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1.  Adult height and the risk of cause-specific death and vascular morbidity in 1 million people: individual participant meta-analysis 
Wormser, David | Angelantonio, Emanuele Di | Kaptoge, Stephen | Wood, Angela M | Gao, Pei | Sun, Qi | Walldius, Göran | Selmer, Randi | Verschuren, WM Monique | Bueno-de-Mesquita, H Bas | Engström, Gunnar | Ridker, Paul M | Njølstad, Inger | Iso, Hiroyasu | Holme, Ingar | Giampaoli, Simona | Tunstall-Pedoe, Hugh | Gaziano, J Michael | Brunner, Eric | Kee, Frank | Tosetto, Alberto | Meisinger, Christa | Brenner, Hermann | Ducimetiere, Pierre | Whincup, Peter H | Tipping, Robert W | Ford, Ian | Cremer, Peter | Hofman, Albert | Wilhelmsen, Lars | Clarke, Robert | de Boer, Ian H | Jukema, J Wouter | Ibañez, Alejandro Marín | Lawlor, Debbie A | D'Agostino, Ralph B | Rodriguez, Beatriz | Casiglia, Edoardo | Stehouwer, Coen DA | Simons, Leon A | Nietert, Paul J | Barrett-Connor, Elizabeth | Panagiotakos, Demosthenes B | Björkelund, Cecilia | Strandberg, Timo E | Wassertheil-Smoller, Sylvia | Blazer, Dan G | Meade, Tom W | Welin, Lennart | Svärdsudd, Kurt | Woodward, Mark | Nissinen, Aulikki | Kromhout, Daan | Jørgensen, Torben | Tilvis, Reijo S | Guralnik, Jack M | Rosengren, Annika | Taylor, James O | Kiechl, Stefan | Dagenais, Gilles R | Gerry, F | Fowkes, R | Wallace, Robert B | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Shaffer, Jonathan A | Visser, Marjolein | Kauhanen, Jussi | Salonen, Jukka T | Gallacher, John | Ben-Shlomo, Yoav | Kitamura, Akihiko | Sundström, Johan | Wennberg, Patrik | Kiyohara, Yutaka | Daimon, Makoto | de la Cámara, Agustin Gómez | Cooper, Jackie A | Onat, Altan | Devereux, Richard | Mukamal, Kenneth J | Dankner, Rachel | Knuiman, Matthew W | Crespo, Carlos J | Gansevoort, Ron T | Goldbourt, Uri | Nordestgaard, Børge G | Shaw, Jonathan E | Mussolino, Michael | Nakagawa, Hidaeki | Fletcher, Astrid | Kuller, Lewis H | Gillum, Richard F | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Assmann, Gerd | Wald, Nicholas | Jousilahti, Pekka R | Greenland, Philip | Trevisan, Maurizio | Ulmer, Hanno | Butterworth, Adam S | Folsom, Aaron R | Davey-Smith, George | Hu, Frank B | Danesh, John | Tipping, Robert W | Ford, Charles E | Simpson, Lara M | Walldius, Göran | Jungner, Ingmar | Folsom, Aaron R | Demerath, Ellen W | Franceschini, Nora | Lutsey, Pamela L | Panagiotakos, Demosthenes B | Pitsavos, Christos | Chrysohoou, Christina | Stefanadis, Christodoulos | Shaw, Jonathan E | Atkins, Robert | Zimmet, Paul Z | Barr, Elizabeth LM | Knuiman, Matthew W | Whincup, Peter H | Wannamethee, S Goya | Morris, Richard W | Willeit, Johann | Kiechl, Stefan | Weger, Siegfried | Oberhollenzer, Friedrich | Wald, Nicholas | Ebrahim, Shah | Lawlor, Debbie A | Gallacher, John | Ben-Shlomo, Yoav | Yarnell, John WG | Casiglia, Edoardo | Tikhonoff, Valérie | Greenland, Philip | Shay, Christina M | Garside, Daniel B | Nietert, Paul J | Sutherland, Susan E | Bachman, David L | Keil, Julian E | de Boer, Ian H | Kizer, Jorge R | Psaty, Bruce M | Mukamal, Kenneth J | Nordestgaard, Børge G | Tybjærg-Hansen, Anne | Jensen, Gorm B | Schnohr, Peter | Giampaoli, Simona | Palmieri, Luigi | Panico, Salvatore | Pilotto, Lorenza | Vanuzzo, Diego | de la Cámara, Agustin Gómez | Simons, Leon A | Simons, Judith | McCallum, John | Friedlander, Yechiel | Gerry, F | Fowkes, R | Price, Jackie F | Lee, Amanda J | Taylor, James O | Guralnik, Jack M | Phillips, Caroline L | Wallace, Robert B | Kohout, Frank J | Cornoni-Huntley, Joan C | Guralnik, Jack M | Blazer, Dan G | Guralnik, Jack M | Phillips, Caroline L | Phillips, Caroline L | Guralnik, Jack M | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Wareham, Nicholas J | Brenner, Hermann | Schöttker, Ben | Müller, Heiko | Rothenbacher, Dietrich | Wennberg, Patrik | Jansson, Jan-Håkan | Nissinen, Aulikki | Donfrancesco, Chiara | Giampaoli, Simona | Woodward, Mark | Vartiainen, Erkki | Jousilahti, Pekka R | Harald, Kennet | Salomaa, Veikko | D'Agostino, Ralph B | Vasan, Ramachandran S | Fox, Caroline S | Pencina, Michael J | Daimon, Makoto | Oizumi, Toshihide | Kayama, Takamasa | Kato, Takeo | Bladbjerg, Else-Marie | Jørgensen, Torben | Møller, Lars | Jespersen, Jørgen | Dankner, Rachel | Chetrit, Angela | Lubin, Flora | Svärdsudd, Kurt | Eriksson, Henry | Welin, Lennart | Lappas, Georgios | Rosengren, Annika | Lappas, Georgios | Welin, Lennart | Svärdsudd, Kurt | Eriksson, Henry | Lappas, Georgios | Bengtsson, Calle | Lissner, Lauren | Björkelund, Cecilia | Cremer, Peter | Nagel, Dorothea | Strandberg, Timo E | Salomaa, Veikko | Tilvis, Reijo S | Miettinen, Tatu A | Tilvis, Reijo S | Strandberg, Timo E | Kiyohara, Yutaka | Arima, Hisatomi | Doi, Yasufumi | Ninomiya, Toshiharu | Rodriguez, Beatriz | Dekker, Jacqueline M | Nijpels, Giel | Stehouwer, Coen DA | Hu, Frank B | Sun, Qi | Rimm, Eric B | Willett, Walter C | Iso, Hiroyasu | Kitamura, Akihiko | Yamagishi, Kazumasa | Noda, Hiroyuki | Goldbourt, Uri | Vartiainen, Erkki | Jousilahti, Pekka R | Harald, Kennet | Salomaa, Veikko | Kauhanen, Jussi | Salonen, Jukka T | Kurl, Sudhir | Tuomainen, Tomi-Pekka | Poppelaars, Jan L | Deeg, Dorly JH | Visser, Marjolein | Meade, Tom W | De Stavola, Bianca Lucia | Hedblad, Bo | Nilsson, Peter | Engström, Gunnar | Verschuren, WM Monique | Blokstra, Anneke | de Boer, Ian H | Shea, Steven J | Meisinger, Christa | Thorand, Barbara | Koenig, Wolfgang | Döring, Angela | Verschuren, WM Monique | Blokstra, Anneke | Bueno-de-Mesquita, H Bas | Wilhelmsen, Lars | Rosengren, Annika | Lappas, Georgios | Fletcher, Astrid | Nitsch, Dorothea | Kuller, Lewis H | Grandits, Greg | Tverdal, Aage | Selmer, Randi | Nystad, Wenche | Mussolino, Michael | Gillum, Richard F | Hu, Frank B | Sun, Qi | Manson, JoAnn E | Rimm, Eric B | Hankinson, Susan E | Meade, Tom W | De Stavola, Bianca Lucia | Cooper, Jackie A | Bauer, Kenneth A | Davidson, Karina W | Kirkland, Susan | Shaffer, Jonathan A | Shimbo, Daichi | Kitamura, Akihiko | Iso, Hiroyasu | Sato, Shinichi | Holme, Ingar | Selmer, Randi | Tverdal, Aage | Nystad, Wenche | Nakagawa, Hidaeki | Miura, Katsuyuki | Sakurai, Masaru | Ducimetiere, Pierre | Jouven, Xavier | Bakker, Stephan JL | Gansevoort, Ron T | van der Harst, Pim | Hillege, Hans L | Crespo, Carlos J | Garcia-Palmieri, Mario R | Kee, Frank | Amouyel, Philippe | Arveiler, Dominique | Ferrières, Jean | Schulte, Helmut | Assmann, Gerd | Jukema, J Wouter | de Craen, Anton JM | Sattar, Naveed | Stott, David J | Cantin, Bernard | Lamarche, Benoît | Després, Jean-Pierre | Dagenais, Gilles R | Barrett-Connor, Elizabeth | Bergstrom, Jaclyn | Bettencourt, Richele R | Buisson, Catherine | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Aspelund, Thor | Sigurdsson, Gunnar | Thorsson, Bolli | Trevisan, Maurizio | Hofman, Albert | Ikram, M Arfan | Tiemeier, Henning | Witteman, Jacqueline CM | Tunstall-Pedoe, Hugh | Tavendale, Roger | Lowe, Gordon DO | Woodward, Mark | Devereux, Richard | Yeh, Jeun-Liang | Ali, Tauqeer | Calhoun, Darren | Ben-Shlomo, Yoav | Davey-Smith, George | Onat, Altan | Can, Günay | Nakagawa, Hidaeki | Sakurai, Masaru | Nakamura, Koshi | Morikawa, Yuko | Njølstad, Inger | Mathiesen, Ellisiv B | Løchen, Maja-Lisa | Wilsgaard, Tom | Sundström, Johan | Ingelsson, Erik | Michaëlsson, Karl | Cederholm, Tommy | Gaziano, J Michael | Buring, Julie | Ridker, Paul M | Gaziano, J Michael | Ridker, Paul M | Ulmer, Hanno | Diem, Günter | Concin, Hans | Rodeghiero, Francesco | Tosetto, Alberto | Wassertheil-Smoller, Sylvia | Manson, JoAnn E | Marmot, Michael | Clarke, Robert | Fletcher, Astrid | Brunner, Eric | Shipley, Martin | Kivimaki, Mika | Ridker, Paul M | Buring, Julie | Ford, Ian | Robertson, Michele | Ibañez, Alejandro Marín | Feskens, Edith | Geleijnse, Johanna M | Kromhout, Daan | Walker, Matthew | Watson, Sarah | Alexander, Myriam | Butterworth, Adam S | Angelantonio, Emanuele Di | Franco, Oscar H | Gao, Pei | Gobin, Reeta | Haycock, Philip | Kaptoge, Stephen | Seshasai, Sreenivasa R Kondapally | Lewington, Sarah | Pennells, Lisa | Rapsomaniki, Eleni | Sarwar, Nadeem | Thompson, Alexander | Thompson, Simon G | Walker, Matthew | Watson, Sarah | White, Ian R | Wood, Angela M | Wormser, David | Zhao, Xiaohui | Danesh, John
Background The extent to which adult height, a biomarker of the interplay of genetic endowment and early-life experiences, is related to risk of chronic diseases in adulthood is uncertain.
Methods We calculated hazard ratios (HRs) for height, assessed in increments of 6.5 cm, using individual–participant data on 174 374 deaths or major non-fatal vascular outcomes recorded among 1 085 949 people in 121 prospective studies.
Results For people born between 1900 and 1960, mean adult height increased 0.5–1 cm with each successive decade of birth. After adjustment for age, sex, smoking and year of birth, HRs per 6.5 cm greater height were 0.97 (95% confidence interval: 0.96–0.99) for death from any cause, 0.94 (0.93–0.96) for death from vascular causes, 1.04 (1.03–1.06) for death from cancer and 0.92 (0.90–0.94) for death from other causes. Height was negatively associated with death from coronary disease, stroke subtypes, heart failure, stomach and oral cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, mental disorders, liver disease and external causes. In contrast, height was positively associated with death from ruptured aortic aneurysm, pulmonary embolism, melanoma and cancers of the pancreas, endocrine and nervous systems, ovary, breast, prostate, colorectum, blood and lung. HRs per 6.5 cm greater height ranged from 1.26 (1.12–1.42) for risk of melanoma death to 0.84 (0.80–0.89) for risk of death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. HRs were not appreciably altered after further adjustment for adiposity, blood pressure, lipids, inflammation biomarkers, diabetes mellitus, alcohol consumption or socio-economic indicators.
Conclusion Adult height has directionally opposing relationships with risk of death from several different major causes of chronic diseases.
doi:10.1093/ije/dys086
PMCID: PMC3465767  PMID: 22825588
Height; cardiovascular disease; cancer; cause-specific mortality; epidemiological study; meta-analysis
2.  HMG-coenzyme A reductase inhibition, type 2 diabetes, and bodyweight: evidence from genetic analysis and randomised trials 
Swerdlow, Daniel I | Preiss, David | Kuchenbaecker, Karoline B | Holmes, Michael V | Engmann, Jorgen E L | Shah, Tina | Sofat, Reecha | Stender, Stefan | Johnson, Paul C D | Scott, Robert A | Leusink, Maarten | Verweij, Niek | Sharp, Stephen J | Guo, Yiran | Giambartolomei, Claudia | Chung, Christina | Peasey, Anne | Amuzu, Antoinette | Li, KaWah | Palmen, Jutta | Howard, Philip | Cooper, Jackie A | Drenos, Fotios | Li, Yun R | Lowe, Gordon | Gallacher, John | Stewart, Marlene C W | Tzoulaki, Ioanna | Buxbaum, Sarah G | van der A, Daphne L | Forouhi, Nita G | Onland-Moret, N Charlotte | van der Schouw, Yvonne T | Schnabel, Renate B | Hubacek, Jaroslav A | Kubinova, Ruzena | Baceviciene, Migle | Tamosiunas, Abdonas | Pajak, Andrzej | Topor-Madry, Romanvan | Stepaniak, Urszula | Malyutina, Sofia | Baldassarre, Damiano | Sennblad, Bengt | Tremoli, Elena | de Faire, Ulf | Veglia, Fabrizio | Ford, Ian | Jukema, J Wouter | Westendorp, Rudi G J | de Borst, Gert Jan | de Jong, Pim A | Algra, Ale | Spiering, Wilko | der Zee, Anke H Maitland-van | Klungel, Olaf H | de Boer, Anthonius | Doevendans, Pieter A | Eaton, Charles B | Robinson, Jennifer G | Duggan, David | Kjekshus, John | Downs, John R | Gotto, Antonio M | Keech, Anthony C | Marchioli, Roberto | Tognoni, Gianni | Sever, Peter S | Poulter, Neil R | Waters, David D | Pedersen, Terje R | Amarenco, Pierre | Nakamura, Haruo | McMurray, John J V | Lewsey, James D | Chasman, Daniel I | Ridker, Paul M | Maggioni, Aldo P | Tavazzi, Luigi | Ray, Kausik K | Seshasai, Sreenivasa Rao Kondapally | Manson, JoAnn E | Price, Jackie F | Whincup, Peter H | Morris, Richard W | Lawlor, Debbie A | Smith, George Davey | Ben-Shlomo, Yoav | Schreiner, Pamela J | Fornage, Myriam | Siscovick, David S | Cushman, Mary | Kumari, Meena | Wareham, Nick J | Verschuren, W M Monique | Redline, Susan | Patel, Sanjay R | Whittaker, John C | Hamsten, Anders | Delaney, Joseph A | Dale, Caroline | Gaunt, Tom R | Wong, Andrew | Kuh, Diana | Hardy, Rebecca | Kathiresan, Sekar | Castillo, Berta A | van der Harst, Pim | Brunner, Eric J | Tybjaerg-Hansen, Anne | Marmot, Michael G | Krauss, Ronald M | Tsai, Michael | Coresh, Josef | Hoogeveen, Ronald C | Psaty, Bruce M | Lange, Leslie A | Hakonarson, Hakon | Dudbridge, Frank | Humphries, Steve E | Talmud, Philippa J | Kivimäki, Mika | Timpson, Nicholas J | Langenberg, Claudia | Asselbergs, Folkert W | Voevoda, Mikhail | Bobak, Martin | Pikhart, Hynek | Wilson, James G | Reiner, Alex P | Keating, Brendan J | Hingorani, Aroon D | Sattar, Naveed
Lancet  2015;385(9965):351-361.
Summary
Background
Statins increase the risk of new-onset type 2 diabetes mellitus. We aimed to assess whether this increase in risk is a consequence of inhibition of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGCR), the intended drug target.
Methods
We used single nucleotide polymorphisms in the HMGCR gene, rs17238484 (for the main analysis) and rs12916 (for a subsidiary analysis) as proxies for HMGCR inhibition by statins. We examined associations of these variants with plasma lipid, glucose, and insulin concentrations; bodyweight; waist circumference; and prevalent and incident type 2 diabetes. Study-specific effect estimates per copy of each LDL-lowering allele were pooled by meta-analysis. These findings were compared with a meta-analysis of new-onset type 2 diabetes and bodyweight change data from randomised trials of statin drugs. The effects of statins in each randomised trial were assessed using meta-analysis.
Findings
Data were available for up to 223 463 individuals from 43 genetic studies. Each additional rs17238484-G allele was associated with a mean 0·06 mmol/L (95% CI 0·05–0·07) lower LDL cholesterol and higher body weight (0·30 kg, 0·18–0·43), waist circumference (0·32 cm, 0·16–0·47), plasma insulin concentration (1·62%, 0·53–2·72), and plasma glucose concentration (0·23%, 0·02–0·44). The rs12916 SNP had similar effects on LDL cholesterol, bodyweight, and waist circumference. The rs17238484-G allele seemed to be associated with higher risk of type 2 diabetes (odds ratio [OR] per allele 1·02, 95% CI 1·00–1·05); the rs12916-T allele association was consistent (1·06, 1·03–1·09). In 129 170 individuals in randomised trials, statins lowered LDL cholesterol by 0·92 mmol/L (95% CI 0·18–1·67) at 1-year of follow-up, increased bodyweight by 0·24 kg (95% CI 0·10–0·38 in all trials; 0·33 kg, 95% CI 0·24–0·42 in placebo or standard care controlled trials and −0·15 kg, 95% CI −0·39 to 0·08 in intensive-dose vs moderate-dose trials) at a mean of 4·2 years (range 1·9–6·7) of follow-up, and increased the odds of new-onset type 2 diabetes (OR 1·12, 95% CI 1·06–1·18 in all trials; 1·11, 95% CI 1·03–1·20 in placebo or standard care controlled trials and 1·12, 95% CI 1·04–1·22 in intensive-dose vs moderate dose trials).
Interpretation
The increased risk of type 2 diabetes noted with statins is at least partially explained by HMGCR inhibition.
Funding
The funding sources are cited at the end of the paper.
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61183-1
PMCID: PMC4322187  PMID: 25262344
3.  The association of birth order with later body mass index and blood pressure: a comparison between prospective cohort studies from the UK and Brazil 
Background
Previous studies have found greater adiposity and cardiovascular risk in first born children. The causality of this association is not clear. Examining the association in diverse populations may lead to improved insight.
Methods
We examine the association between birth order and body mass index (BMI), systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP/DBP) in the 2004 Pelotas cohort from southern Brazil and the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) from Bristol, south west England, restricting analysis to families with two children in order to remove confounding by family size.
Results
No consistent differences in BMI, SBP or DBP were observed comparing first and second born children. Within the Pelotas 2004 cohort, first born females were thinner, with lower SBP and DBP; e.g. mean difference in SBP comparing first with second born was -0.979 (95% confidence interval -2.901 to 0.943). In ALSPAC, first born females had higher BMI, SBP and DBP. In both cohorts, associations tended to be in the opposite direction in males, although no statistical evidence for gender interactions was found.
Conclusions
The findings do not support an association between birth order and BMI or blood pressure. Differences to previous studies may be explained by differences in populations and/or confounding by family size in previous studies.
doi:10.1038/ijo.2013.189
PMCID: PMC4024316  PMID: 24097298
ALSPAC; birth order; blood pressure; body mass index; cardiovascular; obesity; Pelotas; siblings
4.  ASSOCIATIONS OF BLOOD PRESSURE CHANGE IN PREGNANCY WITH FETAL GROWTH AND GESTATIONAL AGE AT DELIVERY: FINDINGS FROM A PROSPECTIVE COHORT 
Hypertension  2014;64(1):36-44.
Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are associated with intrauterine growth restriction and preterm birth. However, the associations of patterns of blood pressure change during pregnancy with these outcomes have not been studied in detail. We studied repeat antenatal blood pressure measurements of 9,697 women in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (median (interquartile range) 10 (9, 11) measurements per woman). Bivariate linear spline models were used to relate blood pressure changes to perinatal outcomes.
Higher systolic, but not diastolic, blood pressure at baseline (8 weeks gestation) and a greater increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure between 18 and 36 weeks gestation were associated with lower offspring birthweight and being smaller for gestational age in confounder-adjusted models. For example, the mean difference (95% CI) in birthweight per 1 mmHg/week greater increase in systolic blood pressure between 18-30 weeks was −71g (−134, −14) and between 30-36 weeks was −175g (−208, −145). A smaller decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure prior to 18 weeks and a greater increase between 18 and 36 weeks was associated with a shorter gestation (percentage difference in gestational duration per 1 mmHg/week greater increase in systolic blood pressure between 18-30 weeks: −0.60% (−1.01, −0.18) and 30-36 weeks: −1.01% (−1.36, −0.74)). Associations remained strong when restricting to normotensive women. We conclude that greater increases in blood pressure, from the 18-week nadir, are related to reduced fetal growth and shorter gestation even in women whose blood pressure does not cross the threshold for hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.
doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.113.02766
PMCID: PMC4150069  PMID: 24821945
ALSPAC; Birthweight; Blood pressure; Gestational age; Pregnancy
5.  Birthweight and risk markers for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in childhood: the Child Heart and Health Study in England (CHASE) 
Diabetologia  2014;58:474-484.
Aims/hypothesis
Lower birthweight (a marker of fetal undernutrition) is associated with higher risks of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) and could explain ethnic differences in these diseases. We examined associations between birthweight and risk markers for diabetes and CVD in UK-resident white European, South Asian and black African-Caribbean children.
Methods
In a cross-sectional study of risk markers for diabetes and CVD in 9- to 10-year-old children of different ethnic origins, birthweight was obtained from health records and/or parental recall. Associations between birthweight and risk markers were estimated using multilevel linear regression to account for clustering in children from the same school.
Results
Key data were available for 3,744 (66%) singleton study participants. In analyses adjusted for age, sex and ethnicity, birthweight was inversely associated with serum urate and positively associated with systolic BP. After additional height adjustment, lower birthweight (per 100 g) was associated with higher serum urate (0.52%; 95% CI 0.38, 0.66), fasting serum insulin (0.41%; 95% CI 0.08, 0.74), HbA1c (0.04%; 95% CI 0.00, 0.08), plasma glucose (0.06%; 95% CI 0.02, 0.10) and serum triacylglycerol (0.30%; 95% CI 0.09, 0.51) but not with BP or blood cholesterol. Birthweight was lower among children of South Asian (231 g lower; 95% CI 183, 280) and black African-Caribbean origin (81 g lower; 95% CI 30, 132). However, adjustment for birthweight had no effect on ethnic differences in risk markers.
Conclusions/interpretation
Birthweight was inversely associated with urate and with insulin and glycaemia after adjustment for current height. Lower birthweight does not appear to explain emerging ethnic difference in risk markers for diabetes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-014-3474-7) contains peer-reviewed but unedited supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
doi:10.1007/s00125-014-3474-7
PMCID: PMC4320299  PMID: 25520157
Birthweight; Cardiovascular disease; Childhood; Ethnicity; Type 2 diabetes
6.  ADH1B and ADH1C Genotype, Alcohol Consumption and Biomarkers of Liver Function: Findings from a Mendelian Randomization Study in 58,313 European Origin Danes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114294.
Background
The effect of alcohol consumption on liver function is difficult to determine because of reporting bias and potential residual confounding. Our aim was to determine this effect using genetic variants to proxy for the unbiased effect of alcohol.
Methods
We used variants in ADH1B and ADH1C genes as instrumental variables (IV) to estimate the causal effect of long-term alcohol consumption on alanine aminotransferase (ALT), γ-glutamyl-transferase (γ-GT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), bilirubin and prothrombin action. Analyses were undertaken on 58,313 Danes (mean age 56).
Results
In both confounder adjusted multivariable and genetic-IV analyses greater alcohol consumption, amongst those who drank any alcohol, was associated with higher ALT [mean difference per doubling of alcohol consumption: 3.4% (95% CI: 3.1, 3.7) from multivariable analyses and 3.7% (−4.5, 11.9) from genetic-IV analyses] and γ-GT [8.2% (7.8, 8.5) and 6.8% (−2.8, 16.5)]. The point estimates from the two methods were very similar and statistically the results from the two methods were consistent with each other for effects with ALT and γ-GT (both pdiff>0.3). Results from the multivariable analyses suggested a weak inverse association of alcohol with ALP [−1.5% (−1.7, −1.3)], which differed from the strong positive effect found in genetic-IV analyses [11.6% (6.8, 16.4)] (pdiff<0.0001). In both multivariable and genetic-IV analyses associations with bilirubin and protrombin action were weak and close to the null.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that greater consumption of alcohol is related to poorer liver function as indicated by higher ALT, γ-GT and ALP, but not to clotting or bilirubin.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0114294
PMCID: PMC4266606  PMID: 25503943
7.  Stratification by Smoking Status Reveals an Association of CHRNA5-A3-B4 Genotype with Body Mass Index in Never Smokers 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(12):e1004799.
We previously used a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the CHRNA5-A3-B4 gene cluster associated with heaviness of smoking within smokers to confirm the causal effect of smoking in reducing body mass index (BMI) in a Mendelian randomisation analysis. While seeking to extend these findings in a larger sample we found that this SNP is associated with 0.74% lower body mass index (BMI) per minor allele in current smokers (95% CI -0.97 to -0.51, P = 2.00×10−10), but also unexpectedly found that it was associated with 0.35% higher BMI in never smokers (95% CI +0.18 to +0.52, P = 6.38×10−5). An interaction test confirmed that these estimates differed from each other (P = 4.95×10−13). This difference in effects suggests the variant influences BMI both via pathways unrelated to smoking, and via the weight-reducing effects of smoking. It would therefore be essentially undetectable in an unstratified genome-wide association study of BMI, given the opposite association with BMI in never and current smokers. This demonstrates that novel associations may be obscured by hidden population sub-structure. Stratification on well-characterized environmental factors known to impact on health outcomes may therefore reveal novel genetic associations.
Author Summary
We found that a single nucleotide polymorphism in the CHRNA5-A3-B4 gene cluster, which is known to influence smoking heaviness, is associated with lower body mass index (BMI) in current smokers, but higher BMI in never smokers. This difference in effects suggests that the variant influences BMI both via pathways other than smoking, and via the weight-reducing effects of smoking, in opposite directions. The overall effect on BMI would therefore be undetectable in an unstratified genome-wide association study, indicating that novel associations may be obscured by hidden population sub-structure.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004799
PMCID: PMC4256159  PMID: 25474695
8.  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
9.  Haptoglobin Duplicon, Hemoglobin, and Vitamin C: Analyses in the British Women's Heart and Health Study and Caerphilly Prospective Study 
Disease Markers  2014;2014:529456.
Background. Haptoglobin acts as an antioxidant by limiting peroxidative tissue damage by free hemoglobin. The haptoglobin gene allele Hp2 comprises a 1.7 kb partial duplication. Relative to allele Hp1, Hp2 carriers form protein multimers, suboptimal for hemoglobin scavenging. Objective. To examine the association of haptoglobin genotype with a range of phenotypes, with emphasis on vitamin C and hemoglobin levels. Methods. We applied a quantitative PCR assay for the duplication junction to two population cohorts including 2747 British women and 1198 British men. We examined the association of haptoglobin duplicon copy number with hemoglobin and vitamin C and used the copy number to complete a phenome scan. Results. Hemoglobin concentrations were greater in those with Hp2,2 genotype, in women only (Hp1,1 13.45 g/dL, Hp1,2 13.49 g/dL, Hp2,2 13.61 g/dL; P = 0.002), though statistically there was no evidence of a difference between the sexes (z value = 1.2, P = 0.24). Haptoglobin genotype was not associated with vitamin C or any other phenotype in either cohort. Conclusions. Our results do not support association of haptoglobin genotype with vitamin C or with other phenotypes measured in two population cohorts. The apparent association between haptoglobin genotype and hemoglobin in the women's cohort merits further investigation.
doi:10.1155/2014/529456
PMCID: PMC4265517  PMID: 25525287
10.  Variation in the SLC23A1 gene does not influence cardiometabolic outcomes to the extent expected given its association with l-ascorbic acid1234 
Background: Observational studies showed that circulating l-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is inversely associated with cardiometabolic traits. However, these studies were susceptible to confounding and reverse causation.
Objectives: We assessed the relation between l-ascorbic acid and 10 cardiometabolic traits by using a single nucleotide polymorphism in the solute carrier family 23 member 1 (SLC23A1) gene (rs33972313) associated with circulating l-ascorbic acid concentrations. The observed association between rs33972313 and cardiometabolic outcomes was compared with that expected given the rs33972313-l-ascorbic acid and l-ascorbic acid–outcome associations.
Design: A meta-analysis was performed in the following 5 independent studies: the British Women's Heart and Health Study (n = 1833), the MIDSPAN study (n = 1138), the Ten Towns study (n = 1324), the British Regional Heart Study (n = 2521), and the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (n = 3737).
Results: With the use of a meta-analysis of observational estimates, inverse associations were shown between l-ascorbic acid and systolic blood pressure, triglycerides, and the waist-hip ratio [the strongest of which was the waist-hip ratio (−0.13-SD change; 95% CI: −0.20-, −0.07-SD change; P = 0.0001) per SD increase in l-ascorbic acid], and a positive association was shown with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. The variation at rs33972313 was associated with a 0.18-SD (95% CI: 0.10-, 0.25-SD; P = 3.34 × 10−6) increase in l-ascorbic acid per effect allele. There was no evidence of a relation between the variation at rs33972313 and any cardiometabolic outcome. Although observed estimates were not statistically different from expected associations between rs33972313 and cardiometabolic outcomes, estimates for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, and body mass index were in the opposite direction to those expected.
Conclusions: The nature of the genetic association exploited in this study led to limited statistical application, but despite this, when all cardiometabolic traits were assessed, there was no evidence of any trend supporting a protective role of l-ascorbic acid. In the context of existing work, these results add to the suggestion that observational relations between l-ascorbic acid and cardiometabolic health may be attributable to confounding and reverse causation.
doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.092981
PMCID: PMC4266888  PMID: 25527764
l-ascorbic acid; cardiometabolic traits; confounding; genetic variants; reverse causation
11.  Modelling Childhood Growth Using Fractional Polynomials and Linear Splines 
Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism  2014;65(3):129-138.
Background
There is increasing emphasis in medical research on modelling growth across the life course and identifying factors associated with growth. Here, we demonstrate multilevel models for childhood growth either as a smooth function (using fractional polynomials) or a set of connected linear phases (using linear splines).
Methods
We related parental social class to height from birth to 10 years of age in 5,588 girls from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Multilevel fractional polynomial modelling identified the best-fitting model as being of degree 2 with powers of the square root of age, and the square root of age multiplied by the log of age. The multilevel linear spline model identified knot points at 3, 12 and 36 months of age.
Results
Both the fractional polynomial and linear spline models show an initially fast rate of growth, which slowed over time. Both models also showed that there was a disparity in length between manual and non-manual social class infants at birth, which decreased in magnitude until approximately 1 year of age and then increased.
Conclusions
Multilevel fractional polynomials give a more realistic smooth function, and linear spline models are easily interpretable. Each can be used to summarise individual growth trajectories and their relationships with individual-level exposures.
doi:10.1159/000362695
PMCID: PMC4264511  PMID: 25413651
ALSPAC; Growth; Linear spline models; Longitudinal study; Multilevel models; Repeated measures
12.  The emergence of proton nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomics in the cardiovascular arena as viewed from a clinical perspective 
Atherosclerosis  2014;237(1):287-300.
The ability to phenotype metabolic profiles in serum has increased substantially in recent years with the advent of metabolomics. Metabolomics is the study of the metabolome, defined as those molecules with an atomic mass less than 1.5 kDa. There are two main metabolomics methods: mass spectrometry (MS) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy, each with its respective benefits and limitations. MS has greater sensitivity and so can detect many more metabolites. However, its cost (especially when heavy labelled internal standards are required for absolute quantitation) and quality control is sub-optimal for large cohorts. 1H NMR is less sensitive but sample preparation is generally faster and analysis times shorter, resulting in markedly lower analysis costs. 1H NMR is robust, reproducible and can provide absolute quantitation of many metabolites. Of particular relevance to cardio-metabolic disease is the ability of 1H NMR to provide detailed quantitative data on amino acids, fatty acids and other metabolites as well as lipoprotein subparticle concentrations and size. Early epidemiological studies suggest promise, however, this is an emerging field and more data is required before we can determine the clinical utility of these measures to improve disease prediction and treatment.
This review describes the theoretical basis of 1H NMR; compares MS and 1H NMR and provides a tabular overview of recent 1H NMR-based research findings in the atherosclerosis field, describing the design and scope of studies conducted to date. 1H NMR metabolomics-CVD related research is emerging, however further large, robustly conducted prospective, genetic and intervention studies are needed to advance research on CVD risk prediction and to identify causal pathways amenable to intervention.
Highlights
•1H NMR metabolomics is being increasingly applied to large cohort studies.•Studies have identified potentially novel lipoprotein and metabolite predictors for CVD.•Potential exists for the use of metabolomics in cardiovascular clinical practice.•Current findings are too preliminary to translate into clinical recommendations.•Further large scale studies are now needed to advance the field in a robust manner.
doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2014.09.024
PMCID: PMC4232363  PMID: 25299963
Nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR); Metabolomics; Cardiovascular disease (CVD); Lipoprotein; Mass spectrometry (MS); Biomarkers; Advanced lipoprotein testing (ALP)
13.  Pregnancy glycaemia and cord-blood levels of insulin and leptin in Pakistani and white British mother–offspring pairs: findings from a prospective pregnancy cohort 
Diabetologia  2014;57(12):2492-2500.
Aims/hypothesis
To determine the extent to which gestational fasting and postload levels of glucose explain differences in infant fat mass between UK-born Pakistani and white British infants.
Methods
Analyses were undertaken in a prospective pregnancy cohort study of 1,415 women and their singleton live-born infants (629 white British and 786 Pakistani). Infant fat mass was assessed by cord-blood leptin levels and fetal insulin secretion by cord-blood insulin levels. Maternal OGTTs were completed at 26–28 weeks of gestation.
Results
Pakistani women had higher fasting and postload glucose levels and greater incidence of gestational diabetes than white British women. Higher fasting and postload glucose levels were associated with higher cord-blood levels of insulin and leptin in all participants, irrespective of ethnicity. Cord-blood leptin levels were 16% (95% CI 6, 26) higher in Pakistani than in white British infants. After adjustment for fasting glucose levels, this difference attenuated to 7% (−3, 16), and with additional adjustment for cord-blood insulin levels it attenuated further to 5% (−4, 14). Path analyses supported the hypothesis that fasting glucose levels mediate the relationship of Pakistani ethnicity to greater fat mass at birth, as measured by cord-blood leptin levels; on average, 19% of this mediation involved fetal insulin secretion. Postload glucose levels did not act as an important mediator of ethnic differences in cord-blood leptin levels. Results were very similar when 130 women with gestational diabetes were removed.
Conclusions/interpretation
These novel findings suggest a role of maternal pregnancy glycaemia in mediating differences in fat mass between Pakistani and white British infants.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-014-3386-6) contains peer-reviewed but unedited supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
doi:10.1007/s00125-014-3386-6
PMCID: PMC4218974  PMID: 25273345
Birthweight; Cord-blood insulin; Cord-blood leptin; Epidemiology; Ethnicity; Gestational diabetes; Glucose
14.  Genome-wide association study identifies loci affecting blood copper, selenium and zinc 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(19):3998-4006.
Genetic variation affecting absorption, distribution or excretion of essential trace elements may lead to health effects related to sub-clinical deficiency. We have tested for allelic effects of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on blood copper, selenium and zinc in a genome-wide association study using two adult cohorts from Australia and the UK. Participants were recruited in Australia from twins and their families and in the UK from pregnant women. We measured erythrocyte Cu, Se and Zn (Australian samples) or whole blood Se (UK samples) using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Genotyping was performed with Illumina chips and >2.5 m SNPs were imputed from HapMap data. Genome-wide significant associations were found for each element. For Cu, there were two loci on chromosome 1 (most significant SNPs rs1175550, P = 5.03 × 10−10, and rs2769264, P = 2.63 × 10−20); for Se, a locus on chromosome 5 was significant in both cohorts (combined P = 9.40 × 10−28 at rs921943); and for Zn three loci on chromosomes 8, 15 and X showed significant results (rs1532423, P = 6.40 × 10−12; rs2120019, P = 1.55 × 10−18; and rs4826508, P = 1.40 × 10−12, respectively). The Se locus covers three genes involved in metabolism of sulphur-containing amino acids and potentially of the analogous Se compounds; the chromosome 8 locus for Zn contains multiple genes for the Zn-containing enzyme carbonic anhydrase. Where potentially relevant genes were identified, they relate to metabolism of the element (Se) or to the presence at high concentration of a metal-containing protein (Cu).
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt239
PMCID: PMC3766178  PMID: 23720494
15.  Mendelian Randomization Studies Do Not Support a Causal Role for Reduced Circulating Adiponectin Levels in Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes 
Yaghootkar, Hanieh | Lamina, Claudia | Scott, Robert A. | Dastani, Zari | Hivert, Marie-France | Warren, Liling L. | Stancáková, Alena | Buxbaum, Sarah G. | Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka | Henneman, Peter | Wu, Ying | Cheung, Chloe Y.Y. | Pankow, James S. | Jackson, Anne U. | Gustafsson, Stefan | Zhao, Jing Hua | Ballantyne, Christie M. | Xie, Weijia | Bergman, Richard N. | Boehnke, Michael | el Bouazzaoui, Fatiha | Collins, Francis S. | Dunn, Sandra H. | Dupuis, Josee | Forouhi, Nita G. | Gillson, Christopher | Hattersley, Andrew T. | Hong, Jaeyoung | Kähönen, Mika | Kuusisto, Johanna | Kedenko, Lyudmyla | Kronenberg, Florian | Doria, Alessandro | Assimes, Themistocles L. | Ferrannini, Ele | Hansen, Torben | Hao, Ke | Häring, Hans | Knowles, Joshua W. | Lindgren, Cecilia M. | Nolan, John J. | Paananen, Jussi | Pedersen, Oluf | Quertermous, Thomas | Smith, Ulf | Lehtimäki, Terho | Liu, Ching-Ti | Loos, Ruth J.F. | McCarthy, Mark I. | Morris, Andrew D. | Vasan, Ramachandran S. | Spector, Tim D. | Teslovich, Tanya M. | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | van Dijk, Ko Willems | Viikari, Jorma S. | Zhu, Na | Langenberg, Claudia | Ingelsson, Erik | Semple, Robert K. | Sinaiko, Alan R. | Palmer, Colin N.A. | Walker, Mark | Lam, Karen S.L. | Paulweber, Bernhard | Mohlke, Karen L. | van Duijn, Cornelia | Raitakari, Olli T. | Bidulescu, Aurelian | Wareham, Nick J. | Laakso, Markku | Waterworth, Dawn M. | Lawlor, Debbie A. | Meigs, James B. | Richards, J. Brent | Frayling, Timothy M.
Diabetes  2013;62(10):3589-3598.
Adiponectin is strongly inversely associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, but its causal role remains controversial. We used a Mendelian randomization approach to test the hypothesis that adiponectin causally influences insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. We used genetic variants at the ADIPOQ gene as instruments to calculate a regression slope between adiponectin levels and metabolic traits (up to 31,000 individuals) and a combination of instrumental variables and summary statistics–based genetic risk scores to test the associations with gold-standard measures of insulin sensitivity (2,969 individuals) and type 2 diabetes (15,960 case subjects and 64,731 control subjects). In conventional regression analyses, a 1-SD decrease in adiponectin levels was correlated with a 0.31-SD (95% CI 0.26–0.35) increase in fasting insulin, a 0.34-SD (0.30–0.38) decrease in insulin sensitivity, and a type 2 diabetes odds ratio (OR) of 1.75 (1.47–2.13). The instrumental variable analysis revealed no evidence of a causal association between genetically lower circulating adiponectin and higher fasting insulin (0.02 SD; 95% CI −0.07 to 0.11; N = 29,771), nominal evidence of a causal relationship with lower insulin sensitivity (−0.20 SD; 95% CI −0.38 to −0.02; N = 1,860), and no evidence of a relationship with type 2 diabetes (OR 0.94; 95% CI 0.75–1.19; N = 2,777 case subjects and 13,011 control subjects). Using the ADIPOQ summary statistics genetic risk scores, we found no evidence of an association between adiponectin-lowering alleles and insulin sensitivity (effect per weighted adiponectin-lowering allele: −0.03 SD; 95% CI −0.07 to 0.01; N = 2,969) or type 2 diabetes (OR per weighted adiponectin-lowering allele: 0.99; 95% CI 0.95–1.04; 15,960 case subjects vs. 64,731 control subjects). These results do not provide any consistent evidence that interventions aimed at increasing adiponectin levels will improve insulin sensitivity or risk of type 2 diabetes.
doi:10.2337/db13-0128
PMCID: PMC3781444  PMID: 23835345
16.  Evaluation of the impact of universal testing for gestational diabetes mellitus on maternal and neonatal health outcomes: a retrospective analysis 
Background
Gestational diabetes (GDM) affects a substantial proportion of women in pregnancy and is associated with increased risk of adverse perinatal and long term outcomes. Treatment seems to improve perinatal outcomes, the relative effectiveness of different strategies for identifying women with GDM however is less clear.
This paper describes an evaluation of the impact of a change in policy from selective risk factor based offering, to universal offering of an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) to identify women with GDM on maternal and neonatal outcomes.
Methods
Retrospective six year analysis of 35,674 births at the Women’s and Newborn unit, Bradford Royal Infirmary, United Kingdom.
Results
The proportion of the whole obstetric population diagnosed with GDM increased almost fourfold following universal offering of an OGTT compared to selective offering of an OGTT; Rate Ratio (RR) 3.75 (95% CI 3.28 to 4.29), the proportion identified with severe hyperglycaemia doubled following the policy change; 1.96 (1.50 to 2.58). The case detection rate however, for GDM in the whole population and severe hyperglycaemia in those with GDM reduced by 50-60%; 0.40 (0.35 to 0.46) and 0.51 (0.39 to 0.67) respectively. Universally offering an OGTT was associated with an increased induction of labour rate in the whole obstetric population and in women with GDM; 1.43 (1.35 to 1.50) and 1.21 (1.00 to1.49) respectively. Caesarean section, macrosomia and perinatal mortality rates in the whole population were similar. For women with GDM, rate of caesarean section; 0.70 (0.57 to 0.87), macrosomia; 0.22 (0.15 to 0.34) and perinatal mortality 0.12 (0.03 to 0.46) decreased following the policy change.
Conclusions
Universally offering an OGTT was associated with increased identification of women with GDM and severe hyperglycaemia and with neonatal benefits for those with GDM. There was no evidence of benefit or adverse effects in neonatal outcomes in the whole obstetric population.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-317) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-317
PMCID: PMC4167281  PMID: 25199524
Gestational diabetes; Universal and selective screening; Risk factors; Oral glucose tolerance test; Perinatal outcomes
17.  Socioeconomic differences in childhood length/height trajectories in a middle-income country: a cohort study 
BMC Public Health  2014;14(1):932.
Background
Socioeconomic disadvantage is associated with shorter adult stature. Few studies have examined socioeconomic differences in stature from birth to childhood and the mechanisms involved, particularly in middle-income former Soviet settings.
Methods
The sample included 12,463 Belarusian children (73% of the original cohort) born in 1996–1997, with up to 14 stature measurements from birth to 7 years. Linear spline multi-level models with 3 knots at 3, 12 and 34 months were used to analyse birth length and growth velocity during four age-periods by parental educational achievement (up to secondary school, advanced secondary/partial university, completed university) and occupation (manual, non-manual).
Results
Girls born to the most (versus least) educated mothers were 0.43 cm (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.28, 0.58) longer at birth; for boys, the corresponding difference was 0.30 cm (95% CI: 0.15, 0.46). Similarly, children of the most educated mothers grew faster from birth-3 months and 12–34 months (p-values for trend ≤0.08), such that, by age 7 years, girls with the most (versus least) educated mothers were 1.92 cm (95% CI: 1.47, 2.36) taller; after controlling for urban/rural and East/West area of residence, this difference remained at 1.86 cm (95% CI: 1.42, 2.31), but after additionally controlling for mid-parental height, attenuated to 1.10 cm (95% CI: 0.69, 1.52). Among boys, these differences were 1.95 cm (95% CI: 1.53, 2.37), 1.89 cm (95% CI: 1.47, 2.31) and 1.16 cm (95% CI: 0.77, 1.55), respectively. Additionally controlling for breastfeeding, maternal smoking and older siblings did not substantively alter these findings. There was no evidence that the association of maternal educational attainment with growth differed in girls compared to boys (p for interaction = 0.45). Results were similar for those born to the most (versus least) educated fathers, or who had a parent with a non-manual (versus manual) occupation.
Conclusions
In Belarus, a middle-income former Soviet country, socioeconomic differences in offspring growth commence in the pre-natal period and generate up to approximately 2 cm difference in height at age 7 years. These associations are partly explained by genetic or other factors influencing parental stature.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials: NCT01352247 assigned 9 Sept 2005; ClinicalTrials.gov. Identifier: NCT01561612 received 20 Mar 2012.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-932) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-932
PMCID: PMC4181044  PMID: 25200513
Length; Height; Growth trajectory; Socioeconomic factors; Belarus
18.  Testing for non-linear causal effects using a binary genotype in a Mendelian randomization study: application to alcohol and cardiovascular traits 
Background: Mendelian randomization studies have so far restricted attention to linear associations relating the genetic instrument to the exposure, and the exposure to the outcome. In some cases, however, observational data suggest a non-linear association between exposure and outcome. For example, alcohol consumption is consistently reported as having a U-shaped association with cardiovascular events. In principle, Mendelian randomization could address concerns that the apparent protective effect of light-to-moderate drinking might reflect ‘sick-quitters’ and confounding.
Methods: The Alcohol-ADH1B Consortium was established to study the causal effects of alcohol consumption on cardiovascular events and biomarkers, using the single nucleotide polymorphism rs1229984 in ADH1B as a genetic instrument. To assess non-linear causal effects in this study, we propose a novel method based on estimating local average treatment effects for discrete levels of the exposure range, then testing for a linear trend in those effects. Our method requires an assumption that the instrument has the same effect on exposure in all individuals. We conduct simulations examining the robustness of the method to violations of this assumption, and apply the method to the Alcohol-ADH1B Consortium data.
Results: Our method gave a conservative test for non-linearity under realistic violations of the key assumption. We found evidence for a non-linear causal effect of alcohol intake on several cardiovascular traits.
Conclusions: We believe our method is useful for inferring departure from linearity when only a binary instrument is available. We estimated non-linear causal effects of alcohol intake which could not have been estimated through standard instrumental variable approaches.
doi:10.1093/ije/dyu187
PMCID: PMC4276061  PMID: 25192829
Mendelian randomization; instrumental variables; causal inference; local average treatment effects; alcohol consumption; cardiovascular disease
19.  Weight trajectories through infancy and childhood and risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in adolescence: The ALSPAC study 
Journal of Hepatology  2014;61(3):626-632.
Background & Aims
Adiposity is a key risk factor for NAFLD. Few studies have examined prospective associations of infant and childhood adiposity with subsequent NAFLD risk. We examined associations of weight-for-height trajectories from birth to age 10 with liver outcomes in adolescence, and assessed the extent to which associations are mediated through fat mass at the time of outcome assessment.
Methods
Individual trajectories of weight and height were estimated for participants in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children using random-effects linear-spline models. Associations of birthweight (adjusted for birth length) and weight change (adjusted for length/height change) from 0–3 months, 3 months–1 y, 1–3 y, 3–7 y, and 7–10 y with ultrasound scan (USS) determined liver fat and stiffness, and serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) at mean age 17.8 y were assessed with linear and logistic regressions. Mediation by concurrent fat mass was assessed with adjustment for fat mass at mean age 17.8 y.
Results
Birth weight was positively associated with liver stiffness and negatively with ALT and AST. Weight change from birth to 1 y was not associated with outcomes. Weight change from 1–3 y, 3–7 y, and 7–10 y was consistently positively associated with USS and blood-based liver outcomes. Adjusting for fat mass at mean age 17.8 y attenuated associations toward the null, suggesting associations are largely mediated by concurrent body fatness.
Conclusions
Greater rates of weight-for-height change between 1 y and 10 y are consistently associated with adverse liver outcomes in adolescence. These associations are largely mediated through concurrent fatness.
doi:10.1016/j.jhep.2014.04.018
PMCID: PMC4139262  PMID: 24768828
NAFLD, Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; ALT, Alanine aminotransferase; AST, Aspartate aminotransferase; GGT, Gamma-glutamyl transferase; ALSPAC, Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children; AUDIT, Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Tests; ARFI, Acoustic radiation force impulse-imaging; DXA, Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry; BMI, Body mass index; Infant; Childhood; Growth; Obesity; BMI; NAFLD; Fatty liver
20.  A comparison of South Asian specific and established BMI thresholds for determining obesity prevalence in pregnancy and predicting pregnancy complications: Findings from the Born in Bradford cohort 
Objective
To describe how maternal obesity prevalence varies by established international and South Asian specific BMI cut-offs in women of Pakistani origin and investigate whether different BMI thresholds can help to identify women at risk of adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes.
Design
Prospective bi-ethnic birth cohort study (The Born in Bradford Cohort).
Setting
Bradford, a deprived city in the North of the UK.
Participants
8,478 South Asian and White British pregnant women participating in the Born in Bradford cohort study
Main outcome measures
Maternal obesity prevalence; prevalence of known obesity related adverse pregnancy outcomes: mode of birth, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP), gestational diabetes, macrosomia, pre-term births.
Results
Application of South Asian BMI cut-offs increased prevalence of obesity in Pakistani women from 18.8% (95% CI 17.6 to 19.9) to 30.9% (95% CI 29.5 to 32.2). With the exception of pre-term births, there was a positive linear relationship between BMI and prevalence of adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes, across almost the whole BMI distribution. Risk of gestational diabetes and HDP increased more sharply in Pakistani women after a BMI threshold of at least 30kg/m2, but there was no evidence of a sharp increase in any risk factors at the new, lower thresholds suggested for use in South Asian women. BMI was a good single predictor of outcomes (Area Under the Receiver Operating Curve: 0.596 to 0.685 for different outcomes); prediction was more discriminatory and accurate with BMI as a continuous variable than as a binary variable for any possible cut-point.
Conclusion
Applying the new South Asian threshold to pregnant women would markedly increase those referred for monitoring and lifestyle advice. However, our results suggest that lowering the BMI threshold in South Asian women would not improve the predictive ability for identifying those at risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.
doi:10.1038/ijo.2013.117
PMCID: PMC3791414  PMID: 23797188
Pregnancy; BMI; criteria; cut-off; adverse birth outcomes; obesity
21.  Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and cardiometabolic health in adolescent offspring 
Hypertension  2013;62(3):10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.113.01513.
An accumulating body of evidence suggests that offspring of mothers with preeclampsia have higher blood pressure during childhood and young adulthood compared to women without preeclampsia. However, the evidence with regard to offspring glucose metabolism and lipids is more scant. We examined whether maternal hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (preeclampsia and gestational hypertension) are associated with a range of cardiometabolic health measures in adolescent offspring. We included data for mother-offspring pairs from a UK prospective birth cohort (the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children). Repeat antenatal clinic measures of blood pressure and proteinuria (median 14 and 11, respectively) were used to ascertain maternal preeclampsia (N=53) and gestational hypertension (N=431). Offspring had blood pressure (N=4,438), and fasting lipids, insulin and glucose (N=2,888) measured at a mean age of 17 years. There was no strong evidence of differences in fasting insulin, glucose or lipid concentrations. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure were higher in offspring of mothers with gestational hypertension (mean difference: 2.06 mmHg; 95%CI: 1.28, 2.84 and 1.11 mmHg; 95%CI: 0.54, 1.69, respectively); and preeclampsia (1.12 mmHg; 95%CI: −0.89, 3.12 and 1.71 mmHg; 95%CI: 0.23, 3.17, respectively) compared to offspring of mothers without hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, adjusting for potential confounders (age, sex, maternal age at delivery, household social class, prepregnancy body mass index, parity and smoking in pregnancy). Results suggest a specific association between maternal hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and offspring blood pressure that may be driven by genetics or familial non-genetic risk factors particular to blood pressure.
doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.113.01513
PMCID: PMC3819520  PMID: 23918754
preeclampsia; hypertensive disorders of pregnancy; ALSPAC
22.  Using latent class analysis to develop a model of the relationship between socioeconomic position and ethnicity: cross-sectional analyses from a multi-ethnic birth cohort study 
BMC Public Health  2014;14(1):835.
Background
Almost all studies in health research control or investigate socioeconomic position (SEP) as exposure or confounder. Different measures of SEP capture different aspects of the underlying construct, so efficient methodologies to combine them are needed. SEP and ethnicity are strongly associated, however not all measures of SEP may be appropriate for all ethnic groups.
Methods
We used latent class analysis (LCA) to define subgroups of women with similar SEP profiles using 19 measures of SEP. Data from 11,326 women were used, from eight different ethnic groups but with the majority from White British (40%) or Pakistani (45%) backgrounds, who were recruited during pregnancy to the Born in Bradford birth cohort study.
Results
Five distinct SEP subclasses were identified in the LCA: (i) "Least socioeconomically deprived and most educated" (20%); (ii) "Employed and not materially deprived" (19%); (iii) "Employed and no access to money" (16%); (iv) "Benefits and not materially deprived" (29%) and (v) "Most economically deprived" (16%). Based on the magnitude of the point estimates, the strongest associations were that compared to White British women, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women were more likely to belong to groups: (iv) "benefits and not materially deprived" (relative risk ratio (95% CI): 5.24 (4.44, 6.19) and 3.44 (2.37, 5.00), respectively) or (v) most deprived group (2.36 (1.96, 2.84) and 3.35 (2.21, 5.06) respectively) compared to the least deprived class. White Other women were more than twice as likely to be in the (iv) "benefits and not materially deprived group" compared to White British women and all ethnic groups, other than the Mixed group, were less likely to be in the (iii) "employed and not materially deprived" group than White British women.
Conclusions
LCA allows different aspects of an individual’s SEP to be considered in one multidimensional indicator, which can then be integrated in epidemiological analyses. Ethnicity is strongly associated with these identified subgroups. Findings from this study suggest a careful use of SEP measures in health research, especially when looking at different ethnic groups. Further replication of these findings is needed in other populations.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-835
PMCID: PMC4141955  PMID: 25118003
Socioeconomic position; Ethnicity; Latent class analysis; Born in Bradford
23.  A gene-centric analysis of activated partial thromboplastin time and activated protein C resistance using the HumanCVD focused genotyping array 
Activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) is an important routine measure of intrinsic blood coagulation. Addition of activated protein C (APC) to the aPTT test to produce a ratio, provides one measure of APC resistance. The associations of some genetic mutations (eg, factor V Leiden) with these measures are established, but associations of other genetic variations remain to be established. The objective of this work was to test for association between genetic variants and blood coagulation using a high-density genotyping array. Genetic association with aPTT and APC resistance was analysed using a focused genotyping array that tests approximately 50 000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in nearly 2000 cardiovascular candidate genes, including coagulation pathway genes. Analyses were conducted on 2544 European origin women from the British Women's Heart and Health Study. We confirm associations with aPTT at the coagulation factor XII (F12)/G protein-coupled receptor kinase 6 (GRK6) and kininogen 1 (KNG1)/histidine-rich glycoprotein (HRG) loci, and identify novel SNPs at the ABO locus and novel locus kallikrein B (KLKB1)/F11. In addition, we confirm association between APC resistance and factor V Leiden mutation, and identify novel SNP associations with APC resistance in the HRG and F5/solute carrier family 19 member 2 (SLC19A2) regions. In conclusion, variation at several genetic loci influences intrinsic blood coagulation as measured by both aPTT and APC resistance.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2012.242
PMCID: PMC3682876  PMID: 23188048
aPTT; coagulation; genotype; SNP
24.  Gene-centric association signals for haemostasis and thrombosis traits identified with the HumanCVD BeadChip 
Thrombosis and haemostasis  2013;110(5):995-1003.
Summary
Objective
Coagulation phenotypes show strong intercorrelations, affect cardiovascular disease risk and are influenced by genetic variants. The objective of this study was to search for novel genetic variants influencing the following coagulation phenotypes: factor VII levels, fibrinogen levels, plasma viscosity and platelet count.
Methods and Results
We genotyped the British Women’s Heart and Health Study (n=3445) and the Whitehall II study (n=5059) using the Illumina HumanCVD BeadArray to investigate genetic associations and pleiotropy. In addition to previously reported associations (SH2B3, F7/F10, PROCR, GCKR, FGA/FGB/FGG, IL5), we identified novel associations at GRK5 (rs10128498, p=1.30×10−6), GCKR (rs1260326, p=1.63×10−6), ZNF259-APOA5 (rs651821, p=7.17×10−6) with plasma viscosity; and at CSF1 (rs333948, p=8.88×10−6) with platelet count. A pleiotropic effect was identified in GCKR which associated with factor VII (p=2.16×10−7) and plasma viscosity (p=1.63×10−6), and, to a lesser extent, ZNF259-APOA5 which associated with factor VII and fibrinogen (p<1.00×10−2) and additionally plasma viscosity (p<1.00×10−5). Triglyceride associated variants were overrepresented in Factor VII and plasma viscosity associations. Adjusting for triglyceride levels resulted in attenuation of associations at the GCKR and ZNF259-APOA5 loci.
Conclusions
In addition to confirming previously reported associations, we identified four SNPs associated with plasma viscosity and platelet count and found evidence of pleiotropic effects with SNPs in GCKR and ZNF259-APOA5. These triglyceride-associated, pleiotropic SNPs suggest a possible causal role for triglycerides in coagulation.
doi:10.1160/TH13-02-0087
PMCID: PMC4067543  PMID: 24178511
Haemostasis; Thrombosis; HumanCVD; Clotting Factors; Genetic Association
25.  Skin pigmentation, sun exposure and vitamin D levels in children of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:597.
Background
It has been hypothesised that light skin pigmentation has arisen to ensure adequate levels of vitamin D as human populations moved out of Africa and into higher latitudes. Vitamin D, which is primarily obtained through exposure to sunlight (specifically ultraviolet radiation B (UVR-B)), has been inversely associated with several complex diseases. Greater sun exposure, on the other hand, is a well-known cause of skin cancer. The potential of UVR to be beneficial for some health outcomes but detrimental for others has prompted a public health debate on how to balance the positive and negative consequences of sun exposure. In this study we aimed to determine the validity of the evolutionary hypothesis linking lighter skin with higher vitamin D concentrations in a European population. Additionally, we aimed to examine the influence of pigmentation on personal behaviour towards sunlight exposure and the effects of this behaviour on vitamin D.
Methods
We combined genetic variants strongly associated with skin colour, tanning or freckling to create genetic scores for each of these phenotypes. We examined the association of the scores with pigmentary traits, sun exposure and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels among children of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC, N = 661 to 5649).
Results
We found that fairer-skinned children, i.e. those with higher pigmentation score values, had higher levels of 25(OH)D (0.6 nmol/l; 95% CI 0.2, 1.0; per unit increase in skin colour score; N = 5649). These children also used more protection against the damaging effects of UVR.
Conclusions
In this population taking protective measures against sunburn and skin cancer does not seem to remove the positive effect that having a less pigmented skin has on vitamin D production. Our findings require further replication as skin pigmentation showed only a small effect on circulating 25(OH)D.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-597
PMCID: PMC4067096  PMID: 24924479
Pigmentation; Sun exposure; Vitamin D; ALSPAC; Genetic scores

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