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1.  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
2.  Is It Always Unethical to Use a Placebo in a Clinical Trial? 
PLoS Medicine  2005;2(3):e72.
Background to the debate: Placebos are used in trials to conceal whether a treatment is being given or not and hence to control for the psychosomatic effects of offering treatment. Placebo-controlled trials are controversial. Critics of such trials argue that if a proven effective therapy exists, a placebo should not be used. But proponents argue that placebo trials are still crucial to prove the efficacy and safety of many treatments.
Placebos are used in trials to conceal whether a treatment is being given or not and hence to control for the psychosomatic effects of offering treatment. Placebo-controlled trials are controversial, and our debate examines the controversies
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020072
PMCID: PMC1069666  PMID: 15783259
3.  Correction: Genetic Evidence Implicates the Immune System and Cholesterol Metabolism in the Aetiology of Alzheimer's Disease 
Jones, Lesley | Holmans, Peter A. | Hamshere, Marian L. | Harold, Denise | Moskvina, Valentina | Ivanov, Dobril | Pocklington, Andrew | Abraham, Richard | Hollingworth, Paul | Sims, Rebecca | Gerrish, Amy | Pahwa, Jaspreet Singh | Jones, Nicola | Stretton, Alexandra | Morgan, Angharad R. | Lovestone, Simon | Powell, John | Proitsi, Petroula | Lupton, Michelle K. | Brayne, Carol | Rubinsztein, David C. | Gill, Michael | Lawlor, Brian | Lynch, Aoibhinn | Morgan, Kevin | Brown, Kristelle S. | Passmore, Peter A. | Craig, David | McGuinness, Bernadette | Todd, Stephen | Holmes, Clive | Mann, David | Smith, A. David | Love, Seth | Kehoe, Patrick G. | Mead, Simon | Fox, Nick | Rossor, Martin | Collinge, John | Maier, Wolfgang | Jessen, Frank | Schürmann, Britta | van den Bussche, Hendrik | Heuser, Isabella | Peters, Oliver | Kornhuber, Johannes | Wiltfang, Jens | Dichgans, Martin | Frölich, Lutz | Hampel, Harald | Hüll, Michael | Rujescu, Dan | Goate, Alison M. | Kauwe, John S. K. | Cruchaga, Carlos | Nowotny, Petra | Morris, John C. | Mayo, Kevin | Livingston, Gill | Bass, Nicholas J. | Gurling, Hugh | McQuillin, Andrew | Gwilliam, Rhian | Deloukas, Panos | Al-Chalabi, Ammar | Shaw, Christopher E. | Singleton, Andrew B. | Guerreiro, Rita | Mühleisen, Thomas W. | Nöthen, Markus M. | Moebus, Susanne | Jöckel, Karl-Heinz | Klopp, Norman | Wichmann, H.-Erich | Rüther, Eckhard | Carrasquillo, Minerva M. | Pankratz, V. Shane | Younkin, Steven G. | Hardy, John | O'Donovan, Michael C. | Owen, Michael J. | Williams, Julie
PLoS ONE  2011;6(2):10.1371/annotation/a0bb886d-d345-4a20-a82e-adce9b047798.
doi:10.1371/annotation/a0bb886d-d345-4a20-a82e-adce9b047798
PMCID: PMC3039022
4.  Genetic association study of QT interval highlights role for calcium signaling pathways in myocardial repolarization 
Arking, Dan E. | Pulit, Sara L. | Crotti, Lia | van der Harst, Pim | Munroe, Patricia B. | Koopmann, Tamara T. | Sotoodehnia, Nona | Rossin, Elizabeth J. | Morley, Michael | Wang, Xinchen | Johnson, Andrew D. | Lundby, Alicia | Gudbjartsson, Daníel F. | Noseworthy, Peter A. | Eijgelsheim, Mark | Bradford, Yuki | Tarasov, Kirill V. | Dörr, Marcus | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Lahtinen, Annukka M. | Nolte, Ilja M. | Smith, Albert Vernon | Bis, Joshua C. | Isaacs, Aaron | Newhouse, Stephen J. | Evans, Daniel S. | Post, Wendy S. | Waggott, Daryl | Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka | Hicks, Andrew A. | Eisele, Lewin | Ellinghaus, David | Hayward, Caroline | Navarro, Pau | Ulivi, Sheila | Tanaka, Toshiko | Tester, David J. | Chatel, Stéphanie | Gustafsson, Stefan | Kumari, Meena | Morris, Richard W. | Naluai, Åsa T. | Padmanabhan, Sandosh | Kluttig, Alexander | Strohmer, Bernhard | Panayiotou, Andrie G. | Torres, Maria | Knoflach, Michael | Hubacek, Jaroslav A. | Slowikowski, Kamil | Raychaudhuri, Soumya | Kumar, Runjun D. | Harris, Tamara B. | Launer, Lenore J. | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Alonso, Alvaro | Bader, Joel S. | Ehret, Georg | Huang, Hailiang | Kao, W.H. Linda | Strait, James B. | Macfarlane, Peter W. | Brown, Morris | Caulfield, Mark J. | Samani, Nilesh J. | Kronenberg, Florian | Willeit, Johann | Smith, J. Gustav | Greiser, Karin H. | zu Schwabedissen, Henriette Meyer | Werdan, Karl | Carella, Massimo | Zelante, Leopoldo | Heckbert, Susan R. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Rotter, Jerome I. | Kolcic, Ivana | Polašek, Ozren | Wright, Alan F. | Griffin, Maura | Daly, Mark J. | Arnar, David O. | Hólm, Hilma | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Denny, Joshua C. | Roden, Dan M. | Zuvich, Rebecca L. | Emilsson, Valur | Plump, Andrew S. | Larson, Martin G. | O'Donnell, Christopher J. | Yin, Xiaoyan | Bobbo, Marco | D'Adamo, Adamo P. | Iorio, Annamaria | Sinagra, Gianfranco | Carracedo, Angel | Cummings, Steven R. | Nalls, Michael A. | Jula, Antti | Kontula, Kimmo K. | Marjamaa, Annukka | Oikarinen, Lasse | Perola, Markus | Porthan, Kimmo | Erbel, Raimund | Hoffmann, Per | Jöckel, Karl-Heinz | Kälsch, Hagen | Nöthen, Markus M. | consortium, HRGEN | den Hoed, Marcel | Loos, Ruth J.F. | Thelle, Dag S. | Gieger, Christian | Meitinger, Thomas | Perz, Siegfried | Peters, Annette | Prucha, Hanna | Sinner, Moritz F. | Waldenberger, Melanie | de Boer, Rudolf A. | Franke, Lude | van der Vleuten, Pieter A. | Beckmann, Britt Maria | Martens, Eimo | Bardai, Abdennasser | Hofman, Nynke | Wilde, Arthur A.M. | Behr, Elijah R. | Dalageorgou, Chrysoula | Giudicessi, John R. | Medeiros-Domingo, Argelia | Barc, Julien | Kyndt, Florence | Probst, Vincent | Ghidoni, Alice | Insolia, Roberto | Hamilton, Robert M. | Scherer, Stephen W. | Brandimarto, Jeffrey | Margulies, Kenneth | Moravec, Christine E. | Fabiola Del, Greco M. | Fuchsberger, Christian | O'Connell, Jeffrey R. | Lee, Wai K. | Watt, Graham C.M. | Campbell, Harry | Wild, Sarah H. | El Mokhtari, Nour E. | Frey, Norbert | Asselbergs, Folkert W. | Leach, Irene Mateo | Navis, Gerjan | van den Berg, Maarten P. | van Veldhuisen, Dirk J. | Kellis, Manolis | Krijthe, Bouwe P. | Franco, Oscar H. | Hofman, Albert | Kors, Jan A. | Uitterlinden, André G. | Witteman, Jacqueline C.M. | Kedenko, Lyudmyla | Lamina, Claudia | Oostra, Ben A. | Abecasis, Gonçalo R. | Lakatta, Edward G. | Mulas, Antonella | Orrú, Marco | Schlessinger, David | Uda, Manuela | Markus, Marcello R.P. | Völker, Uwe | Snieder, Harold | Spector, Timothy D. | Ärnlöv, Johan | Lind, Lars | Sundström, Johan | Syvänen, Ann-Christine | Kivimaki, Mika | Kähönen, Mika | Mononen, Nina | Raitakari, Olli T. | Viikari, Jorma S. | Adamkova, Vera | Kiechl, Stefan | Brion, Maria | Nicolaides, Andrew N. | Paulweber, Bernhard | Haerting, Johannes | Dominiczak, Anna F. | Nyberg, Fredrik | Whincup, Peter H. | Hingorani, Aroon | Schott, Jean-Jacques | Bezzina, Connie R. | Ingelsson, Erik | Ferrucci, Luigi | Gasparini, Paolo | Wilson, James F. | Rudan, Igor | Franke, Andre | Mühleisen, Thomas W. | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Lehtimäki, Terho J. | Paterson, Andrew D. | Parsa, Afshin | Liu, Yongmei | van Duijn, Cornelia | Siscovick, David S. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Jamshidi, Yalda | Salomaa, Veikko | Felix, Stephan B. | Sanna, Serena | Ritchie, Marylyn D. | Stricker, Bruno H. | Stefansson, Kari | Boyer, Laurie A. | Cappola, Thomas P. | Olsen, Jesper V. | Lage, Kasper | Schwartz, Peter J. | Kääb, Stefan | Chakravarti, Aravinda | Ackerman, Michael J. | Pfeufer, Arne | de Bakker, Paul I.W. | Newton-Cheh, Christopher
Nature genetics  2014;46(8):826-836.
The QT interval, an electrocardiographic measure reflecting myocardial repolarization, is a heritable trait. QT prolongation is a risk factor for ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death (SCD) and could indicate the presence of the potentially lethal Mendelian Long QT Syndrome (LQTS). Using a genome-wide association and replication study in up to 100,000 individuals we identified 35 common variant QT interval loci, that collectively explain ∼8-10% of QT variation and highlight the importance of calcium regulation in myocardial repolarization. Rare variant analysis of 6 novel QT loci in 298 unrelated LQTS probands identified coding variants not found in controls but of uncertain causality and therefore requiring validation. Several newly identified loci encode for proteins that physically interact with other recognized repolarization proteins. Our integration of common variant association, expression and orthogonal protein-protein interaction screens provides new insights into cardiac electrophysiology and identifies novel candidate genes for ventricular arrhythmias, LQTS,and SCD.
doi:10.1038/ng.3014
PMCID: PMC4124521  PMID: 24952745
genome-wide association study; QT interval; Long QT Syndrome; sudden cardiac death; myocardial repolarization; arrhythmias
5.  Welding and Lung Cancer in a Pooled Analysis of Case-Control Studies 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;178(10):1513-1525.
Several epidemiologic studies have indicated an increased risk of lung cancer among welders. We used the SYNERGY project database to assess welding as a risk factor for developing lung cancer. The database includes data on 15,483 male lung cancer cases and 18,388 male controls from 16 studies in Europe, Canada, China, and New Zealand conducted between 1985 and 2010. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals between regular or occasional welding and lung cancer were estimated, with adjustment for smoking, age, study center, and employment in other occupations associated with lung cancer risk. Overall, 568 cases and 427 controls had ever worked as welders and had an odds ratio of developing lung cancer of 1.44 (95% confidence interval: 1.25, 1.67) with the odds ratio increasing for longer duration of welding. In never and light smokers, the odds ratio was 1.96 (95% confidence interval: 1.37, 2.79). The odds ratios were somewhat higher for squamous and small cell lung cancers than for adenocarcinoma. Another 1,994 cases and 1,930 controls had ever worked in occupations with occasional welding. Work in any of these occupations was associated with some elevation of risk, though not as much as observed in regular welders. Our findings lend further support to the hypothesis that welding is associated with an increased risk of lung cancer.
doi:10.1093/aje/kwt201
PMCID: PMC3888276  PMID: 24052544
case-control studies; lung cancer; occupational exposure; welding
6.  Lung Cancer Risk Among Hairdressers: A Pooled Analysis of Case-Control Studies Conducted Between 1985 and 2010 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;178(9):1355-1365.
Increased lung cancer risks among hairdressers were observed in large registry-based cohort studies from Scandinavia, but these studies could not adjust for smoking. Our objective was to evaluate the lung cancer risk among hairdressers while adjusting for smoking and other confounders in a pooled database of 16 case-control studies conducted in Europe, Canada, China, and New Zealand between 1985 and 2010 (the Pooled Analysis of Case-Control Studies on the Joint Effects of Occupational Carcinogens in the Development of Lung Cancer). Lifetime occupational and smoking information was collected through interviews with 19,369 cases of lung cancer and 23,674 matched population or hospital controls. Overall, 170 cases and 167 controls had ever worked as hairdresser or barber. The odds ratios for lung cancer in women were 1.65 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.16, 2.35) without adjustment for smoking and 1.12 (95% CI: 0.75, 1.68) with adjustment for smoking; however, women employed before 1954 also experienced an increased lung cancer risk after adjustment for smoking (odds ratio = 2.66, 95% CI: 1.09, 6.47). The odds ratios in male hairdressers/barbers were generally not elevated, except for an increased odds ratio for adenocarcinoma in long-term barbers (odds ratio = 2.20, 95% CI: 1.02, 4.77). Our results suggest that the increased lung cancer risks among hairdressers are due to their smoking behavior; single elevated risk estimates should be interpreted with caution and need replication in other studies.
doi:10.1093/aje/kwt119
PMCID: PMC3813309  PMID: 24068200
case-control studies; hair bleaching agents; hair color; lung neoplasms; occupational exposure
7.  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
8.  The Role of Variation at AβPP, PSEN1, PSEN2, and MAPT in Late Onset Alzheimer’s Disease 
Gerrish, Amy | Russo, Giancarlo | Richards, Alexander | Moskvina, Valentina | Ivanov, Dobril | Harold, Denise | Sims, Rebecca | Abraham, Richard | Hollingworth, Paul | Chapman, Jade | Hamshere, Marian | Pahwa, Jaspreet Singh | Dowzell, Kimberley | Williams, Amy | Jones, Nicola | Thomas, Charlene | Stretton, Alexandra | Morgan, Angharad R. | Lovestone, Simon | Powell, John | Proitsi, Petroula | Lupton, Michelle K. | Brayne, Carol | Rubinsztein, David C. | Gill, Michael | Lawlor, Brian | Lynch, Aoibhinn | Morgan, Kevin | Brown, Kristelle S. | Passmore, Peter A. | Craig, David | McGuinness, Bernadette | Todd, Stephen | Johnston, Janet A. | Holmes, Clive | Mann, David | Smith, A. David | Love, Seth | Kehoe, Patrick G. | Hardy, John | Mead, Simon | Fox, Nick | Rossor, Martin | Collinge, John | Maier, Wolfgang | Jessen, Frank | Kölsch, Heike | Heun, Reinhard | Schürmann, Britta | van den Bussche, Hendrik | Heuser, Isabella | Kornhuber, Johannes | Wiltfang, Jens | Dichgans, Martin | Frölich, Lutz | Hampel, Harald | Hüll, Michael | Rujescu, Dan | Goate, Alison M. | Kauwe, John S. K. | Cruchaga, Carlos | Nowotny, Petra | Morris, John C. | Mayo, Kevin | Livingston, Gill | Bass, Nicholas J. | Gurling, Hugh | McQuillin, Andrew | Gwilliam, Rhian | Deloukas, Panagiotis | Davies, Gail | Harris, Sarah E. | Starr, John M. | Deary, Ian J. | Al-Chalabi, Ammar | Shaw, Christopher E. | Tsolaki, Magda | Singleton, Andrew B. | Guerreiro, Rita | Mühleisen, Thomas W. | Nöthen, Markus M. | Moebus, Susanne | Jöckel, Karl-Heinz | Klopp, Norman | Wichmann, H-Erich | Carrasquillo, Minerva M | Pankratz, V Shane | Younkin, Steven G. | Jones, Lesley | Holmans, Peter A. | O’Donovan, Michael C. | Owen, Michael J. | Williams, Julie
Rare mutations in AβPP, PSEN1, and PSEN2 cause uncommon early onset forms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and common variants in MAPT are associated with risk of other neurodegenerative disorders. We sought to establish whether common genetic variation in these genes confer risk to the common form of AD which occurs later in life (>65 years). We therefore tested single-nucleotide polymorphisms at these loci for association with late-onset AD (LOAD) in a large case-control sample consisting of 3,940 cases and 13,373 controls. Single-marker analysis did not identify any variants that reached genome-wide significance, a result which is supported by other recent genome-wide association studies. However, we did observe a significant association at the MAPT locus using a gene-wide approach (p = 0.009). We also observed suggestive association between AD and the marker rs9468, which defines the H1 haplotype, an extended haplotype that spans the MAPT gene and has previously been implicated in other neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, and corticobasal degeneration. In summary common variants at AβPP, PSEN1, and PSEN2 and MAPT are unlikely to make strong contributions to susceptibility for LOAD. However, the gene-wide effect observed at MAPT indicates a possible contribution to disease risk which requires further study.
doi:10.3233/JAD-2011-110824
PMCID: PMC4118466  PMID: 22027014
Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid-β protein precursor; genetics; human; MAPT protein; PSEN1 protein; PSEN2 protein
9.  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
10.  Association between Source-Specific Particulate Matter Air Pollution and hs-CRP: Local Traffic and Industrial Emissions 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2014;122(7):703-710.
Background: Long-term exposures to particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5 and PM10) and high traffic load have been associated with markers of systemic inflammation. Epidemiological investigations have focused primarily on total PM, which represents a mixture of pollutants originating from different sources.
Objective: We investigated associations between source-specific PM and high-sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), an independent predictor of cardiovascular disease.
Methods: We used data from the first (2000–2003) and second examination (2006–2008) of the Heinz Nixdorf Recall study, a prospective population-based German cohort of initially 4,814 participants (45–75 years of age). We estimated residential long-term exposure to local traffic- and industry-specific fine particulate matter (PM2.5) at participants’ residences using a chemistry transport model. We used a linear mixed model with a random participant intercept to estimate associations of source-specific PM and natural log-transformed hs-CRP, controlling for age, sex, education, body mass index, low- and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, smoking variables, physical activity, season, humidity, and city (8,204 total observations).
Results: A 1-μg/m3 increase in total PM2.5 was associated with a 4.53% increase in hs-CRP concentration (95% CI: 2.76, 6.33%). hs-CRP was 17.89% (95% CI: 7.66, 29.09%) and 7.96% (95% CI: 3.45, 12.67%) higher in association with 1-μg/m3 increases in traffic- and industry-specific PM2.5, respectively. Results for PM10 were similar.
Conclusions: Long-term exposure to local traffic-specific PM (PM2.5, PM10) was more strongly associated with systemic inflammation than total PM. Associations of local industry-specific PM were slightly stronger but not significantly different from associations with total PM.
Citation: Hennig F, Fuks K, Moebus S, Weinmayr G, Memmesheimer M, Jakobs H, Bröcker-Preuss M, Führer-Sakel D, Möhlenkamp S, Erbel R, Jöckel KH, Hoffmann B, Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study Investigative Group. 2014. Association between source-specific particulate matter air pollution and hs-CRP: local traffic and industrial emissions. Environ Health Perspect 122:703–710; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1307081
doi:10.1289/ehp.1307081
PMCID: PMC4080540  PMID: 24755038
11.  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
12.  Treatment Pattern of Type 2 Diabetes Differs in Two German Regions and with Patients' Socioeconomic Position 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99773.
Background
Diabetes treatment may differ by region and patients' socioeconomic position. This may be particularly true for newer drugs. However, data are highly limited.
Methods
We examined pooled individual data of two population-based German studies, KORA F4 (Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg, south), and the HNR (Heinz Nixdorf Recall study, west) both carried out 2006 to 2008. To ascertain the association between region and educational level with anti-hyperglycemic medication we fitted poisson regression models with robust error variance for any and newer anti-hyperglycemic medication, adjusting for age, sex, diabetes duration, BMI, cardiovascular disease, lifestyle, and insurance status.
Results
The examined sample comprised 662 participants with self-reported type 2 diabetes (KORA F4: 83 women, 111 men; HNR: 183 women, 285 men). The probability to receive any anti-hyperglycemic drug as well as to be treated with newer anti-hyperglycemic drugs such as insulin analogues, thiazolidinediones, or glinides was significantly increased in southern compared to western Germany (prevalence ratio (PR); 95% CI: 1.12; 1.02–1.22, 1.52;1.10–2.11 respectively). Individuals with lower educational level tended to receive anti-hyperglycemic drugs more likely than their better educated counterparts (PR; 95% CI univariable: 1.10; 0.99–1.22; fully adjusted: 1.10; 0.98–1.23). In contrast, lower education was associated with a lower estimated probability to receive newer drugs among those with any anti-hyperglycemic drugs (PR low vs. high education: 0.66; 0.48–0.91; fully adjusted: 0.68; 0.47–0.996).
Conclusions
We found regional and individual social disparities in overall and newer anti-hyperglycemic medication which were not explained by other confounders. Further research is needed.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099773
PMCID: PMC4051778  PMID: 24915157
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.  Genome-wide meta-analysis identifies 11 new loci for anthropometric traits and provides insights into genetic architecture 
Berndt, Sonja I. | Gustafsson, Stefan | Mägi, Reedik | Ganna, Andrea | Wheeler, Eleanor | Feitosa, Mary F. | Justice, Anne E. | Monda, Keri L. | Croteau-Chonka, Damien C. | Day, Felix R. | Esko, Tõnu | Fall, Tove | Ferreira, Teresa | Gentilini, Davide | Jackson, Anne U. | Luan, Jian’an | Randall, Joshua C. | Vedantam, Sailaja | Willer, Cristen J. | Winkler, Thomas W. | Wood, Andrew R. | Workalemahu, Tsegaselassie | Hu, Yi-Juan | Lee, Sang Hong | Liang, Liming | Lin, Dan-Yu | Min, Josine L. | Neale, Benjamin M. | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Yang, Jian | Albrecht, Eva | Amin, Najaf | Bragg-Gresham, Jennifer L. | Cadby, Gemma | den Heijer, Martin | Eklund, Niina | Fischer, Krista | Goel, Anuj | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Huffman, Jennifer E. | Jarick, Ivonne | Johansson, Åsa | Johnson, Toby | Kanoni, Stavroula | Kleber, Marcus E. | König, Inke R. | Kristiansson, Kati | Kutalik, Zoltán | Lamina, Claudia | Lecoeur, Cecile | Li, Guo | Mangino, Massimo | McArdle, Wendy L. | Medina-Gomez, Carolina | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Ngwa, Julius S. | Nolte, Ilja M. | Paternoster, Lavinia | Pechlivanis, Sonali | Perola, Markus | Peters, Marjolein J. | Preuss, Michael | Rose, Lynda M. | Shi, Jianxin | Shungin, Dmitry | Smith, Albert Vernon | Strawbridge, Rona J. | Surakka, Ida | Teumer, Alexander | Trip, Mieke D. | Tyrer, Jonathan | Van Vliet-Ostaptchouk, Jana V. | Vandenput, Liesbeth | Waite, Lindsay L. | Zhao, Jing Hua | Absher, Devin | Asselbergs, Folkert W. | Atalay, Mustafa | Attwood, Antony P. | Balmforth, Anthony J. | Basart, Hanneke | Beilby, John | Bonnycastle, Lori L. | Brambilla, Paolo | Bruinenberg, Marcel | Campbell, Harry | Chasman, Daniel I. | Chines, Peter S. | Collins, Francis S. | Connell, John M. | Cookson, William | de Faire, Ulf | de Vegt, Femmie | Dei, Mariano | Dimitriou, Maria | Edkins, Sarah | Estrada, Karol | Evans, David M. | Farrall, Martin | Ferrario, Marco M. | Ferrières, Jean | Franke, Lude | Frau, Francesca | Gejman, Pablo V. | Grallert, Harald | Grönberg, Henrik | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Hall, Alistair S. | Hall, Per | Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa | Hayward, Caroline | Heard-Costa, Nancy L. | Heath, Andrew C. | Hebebrand, Johannes | Homuth, Georg | Hu, Frank B. | Hunt, Sarah E. | Hyppönen, Elina | Iribarren, Carlos | Jacobs, Kevin B. | Jansson, John-Olov | Jula, Antti | Kähönen, Mika | Kathiresan, Sekar | Kee, Frank | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Kivimaki, Mika | Koenig, Wolfgang | Kraja, Aldi T. | Kumari, Meena | Kuulasmaa, Kari | Kuusisto, Johanna | Laitinen, Jaana H. | Lakka, Timo A. | Langenberg, Claudia | Launer, Lenore J. | Lind, Lars | Lindström, Jaana | Liu, Jianjun | Liuzzi, Antonio | Lokki, Marja-Liisa | Lorentzon, Mattias | Madden, Pamela A. | Magnusson, Patrik K. | Manunta, Paolo | Marek, Diana | März, Winfried | Mateo Leach, Irene | McKnight, Barbara | Medland, Sarah E. | Mihailov, Evelin | Milani, Lili | Montgomery, Grant W. | Mooser, Vincent | Mühleisen, Thomas W. | Munroe, Patricia B. | Musk, Arthur W. | Narisu, Narisu | Navis, Gerjan | Nicholson, George | Nohr, Ellen A. | Ong, Ken K. | Oostra, Ben A. | Palmer, Colin N.A. | Palotie, Aarno | Peden, John F. | Pedersen, Nancy | Peters, Annette | Polasek, Ozren | Pouta, Anneli | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Prokopenko, Inga | Pütter, Carolin | Radhakrishnan, Aparna | Raitakari, Olli | Rendon, Augusto | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rudan, Igor | Saaristo, Timo E. | Sambrook, Jennifer G. | Sanders, Alan R. | Sanna, Serena | Saramies, Jouko | Schipf, Sabine | Schreiber, Stefan | Schunkert, Heribert | Shin, So-Youn | Signorini, Stefano | Sinisalo, Juha | Skrobek, Boris | Soranzo, Nicole | Stančáková, Alena | Stark, Klaus | Stephens, Jonathan C. | Stirrups, Kathleen | Stolk, Ronald P. | Stumvoll, Michael | Swift, Amy J. | Theodoraki, Eirini V. | Thorand, Barbara | Tregouet, David-Alexandre | Tremoli, Elena | Van der Klauw, Melanie M. | van Meurs, Joyce B.J. | Vermeulen, Sita H. | Viikari, Jorma | Virtamo, Jarmo | Vitart, Veronique | Waeber, Gérard | Wang, Zhaoming | Widén, Elisabeth | Wild, Sarah H. | Willemsen, Gonneke | Winkelmann, Bernhard R. | Witteman, Jacqueline C.M. | Wolffenbuttel, Bruce H.R. | Wong, Andrew | Wright, Alan F. | Zillikens, M. Carola | Amouyel, Philippe | Boehm, Bernhard O. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Caulfield, Mark J. | Chanock, Stephen J. | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Cusi, Daniele | Dedoussis, George V. | Erdmann, Jeanette | Eriksson, Johan G. | Franks, Paul W. | Froguel, Philippe | Gieger, Christian | Gyllensten, Ulf | Hamsten, Anders | Harris, Tamara B. | Hengstenberg, Christian | Hicks, Andrew A. | Hingorani, Aroon | Hinney, Anke | Hofman, Albert | Hovingh, Kees G. | Hveem, Kristian | Illig, Thomas | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Jöckel, Karl-Heinz | Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi, Sirkka M. | Kiemeney, Lambertus A. | Kuh, Diana | Laakso, Markku | Lehtimäki, Terho | Levinson, Douglas F. | Martin, Nicholas G. | Metspalu, Andres | Morris, Andrew D. | Nieminen, Markku S. | Njølstad, Inger | Ohlsson, Claes | Oldehinkel, Albertine J. | Ouwehand, Willem H. | Palmer, Lyle J. | Penninx, Brenda | Power, Chris | Province, Michael A. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Qi, Lu | Rauramaa, Rainer | Ridker, Paul M. | Ripatti, Samuli | Salomaa, Veikko | Samani, Nilesh J. | Snieder, Harold | Sørensen, Thorkild I.A. | Spector, Timothy D. | Stefansson, Kari | Tönjes, Anke | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Uitterlinden, André G. | Uusitupa, Matti | van der Harst, Pim | Vollenweider, Peter | Wallaschofski, Henri | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Watkins, Hugh | Wichmann, H.-Erich | Wilson, James F. | Abecasis, Goncalo R. | Assimes, Themistocles L. | Barroso, Inês | Boehnke, Michael | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Deloukas, Panos | Fox, Caroline S. | Frayling, Timothy | Groop, Leif C. | Haritunian, Talin | Heid, Iris M. | Hunter, David | Kaplan, Robert C. | Karpe, Fredrik | Moffatt, Miriam | Mohlke, Karen L. | O’Connell, Jeffrey R. | Pawitan, Yudi | Schadt, Eric E. | Schlessinger, David | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Strachan, David P. | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Visscher, Peter M. | Di Blasio, Anna Maria | Hirschhorn, Joel N. | Lindgren, Cecilia M. | Morris, Andrew P. | Meyre, David | Scherag, André | McCarthy, Mark I. | Speliotes, Elizabeth K. | North, Kari E. | Loos, Ruth J.F. | Ingelsson, Erik
Nature genetics  2013;45(5):501-512.
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.
doi:10.1038/ng.2606
PMCID: PMC3973018  PMID: 23563607
15.  Assessment of the effect of iris colour and having children on 5-year risk of death after diagnosis of uveal melanoma: a follow-up study 
BMC Ophthalmology  2014;14:42.
Background
To examine the all-cause mortality and uveal melanoma specific mortality among newly diagnosed uveal melanoma patients after five years. Furthermore, we assess of the effect of iris colour and having children on 5-year risk of death after diagnosis of uveal melanoma. Therefore, we assess the performance of an individual prediction model of survival from uveal melanoma.
Methods
A cohort of 459 patients aged 45 to 79 years with newly diagnosed uveal melanoma was recruited between 2002 and 2004 from the Division of Ophthalmology, University of Essen, Germany. Survival probabilities were estimated by Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. The clinical and histopathological characteristics were obtained from medical records. Iris colour and childbearing history were assessed at baseline by a computer-assisted telephone interview. We used crude and multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate unadjusted and adjusted hazard ratios (HR) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95%CIs) with respect to death from uveal melanoma and death from all causes. We used the Cox model to estimate adjusted probabilities of primary events. For computing Harrell’s C statistics, we used a Cox model including the prognostics factors gender, age at diagnosis, ciliary body involvement, largest basal tumour diameter, and iris colour.
Results
The 5-year uveal melanoma-specific survival probability was 82.9% (95% CI: 79.1-86.3). Main prognostic factors for the death of uveal melanoma were ciliary body involvement (HR: 1.7 (95% CI:1.0-2.8)), largest basal tumour diameter >15 mm HR: 7.0 (95% CI: 3.5-13.9), light iris colour (HR: 2.3 (95% CI: 0.9-5.8), having children (HR: 0.6 (95% CI: 0.2 - 1.7)), and gender (HR: 0.7 (95% CI: 0.4-1.1)). The value of the bootstrap-corrected C statistics was 0.76 (95% CI: 0.74-0.77).
Conclusion
Beyond the established prognostic factors, light iris colour also appears to be a prognostic factor for death from uveal melanoma.
doi:10.1186/1471-2415-14-42
PMCID: PMC3998741  PMID: 24685257
Uveal melanoma; Prognostic factors; Follow-up study; Iris colour; Children
16.  Aging of blood can be tracked by DNA methylation changes at just three CpG sites 
Genome Biology  2014;15(2):R24.
Background
Human aging is associated with DNA methylation changes at specific sites in the genome. These epigenetic modifications may be used to track donor age for forensic analysis or to estimate biological age.
Results
We perform a comprehensive analysis of methylation profiles to narrow down 102 age-related CpG sites in blood. We demonstrate that most of these age-associated methylation changes are reversed in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Methylation levels at three age-related CpGs - located in the genes ITGA2B, ASPA and PDE4C - were subsequently analyzed by bisulfite pyrosequencing of 151 blood samples. This epigenetic aging signature facilitates age predictions with a mean absolute deviation from chronological age of less than 5 years. This precision is higher than age predictions based on telomere length. Variation of age predictions correlates moderately with clinical and lifestyle parameters supporting the notion that age-associated methylation changes are associated more with biological age than with chronological age. Furthermore, patients with acquired aplastic anemia or dyskeratosis congenita - two diseases associated with progressive bone marrow failure and severe telomere attrition - are predicted to be prematurely aged.
Conclusions
Our epigenetic aging signature provides a simple biomarker to estimate the state of aging in blood. Age-associated DNA methylation changes are counteracted in iPSCs. On the other hand, over-estimation of chronological age in bone marrow failure syndromes is indicative for exhaustion of the hematopoietic cell pool. Thus, epigenetic changes upon aging seem to reflect biological aging of blood.
doi:10.1186/gb-2014-15-2-r24
PMCID: PMC4053864  PMID: 24490752
17.  Educational level, prevalence of hysterectomy, and age at amenorrhoea: a cross-sectional analysis of 9536 women from six population-based cohort studies in Germany 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14:10.
Background
Hysterectomy prevalence has been shown to vary by education level. Hysterectomy influences age at amenorrhoea. The aim of this study was to examine these associations in Germany within population-based data sets.
Methods
Baseline assessments in six population-based cohorts took place from 1997 through 2006 and included 9,548 women aged 20–84 years. All studies assessed hysterectomy history, school and professional degrees. Degrees were categorized into three levels each. Adjusted prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were estimated.
Results
Prevalences were higher in West Germany than East Germany, increased by age, and leveled off starting at 55–64 years. The age- and study-adjusted prevalence ratio (lowest versus highest school level) was 2.61 (95% CI: 1.28-5.30), 1.48 (95% CI: 1.21-1.81), and 1.01 (95% CI: 0.80-1.28) for women aged 20–45, 45–64, and 65 and more years respectively. The estimated adjusted prevalence ratios per one unit decrement of the educational qualification score (range 1 = lowest, 8 = highest) were 1.29 (95% CI: 1.02-1.64), 1.08 (95% CI: 1.04-1.12), and 0.98 (95% CI: 0.93-1.03) for women aged 20–44, 45–64, and 65–84 years respectively. Age at amenorrhoea was on average 6.2 years lower (43.5 years versus 49.7 years) among women with a history of hysterectomy than those without.
Conclusions
Lower educational level was associated with a higher hysterectomy prevalence among women aged 20–64 years. Several mediators associated with educational level and hysterectomy including women’s disease risk, women’s treatment preference, and women’s access to uterus-preserving treatment may explain this association. At population level, hysterectomy decreases the age of amenorrhoea on average by 6.2 years.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-14-10
PMCID: PMC3898063  PMID: 24433474
Hysterectomy; Population surveillance; Prevalence; Education; Amenorrhoea
18.  Studying variability in human brain aging in a population-based German cohort—rationale and design of 1000BRAINS 
The ongoing 1000 brains study (1000BRAINS) is an epidemiological and neuroscientific investigation of structural and functional variability in the human brain during aging. The two recruitment sources are the 10-year follow-up cohort of the German Heinz Nixdorf Recall (HNR) Study, and the HNR MultiGeneration Study cohort, which comprises spouses and offspring of HNR subjects. The HNR is a longitudinal epidemiological investigation of cardiovascular risk factors, with a comprehensive collection of clinical, laboratory, socioeconomic, and environmental data from population-based subjects aged 45–75 years on inclusion. HNR subjects underwent detailed assessments in 2000, 2006, and 2011, and completed annual postal questionnaires on health status. 1000BRAINS accesses these HNR data and applies a separate protocol comprising: neuropsychological tests of attention, memory, executive functions and language; examination of motor skills; ratings of personality, life quality, mood and daily activities; analysis of laboratory and genetic data; and state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI, 3 Tesla) of the brain. The latter includes (i) 3D-T1- and 3D-T2-weighted scans for structural analyses and myelin mapping; (ii) three diffusion imaging sequences optimized for diffusion tensor imaging, high-angular resolution diffusion imaging for detailed fiber tracking and for diffusion kurtosis imaging; (iii) resting-state and task-based functional MRI; and (iv) fluid-attenuated inversion recovery and MR angiography for the detection of vascular lesions and the mapping of white matter lesions. The unique design of 1000BRAINS allows: (i) comprehensive investigation of various influences including genetics, environment and health status on variability in brain structure and function during aging; and (ii) identification of the impact of selected influencing factors on specific cognitive subsystems and their anatomical correlates.
doi:10.3389/fnagi.2014.00149
PMCID: PMC4094912  PMID: 25071558
cohort; connectivity; Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study; resting-state; imaging genetics; variability; aging; elderly
19.  Evaluation of long noncoding RNA MALAT1 as a candidate blood-based biomarker for the diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer 
BMC Research Notes  2013;6:518.
Background
The long noncoding RNA MALAT1 (metastasis-associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript 1) is described as a potential biomarker for NSCLC (non-small cell lung cancer). Diagnostic biomarkers need to be detectable in easily accessible body fluids, should be characterized by high specificity, sufficient sensitivity, and robustness against influencing factors. The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of MALAT1 as a blood based biomarker for NSCLC.
Results
MALAT1 was shown to be detectable in the cellular fraction of peripheral human blood, showing different expression levels between cancer patients and cancer-free controls. For the discrimination of NSCLC patients from cancer-free controls a sensitivity of 56% was calculated conditional on a high specificity of 96%. No impact of tumor stage, age, gender, and smoking status on MALAT1 levels could be observed, but results based on small numbers.
Conclusions
The results of this study indicate that MALAT1 complies with key characteristics of diagnostic biomarkers, i.e., minimal invasiveness, high specificity, and robustness. Due to its relatively low sensitivity MALAT1 might not be feasible as a single biomarker for the diagnosis of NSCLC in the cellular fraction of blood. Alternatively, MALAT1 might be applicable as a complementary biomarker within a panel in order to improve the entire diagnostic performance.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-6-518
PMCID: PMC4029199  PMID: 24313945
Lung; Cancer; NSCLC; Biomarkers; lncRNA; MALAT1; Minimally-invasive; Sensitivity; Specificity
20.  A population-based case–control study on social factors and risk of testicular germ cell tumours 
BMJ Open  2013;3(9):e003833.
Objectives
Incidence rates for testicular cancer have risen over the last few decades. Findings of an association between the risk of testicular cancer and social factors are controversial. The association of testicular cancer and different indicators of social factors were examined in this study.
Design
Case–control study.
Setting
Population-based multicentre study in four German regions (city states Bremen and Hamburg, the Saarland region and the city of Essen).
Participants
The study included 797 control participants and 266 participants newly diagnosed with testicular cancer of which 167 cases were classified as seminoma and 99 as non-seminoma. The age of study participants ranged from 15 to 69 years.
Methods
Social position was classified by educational attainment level, posteducational training, occupational sectors according to Erikson-Goldthorpe-Portocarrero (EGP) and the socioeconomic status (SES) on the basis of the International SocioEconomic Index of occupational status (ISEI). ORs and corresponding 95% CIs (95% CIs) were calculated for the whole study sample and for seminoma and non-seminoma separately.
Results
Testicular cancer risk was modestly increased among participants with an apprenticeship (OR=1.7 (95% CI 1.0 to 2.8)) or a university degree (OR=1.6 (95% CI 0.9 to 2.8)) relative to those whose education was limited to school. Analysis of occupational sectors revealed an excess risk for farmers and farm-related occupations. No clear trend was observed for the analyses according to the ISEI-scale.
Conclusions
Social factors based on occupational measures were not a risk factor for testicular cancer in this study. The elevated risk in farmers and farm-related occupations warrants further research including analysis of occupational exposures.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003833
PMCID: PMC3780297  PMID: 24056494
Epidemiology < ONCOLOGY; GENITOURINARY MEDICINE
21.  Cigarette smoking and lung cancer – relative risk estimates for the major histological types from a pooled analysis of case-control studies 
Lung cancer is mainly caused by smoking, but the quantitative relations between smoking and histologic subtypes of lung cancer remain inconclusive. Using one of the largest lung cancer datasets ever assembled, we explored the impact of smoking on risks of the major cell types of lung cancer. This pooled analysis included 13,169 cases and 16,010 controls from Europe and Canada. Studies with population controls comprised 66.5% of the subjects. Adenocarcinoma (AdCa) was the most prevalent subtype in never smokers and in women. Squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC) predominated in male smokers. Age-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) were estimated with logistic regression. ORs were elevated for all metrics of exposure to cigarette smoke and were higher for SqCC and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) than for AdCa. Current male smokers with an average daily dose of >30 cigarettes had ORs of 103.5 (95% CI 74.8-143.2) for SqCC, 111.3 (95% CI 69.8-177.5) for SCLC, and 21.9 (95% CI 16.6-29.0) for AdCa. In women, the corresponding ORs were 62.7 (95% CI 31.5-124.6), 108.6 (95% CI 50.7-232.8), and 16.8 (95% CI 9.2-30.6), respectively. Whereas ORs started to decline soon after quitting, they did not fully return to the baseline risk of never smokers even 35 years after cessation. The major result that smoking exerted a steeper risk gradient on SqCC and SCLC than on AdCa is in line with previous population data and biological understanding of lung cancer development.
doi:10.1002/ijc.27339
PMCID: PMC3296911  PMID: 22052329
cigarette smoking; lung cancer; relative risk characterization; tobacco smoke; stem cells
22.  Large-scale association analysis provides insights into the genetic architecture and pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes 
Morris, Andrew P | Voight, Benjamin F | Teslovich, Tanya M | Ferreira, Teresa | Segrè, Ayellet V | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Strawbridge, Rona J | Khan, Hassan | Grallert, Harald | Mahajan, Anubha | Prokopenko, Inga | Kang, Hyun Min | Dina, Christian | Esko, Tonu | Fraser, Ross M | Kanoni, Stavroula | Kumar, Ashish | Lagou, Vasiliki | Langenberg, Claudia | Luan, Jian'an | Lindgren, Cecilia M | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Pechlivanis, Sonali | Rayner, N William | Scott, Laura J | Wiltshire, Steven | Yengo, Loic | Kinnunen, Leena | Rossin, Elizabeth J | Raychaudhuri, Soumya | Johnson, Andrew D | Dimas, Antigone S | Loos, Ruth J F | Vedantam, Sailaja | Chen, Han | Florez, Jose C | Fox, Caroline | Liu, Ching-Ti | Rybin, Denis | Couper, David J | Kao, Wen Hong L | Li, Man | Cornelis, Marilyn C | Kraft, Peter | Sun, Qi | van Dam, Rob M | Stringham, Heather M | Chines, Peter S | Fischer, Krista | Fontanillas, Pierre | Holmen, Oddgeir L | Hunt, Sarah E | Jackson, Anne U | Kong, Augustine | Lawrence, Robert | Meyer, Julia | Perry, John RB | Platou, Carl GP | Potter, Simon | Rehnberg, Emil | Robertson, Neil | Sivapalaratnam, Suthesh | Stančáková, Alena | Stirrups, Kathleen | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Tikkanen, Emmi | Wood, Andrew R | Almgren, Peter | Atalay, Mustafa | Benediktsson, Rafn | Bonnycastle, Lori L | Burtt, Noël | Carey, Jason | Charpentier, Guillaume | Crenshaw, Andrew T | Doney, Alex S F | Dorkhan, Mozhgan | Edkins, Sarah | Emilsson, Valur | Eury, Elodie | Forsen, Tom | Gertow, Karl | Gigante, Bruna | Grant, George B | Groves, Christopher J | Guiducci, Candace | Herder, Christian | Hreidarsson, Astradur B | Hui, Jennie | James, Alan | Jonsson, Anna | Rathmann, Wolfgang | Klopp, Norman | Kravic, Jasmina | Krjutškov, Kaarel | Langford, Cordelia | Leander, Karin | Lindholm, Eero | Lobbens, Stéphane | Männistö, Satu | Mirza, Ghazala | Mühleisen, Thomas W | Musk, Bill | Parkin, Melissa | Rallidis, Loukianos | Saramies, Jouko | Sennblad, Bengt | Shah, Sonia | Sigurðsson, Gunnar | Silveira, Angela | Steinbach, Gerald | Thorand, Barbara | Trakalo, Joseph | Veglia, Fabrizio | Wennauer, Roman | Winckler, Wendy | Zabaneh, Delilah | Campbell, Harry | van Duijn, Cornelia | Uitterlinden89-, Andre G | Hofman, Albert | Sijbrands, Eric | Abecasis, Goncalo R | Owen, Katharine R | Zeggini, Eleftheria | Trip, Mieke D | Forouhi, Nita G | Syvänen, Ann-Christine | Eriksson, Johan G | Peltonen, Leena | Nöthen, Markus M | Balkau, Beverley | Palmer, Colin N A | Lyssenko, Valeriya | Tuomi, Tiinamaija | Isomaa, Bo | Hunter, David J | Qi, Lu | Shuldiner, Alan R | Roden, Michael | Barroso, Ines | Wilsgaard, Tom | Beilby, John | Hovingh, Kees | Price, Jackie F | Wilson, James F | Rauramaa, Rainer | Lakka, Timo A | Lind, Lars | Dedoussis, George | Njølstad, Inger | Pedersen, Nancy L | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Wareham, Nicholas J | Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi, Sirkka M | Saaristo, Timo E | Korpi-Hyövälti, Eeva | Saltevo, Juha | Laakso, Markku | Kuusisto, Johanna | Metspalu, Andres | Collins, Francis S | Mohlke, Karen L | Bergman, Richard N | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Boehm, Bernhard O | Gieger, Christian | Hveem, Kristian | Cauchi, Stephane | Froguel, Philippe | Baldassarre, Damiano | Tremoli, Elena | Humphries, Steve E | Saleheen, Danish | Danesh, John | Ingelsson, Erik | Ripatti, Samuli | Salomaa, Veikko | Erbel, Raimund | Jöckel, Karl-Heinz | Moebus, Susanne | Peters, Annette | Illig, Thomas | de Faire, Ulf | Hamsten, Anders | Morris, Andrew D | Donnelly, Peter J | Frayling, Timothy M | Hattersley, Andrew T | Boerwinkle, Eric | Melander, Olle | Kathiresan, Sekar | Nilsson, Peter M | Deloukas, Panos | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Groop, Leif C | Stefansson, Kari | Hu, Frank | Pankow, James S | Dupuis, Josée | Meigs, James B | Altshuler, David | Boehnke, Michael | McCarthy, Mark I
Nature genetics  2012;44(9):981-990.
To extend understanding of the genetic architecture and molecular basis of type 2 diabetes (T2D), we conducted a meta-analysis of genetic variants on the Metabochip involving 34,840 cases and 114,981 controls, overwhelmingly of European descent. We identified ten previously unreported T2D susceptibility loci, including two demonstrating sex-differentiated association. Genome-wide analyses of these data are consistent with a long tail of further common variant loci explaining much of the variation in susceptibility to T2D. Exploration of the enlarged set of susceptibility loci implicates several processes, including CREBBP-related transcription, adipocytokine signalling and cell cycle regulation, in diabetes pathogenesis.
doi:10.1038/ng.2383
PMCID: PMC3442244  PMID: 22885922
23.  Risk for High Depressive Symptoms in Diagnosed and Previously Undetected Diabetes: 5-Year Follow-Up Results of the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56300.
Objective
The objective of this study was to determine the risk for the development of high depressive symptoms in study participants with diagnosed and previously undetected diabetes mellitus compared to those without diabetes in a prospective population-based cohort study in Germany.
Methods
We estimated the 5-year cumulative incidence of high depressive symptoms in participants without high depressive symptoms at baseline (n = 3,633, 51.4% men, mean age (SD) 59.1 (7.6) years, 7.0% diagnosed diabetes, 5.3% previously undetected diabetes) from the population-based Heinz Nixdorf Recall study. Diabetes was assessed by self-report, medication, and blood glucose. High depressive symptoms were assessed using CES-D. We calculated odds ratios and their corresponding 95% confidence interval, using multiple logistic regression analyses.
Result
Cumulative 5-year incidences (95% CI) of high depressive symptoms in participants with diagnosed, undetected, and without diabetes were 7.1 (4.2–10.9), 4.1 (1.8–8.0), and 6.5 (5.6–7.4), respectively. The age-sex-adjusted OR for developing high depressive symptoms was 1.22 (0.74–2.03) in participants with diagnosed compared to those without diabetes, and 1.00 (0.59–1.68) after adjustment for BMI, physical activity, education, stroke, and myocardial infarction. The age-sex adjusted OR for developing high depressive symptoms in participants with previously undetected diabetes compared to those without diabetes was 0.72; 0.35–1.48; and fully adjusted 0.62; 0.30–1.30.
Conclusion
We found no significant associations, maybe due to low power. However, our results are in line with a recent meta-analysis suggesting that risk of developing high depressive symptoms in patients with diagnosed diabetes may be moderately higher than in those without diabetes, and that comorbidity may explain in part this association. In participants with previously undetected diabetes, this first longitudinal study indicates that the risk is not increased or may even be decreased. These results support the hypothesis that high depressive symptoms develop due to diabetes-related burden and comorbidity and not due to hyperglycemia or hyperinsulinaemia.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056300
PMCID: PMC3575467  PMID: 23441174
24.  Large-scale association analysis provides insights into the genetic architecture and pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes 
Morris, Andrew P | Voight, Benjamin F | Teslovich, Tanya M | Ferreira, Teresa | Segré, Ayellet V | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Strawbridge, Rona J | Khan, Hassan | Grallert, Harald | Mahajan, Anubha | Prokopenko, Inga | Kang, Hyun Min | Dina, Christian | Esko, Tonu | Fraser, Ross M | Kanoni, Stavroula | Kumar, Ashish | Lagou, Vasiliki | Langenberg, Claudia | Luan, Jian’an | Lindgren, Cecilia M | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Pechlivanis, Sonali | Rayner, N William | Scott, Laura J | Wiltshire, Steven | Yengo, Loic | Kinnunen, Leena | Rossin, Elizabeth J | Raychaudhuri, Soumya | Johnson, Andrew D | Dimas, Antigone S | Loos, Ruth J F | Vedantam, Sailaja | Chen, Han | Florez, Jose C | Fox, Caroline | Liu, Ching-Ti | Rybin, Denis | Couper, David J | Kao, Wen Hong L | Li, Man | Cornelis, Marilyn C | Kraft, Peter | Sun, Qi | van Dam, Rob M | Stringham, Heather M | Chines, Peter S | Fischer, Krista | Fontanillas, Pierre | Holmen, Oddgeir L | Hunt, Sarah E | Jackson, Anne U | Kong, Augustine | Lawrence, Robert | Meyer, Julia | Perry, John R B | Platou, Carl G P | Potter, Simon | Rehnberg, Emil | Robertson, Neil | Sivapalaratnam, Suthesh | Stančáková, Alena | Stirrups, Kathleen | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Tikkanen, Emmi | Wood, Andrew R | Almgren, Peter | Atalay, Mustafa | Benediktsson, Rafn | Bonnycastle, Lori L | Burtt, Noël | Carey, Jason | Charpentier, Guillaume | Crenshaw, Andrew T | Doney, Alex S F | Dorkhan, Mozhgan | Edkins, Sarah | Emilsson, Valur | Eury, Elodie | Forsen, Tom | Gertow, Karl | Gigante, Bruna | Grant, George B | Groves, Christopher J | Guiducci, Candace | Herder, Christian | Hreidarsson, Astradur B | Hui, Jennie | James, Alan | Jonsson, Anna | Rathmann, Wolfgang | Klopp, Norman | Kravic, Jasmina | Krjutškov, Kaarel | Langford, Cordelia | Leander, Karin | Lindholm, Eero | Lobbens, Stéphane | Männistö, Satu | Mirza, Ghazala | Mühleisen, Thomas W | Musk, Bill | Parkin, Melissa | Rallidis, Loukianos | Saramies, Jouko | Sennblad, Bengt | Shah, Sonia | Sigurðsson, Gunnar | Silveira, Angela | Steinbach, Gerald | Thorand, Barbara | Trakalo, Joseph | Veglia, Fabrizio | Wennauer, Roman | Winckler, Wendy | Zabaneh, Delilah | Campbell, Harry | van Duijn, Cornelia | Uitterlinden, Andre G | Hofman, Albert | Sijbrands, Eric | Abecasis, Goncalo R | Owen, Katharine R | Zeggini, Eleftheria | Trip, Mieke D | Forouhi, Nita G | Syvänen, Ann-Christine | Eriksson, Johan G | Peltonen, Leena | Nöthen, Markus M | Balkau, Beverley | Palmer, Colin N A | Lyssenko, Valeriya | Tuomi, Tiinamaija | Isomaa, Bo | Hunter, David J | Qi, Lu | Shuldiner, Alan R | Roden, Michael | Barroso, Ines | Wilsgaard, Tom | Beilby, John | Hovingh, Kees | Price, Jackie F | Wilson, James F | Rauramaa, Rainer | Lakka, Timo A | Lind, Lars | Dedoussis, George | Njølstad, Inger | Pedersen, Nancy L | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Wareham, Nicholas J | Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi, Sirkka M | Saaristo, Timo E | Korpi-Hyövälti, Eeva | Saltevo, Juha | Laakso, Markku | Kuusisto, Johanna | Metspalu, Andres | Collins, Francis S | Mohlke, Karen L | Bergman, Richard N | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Boehm, Bernhard O | Gieger, Christian | Hveem, Kristian | Cauchi, Stephane | Froguel, Philippe | Baldassarre, Damiano | Tremoli, Elena | Humphries, Steve E | Saleheen, Danish | Danesh, John | Ingelsson, Erik | Ripatti, Samuli | Salomaa, Veikko | Erbel, Raimund | Jöckel, Karl-Heinz | Moebus, Susanne | Peters, Annette | Illig, Thomas | de Faire, Ulf | Hamsten, Anders | Morris, Andrew D | Donnelly, Peter J | Frayling, Timothy M | Hattersley, Andrew T | Boerwinkle, Eric | Melander, Olle | Kathiresan, Sekar | Nilsson, Peter M | Deloukas, Panos | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Groop, Leif C | Stefansson, Kari | Hu, Frank | Pankow, James S | Dupuis, Josée | Meigs, James B | Altshuler, David | Boehnke, Michael | McCarthy, Mark I
Nature genetics  2012;44(9):981-990.
To extend understanding of the genetic architecture and molecular basis of type 2 diabetes (T2D), we conducted a meta-analysis of genetic variants on the Metabochip involving 34,840 cases and 114,981 controls, overwhelmingly of European descent. We identified ten previously unreported T2D susceptibility loci, including two demonstrating sex-differentiated association. Genome-wide analyses of these data are consistent with a long tail of further common variant loci explaining much of the variation in susceptibility to T2D. Exploration of the enlarged set of susceptibility loci implicates several processes, including CREBBP-related transcription, adipocytokine signalling and cell cycle regulation, in diabetes pathogenesis.
doi:10.1038/ng.2383
PMCID: PMC3442244  PMID: 22885922
25.  Risk loci for coronary artery calcification replicated at 9p21 and 6q24 in the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:23.
Background
Atherosclerosis is the primary cause of coronary heart disease (CHD), preceding the onset of cardiovascular disease by decades in most cases. Here we examine the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) integrated on Metabochip and coronary artery calcification (CAC), a valid risk factor for CHD, in an unselected, population-based German cohort.
Methods
The Metabochip is a custom iSELECT array containing >195,000 SNPs that was designed to support large-scale follow-up of putative associations for metabolic and cardiovascular-associated traits. We used generalized linear regression models to explore the impact of Metabochip SNPs on quantitative CAC in 4,329 participants.
Results
The 9p21 variant, rs1537373, was most strongly associated (Beta = 0.30; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.21-0.39; p = 4.05x10-11) with quantitative CAC. The second strongest association with CAC was with rs9349379 in the phosphatase and actin regulator 1 gene, PHACTR1, (Beta = 0.30; 95% CI = 0.22-0.40; p = 4.67x10-11). Both SNPs remained nominally significant in dichotomized analyses for the presence of any CAC (odds ratiors1537373 (OR) = 1.19; 95% CI = 1.07-1.31; p = 0.001 and ORrs9349379 = 1.26; 95% CI = 1.14-1.40); p = 1.5x10-5). Fine mapping of the 9p21 and PHACTR1 gene region revealed several other SNPs that were strongly associated with CAC.
Conclusion
We demonstrate that SNPs near 9p21 and in PHACTR1 that have previously been shown to be associated with CHD are strongly associated with CAC in the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study cohort. Our findings suggest that the 9p21 and 6q24 loci might be involved in cardiac outcome via promoting development of atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-14-23
PMCID: PMC3583714  PMID: 23394302
Coronary heart disease; Coronary artery calcification; Cohort study; Polymorphism; Metabochip

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