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1.  Job insecurity and risk of diabetes: a meta-analysis of individual participant data 
CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association Journal  2016;188(17-18):E447-E455.
Background:
Job insecurity has been associated with certain health outcomes. We examined the role of job insecurity as a risk factor for incident diabetes.
Methods:
We used individual participant data from 8 cohort studies identified in 2 open-access data archives and 11 cohort studies participating in the Individual-Participant-Data Meta-analysis in Working Populations Consortium. We calculated study-specific estimates of the association between job insecurity reported at baseline and incident diabetes over the follow-up period. We pooled the estimates in a meta-analysis to produce a summary risk estimate.
Results:
The 19 studies involved 140 825 participants from Australia, Europe and the United States, with a mean follow-up of 9.4 years and 3954 incident cases of diabetes. In the preliminary analysis adjusted for age and sex, high job insecurity was associated with an increased risk of incident diabetes compared with low job insecurity (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1.19, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.09–1.30). In the multivariable-adjusted analysis restricted to 15 studies with baseline data for all covariates (age, sex, socioeconomic status, obesity, physical activity, alcohol and smoking), the association was slightly attenuated (adjusted OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.01–1.24). Heterogeneity between the studies was low to moderate (age- and sex-adjusted model: I2 = 24%, p = 0.2; multivariable-adjusted model: I2 = 27%, p = 0.2). In the multivariable-adjusted analysis restricted to high-quality studies, in which the diabetes diagnosis was ascertained from electronic medical records or clinical examination, the association was similar to that in the main analysis (adjusted OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.04–1.35).
Interpretation:
Our findings suggest that self-reported job insecurity is associated with a modest increased risk of incident diabetes. Health care personnel should be aware of this association among workers reporting job insecurity.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.150942
PMCID: PMC5135521  PMID: 27698195
2.  Residential Road Traffic Noise and High Depressive Symptoms after Five Years of Follow-up: Results from the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2015;124(5):578-585.
Background:
Traffic noise affects a large number of people, particularly in urbanized areas. Noise causes stress and annoyance, but less is known about the relationship between noise and depression.
Objective:
We investigated the association of residential road traffic noise with depressive symptoms using 5-year follow-up data from a German population-based study.
Methods:
We analyzed data from 3,300 participants in the Heinz Nixdorf Recall study who were between 45 and 75 years old and were without depressive symptoms at baseline (2000–2003). Depressive symptoms were defined based on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CES-D) 15-item questionnaire (total score ≥ 17) and antidepressant medication intake. Road traffic noise was modeled according to European Parliament/Council Directive 2002/49/EC. High noise exposure was defined as annual mean 24-hr noise levels > 55 A-weighted decibels [dB(A)]. Poisson regression with robust variance was used to estimate relative risks (RRs) a) adjusting for the potential confounders age, sex, socioeconomic status (SES), neighborhood-level SES, and traffic proximity; b) additionally adjusting for body mass index and smoking; and c) additionally adjusting for the potential confounders/intermediates comorbidities and insomnia.
Results:
Overall, 35.7% of the participants were exposed to high residential road traffic noise levels. At follow-up (mean = 5.1 years after baseline), 302 participants were classified as having high depressive symptoms, corresponding to an adjusted RR of 1.29 (95% CI: 1.03, 1.62; Model 1) for exposure to > 55 versus ≤ 55 dB(A). Adjustment for potential confounders/intermediates did not substantially alter the results. Associations were stronger among those who reported insomnia at baseline (RR = 1.62; 95% CI: 1.10, 2.59 vs. RR = 1.21; 95% CI: 0.94, 1.57) and appeared to be limited to those with ≤ 13 years of education (RR = 1.43; 95% CI: 1.10, 1.85 vs. 0.92; 95% CI: 0.56, 1.53 for > 13 years).
Conclusion:
Our results suggest that exposure to residential road traffic noise increases the risk of depressive symptoms.
Citation:
Orban E, McDonald K, Sutcliffe R, Hoffmann B, Fuks KB, Dragano N, Viehmann A, Erbel R, Jöckel KH, Pundt N, Moebus S. 2016. Residential road traffic noise and high depressive symptoms after five years of follow-up: results from the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study. Environ Health Perspect 124:578–585; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1409400
doi:10.1289/ehp.1409400
PMCID: PMC4858388  PMID: 26606640
3.  Long working hours and cancer risk: a multi-cohort study 
British Journal of Cancer  2016;114(7):813-818.
Background:
Working longer than the maximum recommended hours is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but the relationship of excess working hours with incident cancer is unclear.
Methods:
This multi-cohort study examined the association between working hours and cancer risk in 116 462 men and women who were free of cancer at baseline. Incident cancers were ascertained from national cancer, hospitalisation and death registers; weekly working hours were self-reported.
Results:
During median follow-up of 10.8 years, 4371 participants developed cancer (n colorectal cancer: 393; n lung cancer: 247; n breast cancer: 833; and n prostate cancer: 534). We found no clear evidence for an association between working hours and the overall cancer risk. Working hours were also unrelated the risk of incident colorectal, lung or prostate cancers. Working ⩾55 h per week was associated with 1.60-fold (95% confidence interval 1.12–2.29) increase in female breast cancer risk independently of age, socioeconomic position, shift- and night-time work and lifestyle factors, but this observation may have been influenced by residual confounding from parity.
Conclusions:
Our findings suggest that working long hours is unrelated to the overall cancer risk or the risk of lung, colorectal or prostate cancers. The observed association with breast cancer would warrant further research.
doi:10.1038/bjc.2016.9
PMCID: PMC4984872  PMID: 26889978
Breast cancer; colorectal cancer; lung cancer; prostate cancer; working hours
4.  Depressive symptoms, life satisfaction and prevalence of sleep disturbances in the general population of Germany: results from the Heinz Nixdorf Recall study 
BMJ Open  2016;6(1):e007919.
Objectives
It appears that not only depression, but also low life satisfaction (LS), is related to sleep disorder in the general population. We evaluate whether the prevalence of sleep disorder attributable to depressed mood is greater among participants with low LS.
Setting, participants and outcome measures
Analysis of cross-sectional data from 3880 cohort members from the German Heinz Nixdorf Recall study (2006–2008) aged 51–81 years. Standard mood (Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale (CES-D) for Depressive symptoms and a single-item life satisfaction measure) and sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, PSQI) measures were conducted as part of the survey. Multiple imputation was used to deal with missing data in outcome, exposures or covariates. Relative excess risk for interaction (RERI) and its 95% CIs were estimated using adjusted prevalence ORs. Owing to the study size, the precision of the measures of additive interaction is relatively low.
Results
We observed an association between depressed mood (5-units increase in CES-D score) (POR=1.7 (95% CI 1.6 to 1.8)) and sleep disorder, and between low LS (not very satisfied vs very satisfied) (POR=1.5 (1.1 to 2.2)) and sleep disorder. Also, we observed a synergistic effect between lower level of LS (not very satisfied) and depressed mood (score ≥16) on prevalence of sleep disorders (RERI=3.7 (−0.2 to 7.1)). Furthermore, these findings were corroborated in sensitivity analysis carried out with the complete case data set and in sex-specific analyses (RERI=5.5 (−0.4 to 11.3), and RERI=2.4 (−2.5 to 7.4) for men and women, respectively).
Conclusions
Both depressed mood and LS are notably associated with sleep quality, and these relationships are best captured by considering their joint effects. Depression and LS need to be taken into consideration when analysing sleep quality.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-007919
PMCID: PMC4716226  PMID: 26729376
depressed mood; life satisfaction; sleep quality; interaction
5.  Job Strain as a Risk Factor for Type 2 Diabetes: A Pooled Analysis of 124,808 Men and Women 
Diabetes Care  2014;37(8):2268-2275.
OBJECTIVE
The status of psychosocial stress at work as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes is unclear because existing evidence is based on small studies and is subject to confounding by lifestyle factors, such as obesity and physical inactivity. This collaborative study examined whether stress at work, defined as “job strain,” is associated with incident type 2 diabetes independent of lifestyle factors.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We extracted individual-level data for 124,808 diabetes-free adults from 13 European cohort studies participating in the IPD-Work Consortium. We measured job strain with baseline questionnaires. Incident type 2 diabetes at follow-up was ascertained using national health registers, clinical screening, and self-reports. We analyzed data for each study using Cox regression and pooled the study-specific estimates in fixed-effect meta-analyses.
RESULTS
There were 3,703 cases of incident diabetes during a mean follow-up of 10.3 years. After adjustment for age, sex, and socioeconomic status (SES), the hazard ratio (HR) for job strain compared with no job strain was 1.15 (95% CI 1.06–1.25) with no difference between men and women (1.19 [1.06–1.34] and 1.13 [1.00–1.28], respectively). In stratified analyses, job strain was associated with an increased risk of diabetes among those with healthy and unhealthy lifestyle habits. In a multivariable model adjusted for age, sex, SES, and lifestyle habits, the HR was 1.11 (1.00–1.23).
CONCLUSIONS
Findings from a large pan-European dataset suggest that job strain is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes in men and women independent of lifestyle factors.
doi:10.2337/dc13-2936
PMCID: PMC4113178  PMID: 25061139
6.  The Association between Education and Work Stress: Does the Policy Context Matter? 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0121573.
Objectives
Several studies report socioeconomic differences in work stress, where people in lower socioeconomic positions (SEP) are more likely to experience this burden. In the current study, we analyse associations between education and work stress in a large sample of workers from 16 European countries. In addition we explore whether distinct national labour market policies are related to smaller inequalities in work stress according to educational attainment.
Methods
We use data collected in 2010/11 in two comparative studies (‘Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe’ and the ‘English Longitudinal Study of Ageing’; N = 13695), with samples of men and women aged 50 to 64 from 16 European countries. We measure highest educational degree according to the international standard classification of education (ISCED) and assess work stress in terms of the demand-control and the effort-reward imbalance model. National labour market policies are measured on the basis of policy indicators which are divided into (1) ‘protective’ policies offering financial compensation to those excluded from the labour market (e.g. replacement rate), and (2) ‘integrative’ policies supporting disadvantaged individuals on the labour market (e.g. investments into active labour market policies or possibilities for further qualification in later life). In addition to country-specific analyses, we estimate multilevel models and test for interactions between the indicators of national policies and individual education.
Results
Main findings demonstrate consistent associations between lower education and higher levels of work stress in all countries. The strength of this association, however, varies across countries and is comparatively small in countries offering pronounced ‘integrative’ policies, in terms of high investments into measures of an active labor market policy and high participation rates in lifelong learning activities.
Conclusions
Our results point to different types of policies that may help to reduce educational differences in work stress, in particular policies supporting those who are disadvantaged on the labour market.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121573
PMCID: PMC4374794  PMID: 25812142
7.  Long working hours and alcohol use: systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies and unpublished individual participant data 
The BMJ  2015;350:g7772.
Objective To quantify the association between long working hours and alcohol use.
Design Systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies and unpublished individual participant data.
Data sources A systematic search of PubMed and Embase databases in April 2014 for published studies, supplemented with manual searches. Unpublished individual participant data were obtained from 27 additional studies.
Review methods The search strategy was designed to retrieve cross sectional and prospective studies of the association between long working hours and alcohol use. Summary estimates were obtained with random effects meta-analysis. Sources of heterogeneity were examined with meta-regression.
Results Cross sectional analysis was based on 61 studies representing 333 693 participants from 14 countries. Prospective analysis was based on 20 studies representing 100 602 participants from nine countries. The pooled maximum adjusted odds ratio for the association between long working hours and alcohol use was 1.11 (95% confidence interval 1.05 to 1.18) in the cross sectional analysis of published and unpublished data. Odds ratio of new onset risky alcohol use was 1.12 (1.04 to 1.20) in the analysis of prospective published and unpublished data. In the 18 studies with individual participant data it was possible to assess the European Union Working Time Directive, which recommends an upper limit of 48 hours a week. Odds ratios of new onset risky alcohol use for those working 49-54 hours and ≥55 hours a week were 1.13 (1.02 to 1.26; adjusted difference in incidence 0.8 percentage points) and 1.12 (1.01 to 1.25; adjusted difference in incidence 0.7 percentage points), respectively, compared with working standard 35-40 hours (incidence of new onset risky alcohol use 6.2%). There was no difference in these associations between men and women or by age or socioeconomic groups, geographical regions, sample type (population based v occupational cohort), prevalence of risky alcohol use in the cohort, or sample attrition rate.
Conclusions Individuals whose working hours exceed standard recommendations are more likely to increase their alcohol use to levels that pose a health risk.
doi:10.1136/bmj.g7772
PMCID: PMC4293546  PMID: 25587065
8.  Long working hours, socioeconomic status, and the risk of incident type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of published and unpublished data from 222 120 individuals 
Summary
Background
Working long hours might have adverse health effects, but whether this is true for all socioeconomic status groups is unclear. In this meta-analysis stratified by socioeconomic status, we investigated the role of long working hours as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
Methods
We identified four published studies through a systematic literature search of PubMed and Embase up to April 30, 2014. Study inclusion criteria were English-language publication; prospective design (cohort study); investigation of the effect of working hours or overtime work; incident diabetes as an outcome; and relative risks, odds ratios, or hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% CIs, or sufficient information to calculate these estimates. Additionally, we used unpublished individual-level data from 19 cohort studies from the Individual-Participant-Data Meta-analysis in Working-Populations Consortium and international open-access data archives. Effect estimates from published and unpublished data from 222 120 men and women from the USA, Europe, Japan, and Australia were pooled with random-effects meta-analysis.
Findings
During 1·7 million person-years at risk, 4963 individuals developed diabetes (incidence 29 per 10 000 person-years). The minimally adjusted summary risk ratio for long (≥55 h per week) compared with standard working hours (35–40 h) was 1·07 (95% CI 0·89–1·27, difference in incidence three cases per 10 000 person-years) with significant heterogeneity in study-specific estimates (I2=53%, p=0·0016). In an analysis stratified by socioeconomic status, the association between long working hours and diabetes was evident in the low socioeconomic status group (risk ratio 1·29, 95% CI 1·06–1·57, difference in incidence 13 per 10 000 person-years, I2=0%, p=0·4662), but was null in the high socioeconomic status group (1·00, 95% CI 0·80–1·25, incidence difference zero per 10 000 person-years, I2=15%, p=0·2464). The association in the low socioeconomic status group was robust to adjustment for age, sex, obesity, and physical activity, and remained after exclusion of shift workers.
Interpretation
In this meta-analysis, the link between longer working hours and type 2 diabetes was apparent only in individuals in the low socioeconomic status groups.
Funding
Medical Research Council, European Union New and Emerging Risks in Occupational Safety and Health research programme, Finnish Work Environment Fund, Swedish Research Council for Working Life and Social Research, German Social Accident Insurance, Danish National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Academy of Finland, Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (Netherlands), Economic and Social Research Council, US National Institutes of Health, and British Heart Foundation.
doi:10.1016/S2213-8587(14)70178-0
PMCID: PMC4286814  PMID: 25262544
9.  Genome-wide association study of alcohol dependence 
Archives of general psychiatry  2009;66(7):773-784.
Context
Identification of genes contributing to alcohol dependence will improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying this disorder.
Objective
To identify susceptibility genes for alcohol dependence through a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and follow-up study in a population of German male inpatients with an early age at onset.
Design
The GWAS included 487 male inpatients with DSM-IV alcohol dependence with an age at onset below 28 years and 1,358 population based control individuals. The follow-up study included 1,024 male inpatients and 996 age-matched male controls. All subjects were of German descent. The GWAS tested 524,396 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). All SNPs with p<10-4 were subjected to the follow-up study. In addition, nominally significant SNPs from those genes that had also shown expression changes in rat brains after chronic alcohol consumption were selected for the follow-up step.
Results
The GWAS produced 121 SNPs with nominal p<10-4. These, together with 19 additional SNPs from homologs of rat genes showing differential expression, were genotyped in the follow-up sample. Fifteen SNPs showed significant association with the same allele as in the GWAS. In the combined analysis, two closely linked intergenic SNPs met genome-wide significance (rs7590720 p=9.72×10-9; rs1344694 p=1.69×10-8). They are located on chromosome 2q35, a region which has been implicated in linkage studies for alcohol phenotypes. Nine SNPs were located in genes, including CDH13 and ADH1C genes which have been reported to be associated with alcohol dependence.
Conclusion
This is the first GWAS and follow-up study to identify a genome-wide significant association in alcohol dependence. Further independent studies are required to confirm these findings.
doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.83
PMCID: PMC4229246  PMID: 19581569
10.  Associations between Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and aortic valve or coronary artery calcification: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study 
Atherosclerosis  2013;229(2):310-316.
Background
The association between non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and the incidence of valvular and arterial calcification is not well established despite known associations between these drugs and cardiovascular events.
Objective
To compare the association between the baseline use of aspirin with other NSAID class medications with the incidence and prevalence of aortic valve calcification (AVC) and coronary artery calcium (CAC).
Methods
The relationship of NSAID use to AVC and CAC detected by computed tomography was assessed in 6,814 participants within the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) using regression modeling. Results were adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, study site, anti-hypertensive medication use, education, income, health insurance status, diabetes, smoking, exercise, body mass index, blood pressure, serum lipids, inflammatory markers, fasting glucose, statin medication use, and a simple diet score. Medication use was assessed by medication inventory at baseline which includes the use of non-prescription NSAIDs. MESA collects information on both incident and prevalent calcification. The 4,814 participants of the Heinz Nixdorf Recall (HNR) Study, a German prospective cohort study with similar measures of calcification, were included in this analysis to enable replication.
Results
Mean age of the MESA participants was 62 years (51% female). After adjustment for possible confounding factors, a possible association between aspirin use and incident AVC (Relative Risk(RR): 1.60; 95%Confidence Interval (CI): 1.19–2.15) did not replicate in the HNR cohort (RR: 1.06; 95%CI: 0.87–1.28). There was no significant association between aspirin use and incident CAC in the MESA cohort (RR 1.08; 95%CI: 0.91–1.29) or in the HNR cohort (RR 1.24; 95%CI: 0.87–1.77). Non-aspirin NSAID use was not associated with either AVC or CAC in either cohort. There were no associations between regular cardiac dose aspirin and incident calcification in either cohort.
Conclusion
Baseline NSAID use, as assessed by medication inventory, appears to have no protective effect regarding the onset of calcification in either coronary arteries or aortic valves.
doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2013.05.002
PMCID: PMC3724227  PMID: 23880181
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; aspirin; aortic valve calcification; coronary artery calcification; Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis; Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study
11.  Progression of coronary artery calcification seems to be inevitable, but predictable - results of the Heinz Nixdorf Recall (HNR) study† 
European Heart Journal  2014;35(42):2960-2971.
Aim
Coronary artery calcification (CAC), as a sign of atherosclerosis, can be detected and progression quantified using computed tomography (CT). We develop a tool for predicting CAC progression.
Methods and results
In 3481 participants (45–74 years, 53.1% women) CAC percentiles at baseline (CACb) and after five years (CAC5y) were evaluated, demonstrating progression along gender-specific percentiles, which showed exponentially shaped age-dependence. Using quantile regression on the log-scale (log(CACb+1)) we developed a tool to individually predict CAC5y, and compared to observed CAC5y. The difference between observed and predicted CAC5y (log-scale, mean±SD) was 0.08±1.11 and 0.06±1.29 in men and women. Agreement reached a kappa-value of 0.746 (95% confidence interval: 0.732–0.760) and concordance correlation (log-scale) of 0.886 (0.879–0.893). Explained variance of observed by predicted log(CAC5y+1) was 80.1% and 72.0% in men and women, and 81.0 and 73.6% including baseline risk factors. Evaluating the tool in 1940 individuals with CACb>0 and CACb<400 at baseline, of whom 242 (12.5%) developed CAC5y>400, yielded a sensitivity of 59.5%, specificity 96.1%, (+) and (−) predictive values of 68.3% and 94.3%. A pre-defined acceptance range around predicted CAC5y contained 68.1% of observed CAC5y; only 20% were expected by chance. Age, blood pressure, lipid-lowering medication, diabetes, and smoking contributed to progression above the acceptance range in men and, excepting age, in women.
Conclusion
CAC nearly inevitably progresses with limited influence of cardiovascular risk factors. This allowed the development of a mathematical tool for prediction of individual CAC progression, enabling anticipation of the age when CAC thresholds of high risk are reached.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehu288
PMCID: PMC4223611  PMID: 25062951
Coronary artery calcification; Progression of atherosclerosis; CT; Imaging; Heinz Nixdorf Recall study; Epidemiology
12.  Exploring genetic variants predisposing to diabetes mellitus and their association with indicators of socioeconomic status 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:609.
Background
The relevance of disease-related genetic variants for the explanation of social inequalities in complex diseases is unclear and empirical analyses are largely missing. The aim of our study was to examine whether genetic variants predisposing to diabetes mellitus are associated with socioeconomic status in a population-based cohort.
Methods
We genotyped 11 selected diabetes-related single nucleotide polymorphisms in 4655 participants (age 45-75 years) of the Heinz Nixdorf Recall study. Diabetes status was self-reported or defined by blood glucose levels. Education, income and paternal occupation were assessed as indicators of socioeconomic status. Multiple regression analyses were used to examine the association of socioeconomic status and diabetes by estimating sex-specific and age-adjusted prevalence ratios and their corresponding 95%-confidence intervals. To explore the relationship between individual single nucleotide polymorphisms and socioeconomic status sex- and age-adjusted odds ratios were computed. We adjusted the alpha-level for multiple testing of 11 single nucleotide polymorphisms using Bonferroni’s method ( α BF ~ 0.005). In addition, we explored the association of a genetic risk score with socioeconomic status.
Results
Social inequalities in diabetes were observed for all indicators of socioeconomic status. However, there were no significant associations between individual diabetes-related risk alleles and socioeconomic status with odds ratios ranging from 0.87 to 1.23. Similarly, the genetic risk score analysis revealed no evidence for an association.
Conclusions
Our data provide no evidence for an association between 11 diabetes-related risk alleles and different indicators of socioeconomic status in a population-based cohort, suggesting that the explored genetic variants do not contribute to health inequalities in diabetes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-609
PMCID: PMC4071333  PMID: 24935819
Health inequalities; Diabetes mellitus; Genetics of complex diseases
13.  Comparison of Factors Associated with Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) and the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study (HNR) 
Background
The measurement of carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) is a valid method to quantify levels of atherosclerosis. The present study was conducted to compare the strengths of associations between CIMT and cardiovascular risk factors in two different populations.
Methods
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) and the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study (HNR) are two population-based prospective cohort studies of subclinical cardiovascular disease. All Caucasian subjects aged 45 to 75 years from these cohorts who were free of baseline cardiovascular disease (n = 2,820 in HNR, n = 2,270 in MESA) were combined. CIMT images were obtained using B-mode sonography at the right and left common carotid artery and measured 1 cm starting from the bulb.
Results
In both studies, age, male sex, and systolic blood pressure showed the strongest association (P < .0001 for each) for a higher CIMT. The mean of mean far wall CIMT was slightly higher in MESA participants (0.71 vs 0.67 mm). Almost all significant variables were consistent between the two cohorts in both magnitude of association with CIMT and statistical significance, including age, sex, smoking, diabetes, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. For example, the association with systolic blood pressure was (ΔSD = 0.011; 95% confidence interval, 0.0009 to 0.014) per mm Hg in MESA and (ΔSD = 0.010; 95% confidence interval, 0.005 to 0.021) per mm Hg in HNR. This consistency persisted throughout the traditional (Framingham) risk factors.
Conclusions
A comparison of the associations between traditional cardiovascular risk factors and CIMT across two culturally diverse populations showed remarkable consistency.
doi:10.1016/j.echo.2013.03.011
PMCID: PMC3694173  PMID: 23611058
Carotid intima-media thickness; Subclinical atherosclerosis; Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis; MESA; Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study; HNR
14.  Study protocol for examining job strain as a risk factor for severe unipolar depression in an individual participant meta-analysis of 14 European cohorts 
F1000Research  2014;2:233.
Background: Previous studies have shown that gainfully employed individuals with high work demands and low control at work (denoted “job strain”) are at increased risk of common mental disorders, including depression. Most existing studies have, however, measured depression using self-rated symptom scales that do not necessarily correspond to clinically diagnosed depression. In addition, a meta-analysis from 2008 indicated publication bias in the field.
Methods: This study protocol describes the planned design and analyses of an individual participant data meta-analysis, to examine whether job strain is associated with an increased risk of clinically diagnosed unipolar depression based on hospital treatment registers.  The study will be based on data from approximately 120,000 individuals who participated in 14 studies on work environment and health in 4 European countries. The self-reported working conditions data will be merged with national registers on psychiatric hospital treatment, primarily hospital admissions. Study-specific risk estimates for the association between job strain and depression will be calculated using Cox regressions. The study-specific risk estimates will be pooled using random effects meta-analysis.
Discussion: The planned analyses will help clarify whether job strain is associated with an increased risk of clinically diagnosed unipolar depression. As the analysis is based on pre-planned study protocols and an individual participant data meta-analysis, the pooled risk estimates will not be influenced by selective reporting and publication bias. However, the results of the planned study may only pertain to severe cases of unipolar depression, because of the outcome measure applied.
doi:10.12688/f1000research.2-233.v2
PMCID: PMC3938244  PMID: 24627793
15.  Job Strain and the Risk of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: Individual-Participant Meta-Analysis of 95 000 Men and Women 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88711.
Background and Aims
Many clinicians, patients and patient advocacy groups believe stress to have a causal role in inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. However, this is not corroborated by clear epidemiological research evidence. We investigated the association between work-related stress and incident Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis using individual-level data from 95 000 European adults.
Methods
We conducted individual-participant data meta-analyses in a set of pooled data from 11 prospective European studies. All studies are a part of the IPD-Work Consortium. Work-related psychosocial stress was operationalised as job strain (a combination of high demands and low control at work) and was self-reported at baseline. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis were ascertained from national hospitalisation and drug reimbursement registers. The associations between job strain and inflammatory bowel disease outcomes were modelled using Cox proportional hazards regression. The study-specific results were combined in random effects meta-analyses.
Results
Of the 95 379 participants who were free of inflammatory bowel disease at baseline, 111 men and women developed Crohn's disease and 414 developed ulcerative colitis during follow-up. Job strain at baseline was not associated with incident Crohn's disease (multivariable-adjusted random effects hazard ratio: 0.83, 95% confidence interval: 0.48, 1.43) or ulcerative colitis (hazard ratio: 1.06, 95% CI: 0.76, 1.48). There was negligible heterogeneity among the study-specific associations.
Conclusions
Our findings suggest that job strain, an indicator of work-related stress, is not a major risk factor for Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088711
PMCID: PMC3928274  PMID: 24558416
16.  Work stress and depressive symptoms in older employees: impact of national labour and social policies 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:1086.
Background
Maintaining health and work ability among older employees is a primary target of national labour and social policies (NLSP) in Europe. Depression makes a significant contribution to early retirement, and chronic work-related stress is associated with elevated risks of depression. We test this latter association among older employees and explore to what extent indicators of distinct NLSP modify the association between work stress and depressive symptoms. We choose six indicators, classified in three categories: (1) investment in active labour market policies, (2) employment protection, (3) level of distributive justice.
Methods
We use data from three longitudinal ageing studies (SHARE, HRS, ELSA) including 5650 men and women in 13 countries. Information on work stress (effort-reward imbalance, low work control) and depressive symptoms (CES-D, EURO-D) was obtained. Six NLSP indicators were selected from OECD databases. Associations of work stress (2004) with depressive symptoms (2006) and their modification by policy indicators were analysed using logistic multilevel models.
Results
Risk of depressive symptoms at follow-up is higher among those experiencing effort-reward imbalance (OR: 1.55 95% CI 1.27-1.89) and low control (OR: 1.46 95% CI 1.19-1.79) at work. Interaction terms indicate a modifying effect of a majority of protective NLSP indicators on the strength of associations of effort - reward imbalance with depressive symptoms.
Conclusions
Work stress is associated with elevated risk of prospective depressive symptoms among older employees from 13 European countries. Protective labour and social policies modify the strength of these associations. If further supported findings may have important policy implications.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-1086
PMCID: PMC4222833  PMID: 24256638
Depressive symptoms; Labour and social policies; Work stress; Demand-control; Effort-reward imbalance; Cross-national study
17.  Study protocol for examining job strain as a risk factor for severe unipolar depression in an individual participant meta-analysis of 14 European cohorts 
F1000Research  2013;2:233.
Background: Previous studies have shown that gainfully employed individuals with high work demands and low control at work (denoted “job strain”) are at increased risk of common mental disorders, including depression. Most existing studies have, however, measured depression using self-rated symptom scales that do not necessarily correspond to clinically diagnosed depression. In addition, a meta-analysis from 2008 indicated publication bias in the field.
 
Methods: This study protocol describes the planned design and analyses of an individual participant data meta-analysis, to examine whether job strain is associated with an increased risk of clinically diagnosed unipolar depression based on hospital treatment registers.  The study will be based on data from approximately 120,000 individuals who participated in 14 studies on work environment and health in 4 European countries. The self-reported working conditions data will be merged with national registers on psychiatric hospital treatment, primarily hospital admissions. Study-specific risk estimates for the association between job strain and depression will be calculated using Cox regressions. The study-specific risk estimates will be pooled using random effects meta-analysis.
 
Discussion: The planned analyses will help clarify whether job strain is associated with an increased risk of clinically diagnosed unipolar depression. As the analysis is based on pre-planned study protocols and an individual participant data meta-analysis, the pooled risk estimates will not be influenced by selective reporting and publication bias. However, the results of the planned study may only pertain to severe cases of unipolar depression, because of the outcome measure applied.
doi:10.12688/f1000research.2-233.v1
PMCID: PMC3938244  PMID: 24627793
18.  Perceived job insecurity as a risk factor for incident coronary heart disease: systematic review and meta-analysis  
The BMJ  2013;347:f4746.
Objective To determine the association between self reported job insecurity and incident coronary heart disease.
Design A meta-analysis combining individual level data from a collaborative consortium and published studies identified by a systematic review.
Data sources We obtained individual level data from 13 cohort studies participating in the Individual-Participant-Data Meta-analysis in Working Populations Consortium. Four published prospective cohort studies were identified by searches of Medline (to August 2012) and Embase databases (to October 2012), supplemented by manual searches.
Review methods Prospective cohort studies that reported risk estimates for clinically verified incident coronary heart disease by the level of self reported job insecurity. Two independent reviewers extracted published data. Summary estimates of association were obtained using random effects models.
Results The literature search yielded four cohort studies. Together with 13 cohort studies with individual participant data, the meta-analysis comprised up to 174 438 participants with a mean follow-up of 9.7 years and 1892 incident cases of coronary heart disease. Age adjusted relative risk of high versus low job insecurity was 1.32 (95% confidence interval 1.09 to 1.59). The relative risk of job insecurity adjusted for sociodemographic and risk factors was 1.19 (1.00 to 1.42). There was no evidence of significant differences in this association by sex, age (<50 v ≥50 years), national unemployment rate, welfare regime, or job insecurity measure.
Conclusions The modest association between perceived job insecurity and incident coronary heart disease is partly attributable to poorer socioeconomic circumstances and less favourable risk factor profiles among people with job insecurity.
doi:10.1136/bmj.f4746
PMCID: PMC3738256  PMID: 23929894
19.  Job Strain and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: Meta-Analysis of Individual-Participant Data from 47,000 Men and Women 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e67323.
Background
Job strain is associated with an increased coronary heart disease risk, but few large-scale studies have examined the relationship of this psychosocial characteristic with the biological risk factors that potentially mediate the job strain – heart disease association.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We pooled cross-sectional, individual-level data from eight studies comprising 47,045 participants to investigate the association between job strain and the following cardiovascular disease risk factors: diabetes, blood pressure, pulse pressure, lipid fractions, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, obesity, and overall cardiovascular disease risk as indexed by the Framingham Risk Score. In age-, sex-, and socioeconomic status-adjusted analyses, compared to those without job strain, people with job strain were more likely to have diabetes (odds ratio 1.29; 95% CI: 1.11–1.51), to smoke (1.14; 1.08–1.20), to be physically inactive (1.34; 1.26–1.41), and to be obese (1.12; 1.04–1.20). The association between job strain and elevated Framingham risk score (1.13; 1.03–1.25) was attributable to the higher prevalence of diabetes, smoking and physical inactivity among those reporting job strain.
Conclusions
In this meta-analysis of work-related stress and cardiovascular disease risk factors, job strain was linked to adverse lifestyle and diabetes. No association was observed between job strain, clinic blood pressure or blood lipids.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067323
PMCID: PMC3688665  PMID: 23840664
20.  Associations of job strain and lifestyle risk factors with risk of coronary artery disease: a meta-analysis of individual participant data 
Background:
It is unclear whether a healthy lifestyle mitigates the adverse effects of job strain on coronary artery disease. We examined the associations of job strain and lifestyle risk factors with the risk of coronary artery disease.
Methods:
We pooled individual-level data from 7 cohort studies comprising 102 128 men and women who were free of existing coronary artery disease at baseline (1985–2000). Questionnaires were used to measure job strain (yes v. no) and 4 lifestyle risk factors: current smoking, physical inactivity, heavy drinking and obesity. We grouped participants into 3 lifestyle categories: healthy (no lifestyle risk factors), moderately unhealthy (1 risk factor) and unhealthy (2–4 risk factors). The primary outcome was incident coronary artery disease (defined as first nonfatal myocardial infarction or cardiac-related death).
Results:
There were 1086 incident events in 743 948 person-years at risk during a mean follow-up of 7.3 years. The risk of coronary artery disease among people who had an unhealthy lifestyle compared with those who had a healthy lifestyle (hazard ratio [HR] 2.55, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.18–2.98; population attributable risk 26.4%) was higher than the risk among participants who had job strain compared with those who had no job strain (HR 1.25, 95% CI 1.06–1.47; population attributable risk 3.8%). The 10-year incidence of coronary artery disease among participants with job strain and a healthy lifestyle (14.7 per 1000) was 53% lower than the incidence among those with job strain and an unhealthy lifestyle (31.2 per 1000).
Interpretation:
The risk of coronary artery disease was highest among participants who reported job strain and an unhealthy lifestyle; those with job strain and a healthy lifestyle had half the rate of disease. A healthy lifestyle may substantially reduce disease risk among people with job strain.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.121735
PMCID: PMC3680555  PMID: 23670152
21.  Work stress and risk of cancer: meta-analysis of 5700 incident cancer events in 116 000 European men and women 
The BMJ  2013;346:f165.
Objective To investigate whether work related stress, measured and defined as job strain, is associated with the overall risk of cancer and the risk of colorectal, lung, breast, or prostate cancers.
Design Meta-analysis of pooled prospective individual participant data from 12 European cohort studies including 116 056 men and women aged 17-70 who were free from cancer at study baseline and were followed-up for a median of 12 years. Work stress was measured and defined as job strain, which was self reported at baseline. Incident cancers (all n=5765, colorectal cancer n=522, lung cancer n=374, breast cancer n=1010, prostate cancer n=865) were ascertained from cancer, hospital admission, and death registers. Data were analysed in each study with Cox regression and the study specific estimates pooled in meta-analyses. Models were adjusted for age, sex, socioeconomic position, body mass index (BMI), smoking, and alcohol intake
Results A harmonised measure of work stress, high job strain, was not associated with overall risk of cancer (hazard ratio 0.97, 95% confidence interval 0.90 to 1.04) in the multivariable adjusted analyses. Similarly, no association was observed between job strain and the risk of colorectal (1.16, 0.90 to 1.48), lung (1.17, 0.88 to 1.54), breast (0.97, 0.82 to 1.14), or prostate (0.86, 0.68 to 1.09) cancers. There was no clear evidence for an association between the categories of job strain and the risk of cancer.
Conclusions These findings suggest that work related stress, measured and defined as job strain, at baseline is unlikely to be an important risk factor for colorectal, lung, breast, or prostate cancers.
doi:10.1136/bmj.f165
PMCID: PMC3567204  PMID: 23393080
22.  Job Strain as a Risk Factor for Leisure-Time Physical Inactivity: An Individual-Participant Meta-Analysis of Up to 170,000 Men and Women 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2012;176(12):1078-1089.
Unfavorable work characteristics, such as low job control and too high or too low job demands, have been suggested to increase the likelihood of physical inactivity during leisure time, but this has not been verified in large-scale studies. The authors combined individual-level data from 14 European cohort studies (baseline years from 1985–1988 to 2006–2008) to examine the association between unfavorable work characteristics and leisure-time physical inactivity in a total of 170,162 employees (50% women; mean age, 43.5 years). Of these employees, 56,735 were reexamined after 2–9 years. In cross-sectional analyses, the odds for physical inactivity were 26% higher (odds ratio = 1.26, 95% confidence interval: 1.15, 1.38) for employees with high-strain jobs (low control/high demands) and 21% higher (odds ratio = 1.21, 95% confidence interval: 1.11, 1.31) for those with passive jobs (low control/low demands) compared with employees in low-strain jobs (high control/low demands). In prospective analyses restricted to physically active participants, the odds of becoming physically inactive during follow-up were 21% and 20% higher for those with high-strain (odds ratio = 1.21, 95% confidence interval: 1.11, 1.32) and passive (odds ratio = 1.20, 95% confidence interval: 1.11, 1.30) jobs at baseline. These data suggest that unfavorable work characteristics may have a spillover effect on leisure-time physical activity.
doi:10.1093/aje/kws336
PMCID: PMC3521479  PMID: 23144364
cohort studies; exercise; physical activity; psychosocial factors; working population
23.  Job strain as a risk factor for coronary heart disease: a collaborative meta-analysis of individual participant data 
Lancet  2012;380(9852):1491-1497.
Summary
Background
Published work assessing psychosocial stress (job strain) as a risk factor for coronary heart disease is inconsistent and subject to publication bias and reverse causation bias. We analysed the relation between job strain and coronary heart disease with a meta-analysis of published and unpublished studies.
Methods
We used individual records from 13 European cohort studies (1985–2006) of men and women without coronary heart disease who were employed at time of baseline assessment. We measured job strain with questions from validated job-content and demand-control questionnaires. We extracted data in two stages such that acquisition and harmonisation of job strain measure and covariables occurred before linkage to records for coronary heart disease. We defined incident coronary heart disease as the first non-fatal myocardial infarction or coronary death.
Findings
30 214 (15%) of 197 473 participants reported job strain. In 1·49 million person-years at risk (mean follow-up 7·5 years [SD 1·7]), we recorded 2358 events of incident coronary heart disease. After adjustment for sex and age, the hazard ratio for job strain versus no job strain was 1·23 (95% CI 1·10–1·37). This effect estimate was higher in published (1·43, 1·15–1·77) than unpublished (1·16, 1·02–1·32) studies. Hazard ratios were likewise raised in analyses addressing reverse causality by exclusion of events of coronary heart disease that occurred in the first 3 years (1·31, 1·15–1·48) and 5 years (1·30, 1·13–1·50) of follow-up. We noted an association between job strain and coronary heart disease for sex, age groups, socioeconomic strata, and region, and after adjustments for socioeconomic status, and lifestyle and conventional risk factors. The population attributable risk for job strain was 3·4%.
Interpretation
Our findings suggest that prevention of workplace stress might decrease disease incidence; however, this strategy would have a much smaller effect than would tackling of standard risk factors, such as smoking.
Funding
Finnish Work Environment Fund, the Academy of Finland, the Swedish Research Council for Working Life and Social Research, the German Social Accident Insurance, the Danish National Research Centre for the Working Environment, the BUPA Foundation, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, and the US National Institutes of Health.
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60994-5
PMCID: PMC3486012  PMID: 22981903
24.  Insomnia and urban neighbourhood contexts – are associations modified by individual social characteristics and change of residence? Results from a population-based study using residential histories 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:810.
Background
Until now, insomnia has not been much of interest in epidemiological neighbourhood studies, although literature provides evidence enough for insomnia-related mechanisms being potentially dependent on neighbourhood contexts. Besides, studies have shown differences in sleep along individual social characteristics that might render residents more vulnerable to neighbourhood contextual exposures. Given the role of exposure duration and changes in the relationship between neighbourhoods and health, we studied associations of neighbourhood unemployment and months under residential turnover with insomnia by covering ten years of residential history of nearly 3,000 urban residents in the Ruhr Area, Germany.
Methods
Individual data were retrieved from the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study, a population-based study of randomly chosen participants from adjacent cities, which contains self-rated insomnia symptoms and individual social characteristics. Participants’ residential addresses were retrospectively assessed using public registries. We built individually derived exposure measures informing about mean neighbourhood unemployment rates and months under high residential turnover. These measures were major predictors in multivariate logistic regressions modelling the association between social neighbourhood characteristics and insomnia in the whole sample and subgroups defined by low income, low education, social isolation, and change of residence. Traffic-related noise, age, gender, economic activity, and education were considered as covariates.
Results
Nearly 12 per cent of the participants complained about insomnia. Associations of neighbourhood unemployment with insomnia were more consistent than those of residential turnover in the whole sample (adjusted OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.00-2.03 for neighbourhood unemployment and OR 1.33, 95% CI 0.78-2.25 for residential turnover in the highest exposure categories). In low-income and socially isolated participants, neighbourhood unemployment odds of reporting insomnia were particularly elevated (adjusted OR 2.90, 95% CI 1.39-6.02 and OR 3.32, 95% CI 1.11-9.96, respectively). Less educated participants displayed relatively high odds of reporting insomnia throughout all upper neighbourhood unemployment exposure categories. Change of residence weakened associations, whereas undisrupted exposure sharpened them by trend.
Conclusions
Our findings hint at multiple stressors being effective in both the neighbourhood context and individual resident, possibly reflecting precarious life situations undermining residents’ sleep and health chances. Moreover, our results suggest a temporal dependency in the association between neighbourhood and insomnia.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-810
PMCID: PMC3503830  PMID: 22994885
Insomnia; Neighbourhood unemployment; Residential turnover; Income; Education; Social isolation; Change of residence.
25.  Depressive symptoms and psychosocial stress at work among older employees in three continents 
Background
To assess whether an association of psychosocial stress at work with depressive symptoms among older employees is evident in a set of comparable empirical studies from Europe, North America and Asia.
Methods
Cross-sectional and longitudinal multivariate regression analyses of data from 4 cohort studies with elder workers (2004 and 2006) testing associations of psychosocial stress at work (‘effort-reward imbalance’; ‘low control’) with depressive symptoms.
Results
Cross-sectional analyses from 17 countries with 14.236 participants reveal elevated odds ratios of depressive symptoms among people experiencing high work stress compared to those with low or no work stress. Adjusted odds ratios vary from 1.64 (95% CI 1.02-2.63) in Japan to 1.97 (95% CI 1.75-2.23) in Europe and 2.28 (95% CI 1.59-3.28) in the USA. Odds ratios from additional longitudinal analyses (in 13 countries) controlling for baseline depression are smaller, but remain in part significant.
Conclusion
Findings indicate that psychosocial stress at work might be a relevant risk factor for depressive symptoms among older employees across countries and continents. This observation may call for global policy efforts to improve quality of work in view of a rapidly aging workforce, in particular in times of economic globalization.
doi:10.1186/1744-8603-8-27
PMCID: PMC3503785  PMID: 22818354
Work stress; Depressive symptoms; Older employees; Globalization; Effort-reward imbalance; Job control; Surveys

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