There is some evidence to suggest that obesity is a risk factor for the development of depression, although this is not a universal finding. This discordance might be ascribed to the existence of a ‘healthy obese phenotype’– that is, obesity in the absence of the associated burden of cardio-metabolic risk factors. We examined whether the association of obesity with depressive symptoms is dependent on the individual’s metabolic health. Participants were 3851 men and women (aged 63.0 ± 8.9 yrs, 45.1% men) from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, a prospective study of community dwelling older adults. Obesity was defined as body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m2. Based on blood pressure, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, glycated haemoglobin, and C-reactive protein, participants were classified as ‘metabolically healthy’ (0 or 1 metabolic abnormality) or ‘unhealthy’ (≥ 2 metabolic abnormalities). Depressive symptoms were assessed at baseline and at 2 years follow up using the 8-item Centre of Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scale. Obesity prevalence was 27.5%, but 34.3% of this group was categorized as metabolically healthy at baseline. Relative to non-obese healthy participants, after adjustment for baseline CES-D score and other covariates, the metabolically unhealthy obese participants had elevated risk of depressive symptoms at follow-up (odds ratio [OR] = 1.50, 95% CI, 1.05–2.15), although the metabolically healthy obese did not (OR = 1.38, 95% CI, 0.88–2.17). The association between obesity and risk of depressive symptoms appears to be partly dependent on metabolic health, although further work is required to confirm these findings.
Expansive remodelling is the process of compensatory arterial enlargement in response to atherosclerotic stimuli. The genetic determinants of this process are poorly characterized.
Genetic association analyses of inter-adventitial common carotid artery diameter (ICCAD) in the IMPROVE study (n = 3427) using the Illumina 200k Metabochip was performed. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that met array-wide significance were taken forward for analysis in three further studies (n = 5704), and tested for association with Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA).
rs3768445 on Chromosome 1q24.3, in a cluster of protein coding genes (DNM3, PIGC, C1orf105) was associated with larger ICCAD in the IMPROVE study. For each copy of the rare allele carried, ICCAD was on average 0.13 mm greater (95% CI 0.08–0.18 mm, P = 8.2 × 10−8). A proxy SNP (rs4916251, R2 = 0.99) did not, however, show association with ICCAD in three follow-up studies (P for replication = 0.29). There was evidence of interaction between carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and rs4916251 on ICCAD in two of the cohorts studies suggesting that it plays a role in the remodelling response to atherosclerosis. In meta-analysis of 5 case–control studies pooling data from 5007 cases and 43,630 controls, rs4916251 was associated with presence of AAA 1.10, 95% CI 1.03–1.17, p = 2.8 × 10−3, I2 = 18.8, Q = 0.30). A proxy SNP, rs4916251 was also associated with increased expression of PIGC in aortic tissue, suggesting that this may the mechanism by which this locus affects vascular remodelling.
Common variation at 1q24.3 is associated with expansive vascular remodelling and risk of AAA. These findings support a hypothesis that pathways involved in systemic vascular remodelling play a role in AAA development.
► In the IMPROVE study (n > 3000) variants at 1q24.3 were strongly associated with larger carotid diameters. ► The lead variant was associated with Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) in meta-analysis of 5 studies (n > 50,000). ► Variants at 1q24.3 appear to be associated with vascular remodelling and risk of AAA.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm; Genome-wide association studies; Vascular remodelling; Carotid artery
Background: It has been suggested that dietary patterns are associated with future risk of depressive symptoms. However, there is a paucity of prospective data that have examined the temporality of this relation.
Objective: We examined whether adherence to a healthy diet, as defined by using the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), was prospectively associated with depressive symptoms assessed over a 5-y period.
Design: Analyses were based on 4215 participants in the Whitehall II Study. AHEI scores were computed in 1991–1993 and 2003–2004. Recurrent depressive symptoms were defined as having a Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale score ≥16 or self-reported use of antidepressants in 2003–2004 and 2008–2009.
Results: After adjustment for potential confounders, the AHEI score was inversely associated with recurrent depressive symptoms in a dose-response fashion in women (P-trend < 0.001; for 1 SD in AHEI score; OR: 0.59; 95% CI: 0.47, 0.75) but not in men. Women who maintained high AHEI scores or improved their scores during the 10-y measurement period had 65% (OR: 0.35%; 95% CI: 0.19%, 0.64%) and 68% (OR: 0.32%; 95% CI: 0.13%, 0.78%) lower odds of subsequent recurrent depressive symptoms than did women who maintained low AHEI scores. Among AHEI components, vegetable, fruit, trans fat, and the ratio of polyunsaturated fat to saturated fat components were associated with recurrent depressive symptoms in women.
Conclusion: In the current study, there was a suggestion that poor diet is a risk factor for future depression in women.
The association between functioning of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and physical performance at older ages remains poorly understood. We carried out meta-analyses to test the hypothesis that dysregulation of the HPA axis, as indexed by patterns of diurnal cortisol release, is associated with worse physical performance. Data from six adult cohorts (ages 50–92 years) were included in a two stage meta-analysis of individual participant data. We analysed each study separately using linear and logistic regression models and then used meta-analytic methods to pool the results. Physical performance outcome measures were walking speed, balance time, chair rise time and grip strength. Exposure measures were morning (serum and salivary) and evening (salivary) cortisol. Total sample sizes in meta-analyses ranged from n = 2146 for associations between morning Cortisol Awakening Response and balance to n = 8448 for associations between morning cortisol and walking speed. A larger diurnal drop was associated with faster walking speed (standardised coefficient per SD increase 0.052, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.029, 0.076, p < 0.001; age and gender adjusted) and a quicker chair rise time (standardised coefficient per SD increase −0.075, 95% CI −0.116, −0.034, p < 0.001; age and gender adjusted). There was little evidence of associations with balance or grip strength. Greater diurnal decline of the HPA axis is associated with better physical performance in later life. This may reflect a causal effect of the HPA axis on performance or that other ageing-related factors are associated with both reduced HPA reactivity and performance.
HPA axis; Physical capability; Healthy ageing
Increases in life expectancy make it important to remain healthy for as long as possible. Our objective was to examine the extent to which healthy behaviours in midlife, separately and in combination, predict successful aging.
We used a prospective cohort design involving 5100 men and women aged 42–63 years. Participants were free of cancer, coronary artery disease and stroke when their health behaviours were assessed in 1991–1994 as part of the Whitehall II study. We defined healthy behaviours as never smoking, moderate alcohol consumption, physical activity (≥ 2.5 h/wk moderate physical activity or ≥ 1 h/wk vigorous physical activity), and eating fruits and vegetables daily. We defined successful aging, measured over a median 16.3-year follow-up, as good cognitive, physical, respiratory and cardiovascular functioning, in addition to the absence of disability, mental health problems and chronic disease (coronary artery disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes).
At the end of follow-up, 549 participants had died and 953 qualified as aging successfully. Compared with participants who engaged in no healthy behaviours, participants engaging in all 4 healthy behaviours had 3.3 times greater odds of successful aging (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.1–5.1). The association with successful aging was linear, with the odds ratio (OR) per increment of healthy behaviour being 1.3 (95% CI 1.2–1.4; population-attributable risk for 1–4 v. 0 healthy behaviours 47%). When missing data were considered in the analysis, the results were similar to those of our main analysis.
Although individual healthy behaviours are moderately associated with successful aging, their combined impact is substantial. We did not investigate the mechanisms underlying these associations, but we saw clear evidence of the importance of healthy behaviours for successful aging.
The goal of cardiovascular disease (CVD) research using linked bespoke studies and electronic health records (CALIBER) is to provide evidence to inform health care and public health policy for CVDs across different stages of translation, from discovery, through evaluation in trials to implementation, where linkages to electronic health records provide new scientific opportunities. The initial approach of the CALIBER programme is characterized as follows: (i) Linkages of multiple electronic heath record sources: examples include linkages between the longitudinal primary care data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, the national registry of acute coronary syndromes (Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project), hospitalization and procedure data from Hospital Episode Statistics and cause-specific mortality and social deprivation data from the Office of National Statistics. Current cohort analyses involve a million people in initially healthy populations and disease registries with ∼105 patients. (ii) Linkages of bespoke investigator-led cohort studies (e.g. UK Biobank) to registry data (e.g. Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project), providing new means of ascertaining, validating and phenotyping disease. (iii) A common data model in which routine electronic health record data are made research ready, and sharable, by defining and curating with meta-data >300 variables (categorical, continuous, event) on risk factors, CVDs and non-cardiovascular comorbidities. (iv) Transparency: all CALIBER studies have an analytic protocol registered in the public domain, and data are available (safe haven model) for use subject to approvals. For more information, e-mail email@example.com
electronic heath records; linkages; cardiovascular
There are few longitudinal data on physical activity patterns from mid-life into older age. The authors examined associations of self-reported physical activity, adiposity and socio-demographic factors in mid-life with objectively assessed measures of activity in older age.
Participants were 394 healthy men and women drawn from the Whitehall II population-based cohort study. At the baseline assessment in 1997 (mean age 54 years), physical activity was assessed through self-report and quantified as metabolic equivalent of task hours/week. At the follow-up in 2010 (mean age 66 years), physical activity was objectively measured using accelerometers worn during waking hours for seven consecutive days (average daily wear time 891±68 min/day).
Self-reported physical activity at baseline was associated with objectively assessed activity at follow-up in various activity categories, including light-, moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity (all ps<0.04). Participants in the highest compared with lowest quartile of self-reported activity level at baseline recorded on average 64.1 (95% CI 26.2 to 102.1) counts per minute more accelerometer-assessed activity at follow-up and 9.0 (2.0–16.0) min/day more moderate-to-vigorous daily activity, after adjusting for baseline covariates. Lower education, obesity and self-perceived health status were also related to physical activity at follow-up. Only age and education were associated with objectively measured sedentary time at follow-up.
Physical activity behaviour in middle age was associated with objectively measured physical activity in later life after 13 years of follow-up, suggesting that the habits in adulthood are partly tracked into older age.
Actigraph; ageing; education; epidemiology; obesity; physical activity; health behaviour; psychological stress; prevention; coronary heart disease
Negative psychological states such as stress and depression are associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), but it is unclear whether some positive states are protective. We investigated satisfaction with specific life domains as predictors of incident CHD.
Methods and results
Coronary risk factors and satisfaction within seven life domains (e.g. job and family) were assessed in 7956 initially healthy members of the Whitehall II cohort. Incident CHD (angina, non-fatal myocardial infarction, or death from CHD) was ascertained from medical screening, hospital data, and registry linkage over five person-years of follow-up. Satisfaction averaged across domains was associated with reduced CHD risk (HR: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.78–0.98), controlling for demographic characteristics, health behaviours, blood pressure, and metabolic functioning. Associations with CHD risk were evident for satisfaction in four life domains—one's job, family, sex life, and self, but not one's love relationship, leisure activities, or standard of living. When examining CHD outcomes separately, average domain satisfaction was associated with angina but not myocardial infarction or coronary death.
Satisfaction in most life domains was associated with reduced CHD risk, with definite angina being mostly responsible for this association. These findings suggest that satisfaction with life may promote heart health. Further research should examine whether interventions to enhance life satisfaction in specific domains reduce CHD risk and whether life satisfaction is primarily associated with atherosclerosis rather than thrombotic factors associated with plaque rupture.
Coronary heart disease; Angina; Life satisfaction; Domain satisfaction; Well-being
A potential role for cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in the aetiology of suicide has not been comprehensively examined. In addition to being small in scale and poorly characterized, existing studies very rarely sample Asian populations in whom risk factor–suicide relationships may plausibly differ to Caucasian groups. We examined the association between a series of CVD risk factors and future mortality from suicide.
Methods and results
The Korean Cancer Prevention Study is a prospective cohort study comprising 1 234 927 individuals (445 022 women) aged 30–95 years with extensive measurement of established CVD risk factors at baseline and subsequent mortality surveillance. Fourteen years of follow-up gave rise to 472 deaths (389 in men and 83 in women) from suicide. After adjustment for a range of covariates, in men, smoking hazard ratio; 95% CI: (current vs. never: 1.69; 1.27, 2.24), alcohol intake (1–24 g/day vs. none: 1.29; 1.00, 1.66), blood cholesterol (≥240 vs. <200 mg/dL: 0.54; 0.36, 0.80), body mass index (underweight vs. normal weight: 2.08; 1.26, 3.45), stature [quartile 1(lowest) vs. 4: 1.68; 1.23, 2.30], socioeconomic status [quartile 1(lowest) vs. 4: 1.65; 1.21, 2.24], and martial status (unmarried vs. other: 1.60; 0.83, 3.06) were related to suicide mortality risk. These associations were generally apparent in women, although of lower magnitude. Exercise and blood pressure were not associated with completed suicide.
In this cohort of Korean men and women, a series of CVD risk factors were associated with an elevated risk of future suicide mortality.
Cardiovascular disease; Risk factors; Epidemiology; Suicide
Little is known about psychological risk factors in cerebrovascular disease. We examined the association between psychological distress and risk of death due to cerebrovascular disease.
We obtained data from 68 652 adult participants of the Health Survey for England (mean age 54.9 [standard deviation 13.9] yr, 45.0% male sex) with no known history of cardiovascular diseases at baseline. We used the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) to assess the presence of psychological distress. We followed participants for eight years for cause-specific death using linkage to national registers.
There were 2367 deaths due to cardiovascular disease during follow-up. Relative to participants with no symptoms of psychological distress (GHQ-12 score 0) at baseline, people with psychological distress (GHQ-12 score ≥ 4, 14.7% of participants) had an increased risk of death from cerebrovascular disease (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1.66, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.32–2.08) and ischemic heart disease (adjusted HR 1.59, 95% CI 1.34–1.88). There was also evidence of a dose–response effect with increasing GHQ-12 score (p for trend < 0.001 in all analyses). Associations were only marginally attenuated after we adjusted for possible confounders, including socioeconomic status, smoking and use of antihypertensive medications.
Psychological distress was associated with increased risk of death due to cerebrovascular disease in a large population-representative cohort. These data suggest that the cardiovascular effects of psychological distress are not limited to coronary artery disease.
Polymorphisms in several distinct genomic regions, including the F7 gene, were recently associated with factor VII (FVII) levels in European Americans (EAs). The genetic determinants of FVII in African Americans (AAs) are unknown. We used a 50 000 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) gene-centric array having dense coverage of over 2 000 candidate genes for cardiovascular disease (CVD) pathways in a community-based sample of 16 324 EA and 3898 AA participants from the Candidate Gene Association Resource (CARe) consortium. Our aim was the discovery of new genomic loci and more detailed characterization of existing loci associated with FVII levels. In EAs, we identified three new loci associated with FVII, of which APOA5 on chromosome 11q23 and HNF4A on chromosome 20q12–13 were replicated in a sample of 4289 participants from the Whitehall II study. We confirmed four previously reported FVII-associated loci (GCKR, MS4A6A, F7 and PROCR) in CARe EA samples. In AAs, the F7 and PROCR regions were significantly associated with FVII. Several of the FVII-associated regions are known to be associated with lipids and other cardiovascular-related traits. At the F7 locus, there was evidence of at least five independently associated SNPs in EAs and three independent signals in AAs. Though the variance in FVII explained by the existing loci is substantial (20% in EA and 10% in AA), larger sample sizes and investigation of lower frequency variants may be required to identify additional FVII-associated loci in EAs and AAs and further clarify the relationship between FVII and other CVD risk factors.
Lung function predicts mortality; whether it is associated with functional status in the general population remains unclear. This study examined the association of lung function with multiple measures of functioning in early old age. Data are drawn from the Whitehall II study; data on lung function (forced expiratory volume in 1 s, height FEV1), walking speed (2.44 m), cognitive function (memory and reasoning) and self-reported physical and mental functioning (SF-36) were available on 4,443 individuals, aged 50–74 years. In models adjusted for age, 1 standard deviation (SD) higher height-adjusted FEV1 was associated with greater walking speed (beta = 0.16, 95% CI: 0.13, 0.19), memory (beta = 0.09, 95% CI: 0.06, 0.12), reasoning (beta = 0.16, 95% CI: 0.13, 0.19) and self-reported physical functioning (beta = 0.13, 95% CI: 0.10, 0.16). Socio-demographic measures, health behaviours (smoking, alcohol, physical activity, fruit/vegetable consumption), body mass index (BMI) and chronic conditions explained two-thirds of the association with walking speed and self-assessed physical functioning and over 80% of the association with cognitive function. Our results suggest that lung function is a good ‘summary’ measure of overall functioning in early old age.
Ageing; Lung function; Cognitive function; Physical function
Lung function predicts mortality, whether it is associated with functional status in the general population remains unclear. This study examined the association of lung function with multiple measures of functioning in early old age. Data are drawn from the Whitehall II study; data on lung function (forced expiratory volume in one second, height FEV1), walking speed (over 2.44 m), cognitive function (memory and reasoning), and self-reported physical and mental functioning (SF-36) were available on 4443 individuals, aged 50–74 years. In models adjusted for age, one standard deviation (SD) higher height-adjusted FEV1 was associated with greater walking speed (beta=0.16, 95% CI: 0.13, 0.19), memory (beta=0.09, 95% CI: 0.06, 0.12), reasoning (beta=0.16, 95% CI: 0.13, 0.19), and self-reported physical functioning (beta=0.13, 95% CI: 0.10, 0.16). Socio-demographic measures, health behaviours (smoking, alcohol, physical activity, fruit/vegetable consumption), BMI and chronic conditions explained two-thirds of the association with walking speed and self-assessed physical functioning and over 80% of the association with cognitive function. Our results suggest that lung function is a good “summary” measure of overall functioning in early old age.
Aged; Aging; physiology; psychology; Cognition; physiology; Female; Health Status; Humans; Lung; physiology; Male; Middle Aged; Spirometry; Walking; physiology; ageing; lung function; cognitive function; physical function
Higher Lp-PLA2 activity is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), making Lp-PLA2 a potential therapeutic target. PLA2G7 variants associated with Lp-PLA2 activity could evaluate whether this relationship is causal.
Methods and Results
A meta-analysis including a total of 12 studies (5 prospective, 4 case-control, 1 case-only and 2 cross-sectional, n=26,118) was undertaken to examine the association of: (i) LpPLA2 activity vs. cardiovascular biomarkers and risk factors and CHD events (two prospective studies; n=4884); ii) PLA2G7 SNPs and Lp-PLA2 activity (3 prospective, 2 case-control, 2 cross-sectional studies; up to n=6094); and iii) PLA2G7 SNPs and angiographic coronary artery disease (2 case-control, 1 case-only study; n=4971 cases) and CHD events (5 prospective, 2 case-control studies; n=5523). Lp-PLA2 activity correlated with several CHD risk markers. Hazard ratio for CHD events top vs. bottom quartile of Lp-PLA2 activity was 1.61 (95%CI: 1.31, 1.99) and 1.17 (95%CI: 0.91, 1.51) after adjustment for baseline traits. Of seven SNPs, rs1051931 (A379V) showed the strongest association with Lp-PLA2 activity, VV subjects having 7.2% higher activity than AAs. Genotype was not associated with risk markers, angiographic coronary disease (OR 1.03 (95%CI 0.80, 1.32), or CHD events (OR 0.98 (95%CI 0.82, 1.17).
Unlike Lp-PLA2 activity, PLA2G7 variants associated with modest effects on Lp-PLA2 activity were not associated with cardiovascular risk markers, coronary atheroma or CHD. Larger association studies, identification of SNPs with larger effects, or randomised trials of specific Lp-PLA2 inhibitors are needed to confirm/refute a contributory role for Lp-PLA2 in CHD.
genetics; epidemiology; risk factors; Mendelian randomization
Several age-related traits are associated with shorter telomeres, the structures that cap the end of linear chromosomes. A common polymorphism near the telomere maintenance gene TERT has been associated with several cancers, but relationships with other ageing traits such as physical capability have not been reported.
As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) collaborative research programme, men and women aged between 44 and 90 years from 9 UK cohorts were genotyped for the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs401681. We then investigated relationships between the SNP and 30 age-related phenotypes, including cognitive and physical capability, blood lipid levels and lung function, pooling within-study genotypic effects in meta-analyses.
No significant associations were found between the SNP and any of the cognitive performance tests (e.g. pooled beta per T allele for word recall z-score=0.02, 95% CI: -0.01- 0.04, p-value=0.12, n=18,737), physical performance tests (e.g. pooled beta for grip strength=-0.02, 95% CI:-0.045- 0.006, p-value=0.14, n=11,711), blood pressure, lung function or blood test measures. Similarly, no differences in observations were found when considering follow-up measures of cognitive or physical performance after adjusting for its measure at an earlier assessment.
The lack of associations between SNP rs401681 and a wide range of age-related phenotypes investigated in this large multi-cohort study suggests that whilst this SNP may be associated with cancer, it is not an important contributor to other markers of ageing.
Aging; ageing; middle-aged; telomere; cognition; physical
Research suggests that positive psychological well-being is associated with cardiovascular health. However, much of this research uses elderly samples and has not determined the pathways by which psychological well-being influences cardiovascular disease or whether effects are similar for men and women. This study investigates the association between two aspects of well-being (emotional vitality and optimism) and coronary heart disease (CHD) in a sample of middle age men and women, and considers potential mediating factors.
Between 1991 and 1994, well-being and coronary risk factors were assessed among 7,942 individuals without a prior cardiovascular event from the Whitehall II cohort. Incident CHD (fatal CHD, first nonfatal myocardial infarction, or first definite angina) was tracked during 5 person-years of follow-up.
Positive psychological well-being was associated with reduced risk of CHD with an apparent threshold effect. Relative to people with the lowest levels of well-being, those with the highest levels had minimally-adjusted hazard ratios of 0.74 (95% confidence interval: 0.55-0.98) for emotional vitality and 0.73 (95% confidence interval: 0.54-0.99) for optimism. Moreover, the association was strong for both genders and was only weakly attenuated when accounting for ill-being. Neither health-related behaviors nor biological factors explained these associations.
Positive psychological well-being was associated with a modest but consistent reduced risk of incident CHD. The relationship was comparable for men and women, and was maintained after controlling for cardiovascular risk factors and ill-being. Additional research is needed to identify underlying mechanisms and investigate whether interventions to increase well-being may enhance cardiovascular health.
cardiovascular disease; coronary heart disease; well-being; vitality; optimism
While several plausible biological mechanisms have been advanced for the association between greater physical stature and lower coronary heart disease (CHD) risk in prospective cohort studies, the importance of one of the principal artifactua explanations – reverse causality due to shrinkage – remains unresolved. To explore this issue, studies with repeat measurements of height are required, however, to date, such data have been lacking.
We analysed data from the Whitehall II prospective cohort study of 3802 men and 1615 women who participated in a physical examination in 1985/88, had their height re-measured in 1997/99, and were then followed for fatal and non-fatal CHD.
A mean follow-up of 7.4 years after the second height measurement gave rise to 69 CHD events in men (18 in women). After adjustment for baseline CHD risk factors, greater loss of physical stature between survey and resurvey was associated with an increased risk of CHD in men (hazard ratio; 95% CI for a one SD increase: 1.24; 1.00, 1.53) but not women (0.93; 0.58, 1.50).
It is possible that reverse causality due to shrinkage may contribute to the inverse association between a single measurement of height and later CHD in other studies.
The authors examined the associations of social support with socioeconomic status (SES) and with mortality, as well as how SES differences in social support might account for SES differences in mortality. Analyses were based on 9,333 participants from the British Whitehall II Study cohort, a longitudinal cohort established in 1985 among London-based civil servants who were 35–55 years of age at baseline. SES was assessed using participant's employment grades at baseline. Social support was assessed 3 times in the 24.4-year period during which participants were monitored for death. In men, marital status, and to a lesser extent network score (but not low perceived support or high negative aspects of close relationships), predicted both all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. Measures of social support were not associated with cancer mortality. Men in the lowest SES category had an increased risk of death compared with those in the highest category (for all-cause mortality, hazard ratio = 1.59, 95% confidence interval: 1.21, 2.08; for cardiovascular mortality, hazard ratio = 2.48, 95% confidence interval: 1.55, 3.92). Network score and marital status combined explained 27% (95% confidence interval: 14, 43) and 29% (95% confidence interval: 17, 52) of the associations between SES and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, respectively. In women, there was no consistent association between social support indicators and mortality. The present study suggests that in men, social isolation is not only an important risk factor for mortality but is also likely to contribute to differences in mortality by SES.
cohort; longitudinal; mortality; social class; social support
To investigate the relationship between Angiopoietin-like protein 4 (Angptl4) levels, CHD biomarkers and ANGPTL4 variants.
Methods and Results
Plasma Angptl4 was quantified in 666 subjects of the Northwick Park Heart Study II using a validated ELISA. Seven ANGPTL4 SNPs were genotyped and CHD biomarkers assessed in the whole cohort (n=2775). Weighted mean (±SD) plasma Angptl4 levels were 10.0(±11.0) ng/ml. Plasma Angptl4 concentration correlated positively with age (r=0.15, P<0.001), body fat mass (r=0.19, P=0.003) but negatively with plasma HDL-cholesterol (r=−0.13, P=0.01). No correlation with triglycerides was observed. T266M was independently associated with plasma Angptl4 levels (P<0.001), but not associated with triglycerides or with CHD risk in the meta-analysis of five studies (4,061 cases/15,395 controls). E40K showed no independent association with plasma Angptl4 levels. In HEK293 and Huh7 cells compared to wild-type, E40K and T266M showed significantly altered synthesis and secretion, respectively.
These data suggest that circulating Angptl4 levels do not influence triglyceride levels or CHD risk since (1) Angptl4 levels were not correlated with triglycerides, (2) T266M, although associated with Angptl4 levels, showed no association with plasma triglycerides (3) Triglyceride-lowering E40K did not influence Angptl4 levels. These results provide new insights into the role of Angptl4 in triglyceride metabolism.
Angplt4; E40K; T266M; cardiovascular disease; LPL
To examine the association between objectively measured second–hand-smoke (SHS) exposure and incident CVD death, and assess the extent to which this association can be explained through novel circulating markers of inflammation and haemostasis.
Existing evidence suggests there is an association between SHS and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, although the mechanisms remain poorly understood.
In a prospective study of 13,443 participants living in England and Scotland [aged 53.5, (SD 12.6 yrs), 52.3% women] we measured salivary cotinine (an objective marker of SHS exposure) and novel CVD biomarkers (C-reactive protein, fibrinogen) at baseline.
20.8% of the sample had high SHS exposure based on elevated levels of salivary cotinine (0.71 – 14.99 ng/mL). During a mean follow-up of 8 years, there were 1221 all-cause deaths and 364 CVD deaths. High SHS was associated with all-cause (age adjusted HR= 1.25, 95% CI, 1.02 – 1.53) and CVD death (age adjusted HR= 1.21, 95% CI, 0.85 – 1.73). High SHS was also associated with elevated CRP, which explained 48% of the association between SHS and CVD death. The excess risk of CVD associated with active smoking was exaggerated in relation to self report (age adjusted HR= 3.27, 95% CI, 2.48 – 4.31) compared with objective assessment (age adjusted HR= 2.44, 95% CI, 1.75 – 3.40).
Among a large representative sample of British adults we observed elevated levels of low grade inflammation in otherwise healthy participants exposed to high SHS, and this partly explained their elevated risk of CVD death.
cotinine; inflammation; nicotine; passive smoke; mortality; epidemiology
There is conflicting evidence regarding the association of hypertension with psychological distress, such as anxiety and depressive symptoms. The association may be due to a direct effect of the raised blood pressure; side effects of treatment; or the consequences of labelling. In a representative study of 33,105 adults (aged 51.7 ±12.1 yrs, 45.8% men) we measured levels of psychological distress using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire and collected blood pressure, data on history of hypertension diagnosis, and medication usage. Awareness of hypertension was confirmed through a physician’s diagnosis or the use of anti-hypertensive medication and unaware hypertension was defined by elevated clinic blood pressure (systolic/diastolic ≥140/90 mm Hg) without prior treatment or diagnosis. In comparison with normotensive participants, an elevated risk of distress (General Health Questionnaire score ≥4) was observed in aware hypertensive participants (multivariable adjusted odds ratio [OR]=1.57, 95% CI, 1.41 – 1.74), although not in unaware hypertensives (OR = 0.91, 95% CI, 0.78 – 1.07). Anti-hypertensive medication and co-morbidity was also associated with psychological distress although this did not explain the greater risk of distress in aware hypertensives. We observed a weak curvilinear association between systolic blood pressure and distress which suggested that distressed participants were more likely to have low or highly elevated blood pressure. These findings suggest that labelling individuals as hypertensive, rather than elevated blood pressure per se, may partially explain the greater levels of distress in patients treated for hypertension.
depression; anxiety; blood pressure; medication; cardiovascular risk; labelling
Given the increasing prevalence of both metabolic syndrome (MetS) and depressive symptoms during old age, we aimed to examine prospectively the association between MetS and the onset of depressive symptoms according to different age-groups in a large, general elderly population.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
This was a prospective cohort study of 4,446 men and women aged 65–91 years who were free of depression or depressive symptoms at baseline (the Three-City Study, France). MetS was defined using the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria. New onset of depressive symptoms (the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale score ≥16 and use of antidepressant treatment) was assessed at 2- and 4-year follow-ups.
After adjusting for a large range of potential confounders, we observed MetS to be associated with 1.73-fold (95% CI 1.02–2.95) odds for new-onset depressive symptoms in the youngest age-group (65–70 years at baseline), independently of cardiovascular diseases. No such association was seen in older age-groups.
Our findings suggest that the link between MetS and depressive symptoms evidenced until now in middle-aged people can be extended to older adults but not to the oldest ones. Additional research is needed to examine if a better management of MetS prevents depressive symptoms in people aged 65–70 years.
Father’s occupational position, education and height have all been used to examine the effects of adverse early life socioeconomic circumstances on health, but it remains unknown whether they predict mortality equally well.
We used pooled data on 18393 men and 7060 women from the Whitehall-II and GAZEL cohorts to examine associations between early life socioeconomic circumstances and all-cause and cause-specific mortality.
During the 20-year follow-up period, 1487 participants died. Education had a monotonic association with all mortality outcomes, the age, sex and cohort adjusted Hazard Ratio (HR) for the lowest versus the highest educational group was 1.45 (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 1.24,1.69) for all-cause mortality. There was evidence of a U-shaped association between height and all-cause, cancer and cardiovascular mortality, robust to adjustment for the other indicators (HR=1.41; 95% CI: 1.03,1.93 for those shorter-than-average and HR=1.36; 95% CI: 0.98,1.88 for those taller-than-average for cardiovascular (CVD) mortality). Greater all-cause and cancer mortality was observed in participants whose father’s occupational position was manual rather than non-manual (HR=1.11; 95% CI: 1.00,1.23 for all-cause mortality), but the risks were attenuated after adjusting for education and height.
The association between early life socioeconomic circumstances and mortality depends on the socioeconomic indicator used and the cause of death examined. Height is not a straightforward measure of early life socioeconomic circumstances as taller people do not have a health advantage for all mortality outcomes.
Body height; early life; cohort studies; education; mortality; occupational position; Adult; Aged; Cardiovascular Diseases; mortality; Cause of Death; Cohort Studies; Female; Follow-Up Studies; France; epidemiology; Great Britain; epidemiology; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Neoplasms; mortality; Occupations; Proportional Hazards Models; Risk; Risk Factors; Social Class
We examined socioeconomic and ethnic differences in use of lipid-lowering drugs after deregulation of simvastatin in the UK for adults with moderate or high risk of coronary heart disease.
3631 participants in the Whitehall II cohort study (mean age 62.7 years, 91% white) were informed of their risk of coronary heart disease, based on Framingham score, before deregulation (2002–2004). Use of prescribed lipid-lowering drugs and use of over-the-counter simvastatin were analysed as outcome variables, after deregulation (2005–2007).
2451 participants were at high risk and 1180 at moderate risk. 20% moderate-risk and 44% high-risk participants reported using prescribed lipid-lowering drugs although no over-the-counter simvastatin was used. Prescribing rates did not differ between employment grades (an index of socioeconomic position), but was higher among South Asian high-risk compared with White high-risk participants (odds ratio 1.64, 95% CI 1.21 to 2.23). Of the high-risk participants, 44% recalled their increased coronary heart disease risk. South Asian high-risk participants were less likely to recall than White high-risk participants (odds ratio 0.65, 95% CI 0.46–0.93). Furthermore, high risk participants with middle (odds ratio 0.74, 95% CI. 0.61–0.89) and low (odds ratio 0.52, 95% CI 0.37–0.74) employment grades were less likely to recall than those with high grades.
Socioeconomic and ethnic differences in reported use of lipid-lowering drugs were small, but the use of these drugs in general was much lower than recommended and the participants did not utilise over-the-counter statins. Ethnic minorities and lower socioeconomic position groups were less likely to be aware of their increased coronary risk.
statin; pharmacoepidemiology; cardiovascular risk; inequalities; socioeconomic position; ethnicity
To estimate the contribution of risk factor trends to 20-year declines in myocardial infarction (MI) incidence in British men and women.
Methods and results
From 1985 to 2004, 6379 men and 3074 women in the Whitehall II cohort were followed for incident MI and risk factor trends. Over 20 years, the age–sex-adjusted hazard of MI fell by 74% (95% confidence interval 48–87%), corresponding to an average annual decline of 6.5% (3.2–9.7%). Thirty-four per cent (20–76%) of the decline in MI hazard could be statistically explained by declining non-HDL cholesterol levels, followed by increased HDL cholesterol (17%, 10–32%), reduced systolic blood pressure (13%, 7–24%), and reduced cigarette smoking prevalence (6%, 2–14%). Increased fruit and vegetable consumption made a non-significant contribution of 7% (−1–20%). In combination, these five risk factors explained 56% (34–112%). Rising body mass index (BMI) was counterproductive, reducing the scale of the decline by 11% (5–23%) in isolation. The MI decline and the impact of the risk factors appeared similar for men and women.
In men and women, over half of the decline in MI risk could be accounted for by favourable risk factor time trends. The adverse role of BMI emphasizes the importance of addressing the rising population BMI.
Myocardial infarction; Incidence; Time Trends; Population; Prevention; Risk factors