Indexes constructed from components may identify individuals who age well across systems. We studied the associations of a Modified Physiologic Index (systolic blood pressure, forced vital capacity, Digit Symbol Substitution Test score, serum cystatin-C, serum fasting glucose) with mortality and incident disability.
Data are from the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study on 2,737 persons (51.2% women, 40.3% black) aged 70–79 years at baseline and followed on average 9.3 (2.9) years. Components were graded 0 (healthiest), 1 (middle), or 2 (unhealthiest) by tertile or clinical cutpoints and summed to calculate a continuous index score (range 0–10). We used multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression to calculate risk of death or disability and determined accuracy predicting death using the area under the curve.
Mortality was 19% greater per index unit (p < .05). Those with highest index scores (scores 7–10) had 3.53-fold greater mortality than those with lowest scores (scores 0–2). The unadjusted index (c-statistic = 0.656, 95% CI 0.636–0.677, p < .0001) predicted death better than age (c-statistic = 0.591, 95% CI 0.568–0.613, p < .0001; for comparison, p < .0001). The index attenuated the age association with mortality by 33%. A model including age and the index did not predict death better than the index alone (c-statistic = 0.671). Prediction was improved with the addition of other markers of health (c-statistic = 0.710, 95% CI 0.689–0.730). The index was associated with incident disability (adjusted hazard ratio per index unit = 1.04, 95% CI 1.01–1.07).
A simple index of available physiologic measurements was associated with mortality and incident disability and may prove useful for identifying persons who age well across systems.
Aging; Index; Mortality; Disability; Longevity
Low 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations are common among older adults and are associated with poorer physical performance and strength, but results from longitudinal studies have been inconsistent. The 25(OH)D threshold for physical performance and strength was determined, and both cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between 25(OH)D and physical performance and strength were examined, in men and women aged 71–80 years from the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study (n = 2,641). Baseline serum 25(OH)D was measured in 1998–1999, and physical performance and strength were measured at baseline and at 2- and 4-year follow-up. Piecewise regression models were used to determine 25(OH)D thresholds. Linear regression and mixed models were used to examine cross-sectional and longitudinal associations. The 25(OH)D thresholds were 70–80 nmol/L for physical performance and 55–70 nmol/L for strength. Participants with 25(OH)D <50 nmol/L had poorer physical performance at baseline and at 2- and 4-year follow-up than participants with 25(OH)D ≥75 nmol/L (P < 0.01). Although physical performance and strength declined over 4 years of follow-up (P < 0.0001), in general, the rate of decline was not associated with baseline 25(OH)D. Older adults with low 25(OH)D concentrations had poorer physical performance over 4 years of follow-up, but low 25(OH)D concentrations were not associated with a faster rate of decline in physical performance or strength.
aged; 25-hydroxyvitamin D; muscle strength; physical performance
We test the hypothesis that cerebral microbleeds (CMB) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), both linked to amyloid-β deposition, are correlated. This study includes 4205 participants (mean age 76.2; 57.8% women) in the AGES-Reykjavik Study (2002–2006). CMB were assessed from magnetic resonance images and AMD from digital retinal images. Data were analyzed with multinomial logistic models controlling for major confounders. Evidence of CMB was detected in 476 persons (272 with strict lobar CMB and 204 with non-lobar CMB). AMD was detected in 1098 persons (869 with early AMD, 140 with exudative AMD, and 89 with pure geographic atrophy). Early and exudative AMD were not associated with CMB. The adjusted odds ratio of pure geographic atrophy was 1.62 (95% confidence interval 0.93–2.82, P=0.089) for having any CMB, 1.43 (0.66–3.06, P=0.363) for strict lobar CMB, and 1.85 (0.89–3.87, P=0.100) for non-lobar CMB. This study provides no evidence that amyloid deposits in the brain and AMD are correlated. However, the suggestive association of geographic atrophy with CMB warrants further investigation.
Age-related macular degeneration; Cerebral microbleeds; Amyloid-β; The AGES-Reykjavik Study
The electrocardiographic PR interval increases with aging, differs by race, and is associated with atrial fibrillation (AF), pacemaker implantation and all-cause mortality. We sought to determine the associations between PR interval and heart failure, AF, and mortality in a biracial cohort of older adults.
Methods and results
The Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) Study is a prospective, biracial cohort. We employed multivariable Cox proportional hazards models to examine PR interval (hazard ratios expressed per standard deviation (SD) increase) and 10-year risks of heart failure, AF, and all-cause mortality. Multivariable models included demographic, anthropometric, and clinical variables in addition to established cardiovascular risk factors. We examined 2722 Health ABC participants (age 74±3 years, 51.9% women, and 41% black). We did not identify significant effect modification by race for the outcomes studied. Following multivariable adjustment, every SD increase (29 ms) in PR interval was associated with a 13% greater 10-year risk of heart failure (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02 to 1.25) and a 13% increased risk of incident AF (95% CI, 1.04 to 1.23). PR interval >200 ms was associated with a 46% increased risk of incident heart failure (95% CI, 1.11 to 1.93). PR interval was not associated with increased all-cause mortality.
We identified significant relations of PR interval to heart failure and AF in older adults. Our findings extend prior investigations by examining PR interval and associations with adverse outcomes in a biracial cohort of older men and women.
PR interval; epidemiology; heart failure; atrial fibrillation; mortality; aging
Breast fibroglandular (dense) tissue is a risk factor for breast cancer. Beyond breast cancer, little is known regarding the prognostic significance of mammographic features.
We evaluated relationships between nondense (fatty) breast area and dense area with all-cause mortality in 4,245 initially healthy women from the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project; 1,361 died during a mean follow-up of 28.2 years. Dense area and total breast area were assessed using planimeter measurements from screening mammograms. Percent density reflects dense area relative to breast area and nondense area was calculated as the difference between total breast area and dense area. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated by Cox proportional hazards regression.
In age-adjusted models, greater nondense and total breast area were associated with increased risk of death (HR 1.17, 95% CI 1.10-1.24 and HR 1.13, 95% CI 1.06-1.19, per SD difference) while greater dense area and percent density were associated with lower risk of death (HR 0.91, 95% CI 0.86-0.95 and HR 0.87, 95% CI 0.83-0.92, per SD difference). Associations were not attenuated with adjustment for race, education, mammogram type (x-ray or xerogram), smoking status, diabetes and heart disease. With additional adjustment for body mass index, associations were diminished for all features but remained statistically significant for dense area (HR 0.94, 95% CI 0.89-0.99, per SD difference) and percent density (HR 0.93, 95% CI 0.87-0.98, per SD difference).
These data indicate that dense area and percent density may relate to survival in healthy women and suggest the potential utility of mammograms beyond prediction of breast cancer risk.
Limited information is available regarding genetic contributions to valvular calcification, which is an important precursor of clinical valve disease.
We determined genomewide associations with the presence of aorticvalve calcification (among 6942 participants) and mitral annular calcification (among 3795 participants), as detected by computed tomographic (CT) scanning; the study population for this analysis included persons of white European ancestry from three cohorts participating in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology consortium (discovery population). Findings were replicated in independent cohorts of persons with either CT-detected valvular calcification or clinical aortic stenosis.
One SNP in the lipoprotein(a) (LPA) locus (rs10455872) reached genomewide significance for the presence of aorticvalve calcification (odds ratio per allele, 2.05; P = 9.0×10−10), a finding that was replicated in additional white European, African-American, and Hispanic-American cohorts (P<0.05 for all comparisons). Genetically determined Lp(a) levels, as predicted by LPA genotype, were also associated with aorticvalve calcification, supporting a causal role for Lp(a). In prospective analyses, LPA genotype was associated with incident aortic stenosis (hazard ratio per allele, 1.68; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32 to 2.15) and aortic-valve replacement (hazard ratio, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.05 to 2.27) in a large Swedish cohort; the association with incident aortic stenosis was also replicated in an independent Danish cohort. Two SNPs (rs17659543 and rs13415097) near the proinflammatory gene IL1F9 achieved genomewide significance for mitral annular calcification (P = 1.5×10−8 and P = 1.8×10−8, respectively), but the findings were not replicated consistently.
Genetic variation in the LPA locus, mediated by Lp(a) levels, is associated with aorticvalve calcification across multiple ethnic groups and with incident clinical aortic stenosis. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and others.)
The decline in activity energy expenditure underlies a range of age-associated pathological conditions, neuromuscular and neurological impairments, disability, and mortality. The majority (90%) of the energy needs of the human body are met by mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). OXPHOS is dependent on the coordinated expression and interaction of genes encoded in the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes. We examined the role of mitochondrial genomic variation in free-living activity energy expenditure (AEE) and physical activity levels (PAL) by sequencing the entire (~16.5 kilobases) mtDNA from 138 Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study participants. Among the common mtDNA variants, the hypervariable region 2 m.185G>A variant was significantly associated with AEE (p=0.001) and PAL (p=0.0005) after adjustment for multiple comparisons. Several unique nonsynonymous variants were identified in the extremes of AEE with some occurring at highly conserved sites predicted to affect protein structure and function. Of interest is the p.T194M, CytB substitution in the lower extreme of AEE occurring at a residue in the Qi site of complex III. Among participants with low activity levels, the burden of singleton variants was 30% higher across the entire mtDNA and OXPHOS complex I when compared to those having moderate to high activity levels. A significant pooled variant association across the hypervariable 2 region was observed for AEE and PAL. These results suggest that mtDNA variation is associated with free-living AEE in older persons and may generate new hypotheses by which specific mtDNA complexes, genes, and variants may contribute to the maintenance of activity levels in late life.
metabolic rate; energy expenditure; mitochondria; mtDNA; oxidative phosphorylation; DNA sequencing
Obesity and shorter telomeres are commonly associated with elevated risk for age-related diseases and mortality. Whether telomere length (TL) may be associated with obesity or variations in adiposity is not well established. Therefore, we set out to test the hypothesis that TL may be a risk factor for increased adiposity using data from a large population-based cohort study.
Levels of adiposity were assessed in 6 ways (obesity status, body mass index or BMI, the percentage of body fat or % body fat, leptin, visceral and subcutaneous fat mass) in 2,721 elderly subjects (42% black and 58% white). Associations between TL measured in leukocytes at baseline and adiposity traits measured at baseline and 3 of these traits after 7 years of follow-up were tested using regression models adjusting for important covariates. Additionally, we look at weight changes and relative changes in BMI and % body fat between baseline and follow-up.
At baseline, TL was negatively associated with % body fat (β = −0.35 ± 0.09, p = 0.001) and subcutaneous fat (β = −2.66 ± 1.07, p = 0.01), and positively associated with leptin after adjusting for % body fat (β = 0.32 ± 0.14, p = 0.001), but not with obesity, BMI or visceral fat. Prospective analyses showed that longer TL was associated with positive percent change between baseline and 7-year follow-up for both BMI (β = 0.48 ± 0.20, p = 0.01) and % body fat (β = 0.42 ± 0.23, p = 0.05).
Our study suggests that shorter TL may be a risk factor for increased adiposity. Coupling with previous reports on their reversed roles, the relationship between adiposity and TL may be complicated and warrant more prospective studies.
Obesity; telomere length; adiposity; telomeres
Calcium intake has been promoted due to its proposed benefit on bone health, particularly among the older population. However, concerns have been raised about the potential adverse effect of high calcium intake on cardiovascular health.
Dietary and supplemental calcium intakes were assessed at baseline (1995–96) in 388,229 men and women aged 50–71 years in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)–AARP Diet and Health Study. Supplemental calcium intake included calcium from multivitamins and individual calcium supplements. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) deaths were ascertained using the National Death Index. Multivariate Cox Proportional hazard models adjusted for demographic, lifestyle and dietary variables were used to estimate relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
During an average of 12 years of follow-up, 7904 and 3874 CVD deaths in men and women, respectively, were identified. Supplements containing calcium were used by 51% of men and 70% of women. In men supplemental calcium intake was associated with an elevated risk of CVD death (RR>1000 vs. 0 mg/day =1.20, 95% CI: 1.05–1.36), more specifically with heart disease death (RR=1.19, 95% CI: 1.03–1.37), but not significantly with cerebrovascular disease death (RR=1.14, 95% CI: 0.81–1.61). In women, supplemental calcium intake was not associated with CVD death (RR= 1.06, 95% CI: 0.96, 1.18), heart disease death (RR=1.05, 95% CI: 0.93–1.18) or cerebrovascular disease death (RR=1.08, 95% CI: 0.87–1.33). Dietary calcium intake was not related to CVD death in either men or women.
Our finding suggests that high intake of supplemental calcium is associated with an excess risk of CVD death in men, but not in women. Additional studies are needed to investigate the effect of supplemental calcium use beyond bone health.
Although there is evidence linking smoking and heart failure (HF), the association between lifetime smoking exposure and HF in older adults and the strength of this association among current and past smokers is not well known.
We examined the association between smoking status, pack-years of exposure and incident HF risk in 2, 125 participants of the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study (age 73. 6±2. 9 years; 69. 7% females; 54. 2% whites)using proportional hazard models.
At inception, 54. 8% of participants were non-smokers, 34. 8% were past smokers, and 10. 4% were current smokers. During follow-up (median, 9. 4 years), HF incidence was 11. 4 per 1000 person-years in non-smokers, 15. 2 in past smokers (hazard ratio [HR] vs. non-smokers 1. 33; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1. 01, 1. 76; p=0. 045), and 21. 9 in current smokers (HR 1. 93; 95% CI 1. 30, 2. 84; p=0. 001). After adjusting for HF risk factors, incident coronary events, and competing risk for death, a dose-effect association between pack-years of exposure and HF risk was observed (HR 1. 09; 95% CI 1. 05, 1. 14; p<0. 001 per 10 pack-years). HF risk was not modulated by pack-years of exposure in current smokers. In past smokers, HR for HF was 1. 05 (95% CI, 0. 64, 1. 72) for 1–11 pack-years; 1. 23 (95% CI, 0. 82, 1. 83) for 12–35 pack-years; and 1. 64 (95% CI, 1. 11, 2. 42) for >35 pack-years of exposure in fully adjusted models (p<0. 001 for trend) compared to non-smokers.
In older adults, both current and past cigarette smoking increase HF risk. In current smokers, this risk is high irrespective of pack-years of exposure, whereas in past smokers there was a dose-effect association.
Characterization of long-term health trajectory in older individuals is important for proactive health management. However, the relative prognostic value of information contained in clinical profiles of nonfrail older adults is often unclear.
We screened 825 phenotypic and genetic measures evaluated during the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study (Health ABC) baseline visit (3,067 men and women aged 70–79). Variables that best predicted mortality over 13 years of follow-up were identified using 10-fold cross-validation.
Mortality was most strongly associated with low Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) score (DSST<25; 21.9% of cohort; hazard ratio [HR]=1.87±0.06) and elevated serum cystatin C (≥1.30 mg/mL; 12.1% of cohort; HR=2.25±0.07). These variables predicted mortality better than 823 other measures, including baseline age and a 45-variable health deficit index. Given elevated cystatin C (≥1.30 mg/mL), mortality risk was further increased by high serum creatinine, high abdominal visceral fat density, and smoking history (2.52≤HR ≤3.73). Given a low DSST score (<25) combined with low-to-moderate cystatin C (<1.30 mg/mL), mortality risk was highest among those with elevated plasma resistin and smoking history (1.90≤HR≤2.02).
DSST score and serum cystatin C warrant priority consideration for the evaluation of mortality risk in older individuals. Both variables, taken individually, predict mortality better than chronological age or a health deficit index in well-functioning older adults (ages 70–79). DSST score and serum cystatin C can thus provide evidence-based tools for geriatric assessment.
Knee osteoarthritis (kOA) risk is increased by obesity and physical activities (PA) which mechanically stress the joint. We examined the associations of midlife kOA with body mass index (BMI) and activity exposure across adult life and their interaction.
Data are from a UK birth cohort of 2597 participants with a clinical assessment for kOA at age 53. At ages 36, 43 and 53 BMI (kg/m2), self-reported leisure-time PA, and occupational activity (kneeling/squatting; lifting; climbing; sitting; assigned using a job-exposure matrix) were ascertained. Associations were explored using the multiplicative logistic model.
BMI was strongly and positively associated with kOA in men and women. Men and women in manual occupations also had greater odds of kOA; there was a weak suggestion that kOA risk was higher among men exposed to lifting or kneeling at work. For men, the only evidence of a multiplicative interaction between BMI and activities was for lifting (p = 0.01) at age 43; BMI conferred higher kOA risk among those most-likely to lift at work (OR per increase in BMI z-score: 3.55, 95% CI: 1.72-7.33). For women, the only evidence of an interaction was between BMI and leisure-time PA (p = 0.005) at age 43; BMI conferred higher kOA risk among those at higher PA levels (OR per increase in BMI z-score: 1.59, 95% CI: 1.26-2.00 in inactive; 1.70, 95% CI: 1.14-2.55 (less-active); and 4.44; 95% CI: 2.26-8.36 (most-active).
At the very least, our study suggests that more active individuals (at work and in leisure) may see a greater reduction in risk of kOA from avoiding a high BMI than those less active.
Knee osteoarthritis; Body mass index; Physical activity; Occupational activity
Recent research has linked overall dietary patterns to survival in older adults.
The objective of this study was to determine the dietary patterns of a cohort of older adults, and to explore associations of these dietary patterns with survival over a 10-year period. A secondary goal was to evaluate participants’ quality of life and nutritional status according to their dietary patterns.
The Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study is a prospective cohort study of 3,075 older adults. In this study, all-cause mortality was assessed from baseline through Year 10. Food intake was estimated with a modified Block food frequency questionnaire, and dietary patterns of 2,582 participants with complete data were derived by cluster analysis.
Six dietary pattern clusters were identified, including a Healthy Foods cluster, characterized by higher intake of low-fat dairy products, fruit, whole grains, poultry, fish, and vegetables. Both the High-Fat Dairy Products and Sweets and Desserts clusters had a 1.4-fold higher risk of mortality than the Healthy Foods cluster after adjusting for potential confounders. The Healthy Foods cluster also had significantly more years of healthy life and more favorable levels of selected nutritional biomarkers than the other clusters.
A dietary pattern consistent with current guidelines to consume relatively high amounts of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products may be associated with superior nutritional status, quality of life and survival in older adults.
Inflammation, oxidative damage, and platelet activation are hypothesized biological mechanisms driving the disablement process. The aim of the present study is to assess whether biomarkers representing these mechanisms predicted major adverse health-related events in older persons.
Data are from 2,234 community-dwelling nondisabled older persons enrolled in the Health Aging and Body Composition study. Biomarkers of lipid peroxidation (ie, urinary levels of 8-iso-prostaglandin F2α), platelet activation (ie, urinary levels of 11-dehydro-thromboxane B2), and inflammation (serum concentrations of interleukin-6) were considered as independent variables of interest and tested in Cox proportional hazard models as predictors of (severe) mobility disability and overall mortality.
The sample’s (women 48.0%, whites 64.3%) mean age was 74.6 (SD 2.9) years. During the follow-up (median 11.4 years), 792 (35.5%), 269 (12.0%), and 942 (42.2%) events of mobility disability, severe mobility disability, and mortality occurred, respectively. Only interleukin-6 showed significant independent associations with the onset of all the study outcomes. Higher levels of urinary 8-iso-prostaglandin F2α and 11-dehydro-thromboxane B2 independently predicted increased risk of death (hazard ratio 1.10, 95% confidence interval 1.03–1.19 and hazard ratio 1.14, 95% confidence interval 1.06–1.23, respectively). No significant interactions of gender, race, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and antiplatelet drugs were detected on the studied relationships.
The inflammatory marker interleukin-6 is confirmed to be a robust predictor for the onset of negative health-related events. Participants with higher urinary levels of 8-iso-prostaglandin F2α and 11-dehydro-thromboxane B2 presented a higher mortality risk.
Oxidative damage; Platelet activation; Inflammation; Disability; Mortality
Background: understanding the determinants of health burden after a fracture in ageing populations is important.
Objective: assess the effect of clinical vertebral and other osteoporotic fractures on function and the subsequent risk of hospitalisation.
Design: individuals from the prospective population-based cohort study Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility (AGES)-Reykjavik study were examined between 2002 and 2006 and followed up for 5.4 years.
Subjects: a total of 5,764 individuals, 57.7% women, born 1907–35, mean age 77.
Method: four groups with a verified fracture status were used; vertebral fractures, other osteoporotic fractures excluding vertebral, non-osteoporotic fractures and not-fractured were compared and analysed for the effect on mobility, strength, QoL, ADL, co-morbidity and hospitalisation.
Results: worst performance on functional tests was in the vertebral fracture group for women (P < 0.0001) and the other osteoporotic fractures group for men (P < 0.05). Both vertebral and other osteoporotic fractures, showed an increased risk of hospitalisation, HR = 1.4 (95% CI: 1.3–1.7) and 1.2 (95% CI: 1.1–1.2) respectively (P < 0.0001). Individuals with vertebral fractures had 50% (P < 0.0001) longer hospitalisation than not-fractured and 33% (P < 0.002) longer than the other osteoporotic fractures group.
Conclusion: individuals with a history of clinical vertebral fracture seem to carry the greatest health burden compared with other fracture groups, emphasising the attention which should be given to those individuals.
vertebral fracture; health burden; osteoporotic fracture; strength; ADL; quality of life; mobility; elderly
Not all cigarette smokers develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and discovering susceptibility factors is an important research priority. The oxidative burden of smoking may overwhelm antioxidant defenses, and vulnerabilities may exist as a result of sequence variants in genes encoding antioxidant enzymes. This study explored the association between genetic variation in a network of antioxidant enzymes and lung phenotypes. Linear models evaluated single locus marker associations in 2,387 European and African American participants in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) Study. After correcting for multiple comparisons, 15 statistically significant associations were identified, all of which were for SNP by smoking interactions. The most statistically significant findings were in genes encoding members of the isocitrate dehydrogenase gene family (IDH3A, IDH3B, IDH2). For rs6107100 (IDH3B) the variant genotype was associated with a difference of 6% in the FEV1/FVC ratio in African American current smokers, but the SNP had little or no association with FEV1/FVC in former and never smokers (nominal pinteraction=5 × 10−6). A variant in peroxiredoxin gene (rs9787810, PRDX5) was associated with lower %predicted FEV1 and a lower ratio in European American current smokers, with little or no association in other smoking groups (nominal pinteraction=0.0001 and 0.0003, respectively). The studied genes have not been reported in previous candidate gene association studies, and thus the findings suggest novel mechanisms and targets for future research, and provide evidence for a contribution of sequence variation in genes encoding antioxidant enzymes to susceptibility in smokers.
Antioxidant enzymes; Lung function
With the aging of the population, the scope of the problem of age-related bone loss and osteoporosis will continue to increase. As such, it is critical to obtain a better understanding of the factors determining the acquisition and loss of bone mass, from childhood to senescence. While there have been significant advances in recent years in our understanding of both the basic biology of aging and a clinical definition of age-related frailty, few of these concepts in aging research have been adequately evaluated for their relevance and application to skeletal aging or fracture prevention. The March 2011 “Forum on Aging and Skeletal Health”, sponsored by the NIH and ASBMR, sought to bring together leaders in aging and bone research to enhance communications among diverse fields of study so as to accelerate the pace of scientific advances needed to reduce the burden of osteoporotic fractures. This report summarizes the major concepts presented at this meeting and in each area, identifies key questions to help set the agenda for future research in skeletal aging.
Aging; growth and development; menopause
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
Increased antioxidant defenses are hypothesized to decrease age- and smoking-related decline in lung function.
The relation of dietary antioxidants, smoking, and forced expiratory volume in the 1st second of effort (FEV1) was investigated in community-dwelling older adults in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study. 1,443 participants completed a food frequency questionnaire, self-reported smoking history, and had measurements of FEV1 at both baseline and after 4 years of follow-up. The association of dietary intake of nutrients and foods with antioxidant properties and rate of FEV1 decline was investigated using hierarchical linear regression models.
In continuing smokers (current smokers at both time points), higher vitamin C and higher intake of fruits and vegetables were associated with an 18 and 24 ml/year slower rate of FEV1 decline compared to lower intake (P<0.0001 and 0.003, respectively). In quitters (current smoker at study baseline, quit during follow-up), higher intake was associated with an attenuated rate of decline for each nutrient studied (p<0.003, all models). In non-smoking participants, there was little or no association of diet and rate of decline in FEV1.
The intake of nutrients with antioxidant properties may modulate lung function decline in older adults exposed to cigarette smoke.
Aging; Dietary Intake; Lung Function Measurements; Oxidants/Antioxidants; Smoking and Health
Recent case–control studies have shown an association between type 3 finger length pattern (longer ring finger than index finger) and knee osteoarthritis. This large cross-sectional study tests the hypothesis that the type 3 pattern is associated with total joint replacements due to osteoarthritis in a large population based study.
Finger length ratios were assessed visually on 5170 hand photographs (2975 females, 2195 males, mean age 76). In this population-based multidisciplinary study of aging in Reykjavik, Iceland, the prevalence of osteoarthritis associated total knee replacements was 223(4.3%) and total hip replacements 316(6.1%). We then performed a binary logistic regression analysis for total knee replacements and total hip replacements, including finger length patterns, osteoarthritis at other sites and other variables with possible association to osteoarthritis such as age, BMI and bone mineral density of the spine.
The prevalence of the type 3 pattern was 50% (43% in females, 58% in males). The regression analysis revealed an odds ratio for total knee replacements of 1.65 (1.24-2.2) p = 0.0007, in the type 3 finger pattern group, similar in both genders. This association was independent of the associations we have previously reported between total knee replacements and BMI and the presence of hand osteoarthritis. No association was seen between finger length patterns and total hip replacements.
Finger length patterns read from digital photographs in this large study confirm previous radiographic observations with significant associations between the type 3 pattern and total knee replacements but not total hip replacements in both genders in this elderly group.
Osteoarthritis; Finger length ratio; Epidemiology
This article reviews existing research at the intersection of genetics and economics, presents some new findings that illustrate the state of genoeconomics research, and surveys the prospects of this emerging field. Twin studies suggest that economic outcomes and preferences, once corrected for measurement error, appear to be about as heritable as many medical conditions and personality traits. Consistent with this pattern, we present new evidence on the heritability of permanent income and wealth. Turning to genetic association studies, we survey the main ways that the direct measurement of genetic variation across individuals is likely to contribute to economics, and we outline the challenges that have slowed progress in making these contributions. The most urgent problem facing researchers in this field is that most existing efforts to find associations between genetic variation and economic behavior are based on samples that are too small to ensure adequate statistical power. This has led to many false positives in the literature. We suggest a number of possible strategies to improve and remedy this problem: (a) pooling data sets, (b) using statistical techniques that exploit the greater information content of many genes considered jointly, and (c) focusing on economically relevant traits that are most proximate to known biological mechanisms.
genetics; heritability; GWAS
To determine whether consumption of whole-grain; rye bread, oatmeal, and whole-wheat bread, during different periods of life, is associated with risk of prostate cancer (PCa).
In 2002 to 2006, 2,268 men, aged 67-96 years, reported their dietary habits in the AGES-Reykjavik cohort study. Dietary habits were assessed for early-, mid- , and current life using a validated food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Through linkage to cancer- and mortality registers, we retrieved information on PCa diagnosis and mortality through 2009. We used regression models to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and hazard ratios (HRs) for PCa according to whole grain consumption, adjusted for possible confounding factors including fish-, fish liver oil-, meat-, and milk intake.
Of the 2,268 men, 347 had or were diagnosed with PCa during follow-up, 63 with advanced disease (stage 3+ or died of PCa). Daily rye bread consumption in adolescence (vs. less than daily) was associated with a decreased risk of PCa diagnosis (OR = 0.76, 95% Confidence interval (CI): 0.59-0.98), and of advanced PCa (OR = 0.47, 95% CI: 0.27-0.84). High intake of oatmeal in adolescence (≥5 vs. ≤4 times/ week) was not significantly associated with risk of PCa diagnosis (OR = 0.99, 95% CI: 0.77-1.27) nor advanced PCa (OR = 0.67, 95% CI: 0.37-1.20). Mid-, and late life consumption of rye bread, oatmeal, or whole-wheat bread was not associated with PCa risk.
Our results suggest that rye bread consumption in adolescence may be associated with reduced risk of PCa, particularly advanced disease.
adolescent; diet; epidemiology; rye bread; prostatic neoplasms; whole-grain; AGES Reykjavik study
Mild retinopathy (microaneurysms or dot-blot hemorrhages) is observed in persons without diabetes or hypertension and may reflect microvascular disease in other organs. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of mild retinopathy in persons without diabetes.
A working group agreed on phenotype harmonization, covariate selection and analytic plans for within-cohort GWAS. An inverse-variance weighted fixed effects meta-analysis was performed with GWAS results from six cohorts of 19,411 Caucasians. The primary analysis included individuals without diabetes and secondary analyses were stratified by hypertension status. We also singled out the results from single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) previously shown to be associated with diabetes and hypertension, the two most common causes of retinopathy.
No SNPs reached genome-wide significance in the primary analysis or the secondary analysis of participants with hypertension. SNP, rs12155400, in the histone deacetylase 9 gene (HDAC9) on chromosome 7, was associated with retinopathy in analysis of participants without hypertension, −1.3±0.23 (beta ± standard error), p = 6.6×10−9. Evidence suggests this was a false positive finding. The minor allele frequency was low (∼2%), the quality of the imputation was moderate (r2 ∼0.7), and no other common variants in the HDAC9 gene were associated with the outcome. SNPs found to be associated with diabetes and hypertension in other GWAS were not associated with retinopathy in persons without diabetes or in subgroups with or without hypertension.
This GWAS of retinopathy in individuals without diabetes showed little evidence of genetic associations. Further studies are needed to identify genes associated with these signs in order to help unravel novel pathways and determinants of microvascular diseases.
The authors investigated whether early-life residency in certain areas of Iceland marked by distinct differences in milk intake was associated with risk of prostate cancer in a population-based cohort of 8,894 men born between 1907 and 1935. Through linkage to cancer and mortality registers, the men were followed for prostate cancer diagnosis and mortality from study entry (in waves from 1967 to 1987) through 2009. In 2002–2006, a subgroup of 2,268 participants reported their milk intake in early, mid-, and current life. During a mean follow-up period of 24.3 years, 1,123 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, including 371 with advanced disease (stage 3 or higher or prostate cancer death). Compared with early-life residency in the capital area, rural residency in the first 20 years of life was marginally associated with increased risk of advanced prostate cancer (hazard ratio = 1.29, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.97, 1.73), particularly among men born before 1920 (hazard ratio = 1.64, 95% CI: 1.06, 2.56). Daily milk consumption in adolescence (vs. less than daily), but not in midlife or currently, was associated with a 3.2-fold risk of advanced prostate cancer (95% CI: 1.25, 8.28). These data suggest that frequent milk intake in adolescence increases risk of advanced prostate cancer.
adolescent; diet; Iceland; milk; prostatic neoplasms; risk factors
A decline in mortality rates due to cardiovascular diseases and all-cause mortality has led to increased life expectancy in the Western world in recent decades. At the same time, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, a disease associated with a twofold excess risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality, has been increasing. The objective of this study was to estimate the secular trend of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality rates in two population-based cohorts of older persons, with and without type 2 diabetes, examined 11 years apart.
1506 participants (42% men) from the population-based Reykjavik Study, examined during 1991–1996 (median 1993), mean age 75.0 years, and 4814 participants (43% men) from the AGES-Reykjavik Study, examined during 2002–2006 (median 2004), mean age 77.2 years, age range in both cohorts 70–87 years. The main outcome measures were age-specific mortality rates due to cardiovascular disease and all causes, over two consecutive 5.7- and 5.3-year follow-up periods.
A 32% decline in cardiovascular mortality rate and a 19% decline in all-cause mortality rate were observed between 1993 and 2004. The decline was greater in those with type 2 diabetes, as illustrated by the decline in the adjusted hazard ratio of cardiovascular mortality in individuals with diabetes compared to those without diabetes, from 1.88 (95% CI 1.24-2.85) in 1993 to 1.46 (95% CI 1.11-1.91) in 2004. We also observed a concurrent decrease in major cardiovascular risk factors in both those with and without diabetes. A higher proportion of persons with diabetes received glucose-lowering, hypertensive and lipid-lowering medication in 2004.
A decline in cardiovascular and all-cause mortality rates was observed in older persons during the period 1993–2004, in both those with and without type 2 diabetes. This decline may be partly explained by improvements in cardiovascular risk factors and medical treatment over the period studied. However, type 2 diabetes still persists as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular mortality.
Cohort study; Type 2 diabetes; Older persons; Cardiovascular disease mortality; Reykjavik study; AGES-Reykjavik