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1.  Motoric cognitive risk syndrome 
Neurology  2014;83(8):718-726.
Our objective is to report prevalence of motoric cognitive risk syndrome (MCR), a newly described predementia syndrome characterized by slow gait and cognitive complaints, in multiple countries, and its association with dementia risk.
Pooled MCR prevalence analysis of individual data from 26,802 adults without dementia and disability aged 60 years and older from 22 cohorts from 17 countries. We also examined risk of incident cognitive impairment (Mini-Mental State Examination decline ≥4 points) and dementia associated with MCR in 4,812 individuals without dementia with baseline Mini-Mental State Examination scores ≥25 from 4 prospective cohort studies using Cox models adjusted for potential confounders.
At baseline, 2,808 of the 26,802 participants met MCR criteria. Pooled MCR prevalence was 9.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 8.2%–11.2%). MCR prevalence was higher with older age but there were no sex differences. MCR predicted risk of developing incident cognitive impairment in the pooled sample (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 2.0, 95% CI 1.7–2.4); aHRs were 1.5 to 2.7 in the individual cohorts. MCR also predicted dementia in the pooled sample (aHR 1.9, 95% CI 1.5–2.3). The results persisted even after excluding participants with possible cognitive impairment, accounting for early dementia, and diagnostic overlap with other predementia syndromes.
MCR is common in older adults, and is a strong and early risk factor for cognitive decline. This clinical approach can be easily applied to identify high-risk seniors in a wide variety of settings.
PMCID: PMC4150127  PMID: 25031288
2.  Genetic association study of QT interval highlights role for calcium signaling pathways in myocardial repolarization 
Arking, Dan E. | Pulit, Sara L. | Crotti, Lia | van der Harst, Pim | Munroe, Patricia B. | Koopmann, Tamara T. | Sotoodehnia, Nona | Rossin, Elizabeth J. | Morley, Michael | Wang, Xinchen | Johnson, Andrew D. | Lundby, Alicia | Gudbjartsson, Daníel F. | Noseworthy, Peter A. | Eijgelsheim, Mark | Bradford, Yuki | Tarasov, Kirill V. | Dörr, Marcus | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Lahtinen, Annukka M. | Nolte, Ilja M. | Smith, Albert Vernon | Bis, Joshua C. | Isaacs, Aaron | Newhouse, Stephen J. | Evans, Daniel S. | Post, Wendy S. | Waggott, Daryl | Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka | Hicks, Andrew A. | Eisele, Lewin | Ellinghaus, David | Hayward, Caroline | Navarro, Pau | Ulivi, Sheila | Tanaka, Toshiko | Tester, David J. | Chatel, Stéphanie | Gustafsson, Stefan | Kumari, Meena | Morris, Richard W. | Naluai, Åsa T. | Padmanabhan, Sandosh | Kluttig, Alexander | Strohmer, Bernhard | Panayiotou, Andrie G. | Torres, Maria | Knoflach, Michael | Hubacek, Jaroslav A. | Slowikowski, Kamil | Raychaudhuri, Soumya | Kumar, Runjun D. | Harris, Tamara B. | Launer, Lenore J. | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Alonso, Alvaro | Bader, Joel S. | Ehret, Georg | Huang, Hailiang | Kao, W.H. Linda | Strait, James B. | Macfarlane, Peter W. | Brown, Morris | Caulfield, Mark J. | Samani, Nilesh J. | Kronenberg, Florian | Willeit, Johann | Smith, J. Gustav | Greiser, Karin H. | zu Schwabedissen, Henriette Meyer | Werdan, Karl | Carella, Massimo | Zelante, Leopoldo | Heckbert, Susan R. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Rotter, Jerome I. | Kolcic, Ivana | Polašek, Ozren | Wright, Alan F. | Griffin, Maura | Daly, Mark J. | Arnar, David O. | Hólm, Hilma | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Denny, Joshua C. | Roden, Dan M. | Zuvich, Rebecca L. | Emilsson, Valur | Plump, Andrew S. | Larson, Martin G. | O'Donnell, Christopher J. | Yin, Xiaoyan | Bobbo, Marco | D'Adamo, Adamo P. | Iorio, Annamaria | Sinagra, Gianfranco | Carracedo, Angel | Cummings, Steven R. | Nalls, Michael A. | Jula, Antti | Kontula, Kimmo K. | Marjamaa, Annukka | Oikarinen, Lasse | Perola, Markus | Porthan, Kimmo | Erbel, Raimund | Hoffmann, Per | Jöckel, Karl-Heinz | Kälsch, Hagen | Nöthen, Markus M. | consortium, HRGEN | den Hoed, Marcel | Loos, Ruth J.F. | Thelle, Dag S. | Gieger, Christian | Meitinger, Thomas | Perz, Siegfried | Peters, Annette | Prucha, Hanna | Sinner, Moritz F. | Waldenberger, Melanie | de Boer, Rudolf A. | Franke, Lude | van der Vleuten, Pieter A. | Beckmann, Britt Maria | Martens, Eimo | Bardai, Abdennasser | Hofman, Nynke | Wilde, Arthur A.M. | Behr, Elijah R. | Dalageorgou, Chrysoula | Giudicessi, John R. | Medeiros-Domingo, Argelia | Barc, Julien | Kyndt, Florence | Probst, Vincent | Ghidoni, Alice | Insolia, Roberto | Hamilton, Robert M. | Scherer, Stephen W. | Brandimarto, Jeffrey | Margulies, Kenneth | Moravec, Christine E. | Fabiola Del, Greco M. | Fuchsberger, Christian | O'Connell, Jeffrey R. | Lee, Wai K. | Watt, Graham C.M. | Campbell, Harry | Wild, Sarah H. | El Mokhtari, Nour E. | Frey, Norbert | Asselbergs, Folkert W. | Leach, Irene Mateo | Navis, Gerjan | van den Berg, Maarten P. | van Veldhuisen, Dirk J. | Kellis, Manolis | Krijthe, Bouwe P. | Franco, Oscar H. | Hofman, Albert | Kors, Jan A. | Uitterlinden, André G. | Witteman, Jacqueline C.M. | Kedenko, Lyudmyla | Lamina, Claudia | Oostra, Ben A. | Abecasis, Gonçalo R. | Lakatta, Edward G. | Mulas, Antonella | Orrú, Marco | Schlessinger, David | Uda, Manuela | Markus, Marcello R.P. | Völker, Uwe | Snieder, Harold | Spector, Timothy D. | Ärnlöv, Johan | Lind, Lars | Sundström, Johan | Syvänen, Ann-Christine | Kivimaki, Mika | Kähönen, Mika | Mononen, Nina | Raitakari, Olli T. | Viikari, Jorma S. | Adamkova, Vera | Kiechl, Stefan | Brion, Maria | Nicolaides, Andrew N. | Paulweber, Bernhard | Haerting, Johannes | Dominiczak, Anna F. | Nyberg, Fredrik | Whincup, Peter H. | Hingorani, Aroon | Schott, Jean-Jacques | Bezzina, Connie R. | Ingelsson, Erik | Ferrucci, Luigi | Gasparini, Paolo | Wilson, James F. | Rudan, Igor | Franke, Andre | Mühleisen, Thomas W. | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Lehtimäki, Terho J. | Paterson, Andrew D. | Parsa, Afshin | Liu, Yongmei | van Duijn, Cornelia | Siscovick, David S. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Jamshidi, Yalda | Salomaa, Veikko | Felix, Stephan B. | Sanna, Serena | Ritchie, Marylyn D. | Stricker, Bruno H. | Stefansson, Kari | Boyer, Laurie A. | Cappola, Thomas P. | Olsen, Jesper V. | Lage, Kasper | Schwartz, Peter J. | Kääb, Stefan | Chakravarti, Aravinda | Ackerman, Michael J. | Pfeufer, Arne | de Bakker, Paul I.W. | Newton-Cheh, Christopher
Nature genetics  2014;46(8):826-836.
The QT interval, an electrocardiographic measure reflecting myocardial repolarization, is a heritable trait. QT prolongation is a risk factor for ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death (SCD) and could indicate the presence of the potentially lethal Mendelian Long QT Syndrome (LQTS). Using a genome-wide association and replication study in up to 100,000 individuals we identified 35 common variant QT interval loci, that collectively explain ∼8-10% of QT variation and highlight the importance of calcium regulation in myocardial repolarization. Rare variant analysis of 6 novel QT loci in 298 unrelated LQTS probands identified coding variants not found in controls but of uncertain causality and therefore requiring validation. Several newly identified loci encode for proteins that physically interact with other recognized repolarization proteins. Our integration of common variant association, expression and orthogonal protein-protein interaction screens provides new insights into cardiac electrophysiology and identifies novel candidate genes for ventricular arrhythmias, LQTS,and SCD.
PMCID: PMC4124521  PMID: 24952745
genome-wide association study; QT interval; Long QT Syndrome; sudden cardiac death; myocardial repolarization; arrhythmias
3.  Epidemiology of Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex Function: Data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging 
To determine age-related changes in vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) function in community-dwelling adults, and evaluate these for associations with demographic characteristics and cardiovascular risk factors.
Study Design
Cross-sectional analysis within the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), a longitudinal prospective cohort study.
Vestibular testing laboratory within an acute care teaching hospital.
Community-dwelling adults enrolled in the BLSA.
Horizontal VOR gain measurement using video head-impulse testing and visual acuity testing.
Main Outcome Measure(s)
VOR gain was calculated as the ratio of eye velocity to head velocity. Demographic and cardiovascular risk factor data were collected through study questionnaires.
One hundred nine subjects were analyzed with mean age (SD) 69.9 years (14.2), with a range from 26 to 92 years. VOR gain remained stable from age 26 to 79 after which it significantly declined at a rate of 0.012/year (p = 0.033) in adjusted analyses. Individuals aged 80 years or older had a nearly 8-fold increased odds of VOR gain less than 0.80 relative to those aged less than 80 years in multivariate models (prevalence of 13.2% vs. 2.8%; OR 7.79, 95% CI: 1.04–58.38). Otherwise, VOR gain did not differ significantly across demographic or cardiovascular risk groups.
We report age-related decline in VOR function in individuals aged 80 years and older. Further analyses are in progress to establish the significance of these VOR abnormalities to functional and mobility outcomes in older individuals.
PMCID: PMC4297246  PMID: 25275869
Aging; Head-impulse test; Vestibular dysfunction; Vestibulo-ocular reflex
4.  Factors affecting longitudinal trajectories of plasma sphingomyelins: the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging 
Aging Cell  2014;14(1):112-121.
Sphingomyelin metabolism has been linked to several diseases and to longevity. However, few epidemiological studies have quantified individual plasma sphingomyelin species (identified by acyl-chain length and saturation) or their relationship between demographic factors and disease processes. In this study, we determined plasma concentrations of distinct sphingomyelin species in 992 individuals, aged 55 and older, enrolled in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Participants were followed, with serial measures, up to 6 visits and 38 years (3972 total samples). Quantitative analyses were performed on a high-performance liquid chromatography-coupled electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometer. Linear mixed models were used to assess variation in specific sphingomyelin species and associations with demographics, diseases, medications or lifestyle factors, and plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels. We found that most sphingomyelin species increased with age. Women had higher plasma levels of all sphingomyelin species and showed steeper trajectories of age-related increases compared to men. African Americans also showed higher circulating sphingomyelin concentrations compared to Caucasians. Diabetes, smoking, and plasma triglycerides were associated with lower levels of many sphingomyelins and dihydrosphingomyelins. Notably, these associations showed specificity to sphingomyelin acyl-chain length and saturation. These results demonstrate that longitudinal changes in circulating sphingomyelin levels are influenced by age, sex, race, lifestyle factors, and diseases. It will be important to further establish the intra-individual age- and sex-specific changes in each sphingomyelin species in relation to disease onset and progression.
PMCID: PMC4310757  PMID: 25345489
aging; sphingomyelin; dihydrosphingomyelin; human; longitudinal; sex differences
5.  Evaluation of real-world mobility in age-related macular degeneration 
BMC Ophthalmology  2015;15:9.
Previous research has suggested an association between poor vision and decreased mobility, including restricted levels of physical activity and travel away from home. We sought to determine the impact of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) on these measures of mobility.
Fifty-seven AMD patients with bilateral, or severe unilateral, visual impairment were compared to 59 controls with normal vision. All study subjects were between the ages of 60 and 80. Subjects wore accelerometers and cellular network-based tracking devices over 7 days of normal activity. Number of steps taken, time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), number of excursions from home, and time spent away from home were the primary outcome measures.
In multivariate negative binomial regression models adjusted for age, gender, race, comorbidities, and education, AMD participants took fewer steps than controls (18% fewer steps per day, p = 0.01) and spent significantly less time in MVPA (35% fewer minutes, p < 0.001). In multivariate logistic regression models adjusting for age, sex, race, cognition, comorbidities, and grip strength, AMD subjects showed an increased likelihood of not leaving their home on a given day (odds ratio = 1.36, p = 0.04), but did not show a significant difference in the magnitude of time spent away from home (9% fewer minutes, p = 0.11).
AMD patients with poorer vision engage in significantly less physical activity and take fewer excursions away from the home. Further studies identifying the factors mediating the relationship between vision loss and mobility are needed to better understand how to improve mobility among AMD patients.
PMCID: PMC4328075  PMID: 25636376
Age-related macular degeneration; Physical activity; Mobility
6.  What Physical Attributes Underlie Self-Reported vs. Observed Ability to Walk 400 m in Later Life? 
The aims of this study were to evaluate and contrast the physical attributes that are associated with self-reported vs. observed ability to walk 400 m among older adults.
Analysis of baseline and 3-yr data from 1026 participants 65 yrs or older in the InCHIANTI (Invecchiare in Chianti) study was conducted. Observed and self-reported ability to walk 400 m at baseline and at 3 yrs were primary outcomes. Predictors included leg speed, leg strength, leg strength symmetry, range of motion, balance, and kyphosis.
Balance, leg speed, leg strength, kyphosis, leg strength symmetry, and knee range of motion were associated with self-reported ability to walk 400 m at baseline (P < 0.001, c = 0.85). Balance, leg speed, and knee range of motion were associated with observed 400-m walk (P < 0.001, c = 0.85) at baseline. Prospectively, baseline leg speed and leg strength were predictive of both self-reported (P < 0.001, c = 0.79) and observed (P < 0.001, c = 0.72) ability to walk 400 m at 3 yrs.
The profiles of attributes that are associated with self-reported vs. observed walking ability differ. The factor most consistently associated with current and future walking ability is leg speed. These results draw attention to important foci for rehabilitation.
PMCID: PMC4304676  PMID: 24322434
Physical Performance; Rehabilitation; Successful Aging; Mobility Limitation
7.  Klotho in the cerebrospinal fluid of adults with and without Alzheimer's disease 
Neuroscience letters  2013;558:37-40.
The aging-suppressor gene klotho encodes a single-pass transmembrane protein that is predominantly secreted by the choroid plexus of the brain and in the kidney. Klotho-deficient mice develop multiple aging phenotypes, including impaired cognition. Klotho concentrations have not been described in the CSF of humans. We measured klotho in the CSF of 20 older adults with Alzheimer's disease and in 20 older and 20 younger adults with normal cognition. In 10 adults, aged 38-87 years, CSF klotho measurements were made at baseline and every 6 hours up to 18-30 hours later. Mean (95% Confidence Interval [C.I.]) CSF klotho in men versus women were 899 (814, 983) and 716 (632, 801) pg/mL, respectively (P = 0.002). Mean (95% C.I.) CSF klotho in older adults with and without Alzheimer's disease were 664 (603, 725) and 776 (705, 828) pg/mL, respectively (P = 0.02), adjusting for sex. Mean (95% C.I.) klotho in older versus younger adults were 766 (658, 874) and 992 (884, 1100) pg/mL, respectively (P = 0.005), adjusting for sex. In the longitudinal study of CSF klotho, no significant circadian fluctuations were found in CSF klotho levels. This study suggests that CSF klotho concentrations are lower in females compared with males, in Alzheimer's disease, and in older versus younger adults.
PMCID: PMC4037850  PMID: 24211693
Aging; Alzheimer's Disease; Brain; Cerebrospinal Fluid; Klotho
9.  Sensorimotor and psychosocial determinants of 3-year incident mobility disability in middle-aged and older adults 
Age and Ageing  2014;43(1):64-69.
Objective: to identify sensorimotor and psychosocial determinants of 3-year incident mobility disability.
Design: prospective.
Setting: population-based sample of community-dwelling older persons.
Participants: community-living middle-aged and older persons (age: 50–85 years) without baseline mobility disability (n = 622).
Measurements: mobility disability, defined as self-reported inability to walk a quarter mile without resting or inability to walk up a flight of stairs unsupported, was ascertained at baseline and 3-year follow-up. Potential baseline determinant characteristics included demographics, education, social support, financial condition, knee extensor strength, visual contrast sensitivity, cognition, depression, presence of chronic conditions and history of falls.
Results: a total of 13.5% participant reported 3-year incident mobility disability. Age ≥75 years, female sex, knee extensor strength in the lowest quartile, visual contrast sensitivity <1.7 on the Pelli-Robson chart or significant depressive symptoms (CESD score >16) were independent determinants of 3-year incident mobility disability (ORs 1.84–16.51).
Conclusions: low visual contrast sensitivity, poor knee extensor strength and significant depressive symptoms are independent determinants of future onset of mobility disability.
PMCID: PMC3861339  PMID: 24042004
mobility; disability; depression; vision; muscle strength; older people
10.  No Evidence for Genome-Wide Interactions on Plasma Fibrinogen by Smoking, Alcohol Consumption and Body Mass Index: Results from Meta-Analyses of 80,607 Subjects 
Baumert, Jens | Huang, Jie | McKnight, Barbara | Sabater-Lleal, Maria | Steri, Maristella | Chu, Audrey Y. | Trompet, Stella | Lopez, Lorna M. | Fornage, Myriam | Teumer, Alexander | Tang, Weihong | Rudnicka, Alicja R. | Mälarstig, Anders | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Kavousi, Maryam | Lahti, Jari | Tanaka, Toshiko | Hayward, Caroline | Huffman, Jennifer E. | Morange, Pierre-Emmanuel | Rose, Lynda M. | Basu, Saonli | Rumley, Ann | Stott, David J. | Buckley, Brendan M. | de Craen, Anton J. M. | Sanna, Serena | Masala, Marco | Biffar, Reiner | Homuth, Georg | Silveira, Angela | Sennblad, Bengt | Goel, Anuj | Watkins, Hugh | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Rückerl, Regina | Taylor, Kent | Chen, Ming-Huei | de Geus, Eco J. C. | Hofman, Albert | Witteman, Jacqueline C. M. | de Maat, Moniek P. M. | Palotie, Aarno | Davies, Gail | Siscovick, David S. | Kolcic, Ivana | Wild, Sarah H. | Song, Jaejoon | McArdle, Wendy L. | Ford, Ian | Sattar, Naveed | Schlessinger, David | Grotevendt, Anne | Franzosi, Maria Grazia | Illig, Thomas | Waldenberger, Melanie | Lumley, Thomas | Tofler, Geoffrey H. | Willemsen, Gonneke | Uitterlinden, André G. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Räikkönen, Katri | Chasman, Daniel I. | Folsom, Aaron R. | Lowe, Gordon D. | Westendorp, Rudi G. J. | Slagboom, P. Eline | Cucca, Francesco | Wallaschofski, Henri | Strawbridge, Rona J. | Seedorf, Udo | Koenig, Wolfgang | Bis, Joshua C. | Mukamal, Kenneth J. | van Dongen, Jenny | Widen, Elisabeth | Franco, Oscar H. | Starr, John M. | Liu, Kiang | Ferrucci, Luigi | Polasek, Ozren | Wilson, James F. | Oudot-Mellakh, Tiphaine | Campbell, Harry | Navarro, Pau | Bandinelli, Stefania | Eriksson, Johan | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Dehghan, Abbas | Clarke, Robert | Hamsten, Anders | Boerwinkle, Eric | Jukema, J. Wouter | Naitza, Silvia | Ridker, Paul M. | Völzke, Henry | Deary, Ian J. | Reiner, Alexander P. | Trégouët, David-Alexandre | O'Donnell, Christopher J. | Strachan, David P. | Peters, Annette | Smith, Nicholas L.
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e111156.
Plasma fibrinogen is an acute phase protein playing an important role in the blood coagulation cascade having strong associations with smoking, alcohol consumption and body mass index (BMI). Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified a variety of gene regions associated with elevated plasma fibrinogen concentrations. However, little is yet known about how associations between environmental factors and fibrinogen might be modified by genetic variation. Therefore, we conducted large-scale meta-analyses of genome-wide interaction studies to identify possible interactions of genetic variants and smoking status, alcohol consumption or BMI on fibrinogen concentration. The present study included 80,607 subjects of European ancestry from 22 studies. Genome-wide interaction analyses were performed separately in each study for about 2.6 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the 22 autosomal chromosomes. For each SNP and risk factor, we performed a linear regression under an additive genetic model including an interaction term between SNP and risk factor. Interaction estimates were meta-analysed using a fixed-effects model. No genome-wide significant interaction with smoking status, alcohol consumption or BMI was observed in the meta-analyses. The most suggestive interaction was found for smoking and rs10519203, located in the LOC123688 region on chromosome 15, with a p value of 6.2×10−8. This large genome-wide interaction study including 80,607 participants found no strong evidence of interaction between genetic variants and smoking status, alcohol consumption or BMI on fibrinogen concentrations. Further studies are needed to yield deeper insight in the interplay between environmental factors and gene variants on the regulation of fibrinogen concentrations.
PMCID: PMC4281156  PMID: 25551457
11.  Genetic diversity is a predictor of mortality in humans 
BMC Genetics  2014;15(1):159.
It has been well-established, both by population genetics theory and direct observation in many organisms, that increased genetic diversity provides a survival advantage. However, given the limitations of both sample size and genome-wide metrics, this hypothesis has not been comprehensively tested in human populations. Moreover, the presence of numerous segregating small effect alleles that influence traits that directly impact health directly raises the question as to whether global measures of genomic variation are themselves associated with human health and disease.
We performed a meta-analysis of 17 cohorts followed prospectively, with a combined sample size of 46,716 individuals, including a total of 15,234 deaths. We find a significant association between increased heterozygosity and survival (P = 0.03). We estimate that within a single population, every standard deviation of heterozygosity an individual has over the mean decreases that person’s risk of death by 1.57%.
This effect was consistent between European and African ancestry cohorts, men and women, and major causes of death (cancer and cardiovascular disease), demonstrating the broad positive impact of genomic diversity on human survival.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12863-014-0159-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4301661  PMID: 25543667
Heterozygosity; Human; Survival; GWAS
12.  Asymmetric dimethylarginine predicts survival in the elderly 
Age  2013;35(6):2465-2475.
Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) is an endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase implicated in several age-related biological mechanisms such as telomere shortening and cell senescence. We tested the hypothesis that ADMA blood level is an independent predictor of mortality in elderly. This is a longitudinal population-based cohort study. Participants are a representative cohort of 1,025 men and women (age range 65–102 years) living in Chianti area, Tuscany, Italy. The plasma ADMA was measured by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. During the follow-up (95 ± 32 months), 384 individuals died, of whom 141 (37 %) died of cardiovascular (CV) causes. In adjusted analyses, the plasma ADMA was the strongest predictor of all-cause mortality (HR (0.1 μMol/L) 1.26, 95 % CI 1.10–1.44, P < 0.001) with a non-significant trend for CV mortality (HR 1.22, P = 0.07). The predictive effect of the ADMA level on mortality was statistically significant among participants with low to low-normal l-arginine levels (≤60 μMol/L), but not in those with l-arginine >60 μMol/L. Notwithstanding the association of ADMA with all-cause mortality was robust, this biomarker failed to add predictive power to a simple model based on the risk factors in the elderly (area under the ROC curve 0.85 ± 0.01 vs. 0.84 ± 0.01). ADMA is a strong independent predictor of mortality in the older population, and l-arginine modifies the effect of ADMA on survival. The mechanisms for this association should be targeted by future studies.
PMCID: PMC3824988  PMID: 23584888
ADMA; Elderly; Cardiovascular risk factor; Survival; Population study
13.  Relationship between Inter-arm Difference in Systolic Blood Pressure and Arterial Stiffness in Community-dwelling Older Adults 
A significant inter-arm difference in systolic blood pressure (IADSBP) has been recently associated with worse cardiovascular outcomes. We hypothesized that part of this association is mediated by arterial stiffness, and examined the relationship between significant IADSBP and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (CF-PWV) in a sample from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Of 1045 participants, 50 (4.8%) had an IADSBP≥10 mmHg at baseline, and 629 had completed data from two or more visits (for a total of 1704 visits across 8 years). CF-PWV was significantly higher in those with an IADSBP≥10 mmHg (7.3±1.9 vs. 8.2±2, p=0.002). Compared to others, those with IADSBP≥10 mmHg had also higher body mass index, waist circumference and triglycerides, higher prevalence of diabetes and lower HDL-cholesterol (p<.001 for all). A significant association with IADSBP≥10 mmHg was observed for CF-PWV in both cross-sectional (OR=1.19; 95%CI: 1.06–1.87; p=0.01) and longitudinal (OR=1.15; 95%CI: 1.03–1.29; p=0.01) multivariate analyses. Female gender, Caucasian race, high body mass index (plus diabetes and low HDL-cholesterol only cross-sectionally) were other independent correlates of IADSBP≥10 mmHg. In conclusion, significant IADSBP is associated with increased arterial stiffness in community-dwelling older adults.
PMCID: PMC3855278  PMID: 24299691
Blood pressure; inter-arm difference; arterial stiffness; pulse wave velocity; epidemiology
14.  Bone Health As a Function of Adipokines and Vitamin D Pattern in Elderly Patients 
Rejuvenation Research  2013;16(6):467-474.
Background: Adiponectin, leptin, and resistin are involved in bone metabolism, but the evidence regarding their effects is not conclusive. We analyzed the relationship between these adipokines, vitamin D, and bone health using a cluster analysis approach.
Methods: We used cross-sectional data coming from the InCHIANTI study, in which bone density and area were estimated using computed tomography. The sample size was 690 (women, 57.5%; mean age, 75.2 years; range, 65–102). Five clusters were generated on the basis of gender, age, adipokines, and vitamin D concentrations. The clusters were characterized, respectively, by higher resistin and older age (hR-O, n=134), higher vitamin D and younger age (hD-Y, n=152), higher adiponectin (hA, n=65), and higher leptin (hL, n=52). The last cluster had intermediate values of all the constituting variables (I, n=287). The clusters were compared with respect to bone parameters and clinical characteristics.
Results: Cluster hR-O had the lowest total and cortical bone density. Cluster hD-Y had the lowest adiponectin (9.29 g/mL) and leptin (7.9 ng/mL) serum concentrations, the highest prevalence of men (71.1%), and total/cortical bone density and area. No statistically significant difference across clusters was observed for age- and sex-standardized measures of bone mineral density and bone area, but leptin was associated with these parameters in a linear model adjusted for age, gender, vitamin D, resistin, and leptin.
Conclusions: In an elderly population, age and sex almost completely explain the variability in bone status across cluster characterized by different levels of circulating adipokines and vitamin D. The role of leptin, however, seems worthy of consideration.
PMCID: PMC3869445  PMID: 23829612
15.  Memory decline shows stronger associations with estimated spatial patterns of amyloid deposition progression than total amyloid burden 
Neurobiology of aging  2013;34(12):2835-2842.
The development of amyloid imaging compounds has allowed in vivo imaging of amyloid deposition. In this study, we examine the spatial patterns of amyloid deposition throughout the brain using Pittsburgh Compound Blue (11C-PiB) PET data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. We used a new methodology that allows us to approximate spatial patterns of the temporal progression of amyloid plaque deposition from cross-sectional data. Our results are consistent with patterns of progression known from autopsy studies, with frontal and precuneus regions affected early and occipital and sensorimotor cortices affected later in disease progression – here, disease progression means lower-to-higher total amyloid burden. Furthermore, we divided participants into subgroups based on longitudinal change in memory performance and demonstrated significantly different spatial patterns of the estimated progression of amyloid deposition between these subgroups. Our results indicate that the spatial pattern of amyloid deposition is related to cognitive performance and may be more informative than a biomarker reflecting total amyloid burden, which is the current practice. This finding has broad implications for our understanding of the relationship between cognitive decline/resilience and amyloid deposition, as well as for the use of amyloid imaging as a biomarker in research and clinical applications.
PMCID: PMC3893024  PMID: 23859610
Amyloid; PiB; PET; CVLT; cognition
16.  Self-Reported Sleep and β-Amyloid Deposition in Community-Dwelling Older Adults 
JAMA neurology  2013;70(12):1537-1543.
Older adults commonly report disturbed sleep, and recent studies in humans and animals suggest links between sleep and Alzheimer disease biomarkers. Studies are needed that evaluate whether sleep variables are associated with neuroimaging evidence of β-amyloid deposition.
To determine the association between self-reported sleep parameters and β-amyloid deposition in community-dwelling older adults.
Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, a prospective study of normative aging
70 adults (mean age = 76; range 53 - 91) in the BLSA neuroimaging study
Main Outcome Measure
β-amyloid burden, measured by [11C] Pittsburgh compound B (PiB) positron emission tomography (PET) distribution volume ratios (DVR)
After adjustment for potential confounders, reports of shorter sleep duration were associated with greater β-amyloid burden, measured by mean cortical DVR (cDVR; B = 0.08, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.03, 0.14, p = 0.005) and precuneus DVR (B = 0.11, 95% CI 0.03, 0.18, p = 0.007). Reports of lower sleep quality were associated with greater β-amyloid burden measured by precuneus DVR (B = 0.08, 95% CI 0.01, 0.15, p = 0.025).
Among community-dwelling older adults, reports of shorter sleep duration and lower sleep quality are associated with greater β-amyloid burden. Further studies with objective sleep measures are needed to determine whether sleep disturbance causes or accelerates Alzheimer disease.
PMCID: PMC3918480  PMID: 24145859
18.  Changes in CEBPB expression in circulating leukocytes following eccentric elbow-flexion exercise 
In mouse models, CCAAT enhancer-binding protein beta (CEBPB) is necessary for M2 macrophage-mediated regeneration after muscle injury. In humans, CEBPB expression in blood was strongly associated with muscle strength. In this study we aimed to test whether CEBPB expression in blood in people is increased 2 days after exercise designed to induce muscle damage and subsequent repair. Sixteen healthy male volunteers undertook elbow flexor exercises designed to induce acute muscle micro-damage. Peripheral blood samples were collected at baseline and days 1, 2, 4 and 7 following exercise. Expression of CEBPB and related genes were analysed by qRT-PCR. Extent of muscle damage was determined by decline in maximal voluntary isometric torque and by plasma creatine kinase activity. Nine subjects had peak (day 4) creatine kinase activity exceeding 10,000 U/l. In this subgroup, CEBPB expression was elevated from baseline to 2 days post exercise (paired-samples t(1,8) = 3.72, p = 0.006). Related expression and selected cytokine changes after exercise did not reach significance. Muscle-damaging exercise in humans can be followed by induction of CEBPB transcript expression in peripheral blood. Associations between CEBPB expression in blood and muscle strength may be consistent with the CEBPB-dependent muscle repair process.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12576-014-0350-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4276809  PMID: 25391587
Muscle strength; Inflammation; CEBPB; Macrophage; Muscle damage; Muscle repair
19.  Aging, the Central Nervous System, and Mobility 
Mobility limitations are common and hazardous in community-dwelling older adults but are largely understudied, particularly regarding the role of the central nervous system (CNS). This has limited development of clearly defined pathophysiology, clinical terminology, and effective treatments. Understanding how changes in the CNS contribute to mobility limitations has the potential to inform future intervention studies.
A conference series was launched at the 2012 conference of the Gerontological Society of America in collaboration with the National Institute on Aging and the University of Pittsburgh. The overarching goal of the conference series is to facilitate the translation of research results into interventions that improve mobility for older adults.
Evidence from basic, clinical, and epidemiological studies supports the CNS as an important contributor to mobility limitations in older adults without overt neurologic disease. Three main goals for future work that emerged were as follows: (a) develop models of mobility limitations in older adults that differentiate aging from disease-related processes and that fully integrate CNS with musculoskeletal contributors; (b) quantify the contribution of the CNS to mobility loss in older adults in the absence of overt neurologic diseases; (c) promote cross-disciplinary collaboration to generate new ideas and address current methodological issues and barriers, including real-world mobility measures and life-course approaches.
In addition to greater cross-disciplinary research, there is a need for new approaches to training clinicians and investigators, which integrate concepts and methodologies from individual disciplines, focus on emerging methodologies, and prepare investigators to assess complex, multisystem associations.
PMCID: PMC3805295  PMID: 23843270
Motor control; Central nervous system; Mobility.
20.  Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 Bioactivity Plays a Prosurvival Role in Older Participants 
The aim of this study was to address the intriguing issue of the role of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 system in longevity looking at the role of different components of IGF system. Vital status was ascertained in 1,197 men and women aged greater than or equal to 65 years from the InCHIANTI study. Hormonal levels were categorized into quartiles, and ratio of IGF-1 to IGF-binding protein (IGFBP)-1 was calculated. The relationship between hormones and mortality was tested by Cox proportional hazard models adjusted for age, sex, and confounders. During the 8-year follow-up period, 240 died and 957 survived. Lowest quartiles of IGF-1 and IGFBP-1 were considered as reference. Compared with the lowest quartiles, IGF-1 in upper quartiles was a negative predictor of mortality independent of age and sex (p = .01) but not independent of IGFBP-1 and other confounders. IGFBP-1 in second–third quartiles was negatively associated and that in the fourth quartiles was positively associated with risk of death. IGF-1/IGFBP-1 ratio in the lowest quartiles was a strong positive predictor of mortality, in age- and sex-adjusted model (p = .005), and independent of additional confounders (p = .037). High IGFBP-1 and low IGF-1/IGFBP-1 ratio are associated with all-cause mortality in older population.
PMCID: PMC3805296  PMID: 23671288
IGF-1 bioactivity; IGF-binding proteins; Mortality; Older participants.
21.  Personality Traits and Chronic Disease: Implications for Adult Personality Development 
Personality traits have been associated with chronic disease. Less is known about the longitudinal relation between personality and disease and whether chronic disease is associated with changes in personality.
Participants from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (N = 2,008) completed the Revised NEO Personality Inventory and a standard medical interview at regularly scheduled visits; the Charlson Comorbidity Index, a weighted sum of 19 serious diseases, was derived from this interview. Using data from 6,685 visits, we tested whether personality increased risk of disease and whether disease was associated with personality change.
Measured concurrently, neuroticism and conscientiousness were associated with greater disease burden. The impulsiveness facet of neuroticism was the strongest predictor of developing disease across the follow-up period: For every standard deviation increase in impulsiveness, there was a 26% increased risk of developing disease and a 36% increased risk of getting more ill. Personality traits changed only modestly with disease: As participants developed chronic illnesses, they became more conservative (decreased openness).
This research indicates that personality traits confer risk for disease, in part, through health-risk behaviors. These traits, however, were relatively resistant to the effect of serious disease.
PMCID: PMC3805287  PMID: 23685925
Disease burden; Illness; Openness; Personality change; Personality traits.
Contemporary clinical trials  2013;36(2):502-509.
Functional impairment, functional decline, and mobility loss are major public health problems in people with lower extremity peripheral artery disease (PAD). Few medical therapies significantly improve walking performance in PAD. We describe methods for the PROgenitor cell release Plus Exercise to improve functionaL performance in PAD (PROPEL) Study, a randomized controlled clinical trial designed to determine whether granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) combined with supervised treadmill walking exercise improves six-minute walk distance more than GM-CSF alone, more than supervised treadmill exercise alone, and more than placebo plus attention control in participants with PAD, respectively. PROPEL Study participants are randomized to one of four arms in a 2 by 2 factorial design. The four study arms are GM-CSF plus supervised treadmill exercise, GM-CSF plus attention control, placebo plus supervised exercise therapy, or placebo plus attention control. The primary outcome is change in six-minute walk distance at 12-week follow-up. Secondary outcomes include change in brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD), change in maximal treadmill walking time, and change in circulating CD34+ cells at 12-week follow-up. Outcomes are also measured at six-week and six-month follow-up. Results of the PROPEL Study will have important implications for understanding mechanisms of improving walking performance and preventing mobility loss in the large and growing number of men and women with PAD.
PMCID: PMC3939047  PMID: 24080099
23.  Computer-aided Assessment of Regional Abdominal Fat with Food Residue Removal in CT 
Academic radiology  2013;20(11):1413-1421.
Rationale and Objectives
Separate quantification of abdominal subcutaneous and visceral fat regions is essential to understand the role of regional adiposity as risk factor in epidemiological studies. Fat quantification is often based on computed tomography (CT) because fat density is distinct from other tissue densities in the abdomen. However, the presence of intestinal food residues with densities similar to fat may reduce fat quantification accuracy. We introduce an abdominal fat quantification method in CT with interest in food residue removal.
Materials and Methods
Total fat was identified in the feature space of Hounsfield units and divided into subcutaneous and visceral components using model-based segmentation. Regions of food residues were identified and removed from visceral fat using a machine learning method integrating intensity, texture, and spatial information. Cost-weighting and bagging techniques were investigated to address class imbalance.
We validated our automated food residue removal technique against semimanual quantifications. Our feature selection experiments indicated that joint intensity and texture features produce the highest classification accuracy at 95%. We explored generalization capability using k-fold cross-validation and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis with variable k. Losses in accuracy and area under ROC curve between maximum and minimum k were limited to 0.1% and 0.3%. We validated tissue segmentation against reference semimanual delineations. The Dice similarity scores were as high as 93.1 for subcutaneous fat and 85.6 for visceral fat.
Computer-aided regional abdominal fat quantification is a reliable computational tool for large-scale epidemiological studies. Our proposed intestinal food residue reduction scheme is an original contribution of this work. Validation experiments indicate very good accuracy and generalization capability.
PMCID: PMC3954576  PMID: 24119354
Body composition assessment; false positive reduction
Hypertension  2013;62(5):10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.113.01445.
Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV), a marker of arterial stiffness, is an established independent cardiovascular (CV) risk factor. Little information is available on the pattern and determinants of the longitudinal change in PWV with aging. Such information is crucial to elucidating mechanisms underlying arterial stiffness and the design of interventions to retard it. Between 1988 and 2013, we collected 2 to 9 serial measures of PWV in 354 men and 423 women of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, who were 21 to 94 years of age and free of clinically significant CV disease. Rates of PWV increase accelerated with advancing age in men more than women, leading to gender differences in PWV after the age of 50. In both sexes, not only systolic blood pressure (SBP) ≥140mmHg, but also SBP of 120–139mmHg was associated with steeper rates of PWV increase compared to SBP<120mmHg. Furthermore, there was a dose-dependent effect SBP in men with marked acceleration in PWV rate of increase with age at SBP ≥140mmHg compared to SBP of 120–139mmHg. Except for waist circumference in women, no other traditional CV risk factors predicted longitudinal PWV increase. In conclusion, the steeper longitudinal increase of PWV in men than women led to gender difference that expanded with advancing age. Age and systolic blood pressure are the main longitudinal determinants of pulse wave velocity and the effect of systolic blood pressure on PWV trajectories exists even in the pre-hypertensive range.
PMCID: PMC3880832  PMID: 24001897
Arterial stiffness; blood pressure; aging
25.  Age-associated changes in basal NF-κB function in human CD4+ T lymphocytes via dysregulation of PI3 kinase 
Aging (Albany NY)  2014;6(11):957-969.
Immune impairment and high circulating level of pro-inflammatory cytokines are landmarks of human aging. However, the molecular basis of immune dys-regulation and the source of inflammatory markers remain unclear. Here we demonstrate that in the absence of overt cell stimulation gene expression mediated by the transcription factor NF-κB is higher in purified and rested human CD4+ T lymphocytes from older compared to younger individuals. This increase of NF-κB-associated transcription includes transcripts for pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1 and chemokines such as CCL2 and CXCL10. We demonstrate that NF-κB up-regulation is cell-intrinsic and mediated in part by phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) activity induced in response to metabolic activity, which can be moderated by rapamycin treatment. Our observations provide direct evidence that dys-regulated basal NF-κB activity may contribute to the mild pro-inflammatory state of aging.
PMCID: PMC4276789  PMID: 25553802
CD4+ T cells; NF-κB; PI3K; human aging; gene expression

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