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1.  Further evidence of the developmental origins of osteoarthritis: results from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study 
Investigators have suggested a link between birth weight and both hand and lumbar spine osteoarthritis (OA). In this study, we sought to extend these observations by investigating relationships between growth in early life, and clinical and radiological diagnoses of OA at the hand, knee and hip, among participants from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study (HCS).
Data were available for 222 men and 222 women. Clinical OA was defined based on American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria. Radiographs were taken of the knees and hips, and graded for the presence of osteophytes and overall Kellgren and Lawrence (KL) score.
Lower weight at year one was associated with higher rates of clinical hand OA (OR 1.396, 95% CI 1.05, 1.85, p=0.021). Individuals with lower birth weights were more likely to have hip osteophytes, (OR 1.512, 95% CI 1.14, 2.00, p=0.004) and this remained robust after adjustment for confounders. Furthermore, a low weight at one year was also associated with a higher osteophyte number in the lateral compartment of the knee, after adjustment for confounders (OR 1.388, 95% CI 1.01, 1.91 p=0.043).
We have found further evidence of a relationship between early life factors and adult OA. These findings accord with previous studies.
doi:10.1017/S2040174414000373
PMCID: PMC4521289  PMID: 25154411
Osteoarthritis; Bone; Programming; Birth weight
2.  Can We Identify Patients with High Risk of Osteoarthritis Progression Who Will Respond to Treatment? A Focus on Biomarkers and Frailty 
Drugs & Aging  2015;32(7):525-535.
Osteoarthritis (OA), a disease affecting different patient phenotypes, appears as an optimal candidate for personalized healthcare. The aim of the discussions of the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis (ESCEO) working group was to explore the value of markers of different sources in defining different phenotypes of patients with OA. The ESCEO organized a series of meetings to explore the possibility of identifying patients who would most benefit from treatment for OA, on the basis of recent data and expert opinion. In the first meeting, patient phenotypes were identified according to the number of affected joints, biomechanical factors, and the presence of lesions in the subchondral bone. In the second meeting, summarized in the present article, the working group explored other markers involved in OA. Profiles of patients may be defined according to their level of pain, functional limitation, and presence of coexistent chronic conditions including frailty status. A considerable amount of data suggests that magnetic resonance imaging may also assist in delineating different phenotypes of patients with OA. Among multiple biochemical biomarkers identified, none is sufficiently validated and recognized to identify patients who should be treated. Considerable efforts are also being made to identify genetic and epigenetic factors involved in OA, but results are still limited. The many potential biomarkers that could be used as potential stratifiers are promising, but more research is needed to characterize and qualify the existing biomarkers and to identify new candidates.
doi:10.1007/s40266-015-0276-7
PMCID: PMC4516900  PMID: 26085027
3.  Genetic determinants of heel bone properties: genome-wide association meta-analysis and replication in the GEFOS/GENOMOS consortium 
Moayyeri, Alireza | Hsu, Yi-Hsiang | Karasik, David | Estrada, Karol | Xiao, Su-Mei | Nielson, Carrie | Srikanth, Priya | Giroux, Sylvie | Wilson, Scott G. | Zheng, Hou-Feng | Smith, Albert V. | Pye, Stephen R. | Leo, Paul J. | Teumer, Alexander | Hwang, Joo-Yeon | Ohlsson, Claes | McGuigan, Fiona | Minster, Ryan L. | Hayward, Caroline | Olmos, José M. | Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka | Lewis, Joshua R. | Swart, Karin M.A. | Masi, Laura | Oldmeadow, Chris | Holliday, Elizabeth G. | Cheng, Sulin | van Schoor, Natasja M. | Harvey, Nicholas C. | Kruk, Marcin | del Greco M, Fabiola | Igl, Wilmar | Trummer, Olivia | Grigoriou, Efi | Luben, Robert | Liu, Ching-Ti | Zhou, Yanhua | Oei, Ling | Medina-Gomez, Carolina | Zmuda, Joseph | Tranah, Greg | Brown, Suzanne J. | Williams, Frances M. | Soranzo, Nicole | Jakobsdottir, Johanna | Siggeirsdottir, Kristin | Holliday, Kate L. | Hannemann, Anke | Go, Min Jin | Garcia, Melissa | Polasek, Ozren | Laaksonen, Marika | Zhu, Kun | Enneman, Anke W. | McEvoy, Mark | Peel, Roseanne | Sham, Pak Chung | Jaworski, Maciej | Johansson, Åsa | Hicks, Andrew A. | Pludowski, Pawel | Scott, Rodney | Dhonukshe-Rutten, Rosalie A.M. | van der Velde, Nathalie | Kähönen, Mika | Viikari, Jorma S. | Sievänen, Harri | Raitakari, Olli T. | González-Macías, Jesús | Hernández, Jose L. | Mellström, Dan | Ljunggren, Östen | Cho, Yoon Shin | Völker, Uwe | Nauck, Matthias | Homuth, Georg | Völzke, Henry | Haring, Robin | Brown, Matthew A. | McCloskey, Eugene | Nicholson, Geoffrey C. | Eastell, Richard | Eisman, John A. | Jones, Graeme | Reid, Ian R. | Dennison, Elaine M. | Wark, John | Boonen, Steven | Vanderschueren, Dirk | Wu, Frederick C.W. | Aspelund, Thor | Richards, J. Brent | Bauer, Doug | Hofman, Albert | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Dedoussis, George | Obermayer-Pietsch, Barbara | Gyllensten, Ulf | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Lorenc, Roman S. | Cooper, Cyrus | Kung, Annie Wai Chee | Lips, Paul | Alen, Markku | Attia, John | Brandi, Maria Luisa | de Groot, Lisette C.P.G.M. | Lehtimäki, Terho | Riancho, José A. | Campbell, Harry | Liu, Yongmei | Harris, Tamara B. | Akesson, Kristina | Karlsson, Magnus | Lee, Jong-Young | Wallaschofski, Henri | Duncan, Emma L. | O'Neill, Terence W. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Spector, Timothy D. | Rousseau, François | Orwoll, Eric | Cummings, Steven R. | Wareham, Nick J. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | Prince, Richard L. | Kiel, Douglas P. | Reeve, Jonathan | Kaptoge, Stephen K.
Human Molecular Genetics  2014;23(11):3054-3068.
Quantitative ultrasound of the heel captures heel bone properties that independently predict fracture risk and, with bone mineral density (BMD) assessed by X-ray (DXA), may be convenient alternatives for evaluating osteoporosis and fracture risk. We performed a meta-analysis of genome-wide association (GWA) studies to assess the genetic determinants of heel broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA; n = 14 260), velocity of sound (VOS; n = 15 514) and BMD (n = 4566) in 13 discovery cohorts. Independent replication involved seven cohorts with GWA data (in silico n = 11 452) and new genotyping in 15 cohorts (de novo n = 24 902). In combined random effects, meta-analysis of the discovery and replication cohorts, nine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) had genome-wide significant (P < 5 × 10−8) associations with heel bone properties. Alongside SNPs within or near previously identified osteoporosis susceptibility genes including ESR1 (6q25.1: rs4869739, rs3020331, rs2982552), SPTBN1 (2p16.2: rs11898505), RSPO3 (6q22.33: rs7741021), WNT16 (7q31.31: rs2908007), DKK1 (10q21.1: rs7902708) and GPATCH1 (19q13.11: rs10416265), we identified a new locus on chromosome 11q14.2 (rs597319 close to TMEM135, a gene recently linked to osteoblastogenesis and longevity) significantly associated with both BUA and VOS (P < 8.23 × 10−14). In meta-analyses involving 25 cohorts with up to 14 985 fracture cases, six of 10 SNPs associated with heel bone properties at P < 5 × 10−6 also had the expected direction of association with any fracture (P < 0.05), including three SNPs with P < 0.005: 6q22.33 (rs7741021), 7q31.31 (rs2908007) and 10q21.1 (rs7902708). In conclusion, this GWA study reveals the effect of several genes common to central DXA-derived BMD and heel ultrasound/DXA measures and points to a new genetic locus with potential implications for better understanding of osteoporosis pathophysiology.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt675
PMCID: PMC4038791  PMID: 24430505
4.  Leisure time computer use and adolescent bone health—findings from the Tromsø Study, Fit Futures: a cross-sectional study 
BMJ Open  2015;5(6):e006665.
Objectives
Low levels of physical activity may have considerable negative effects on bone health in adolescence, and increasing screen time in place of sporting activity during growth is worrying. This study explored the associations between self-reported screen time at weekends and bone mineral density (BMD).
Design
In 2010/2011, 1038 (93%) of the region’s first-year upper-secondary school students (15–18 years) attended the Tromsø Study, Fit Futures 1 (FF1). A follow-up survey (FF2) took place in 2012/2013. BMD at total hip, femoral neck and total body was measured as g/cm² by dual X-ray absorptiometry (GE Lunar prodigy). Lifestyle variables were self-reported, including questions on hours per day spent in front of television/computer during weekends and hours spent on leisure time physical activities. Complete data sets for 388/312 girls and 359/231 boys at FF1/FF2, respectively, were used in analyses. Sex stratified multiple regression analyses were performed.
Results
Many adolescents balanced 2–4 h screen time with moderate or high physical activity levels. Screen time was positively related to body mass index (BMI) in boys (p=0.002), who spent more time in front of the computer than girls did (p<0.001). In boys, screen time was adversely associated with BMDFF1 at all sites, and these associations remained robust to adjustments for age, puberty, height, BMI, physical activity, vitamin D levels, smoking, alcohol, calcium and carbonated drink consumption (p<0.05). Screen time was also negatively associated with total hip BMDFF2 (p=0.031). In contrast, girls who spent 4–6 h in front of the computer had higher BMD than the reference (<2 h).
Conclusions
In Norwegian boys, time spent on screen-based sedentary activity was negatively associated with BMD levels; this relationship persisted 2 years later. Such negative associations were not present among girls. Whether this surprising result is explained by biological differences remains unclear.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006665
PMCID: PMC4486947  PMID: 26063563
EPIDEMIOLOGY; PUBLIC HEALTH
5.  How well do radiographic, clinical and self-reported diagnoses of knee osteoarthritis agree? Findings from the Hertfordshire cohort study 
SpringerPlus  2015;4:177.
Objective
Epidemiological studies of knee osteoarthritis (OA) have often used a radiographic definition. However, the clinical syndrome of OA is influenced by a broad range of factors in addition to the structural changes required for radiographic OA. Hence more recently several studies have adopted a clinical or self-reported approach to OA diagnosis rather than a radiographic approach. The aim of this study was to investigate agreement between radiographic OA and the clinical and self-reported diagnoses of OA.
Design
Data were available for 199 men and 196 women in the Hertfordshire Cohort Study (HCS), UK. Participants completed a questionnaire detailing self-reported OA. Clinical OA was defined based on American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria. Knee radiographs were taken and graded for overall Kellgren and Lawrence (K&L) score.
Results
The mean (standard deviation (SD)) age of study participants was 75.2 (2.6) years and almost identical proportions of men and women. The prevalence of knee OA differed depending on the method employed for diagnosis; 21% of the study participants self-reported knee OA, 18% of the participants had clinical knee OA and 42% of the participants had radiographic OA. Of those 72 study participants with a self-reported diagnosis of knee OA 52 (72%) had a radiographic diagnosis of knee OA, while 66% (39 out of 59) of study participants with clinical knee OA had a diagnosis of radiographic knee OA. However 58% of those participants diagnosed with radiographic OA did not have either self-reported knee OA or a diagnosis of clinical OA. Therefore in comparison with the radiographic definition of OA, both the clinical and self-report definitions had high specificity (91.5% & 91.5% respectively) and low sensitivity (24.5% and 32.7% respectively).
Conclusion
There is modest agreement between the radiographic, clinical and self-report methods of diagnosis of knee OA.
doi:10.1186/s40064-015-0949-z
PMCID: PMC4408304  PMID: 25932366
Osteoarthritis; Epidemiology; Agreement; Radiographic; Definition
6.  Genome-wide association study meta-analysis of chronic widespread pain: evidence for involvement of the 5p15.2 region 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2012;72(3):427-436.
Background and objectives
Chronic widespread pain (CWP) is a common disorder affecting ∼10% of the general population and has an estimated heritability of 48–52%. In the first large-scale genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis, we aimed to identify common genetic variants associated with CWP.
Methods
We conducted a GWAS meta-analysis in 1308 female CWP cases and 5791 controls of European descent, and replicated the effects of the genetic variants with suggestive evidence for association in 1480 CWP cases and 7989 controls. Subsequently, we studied gene expression levels of the nearest genes in two chronic inflammatory pain mouse models, and examined 92 genetic variants previously described associated with pain.
Results
The minor C-allele of rs13361160 on chromosome 5p15.2, located upstream of chaperonin-containing-TCP1-complex-5 gene (CCT5) and downstream of FAM173B, was found to be associated with a 30% higher risk of CWP (minor allele frequency=43%; OR=1.30, 95% CI 1.19 to 1.42, p=1.2×10−8). Combined with the replication, we observed a slightly attenuated OR of 1.17 (95% CI 1.10 to 1.24, p=4.7×10−7) with moderate heterogeneity (I2=28.4%). However, in a sensitivity analysis that only allowed studies with joint-specific pain, the combined association was genome-wide significant (OR=1.23, 95% CI 1.14 to 1.32, p=3.4×10−8, I2=0%). Expression levels of Cct5 and Fam173b in mice with inflammatory pain were higher in the lumbar spinal cord, not in the lumbar dorsal root ganglions, compared to mice without pain. None of the 92 genetic variants previously described were significantly associated with pain (p>7.7×10−4).
Conclusions
We identified a common genetic variant on chromosome 5p15.2 associated with joint-specific CWP in humans. This work suggests that CCT5 and FAM173B are promising targets in the regulation of pain.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-201742
PMCID: PMC3691951  PMID: 22956598
Gene Polymorphism; Fibromyalgis/Pain Syndromes; Epidemiology
7.  Multistage genome-wide association meta-analyses identified two new loci for bone mineral density 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;23(7):1923-1933.
Aiming to identify novel genetic variants and to confirm previously identified genetic variants associated with bone mineral density (BMD), we conducted a three-stage genome-wide association (GWA) meta-analysis in 27 061 study subjects. Stage 1 meta-analyzed seven GWA samples and 11 140 subjects for BMDs at the lumbar spine, hip and femoral neck, followed by a Stage 2 in silico replication of 33 SNPs in 9258 subjects, and by a Stage 3 de novo validation of three SNPs in 6663 subjects. Combining evidence from all the stages, we have identified two novel loci that have not been reported previously at the genome-wide significance (GWS; 5.0 × 10−8) level: 14q24.2 (rs227425, P-value 3.98 × 10−13, SMOC1) in the combined sample of males and females and 21q22.13 (rs170183, P-value 4.15 × 10−9, CLDN14) in the female-specific sample. The two newly identified SNPs were also significant in the GEnetic Factors for OSteoporosis consortium (GEFOS, n = 32 960) summary results. We have also independently confirmed 13 previously reported loci at the GWS level: 1p36.12 (ZBTB40), 1p31.3 (GPR177), 4p16.3 (FGFRL1), 4q22.1 (MEPE), 5q14.3 (MEF2C), 6q25.1 (C6orf97, ESR1), 7q21.3 (FLJ42280, SHFM1), 7q31.31 (FAM3C, WNT16), 8q24.12 (TNFRSF11B), 11p15.3 (SOX6), 11q13.4 (LRP5), 13q14.11 (AKAP11) and 16q24 (FOXL1). Gene expression analysis in osteogenic cells implied potential functional association of the two candidate genes (SMOC1 and CLDN14) in bone metabolism. Our findings independently confirm previously identified biological pathways underlying bone metabolism and contribute to the discovery of novel pathways, thus providing valuable insights into the intervention and treatment of osteoporosis.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt575
PMCID: PMC3943521  PMID: 24249740
8.  Understanding NHS hospital admissions in England: linkage of Hospital Episode Statistics to the Hertfordshire Cohort Study 
Age and ageing  2014;43(5):653-660.
Background
Concern over the sustainability of the National Health Service is often focussed on rising numbers of hospital admissions, particularly among older people. Hospital admissions are enumerated routinely by the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) Service, but published data do not allow individual level service use to be explored. This study linked information on Hertfordshire Cohort Study (HCS) participants with HES inpatient data. with the objective of describing patterns and predictors of admissions among individuals.
Methods
2997 community-dwelling men and women aged 59-73 years completed a baseline HCS assessment between 1998 and 2004; HES and mortality data to 31/03/2010 were linked with the HCS database. This paper describes patterns of hospital use among the cohort at both the admission and individual person level.
Results
The cohort experienced 8741 admissions; rates were 391 per 1000 person-years among men (95%CI 380, 402) and 327 among women (95%CI 316,338), p<0.0001 for gender difference. 1187 men (75%) and 981 women (69%) were admitted to hospital at least once; among these, median numbers of admissions were 3 in men (IQR 1,6) and 2 in women (IQR 1,5). 48% of those ever admitted had experienced an emergency admission and 70% had been admitted overnight.
Discussion
It is possible to link routinely collected HES data with detailed information from a cohort study. Hospital admission is common among community dwelling ‘young-old’ men and women. These linked datasets will facilitate research into lifecourse determinants of hospital admission and inform strategies to manage demand on the National Health Service.
doi:10.1093/ageing/afu020
PMCID: PMC4151283  PMID: 24598084
hospital admissions; older people; hospital episode statistics; data linkage; healthcare burden
9.  Can We Identify Patients with High Risk of Osteoarthritis Progression Who Will Respond to Treatment? A Focus on Epidemiology and Phenotype of Osteoarthritis 
Drugs & Aging  2015;32(3):179-187.
Osteoarthritis is a syndrome affecting a variety of patient profiles. A European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis and the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society working meeting explored the possibility of identifying different patient profiles in osteoarthritis. The risk factors for the development of osteoarthritis include systemic factors (e.g., age, sex, obesity, genetics, race, and bone density) and local biomechanical factors (e.g., obesity, sport, joint injury, and muscle weakness); most also predict disease progression, particularly joint injury, malalignment, and synovitis/effusion. The characterization of patient profiles should help to better orientate research, facilitate trial design, and define which patients are the most likely to benefit from treatment. There are a number of profile candidates. Generalized, polyarticular osteoarthritis and local, monoarticular osteoarthritis appear to be two different profiles; the former is a feature of osteoarthritis co-morbid with inflammation or the metabolic syndrome, while the latter is more typical of post-trauma osteoarthritis, especially in cases with severe malalignment. Other biomechanical factors may also define profiles, such as joint malalignment, loss of meniscal function, and ligament injury. Early- and late-stage osteoarthritis appear as separate profiles, notably in terms of treatment response. Finally, there is evidence that there are two separate profiles related to lesions in the subchondral bone, which may determine benefit from bone-active treatments. Decisions on appropriate therapy should be made considering clinical presentation, underlying pathophysiology, and stage of disease. Identification of patient profiles may lead to more personalized healthcare, with more targeted treatment for osteoarthritis.
doi:10.1007/s40266-015-0243-3
PMCID: PMC4366553  PMID: 25701074
10.  Grip Strength across the Life Course: Normative Data from Twelve British Studies 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e113637.
Introduction
Epidemiological studies have shown that weaker grip strength in later life is associated with disability, morbidity, and mortality. Grip strength is a key component of the sarcopenia and frailty phenotypes and yet it is unclear how individual measurements should be interpreted. Our objective was to produce cross-sectional centile values for grip strength across the life course. A secondary objective was to examine the impact of different aspects of measurement protocol.
Methods
We combined 60,803 observations from 49,964 participants (26,687 female) of 12 general population studies in Great Britain. We produced centile curves for ages 4 to 90 and investigated the prevalence of weak grip, defined as strength at least 2.5 SDs below the gender-specific peak mean. We carried out a series of sensitivity analyses to assess the impact of dynamometer type and measurement position (seated or standing).
Results
Our results suggested three overall periods: an increase to peak in early adult life, maintenance through to midlife, and decline from midlife onwards. Males were on average stronger than females from adolescence onwards: males’ peak median grip was 51 kg between ages 29 and 39, compared to 31 kg in females between ages 26 and 42. Weak grip strength, defined as strength at least 2.5 SDs below the gender-specific peak mean, increased sharply with age, reaching a prevalence of 23% in males and 27% in females by age 80. Sensitivity analyses suggested our findings were robust to differences in dynamometer type and measurement position.
Conclusion
This is the first study to provide normative data for grip strength across the life course. These centile values have the potential to inform the clinical assessment of grip strength which is recognised as an important part of the identification of people with sarcopenia and frailty.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113637
PMCID: PMC4256164  PMID: 25474696
11.  Processed meat consumption and lung function: modification by antioxidants and smoking 
The European respiratory journal  2013;43(4):972-982.
Unhealthy dietary patterns are associated with poorer lung function. It is not known whether this is due to low consumption of antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables, or is a consequence of higher intakes of harmful dietary constituents such as processed meat.
We examined the individual and combined associations of processed meat, fruit and vegetable consumption and dietary total antioxidant capacity (TAC) with lung function among 1551 men and 1391 women in the Hertfordshire Cohort Study, UK. Diet was assessed by food frequency questionnaire.
After controlling for confounders, processed meat consumption was negatively associated with forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC) and FEV1/FVC in men and women, while fruit and vegetable consumption and dietary TAC were positively associated with FEV1 and FVC, but not FEV1/FVC. In men the negative association between processed meat consumption and FEV1 was more marked in those who had low fruit and vegetable consumption (Pinteraction=0.035), and low dietary TAC (Pinteraction=0.025). The deficit in FEV1/FVC associated with processed meat consumption was larger in men who smoked (Pinteraction=0.022).
Higher processed meat consumption is associated with poorer lung function, especially in men who have lower fruit and vegetable consumption or dietary TAC, and among current smokers.
doi:10.1183/09031936.00109513
PMCID: PMC3956622  PMID: 24176995
Dietary balance; total antioxidant capacity; fruit and vegetables; processed meat; lung function
12.  Vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy: A systematic review 
1. ABSTRACT
Background
It is unclear whether the current evidence base allows definite conclusions to be made regarding the optimal maternal circulating concentration of 25(OH)-vitamin D during pregnancy, and how this might best be achieved. CRD42011001426.
Aim/ Research Questions
What are the clinical criteria for vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women?What adverse maternal and neonatal health outcomes are associated with low maternal circulating 25(OH)-vitamin D?Does maternal supplementation with vitamin D in pregnancy lead to an improvement in these outcomes (including assessment of compliance and effectiveness)?What is the optimal type (D2 or D3), dose, regimen and route for vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy?Is supplementation with vitamin D in pregnancy likely to be cost-effective?
Methods
We performed systematic review and where possible combined study results using meta-analysis to estimate the combined effect size.
Major electronic databases were searched up to June 2012 covering both published and grey literature. Bibliographies of selected papers were hand-searched for additional references. Relevant authors were contacted for any unpublished findings and additional data if necessary.
Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Subjects
Pregnant women or pregnant women and their offspring.
Exposure
Either assessment of vitamin D status (dietary intake, sunlight exposure, circulating 25(OH)-vitamin D concentration) or supplementation of participants with vitamin D or vitamin D containing food e.g. oily fish.
Outcomes
Offspring: Birth weight, birth length, head circumference, bone mass, anthropometry and body composition, risk of asthma and atopy, small for gestational dates, preterm birth, type 1 diabetes, low birth weight, serum calcium concentration, blood pressure and rickets. Mother: Preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, risk of caesarean section and bacterial vaginosis.
Results
76 studies were included. There was considerable heterogeneity between the studies and for most outcomes there was conflicting evidence.
The evidence base was insufficient to reliably answer question 1 in relation to biochemical or disease outcomes.
For questions 2 and 3, modest positive relationships were identified between maternal 25(OH)-vitamin D and 1) offspring birth weight in meta-analysis of 3 observational studies using log-transformed 25(OH)-vitamin D concentrations after adjustment for potential confounding factors (pooled regression coefficient 5.63g/10% change maternal 25(OH)D, 95% CI 1.11,10.16), but not in those 4 studies using natural units, or across intervention studies; 2) offspring cord blood or postnatal calcium concentrations in a meta-analysis of 6 intervention studies (all found to be at high risk of bias; mean difference 0.05mmol/l, 95% CI 0.02, 0.05); and 3) offspring bone mass in observational studies judged to be of good quality, but which did not permit meta-analysis.
The evidence base was insufficient to reliably answer questions 4 and 5.
Limitations
Study methodology varied widely in terms of study design, population used, vitamin D status assessment, exposure measured and outcome definition.
Conclusions
The evidence base is currently insufficient to support definite clinical recommendations regarding vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy. Although there is modest evidence to support a relationship between maternal 25(OH)-vitamin D status and offspring birth weight, bone mass and serum calcium concentrations, these findings were limited by their observational nature (birth weight, bone mass) or risk of bias and low quality (calcium concentrations). High quality randomised trials are now required.
doi:10.3310/hta18450
PMCID: PMC4124722  PMID: 25025896
13.  Self-perceived weather sensitivity and joint pain in older people with osteoarthritis in six European countries: results from the European Project on OSteoArthritis (EPOSA) 
Background
People with osteoarthritis (OA) frequently report that their joint pain is influenced by weather conditions. This study aimed to examine whether there are differences in perceived joint pain between older people with OA who reported to be weather-sensitive versus those who did not in six European countries with different climates and to identify characteristics of older persons with OA that are most predictive of perceived weather sensitivity.
Methods
Baseline data from the European Project on OSteoArthritis (EPOSA) were used. ACR classification criteria were used to determine OA. Participants with OA were asked about their perception of weather as influencing their pain. Using a two-week follow-up pain calendar, average self-reported joint pain was assessed (range: 0 (no pain)-10 (greatest pain intensity)). Linear regression analyses, logistic regression analyses and an independent t-test were used. Analyses were adjusted for several confounders.
Results
The majority of participants with OA (67.2%) perceived the weather as affecting their pain. Weather-sensitive participants reported more pain than non-weather-sensitive participants (M = 4.1, SD = 2.4 versus M = 3.1, SD = 2.4; p < 0.001). After adjusting for several confounding factors, the association between self-perceived weather sensitivity and joint pain remained present (B = 0.37, p = 0.03). Logistic regression analyses revealed that women and more anxious people were more likely to report weather sensitivity. Older people with OA from Southern Europe were more likely to indicate themselves as weather-sensitive persons than those from Northern Europe.
Conclusions
Weather (in)stability may have a greater impact on joint structures and pain perception in people from Southern Europe. The results emphasize the importance of considering weather sensitivity in daily life of older people with OA and may help to identify weather-sensitive older people with OA.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-66
PMCID: PMC3996041  PMID: 24597710
Europe; Joint pain; Older people; Osteoarthritis; Weather sensitivity
14.  Fetal and infant growth predict hip geometry at six years old: Findings from the Southampton Women’s Survey 
Pediatric research  2013;74(4):450-456.
Background
We investigated relationships between early growth and proximal femoral geometry at age six years in a prospective population-based cohort, the Southampton Women’s Survey.
Methods
In 493 mother-offspring pairs we assessed linear size (individual measure dependent on developmental stage) using high-resolution ultrasound at 11, 19 and 34 weeks gestation (femur length) and at birth, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 years (crown-heel length/height). Standard deviation (SD)-scores were created and conditional regression modelling generated mutually independent growth variables. Children underwent hip DXA (Dual X-ray absorptiometry) at 6 years (Hologic Discovery, Hologic Inc., MA); hip structure analysis software yielded measures of geometry and strength.
Results
There were strong associations between early linear growth and femoral neck section modulus (Z) at 6 years, with the strongest relationships observed for femur growth from 19-34 weeks gestation (β=0.26 cm3/SD, p<0.0001), and for height growth from birth to 1 year (β=0.25 cm3/SD, p<0.0001) and 1-2 years (β=0.33 cm3/SD, p<0.0001), with progressively weaker relationships over years 3 (β=0.23 cm3/SD, p=0.0002) and 4 (β=0.10 cm3/SD, p=0.18).
Conclusions
These results demonstrate that growth before age 3 years predicts proximal femoral geometry at six years old. The data suggest critical periods in which there is capacity for long term influence on the later skeletal growth trajectory.
doi:10.1038/pr.2013.119
PMCID: PMC3797011  PMID: 23857297
15.  Different Indices of Fetal Growth Predict Bone Size and Volumetric Density at 4 Years of Age 
We have demonstrated previously that higher birth weight is associated with greater peak and later-life bone mineral content and that maternal body build, diet, and lifestyle influence prenatal bone mineral accrual. To examine prenatal influences on bone health further, we related ultrasound measures of fetal growth to childhood bone size and density. We derived Z-scores for fetal femur length and abdominal circumference and conditional growth velocity from 19 to 34 weeks’ gestation from ultrasound measurements in participants in the Southampton Women’s Survey. A total of 380 of the offspring underwent dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) at age 4 years [whole body minus head bone area (BA), bone mineral content (BMC), areal bone mineral density (aBMD), and estimated volumetric BMD (vBMD)]. Volumetric bone mineral density was estimated using BMC adjusted for BA, height, and weight. A higher velocity of 19- to 34-week fetal femur growth was strongly associated with greater childhood skeletal size (BA: r = 0.30, p < .0001) but not with volumetric density (vBMD: r = 0.03, p = .51). Conversely, a higher velocity of 19- to 34-week fetal abdominal growth was associated with greater childhood volumetric density (vBMD: r = 0.15, p = .004) but not with skeletal size (BA: r = 0.06, p = .21). Both fetal measurements were positively associated with BMC and aBMD, indices influenced by both size and density. The velocity of fetal femur length growth from 19 to 34 weeks’ gestation predicted childhood skeletal size at age 4 years, whereas the velocity of abdominal growth (a measure of liver volume and adiposity) predicted volumetric density. These results suggest a discordance between influences on skeletal size and volumetric density.
doi:10.1359/jbmr.091022
PMCID: PMC3793299  PMID: 20437610
EPIDEMIOLOGY; OSTEOPOROSIS; PROGRAMMING; DEVELOPMENTAL ORIGINS
16.  Genome-wide association study meta-analysis of chronic widespread pain: evidence for involvement of the 5p15.2 region 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2012;72(3):427-436.
Objectives
Chronic widespread pain (CWP) is a common disorder affecting ~10% of the general population and has an estimated heritability of 48-52%. In the first large-scale genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis, we aimed to identify common genetic variants associated with CWP.
Methods
We conducted a GWAS meta-analysis in 1,308 female CWP cases and 5,791 controls of European descent, and replicated the effects of the genetic variants with suggestive evidence for association in 1,480 CWP cases and 7,989 controls (P<1×10−5). Subsequently, we studied gene expression levels of the nearest genes in two chronic inflammatory pain mouse models, and examined 92 genetic variants previously described associated with pain.
Results
The minor C-allele of rs13361160 on chromosome 5p15.2, located upstream of CCT5 and downstream of FAM173B, was found to be associated with a 30% higher risk of CWP (MAF=43%; OR=1.30, 95%CI=1.19-1.42, P=1.2×10−8). Combined with the replication, we observed a slightly attenuated OR of 1.17 (95%CI=1.10-1.24, P=4.7×10−7) with moderate heterogeneity (I2=28.4%). However, in a sensitivity analysis that only allowed studies with joint-specific pain, the combined association was genome-wide significant (OR=1.23, 95%CI=1.14-1.32, P=3.4×10−8, I2=0%). Expression levels of Cct5 and Fam173b in mice with inflammatory pain were higher in the lumbar spinal cord, not in the lumbar dorsal root ganglions, compared to mice without pain. None of the 92 genetic variants previously described were significantly associated with pain (P>7.7×10−4).
Conclusions
We identified a common genetic variant on chromosome 5p15.2 associated with joint-specific CWP in humans. This work suggests that CCT5 and FAM173B are promising targets in the regulation of pain.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-201742
PMCID: PMC3691951  PMID: 22956598
Gene Polymorphism; Fibromyalgia/Pain Syndromes; Epidemiology
17.  The relationship between depression, anxiety and cardiovascular disease: findings from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study 
Journal of affective disorders  2013;150(1):84-90.
Background
Previous studies suggest a link between depression, anxiety and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The aim of the study was to determine the relationship between depressive and anxiety symptoms and CVD in a population based cohort.
Methods
1,578 men and 1,417 women from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study were assessed for CVD at baseline and after 5.9±1.4 years. Depressive and anxiety symptoms were measured using the HADS Scale.
Results
Baseline HAD-D score, but not HAD-A, was significantly associated with baseline plasma triglycerides, glucose and insulin resistance (men only) and HDL cholesterol (women only).
After adjustment for CVD risk factors, higher baseline HAD-D scores were associated with increased odds ratios for CVD (men: 1.162 [95% CI 1.096 - 1.231]; women: 1.107 [1.038 – 1.181]). Higher HAD-A scores associated with increased CVD in men only.
High HAD-D scores predicted incident CVD (adjusted OR 1.130 [1.034 - 1.235]), all-cause mortality (adjusted HR 1.081, [1.012 – 1.154]) and cardiovascular mortality (adjusted HR 1.109 [1.002 - 1.229]) in men but not in women.
Limitations
The use of a self-report measure of depressive and anxiety symptoms, ‘healthy’ responder bias and the low number of cardiovascular events are all limitations.
Conclusions
Depressive and anxiety symptoms are commoner in people with CVD. These symptoms are independent predictors of CVD in men. Although HAD-D score was significantly associated with several cardiovascular risk factors, this did not fully explain the association between HAD-D and CVD.
doi:10.1016/j.jad.2013.02.026
PMCID: PMC3729346  PMID: 23507368
Depression; anxiety; cardiovascular disease; epidemiology; population studies
18.  Symptoms of anxiety or depression and risk of fracture in older people: The Hertfordshire Cohort Study 
Archives of osteoporosis  2012;7(0):59-65.
Background
Use of psychotropic drugs has been linked with an increased risk of fracture in older people, but there are indications that the conditions for which these drugs were prescribed may themselves influence fracture risk.
Aim
To investigate the relation between symptoms of anxiety and depression and risk of fracture in older people.
Design
Prospective cohort study.
Methods
1087 men and 1050 women aged 59-73 years completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Data on incident fracture during an average follow-up period of 5.6 years was collected through interview and a postal questionnaire.
Results
Compared to men with no or few symptoms of anxiety (score ≤7 on the HADS anxiety subscale), men with probable anxiety (score ≥11) had an increased risk of fracture: after adjustment for age and potential confounding factors, the odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval) was 4.03 (1.55, 10.5). Men with possible anxiety (score 8-10) did not have an increased risk of fracture: multivariate-adjusted OR was 1.04 (0.36, 3.03). There were no associations between levels of anxiety and fracture risk in women. Few men or women had probable depression at baseline (score ≥11 on the HADS depression subscale). Among men with possible depression (score 8-10) there was an increased risk of fracture that was of borderline significance: multivariate-adjusted OR 3.57 (0.99, 12.9). There was no association between possible depression and fracture risk in women.
Conclusions
High levels of anxiety in older men may increase their risk of fracture. Future research needs to replicate this finding in other populations and investigate the underlying mechanisms.
doi:10.1007/s11657-012-0080-5
PMCID: PMC3736098  PMID: 23225282
anxiety; depression; fracture
19.  Geographic differences in fractures among women 
Women's health (London, England)  2012;8(6):673-684.
Osteoporotic fracture is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality in women throughout the world. However, significant variation in hip fracture rates among women from different nations have been observed, and are likely to represent a combination of real and apparent differences due to ascertainment bias. Higher rates are observed in Caucasian women, with lowest rates observed in black women and intermediate rates among Asian women. These differences are likely to represent a combination of genetic and environmental differences; for example, among European women, the highest fracture rates are observed in Scandinavian women where vitamin D insufficiency is common. In all groups, an expansion in absolute fracture numbers is anticipated due to demographic changes.
doi:10.2217/whe.12.54
PMCID: PMC3736314  PMID: 23181532
Osteoporosis; Fracture; Geographic; Variation; Women; Epidemiology
20.  Epidemiology and Burden of Osteoarthritis 
British medical bulletin  2013;105:185-199.
Background
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease involving the cartilage and many of its surrounding tissues. Disease progression is usually slow but can ultimately lead to joint failure with pain and disability. OA of the hips and knees tends to cause the greatest burden to the population as pain and stiffness in these large weight bearing joints often leads to significant disability requiring surgical intervention.
Sources of data
The article reviews the existing data on epidemiology of osteoarthritis and the burden of the disease.
Areas of agreement
Symptoms and radiographic changes are poorly correlated in OA. Established risk factors include obesity, local trauma and occupation. The burden of OA is physical, psychological and socioeconomic.
Areas of controversy
Available data does not allow definite conclusion regarding the roles of nutrition, smoking and sarcopenia as risk factors for developing OA
Growing points
Areas timely for developing research: Further research is required to fully understand how OA affects an individual physically and psychologically, and to determine their healthcare need.
doi:10.1093/bmb/lds038
PMCID: PMC3690438  PMID: 23337796
epidemiology; osteoarthritis; burden
21.  Does maternal long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid status in pregnancy influence the bone health of children? The Southampton Women’s Survey 
Purpose
Maternal diet in pregnancy has been linked to childhood bone mass, but the mechanisms and nutrients involved are uncertain. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) have been shown to affect bone metabolism, but the relationship between maternal fatty acid status and bone mass in the offspring remains unknown.
Methods
We evaluated the association between maternal LCPUFA status in late pregnancy (34 weeks gestation) and bone density in their children at age four years, within 727 mother-child pairs taking part in the Southampton Women’s Survey.
Results
Concentrations of the n-3 LCPUFA component of maternal plasma phosphatidylcholine were positively associated with a number of bone mineral measures at the age of 4 years; these associations persisted after adjustment for maternal body build, walking speed and infant feeding. Relationships were most evident for eicosapentaenoic acid (r=0.09, p=0.02 for whole body areal bone mineral density [aBMD] and r=0.1, p=0.008 for lumbar spine aBMD) and for docosapentaenoic acid (r=0.09, p=0.02 for whole body aBMD and r=0.12, p=0.002 for lumbar spine aBMD).
Conclusions
These findings suggest that variation in early exposure to n-3 and n-6 LCPUFA may have potential consequences for bone development and that the effects appear to persist into early childhood.
doi:10.1007/s00198-011-1860-2
PMCID: PMC3679517  PMID: 22159749
Epidemiology; osteoporosis; development; nutrition; bone mass
22.  Association of diarrhoea in childhood with blood pressure and coronary heart disease in older age: analyses of two UK cohort studies 
Background
There is a suggestion that acute dehydration in childhood may lead to elevated blood pressure. We examined if episodes of diarrhoea in childhood, a recognized proxy for acute dehydration, were related to measured blood pressure and coronary heart disease in older adults.
Methods
Data were pooled from two prospective UK cohort studies (participants born 1920–39) in which episodes of diarrhoea were ascertained from health visitor records from birth until 5 years of age. Blood pressure and coronary heart disease were assessed during medical examination in men and women over 64 years of age. In total, 5203 men and women had data on diarrhoea in early life, adult blood pressure and a range of covariates; 4181 of these also had data on coronary heart disease status.
Results
The prevalence of diarrhoea in infancy (3.3%) and between 1 and 5 years (1.1%) was low. There was no relation of diarrhoea from either period (age- and sex-adjusted results for diarrhoea in infancy presented here) with measured blood pressure [coefficient for systolic; 95% CI (confidence interval): 0.44; −2.88–3.76] or coronary heart disease (Odds ratio, OR; 95% CI: 0.91; 0.54–1.54) in adulthood. There was a similar lack of association when hypertension was the outcome of interest. These observations were unchanged after adjustment for a range of covariates.
Conclusions
In the largest study to date to examine the relation, there was no evidence that diarrhoea in early life had an influence on measured blood pressure, hypertension or coronary heart disease in older adults.
doi:10.1093/ije/dym178
PMCID: PMC3660699  PMID: 18056131
blood pressure; children; diarrhoea; hypertension; coronary heart disease
23.  No Interactions Between Previously Associated 2-Hour Glucose Gene Variants and Physical Activity or BMI on 2-Hour Glucose Levels 
Scott, Robert A. | Chu, Audrey Y. | Grarup, Niels | Manning, Alisa K. | Hivert, Marie-France | Shungin, Dmitry | Tönjes, Anke | Yesupriya, Ajay | Barnes, Daniel | Bouatia-Naji, Nabila | Glazer, Nicole L. | Jackson, Anne U. | Kutalik, Zoltán | Lagou, Vasiliki | Marek, Diana | Rasmussen-Torvik, Laura J. | Stringham, Heather M. | Tanaka, Toshiko | Aadahl, Mette | Arking, Dan E. | Bergmann, Sven | Boerwinkle, Eric | Bonnycastle, Lori L. | Bornstein, Stefan R. | Brunner, Eric | Bumpstead, Suzannah J. | Brage, Soren | Carlson, Olga D. | Chen, Han | Chen, Yii-Der Ida | Chines, Peter S. | Collins, Francis S. | Couper, David J. | Dennison, Elaine M. | Dowling, Nicole F. | Egan, Josephine S. | Ekelund, Ulf | Erdos, Michael R. | Forouhi, Nita G. | Fox, Caroline S. | Goodarzi, Mark O. | Grässler, Jürgen | Gustafsson, Stefan | Hallmans, Göran | Hansen, Torben | Hingorani, Aroon | Holloway, John W. | Hu, Frank B. | Isomaa, Bo | Jameson, Karen A. | Johansson, Ingegerd | Jonsson, Anna | Jørgensen, Torben | Kivimaki, Mika | Kovacs, Peter | Kumari, Meena | Kuusisto, Johanna | Laakso, Markku | Lecoeur, Cécile | Lévy-Marchal, Claire | Li, Guo | Loos, Ruth J.F. | Lyssenko, Valeri | Marmot, Michael | Marques-Vidal, Pedro | Morken, Mario A. | Müller, Gabriele | North, Kari E. | Pankow, James S. | Payne, Felicity | Prokopenko, Inga | Psaty, Bruce M. | Renström, Frida | Rice, Ken | Rotter, Jerome I. | Rybin, Denis | Sandholt, Camilla H. | Sayer, Avan A. | Shrader, Peter | Schwarz, Peter E.H. | Siscovick, David S. | Stančáková, Alena | Stumvoll, Michael | Teslovich, Tanya M. | Waeber, Gérard | Williams, Gordon H. | Witte, Daniel R. | Wood, Andrew R. | Xie, Weijia | Boehnke, Michael | Cooper, Cyrus | Ferrucci, Luigi | Froguel, Philippe | Groop, Leif | Kao, W.H. Linda | Vollenweider, Peter | Walker, Mark | Watanabe, Richard M. | Pedersen, Oluf | Meigs, James B. | Ingelsson, Erik | Barroso, Inês | Florez, Jose C. | Franks, Paul W. | Dupuis, Josée | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Langenberg, Claudia
Diabetes  2012;61(5):1291-1296.
Gene–lifestyle interactions have been suggested to contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Glucose levels 2 h after a standard 75-g glucose challenge are used to diagnose diabetes and are associated with both genetic and lifestyle factors. However, whether these factors interact to determine 2-h glucose levels is unknown. We meta-analyzed single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) × BMI and SNP × physical activity (PA) interaction regression models for five SNPs previously associated with 2-h glucose levels from up to 22 studies comprising 54,884 individuals without diabetes. PA levels were dichotomized, with individuals below the first quintile classified as inactive (20%) and the remainder as active (80%). BMI was considered a continuous trait. Inactive individuals had higher 2-h glucose levels than active individuals (β = 0.22 mmol/L [95% CI 0.13–0.31], P = 1.63 × 10−6). All SNPs were associated with 2-h glucose (β = 0.06–0.12 mmol/allele, P ≤ 1.53 × 10−7), but no significant interactions were found with PA (P > 0.18) or BMI (P ≥ 0.04). In this large study of gene–lifestyle interaction, we observed no interactions between genetic and lifestyle factors, both of which were associated with 2-h glucose. It is perhaps unlikely that top loci from genome-wide association studies will exhibit strong subgroup-specific effects, and may not, therefore, make the best candidates for the study of interactions.
doi:10.2337/db11-0973
PMCID: PMC3331745  PMID: 22415877
24.  European project on osteoarthritis: design of a six-cohort study on the personal and societal burden of osteoarthritis in an older European population 
Background
Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis, is a major contributor to functional impairment and loss of independence in older persons. The European Project on OSteoArthritis (EPOSA) is a collaborative study involving six European cohort studies on ageing. This project focuses on the personal and societal burden and its determinants of osteoarthritis. This paper describes the design of the project, and presents some descriptive analyses on selected variables across countries.
Methods/design
EPOSA is an observational study including pre-harmonized data from European cohort studies (Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) on older community-dwelling persons aged 65 to 85 years. In total, 2942 persons were included in the baseline study with a mean age of 74.2 years (SD 5.1), just over half were women (51,9%). The baseline assessment was conducted by a face-to-face interview followed by a clinical examination. Measures included physical, cognitive, psychological and social functioning, lifestyle behaviour, physical environment, wellbeing and care utilisation. The clinical examination included anthropometry, muscle strength, physical performance and OA exam. A follow-up assessment was performed 12–18 months after baseline.
Discussion
The EPOSA study is the first population-based study including a clinical examination of OA, using pre-harmonized data across European countries. The EPOSA study provides a unique opportunity to study the determinants and consequences of OA in general populations of older persons, including both care-seeking and non care-seeking persons.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-138
PMCID: PMC3637520  PMID: 23597054
25.  Type of milk feeding in infancy and health behaviours in adult life: findings from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study 
The British journal of nutrition  2012;109(6):1114-1122.
A number of studies suggest that breastfeeding has beneficial effects on adult cardiovascular risk factors in adulthood, although the mechanisms involved are unknown. One possible explanation is that adults who were breastfed differ in their health behaviours. In a historical cohort, adult health behaviours were examined in relation to type of milk feeding in infancy. From 1931-1939, records were kept on all infants born in Hertfordshire, UK. Their type of milk feeding was summarised as breastfed only, breast & bottle-fed, or bottle-fed only. Information about adult health behaviours was collected from 3217 of these men and women when they were aged 59-73 years. Diet was assessed by administered food frequency questionnaire; the key dietary pattern was a ‘prudent’ pattern, that described compliance with ‘healthy’ eating recommendations. 60% of the men and women were breastfed, 31% were breast & bottle-fed, 9% were bottle-fed. Type of milk feeding did not differ according to social class at birth, and was not related to social class attained in adult life. There were no differences in smoking status, alcohol intake or reported physical activity according to type of milk feeding, but there were differences in the participants’ dietary patterns. In a multivariate model that included gender and infant weight gain, there were independent associations between type of feeding and prudent diet scores in adult life (P=0.009), such that higher scores were associated with being breast fed. These data support experimental findings that suggest that early dietary exposures can have lifelong influences on food choice.
doi:10.1017/S000711451200267X
PMCID: PMC3628663  PMID: 23021469
Breastfeeding; food choice; dietary patterns; health behaviours

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