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.
Longevity; Genetics; Epidemiological studies
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.
functional limitations; physical disability; trends; elders
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.
epidemiology; atrial fibrillation; risk factors; menopause; women
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.
claudication; peripheral artery disease; risk factors; family history
Potential upstream determinants of coronary heart disease (CHD) include life-course socioeconomic position (e.g., childhood socioeconomic circumstances, own education and occupation); however, several plausible biological mechanisms by which socioeconomic position (SEP) may influence CHD are poorly understood. Several CHD risk factors appear to be more strongly associated with SEP in women than in men; little is known as to whether any CHD risk factors may be more strongly associated with SEP in men. Objectives were to evaluate whether cumulative life-course SEP is associated with a measurement of subclinical atherosclerosis, the ankle–brachial index (ABI), in men and women. This study was a prospective analysis of 1,454 participants from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort (mean age 57 years, 53.8% women). Cumulative SEP was calculated by summing tertile scores for father’s education, own education, and own occupation. ABI was dichotomized as low (≤ 1.1) and normal (> 1.1 to 1.4). After adjustment for age and CHD risk factors cumulative life-course SEP was associated with low ABI in men (odds ratio [OR] 2.04, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.22 to 3.42, for low vs high cumulative SEP score) but not in women (OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.56 to 1.33). Associations with low ABI in men were substantially driven by their own education (OR 4.13, 95% CI 1.86 to 9.16, for lower vs higher than high school education). In conclusion, cumulative life-course SEP was associated with low ABI in men but not in women.
Genetic determinants of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) remain largely unknown. To identify genetic variants associated with the ankle-brachial index (ABI), a noninvasive measure of PAD, we conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association study data from 21 population-based cohorts.
Methods and Results
Continuous ABI and PAD (ABI≤0.9) phenotypes adjusted for age and sex were examined. Each study conducted genotyping and imputed data to the ~2.5 million SNPs in HapMap. Linear and logistic regression models were used to test each SNP for association with ABI and PAD using additive genetic models. Study-specific data were combined using fixed-effects inverse variance weighted meta-analyses. There were a total of 41,692 participants of European ancestry (~60% women, mean ABI 1.02 to 1.19), including 3,409 participants with PAD and with GWAS data available. In the discovery meta-analysis, rs10757269 on chromosome 9 near CDKN2B had the strongest association with ABI (β= −0.006, p=2.46x10−8). We sought replication of the 6 strongest SNP associations in 5 population-based studies and 3 clinical samples (n=16,717). The association for rs10757269 strengthened in the combined discovery and replication analysis (p=2.65x10−9). No other SNP associations for ABI or PAD achieved genome-wide significance. However, two previously reported candidate genes for PAD and one SNP associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) were associated with ABI : DAB21P (rs13290547, p=3.6x10−5); CYBA (rs3794624, p=6.3x10−5); and rs1122608 (LDLR, p=0.0026).
GWAS in more than 40,000 individuals identified one genome-wide significant association on chromosome 9p21 with ABI. Two candidate genes for PAD and 1 SNP for CAD are associated with ABI.
cohort study; genetic association; genome-wide association study; meta-analysis; peripheral vascular disease
Thoracic periaortic adipose tissue (TAT) is associated with atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and may play a role in obesity‐mediated vascular disease. We sought to determine the prevalence, distribution, and risk factor correlates of high TAT.
Methods and Results
Participants from the Framingham Heart Study (n=3246, 48% women, mean age 51.1 years) underwent multidetector computed tomography; high TAT and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) were defined on the basis of sex‐specific 90th percentiles in a healthy referent sample. The prevalence of high TAT was 38.1% in women and 35.7% in men. Among individuals without high VAT, 10.1% had high TAT. After adjustment for age and VAT, both women and men with high TAT in the absence of high VAT were older and had a higher prevalence of CVD (P<0.0001) compared with those without high TAT. In addition, men in this group were more likely to be smokers (P=0.02), whereas women were more likely to have low high‐density lipoprotein cholesterol (P=0.005).
Individuals in our community‐based sample with high TAT in the absence of high VAT were characterized by an adverse cardiometabolic profile. This adipose tissue phenotype may identify a subset of individuals with distinct metabolic characteristics.
body fat distribution; obesity; perivascular adipose tissue; risk factors; visceral adipose tissue
To assess the relationship between sex hormones and natriuretic peptide levels in community-based adults
Women have higher circulating natriuretic peptide concentrations than men, but the mechanisms for these sex-related differences and the impact of hormone therapy are unclear. Experimental studies suggest that androgens may suppress natriuretic peptide secretion.
We measured plasma N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), total testosterone, and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) in 4,056 men and women (mean age 40±9 years) from the Framingham Heart Study Third Generation cohort. Sex/hormone status was grouped as: 1) men, 2) postmenopausal women not receiving hormone replacement therapy, 3) premenopausal women not receiving hormonal contraceptives, 4) postmenopausal women receiving hormone replacement therapy and 5) premenopausal women receiving hormonal contraceptives.
Circulating NT-proBNP was associated with sex/hormone status (overall P<0.0001). Men had lower NT-proBNP than women of all menopause or hormone groups, and women receiving hormonal contraceptives had higher NT-proBNP than women who were not receiving hormone therapy (all P<0.0001). These relationships remained significant after adjusting for age, body mass index, and cardiovascular risk factors. Across sex/hormone status groups, FT decreased and SHBG increased in tandem with increasing NT-proBNP. In sex-specific analyses, NT-proBNP decreased across increasing quartiles of free testosterone in men (P for trend<0.01) and in women (P for trend<0.0001). Adjustment for FT markedly attenuated the association between sex/hormone status and NT-proBNP concentrations.
These findings suggest that lower circulating androgens and the potentiating effect of exogenous female hormone therapy contribute to the higher circulating NT-proBNP concentrations in women.
natriuretic peptides; sex; hormones
Social networks may influence screening behaviors. We assessed whether screening for breast, prostate, or colorectal cancer is influenced by the actual screening behaviors of siblings, friends, spouse, and coworkers.
Observational study using Framingham Heart Study data to assess screening for eligible individuals during the late 1990s. We used logistic regression to assess if the probability of screening for breast, prostate, or colorectal cancer was influenced by the proportion of siblings, friends, and coworkers who had the same screening, as well as spouse’s screening for colorectal cancer, adjusting for other factors that might influence screening rates.
Among 1660 women aged 41–70, 71.7% reported mammography in the past year; among 1217 men aged 51–70, 43.3% reported prostate specific antigen testing in the past year; and among 1426 men and women aged 51–80, 46.9% reported stool blood testing and/or sigmoidoscopy in the past year. An increasing proportion of sisters who had mammography in the past year was associated with mammography screening in the ego (odds ratio [OR]=1.034, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.000–1.065 for each 10% increase). A spouse with recent screening was associated with more colorectal cancer screening (OR 1.65, 95% CI=1.39–1.98 vs. unmarried). Otherwise, screening behaviors of siblings, friends, and coworkers were not associated with screening in the ego.
Aside from a slight increase in breast cancer screening among women whose sisters were screened and colorectal cancer screening if spouses were screened, the screening behavior of siblings, friends, or coworkers did not influence cancer screening behaviors.
cancer screening; mammography; prostate specific antigen; social networks
We aimed to determine the relationships between resting left ventricular (LV) wall motion abnormalities (WMAs), aortic plaque, and PAD in a community cohort. 1726 Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort participants (806 males, 65±9 years) underwent cardiovascular magnetic resonance with quantification of aortic plaque volume and assessment of regional LV systolic function. Claudication, lower extremity revascularization, and ankle-brachial index (ABI) were recorded at Examination 7. WMAs were associated with greater aortic plaque burden, decreased ABI, and claudication in age- and sex-adjusted analyses (all p<0.001), which were not significant after adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors. In age- and sex-adjusted analyses, both the presence (p<0.001) and volume of aortic plaque were associated with decreased ABI (p<0.001). After multivariable adjustment, ABI≤0.9 or prior revascularization was associated with a three-fold odds of aortic plaque (p=0.0083). Plaque volume significantly increased with decreasing ABI in multivariable-adjusted analyses (p<0.0001). In this free-living population, associations of WMAs with aortic plaque burden and clinical measures of PAD were attenuated after adjustment for coronary heart disease risk factors. Aortic plaque volume and ABI remained strongly negatively correlated after multivariable adjustment. Our findings suggest that the association between coronary heart disease and non-coronary atherosclerosis is explained by cardiovascular risk factors. Aortic atherosclerosis and PAD remain strongly associated after multivariable adjustment suggesting shared mechanisms beyond those captured by traditional risk factors.
Aortic atherosclerosis; peripheral arterial disease; left ventricular wall motion abnormality; epidemiology; MRI
Central obesity is associated with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), suggesting that ectopic fat depots may be associated with localized diseases of the aorta and lower extremity arteries. We hypothesized that individuals with greater amounts of peri-aortic fat are more likely to have clinical peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and a low ankle-brachial index (ABI).
Methods and Results
We quantified peri-aortic fat surrounding the thoracic aorta using a novel volumetric quantitative approach in 1205 individuals from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort (mean age 65.9 years, 54% women); visceral abdominal fat (VAT) was also measured. Clinical PAD was defined as a history of intermittent claudication and ABI was dichotomized as low ABI≤0.9 or lower extremity revascularization vs normal ABI >0.9 to < 1.4. Regression models were created to examine the association between peri-aortic fat and intermittent claudication or low ABI (n=66 participants). In multivariable logistic regression, per 1 standard deviation increase in peri-aortic fat, the odds ratio (OR) for the combined end-point was 1.52 (p-value=0.004); these results were strengthened with additional adjustment for BMI (OR 1.69, p=0.002) or visceral abdominal fat (OR 1.67, p=0.009) whereas no association was observed for VAT (p=0.16). Similarly, per standard deviation increase in BMI or waist circumference, no association was observed after accounting for VAT (p=0.35 [BMI]; p=0.49 [waist circumference]).
Peri-aortic fat is associated with low ABI and intermittent claudication.
obesity; atherosclerosis; peripheral arterial disease
Compared to those with health insurance, the uninsured receive less care for chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes and they experience higher mortality.
We investigated the relations of health insurance status to prevalence, treatment, and control of major cardiovascular disease risk factors, hypertension and elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, among Framingham Heart Study (FHS) participants in sex-specific age-adjusted analyses. Participants who attended either the seventh Offspring cohort examination cycle (1998–2001) or the first Third Generation cohort examination cycle (2002–2005) were studied.
Among 6098 participants, 3.8% were uninsured at the time of the FHS clinic examination and participants’ ages ranged from 19 to 64 years. The prevalence of hypertension and elevated LDL cholesterol was similar for the insured and uninsured, however the proportion of those who obtained treatment and achieved control of these risk factors was lower among the uninsured. Uninsured men and women were less likely to be treated for hypertension with odds ratios for treatment of 0.19 (95% CI 0.07–0.56) for men and 0.31 (95% CI 0.12–0.79) for women. Among men, the uninsured were less likely to receive treatment or achieve control of elevated LDL cholesterol than the insured, with odds ratios of 0.12 (95% CI 0.04–0.38) for treatment and 0.17 (95% CI 0.05–0.56) for control.
The treatment and control of hypertension and hypercholesterolemia are lower among uninsured adults. Increasing the proportion of insured individuals may be a means to improve the treatment and control of cardiovascular disease risk factors and reduce health disparities.
health insurance; cardiovascular risk factors; hypertension; health disparities
Associations between life course socioeconomic position (SEP) and novel biological risk markers for coronary heart disease such as inflammatory markers are not well understood. Most studies demonstrate inverse associations of life course SEP with C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and fibrinogen, however little is known about associations between life course SEP and other inflammatory markers including intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), tumor necrosis factor II (TNFR2), lipoprotein phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) activity, monocytechemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) or P-selectin. The objectives of this analysis were to determine whether three life course SEP frameworks (“accumulation of risk”, “social mobility” and “sensitive periods”) are associated with the aforementioned inflammatory markers. We examined 1413 Framingham Offspring Study participants (mean age 61.2±8.6 years, 54% women), using multivariable regression analyses. In age- and sex-adjusted regression analyses, cumulative SEP (“accumulation of risk” SEP framework), for low vs. high SEP, was inversely associated with CRP, IL-6, ICAM-1, TNFR2, Lp-PLA2 activity, MCP-1 and fibrinogen. We found that there were few consistent trends between social mobility trajectories and most inflammatory markers. Own educational attainment was inversely associated with 7 of 8 studied inflammatory markers, while father’s education, father’s occupation and own occupation were inversely associated with 4, 5 and 4 inflammatory markers, respectively, in age- and sex-adjusted analyses. The strengths of association between SEP and inflammatory markers were typically substantially accounted for by CHD risk markers (smoking, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, total:HDL cholesterol ratio, fasting glucose, medications, depressive symptomatology) suggesting these may be important mechanisms that explain associations between SEP and the studied inflammatory markers.
USA; socioeconomic position; inflammatory markers; life course; social mobility; heart disease
Extensive efforts have been aimed at understanding the genetic underpinnings of complex diseases that affect humans. Numerous genome-wide association studies have assessed the association of genes with human disease; including the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), which genotyped 550,000 SNPs in 9,000 participants. The success of such efforts requires high rates of consent by participants, which is dependent on ethical oversight, communications, and trust between research participants and investigators. To study this we calculated percentages of participants who consented to collection of DNA and to various uses of their genetic information in two FHS cohorts between 2002 and 2009. The data included rates of consent for providing a DNA sample, creating an immortalized cell line, conducting research on various genetic conditions including those that might be considered sensitive, and for notifying participants of clinically significant genetic findings were above 95%. Only with regard to granting permission to share DNA or genetic findings with for-profit companies was the consent rate below 95%. We concluded that the FHS has maintained high rates of retention and consent for genetic research that has provided the scientific freedom to establish collaborations and address a broad range of research questions. We speculate that our high rates of consent have been achieved by establishing frequent and open communications with participants that highlight extensive oversight procedures. Our approach to maintaining high consent rates via ethical oversight of genetic research and communication with study participants is summarized in this report and should be of help to other studies engaged in similar types of research.
epidemiology; genetics; genome-wide association; medical ethics; population study
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.
Breastfeeding; lactation; risk factors; early nutrition; infancy; body mass index; HDL cholesterol
Cumulative exposure to socioeconomic disadvantage across the life course may be inversely associated with coronary heart disease (CHD); the mechanisms are not fully clear. An objective of this study was to determine whether cumulative life-course socioeconomic position (SEP) is associated with CHD incidence in a well-characterized US cohort that had directly assessed childhood and adulthood measures of SEP and prospectively measured CHD incidence. Furthermore, analyses aimed to evaluate whether adjustment for CHD risk factors reduces the association between cumulative life-course SEP and CHD. The authors examined 1,835 subjects who participated in the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort from 1971 through 2003 (mean age, 35.0 years; 52.4% women). Childhood SEP was measured as father's education; adulthood SEP was assessed as own education and occupation. CHD incidence included myocardial infarction, coronary insufficiency, and coronary death. Cox proportional hazards analyses indicated that cumulative SEP was associated with incident CHD after adjustment for age and sex (hazard ratio = 1.82, 95% confidence interval: 1.17, 2.85 for low vs. high cumulative SEP score). Adjustment for CHD risk factors reduced that magnitude of association (hazard ratio = 1.29, 95% confidence interval: 0.78, 2.13). These findings underscore the potential importance of CHD prevention and treatment efforts for those whose backgrounds include low SEP throughout life.
cohort studies; coronary disease; myocardial ischemia; social class; socioeconomic factors
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.
peripheral arterial disease; ankle-brachial index; interleukin-6; tumor necrosis factor receptor 2
Women have increased lifetime stroke risk and more disabling strokes compared with men. Insights into the association between menopause and stroke could lead to new prevention strategies for women. The objective of this study was to examine the association of age at natural menopause with ischemic stroke risk in the Framingham Heart Study.
Participants included women who survived stroke-free until age 60, experienced natural menopause, did not use estrogen prior to menopause, and who had complete data (n=1,430). Participants were followed until first ischemic stroke, death, or end of follow-up (2006). Age at natural menopause was self-reported. Cox proportional hazards models were used to examine the association between age at natural menopause (<42, 42-54, ≥55) and ischemic stroke risk adjusted for age, systolic blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, current smoking, cardiovascular disease and estrogen use.
There were 234 ischemic strokes identified. Average age at menopause was 49 years (sd=4). Women with menopause at ages 42-54 (HR=0.50; 95% CI:0.29-0.89) and at ages ≥55 (HR=0.31; 95% CI:0.13-0.76) had lower stroke risk compared with those with menopause <42 years adjusted for covariates. Women with menopause before age 42 had twice the stroke risk compared to all other women (HR=2.03; 95% CI: 1.16-3.56).
In this prospective study, age at natural menopause before age 42 was associated with increased ischemic stroke risk. Future stroke studies with measures of endogenous hormones are needed to inform the underlying mechanisms so that novel prevention strategies for mid-life women can be considered.
Stroke; cerebrovascular disease; women; menopause; bone mineral density
The aim of this study was to assess whether pericardial fat, intrathoracic fat, and visceral abdominal adipose tissue (VAT) are associated with the prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Methods and results
Participants from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort underwent abdominal and chest multidetector computed tomography to quantify volumes of pericardial fat, intrathoracic fat, and VAT. Relations between each fat depot and CVD were assessed using logistic regression. The analysis of 1267 participants (mean age 60 years, 53.8% women, 9.7% with prevalent CVD) demonstrated that pericardial fat [odds ratio (OR) 1.32, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.11–1.57; P = 0.002] and VAT (OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.11–1.57; P = 0.003), but not intrathoracic fat (OR 1.14, 95% CI 0.93–1.39; P = 0.22), were significantly associated with prevalent CVD in age–sex-adjusted models and after adjustment for body mass index and waist circumference. After multivariable adjustment, associations were attenuated (P > 0.14). Only pericardial fat was associated with prevalent myocardial infarction after adjusting for conventional measures of adiposity (OR 1.37, 95% CI 1.03–1.82; P = 0.03).
Pericardial fat and VAT, but not intrathoracic fat, are associated with CVD independent of traditional measures of obesity but not after further adjustment for traditional risk factor. Taken together with our prior work, these findings may support the hypothesis that pericardial fat contributes to coronary atherosclerosis.
Pericardial fat; Visceral abdominal fat; Cardiovascular disease; Framingham Heart Study; Epidemiology
Whereas prevalence of coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors has declined over past decades in the United States, acute myocardial infarction (AMI) rates were steady. We hypothesized that this paradox is partly due to the advent of increasingly sensitive biomarkers for AMI diagnosis.
Methods and Results
In Framingham Heart Study participants over four decades, we compared incidence/survival rates of initial AMI diagnosis by electrocardiogram (AMI-ECG) irrespective of biomarkers, to those exclusively based on infarction biomarkers (AMI-marker). We employed Poisson regression to calculate annual incidence rates of first AMI over four decades (1960–69, 1970–79, 1980–89 and 1990–99), and compared rates of AMI-ECG with rates of AMI-marker. Cox proportional hazards was used to compare AMI case-fatality over four decades. In 9,824 persons (54% women; follow-up of 212,539 persons-years, aged 40–89 years) there were 941 AMIs including 639 AMI-ECG and 302 AMI-marker. From 1960 to 1999, rates of AMI-ECG declined by about fifty percent and rates of AMI-marker increased approximately two-fold. Crude 30-day, 1-year and five-year case fatality rates in 1960–69 and 1990–99, respectively, were 0.20 and 0.14; 0.24 and 0.21; and 0.45 and 0.41. Age- and sex-adjusted 30-day, 1-year and 5-year AMI case-fatality declined by 60% 1960 to 1999 (p-trend <0.001), with parallel declines noted following AMI-ECG and AMI-marker.
Over the past forty years, rates of AMI-ECG, have declined by fifty percent whereas rates of AMI diagnosed by biomarker have doubled. Our findings offer an explanation for apparent steady national AMI rates in the face of improvements in primary prevention.
Myocardial infarction; temporal trends; biomarkers; electrocardiogram; diagnostic drift
Although mortality after myocardial infarction (MI) declined in the United States in recent decades, there are few community-based investigations of the long-term trends in incidence of heart failure post-MI and their results appear to be conflicting.
Methods and Results
We evaluated 676 Framingham Heart Study participants between ages 45-85 years (mean age 67 years, 34% women) who developed a first MI between 1970 and 1999. We assessed the incidence rates of heart failure and death without heart failure in each of three decades (1970-79, 1980-89, 1990-99). We estimated the multivariable-adjusted risk of events in the latter two decades, with the period 1970-79 serving as referent. The 30-day incidence of heart failure post-MI rose from 10% in 1970-79 to 23.1% in 1990-99 (p for trend 0.003), whereas 30-day mortality post-MI declined from 12.2% (1970-79) to 4.1% (1990-99). The 5-year incidence of heart failure post-MI rose from 27.6% in 1970-79 to 31.8% in 1990-99 (p for trend 0.02), whereas 5-year mortality post-MI declined from 41.1 (1970-79) to 17.3% (1990-99). In multivariable analyses, compared to the period 1970-79, we observed higher 30-day (risk ratio [RR] 2.05, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.25-3.36) and 5-year risks of heart failure (RR 1.74, 95% CI 1.07-2.84) in the decade 1990-1999. These trends were accompanied by lower 30-day (RR 0.21, 95% CI 0.09-0.47) and 5-year mortality (risk ratio 0.31, 95% CI 0.18-0.54) in 1990-99.
In our community-based sample, we observed an increase in incidence of heart failure in recent decades paralleling decrease in mortality post-MI.
Heart failure; myocardial infarction; trends
To describe self-reported advance care planning, health care preferences, use of advance directives, and health perceptions in a very elderly community-dwelling sample.
Surviving participants of the original cohort of the Framingham Heart Study who were cognitively intact and attended a routine research exam between February 2004 and October 2005. Participants were queried about discussions about end of life care, preferences for care, documentation of advance directives, and health perceptions.
Among 220 community-dwelling respondents, 67% were women with a mean age of 88 years (range 84-100). Overall 69% discussed their wishes for medical care at the end of life with someone, but only 17% discussed their wishes with a physician or health care provider. Two-thirds had a health care proxy, 55% had a living will, and 41% had both. Most (80%) respondents preferred comfort care over life-extending care, and 71% preferred to die at home; however, substantially fewer respondents said they would rather die than receive specific life-prolonging interventions [chronic ventilator (63%) or feeding tube (64%)]. Many were willing to endure distressing health states, with less than half indicating that they would rather die than live out their life in a great deal of pain (46%) or be confused/forgetful (45%) all of the time.
Although the vast majority of very elderly community-dwellers in this sample appear to prefer comfort measures at the end of life, many said they were willing to endure specific life-prolonging interventions and distressing health states to avoid death. Our results highlight the need for physicians better understand patients’ preferences and goals of care to help them make informed decisions at the end of life.
advance directives; geriatrics; end of life care; patient centered care; decision-making
Breast and prostate cancer are two commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States. Prior work suggests that cancer causing genes and cancer susceptibility genes can be identified.
We conducted a genome-wide association study (Affymetrix 100K SNP GeneChip) of cancer in the community-based Framingham Heart Study. We report on 2 cancer traits – prostate cancer and breast cancer – in up to 1335 participants from 330 families (54% women, mean entry age 33 years). Multivariable-adjusted residuals, computed using Cox proportional hazards models, were tested for association with qualifying SNPs (70, 987 autosomal SNPs with genotypic call rate ≥80%, minor allele frequency ≥10%, Hardy-Weinberg test p ≥ 0.001) using generalized estimating equations (GEE) models and family based association tests (FBAT).
There were 58 women with breast cancer and 59 men with prostate cancer. No SNP associations attained genome-wide significance. The top SNP associations in GEE models for each trait were as follows: breast cancer, rs2075555, p = 8.0 × 10-8 in COL1A1; and prostate cancer, rs9311171, p = 1.75 × 10-6 in CTDSPL. In analysis of selected candidate cancer susceptibility genes, two MSR1 SNPs (rs9325782, GEE p = 0.008 and rs2410373, FBAT p = 0.021) were associated with prostate cancer and three ERBB4 SNPs (rs905883 GEE p = 0.0002, rs7564590 GEE p = 0.003, rs7558615 GEE p = 0.0078) were associated with breast cancer. The previously reported risk SNP for prostate cancer, rs1447295, was not included on the 100K chip. Results of cancer phenotype-genotype associations for all autosomal SNPs are web posted at .
Although no association attained genome-wide significance, several interesting associations emerged for breast and prostate cancer. These findings can serve as a resource for replication in other populations to identify novel biologic pathways contributing to cancer susceptibility.
Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass and compromised bone structure, heritable traits that contribute to fracture risk. There have been no genome-wide association and linkage studies for these traits using high-density genotyping platforms.
We used the Affymetrix 100K SNP GeneChip marker set in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) to examine genetic associations with ten primary quantitative traits: bone mineral density (BMD), calcaneal ultrasound, and geometric indices of the hip. To test associations with multivariable-adjusted residual trait values, we used additive generalized estimating equation (GEE) and family-based association tests (FBAT) models within each sex as well as sexes combined. We evaluated 70,987 autosomal SNPs with genotypic call rates ≥80%, HWE p ≥ 0.001, and MAF ≥10% in up to 1141 phenotyped individuals (495 men and 646 women, mean age 62.5 yrs). Variance component linkage analysis was performed using 11,200 markers.
Heritability estimates for all bone phenotypes were 30–66%. LOD scores ≥3.0 were found on chromosomes 15 (1.5 LOD confidence interval: 51,336,679–58,934,236 bp) and 22 (35,890,398–48,603,847 bp) for femoral shaft section modulus. The ten primary phenotypes had 12 associations with 100K SNPs in GEE models at p < 0.000001 and 2 associations in FBAT models at p < 0.000001. The 25 most significant p-values for GEE and FBAT were all less than 3.5 × 10-6 and 2.5 × 10-5, respectively. Of the 40 top SNPs with the greatest numbers of significantly associated BMD traits (including femoral neck, trochanter, and lumbar spine), one half to two-thirds were in or near genes that have not previously been studied for osteoporosis. Notably, pleiotropic associations between BMD and bone geometric traits were uncommon. Evidence for association (FBAT or GEE p < 0.05) was observed for several SNPs in candidate genes for osteoporosis, such as rs1801133 in MTHFR; rs1884052 and rs3778099 in ESR1; rs4988300 in LRP5; rs2189480 in VDR; rs2075555 in COLIA1; rs10519297 and rs2008691 in CYP19, as well as SNPs in PPARG (rs10510418 and rs2938392) and ANKH (rs2454873 and rs379016). All GEE, FBAT and linkage results are provided as an open-access results resource at .
The FHS 100K SNP project offers an unbiased genome-wide strategy to identify new candidate loci and to replicate previously suggested candidate genes for osteoporosis.
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.
cardiac computed tomography; coronary artery calcification; coronary atherosclerosis; genome-wide association studies; myocardial infarction