo | Zhai, Guangju | Spector, Tim D. | Buring, Julie E. | Rose, Lynda M. | Ridker, Paul M. | Poole, Charles | Hirschhorn, Joel N. | Murabito, Joanne M. | Chasman, Daniel I. | Widen, Elisabeth | North, Kari E. | Ong, Ken K. | Franceschini, Nora
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;178(3):451-460.
Obesity is of global health concern. There are well-described inverse relationships between female pubertal timing and obesity. Recent genome-wide association studies of age at menarche identified several obesity-related variants. Using data from the ReproGen Consortium, we employed meta-analytical techniques to estimate the associations of 95 a priori and recently identified obesity-related (body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)2), waist circumference, and waist:hip ratio) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with age at menarche in 92,116 women of European descent from 38 studies (1970–2010), in order to estimate associations between genetic variants associated with central or overall adiposity and pubertal timing in girls. Investigators in each study performed a separate analysis of associations between the selected SNPs and age at menarche (ages 9–17 years) using linear regression models and adjusting for birth year, site (as appropriate), and population stratification. Heterogeneity of effect-measure estimates was investigated using meta-regression. Six novel associations of body mass index loci with age at menarche were identified, and 11 adiposity loci previously reported to be associated with age at menarche were confirmed, but none of the central adiposity variants individually showed significant associations. These findings suggest complex genetic relationships between menarche and overall obesity, and to a lesser extent central obesity, in normal processes of growth and development.
PMCID: PMC3816344  PMID: 23558354
adiposity; body mass index; genetic association studies; menarche; obesity; waist circumference; waist:hip ratio; women's health
14.  Reciprocal Relations between Physical Disability, Subjective Health, and Atrial Fibrillation: The Framingham Heart Study 
American heart journal  2013;166(1):171-178.e3.
Atrial fibrillation (AF)-related symptoms and physical performance are relied upon to guide therapeutic management of patients with AF. We sought to understand whether AF predisposes to or is a result of physical disability and poor subjective health in the community.
We studied relations between physical disability (Rosow-Breslau Functional Health Scale), subjective health (self-report) and incident AF, and the converse, in the Framingham Heart Study.
In 3609 participants (age 73±8 years, 59% women), a subset of 861 participants (24%) had prevalent physical disability at baseline. During 5.8±1.8 years follow-up, 555 participants (10-year age- and sex-adjusted incidence rate 13%) developed incident AF. Prevalent physical disability was related to incident AF (multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.25; 95% CI, 1.02–1.54; P=0.03). In 3525 participants, prevalent poor subjective health (n=333) also was related to incident AF (n=552; multivariable-adjusted HR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.00–1.70; P=0.048). Conversely, in 2080 participants (age 69±6 years, 55% women), interim AF (n=106) was associated with newly reported physical disability (n=573) at a follow-up examination (multivariable-adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.58; 95% CI, 1.08–2.31; P=0.01). In 1954 participants, interim AF (n=96) likewise was related to newly reported poor subjective health (n=224; multivariable-adjusted OR, 1.83; 95% CI, 1.10–3.02; P=0.02).
Physical disability and poor subjective health were related to incident AF in a community-based cohort. Conversely, interim AF was related to newly reported physical disability and poor subjective health. Since AF guidelines incorporate symptoms, it is essential to clarify the temporality and mechanisms linking physical disability, subjective health and AF.
PMCID: PMC3701157  PMID: 23816037
Atrial fibrillation; functional status; disability; epidemiology; risk factor
15.  Genome-wide association and longitudinal analyses reveal genetic loci linking pubertal height growth, pubertal timing and childhood adiposity 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(13):2735-2747.
The pubertal height growth spurt is a distinctive feature of childhood growth reflecting both the central onset of puberty and local growth factors. Although little is known about the underlying genetics, growth variability during puberty correlates with adult risks for hormone-dependent cancer and adverse cardiometabolic health. The only gene so far associated with pubertal height growth, LIN28B, pleiotropically influences childhood growth, puberty and cancer progression, pointing to shared underlying mechanisms. To discover genetic loci influencing pubertal height and growth and to place them in context of overall growth and maturation, we performed genome-wide association meta-analyses in 18 737 European samples utilizing longitudinally collected height measurements. We found significant associations (P < 1.67 × 10−8) at 10 loci, including LIN28B. Five loci associated with pubertal timing, all impacting multiple aspects of growth. In particular, a novel variant correlated with expression of MAPK3, and associated both with increased prepubertal growth and earlier menarche. Another variant near ADCY3-POMC associated with increased body mass index, reduced pubertal growth and earlier puberty. Whereas epidemiological correlations suggest that early puberty marks a pathway from rapid prepubertal growth to reduced final height and adult obesity, our study shows that individual loci associating with pubertal growth have variable longitudinal growth patterns that may differ from epidemiological observations. Overall, this study uncovers part of the complex genetic architecture linking pubertal height growth, the timing of puberty and childhood obesity and provides new information to pinpoint processes linking these traits.
PMCID: PMC3674797  PMID: 23449627
16.  Visceral and Subcutaneous Fat Quality is Associated with Cardiometabolic Risk 
JACC. Cardiovascular imaging  2013;6(7):762-771.
The aim of this study was to evaluate whether computed tomography (CT) attenuation, as a measure of fat quality, is associated with cardiometabolic risk factors above and beyond fat quantity.
Visceral (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) are pathogenic fat depots associated with cardiometabolic risk. Adipose tissue attenuation in CT images is variable, similar to adipose tissue volume. However, whether the quality of abdominal fat attenuation is associated to cardiometabolic risk independent of the quantity is uncertain.
Participants were drawn from the Framingham Heart Study CT sub-study. VAT and SAT volumes were acquired by semi-quantitative assessment. Fat quality was measured by CT attenuation and recorded as mean Hounsfield Units (HU) within each fat depot. Sex-specific linear and logistic multivariable regression models were used to assess the association between standard deviation (SD) decrease in HU and each risk factor.
Lower CT attenuation of VAT and SAT was correlated with higher BMI levels in both sexes. Risk factors were generally more adverse with decreasing HU values. For example, in women, per 1-SD decrease in VAT HU, the odds ratio (OR) was increased for hypertension (OR 1.80), impaired fasting glucose (OR 2.10), metabolic syndrome (OR 3.65) and insulin resistance (OR 3.36) (all p<0.0001). In models that further adjusted for VAT volume, impaired fasting glucose, metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance remained significant. Trends were similar but less pronounced in SAT and in men. There was evidence of an interaction between HU and fat volume among both women and men.
Lower CT attenuation of VAT and SAT is associated with adverse cardiometabolic risk above and beyond total adipose tissue volume. Qualitative indices of abdominal fat depots may provide insight regarding cardiometabolic risk independent of fat quantity.
PMCID: PMC3745280  PMID: 23664720
Obesity; Epidemiology; CT Imaging; Risk Factors
17.  Multiple Inflammatory Biomarkers in Relation to Cardiovascular Events and Mortality in the Community 
Evidence suggests that chronic low-grade inflammation and oxidative stress are related to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality.
Approach and Results
We examined 11 established and novel biomarkers representing inflammation and oxidative stress (C-reactive protein [CRP], fibrinogen, interleukin-6, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 [ICAM-1], lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (mass and activity), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, myeloperoxidase, CD40 ligand, P-selectin, tumor necrosis factor receptor II [TNFRII]) in relation to incident major CVD and mortality in the community. We studied 3035 participants (mean age 61±9 years, 53% women). During follow-up (median 8.9 years), 253 participants experienced a CVD event and 343 died. CRP (hazard ratios [HR] reported per standard deviation ln-transformed biomarker, 1.18, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02-1.35; nominal P=0.02) and TNFRII (HR 1.15, 95% CI; 1.01-1.32; nominal P=0.04) were retained in multivariable-adjusted models for major CVD, but were not significant after adjustment for multiple testing. The biomarkers related to mortality were TNFRII (HR 1.33, 95% CI: 1.19-1.49; P<0.0001); ICAM-1 (HR 1.24, 95% CI: 1.12-1.37; P<0.0001), and interleukin-6 (HR 1.25, 95% CI: 1.12-1.39; P<0.0001). The addition of these markers to the model including traditional risk factors increased discrimination and reclassification for risk of death (P<0.0001), but not for CVD.
Of 11 biomarkers, TNFRII was associated nominally with incident major CVD, and significantly with all-cause mortality, which renders it an interesting target for future research. The combination of TNFRII with CRP in relation to CVD and with interleukin-6 to mortality increased the predictive ability in addition to CVD risk factors for total mortality but not for incident CVD.
PMCID: PMC3753537  PMID: 23640499
mortality; cardiovascular disease; inflammation; epidemiology; cohort
18.  Age Trends in Estradiol and Estrone Levels Measured Using Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry in Community-Dwelling Men of the Framingham Heart Study 
Age trends in estradiol and estrone levels in men and how lifestyle factors, comorbid conditions, testosterone, and sex hormone–binding globulin affect these age trends remain poorly understood, and were examined in men of the Framingham Heart Study.
Estrone and estradiol concentrations were measured in morning fasting samples using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry in men of Framingham Offspring Generation. Free estradiol was calculated using a law of mass action equation.
There were 1,461 eligible men (mean age [±SD] 61.1±9.5 years and body mass index [BMI] 28.8±4.5kg/m2). Total estradiol and estrone were positively associated with age, but free estradiol was negatively associated with age. Age-related increase in total estrone was greater than that in total estradiol. Estrone was positively associated with smoking, BMI, and testosterone, and total and free estradiol with diabetes, BMI, testosterone, and comorbid conditions; additionally, free estradiol was associated negatively with smoking. Collectively, age, BMI, testosterone, and other health and behavioral factors explained only 18% of variance in estradiol, and 9% of variance in estrone levels. Men in the highest quintile of estrone levels had significantly higher age and BMI, and a higher prevalence of smoking, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease than others, whereas those in the highest quintile of estradiol had higher BMI than others.
Total estrone and estradiol levels in men, measured using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, revealed significant age-related increases that were only partially accounted for by cross-sectional differences in BMI, diabetes status, and other comorbidities and health behaviors. Longitudinal studies are needed to confirm these findings.
PMCID: PMC3660115  PMID: 23105044
Age trends; Estrogen levels in men; LC-MS/MS; Age-related changes in estrone and estradiol; Determinants of estrogen levels in men.
19.  Common variants in and near IRS1 and subclinical cardiovascular disease in the Framingham Heart Study 
Atherosclerosis  2013;229(1):149-154.
Common variants at the 2q36.3-IRS1 locus are associated with insulin resistance (IR), type 2 diabetes (T2D) and coronary artery disease (CAD) in large-scale association studies. We tested the hypothesis that variants at this locus are associated with subclinical atherosclerosis traits.
We studied 2740 Framingham Heart Study participants (54.9% women; mean age 57.8 years) with measures of coronary artery or abdominal aortic calcium, internal and common carotid intimamedia thickness, and ankle-brachial index (ABI). We tested 1) four SNPs previously shown to be associated with IR (rs2972146, rs2943650), T2D (rs2943641) or CAD (rs2943634) and 2) any SNP at 2q36.3-IRS1, for association with subclinical atherosclerosis traits, adjusting for atherosclerosis risk factors. We set type 1 error rate for test 1) as 0.05/5 traits = P < 0.01, and for test 2) as 0.05 divided by the effective number of independent tests, divided by 5 for the number of traits analyzed.
We found no association between the four known SNPs and subclinical atherosclerosis, but identified one SNP (rs10167219, r2 with rs2943634 = 0.07) at 2q36.3 that was significantly associated with ABI (corrected P = 0.009). However, rs10167219 was not associated with ABI (P = 0.70) in 35,404 participants in a published ABI association study.
Common variants at the 2q36.3-IRS1 locus were not associated with subclinical atherosclerosis traits in this study which was adequately powered to find associations with moderate effect size. Although IR and T2D may be mechanistically linked to CAD via subclinical atherosclerosis, an alternate mechanism for the IR-T2D-CAD associations at 2q36.3-IRS1 must be postulated.
PMCID: PMC4040123  PMID: 23659870
IRS1; 2q36.3; Genetic association; Subclinical atherosclerosis; Ankle-brachial index
20.  Low Ankle Brachial Index and the Development of Rapid Estimated GFR Decline and CKD 
Low ankle brachial index (ABI) is associated with increases in serum creatinine. Whether low ABI is associated with the development of rapid estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) decline, stage 3 chronic kidney disease (CKD), or microalbuminuria is uncertain.
Study Design
Prospective cohort study.
Setting & Participants
Framingham Offspring cohort participants who attended the sixth (1995-98) and eighth (2005-08) exams.
ABI, categorized as normal (>1.1 to <1.4), low-normal (>0.9 to 1.1), and low (≤0.9).
Rapid eGFR decline (eGFR decline ≥3mL/min/1.73m2 per year), incident stage 3 CKD (eGFR<60mL/min/1.73m2), incident microalbuminuria.
GFR was estimated using the serum creatinine-based CKD-EPI (CKD Epidemiology Collaboration) equation. Urinary albumin-creatinine ratio (UACR) was determined based on spot urine samples.
Over 9.5 years, 9.0% (232 of 2592) experienced rapid eGFR decline and 11.1% (270 of 2426) developed stage 3 CKD. Compared to a normal ABI, low ABI was associated with a 5.73-fold increased odds of rapid eGFR decline (95% CI, 2.77-11.85; p<0.001) after age, sex, and baseline eGFR adjustment; this persisted after multivariable adjustment for standard CKD risk factors (OR, 3.60; 95% CI, 1.65-7.87; p=0.001). After adjustment for age, sex, and baseline eGFR, low ABI was associated with a 2.51-fold increased odds of stage 3 CKD (OR, 2.51; 95% CI, 1.16-5.44; p=0.02), although this was attenuated after multivariable adjustment (OR, 1.68; 95% CI, 0.75-3.76; p=0.2). Among 1902 free of baseline microalbuminuria, low ABI was associated with an increased odds of microalbuminuria after adjustment for age, sex, and baseline UACR (OR, 2.81; 95% CI, 1.07-7.37; p=0.04), with attenuation upon further adjustment (OR, 1.88; p=0.1).
Limited number of events with a low ABI. Outcomes based on single serum creatinine and UACR measurements at each exam.
Low ABI is associated with an increased risk of rapid eGFR decline, suggesting that systemic atherosclerosis predicts decline in kidney function.
PMCID: PMC3517695  PMID: 22901770
21.  Sarcopenia Definitions Considering Body Size and Fat Mass Are Associated With Mobility Limitations: The Framingham Study 
Sarcopenia defined by lean mass has been inconsistently associated with disability in elders. Studies suggest that definitions should consider body size and additional influences of high fat mass (FM; sarcopenic-obesity). We examined sarcopenia accounting for body size, and sarcopenic-obesity, in relation to mobility limitations among 767 elderly men and women (mean age 79 years) from the Framingham Study.
Whole-body dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry measured appendicular lean mass (ALM) and total FM in 1992–1995. Sarcopenia was defined in two ways: ALM/height squared (ALM/ht2) and ALM adjusted for height and FM (residuals). Sarcopenic-obesity categories (referent, obese, sarcopenic, and sarcopenic-obese) were defined by cross-classifying ALM/ht2 and obesity (% body fat: more than 30 for men and more than 40 for women). Mobility limitation was defined as self-reported inability to walk one-half mile, climb stairs, or perform heavy housework. Sex-specific logistic regression calculated odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for mobility limitation, adjusting for covariates.
Sixteen percent of men and 30% of women had mobility limitation. Among men, both ALM/ht2 (OR = 6.3, 95% CI = 2.5–16.1) and residuals (OR = 4.6, 95% CI = 2.0–10.5) sarcopenia were associated with increased limitation. For sarcopenic-obesity, odds of limitation was higher in sarcopenic (OR = 6.1, 95% CI = 2.2–16.9) and sarcopenic-obese categories (OR = 3.5, 95% CI = 1.0–12.7) but suggested no synergistic effect. In women, only residuals sarcopenia was associated with higher odds of limitation (OR = 1.8, 95% CI = 1.2–2.9).
Low lean mass is associated with mobility limitations after accounting for body size and fat, and lean and FM have independent effects on mobility in elders. These findings support previous reports that sarcopenia definitions should consider body size and fat.
PMCID: PMC3598358  PMID: 22503991
Sarcopenia; Lean mass; Disability
22.  DNA mismatch repair gene MSH6 implicated in determining age at natural menopause 
Perry, John R.B. | Hsu, Yi-Hsiang | Chasman, Daniel I. | Johnson, Andrew D. | Elks, Cathy | Albrecht, Eva | Andrulis, Irene L. | Beesley, Jonathan | Berenson, Gerald S. | Bergmann, Sven | Bojesen, Stig E. | Bolla, Manjeet K. | Brown, Judith | Buring, Julie E. | Campbell, Harry | Chang-Claude, Jenny | Chenevix-Trench, Georgia | Corre, Tanguy | Couch, Fergus J. | Cox, Angela | Czene, Kamila | D'adamo, Adamo Pio | Davies, Gail | Deary, Ian J. | Dennis, Joe | Easton, Douglas F. | Engelhardt, Ellen G. | Eriksson, Johan G. | Esko, Tõnu | Fasching, Peter A. | Figueroa, Jonine D. | Flyger, Henrik | Fraser, Abigail | Garcia-Closas, Montse | Gasparini, Paolo | Gieger, Christian | Giles, Graham | Guenel, Pascal | Hägg, Sara | Hall, Per | Hayward, Caroline | Hopper, John | Ingelsson, Erik | Kardia, Sharon L.R. | Kasiman, Katherine | Knight, Julia A. | Lahti, Jari | Lawlor, Debbie A. | Magnusson, Patrik K.E. | Margolin, Sara | Marsh, Julie A. | Metspalu, Andres | Olson, Janet E. | Pennell, Craig E. | Polasek, Ozren | Rahman, Iffat | Ridker, Paul M. | Robino, Antonietta | Rudan, Igor | Rudolph, Anja | Salumets, Andres | Schmidt, Marjanka K. | Schoemaker, Minouk J. | Smith, Erin N. | Smith, Jennifer A. | Southey, Melissa | Stöckl, Doris | Swerdlow, Anthony J. | Thompson, Deborah J. | Truong, Therese | Ulivi, Sheila | Waldenberger, Melanie | Wang, Qin | Wild, Sarah | Wilson, James F | Wright, Alan F. | Zgaga, Lina | Ong, Ken K. | Murabito, Joanne M. | Karasik, David | Murray, Anna
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;23(9):2490-2497.
The length of female reproductive lifespan is associated with multiple adverse outcomes, including breast cancer, cardiovascular disease and infertility. The biological processes that govern the timing of the beginning and end of reproductive life are not well understood. Genetic variants are known to contribute to ∼50% of the variation in both age at menarche and menopause, but to date the known genes explain <15% of the genetic component. We have used genome-wide association in a bivariate meta-analysis of both traits to identify genes involved in determining reproductive lifespan. We observed significant genetic correlation between the two traits using genome-wide complex trait analysis. However, we found no robust statistical evidence for individual variants with an effect on both traits. A novel association with age at menopause was detected for a variant rs1800932 in the mismatch repair gene MSH6 (P = 1.9 × 10−9), which was also associated with altered expression levels of MSH6 mRNA in multiple tissues. This study contributes to the growing evidence that DNA repair processes play a key role in ovarian ageing and could be an important therapeutic target for infertility.
PMCID: PMC3976329  PMID: 24357391
23.  Clinical correlates of sex steroids and gonadotropins in men over the late adulthood : the Framingham Heart Study 
Low serum concentrations of sex steroids and gonadotropins in men have been associated with increased cardiometabolic risk and mortality, but the clinical correlates of these hormones in men over the late adulthood are less clearly understood.
We analyzed up to five serial measurements of total testosterone (TT), dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and total estradiol (EST) in older men in the original cohort of the Framingham Heart Study to determine the short- (2-years; 1,165 person-observations in 528 individuals) and long-term (up to 10-years follow-up; 2,520 person-observations in 835 individuals with mean baseline age: 71.2 years) clinical correlates of these sex steroids and gonadotropins using multilevel modelling and Generalized Estimating Equations.
Age, body mass index, and pre-existing type 2 diabetes were inversely related to long-term TT concentrations, whereas higher systolic blood pressure showed a positive association. Furthermore, age and pre-existing cardiovascular disease (CVD) were inversely and HDL cholesterol concentrations positively associated with long-term DHEAS concentrations. Analyses of short-term changes revealed age was inversely related to DHEAS, but positively related to FSH and LH concentrations.
Our community-based study identified modifiable correlates of decreasing TT and DHEAS concentrations in elderly men, suggesting that maintenance of a low CVD risk factor burden may mitigate the age-related decline of these hormones over the late adulthood.
PMCID: PMC3434249  PMID: 22640232
sex steroids; gonadotropins; testosterone; aging male; Framingham Heart Study
24.  Genetic determinants of the ankle-brachial index: A meta-analysis of a cardiovascular candidate gene 50K SNP panel in the candidate gene association resource (CARe) consortium 
Atherosclerosis  2012;222(1):138-147.
Candidate gene association studies for peripheral artery disease (PAD), including subclinical disease assessed with the ankle-brachial index (ABI), have been limited by the modest number of genes examined. We conducted a two stage meta-analysis of ~50,000 SNPs across ~2100 candidate genes to identify genetic variants for ABI.
Methods and results
We studied subjects of European ancestry from 8 studies (n = 21,547, 55% women, mean age 44–73 years) and African American ancestry from 5 studies (n = 7267, 60% women, mean age 41–73 years) involved in the candidate gene association resource (CARe) consortium. In each ethnic group, additive genetic models were used (with each additional copy of the minor allele corresponding to the given beta) to test each SNP for association with continuous ABI (excluding ABI > 1.40) and PAD (defined as ABI < 0.90) using linear or logistic regression with adjustment for known PAD risk factors and population stratification. We then conducted a fixed-effects inverse-variance weighted meta-analyses considering a p < 2 × 10−6 to denote statistical significance.
In the European ancestry discovery meta-analyses, rs2171209 in SYTL3 (β = −0.007, p = 6.02 × 10−7) and rs290481 in TCF7L2 (β = −0.008, p = 7.01 × 10−7) were significantly associated with ABI. None of the SNP associations for PAD were significant, though a SNP in CYP2B6 (p = 4.99 × 10−5) was among the strongest associations. These 3 genes are linked to key PAD risk factors (lipoprotein(a), type 2 diabetes, and smoking behavior, respectively). We sought replication in 6 population-based and 3 clinical samples (n = 15,440) for rs290481 and rs2171209. However, in the replication stage (rs2171209, p = 0.75; rs290481, p = 0.19) and in the combined discovery and replication analysis the SNP–ABI associations were no longer significant (rs2171209, p = 1.14 × 10−3; rs290481, p = 8.88 × 10−5). In African Americans, none of the SNP associations for ABI or PAD achieved an experiment-wide level of significance.
Genetic determinants of ABI and PAD remain elusive. Follow-up of these preliminary findings may uncover important biology given the known gene-risk factor associations. New and more powerful approaches to PAD gene discovery are warranted.
PMCID: PMC3596171  PMID: 22361517
Ankle brachial index; Peripheral artery disease; Genetics; Candidate gene array; Meta-analysis; Ethnicity
25.  Age of Natural Menopause and Atrial Fibrillation: the Framingham Heart Study 
American Heart Journal  2012;163(4):729-734.
Early menopausal age is associated with risk of cardiovascular events including myocardial infraction, stroke, and increased mortality. Relations between menopausal age and atrial fibrillation (AF) have not been investigated. We examined the association between menopausal age and AF.
Framingham Heart Study women ≥60 years without prevalent AF and natural menopause were followed for 10 years or until incident AF. Menopausal age was modeled as a continuous variable and by categories (<45, 45–53, and >53 years). We used Cox proportional hazards regression to determine associations between menopausal age and AF risk.
In 1,809 Framingham women (2,662 person-examinations, mean baseline age 71.4±7.6 years, menopausal age 49.8±3.6 years) there were 273 unique participants with incident AF. We did not identify a significant association between the standard deviation (SD) of menopausal age (3.6 years) and AF (hazard ratio [HR] per SD, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.83 to 1.06; P=0.29). In a multivariable model with established risk factors for AF, menopausal age was not associated with incident AF (HR per SD, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.86 to 1.09; P=0.60). Examining categorical menopausal age, earlier menopausal age (<45 years) was not significantly associated with increased AF risk compared to older menopausal age>53 (HR, 1.20; 95% CI, 0.74 to 1.94; P=0.52) or menopausal age 45–53 years (HR, 1.38; 95% CI, 0.93 to 2.04; P=0.11).
In our moderate sized, community-based sample, we did not identify menopausal age as significantly increasing AF risk. However, future larger studies will need to examine whether there is a small effect of menopausal age on AF risk.
PMCID: PMC3334861  PMID: 22520541
epidemiology; atrial fibrillation; risk factors; menopause; women

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