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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.  Prospective Associations of Coronary Heart Disease Loci in African Americans Using the MetaboChip: The PAGE Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e113203.
Background
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in African Americans. However, there is a paucity of studies assessing genetic determinants of CHD in African Americans. We examined the association of published variants in CHD loci with incident CHD, attempted to fine map these loci, and characterize novel variants influencing CHD risk in African Americans.
Methods and Results
Up to 8,201 African Americans (including 546 first CHD events) were genotyped using the MetaboChip array in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study and Women's Health Initiative (WHI). We tested associations using Cox proportional hazard models in sex- and study-stratified analyses and combined results using meta-analysis. Among 44 validated CHD loci available in the array, we replicated and fine-mapped the SORT1 locus, and showed same direction of effects as reported in studies of individuals of European ancestry for SNPs in 22 additional published loci. We also identified a SNP achieving array wide significance (MYC: rs2070583, allele frequency 0.02, P = 8.1×10−8), but the association did not replicate in an additional 8,059 African Americans (577 events) from the WHI, HealthABC and GeneSTAR studies, and in a meta-analysis of 5 cohort studies of European ancestry (24,024 individuals including 1,570 cases of MI and 2,406 cases of CHD) from the CHARGE Consortium.
Conclusions
Our findings suggest that some CHD loci previously identified in individuals of European ancestry may be relevant to incident CHD in African Americans.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113203
PMCID: PMC4277270  PMID: 25542012
3.  Interpretation of the Coronary Artery Calcium Score in Combination with Conventional Cardiovascular Risk Factors: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
Circulation  2013;128(10):10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.002598.
Background
The coronary artery calcium (CAC) score predicts coronary heart disease (CHD) events, but methods for interpreting the score in combination with conventional CHD risk factors have not been established.
Methods and Results
We analyzed CAC scores and CHD risk factor measurements from 6757 Black, Chinese, Hispanic and white men and women aged 45–84 years in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). CAC was associated with age, sex, race-ethnicity, and all conventional CHD risk factors. Multivariable models using these factors predicted the presence of CAC (C-statistic = 0.789) and degree of elevation (16% of variation explained), and can be used to update a “pre-test” CHD risk estimate, such as the 10-year Framingham Risk Score, that is based on an individual’s conventional risk factors. In scenarios where a high CAC score is expected, a moderately elevated CAC score of 50 is reassuring (e.g., reducing risk from 10% to 6% in a healthy older white man); but when a low/zero CAC score is expected, even with identical pre-test CHD risk, the same CAC score of 50 may be alarmingly high (e.g., increasing risk from 10% to 20% in a middle-aged black woman with multiple risk factors). Both the magnitude and direction of the shift in risk varied markedly with pre-test CHD risk and with the pattern of risk factors.
Conclusions
Knowing what CAC score to expect for an individual patient, based on their conventional risk factors, may help clinicians decide when to order a CAC test and how to interpret the results.
doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.002598
PMCID: PMC3840900  PMID: 23884352
coronary disease; calcium; imaging; epidemiology
4.  Comparison of Novel Risk Markers for Improvement in Cardiovascular Risk Assessment in Intermediate Risk Individuals. The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Context
Risk markers including coronary artery calcium (CAC), carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT), ankle-brachial Index (ABI), brachial flow-mediated dilation (FMD), high sensitivity C -reactive protein (hs-CRP) and family history (FH) of coronary heart disease (CHD) have been reported to improve on the Framingham risk score (FRS) for prediction of CHD. However, there are no direct comparisons of these markers for risk prediction in a single cohort.
Objective
We compared improvement in prediction of incident CHD/cardiovascular disease (CVD) of these 6 risk markers within intermediate risk participants (5 % < FRS < 20%) in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
Design, Setting and Participants
Of 6814 MESA participants from 6 US field centers, 1330 were intermediate risk, without diabetes mellitus, and had complete data on all 6 markers. Recruitment spanned July 2000 to September 2002; follow-up extended through May 2011. Probability- weighted Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR). Area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (AUC) and net reclassification improvement (NRI) were used to compare incremental contributions of each marker when added to the FRS + race/ethnicity.
Main Outcome Measures
Incident CHD defined as MI, angina followed by revascularization, resuscitated cardiac arrest or CHD death. Incident CVD additionally included stroke or CVD death.
Results
After median follow-up of 7.6 years (IQR 7.3 – 7.8 years), 94 CHD and 123 CVD events occurred. CAC, ABI, hs-CRP and FH were independently associated with incident CHD in multivariable analyses [HR (95%CI: 2.60(1.94-3.50), 0.79(0.66-0.95), 1.28(1.00-1.64) and 2.18(1.38-3.42) respectively]. CIMT and FMD were not associated with incident CHD in multivariable analyses [HR (95%CI) 1.17(0.95- 1.45) and 0.95(0.78 −1.14) respectively]. Although the addition of the markers individually to the FRS +race/ethnicity improved the AUC, CAC afforded the highest increment (0.623 vs. 0.784) while FMD afforded the least [0.623 vs. 0.639]. For incident CHD, the NRI with CAC was 0.659, FMD 0.024, ABI 0.036, CIMT 0.102, FH 0.160 and hs-CRP 0.079. Similar results were obtained for incident CVD.
Conclusion
CAC, ABI, hs-CRP and FH are independent predictors of incident CHD/CVD in intermediate risk individuals. CAC provides superior discrimination and risk reclassification compared with other risk markers.
doi:10.1001/jama.2012.9624
PMCID: PMC4141475  PMID: 22910756
5.  N-terminal Pro-B-Type Natriuretic Peptide, Left Ventricular Mass, and Incident Heart Failure: Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Circulation. Heart failure  2012;5(6):727-734.
Background
Elevated N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) is associated with clinically overt heart failure (HF). However, whether it provides additive prognostic information for incident HF beyond traditional risk factors and left ventricular (LV) mass index among multi-ethnic asymptomatic individuals has not yet been determined. We studied the associations of plasma NT-proBNP and magnetic resonance imaging defined LV mass index with incident HF in an asymptomatic multi-ethnic population.
Methods and Results
A total of 5597 multi-ethnic participants without clinically apparent cardiovascular disease underwent baseline measurement of NT-proBNP and were followed for 5.5±1.1 years. Among them, 4163 also underwent baseline cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. During follow-up, 111 participants experienced incident HF. Higher NT-proBNP was significantly associated with incident HF, independent of baseline age, sex, ethnicity, systolic blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, smoking, estimated glomerular filtration rate, medications (anti-hypertensive and statin), LV mass index, and interim myocardial infarction (hazard ratio: 1.95 per 1U log NT-proBNP increment, 95% CI 1.54–2.46, P<0.001). This relationship held among different ethnic groups, non-Hispanic whites, African-Americans, and Hispanics. Most importantly, NT-proBNP provided additive prognostic value beyond both traditional risk factors and LV mass index for predicting incident HF (integrated discrimination index=0.046, P<0.001; net reclassification index; 6-year risk probability categorized by <3%, 3–10%, >10% =0.175, P=0.019; category-less net reclassification index=0.561, P<0.001).
Conclusions
Plasma NT-proBNP provides incremental prognostic information beyond traditional risk factors and the magnetic resonance imaging-determined LV mass index for incident symptomatic HF in an asymptomatic multi-ethnic population.
Clinical Trial Registration
URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT00005487.
doi:10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.112.968701
PMCID: PMC4124746  PMID: 23032197
N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide; heart failure; left ventricular mass
6.  Discordance between non-HDL-cholesterol and LDL-particle measurements: Results from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Atherosclerosis  2013;229(2):517-523.
Background
Cardiovascular risk assessment incorporates measurement of atherogenic lipids such as non-HDL cholesterol (non-HDL-C). It remains uncertain under which circumstances atherogenic lipoprotein enumeration such as LDL particle number (LDL-P) differs from simultaneously acquired non-HDL-C.
Methods
Participants of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) were deemed LDL-P>non-HDL-C discordant if they exhibited higher LDL-P than expected for simultaneously measured non-HDL-C, given the observed distribution of both in MESA. Conversely, a lower LDL-P than would be suggested from non-HDL-C characterized LDL-P
Results
Discordance was observed among 44% of subjects. LDL-P>non-HDL-C compared to LDL-P
Conclusions
Our results demonstrated that disagreement between LDL-P and non-HDL-C was common and significantly associated with several clinical characteristics. In the setting of discordance, LDL-P was more closely associated with CIMT and CAC than non-HDL-C, though observed differences were small.
doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2013.03.012
PMCID: PMC4066302  PMID: 23591415
cholesterol; lipoproteins; risk assessment; LDL-particle number; apolipoprotein B
Background
We evaluated 25 repolarization‐related ECG variables for the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) death in 52 994 postmenopausal women from the Women's Health Initiative study.
Methods and Results
Hazard ratios from Cox regression were computed for subgroups of women with and without cardiovascular disease (CVD). During the average follow‐up of 16.9 years, 941 CHD deaths occurred. Based on electrophysiological considerations, 2 sets of ECG variables with low correlations were considered as candidates for independent predictors of CHD death: Set 1, Ѳ(Tp|Tref), the spatial angle between T peak (Tp) and normal T reference (Tref) vectors; Ѳ(Tinit|Tterm), the angle between the initial and terminal T vectors; STJ depression in V6 and rate‐adjusted QTp interval (QTpa); and Set 2, TaVR and TV1 amplitudes, heart rate, and QRS duration. Strong independent predictors with over 2‐fold increased risk for CHD death in women with and without CVD were Ѳ(Tp|Tref) >42° from Set 1 and TaVR amplitude >−100 μV from Set 2. The risk for these CHD death predictors remained significant after multivariable adjustment for demographic/clinical factors. Other significant predictors for CHD death in fully adjusted risk models were Ѳ(Tinit|Tterm) >30°, TV1 >175 μV, and QRS duration >100 ms.
Conclusions
Ѳ(Tp|Tref) angle and TaVR amplitude are associated with CHD mortality in postmenopausal women. The use of these measures to identify high‐risk women for further diagnostic evaluation or more intense preventive intervention warrants further study.
Clinical Trial Registration
URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT00000611.
doi:10.1161/JAHA.114.001005
PMCID: PMC4310391  PMID: 25074699
coronary heart disease; electrocardiography; mortality; repolarization; risk factors
Background
The association between high‐density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL‐C) and coronary heart disease (CHD) events is not well described in individuals with very high levels of HDL‐C (>80 mg/dL).
Methods and Results
Using pooled data from 6 community‐based cohorts we examined CHD and total mortality risks across a broad range of HDL‐C, including values in excess of 80 mg/dL. We used Cox proportional hazards models with penalized splines to assess multivariable, adjusted, sex‐stratified associations of HDL‐C with the hazard for CHD events and total mortality, using HDL‐C 45 mg/dL and 55 mg/dL as the referent in men and women, respectively. Analyses included 11 515 men and 12 925 women yielding 307 245 person‐years of follow‐up. In men, the association between HDL‐C and CHD events was inverse and linear across most HDL‐C values; however at HDL‐C values >90 mg/dL there was a plateau effect in the pattern of association. In women, the association between HDL‐C and CHD events was inverse and linear across lower values of HDL‐C, however at HDL‐C values >75 mg/dL there were no further reductions in the hazard ratio point estimates for CHD. In unadjusted models there were increased total mortality risks in men with very high HDL‐C, however mortality risks observed in participants with very high HDL‐C were attenuated after adjustment for traditional risk factors.
Conclusions
We did not observe further reductions in CHD risk with HDL‐C values higher than 90 mg/dL in men and 75 mg/dL in women.
doi:10.1161/JAHA.113.000519
PMCID: PMC4187512  PMID: 24627418
CHD events; total mortality; very‐high HDL‐C
Clinical cardiology  2012;36(1):15-20.
Introduction
Given the results of the JUPITER trial, statin initiation may be considered for individuals with elevated high sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP). However, if followed prospectively, many individuals with elevated CRP may become statin-eligible, limiting the impact of elevated CRP as a treatment indication. This analysis estimates the proportion of people with elevated CRP that become statin eligible over time.
Methods
We followed 2,153 Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) participants free of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes with LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) <130 mg/dL at baseline to determine the proportion who become eligible for statins over 4.5 years. The proportion eligible for statin therapy, defined by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) 2004 updated guidelines, was calculated at baseline and during follow-up stratified by baseline CRP level (≥2 mg/L).
Results
At baseline, 47% of the 2,153 participants had elevated CRP. Among participants with elevated CRP, 29% met NCEP criteria for statins, compared to 28% without elevated CRP at baseline. By 1.5 years later, 26% and 22% (p=0.09) of those with and without elevated CRP at baseline reached NCEP LDL-C criteria and/or had started statins, respectively. These increased to 42% and 39% (p=0.24) at 3 years and 59% and 52% (p=0.01) at 4.5 years following baseline.
Conclusions
A substantial proportion of those with elevated CRP did not achieve NCEP based statin eligibility over 4.5 years of follow-up. These findings suggest that many patients with elevated CRP may not receive the benefits of statins if CRP is not incorporated into the NCEP screening strategy.
doi:10.1002/clc.22046
PMCID: PMC3953418  PMID: 22886783
Psychosomatic medicine  2012;75(2):137-143.
Objective
Attention control conditions are used to balance nonspecific attention in randomized trials of behavioral interventions. Very little guidance is available in the literature about which behavioral interventions and outcomes merit an attention control. The primary aim of the present paper is to demonstrate a scenario in which use of attention control in a behavioral randomized trial was unnecessary and possibly detrimental.
Methods
Exploratory analyses were performed in a randomized controlled trial that tested whether a patient-centered telephone counseling (PC) intervention reduced low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels in 355 participants with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), compared to attention control (AC) and usual care (UC) conditions. The PC intervention was designed to activate participants to ask their physician for lipid-lowering medication and/or increase dose intensity, increase medication adherence, and reduce fat intake. The AC condition involved attention-matched phone-delivered health education, and the UC condition consisted of an educational pamphlet.
Results
At 12-month follow-up, mean LDL-C changes were −11.1, and −6.8 mg/dl in the UC and AC conditions, respectively (p=.17). The proportion of participants who increased use or dose intensity of medication was significantly lower in AC than UC, 17.5% versus 30.5% (p=0.03). No significant difference between AC and UC were observed on other outcomes.
Conclusions
The AC had significantly worse medication outcomes and there was no indication of a therapeutic effect on other endpoints. Implications for use of attention control in behavioral randomized trials are discussed.
doi:10.1097/PSY.0b013e3182765dd2
PMCID: PMC3570637  PMID: 23197844
Attention control; control groups; placebo; behavioral interventions; randomized controlled trials
Breast cancer research and treatment  2013;139(3):10.1007/s10549-013-2578-y.
An increased risk of breast cancer has been reported in patients with non-melanomatous skin cancer (NMSC), but this association has not been studied in a large, multi-geographic population. We utilized data from the Women's Health Initiative observational study to assess whether history of NMSC is associated with breast cancer risk. This analysis included 70,246 postmenopausal White and Hispanic women aged 50–79, in which 4,247 breast cancer cases were identified over a mean (SD) of 11.3 (3.2) years. Baseline information was collected on demographics, medical history, sun exposure, and vitamin D intake. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) with 95 % confidence intervals (CIs). The relationship between NMSC and breast cancer was examined as a time-dependent exposure using updated information on NMSC gathered during follow-up visits. All statistical tests were two sided. There were 5,595 women diagnosed with NMSC at study entry. The annualized rate of breast cancer was 0.64 % among women with a history of NMSC and 0.55 % among women with no history of NMSC. The multivariable-adjusted HR for breast cancer among women with a history of NMSC versus no history of NMSC was 1.07 (95 % CI 0.95–1.20, P = 0.27). Further evaluation stratified by tumor characteristics showed an increased risk of lymph node-positive disease, HR = 1.30 (95 % CI 1.01–1.67, P = 0.04), and regional-stage disease, HR = 1.33 (95 % CI 1.05–1.70, P = 0.02), among women with NMSC. There was no significant overall association between NMSC and breast cancer; however, there was an increased risk of more advanced-stage breast cancer which needs further exploration.
doi:10.1007/s10549-013-2578-y
PMCID: PMC3869388  PMID: 23760856
Non-melanomatous skin cancer; Breast cancer; Women's Health Initiative; Cohort study; Cancer risk
American Journal of Epidemiology  2012;176(6):473-481.
The discrimination of a risk prediction model measures that model's ability to distinguish between subjects with and without events. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) is a popular measure of discrimination. However, the AUC has recently been criticized for its insensitivity in model comparisons in which the baseline model has performed well. Thus, 2 other measures have been proposed to capture improvement in discrimination for nested models: the integrated discrimination improvement and the continuous net reclassification improvement. In the present study, the authors use mathematical relations and numerical simulations to quantify the improvement in discrimination offered by candidate markers of different strengths as measured by their effect sizes. They demonstrate that the increase in the AUC depends on the strength of the baseline model, which is true to a lesser degree for the integrated discrimination improvement. On the other hand, the continuous net reclassification improvement depends only on the effect size of the candidate variable and its correlation with other predictors. These measures are illustrated using the Framingham model for incident atrial fibrillation. The authors conclude that the increase in the AUC, integrated discrimination improvement, and net reclassification improvement offer complementary information and thus recommend reporting all 3 alongside measures characterizing the performance of the final model.
doi:10.1093/aje/kws207
PMCID: PMC3530349  PMID: 22875755
area under curve; biomarkers; discrimination; risk assessment; risk factors
JACC. Cardiovascular imaging  2012;5(9):923-930.
OBJECTIVES
The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence and distribution of coronary artery calcium (CAC) across Framingham Risk Score (FRS) strata and therefore determine FRS levels at which asymptomatic, young to early middle-age individuals could potentially benefit from CAC screening.
BACKGROUND
High CAC burden is associated with increased risk of coronary events beyond the FRS. Expert panel recommendations for CAC screening are based on data obtained in middle-age and older individuals.
METHODS
We included 2,831 CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) study participants with an age range of 33 to 45 years. The number needed to screen ([NNS] number of people in each FRS stratum who need to be screened to detect 1 person with a CAC score above the specified cut point) was used to assess the yield of screening for CAC. CAC prevalence was compared across FRS strata using a chi-square test.
RESULTS
CAC scores >0 and ≥100 were present in 9.9% and 1.8% of participants, respectively. CAC prevalence and amount increased across higher FRS strata. A CAC score >0 was observed in 7.3%, 20.2%, 19.1%, and 44.8% of individuals with FRSs of 0 to 2.5%, 2.6% to 5%, 5.1% to 10%, and >10%, respectively (NNS = 14, 5, 5, and 2, respectively). A CAC score of ≥100 was observed in 1.3%, 2.4%, and 3.5% of those with FRSs of 0 to 2.5%, 2.6% to 5%, and 5.1% to 10%, respectively (NNS = 79, 41, and 29, respectively), but in 17.2% of those with an FRS >10% (NNS = 6). Similar trends were observed when findings were stratified by sex and race.
CONCLUSIONS
In this young to early middle-age cohort, we observed concordance between CAC prevalence/amount and FRS strata. Within this group, the yield of screening and possibility of identifying those with a high CAC burden (CAC score of ≥100) is low in those with an FRS of ≤10%, but considerable in those with an FRS >10%.
doi:10.1016/j.jcmg.2012.01.022
PMCID: PMC3664953  PMID: 22974805
coronary artery calcium; coronary heart disease; Framingham Risk Score; number needed to screen; risk factors
Purpose
Return of individual genetic results to research participants, including participants in archives and biorepositories, is receiving increased attention. However, few groups have deliberated on specific results or weighed deliberations against relevant local contextual factors.
Methods
The Electronic Medical Records and GEnomics (eMERGE) network, which includes five biorepositories conducting genome-wide association studies, convened a Return of Results Oversight Committee (RROC) to identify potentially returnable results. Network-wide deliberations were then brought to local constituencies for final decision-making.
Results
Defining results that should be considered for return required input from clinicians with relevant expertise and much deliberation. The RROC identified two sex chromosomal anomalies, Klinefelter Syndrome and Turner Syndrome, as well as homozygosity for Factor V Leiden, as findings that could warrant reporting. Views about returning HFE gene mutations associated with hemochromatosis were mixed due to low penetrance. Review of EMRs suggested that most participants with detected abnormalities were unaware of these findings. Local considerations relevant to return varied and, to date, four sites have elected not to return findings (return was not possible at one site).
Conclusion
The eMERGE experience reveals the complexity of return of results decision-making and provides a potential deliberative model for adoption in other collaborative contexts.
doi:10.1038/gim.2012.15
PMCID: PMC3723451  PMID: 22361898
Result return; biorepository; electronic medical records; deliberation; context
Jacc. Cardiovascular Imaging  2012;5(2):144-153.
Objectives
We sought to determine whether novel markers not involving ionizing radiation could predict CAC progression in a low-risk population.
Background
Increase in coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores over time (CAC progression) improves prediction of coronary heart disease (CHD) events. Due to radiation exposure, CAC measurement represents an undesirable method for repeated risk assessment, particularly in low predicted risk individuals (Framingham Risk Score [FRS] <10%).
Methods
From 6814 MESA participants, 2620 individuals were classified as low risk for CHD events (FRS <10%), and had follow-up CAC measurement. In addition to traditional risk factors [(RFs) - base model], various combinations of novel-marker models were selected based on data-driven, clinical, or backward stepwise selection techniques.
Results
Mean follow-up was 2.5 years. CAC progression occurred in 574 participants (22% overall; 214 of 1830 with baseline CAC =0, and 360 of 790 with baseline CAC >0). Addition of various combinations of novel markers to the base model (c-statistic =0.711), showed improvements in discrimination of approximately only 0.005 each (c-statistics 0.7158, 0.7160 and 0.7164) for the best-fit models. All 3 best-fit novel-marker models calibrated well but were similar to the base model in predicting individual risk probabilities for CAC progression. The highest prevalence of CAC progression occurred in the highest compared to the lowest probability quartile groups (39.2–40.3% versus 6.4–7.1%).
Conclusions
In individuals at low predicted risk by FRS, traditional RFs predicted CAC progression in the short term with good discrimination and calibration. Prediction improved minimally when various novel markers were added to the model.
doi:10.1016/j.jcmg.2011.11.008
PMCID: PMC3310187  PMID: 22340820
coronary calcium; Framingham risk score; risk factors; progression
Background
Genome wide association studies identified several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with prevalent coronary heart disease (CHD) but less is known of associations with incident CHD. The association of thirteen published CHD SNPs was examined in five ancestry groups of four large US prospective cohorts.
Methods and Results
The analyses included incident coronary events over 9.1 to 15.7 average follow-up times in up to 26,617 white individuals (6,626 events), 8,018 African Americans (914 events), 1,903 Hispanics (113 events), 3,669 American Indians (595 events) and 885 Asian/Pacific Islanders (66 events). We used Cox proportional hazards models (with additive mode of inheritance) adjusted for age, sex and ancestry (as needed). Nine loci were statistically associated with incident CHD events in whites: 9p21 (rs10757278, p=4.7 × 10−41), 16q23.1 (rs2549513, p=0.0004), 6p24.1 (rs499818, p=0.0002), 2q36.3 (rs2943634, p=6.7 × 10−6), MTHFDIL (rs6922269, p=5.1 × 10−10), APOE (rs429358, p=2.7 × 10−18), ZNF627 (rs4804611, p=5.0 × 10−8), CXCL12 (rs501120, p=1.4 × 10−6) and LPL (rs268, p=2.7 × 10−17). The 9p21 region showed significant between-study heterogeneity, with larger effects in individuals aged 55 years or younger and in women. Inclusion of coronary revascularization procedures among the incident CHD events introduced heterogeneity. The SNPs were not associated with CHD in African Americans and associations varied in other US minorities.
Conclusions
Prospective analyses of white individuals replicated several reported cross-sectional CHD-SNP associations.
doi:10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.111.960096
PMCID: PMC3293207  PMID: 22042884
9p21 locus; incident coronary heart disease; genetic polymorphisms
American Journal of Epidemiology  2011;174(5):528-536.
Functional biomarkers like large artery elasticity (LAE) and small artery elasticity (SAE) may predict cardiovascular disease (CVD) events beyond blood pressure. The authors examined the prognostic value of LAE and SAE for clinical CVD events among 6,235 Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis participants who were initially aged 45–84 years and without symptomatic CVD. LAE and SAE were derived from diastolic pulse contour analysis. During a median 5.8 years of follow-up between 2000 and 2008, 454 adjudicated CVD events occurred, including 256 cases of coronary heart disease (CHD), 93 strokes, and 126 heart failures (multiple diagnoses were possible). After adjustment for age, race/ethnicity, sex, clinic, height, heart rate, body mass index, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, use of antihypertensive and cholesterol-lowering medications, smoking, total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, diabetes, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, the hazard ratio for any CVD per standard-deviation increase in SAE was 0.71 (95% confidence interval: 0.61, 0.83; P < 0.0001). The lowest (stiffest) SAE quartile had a hazard ratio of 2.28 (95% confidence interval: 1.55, 3.36) versus the highest (most elastic) quartile. The net reclassification index, conditional on base risk, was 0.11. SAE was significantly associated with future CHD, stroke, and heart failure. After adjustment, LAE was not significantly related to CVD. In asymptomatic participants free of overt CVD, lower SAE added prognostic information for CVD, CHD, stroke, and heart failure events.
doi:10.1093/aje/kwr120
PMCID: PMC3202150  PMID: 21709134
arteries; cardiovascular diseases; elasticity; risk factors
Objectives
To evaluate independent associations of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and particle (HDL-P) concentrations with carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) and incident coronary heart disease (CHD).
Background
HDL-C is inversely related to CHD, but also to triglycerides, LDL particles (LDL-P), and related metabolic risk. HDL-P associations with CHD may be partially independent of these factors.
Methods
In a multi-ethnic study of 5598 men and women ages 45-84, without baseline CHD, excluding subjects on lipid-lowering medications, triglycerides >400 mg/dl or missing values, we evaluated associations of HDL-C and NMR-spectroscopy-measured HDL-P with cIMT and incident CHD (myocardial infarction, CHD death, angina, n=227 events, 6.0 years mean follow-up). All models were adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, hypertension and smoking.
Results
HDL-C and HDL-P correlated with each other (π=0.69) and LDL-P (π = −0.38, −0.25, respectively), p<0.05 for all. For (1-SD) higher HDL-C (15 mg/dl) or HDL-P (6.64 μmol/l), cIMT differences (95%CI) were −26.1(−34.7,−17.4) and −30.1 (−38.8,−21.4) μm, and CHD hazard ratios (HR (95%CI)) were 0.74 (0.63, 0.88) and 0.70 (0.59, 0.82), respectively. Adjusted for each other and LDL-P, HDL-C was no longer associated with cIMT (2.3 (−9.5, 14.2) μm) or CHD (0.97(0.77, 1.22)), but HDL-P remained independently associated with cIMT (−22.2(−33.8,−10.6) μm) and CHD (0.75 (0.61, 0.93)). Interactions by sex, ethnicity, diabetes and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein were not significant.
Conclusions
Adjusting for each other and LDL-P substantially attenuated associations of HDL-C, but not HDL-P, with cIMT and CHD. Potential confounding by related lipids or lipoproteins should be carefully considered when evaluating HDL-related risk.
doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2012.03.060
PMCID: PMC3411890  PMID: 22796256
Lipids; lipoproteins; high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; high-density lipoprotein particles; cardiovascular disease
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(4):321-329.
BACKGROUND
The lifetime risks of cardiovascular disease have not been reported across the age spectrum in black adults and white adults.
METHODS
We conducted a meta-analysis at the individual level using data from 18 cohort studies involving a total of 257,384 black men and women and white men and women whose risk factors for cardiovascular disease were measured at the ages of 45, 55, 65, and 75 years. Blood pressure, cholesterol level, smoking status, and diabetes status were used to stratify participants according to risk factors into five mutually exclusive categories. The remaining lifetime risks of cardiovascular events were estimated for participants in each category at each age, with death free of cardiovascular disease treated as a competing event.
RESULTS
We observed marked differences in the lifetime risks of cardiovascular disease across risk-factor strata. Among participants who were 55 years of age, those with an optimal risk-factor profile (total cholesterol level, <180 mg per deciliter [4.7 mmol per liter]; blood pressure, <120 mm Hg systolic and 80 mm Hg diastolic; nonsmoking status; and nondiabetic status) had substantially lower risks of death from cardiovascular disease through the age of 80 years than participants with two or more major risk factors (4.7% vs. 29.6% among men, 6.4% vs. 20.5% among women). Those with an optimal risk-factor profile also had lower lifetime risks of fatal coronary heart disease or nonfatal myocardial infarction (3.6% vs. 37.5% among men, <1% vs. 18.3% among women) and fatal or nonfatal stroke (2.3% vs. 8.3% among men, 5.3% vs. 10.7% among women). Similar trends within risk-factor strata were observed among blacks and whites and across diverse birth cohorts.
CONCLUSIONS
Differences in risk-factor burden translate into marked differences in the lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease, and these differences are consistent across race and birth cohorts. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1012848
PMCID: PMC3336876  PMID: 22276822
Circulation. Heart Failure  2011;4(4):404-413.
Background
Whether fish or the fatty acids they contain are independently associated with risk for incident heart failure (HF) among postmenopausal women is unclear.
Methods and Results
The baseline Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study (WHI-OS) cohort consisted of 93,676 women aged 50–79 of diverse ethnicity and background of which 84,493 were eligible for analyses. Intakes of baked/broiled fish, fried fish and omega-3 fatty acid (eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) + docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), α-linolenic acid (ALA)), and trans fatty acid (TFA) were determined from the WHI food frequency questionnaire. Baked/broiled fish consumption was divided into 5 frequency categories: <1/mo (referent), 1–3/mo, 1–2/wk, 3–4/wk, ≥5/wk. Fried fish intake was grouped into 3 frequency categories: <1/mo (referent), 2) 1–3/mo, and 3) ≥1/wk. Associations between fish or fatty acid intake and incident HF were determined using Cox models adjusting for HF risk factors and dietary factors. Baked/broiled fish consumption (≥5 servings/wk at baseline) was associated with a hazard ratio (HR) of 0.70 (95% CI: 0.51, 0.95) for incident HF. In contrast, fried fish consumption (≥1 serving/wk at baseline) was associated with a HR of 1.48 (95% CI: 1.19, 1.84) for incident HF. No significant associations were found between EPA+DHA, ALA, or TFA intake and incident HF.
Conclusions
Increased baked/broiled fish intake may lower HF risk, while increased fried fish intake may increase HF risk in postmenopausal women.
doi:10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.110.960450
PMCID: PMC3310223  PMID: 21610249
heart failure; epidemiology; nutrition; women
The American journal of medicine  2011;124(6):557-565.
Background
Peripheral arterial disease patients are less likely than other high-risk patients to achieve ideal low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) levels. This randomized controlled trial assessed whether a telephone counseling intervention, designed to help peripheral arterial disease patients request more intensive cholesterol lowering therapy from their physician, achieves lower LDL-cholesterol levels than two control conditions.
Methods
355 peripheral arterial disease participants with baseline LDL-cholesterol ≥ 70 mg/dl were enrolled. The primary outcome was change in LDL-cholesterol level at twelve-month follow-up. There were three parallel arms: telephone counseling intervention, attention control condition, and usual care. The intervention consisted of patient-centered counseling, delivered every six weeks, encouraging participants to request increases in cholesterol-lowering therapy from their physician. The attention control condition consisted of telephone calls every six weeks providing information only. The usual care condition participated in baseline and follow-up testing.
Results
At 12-month follow-up, participants in the intervention improved their LDL-cholesterol level, compared to those in attention control (−18.4 mg/dl vs. −6.8 mg/dl, p= 0.010) but not compared to those in usual care (−18.4 mg/dl vs. −11.1 mg/dl, p= 0.208). Intervention participants were more likely to start a cholesterol-lowering medication or increase their cholesterol-lowering medication dose than those in the attention control (54% vs. 18%, p=0.001) and usual care (54% vs. 31%, P<0.001) conditions.
Conclusion
Telephone counseling that helped peripheral arterial disease patients request more intensive cholesterol-lowering therapy from their physician achieved greater LDL-cholesterol declines than an attention control arm that provided health information alone.
doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2010.11.032
PMCID: PMC3225919  PMID: 21605733
Intermittent claudication; secondary prevention; peripheral arterial disease
Objectives
By examining the distribution of CAC across FRS strata in a large, multi-ethnic, community-based sample of men and women, we sought to determine if lower risk persons could potentially benefit from CAC screening.
Background
The 10-year Framingham risk scores (FRS) and coronary artery calcium (CAC) are predictors of coronary heart disease (CHD). CAC ≥300 is associated with the highest risk for CHD even in low risk (FRS <10%) persons; however expert groups have suggested CAC screening only in intermediate risk (FRS 10–20%) groups.
Methods
We included 5660 MESA participants. The number needed to screen [number of people that need to be screened to detect one person with CAC above the specified cut-point (NNS)] was used to assess the yield of screening for CAC. CAC prevalence was compared across FRS strata using chi-square tests.
Results
CAC >0, ≥100 and ≥300 were present in 46.4%, 20.6% and 10.1% of participants, respectively. Prevalence and amount of CAC increased with higher FRS. CAC ≥300 was observed in 1.7% and 4.4% of those with FRS 0–2.5% and 2.6–5%, respectively (NNS =59.7 and 22.7). Likewise, CAC ≥300 was observed in 24% and 30% of those with FRS 15.1–20% and >20%, respectively (NNS =4.2 and 3.3). Trends were similar when stratified by age, gender and race/ethnicity.
Conclusions
Our study suggests that in very low risk individuals (FRS ≤5%), the yield of screening and probability of identifying persons with clinically significant levels of CAC is low, but becomes greater in low and intermediate risk persons (FRS 5.1–20%).
doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2010.11.053
PMCID: PMC3268231  PMID: 21527159
Framingham risk score; coronary calcium; coronary heart disease; number needed to screen; risk factors; population; atherosclerosis; low risk
The American journal of cardiology  2011;107(6):879-885.
Even among asymptomatic people at low risk (<10%) by Framingham Risk Score (FRS), high coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores signify higher predicted risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) events. We sought to determine non-invasive factors (without radiation exposure) significantly associated with CAC in low-risk, asymptomatic persons. In a cross-sectional analysis, we studied 3046 participants from MESA at low 10-year predicted risk (FRS <10%) for CHD events. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the association of novel markers with presence of any CAC (CAC >0) and advanced CAC (CAC ≥ 300). CAC >0 and CAC ≥ 300 were present in 30% and 3.5% of participants, respectively. Factor VIIIc, fibrinogen and sICAM were each associated with CAC presence (P ≤ 0.02); and C-reactive protein, D-dimer and carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) with advanced CAC (P ≤ 0.03). The base model combining traditional risk factors had excellent discrimination for advanced CAC (C-statistic, 0.808). Addition of the 2 best-fit models combining biomarkers plus/minus CIMT improved the c-statistics to 0.822 and 0.820, respectively. All 3 models calibrated well, but were similar in estimating individual risk probabilities for advanced CAC (prevalence = 9.97%, 10.63% and 10.10% in the highest quartiles of predicted probabilities versus 0.26%, 0.26% and 0.26% in the lowest quartiles, respectively). In conclusion, in low risk individuals, traditional risk factors alone predicted advanced CAC with high discrimination and calibration. Biomarker combinations +/− CIMT were also significantly associated with advanced CAC, but improvement in prediction and estimation of clinical risk were modest compared to traditional risk factors alone.
doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2010.10.072
PMCID: PMC3182475  PMID: 21376929
coronary calcium; biomarkers; novel markers; low-risk; risk factors
Journal of clinical lipidology  2011;5(2):105-113.
Background
The amount of cholesterol per LDL particle is variable and related in part to particle size, with smaller particles carrying less cholesterol. This variability causes concentrations of LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) and LDL particles (LDL-P) to be discordant in many individuals.
Methods
LDL-P measured by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, calculated LDL-C, and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) were assessed at baseline in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a community-based cohort of 6814 persons free of clinical CVD at entry and followed for CVD events (n=319 during 5.5-year follow-up). Discordance, defined as values of LDL-P and LDL-C differing by ≥ 12 percentile units to give equal-sized concordant and discordant subgroups, was related to CVD events and to carotid IMT in models predicting outcomes for a 1 SD difference in LDL-C or LDL-P, adjusted for age, sex and race.
Results
LDL-C and LDL-P were associated with incident CVD overall: hazard ratios (HR [95% CI]) 1.20 [1.08, 1.34] and 1.32 [1.19, 1.47], respectively, but for those with discordant levels, only LDL-P was associated with incident CVD (HR: 1.45 [1.19, 1.78]) (LDL-C HR: 1.07 [0.88, 1.30])). IMT also tracked with LDL-P rather than LDL-C, i.e., adjusted mean IMT of 958, 932, and 917 μm in the LDL-P > LDL-C discordant, concordant, and LDL-P < LDL-C discordant subgroups, respectively, with the difference persisting after adjustment for LDL-C (p=0.002) but not LDL-P (p=0.60).
Conclusions
For individuals with discordant LDL-C and LDL-P levels, the LDL-attributable atherosclerotic risk is better indicated by LDL-P.
doi:10.1016/j.jacl.2011.02.001
PMCID: PMC3070150  PMID: 21392724
LDL particle number; LDL cholesterol; cardiovascular disease risk; NMR; lipoproteins

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