Adiponectin exhibits cardioprotective properties in experimental studies, but elevated levels have been linked to increased mortality in older adults and patients with chronic heart failure (HF). The adipokine’s association with new-onset HF remains less well defined. We investigated the associations of total and HMW adiponectin with incident HF (n=780) and, in a subset, echocardiographic parameters in a community-based cohort of adults 65 and older. Total and high molecular weight (HMW) adiponectin were measured in 3,228 subjects without prevalent HF or CVD. The relationships of total and HMW adiponectin with HF were nonlinear, with significant associations observed only above their medians (12.4 and 6.2 mg/L, respectively). After adjustment for potential confounders, the hazard ratios (HR) per standard deviation (SD) increment in total adiponectin were 0.93 (95% confidence interval [CI]=0.72–1.21) below the median and 1.25 (95% CI=1.14–1.38) above it. There was a suggestion of effect modification by body mass index (BMI), whereby the association appeared strongest among participants with lower BMIs. Consistent with the HF findings, higher adiponectin tended to be associated with left ventricular systolic dysfunction and left atrial enlargement. Results were similar for HMW adiponectin. In conclusion, total and HMW adiponectin showed comparable relationships with incident HF in this older cohort, with a threshold effect of increasing risk occurring at their median concentrations. High levels of adiponectin may mark or mediate age-related processes that lead to HF in older adults.
Adiponectin; Aging; Heart Failure
Statins effectively lower LDL cholesterol levels in large studies and the observed interindividual response variability may be partially explained by genetic variation. Here we perform a pharmacogenetic meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in studies addressing the LDL cholesterol response to statins, including up to 18,596 statin-treated subjects. We validate the most promising signals in a further 22,318 statin recipients and identify two loci, SORT1/CELSR2/PSRC1 and SLCO1B1, not previously identified in GWAS. Moreover, we confirm the previously described associations with APOE and LPA. Our findings advance the understanding of the pharmacogenetic architecture of statin response.
Statins are effectively used to prevent and manage cardiovascular disease, but patient response to these drugs is highly variable. Here, the authors identify two new genes associated with the response of LDL cholesterol to statins and advance our understanding of the genetic basis of drug response.
The left atrium is a validated marker of clinical and subclinical cardiovascular disease. Left atrial enlargement is often seen among older individuals, however there are few population-based data regarding normal left atrial size among older persons, especially from those who are healthy, and from women. Furthermore, since the left atrium is a three dimensional structure, the commonly used parasternal long axis diastolic diameter often underdiagnoses left atrial enlargement.
Methods and Results
We evaluated left atrial size in 230 healthy participants (mean age 76±5 years) free of prevalent cardiac disease, rhythm abnormality, hypertension, and diabetes selected from the Cardiovascular Health Study, a prospective community based study of risk factors for cardiovascular disease in 5,888 elderly participants. In addition to the standard long axis measurement, we obtained left atrial supero-inferior and lateral diameters and used these dimensions to estimate left atrial volume. These measurements were used to generate reference ranges for determining left atrial enlargement in older men and women, based on the 95% percentiles of the left atrial dimensions in healthy participants, both unadjusted, and after adjustment for age, height and weight. In healthy elderly subjects, indices of left atrial size do not correlate with age or height but with weight and other measures of body build.
These data provide normative reference values for left atrial size in healthy older women and men. The results should be useful for refining diagnostic criteria for left atrial dilation in the older population and may be relevant for cardiovascular risk stratification.
echocardiography; atrium; diastole; diagnosis; aging
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.
In patients with heart failure (HF), mortality is lower in women versus men. However, it is unknown whether the survival advantage in women compared with men is present in both whites and African Americans with HF. The inception cohort consisted of adults ≥65 years with incident HF after enrollment in the CHS, a prospective population-based study of cardiovascular disease. Of 5,888 CHS subjects, 1,264 developed new HF and were followed up for 3 years. Subjects were categorized into 4 race-gender groups, and Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to examine whether 3-year total and cardiovascular mortality differed among the 4 groups after adjusting for sociodemographic factors, co-morbidities, and treatment. A gender-race interaction was also tested for each outcome. In subjects with incident HF, African Americans had more hypertension and diabetes than whites, and white men had more coronary heart disease than other gender-race groups. Receipt of cardiovascular treatments among the 4 groups was similar. Mortality rates after HF were lower in women compared with men (for white women, African-American women, African-American men, and white men, total mortality was 35.5, 33.6, 44.4, and 40.5/100 person-years, and cardiovascular mortality was 18.4, 19.5, 20.2, and 22.7/100 person-years, respectively). After adjusting for covariates, women had a 15% to 20% lower risk of total and cardiovascular mortality compared with men, but there was no significant difference in outcome by race. The gender-race interaction for either outcome was not significant. In conclusion, in older adults with HF, women had significantly better survival than men irrespective of race, suggesting that gender-based survival differences may be more important than race-based differences.
Adiponectin shows opposite associations with adverse outcomes in healthy middle-aged populations (lower risk), and cohorts with prevalent cardiovascular disease (CVD), heart failure (HF) or advanced age (higher risk).
Methods and Results
In a population-based study of older adults, we examined the relationships of total and high-molecular-weight (HMW) adiponectin with mortality among subgroups defined by baseline cardiovascular status: no CVD, HF or atrial fibrillation (AF) (Group 1); CVD but no HF/AF (Group 2); and HF/AF (Group 3). We found significant differences in the associations with all-cause mortality across the groups. The association in Group 1 was U-shaped; increasing levels of total adiponectin up to 12.4 mg/L were associated with lower mortality after adjustment for confounders (HR=0.81 per 1-SD [0.65–0.95]), but above this cutpoint, higher levels conferred greater risk (HR=1.19 [1.12–1.27]). Further adjustment for diabetes or insulin resistance, protection against which has been proposed to mediate adiponectin’s beneficial relationships with outcome, attenuated the association in the lower range. There was no significant association in Group 2, but in Group 3, total adiponectin showed a direct adjusted association. Additional adjustment for putative metabolic/inflammatory intermediates suggested a direct association for Group 2, and magnified the one for Group 3 (HR=1.31 [1.15–1.50]). Results were similar for HMW adiponectin, and for cardiovascular mortality.
Adiponectin exhibits distinct associations with mortality in elders, which shift from U-shaped to flat to direct with greater baseline cardiovascular dysfunction, but become more consistently adverse after accounting for metabolic/inflammatory factors presumed to be favorably regulated by the adipokine. These findings advance understanding of the adiponectin paradox as relates to older adults.
Adiponectin; Aging; Mortality
To estimate the associations of weight dynamics with physical functioning and mortality in older adults.
Longitudinal cohort study using prospectively collected data on weight, physical function, and health status in four U.S. Communities in the Cardiovascular Health Study. Included were 3,278 participants (2,013 women and 541 African Americans), aged 65 or older at enrollment, who had at least five weight measurements. Weight was measured at annual clinic visits between 1992 and 1999, and summary measures of mean weight, coefficient of variation, average annual weight change, and episodes of loss and gain (cycling) were calculated. Participants were followed from 1999 to 2006 for activities of daily living (ADL) difficulty, incident mobility limitations, and mortality.
Higher mean weight, weight variability, and weight cycling increased the risk of new onset of ADL difficulties and mobility limitations. After adjustment for risk factors, the hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) for weight cycling for incident ADL impairment was 1.28 (1.12, 1.47), similar to that for several comorbidities in our model, including cancer and diabetes. Lower weight, weight loss, higher variability, and weight cycling were all risk factors for mortality, after adjustment for demographic risk factors, height, self-report health status, and comorbidities.
Variations in weight are important indicators of future physical limitations and mortality in the elderly and may reflect difficulties in maintaining homeostasis throughout older ages. Monitoring the weight of an older person for fluctuations or episodes of both loss and gain is an important aspect of geriatric care.
Weight change; ADL; Mortality
To estimate an equivalent to the Modified Mini-Mental State Exam (3MSE), and to compare changes in the 3MSE with and without the estimated scores.
Comparability study on a subset of 405 participants, aged ≥70 years, from the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), a longitudinal study in 4 United States communities. The 3MSE, the Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS) and the Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline in the Elderly (IQCODE) were administered within 30 days of one another. Regression models were developed to predict the 3MSE score from the TICS and/or IQCODE, and the predicted values were used to estimate missing 3MSE scores in longitudinal follow-up of 4,274 CHS participants.
The TICS explained 67% of the variability in 3MSE scores, with a correlation of 0.82 between predicted and observed scores. The IQCODE alone was not a good estimate of 3MSE score, but improved the model fit when added to the TICS model. Using estimated 3MSE scores classified more participants with low cognition, and rates of decline were greater than when only the observed 3MSE scores were considered.
3MSE scores can be reliably estimated from the TICS, with or without the IQCODE. Incorporating these estimates captured more cognitive decline in older adults.
Cognitive function; Cognitive decline; Telephone interview; Proxy
To examine sequential and simultaneous approaches to multiple imputation of missing data in a longitudinal dataset where losses due to death were common.
Comparison of results from analyses and simulations of time to incident difficulty of activities of daily living (ADL) in the Cardiovascular Health Study when missing data were imputed simultaneously or sequentially.
Results differed with imputation methods. The largest proportional differences in 12 risk factor parameter estimates were: heart failure by 106%, social support by 33%, and arthritis by 27%.
Decedents’ final characteristics were influential on future imputations of those with missing values.
While anemia is associated with poor functional and mortality outcomes in the elderly, the impact of hemoglobin decline is less studied.
We evaluated the determinants and consequences of hemoglobin decline in 3.758 non-anemic participants from the Cardiovascular Health Study, a prospective cohort of community-dwelling elderly ≥65 years old at baseline and followed for up to 16 years. Hemoglobin was measured at baseline and 3 years later and anemia defined by World Health Organization (WHO) criteria. We modeled hemoglobin decline in two ways: 1) per each 1g/dL decrease in hemoglobin and 2) development of anemia by the WHO criteria.
Among participants without baseline anemia, hemoglobin decreased by 0.4g/dL and 9% developed anemia over 3 years. Baseline increasing age, female sex, diabetes, and kidney disease predicted hemoglobin decline over 3 years. Baseline increasing age, being African-American, and kidney disease predicted anemia development over 3 years. Hemoglobin decline was associated with subsequent worse cognitive function in men and anemia development with subsequent worse cognitive function in women. Both anemia development (HR 1.39, 95% CI 1.15, 1.69) and hemoglobin decline (HR 1.11, 95% CI 1.04, 1.18 per 1g/dL decrease) predicted subsequent mortality in men and women.
Hemoglobin decreases identified a large group of elderly individuals at risk for subsequent adverse outcomes who would not be identified using the WHO anemia criteria. These data may allow clinicians to identify at-risk elderly individuals for early intervention to improve the quality and quantity of life.
Anemia; Hemoglobin; Elderly; Mortality; Function; Epidemiology
Associations of inflammation with age-related pathologies are documented; however, it is not understood how changes in inflammation over time impact healthy aging.
We examined associations of long-term change in C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) with concurrent onset of physical and cognitive impairment, subsequent cardiovascular disease (CVD), and mortality in 1,051 participants in the Cardiovascular Health Study All Stars Study. Biomarkers were measured in 1996–1997 and 2005–2006.
In 2005–2006, median age was 84.9 years, 63% were women and 17% non-white; 21% had at least a doubling in CRP over time and 23% had at least a doubling in IL-6. Adjusting for demographics, CVD risk factors, and 1996–1997 CRP level, each doubling in CRP change over 9 years was associated with higher risk of physical or cognitive impairment (odds ratio 1.29; 95% confidence interval 1.15, 1.45). Results were similar for IL-6 (1.45; 1.20, 1.76). A doubling in IL-6 change over time, but not CRP, was associated with incident CVD events; hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) 1.34 (1.03, 1.75). Doubling in change in each biomarker was individually associated with mortality (CRP: 1.12 [1.03, 1.22]; IL-6 1.39 [1.16, 1.65]). In models containing both change and 2005–2006 level, only level was associated with CVD events and mortality.
Although increases in inflammation markers over 9 years were associated with higher concurrent risk of functional impairment and subsequent CVD events and mortality, final levels of each biomarker appeared to be more important in determining risk of subsequent events than change over time.
Inflammation; Aging; Physical function; Cognitive function
To examine whether lipid lowering medications (LLMs) and especially statin drugs can delay cognitive decline and dementia onset in individuals with and without Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) at baseline.
Longitudinal, observational study of 3,069 cognitively healthy elderly, ages 75 years and older, who were enrolled in the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory Study. Primary outcome measure was the time to adjudicated all-cause dementia and Alzheimer dementia (AD). Secondary outcome measure was the change in global cognitive function over time measured by 3MSE and ADAS-cog scores.
Among participants without MCI at baseline current use of statins was consistently associated with a reduced risk of all cause dementia (HR 0. 79, 95% confidence interval, 0.65–0.96, p=0.021) and AD (HR 0.57, 95% confidence interval, 0.39–0.85, p= 0.005). In participants who initiated statin therapy lipophilic statins tended to reduce dementia risk more than nonlipophilic agents. In contrast there was no significant association between LLM use (including statins), dementia onset or cognitive decline in individuals with baseline MCI. However, in individuals without MCI at baseline there was a trend for a neuroprotective effect of statins on cognitive decline.
Statins may slow the rate of cognitive decline and delay the onset of AD and all cause dementia in cognitively healthy elderly individuals whereas individuals with MCI may not have comparable cognitive protection from these agents. However, the results from this observational study need to be interpreted with caution and will require confirmation by randomized clinical trials stratifying treatment groups based on MCI status at baseline.
Cognitive function; 3HMG-ACoA reductase inhibitors; Mild Cognitive Impairment; dementia
To characterize longitudinal patterns of musculoskeletal pain in a community sample of older adults over a 6-year period and to identify factors associated with persistence of pain.
Secondary analysis of the Cardiovascular Health Study.
Community-based cohort drawn from four U.S. counties.
Five thousand ninety-three men and women aged 65 and older.
Over a 6-year period, pain was assessed each year using a single question about the presence of pain in any bones or joints during the last year. If affirmative, participants were queried about pain in seven locations (hands, shoulders, neck, back, hips, knees, feet). Participants were categorized according to the percentage of time that pain was present and according to the intermittent or chronic pattern of pain. Factors associated with persistent pain during five remaining years of the study were identified.
Over 6 years, 32% of participants reported pain for three or more consecutive years, and 32% reported pain intermittently. Of those who reported pain the first year, 54% were pain free at least once during the follow-up period. Most of the pain at specific body locations was intermittent. Factors associated with remission of pain over 5 years included older age, male sex, better self-rated health, not being obese, taking fewer medications, and having fewer depressive symptoms. Approximately half of those with pain reported fewer pain locations the following year.
Musculoskeletal pain in older adults, despite high prevalence, is often intermittent. The findings refute the notion that pain is an inevitable, unremitting, or progressive consequence of aging.
pain; musculoskeletal; longitudinal analysis; remission; persistence; symptoms
Most studies of leukocyte telomere length (LTL) focus on diagnosed disease in one system. A more encompassing depiction of health is disease burden, defined here as the sum of noninvasively measured markers of structure or function in different organ systems. We determined if (a) shorter LTL is associated with greater age-related disease burden and (b) shorter LTL is less strongly associated with disease in individual systems or diagnosed chronic conditions (cardiovascular disease, stroke, pulmonary disease, diabetes, kidney disease, arthritis, or depression).
LTL was measured by Southern blots of terminal restriction fragment length. Age-related disease was measured noninvasively and included carotid intima–media thickness, lung vital capacity, white matter grade, cystatin-C, and fasting glucose; each graded 0 (best tertile), 1 (middle tertile), or 2 (worst tertile) and summed (0 to 10) to estimate disease burden. Of 419 participants randomly selected for LTL measurement, 236 had disease burden assessed (mean [SD] age 74.2 [4.9] years, 42.4% male, 86.8% white, and 13.2% black).
Mean (SD) LTL was 6,312 (615) bp, and disease score was 4.7 (2.1) points. An SD higher disease score (β [SE] = −132  bp, p < .01), age (β [SE] = −107 , p = .02) or carotid thickness (β [SE] = −95  bp, p = .02) was associated with shorter LTL, but diagnosed conditions or number of conditions were not associated with LTL. Disease score attenuated the effect of age on LTL by 35%.
LTL was associated with a characterization of age-related disease burden across multiple physiologic systems, which was comparable to, but independent of, its association with age.
Leukocyte telomere length; Disease burden; Noninvasive measurements; Aging
To delineate the associations of total adiponectin, high-molecular-weight (HMW) adiponectin, and the HMW-to-total adiponectin ratio with diabetes in older adults.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Total and HMW adiponectin were measured in a population-based study of older adults. The relations of total adiponectin, HMW adiponectin, and their ratio with incident diabetes (n = 309) were assessed in 3,802 individuals.
Total and HMW adiponectin were highly correlated (r = 0.94). Analysis using cubic splines revealed that the associations between total and HMW adiponectin and new-onset diabetes were not linear. Specifically, after adjustment for confounders, there were similar inverse relationships for total (hazard ratio per SD 0.49 [95% CI 0.39–0.63]) and HMW adiponectin (0.42 [0.32–0.56]) with diabetes up to values of 20 and 10 mg/L, respectively, above which the associations plateaued. These associations persisted after adjustment for potential mediators (blood pressure, lipids, C-reactive protein, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance [HOMA-IR]). There was, however, evidence of interaction by HOMA-IR in the lower range of adiponectin, with stronger inverse associations among insulin-sensitive than insulin-resistant participants. HMW-to-total adiponectin ratio showed a linear adjusted association with outcome, but this was abolished by inclusion of mediating variables.
In this older cohort, increasing concentrations of total and HMW adiponectin were associated with comparably lower risks of diabetes, but these associations leveled off with further increases above concentrations of 20 and 10 mg/L, respectively. The more pronounced risk decreases at the lower range among participants without insulin resistance support a role for adiponectin that is independent of baseline hyperinsulinemia, but this will require further investigation.
Adiponectin has anti-inflammatory properties, and its production is suppressed by inflammatory factors. Although elevated levels of adiponectin and inflammatory markers each predict mortality in older adults, the implications of their interdependent actions have not been examined.
We investigated the joint associations of levels and interval changes in adiponectin, C-reactive protein (CRP), and interleukin 6 (IL-6) with risk of death in 840 older adults participating in a population-based study. Adiponectin, CRP, and IL-6 were measured in samples collected 8.9 (8.2–9.8) years apart, and all-cause mortality was subsequently ascertained (n = 176).
Interval changes and end levels of adiponectin, CRP, and IL-6 showed mostly positive, independent associations with mortality, without evidence of multiplicative interaction. Joint models, however, showed an U-shaped relationship between end level of adiponectin and outcome (hazard ratio [HR] [95% CI] = 0.72 [0.52–0.99] per standard deviation [SD] for levels <20.0 mg/L; HR = 1.91 [1.61–3.44] per SD for levels ≥20.0 mg/L). Participants with the greatest longitudinal increases (upper quartile) in both adiponectin and inflammatory markers had a higher risk of death (HR = 2.85 [1.78–4.58]) than those with large increases in adiponectin alone (HR = 1.87 [1.20–2.92]) (p = .043), but not inflammatory markers alone (HR = 2.48 [1.67–3.67]) (p = .55), as compared with smaller changes for both.
Higher levels or interval change in adiponectin and inflammatory markers predict increased mortality in older persons independent of each other, although for adiponectin, the association appears inverse below 20 mg/L. These findings suggest that inflammatory and noninflammatory mechanisms governing aging-related decline operate in parallel and provide a potential explanation for paradoxical adiponectin–outcome associations reported previously.
Adiponectin; C-reactive protein; Interleukin 6; Aging; Mortality
Background and Purpose
Does progression of MRI-defined vascular disease predict subsequent vascular events in the elderly?
The Cardiovascular Health Study, a longitudinal cohort study of vascular disease in the elderly, allows the question to be answered because its participants had two MRI scans about five years apart and have been followed for about 9 years since the follow-up scan for incident vascular events.
Both MRI-defined incident infarcts and worsened white matter grade (WMG) were significantly associated with heart failure (HF), stroke and death but not transient ischemic attacks, angina, or myocardial infarction. Strongest associations occurred when both incident infarcts and worsened WMG were present: for HF, hazard ratio 1.79 (95% confidence interval 1.18–2.73); for stroke, 2.58 (1.53–4.36); for death, 1.69 (1.28–2.24); and for cardiovascular death 1.97 (1.24–3.14).
Progression of MRI-defined vascular disease identifies elderly people at increased risk of subsequent HF, stroke, and death. Whether aggressive risk factor management would reduce risk is unknown.
MRI; brain infarction; leukoaraiosis; stroke; death
To examine the association between 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) and physical function in adults of advanced age.
Cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis of physical function over 3 years of follow-up in the Cardiovascular Health Study All Stars.
Forsyth County, NC; Sacramento County, CA; Washington County, MD; and Allegheny County, PA.
Community-dwelling adults aged 77–100 years (n=988).
Serum 25(OH)D, short physical performance battery (SPPB) and grip and knee extensor strength assessed at baseline. Mobility disability (difficulty walking half a mile or up 10 steps) and activities of daily living (ADL) disability were assessed at baseline and every 6 months over 3 years of follow-up.
30.8% of participants had deficient 25(OH)D (<20 ng/mL). SPPB scores were lower among those with deficient 25(OH)D compared to those with sufficient 25(OH)D (≥30 ng/mL) after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, season, health behaviors and chronic conditions (mean±SE: 6.53±0.24 vs. 7.15±0.25, p <0.01). Grip strength adjusted for body size was also lower among those with deficient versus sufficient 25(OH)D (mean±SE: 24.7±0.6 vs. 26.0±0.6 kg, p <0.05). Participants with deficient 25(OH)D were more likely to have prevalent mobility and ADL disability at baseline (OR (95% CI): 1.44 (0.96–2.14) and 1.51 (1.01–2.25), respectively) compared to those with sufficient 25(OH)D. Furthermore, participants with deficient 25(OH)D were at increased risk of incident mobility disability over 3 years of follow-up (HR (95% CI): 1.56 (1.06–2.30)).
Vitamin D deficiency was common and was associated with poorer physical performance, lower muscle strength, and prevalent mobility and ADL disability among community-dwelling adults of advanced age. Moreover, vitamin D deficiency predicted incident mobility disability.
vitamin D; physical performance; muscle strength; mobility disability; ADL disability
To identify novel loci for age at natural menopause, we performed a meta-analysis of 22 genome-wide association studies in 38,968 women of European descent, with replication in up to 14,435 women. In addition to four known loci, we identified 13 new age at natural menopause loci (P < 5 × 10−8). The new loci included genes implicated in DNA repair (EXO1, HELQ, UIMC1, FAM175A, FANCI, TLK1, POLG, PRIM1) and immune function (IL11, NLRP11, BAT2). Gene-set enrichment pathway analyses using the full GWAS dataset identified exodeoxyribonuclease, NFκB signalling and mitochondrial dysfunction as biological processes related to timing of menopause.
Individual measures and previous composite measures of subclinical vascular disease defined high risk for cardiovascular events, but did not detect low and modest risk. A different approach might better describe the spectrum from low to high risk.
Methods and Results.
In the Cardiovascular Health Study, 3,252 participants without history of clinical cardiovascular disease (M ± SD 74.3 years ± 5.1, 63% women, 17% African Americans) had noninvasive vascular assessments in 1992–1993. We assigned a score of 0, 1, or 2 (no, mild, or severe abnormalities) to ankle–arm index, electrocardiogram, and common carotid intima-media thickness, based on clinical cutoffs. A summary index (range 0–6, absent to severe disease) summed individual scores. Abdominal aortic ultrasound and brain magnetic resonance imaging were collected in a subsample. Mortality and incident cardiovascular events were identified through June 2008. Event and death rates increased across index grades. Comparing grades 1 to 5+ with absent disease, and adjusting for demographics, hazard ratios for cardiovascular events within 8 years ranged from 1.1 (95% confidence interval 0.8–1.6) to 4.7 (3.4–6.9) and, for mortality, from 1.5 (1.0–2.3) to 5.0 (3.3–7.7) (p for trend across grades <.001 for both outcomes). Adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors did not substantially change the associations. The index improved mortality risk classification over demographics and risk factors in participants who did not die during the follow-up. Including in the index the aortic ultrasound and the brain magnetic resonance imaging further improved risk classification.
Older adults with minimal subclinical vascular disease had low cardiovascular events risk and mortality. This approach might more fully account for vascular burden.
Epidemiology; Aging; Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular disease; Mortality
Despite widespread use, there are no data on initiation of thyroid hormone use in older people. We report the prevalence of thyroid hormone use and predictors of thyroid hormone initiation in a population of older men and women.
Thyroid hormone medication data were collected annually from 1989 to 2006 in community-dwelling individuals aged 65 years and older enrolled in the Cardiovascular Health Study (N = 5,888). Associations of age, sex, race, body mass index, education, and coronary heart disease with initiation were evaluated using discrete-time survival analysis.
In 1989–1990, 8.9% (95% confidence interval 8.1%–9.7%) of participants were taking a thyroid hormone preparation, increasing to 20.0% (95% confidence interval 8.2%–21.8%) over 16 years. The average initiation rate was 1% per year. The initiation rate was nonlinear with age, and those aged 85 years and older initiated thyroid hormone more than twice as frequently as those aged 65–69 years (hazard ratio = 2.34; 95% confidence interval 1.43–3.85). White women were more likely to initiate thyroid hormone than any other race and sex group. Higher body mass index was independently associated with higher risk for initiation (p = .002) as was greater education (p = .02) and prevalent coronary heart disease (p = .03).
Thyroid hormone use is common in older people. The indications and benefits of thyroid hormone use in older individuals with the highest rate of thyroid hormone initiation—the oldest old, overweight and obese individuals, and those with coronary heart disease—should be investigated.
Thyroid hormone; Levothyroxine; Elderly population
Genome-wide association studies have identified 32 loci associated with body mass index (BMI), a measure that does not allow distinguishing lean from fat mass. To identify adiposity loci, we meta-analyzed associations between ~2.5 million SNPs and body fat percentage from 36,626 individuals, and followed up the 14 most significant (P<10−6) independent loci in 39,576 individuals. We confirmed the previously established adiposity locus in FTO (P=3×10−26), and identified two new loci associated with body fat percentage, one near IRS1 (P=4×10−11) and one near SPRY2 (P=3×10−8). Both loci harbour genes with a potential link to adipocyte physiology, of which the locus near IRS1 shows an intriguing association pattern. The body-fat-decreasing allele associates with decreased IRS1 expression and with an impaired metabolic profile, including decreased subcutaneous-to-visceral fat ratio, increased insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease, and decreased adiponectin levels. Our findings provide new insights into adiposity and insulin resistance.
Cross-sectional studies show that adiponectin is higher in older than in younger adults but long-term change in adiponectin, its determinants, and its relationship to functional decline or survival in the elderly population have not been evaluated.
We investigated predictors of longitudinal change in adiponectin, and the association of this adipokine or its antecedent change with physical deterioration and all-cause mortality in 988 participants in a population-based study who completed examinations in 1996–1997 and 2005–2006, had serial adiponectin measurements and underwent follow-up through June 2009.
Adiponectin level rose significantly during follow-up, but the increase was smaller in blacks, was associated with declining weight or fasting glucose and, in men, lower albumin, and was affected by medications. Adiponectin was independently associated with greater physical decline, but the relationship for adiponectin change was driven by concomitant weight decrease. Both adiponectin and its change independently predicted mortality, even after adjustment for weight change. The association for adiponectin and mortality was observed in whites but not in blacks and only for levels in the upper range (hazard ratio = 1.85, 95% confidence interval = 1.36–2.52 per SD ≥ 20 mg/L), whereas that for adiponectin change was linear throughout in both racial groups (hazard ratio = 1.30, 95% confidence interval = 1.10–1.52 per SD).
Adiponectin levels increase over time in long-lived adults and are associated with greater physical disability and mortality. Such increases may occur in response to age-related homeostatic dysregulation. Additional investigation is required to define the underlying mechanisms and whether this represents a marker or causal factor for mortality in this age group.
Adiponectin; Aging; Mortality; Physical Function
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) may yield insights into longevity.
We performed a meta-analysis of GWAS in Caucasians from four prospective cohort studies: the Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik Study, the Cardiovascular Health Study, the Framingham Heart Study, and the Rotterdam Study participating in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium. Longevity was defined as survival to age 90 years or older (n = 1,836); the comparison group comprised cohort members who died between the ages of 55 and 80 years (n = 1,955). In a second discovery stage, additional genotyping was conducted in the Leiden Longevity Study cohort and the Danish 1905 cohort.
There were 273 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) associations with p < .0001, but none reached the prespecified significance level of 5 × 10−8. Of the most significant SNPs, 24 were independent signals, and 16 of these SNPs were successfully genotyped in the second discovery stage, with one association for rs9664222, reaching 6.77 × 10−7 for the combined meta-analysis of CHARGE and the stage 2 cohorts. The SNP lies in a region near MINPP1 (chromosome 10), a well-conserved gene involved in regulation of cellular proliferation. The minor allele was associated with lower odds of survival past age 90 (odds ratio = 0.82). Associations of interest in a homologue of the longevity assurance gene (LASS3) and PAPPA2 were not strengthened in the second stage.
Survival studies of larger size or more extreme or specific phenotypes may support or refine these initial findings.
Longevity; Genome-wide association study; Meta-analysis
Waist-hip ratio (WHR) is a measure of body fat distribution and a predictor of metabolic consequences independent of overall adiposity. WHR is heritable, but few genetic variants influencing this trait have been identified. We conducted a meta-analysis of 32 genome-wide association studies for WHR adjusted for body-mass-index (up to 77,167 participants), following up 16 loci in an additional 29 studies (up to 113,636 subjects). We identified 13 novel loci in or near RSPO3, VEGFA, TBX15-WARS2, NFE2L3, GRB14, DNM3-PIGC, ITPR2-SSPN, LY86, HOXC13, ADAMTS9, ZNRF3-KREMEN1, NISCH-STAB1, and CPEB4 (P 1.9 × 10−9 to 1.8 × 10−40), and the known signal at LYPLAL1. Seven of these loci exhibited marked sexual dimorphism, all with a stronger effect on WHR in women than men (P for sex-difference 1.9 × 10−3 to 1.2 × 10−13). These findings provide evidence for multiple loci that modulate body fat distribution, independent of overall adiposity, and reveal powerful gene-by-sex interactions.
genome-wide association; waist-hip-ratio; body fat distribution; central obesity; meta-analysis; genetics; visceral adipose tissue; metabolism; body composition; Expression Quantitative Trait Loci; sex difference