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1.  The obesity paradox in men with coronary heart disease and heart failure: The role of muscle mass and leptin☆☆☆★ 
We have investigated the role of muscle mass, natriuretic peptides and adipokines in explaining the obesity paradox.
The obesity paradox relates to the association between obesity and increased survival in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) or heart failure (HF).
Prospective study of 4046 men aged 60–79 years followed up for a mean period of 11 years, during which 1340 deaths occurred. The men were divided according to the presence of doctor diagnosed CHD and HF: (i) no CHD or HF ii), with CHD (no HF) and (iii) with HF.
Overweight (BMI 25–9.9 kg/m2) and obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) were associated with lower mortality risk compared to men with normal weight (BMI 18.5–24.9 kg/m2) in those with CHD [hazards ratio (HR) 0.71 (0.56,0.91) and 0.77 (0.57,1.04); p = 0.04 for trend] and in those with HF [HR 0.57 (0.28,1.16) and 0.41 (0.16,1.09; p = 0.04 for trend). Adjustment for muscle mass and NT-proBNP attenuated the inverse association in those with CHD (no HF) [HR 0.78 (0.61,1.01) and 0.96 (0.68,1.36) p = 0.60 for trend) but made minor differences to those with HF [p = 0.05]. Leptin related positively to mortality in men without HF but inversely to mortality in those with HF; adjustment for leptin abolished the BMI mortality association in men with HF [HR 0.82 (0.31,2.20) and 0.99 (0.27,3.71); p = 0.98 for trend].
The lower mortality risk associated with excess weight in men with CHD without HF may be due to higher muscle mass. In men with HF, leptin (possibly reflecting cachexia) explain the inverse association.
PMCID: PMC3909461  PMID: 24331120
NT-proBNP, N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide; HF, Heart failure; MI, Myocardial infarction; CHD, Coronary heart disease; CRP, C-reactive protein; WC, Waist circumference; BMI, Body mass index; MAMC, Mid arm muscle circumference; Obesity; Mortality; Cardiovascular disease; Leptin; Heart failure
2.  Longitudinal Associations Between Changes in Physical Activity and Onset of Type 2 Diabetes in Older British Men 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(9):1876-1883.
To determine how much physical activity (PA) is needed to protect against diabetes onset in older adults, whether protection is greater among overweight individuals, and whether taking up moderate activity in later life is beneficial.
Men (4,252) from a U.K. population-based cohort self-reported usual PA (regular walking and cycling, recreational activity, and sport) in 1996 and in 1998–2000, alongside other health behaviors and medical history. Fasting blood lipids were measured. Median follow-up was 7.1 years, during which 135 cases of type 2 diabetes (validated self-report) occurred.
Among 3,012 men free from cardiovascular disease and diabetes in 1998–2000, 9% reported no usual leisure-time PA, 23% occasional PA, and 15% vigorous PA. Compared with men reporting no activity, men reporting occasional, light, moderate, moderately vigorous, and vigorous PA had lower diabetes risks: hazard ratio (HR) 0.58 (95% CI 0.33–1.02), 0.39 (0.20–0.74), 0.38 (0.19–0.73), 0.39 (0.20–0.77), and 0.33 (0.16–0.70), respectively; P (trend) = 0.002, adjusted for age, social class, tobacco, alcohol, diet, and blood lipids. Adjustment for BMI, waist circumference, or fasting insulin attenuated HRs. HRs were stronger in men with BMI ≥28 vs. <28 kg/m2 (interaction P = 0.02). Compared with men reporting light activity or less in 1996 and 2000, men who became at least moderately active by 2000 or remained at least moderately active at both times had adjusted HRs of 0.62 (0.34–1.12) and 0.51 (0.31–0.82), respectively.
Even light PA markedly reduced diabetes risk in older men, especially among the overweight or obese. Taking up or maintaining at least moderate PA in older adulthood strongly protected against diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3424991  PMID: 22751959
3.  Prospective study of IL-18 and risk of MI and stroke in men and women aged 60–79 years: A nested case-control study 
Cytokine  2013;61(2):513-520.
► IL-18 is hypothesized to destabilise atherosclerotic plaques, leading to thrombotic events. ► We prospectively studied serum IL-18 and CHD or stroke onset in older men and women. ► IL-18 was positively associated with adverse lipid and inflammatory profile. ► Results did not suggest independent associations between IL-18 and CHD or stroke risk.
IL-18 is hypothesized to destabilise atherosclerotic plaques, leading to thrombotic events and epidemiologic studies suggest that IL-18 may increase risk of CHD or CVD.
We examined prospective associations between levels of serum IL-18 and new CHD and stroke events in older men and women from a general population.
A case-control study was nested within a prospective cohort of men and women aged 60–79 years recruited from general practices in 25 British towns in 1998–2000 and followed-up for 7.5 years for fatal and non-fatal MI and stroke. Baseline IL-18 was measured in stored serum samples of incident cases of MI (n = 364) or stroke (n = 300) and two controls per case.
Geometric mean IL-18 levels were higher among the 364 MI cases than the 706 controls; 417.84 pg/mL (IQR 316.25, 537.44) compared to 386.90 pg/mL (IQR 296.54, 482.33), p(difference) = 0.002. IL-18 was positively associated with adverse lipid and inflammatory profiles. Men and women in the top third of baseline IL-18 levels had an age and sex-adjusted odds ratio (OR) for MI of 1.31 (95%CI 0.92, 1.85) compared with those in the lowest third; this attenuated to 1.05 (95%CI 0.72, 1.53) after additional adjustment for established vascular and inflammatory risk factors. Each doubling of IL-18 level was associated with an increased OR for MI 1.34 (95%CI 1.04, 1.72), which was attenuated on adjustment for established vascular and inflammatory risk factors; 1.09 (95%CI 0.83, 1.44).
Geometric mean IL-18 levels did not differ between stroke cases and controls. The OR for stroke associated with the highest compared to the lowest tertile of IL-18 was 1.24 (95%CI 0.84, 1.84). Results for MI and stroke did not differ by presence of pre-existing CVD, gender or age.
Circulating IL-18 levels were strongly associated with a range of established and novel risk factors but were not independently associated with risk of MI or stroke in our study.
PMCID: PMC3561593  PMID: 23207179
Coronary heart disease; Stroke; Interleukin-18; Epidemiology; Cohort
4.  Effect of Five Genetic Variants Associated with Lung Function on the Risk of Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, and Their Joint Effects on Lung Function 
Rationale: Genomic loci are associated with FEV1 or the ratio of FEV1 to FVC in population samples, but their association with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has not yet been proven, nor have their combined effects on lung function and COPD been studied.
Objectives: To test association with COPD of variants at five loci (TNS1, GSTCD, HTR4, AGER, and THSD4) and to evaluate joint effects on lung function and COPD of these single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and variants at the previously reported locus near HHIP.
Methods: By sampling from 12 population-based studies (n = 31,422), we obtained genotype data on 3,284 COPD case subjects and 17,538 control subjects for sentinel SNPs in TNS1, GSTCD, HTR4, AGER, and THSD4. In 24,648 individuals (including 2,890 COPD case subjects and 13,862 control subjects), we additionally obtained genotypes for rs12504628 near HHIP. Each allele associated with lung function decline at these six SNPs contributed to a risk score. We studied the association of the risk score to lung function and COPD.
Measurements and Main Results: Association with COPD was significant for three loci (TNS1, GSTCD, and HTR4) and the previously reported HHIP locus, and suggestive and directionally consistent for AGER and TSHD4. Compared with the baseline group (7 risk alleles), carrying 10–12 risk alleles was associated with a reduction in FEV1 (β = –72.21 ml, P = 3.90 × 10−4) and FEV1/FVC (β = –1.53%, P = 6.35 × 10−6), and with COPD (odds ratio = 1.63, P = 1.46 × 10−5).
Conclusions: Variants in TNS1, GSTCD, and HTR4 are associated with COPD. Our highest risk score category was associated with a 1.6-fold higher COPD risk than the population average score.
PMCID: PMC3398416  PMID: 21965014
FEV1; FVC; genome-wide association study; modeling risk
6.  How Much of the Recent Decline in the Incidence of Myocardial Infarction in British Men Can Be Explained by Changes in Cardiovascular Risk Factors? 
Circulation  2008;117(5):598-604.
The incidence of myocardial infarction (MI) in Britain has fallen markedly in recent years. Few studies have investigated the extent to which this decline can be explained by concurrent changes in major cardiovascular risk factors.
Methods and Results
The British Regional Heart Study examined changes in cardiovascular risk factors and MI incidence over 25 years from 1978 in a cohort of 7735 men. During this time, the age-adjusted hazard of MI decreased by 3.8% (95% confidence interval 2.6% to 5.0%) per annum, which corresponds to a 62% decline over the 25 years. At the same time, after adjustment for age, cigarette smoking prevalence, mean systolic blood pressure, and mean non–high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol decreased, whereas mean HDL cholesterol, mean body mass index, and physical activity levels rose. No significant change occurred in alcohol consumption. The fall in cigarette smoking explained the greatest part of the decline in MI incidence (23%), followed by changes in blood pressure (13%), HDL cholesterol (12%), and non-HDL cholesterol (10%). In combination, 46% (approximate 95% confidence interval 23% to 164%) of the decline in MI could be explained by these risk factor changes. Physical activity and alcohol consumption had little influence, whereas the increase in body mass index would have produced a rise in MI risk.
Modest favorable changes in the major cardiovascular risk factors appear to have contributed to considerable reductions in MI incidence. This highlights the potential value of population-wide measures to reduce exposure to these risk factors in the prevention of coronary heart disease.
PMCID: PMC3194091  PMID: 18212284
myocardial infarction; risk factors; population; epidemiology; prevention
7.  Assessing the impact of medication use on trends in major coronary risk factors in older British men: a cohort study 
To investigate the role of medication in 20-year trends in blood pressure (BP) and blood lipids in older British men.
Methods and results
BP and lipids were measured in 4231 men from a representative cohort at baseline (1978–1980, aged 40–59 years) and after 20 years (1998–2000). Cohort-wide age-adjusted 20-year mean changes were as follows: systolic BP − 7.6 mmHg (95% confidence interval: − 9.7 to − 5.4); diastolic BP + 3.3 mmHg ( + 2.2 to + 4.5); non-high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol − 0.4 mmol/l ( − 0.5 to − 0.2); HDL-cholesterol + 0.16 mmol/l ( + 0.13 to + 0.19). Much (79%) of the systolic BP fall occurred only among 1561 men (37%) reporting the use of BP-lowering medication during the follow-up; systolic BP changed by − 12.3 mmHg ( − 14.7 to − 9.9) and − 1.6 mmHg ( − 3.7 to + 0.5) among medication users and men not using medication, respectively (P < 0.001 for medication–time interaction). One-third of the non-HDL-cholesterol fall occurred only among 302 men (8%) reporting the use of lipid-regulating drugs; non-HDL-cholesterol changed by − 1.8 mmol/l ( − 2.0 to − 1.6) and − 0.2 mmol/l ( − 0.4 to − 0.1) among medication users and men not using medication, respectively (P< 0.001 for interaction). The HDL-cholesterol increase was not associated with lipid-regulating drug use (P=0.15 for interaction).
Decreases in BP were largely confined to medication users and overall changes in non-HDL-cholesterol were modest, suggesting the need for greater efforts to reduce BP and cholesterol among the general population. HDL-cholesterol increased among all men, likely reflecting cohort-wide improvements in associated health behaviours.
PMCID: PMC3194092  PMID: 20386311
antihypertensive medication; blood pressure; cholesterol; epidemiology; lipid-regulating medication; time trends
8.  Lung Function and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Fatal and Nonfatal Major Coronary Heart Disease Events: Possible Associations With Inflammation 
Diabetes Care  2010;33(9):1990-1996.
We prospectively examined the relationship between lung function and risk of type-2 diabetes and fatal and nonfatal coronary heart disease (CHD) events and investigated the hypothesis that inflammation may underlie these associations.
A prospective study of 4,434 men aged 40–59 years with no history of cardiovascular disease (CHD or stroke) or diabetes drawn from general practices in 24 British towns and followed up for 20 years.
There were 680 major CHD events (276 fatal, 404 nonfatal) and 256 incident type 2 diabetes during the 20 years follow-up. Forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) but not FEV1-to-FVC ratio were significantly and inversely associated with incident type 2 diabetes and fatal CHD events (not nonfatal events) after adjustment for age, potential confounders, and metabolic risk factors. The adjusted relative risk (RR) for type 2 diabetes (Quartile 1 vs. Quartile 4) were 1.59 (1.07–2.56) and 1.74 (1.16–2.61) for FVC and FEV1, respectively (P = 0.03 and P = 0.04 for trend). The corresponding RR for fatal CHD were 1.48 (1.00–2.21) and 1.81 (1.19–2.76) (P = 0.002 and P = 0.0003 for trend). Lung function was significantly and inversely associated with C-reactive protein and interleukin-6; the inverse associations with type 2 diabetes for FVC and FEV1 were attenuated after further adjustment for these factors (P = 0.14 and P = 0.11 for trend) but remained significant for fatal CHD (P = 0.03 and P = 0.01, respectively).
Restrictive rather than obstructive impairment of lung function is associated with incident type 2 diabetes (and fatal CHD) with both associations partially explained by traditional and metabolic risk factors and inflammation.
PMCID: PMC2928349  PMID: 20519659
9.  Is the Recent Rise in Type 2 Diabetes Incidence From 1984 to 2007 Explained by the Trend in Increasing BMI? 
Diabetes Care  2010;33(7):1494-1496.
To estimate the extent to which increasing BMI may explain the rise in type 2 diabetes incidence in British men from 1984 to 2007.
A representative cohort ratio of 6,460 British men was followed-up for type 2 diabetes incidence between 1984 (aged 45–65 years) and 2007 (aged 67–89 years). BMI was ascertained at regular intervals before and during the follow-up.
Between 1984–1992 and 1999–2007, the age-adjusted hazard of type 2 diabetes more than doubled (hazard ratio 2.33 [95% CI 1.75–3.10]). Mean BMI rose by 1.42 kg/m2 (95% CI 1.10–1.74) between 1984 and 1999; this could explain 26% (95% CI 17–38) of the type 2 diabetes increase.
An appreciable portion of the rise in type 2 diabetes can be attributed to BMI changes. A substantial portion remains unexplained, possibly associated with other determinants such as physical activity. This merits further research.
PMCID: PMC2890347  PMID: 20413526
10.  Interleukin 18 and coronary heart disease: Prospective study and systematic review 
Atherosclerosis  2011;217(1):227-233.
Previous studies suggest that circulating levels of interleukin-18 (IL-18) may be prospectively related to risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in the general population. We report new data from the largest prospective study to date, which are combined with data from all published prospective studies in a meta-analysis.
We measured baseline IL-18 levels in stored serum samples of subjects from a case–control study nested within a prospective study of 5661 men aged 40–59 years recruited from general practices in 18 British towns in 1978–1980 and followed-up for up to 16 years (median time to event 8.4 years) for fatal CHD and non-fatal myocardial infarction (595 cases, 1238 controls).
IL-18 concentrations were strongly related to cigarette smoking, triglyceride, HDL-cholesterol (inversely) and to circulating levels of several inflammatory and haemostatic markers. Men in the top third of baseline IL-18 levels had an age-adjusted odds ratio (OR) for CHD of 1.55 (95% CI 1.21, 1.98) compared with those in the lowest third; this was reduced to 1.30 (95% CI 0.99, 1.69) after additional adjustment for vascular risk factors and 1.12 (95% CI 0.84, 1.49) after further adjustment for CRP and IL-6. In meta-analyses of CVD, associations (or effect sizes) were consistent between studies; RRs were 1.63 (95% CI 1.46, 1.82) after age adjustment, 1.39 (95% CI 1.24, 1.55) after additional risk factor adjustment and 1.34 (95% CI 1.17, 1.54) after additional adjustment for inflammatory markers.
Circulating IL-18 is prospectively and independently associated with CVD risk.
PMCID: PMC3146704  PMID: 21481392
Coronary heart disease; Epidemiology; Interleukin-18; Cohort; Meta-analysis
11.  Associations Between Dietary Fiber and Inflammation, Hepatic Function, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Older Men 
Diabetes Care  2009;32(10):1823-1825.
To examine the relationship between dietary fiber and the risk of type 2 diabetes in older men and the role of hepatic and inflammatory markers.
The study was performed prospectively and included 3,428 nondiabetic men (age 60–79 years) followed up for 7 years, during which there were 162 incident cases of type 2 diabetes.
Low total dietary fiber (lowest quartile ≤20 g/day) was associated with increased risk of diabetes after adjustment for total calorie intake and potential confounders (relative risk −1.47 [95% CI 1.03–2.11]). This increased risk was seen separately for both low cereal and low vegetable fiber intake. Dietary fiber was inversely associated with inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein, interleukin-6) and with tissue plasminogen activator and γ-glutamyl transferase. Adjustment for these markers attenuated the increased risk (1.28 [0.88–1.86]).
Dietary fiber is associated with reduced diabetes risk, which may be partly explained by inflammatory markers and hepatic fat deposition.
PMCID: PMC2752933  PMID: 19628814
12.  Prospective study of matrix metalloproteinase-9 and risk of myocardial infarction and stroke in older men and women 
Atherosclerosis  2010;208(2):557-563.
The endopeptidase matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) is implicated in atherosclerotic plaque rupture. We investigate prospective associations between MMP-9 and MI or stroke in an older general population cohort, accounting for established and novel cardiovascular risk factors.
Baseline serum MMP-9 was measured in incident MI (n = 368) and stroke (n = 299) cases and two controls per case, ‘nested’ in prospective studies of 4252 men and 4286 women aged 60–79 years, sampled from General Practices in Britain in 1998–2000, with 7-year follow-up for fatal and non-fatal MI and stroke.
Geometric mean MMP-9 was 528 ng/mL (IQR 397, 743) in MI cases compared to 501 ng/mL (IQR 370, 743) in controls, p = 0.10. Participants in the top compared to bottom third of MMP-9 levels had an age-adjusted odds ratio for MI of 1.53 (95% CI 1.09, 2.13), which attenuated to 1.18 (95% CI 0.81, 1.70) after adjustment for established and novel cardiovascular risk factors. There was weak evidence that OR differed according to pre-existing CVD; the OR for MI in 187 participants with pre-existing CVD was 2.20 (1.04, 4.64) and 1.24 (0.84, 1.82) in 715 participants without (LR test for interaction p = 0.06). Geometric mean MMP-9 levels were higher in stroke cases than controls; 522 ng/mL (IQR 363, 673) vs 487 (IQR 393, 704), p = 0.045; however adjustments similarly attenuated the associations.
While serum MMP-9 is univariately associated with risk of MI and stroke, it is not a strong independent risk marker for either.
PMCID: PMC2822955  PMID: 19748093
MMP-9, matrix metalloproteinase-9; MI, myocardial infarction; CVD, cardiovascular disease; CHD, coronary heart disease; OR, odds ratio; IQR, inter-quartile range; CI, confidence interval; CRP, C-reactive protein; IL-6, interleukin-6; BMI, body mass index; SBP, systolic blood pressure; DBP, diastolic blood pressure; t-PA, tissue plasminogen activator; LR, likelihood ratio; Myocardial infarction; Stroke; Inflammation; Epidemiology; MMP-9; Prospective; Cohort
13.  Circulating TNFα levels in older men and women do not show independent prospective relations with MI or stroke 
Atherosclerosis  2009;205(1):302-308.
Tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine implicated in atherosclerotic plaque formation. We investigated whether circulating TNFα is prospectively associated with myocardial infarction (MI) or stroke in the older general population, independently of established cardiovascular risk factors and other inflammatory markers related to CHD risk.
We measured baseline TNFα concentrations in stored serum samples of 362 incident MI and 299 incident stroke cases and controls (2 per case, frequency matched by age, gender and town) who were ‘nested’ in parallel prospective studies of 4252 men and 4286 women aged 60–79 years assessed in general practices in 24 British towns in 1998–2000 and followed up for an average 7 years for fatal and non-fatal MI and stroke.
TNFα levels were 11.4% (95% CI 9.5, 13.3%) higher among MI cases than controls; geometric mean 1.84 pg/mL compared to 1.63 pg/mL, p (difference) < 0.001. Participants in the top third of baseline TNFα levels had an age-adjusted odds ratio (OR) for MI of 1.75 (95%CI 1.22, 2.49) compared with those in the bottom third, which was reduced to 1.47 (95%CI 1.01, 2.14) after adjustment for established cardiovascular risk factors. However, further adjustment for C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 abolished the association OR 1.33 (95% CI 0.91, 1.66) and the linear trend. Excluding subjects with pre-existing CVD did not materially affect results. No significant association between TNFα and stroke was observed.
This study suggests that TNFα is not a strong independent risk marker for MI, and is not associated with risk of stroke.
PMCID: PMC2706315  PMID: 19135670
TNFα, tumour necrosis factor alpha; MI, myocardial infarction; CVD, cardiovascular disease; CHD, coronary heart disease; OR, odds ratio; IQR, inter-quartile range; CI, confidence interval; CRP, C-reactive protein; IL-6, interleukin-6; BMI, body mass index; SBP, systolic blood pressure; DBP, diastolic blood pressure; t-PA, tissue plasminogen activator; LR, likelihood ratio; Myocardial infarction; Stroke; Inflammation; Epidemiology; TNFα; Prospective; Cohort
14.  Changes in environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure over a 20-year period: cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses 
Addiction (Abingdon, England)  2009;104(3):496-503.
To examine long-term changes in environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure in British men between 1978 and 2000, using serum cotinine.
Prospective cohort: British Regional Heart Study.
General practices in 24 towns in England, Wales and Scotland.
Non-smoking men: 2125 studied at baseline [questionnaire (Q1): 1978–80, aged 40–59 years], 3046 studied 20 years later (Q20: 1998–2000, aged 60–79 years) and 1208 studied at both times. Non-smokers were men reporting no current smoking with cotinine < 15 ng/ml at Q1 and/or Q20.
Serum cotinine to assess ETS exposure.
In cross-sectional analysis, geometric mean cotinine level declined from 1.36 ng/ml [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.31, 1.42] at Q1 to 0.19 ng/ml (95% CI: 0.18, 0.19) at Q20. The prevalence of cotinine levels ≤ 0.7 ng/ml [associated with low coronary heart disease (CHD) risk] rose from 27.1% at Q1 to 83.3% at Q20. Manual social class and northern region of residence were associated with higher mean cotinine levels both at Q1 and Q20; older age was associated with lower cotinine level at Q20 only. Among 1208 persistent non-smokers, cotinine fell by 1.47 ng/ml (95% CI: 1.37, 1.57), 86% decline. Absolute falls in cotinine were greater in manual occupational groups, in the Midlands and Scotland compared to southern England, although percentage decline was very similar across groups.
A marked decline in ETS exposure occurred in Britain between 1978 and 2000, which is likely to have reduced ETS-related disease risks appreciably before the introduction of legislation banning smoking in public places.
PMCID: PMC2667894  PMID: 19207361
Cohort study; cotinine; environmental tobacco smoke; tobacco; trend
15.  Alcohol and sudden cardiac death 
British Heart Journal  1992;68(5):443-448.
Objective—To assess the relation between alcohol intake and sudden cardiac death—ie, death within one hour of the onset of symptoms.
Design—Prospective study of a cohort of men followed up for eight years.
Setting—General practices in 24 towns in England, Wales, and Scotland.
Subjects—7735 men aged 40–59 at screening who were selected at randon from one general practice in each of 24 towns.
Main outcome measure—All deaths from ischaemic heart disease with particular reference to those that were sudden (death within one hour of the onset of symptoms).
Results—During the follow up period of eight years there were 217 deaths from ischaemic heart disease of which 117 (54%) were classified as sudden. Although heavy drinkers (more than six drinks daily) did not show a high incidence rate of fatal heart attack, they showed the highest incidence rate of sudden cardiac death. This was seen in both manual and non-manual workers and was most clearly seen in older (50–59) men. Death from ischaemic heart disease was more likely to be sudden in heavy drinkers than in other drinking groups; this phenomenon was seen irrespective of the presence or degree of pre-existing ischaemic heart disease. The positive association between heavy drinking and the incidence of sudden death was most apparent in men without pre-existing ischaemic heart disease, with heavy drinkers showing an increase of >60% compared with occasional or light drinkers. After adjustment for age, social class, and smoking, heavy drinkers free of pre-existing ischaemic heart disease had a marginally significantly higher incidence rates of sudden death than other drinkers combined (relative risk 2·00, 95% confidence interval 0·98 to 4·8). Additional adjustment for systolic blood pressure reduced the risk to 1·7.
Conclusions—This study suggests that heavy drinking is associated with an increased risk of sudden death. Studies that do not take pre-existing ischaemic heart disease into account are likely to underestimate the adverse effects of heavy drinking on the incidence of sudden death because the effects are not as evident in men with pre-existing ischaemic heart disease.
PMCID: PMC1025184  PMID: 1467026
16.  Changes in drinking habits in middle-aged British men 
The drinking behaviour of 7735 middle-aged men drawn from general practices in 24 British towns was determined in 1978-80 and five years later in 1983-85. Those with heavier initial drinking were more likely to have reduced consumption after five years. At every level of consumption manual workers showed a greater tendency to decrease drinking than non-manual workers. Of those who became non-drinkers over the five years, 12% had been moderate or heavy drinkers. Men who were told by a doctor that they had developed ischaemic heart disease during the five years were more likely to reduce their alcohol consumption than men who remained free of ischaemic heart disease. Similarly, men who were put on regular medical treatment of any kind or who acquired two or more diagnoses of illness (including ischaemic heart disease) were more likely to become occasional or non-drinkers. Nondrinkers at both reviews had higher rates of diagnosed illness than drinkers. In particular, the ex-drinkers, who comprised 70% of non-drinkers at follow up, had higher rates of ischaemic heart disease and cardiovascular-related problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, than drinkers.
It is essential to be aware of the tendency for moderate or heavy drinkers to reduce or stop drinking over time, particularly if illness has been diagnosed. Non-drinkers and exdrinkers should not be used as a baseline in studies relating alcohol to disease.
PMCID: PMC1711698  PMID: 3256667

Results 1-16 (16)