Statins increase the risk of new-onset type 2 diabetes mellitus. We aimed to assess whether this increase in risk is a consequence of inhibition of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGCR), the intended drug target.
We used single nucleotide polymorphisms in the HMGCR gene, rs17238484 (for the main analysis) and rs12916 (for a subsidiary analysis) as proxies for HMGCR inhibition by statins. We examined associations of these variants with plasma lipid, glucose, and insulin concentrations; bodyweight; waist circumference; and prevalent and incident type 2 diabetes. Study-specific effect estimates per copy of each LDL-lowering allele were pooled by meta-analysis. These findings were compared with a meta-analysis of new-onset type 2 diabetes and bodyweight change data from randomised trials of statin drugs. The effects of statins in each randomised trial were assessed using meta-analysis.
Data were available for up to 223 463 individuals from 43 genetic studies. Each additional rs17238484-G allele was associated with a mean 0·06 mmol/L (95% CI 0·05–0·07) lower LDL cholesterol and higher body weight (0·30 kg, 0·18–0·43), waist circumference (0·32 cm, 0·16–0·47), plasma insulin concentration (1·62%, 0·53–2·72), and plasma glucose concentration (0·23%, 0·02–0·44). The rs12916 SNP had similar effects on LDL cholesterol, bodyweight, and waist circumference. The rs17238484-G allele seemed to be associated with higher risk of type 2 diabetes (odds ratio [OR] per allele 1·02, 95% CI 1·00–1·05); the rs12916-T allele association was consistent (1·06, 1·03–1·09). In 129 170 individuals in randomised trials, statins lowered LDL cholesterol by 0·92 mmol/L (95% CI 0·18–1·67) at 1-year of follow-up, increased bodyweight by 0·24 kg (95% CI 0·10–0·38 in all trials; 0·33 kg, 95% CI 0·24–0·42 in placebo or standard care controlled trials and −0·15 kg, 95% CI −0·39 to 0·08 in intensive-dose vs moderate-dose trials) at a mean of 4·2 years (range 1·9–6·7) of follow-up, and increased the odds of new-onset type 2 diabetes (OR 1·12, 95% CI 1·06–1·18 in all trials; 1·11, 95% CI 1·03–1·20 in placebo or standard care controlled trials and 1·12, 95% CI 1·04–1·22 in intensive-dose vs moderate dose trials).
The increased risk of type 2 diabetes noted with statins is at least partially explained by HMGCR inhibition.
The funding sources are cited at the end of the paper.
Social disadvantage across the life course is associated with a greater risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and with established CHD risk factors, but less is known about whether novel CHD risk factors show the same patterns. The Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development was used to investigate associations between occupational socioeconomic position during childhood, early adulthood and middle age and markers of inflammation (C-reactive protein, interleukin-6), endothelial function (E-selectin, tissue-plasminogen activator), adipocyte function (leptin, adiponectin) and pancreatic beta cell function (proinsulin) measured at 60–64 years. Life course models representing sensitive periods, accumulation of risk and social mobility were compared with a saturated model to ascertain the nature of the relationship between social class across the life course and each of these novel CHD risk factors. For interleukin-6 and leptin, low childhood socioeconomic position alone was associated with high risk factor levels at 60–64 years, while for C-reactive protein and proinsulin, cumulative effects of low socioeconomic position in both childhood and early adulthood were associated with higher (adverse) risk factor levels at 60–64 years. No associations were observed between socioeconomic position at any life period with either endothelial marker or adiponectin. Associations for C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, leptin and proinsulin were reduced considerably by adjustment for body mass index and, to a lesser extent, cigarette smoking. In conclusion, socioeconomic position in early life is an important determinant of several novel CHD risk factors. Body mass index may be an important mediator of these relationships.
•We examine associations of life course socioeconomic position (SEP) with novel coronary heart disease risk markers using novel methods to compare different life course models.•SEP during childhood was important for IL-6 and leptin, while SEP during both childhood and early adulthood was important for CRP and proinsulin.•BMI (but not smoking) explained a large part of these relationships.
Socioeconomic position; Life course; Inflammation; Endothelial; Adipocyte; Proinsulin; Birth cohort
We previously used a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the CHRNA5-A3-B4 gene cluster associated with heaviness of smoking within smokers to confirm the causal effect of smoking in reducing body mass index (BMI) in a Mendelian randomisation analysis. While seeking to extend these findings in a larger sample we found that this SNP is associated with 0.74% lower body mass index (BMI) per minor allele in current smokers (95% CI -0.97 to -0.51, P = 2.00×10−10), but also unexpectedly found that it was associated with 0.35% higher BMI in never smokers (95% CI +0.18 to +0.52, P = 6.38×10−5). An interaction test confirmed that these estimates differed from each other (P = 4.95×10−13). This difference in effects suggests the variant influences BMI both via pathways unrelated to smoking, and via the weight-reducing effects of smoking. It would therefore be essentially undetectable in an unstratified genome-wide association study of BMI, given the opposite association with BMI in never and current smokers. This demonstrates that novel associations may be obscured by hidden population sub-structure. Stratification on well-characterized environmental factors known to impact on health outcomes may therefore reveal novel genetic associations.
We found that a single nucleotide polymorphism in the CHRNA5-A3-B4 gene cluster, which is known to influence smoking heaviness, is associated with lower body mass index (BMI) in current smokers, but higher BMI in never smokers. This difference in effects suggests that the variant influences BMI both via pathways other than smoking, and via the weight-reducing effects of smoking, in opposite directions. The overall effect on BMI would therefore be undetectable in an unstratified genome-wide association study, indicating that novel associations may be obscured by hidden population sub-structure.
Epidemiological studies have shown that weaker grip strength in later life is associated with disability, morbidity, and mortality. Grip strength is a key component of the sarcopenia and frailty phenotypes and yet it is unclear how individual measurements should be interpreted. Our objective was to produce cross-sectional centile values for grip strength across the life course. A secondary objective was to examine the impact of different aspects of measurement protocol.
We combined 60,803 observations from 49,964 participants (26,687 female) of 12 general population studies in Great Britain. We produced centile curves for ages 4 to 90 and investigated the prevalence of weak grip, defined as strength at least 2.5 SDs below the gender-specific peak mean. We carried out a series of sensitivity analyses to assess the impact of dynamometer type and measurement position (seated or standing).
Our results suggested three overall periods: an increase to peak in early adult life, maintenance through to midlife, and decline from midlife onwards. Males were on average stronger than females from adolescence onwards: males’ peak median grip was 51 kg between ages 29 and 39, compared to 31 kg in females between ages 26 and 42. Weak grip strength, defined as strength at least 2.5 SDs below the gender-specific peak mean, increased sharply with age, reaching a prevalence of 23% in males and 27% in females by age 80. Sensitivity analyses suggested our findings were robust to differences in dynamometer type and measurement position.
This is the first study to provide normative data for grip strength across the life course. These centile values have the potential to inform the clinical assessment of grip strength which is recognised as an important part of the identification of people with sarcopenia and frailty.
Adverse work-related exposures have been linked with decreased physical and mental functioning in later life, however, whether childhood factors explain the associations between work exposures and functioning is unknown. Our aim was to investigate if job demand and control in mid-life were related to self-reported physical and mental functioning in early old age and whether childhood factors explained these associations.
Prospective cohort study.
England, Scotland and Wales.
Participants and outcome measures
Data come from the UK Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development, a cohort with follow-up since birth in 1946. 1485 occupationally active study members had data available on job demand and control in mid-life and on physical and mental functioning assessed using the Short Form-36 questionnaire at 60–64 years.
Those with higher job control in mid-life had better physical functioning than those who reported lower job control (β 0.51, 95% CI 0.02 to 1.01, p=0.04 adjusted for adult confounders). Those with higher job demand in mid-life had poorer mental functioning (β −0.82, 95% CI −1.14 to −0.51, p<0.001). Associations between job control and mental functioning were similar but less pronounced. Adjustment for childhood factors (father's and mother's educational attainment, parents’ interest in school at age 7 and cognitive ability at age 8) partially explained the association between job control and physical functioning, but did not explain the association between job demand and mental functioning.
Job demand and control in mid-life are differentially associated with mental and physical functioning in early old age and some of these associations may be partially explained by childhood factors.
EPIDEMIOLOGY; OCCUPATIONAL & INDUSTRIAL MEDICINE; PUBLIC HEALTH; SPORTS MEDICINE
To investigate whether associations of smoking with depression and anxiety are likely to be causal, using a Mendelian randomisation approach.
Mendelian randomisation meta-analyses using a genetic variant (rs16969968/rs1051730) as a proxy for smoking heaviness, and observational meta-analyses of the associations of smoking status and smoking heaviness with depression, anxiety and psychological distress.
Current, former and never smokers of European ancestry aged ≥16 years from 25 studies in the Consortium for Causal Analysis Research in Tobacco and Alcohol (CARTA).
Primary outcome measures
Binary definitions of depression, anxiety and psychological distress assessed by clinical interview, symptom scales or self-reported recall of clinician diagnosis.
The analytic sample included up to 58 176 never smokers, 37 428 former smokers and 32 028 current smokers (total N=127 632). In observational analyses, current smokers had 1.85 times greater odds of depression (95% CI 1.65 to 2.07), 1.71 times greater odds of anxiety (95% CI 1.54 to 1.90) and 1.69 times greater odds of psychological distress (95% CI 1.56 to 1.83) than never smokers. Former smokers also had greater odds of depression, anxiety and psychological distress than never smokers. There was evidence for positive associations of smoking heaviness with depression, anxiety and psychological distress (ORs per cigarette per day: 1.03 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.04), 1.03 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.04) and 1.02 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.03) respectively). In Mendelian randomisation analyses, there was no strong evidence that the minor allele of rs16969968/rs1051730 was associated with depression (OR=1.00, 95% CI 0.95 to 1.05), anxiety (OR=1.02, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.07) or psychological distress (OR=1.02, 95% CI 0.98 to 1.06) in current smokers. Results were similar for former smokers.
Findings from Mendelian randomisation analyses do not support a causal role of smoking heaviness in the development of depression and anxiety.
Mendelian randomisation; Smoking; Depression; Anxiety
Antecedent blood pressure (BP) may contribute to cardiovascular disease (CVD) independent of current BP. Blood pressure is associated with left ventricular mass index (LVMI) which independently predicts CVD. We investigated the relationship between midlife BP from age 36 to 64 and LVMI at 60–64 years.
Methods and results
A total of 1653 participants in the British 1946 Birth Cohort underwent BP measurement and echocardiography aged 60–64. Blood pressure had previously been measured at 36, 43, and 53 years. We investigated associations between BP at each age and rate of change in systolic blood pressure (SBP) between 36–43, 43–53, and 53–60/64 years on LVMI at 60–64 years. Blood pressure from 36 years was positively associated with LVMI. Association with SBP at 53 years was independent of SBP at 60–64 years and other potential confounders (fully adjusted β at 53 years = 0.19 g/m2; 95% CI: 0.11, 0.27; P < 0.001). Faster rates of increase in SBP from 43 to 53 years and 53 to 60/64 years were associated with increased LVMI. Similar relationships were seen for diastolic, pulse, and mean pressure. Rate of increase in SBP between 43–53 years was associated with largest change in LVMI (β at 43–53 years = 3.12 g/m2; 95% CI: 1.53, 4.72; P < 0.001). People on antihypertensive medication (43 years onwards) had greater LVMI even after adjustment for current BP (β at 43 years = 12.36 g/m2; 95% CI: 3.19, 21.53; P = 0.008).
Higher BP in midlife and rapid rise of SBP in 5th decade is associated with higher LVMI in later life, independent of current BP. People with treated hypertension have higher LVMI than untreated individuals, even accounting for their higher BP. Our findings emphasize importance of midlife BP as risk factor for future CVD.
Blood pressure; Left ventricular mass; Left ventricular hypertrophy; Echocardiography
Atherosclerosis begins early in life and obesity is a key determinant. We investigated the role of BMI and height from infancy to adulthood in presenting with high adulthood carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT).
Approach and Results
Odds ratios (OR) of BMI and height Z-scores at 2, 4, 6, 7, 11, 15, 20 years, and changes between 2-4, 4-7, 7-15, 15-20 years, for cIMT at 60-64 years in the upper quartile were estimated for 604 males and 669 females. Confounding by early life environments, mediating by body size and cardio-metabolic measures at 60-64 years, and effect modification were investigated. In males, there was positive association of BMI at 4 years (OR 1.256; 95% CI 1.026, 1.538) and 20 years (1.282; 1.022, 1.609), negative association of height at 4 years (0.780; 0.631, 0.964), and negative association of height growth between 2-4 years (0.698; 0.534, 0.913) with high cIMT. The childhood estimates were robust, but the estimate for BMI at 20 years was attenuated by adjustment for BMI at 60-64 years. The protective influence of greater early childhood height was strongest in those with the lowest systolic blood pressure at 60-64 years. In females, there was no pattern of association and all confidence intervals crossed one.
Early childhood in males might be a sensitive developmental period for atherosclerosis, where changes in BMI and height represent two distinct biological mechanisms. The maintenance of healthy weight in males from adolescence onward may be a useful strategy to avoid the atherosclerotic complications of adiposity tracking.
atherosclerosis; carotid intima-media thickness; childhood; body mass index; height; early life environments; longitudinal studies
Objective measures of physical capability are being used in a growing number of studies as biomarkers of healthy ageing. However, very little research has been done to assess the impact of physical capability on subsequent positive mental wellbeing, the maintenance of which is widely considered to be an essential component of healthy ageing. We aimed to test the associations of grip strength and walking, timed get up and go and chair rise speeds (assessed at ages 53 to 82 years) with positive mental wellbeing assessed using the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS) five to ten years later. Data were drawn from five British cohorts participating in the HALCyon research collaboration. Data from each study were analysed separately and then combined using random-effects meta-analyses. Higher levels of physical capability were consistently associated with higher subsequent levels of wellbeing; for example, a 1SD increase in grip strength was associated with an age and sex-adjusted mean difference in WEMWBS score of 0.81 (0.25, 1.37), equivalent to 10% of a standard deviation (3 studies, N=3,096). When adjusted for body size, health status, living alone, socioeconomic position and neuroticism the associations remained albeit attenuated. The finding of these consistent modest associations across five studies, spanning early and later old age, highlights the importance of maintaining physical capability in later life and provides additional justification for using objective measures of physical capability as markers of healthy ageing.
physical capability; positive mental wellbeing; grip strength; walking speed; chair rise time
The APOE ε2/3/4 genotype has been associated with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and Alzheimer disease. However, evidence for associations with measures of cognitive performance in adults without dementia has been mixed, as it is for physical performance. Associations may also be evident in other genotypes implicated in LDL-C levels. As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) collaborative research programme, genotypic information was obtained for APOE ε2/3/4, rs515135 (APOB), rs2228671 (LDLR) and rs629301 (SORT1) from eight cohorts of adults aged between 44 and 90 + years. We investigated associations with four measures of cognitive (word recall, phonemic fluency, semantic fluency and search speed) and physical capability (grip strength, get up and go/walk speed, timed chair rises and ability to balance) using meta-analyses. Overall, little evidence for associations between any of the genotypes and measures of cognitive capability was observed (e.g. pooled beta for APOE ε4 effect on semantic fluency z score = −0.02; 95 % CI = −0.05 to 0.02; p value = 0.3; n = 18,796). However, there was borderline evidence within studies that negative effects of APOE ε4 on nonverbal ability measures become more apparent with age. Few genotypic associations were observed with physical capability measures. The findings from our large investigation of middle-aged to older adults in the general population suggest that effects of APOE on cognitive capability are at most modest and are domain- and age-specific, while APOE has little influence on physical capability. In addition, other LDL-C-related genotypes have little impact on these traits.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11357-014-9673-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Ageing; Apolipoprotein E; Cognition; Single nucleotide polymorphism
BRCA1 mutation carriers have an 85% risk of developing breast cancer but the risk of developing non-hereditary breast cancer is difficult to assess. Our objective is to test whether a DNA methylation (DNAme) signature derived from BRCA1 mutation carriers is able to predict non-hereditary breast cancer.
In a case/control setting (72 BRCA1 mutation carriers and 72 BRCA1/2 wild type controls) blood cell DNA samples were profiled on the Illumina 27 k methylation array. Using the Elastic Net classification algorithm, a BRCA1-mutation DNAme signature was derived and tested in two cohorts: (1) The NSHD (19 breast cancers developed within 12 years after sample donation and 77 controls) and (2) the UKCTOCS trial (119 oestrogen receptor positive breast cancers developed within 5 years after sample donation and 122 controls).
We found that our blood-based BRCA1-mutation DNAme signature applied to blood cell DNA from women in the NSHD resulted in a receiver operating characteristics (ROC) area under the curve (AUC) of 0.65 (95% CI 0.51 to 0.78, P = 0.02) which did not validate in buccal cells from the same individuals. Applying the signature in blood DNA from UKCTOCS volunteers resulted in AUC of 0.57 (95% CI 0.50 to 0.64; P = 0.03) and is independent of family history or any other known risk factors. Importantly the BRCA1-mutation DNAme signature was able to predict breast cancer mortality (AUC = 0.67; 95% CI 0.51 to 0.83; P = 0.02). We also found that the 1,074 CpGs which are hypermethylated in BRCA1 mutation carriers are significantly enriched for stem cell polycomb group target genes (P <10-20).
A DNAme signature derived from BRCA1 carriers is able to predict breast cancer risk and death years in advance of diagnosis. Future studies may need to focus on DNAme profiles in epithelial cells in order to reach the AUC thresholds required of preventative measures or early detection strategies.
Cross-sectional studies reported associations between short leucocyte telomere length (LTL) and measures of vascular and cardiac damage. However, the contribution of LTL dynamics to the age-related process of cardiovascular (CV) remodelling remains unknown. In this study, we explored whether the rate of LTL shortening can predict CV phenotypes over 10-year follow-up and the influence of established CV risk factors on this relationship.
Methods and results
All the participants from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD) with measures of LTL and traditional CV risk factors at 53 and 60–64 years and common carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT), cardiac mass and left ventricular function at 60–64 years were included. LTL was measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction and available at both time points in 1033 individuals. While LTL at 53 years was not linked with any CV phenotype at 60–64 years, a negative association was found between LTL and cIMT at 60–64 years (β = −0.017, P = 0.015). However, the strongest association was found between rate of telomere shortening between 53 and 60–64 years and values of cIMT at 60–64 years (β = −0.020, P = 0.006). This association was not affected by adjustment for traditional CV risk factors. Cardiac measurements were not associated with cross-sectional or longitudinal measures of LTL.
These findings suggest that the rate of progression of cellular ageing in late midlife (reflected by the rate of LTL attrition) relates to vascular damage, independently from contribution of CV risk factor exposure.
Ageing; Telomeres shortening; Cardiovascular diseases; Carotid artery
Using data from a nationally representative British birth cohort we characterized the type and diversity of leisure-time physical activity that 2,188 participants (age 60–64 years) engaged in throughout the year by gender and obesity. Participants most commonly reported walking (71%), swimming (33%), floor exercises (24%) and cycling (15%). Sixty-two percent of participants reported ≥2 activities in the past year and 40% reported diversity on a regular basis. Regular engagement in different types of activity (cardio-respiratory, balance/flexibility and strength) was reported by 67%, 19% and 11% of participants, respectively. We found gender differences, as well as differences by obesity status, in the activities reported, the levels of activity diversity and activity type. Non-obese participants had greater activity diversity, and more often reported activities beneficial for cardio-respiratory health and balance/flexibility than obese participants. These findings may be used to inform the development of trials of physical activity interventions targeting older adults, and those older adults with high body mass index.
Elevated resting heart rate is associated with greater risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality. In a 2-stage meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies in up to 181,171 individuals, we identified 14 new loci associated with heart rate and confirmed associations with all 7 previously established loci. Experimental downregulation of gene expression in Drosophila melanogaster and Danio rerio identified 20 genes at 11 loci that are relevant for heart rate regulation and highlight a role for genes involved in signal transmission, embryonic cardiac development and the pathophysiology of dilated cardiomyopathy, congenital heart failure and/or sudden cardiac death. In addition, genetic susceptibility to increased heart rate is associated with altered cardiac conduction and reduced risk of sick sinus syndrome, and both heart rate–increasing and heart rate–decreasing variants associate with risk of atrial fibrillation. Our findings provide fresh insights into the mechanisms regulating heart rate and identify new therapeutic targets.
Neuroticism and Extraversion are linked with current wellbeing, but it is unclear whether these traits in youth predict wellbeing decades later. We applied structural equation modelling to data from 4583 people from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development. We examined the effects of Neuroticism and Extraversion at ages 16 and 26 years on mental wellbeing and life satisfaction at age 60-64 and explored the mediating roles of psychological and physical health. Extraversion had direct, positive effects on both measures of wellbeing. The impact of Neuroticism on both wellbeing and life satisfaction was largely indirect through susceptibility to psychological distress and physical health problems. Personality dispositions in youth have enduring influence on wellbeing assessed about forty years later.
Neuroticism; Extraversion; Wellbeing; Life satisfaction; Cohort
Detailed assessment of physical activity (PA) in older adults is required to comprehensively describe habitual PA-levels in this growing population segment. Current evidence of population PA-levels is predominantly based on self-report.
We examined PA and sedentary behaviour in a nationally representative sample of British people aged 60–64, using individually-calibrated combined heart-rate and movement sensing and a validated questionnaire (EPAQ2), and the socio-demographic and behavioural factors that may explain between-individual variation in PA.
Between 2006–2010, 2224 participants completed EPAQ2 capturing the past year’s activity in four domains (leisure, work, transportation and domestic life) and 1787 participants provided 2–5 days of combined-sensing data. According to objective estimates, median(IQR) physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE) was 33.5 (25.3-42.2) and 35.5 (26.6- 47.3) kJ/kg/day for women and men, respectively. Median (IQR) time spent in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA; >3MET), light-intensity PA (1.5-3 MET) and sedentary (<1.5 MET) was 26.0 (12.3-48.1) min/day, 5.4 (4.2-6.7) h/day and 18.0 (16.6-19.4) h/day, respectively, in women; and 41.0 (18.8-73.0) min/day, 5.2 (4.0-6.5) h/day and 17.9 (16.3-19.4) h/day in men. PAEE and time spent in MVPA were lower and sedentary time was greater in obese individuals, those with poor health, and those with lower educational attainment (women only). Questionnaire-derived PAEE and MVPA tended to have similar patterns of variation across socio-demographic strata. In the whole sample, domestic PA had the greatest relative contribution to total questionnaire-derived PAEE (58%), whereas occupational PA was the main driver among employed participants (54%). Only 2.2% of participants achieved an average of >30 min MVPA per day combined with >60 min strength-training per week.
The use of both self-report and objective monitoring to assess PA in early old age provides important information on the domains of PA, PAEE and time spent at different intensity levels. Our findings suggest PA levels are generally low and observed patterns of variation indicate specific subgroups who might benefit from targeted interventions to increase PA.
Physical activity; Sedentary behaviour; Physical activity questionnaire; Combined sensing; Birth cohort; Old age
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol are heritable, modifiable, risk factors for coronary artery disease. To identify new loci and refine known loci influencing these lipids, we examined 188,578 individuals using genome-wide and custom genotyping arrays. We identify and annotate 157 loci associated with lipid levels at P < 5×10−8, including 62 loci not previously associated with lipid levels in humans. Using dense genotyping in individuals of European, East Asian, South Asian, and African ancestry, we narrow association signals in 12 loci. We find that loci associated with blood lipids are often associated with cardiovascular and metabolic traits including coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, waist-hip ratio, and body mass index. Our results illustrate the value of genetic data from individuals of diverse ancestries and provide insights into biological mechanisms regulating blood lipids to guide future genetic, biological, and therapeutic research.
Triglycerides are transported in plasma by specific triglyceride-rich lipoproteins; in epidemiologic studies, increased triglyceride levels correlate with higher risk for coronary artery disease (CAD). However, it is unclear whether this association reflects causal processes. We used 185 common variants recently mapped for plasma lipids (P<5×10−8 for each) to examine the role of triglycerides on risk for CAD. First, we highlight loci associated with both low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides, and show that the direction and magnitude of both are factors in determining CAD risk. Second, we consider loci with only a strong magnitude of association with triglycerides and show that these loci are also associated with CAD. Finally, in a model accounting for effects on LDL-C and/or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, a polymorphism's strength of effect on triglycerides is correlated with the magnitude of its effect on CAD risk. These results suggest that triglyceride-rich lipoproteins causally influence risk for CAD.
Research on healthy ageing lacks an agreed conceptual framework and has not adequately taken into account the growing evidence that social and biological factors from early life onwards affect later health. We conceptualise healthy ageing within a life-course framework, separating healthy biological ageing (in terms of optimal physical and cognitive functioning, delaying the onset of chronic diseases, and extending length of life for as long as possible) from changes in psychological and social wellbeing. We summarise the findings of a review of healthy ageing indicators, focusing on objective measures of physical capability, such as tests of grip strength, walking speed, chair rises and standing balance, which aim to capture physical functioning at the individual level, assessing the capacity to undertake the physical tasks of daily living. There is robust evidence that higher scores on these measures are associated with lower rates of mortality, and more limited evidence of lower risk of morbidity, and of age-related patterns of change. Drawing on a research collaboration of UK cohort studies, we summarise what is known about the influences on physical capability in terms of lifetime socioeconomic position, body size and lifestyle, and underlying physiology and genetics; the evidence to date supports a broad set of factors already identified as risk factors for chronic diseases. We identify a need for larger longitudinal studies to investigate age-related change and ethnic diversity in these objective measures, the dynamic relationships between them, and how they relate to other component measures of healthy ageing. Robust evidence across cohort studies, using standardised measures within a clear conceptual framework, will benefit policy and practice to promote healthy ageing.
Life course; Epidemiology; Healthy ageing; Physical capability; Cohort studies
Fat and lean body mass have important implications for health and physical functioning in older age, and physical activity is purported to be an important modifiable determinant. However, our evidence-based understanding of its role is limited. We examined the associations of physical activity, assessed both by self-report (using data on leisure time physical activity (LTPA) collected on 4 occasions over a 28-year period) and objectively (using 5-day heart rate and movement monitoring), with fat and lean mass at ages 60–64 years in 1,162 British participants from the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development in 1946–2010. Higher objectively assessed physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE) at ages 60–64 years was associated with lower fat mass and android (abdominal):gynoid (hip) fat ratio (mean differences in fat mass per 1–standard deviation increase in PAEE were −0.79 kg/m1.2 in men (95% confidence interval: −1.08, −0.50) and −1.79 kg/m1.2 (95% confidence interval: −2.15, −1.42) in women). After adjustment for fat mass, higher PAEE was associated with higher appendicular lean mass. Both light and moderate-to-vigorous intensities of activity were associated with fat mass, and the latter was associated with lean mass. More frequent LTPA across adulthood was associated with lower fat mass (in women only) and higher appendicular lean mass (in both sexes, after adjustment for fat mass). These results support the promotion of LTPA across adulthood, as well as both light and moderate-to-vigorous intensities of activity among older adults.
body fat distribution; motor activity; obesity; sarcopenia; sedentary lifestyle; skeletal muscle
Approaches exploiting extremes of the trait distribution may reveal novel loci for common traits, but it is unknown whether such loci are generalizable to the general population. In a genome-wide search for loci associated with upper vs. lower 5th percentiles of body mass index, height and waist-hip ratio, as well as clinical classes of obesity including up to 263,407 European individuals, we identified four new loci (IGFBP4, H6PD, RSRC1, PPP2R2A) influencing height detected in the tails and seven new loci (HNF4G, RPTOR, GNAT2, MRPS33P4, ADCY9, HS6ST3, ZZZ3) for clinical classes of obesity. Further, we show that there is large overlap in terms of genetic structure and distribution of variants between traits based on extremes and the general population and little etiologic heterogeneity between obesity subgroups.
As more people live more of their lives obese, it is unclear what impact this will have on muscle mass, strength, and quality. We aimed to examine the associations of body mass index (BMI) from age 15 years onwards with low muscle mass, strength, and quality in early old age.
A total of 1,511 men and women from a British birth cohort study with BMI measured at 15, 20, 26, 36, 43, 53, and 60–64 years and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scans at 60–64 years were included. Four binary outcomes identified those in the bottom sex-specific 20% of (a) appendicular lean mass (ALM) index (kilogram per square meter), (b) ALM residuals (derived from sex-specific models in which ALM (kilogram) = β0 + β1 height [meter] + β2 fat mass [kilogram]), (c) grip strength (kilogram), (d) muscle quality (grip strength [kilogram]/arm lean mass [kilogram]). Associations of BMI with each outcome were tested.
Higher BMI from age 15 years was associated with lower odds of low ALM but higher odds of low muscle quality (per 1 SD increase in BMI at 36 years, odds ratio of low ALM residuals = 0.50 [95% CI: 0.43, 0.59], and muscle quality = 1.50 [1.29, 1.75]). Greater gains in BMI were associated with lower odds of low ALM index but higher odds of low muscle quality. BMI was not associated with grip strength.
Given increases in the global prevalence of obesity, cross-cohort comparisons of sarcopenia need to consider our findings that greater gains in BMI are associated with higher muscle mass but not with grip strength and therefore with lower muscle quality.
Sarcopenia; Obesity; Life course epidemiology; Muscle mass; Strength and quality.
Limited research has been done on the relationships between childhood factors and adult physical health related quality of life, with the underlying pathways not fully elucidated. Data from 2292 participants of the British 1946 birth cohort were used to examine the relationship of childhood characteristics and family environment with principal component summary (PCS) scores and the physical functioning (PF) subscale of the SF-36 at age 60–64 years. Impaired physical functioning was defined as the lowest quartile scores in the PF subscale. Childhood factors (father in manual social class versus non-manual (β = −2.34; 95%CI: −3.39, −1.28) and poor maternal health versus good/excellent maternal health (β = −6.18; −8.78, −3.57)) were associated with lower PCS scores at 60–64 years. Adult health behaviours (increasing BMI, lifelong smoking, and lower physical activity) at 53 years were identified as strong risk factors for lower PCS scores. After adjusting for these factors and education level (N = 1463), only poor maternal health remained unattenuated (β = −5.07; −7.62, −2.51). Similarly poor maternal health doubled the risk of reporting impaired PF (Odds ratio = 2.45; 95%CI: 1.39, 4.30); serious illness in childhood (OR = 1.44; 1.01, 2.06) and lower educational level attained were also risk factors for impaired PF (N = 1526). While findings suggest the influence of father's social class on physical health related quality of life are mediated by modifiable adult social factors and health behaviours; health professionals should also be mindful of the inter-generational risk posed by poor maternal health on the physical health related quality of life of her offspring almost five decades later.
To compare physical activity (PA) subcomponents from EPIC Physical Activity Questionnaire (EPAQ2) and combined heart rate and movement sensing in older adults.
Participants aged 60–64y from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development in Great Britain completed EPAQ2, which assesses self-report PA in 4 domains (leisure time, occupation, transportation and domestic life) during the past year and wore a combined sensor for 5 consecutive days. Estimates of PA energy expenditure (PAEE), sedentary behaviour, light (LPA) and moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) were obtained from EPAQ2 and combined sensing and compared. Complete data were available in 1689 participants (52% women).
EPAQ2 estimates of PAEE and MVPA were higher than objective estimates and sedentary time and LPA estimates were lower [bias (95% limits of agreement) in men and women were 32.3 (−61.5 to 122.6) and 29.0 (−39.2 to 94.6) kJ/kg/day for PAEE; −4.6 (−10.6 to 1.3) and −6.0 (−10.9 to −1.0) h/day for sedentary time; −171.8 (−454.5 to 110.8) and −60.4 (−367.5 to 246.6) min/day for LPA; 91.1 (−159.5 to 341.8) and 55.4 (−117.2 to 228.0) min/day for MVPA]. There were significant positive correlations between all self-reported and objectively assessed PA subcomponents (rho = 0.12 to 0.36); the strongest were observed for MVPA (rho = 0.30 men; rho = 0.36 women) and PAEE (rho = 0.26 men; rho = 0.25 women).
EPAQ2 produces higher estimates of PAEE and MVPA and lower estimates of sedentary and LPA than objective assessment. However, both methodologies rank individuals similarly, suggesting that EPAQ2 may be used in etiological studies in this population.
Childhood and adolescent mental health have a lasting impact on adult life chances, with strong implications for subsequent health, including cognitive aging. Using the British 1946 birth cohort, the authors tested associations between adolescent conduct problems, emotional problems and aspects of self-organization, and verbal memory at 43 years and rate of decline in verbal memory from 43 to 60–64 years. After controlling for childhood intelligence, adolescent self-organization was positively associated with verbal memory at 43 years, mainly through educational attainment, although not with rate of memory decline. Associations between adolescent conduct and emotional problems and future memory were of negligible magnitude. It has been suggested that interventions to improve self-organization may save a wide range of societal costs; this study also suggests that this might also benefit cognitive function in later life.
self-organization; memory; life course