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1.  Health Factors and Risk of All-Cause, Cardiovascular, and Coronary Heart Disease Mortality: Findings from the MONICA and HAPIEE Studies in Lithuania 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114283.
This study investigated the trends and levels of the prevalence of health factors, and the association of all-cause and cardiovascular (CVD) mortality with healthy levels of combined risk factors among Lithuanian urban population.
Data from five general population surveys in Kaunas, Lithuania, conducted between 1983 and 2008 were used. Healthy factors measured at baseline include non-smoking, normal weight, normal arterial blood pressure, normal level of total serum cholesterol, normal physical activity and normal level of fasting glucose. Among 9,209 men and women aged 45–64 (7,648 were free from coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke at baseline), 1,219 death cases from any cause, 589 deaths from CVD, and 342 deaths from CHD occurred during follow up. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate the association between health factors and mortality from all causes, CVD and CHD.
Between 1983 and 2008, the proportion of subjects with 6 healthy levels of risk factors was higher in 2006–2008 than in 1983–1984 (0.6% vs. 0.2%; p = 0.09), although there was a significant increase in fasting glucose and a decline in intermediate physical activity. Men and women with normal or intermediate levels of risk factors had significantly lower all-cause, CVD and CHD mortality risk than persons with high levels of risk factors. Subjects with 5–6 healthy factors had hazard ratio (HR) of CVD mortality 0.35 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.15–0.83) compared to average risk in the whole population. The hazard ratio for CVD mortality risk was significant in men (HR 0.34, 95% CI 0.12–0.97) but not in women (HR 0.38, 95% CI 0.09–1.67).
An inverse association of most healthy levels of cardiovascular risk factors with risk of all-cause and CVD mortality was observed in this urban population-based cohort. A greater number of cardiovascular health factors were related with significantly lower risk of CVD mortality, particularly among men.
PMCID: PMC4257606  PMID: 25479610
2.  Trends in Prevalence of Dyslipidaemias and the Risk of Mortality in Lithuanian Urban Population Aged 45–64 in Relation to the Presence of the Dyslipidaemias and the Other Cardiovascular Risk Factors 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100158.
The aim of this study was to provide reliable information on dyslipidaemias, to estimate the trend of the prevalence of dyslipidaemias and other selected cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors at population level, and to evaluate the risk of all-cause and CVD mortality in relation to presence of mixed dyslipidaemias and other CVD risk factors.
Data from the five surveys (1983–2008) are presented. A random sample of 9,209 subjects aged 45–64 was selected for statistical analysis. During follow-up there were 1653 death cases from any cause, 864 deaths from CVD. Estimates of hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were based on the multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression for all-cause mortality and CVD mortality.
During 25 year period the prevalence of normal total cholesterol level (<5.2 mmol/L) significantly increased only in women; triglycerides and high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol did not change in men and women. Findings in our longitudinal study showed that in men and women mixed dyslipidaemias (HDL cholesterol <1.03 mmol/L plus triglycerides ≥1.70 mmol/L) significantly increased the risk for all-cause and CVD mortality (respectively in men HR = 1.30; HR = 1.15, in women HR = 1.83; HR = 2.13). These mixed dyslipidaemia combinations combination with the other risk factors such as arterial hypertension, high fasting glucose level increased all-cause and CVD mortality risk in men and women; while, these mixed dyslipidaemias plus smoking increased all-cause and CVD mortality risk only in men compared to never smokers without these dyslipidaemias (respectively HR = 1.89; HR = 1.92); and these dyslipidaemias plus obesity increased all-cause and CVD mortality risk in women (respectively HR = 2.25; HR = 2.39) and CVD mortality risk in men (HR = 1.72), as compared to responders without obesity and these dyslipidaemias.
Mixed dyslipidaemias (reduced HDL cholesterol plus elevated triglycerides) significantly increased the risk for all-cause and CVD mortality in this Lithuanian population aged 45–64 years.
PMCID: PMC4067295  PMID: 24955583
3.  Accessibility and use of urban green spaces, and cardiovascular health: findings from a Kaunas cohort study 
Environmental Health  2014;13:20.
The aims of this study were to explore associations of the distance and use of urban green spaces with the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and its risk factors, and to evaluate the impact of the accessibility and use of green spaces on the incidence of CVD among the population of Kaunas city (Lithuania).
We present the results from a Kaunas cohort study on the access to and use of green spaces, the association with cardiovascular risk factors and other health-related variables, and the risk of cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. A random sample of 5,112 individuals aged 45-72 years was screened in 2006-2008. During the mean 4.41 years follow-up, there were 83 deaths from CVD and 364 non-fatal cases of CVD among persons free from CHD and stroke at the baseline survey. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression models were used for data analysis.
We found that the distance from people’s residence to green spaces was not related to the prevalence of health-related variables. However, the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and the prevalence of diabetes mellitus were significantly lower among park users than among non-users. During the follow up, an increased risk of non-fatal and fatal CVD combined was observed for those who lived ≥629.61 m from green spaces (3rd tertile of distance to green space) (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.36), and the risk for non-fatal CVD–for those who lived ≥347.81 m (2nd and 3rd tertile) and were not park users (HR = 1.66) as compared to men and women who lived 347.8 m or less (1st tertile) from green space. Men living further away from parks (3rd tertile) had a higher risk of non-fatal and fatal CVD combined, compared to those living nearby (1st tertile) (HR = 1.51). Compared to park users living nearby (1st tertile), a statistically significantly increased risk of non-fatal CVD was observed for women who were not park users and living farther away from parks (2nd and 3rd tertile) (HR = 2.78).
Our analysis suggests public health policies aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles in urban settings could produce cardiovascular benefits.
PMCID: PMC4000006  PMID: 24645935
Green spaces; Cardiovascular diseases; Risk factors
4.  Health, Alcohol and Psychosocial factors In Eastern Europe (HAPIEE) study: dietary patterns and their association with socio-demographic factors in Lithuanian urban population of Kaunas city 
The purpose of this study was to identify the main dietary patterns in Lithuanian urban population and to determine their association with socio-demographic factors.
Data from the survey performed in the framework of the HAPIEE (Health, Alcohol, Psychosocial factors in Eastern Europe) study were presented. A random sample of 7087 individuals aged 45-72 years was screened in 2006-2008.
Factor analysis of the main dietary patterns revealed five-factor solution which accounted 47.8 % of the variance: “fresh vegetables and fruit” “sweets” “porridge and cereals” “potatoes, meat, boiled vegetables and eggs” “chicken and fish”. “Fresh vegetables and fruits” factor and “sweets” factor were inversely associated with age both in men and women: older people consumed less frequent than average of particular food groups. Dietary patterns of people with good self-rated health and university education were healthier than among people with lower education and poorer health.
Nutrition education efforts should focus on improving food diversity, with particular targeting of lower educated, single, and older people.
PMCID: PMC3947489  PMID: 20703510
dietary patterns; socio-demographic factors; education; self-rated health
5.  Comparison of four definitions of the metabolic syndrome and odds of ischemic heart disease in the Lithuanian urban population 
The purpose of this study was to compare the prevalence of metabolic syndrome diagnosed using four different definitions in the Lithuanian urban population and to determine their association with ischemic heart disease.
Data from the survey performed in the framework of the HAPIEE (Health, Alcohol, and Psychosocial factors In Eastern Europe) study were presented. A random sample of 7087 individuals aged 45-72 years was screened in 2006-2008.
In Lithuanian urban population of Kaunas city aged 45-72 years, the highest prevalence of metabolic syndrome was determined according to the new Joint Interim Societies (JIS) definition (44.1% of men and 48.7% of women). After adjusting for age, education, smoking habits the metabolic syndrome (irrespective of definition) was associated with a significantly higher risk of ischemic heart disease.
All four metabolic syndrome definitions were associated with ischemic heart disease risk; however odds of this disease were higher in people with metabolic syndrome defined by American Heart Association National Heart Lung Blood Institute definition and National Cholesterol Education program Adult Treatment Panel III definition, than by the new JIS definition.
PMCID: PMC3947490  PMID: 21384223
metabolic syndrome; odds of ischemic heart disease
6.  Association between APOE, SCARB1, PPARα polymorphisms and serum lipids in a population of Lithuanian adults 
Dyslipidemia is one of several known risk factors for coronary heart disease, a leading cause of death in Lithuania. Blood lipid levels are influenced by multiple genetic and environmental factors. Epidemiological studies demonstrated the impact of nutrition on lipid levels within the Lithuanian population although the role of genetic factors for dyslipidemias has not yet been studied. The objective of this study was to assess the distribution of the APOE, SCARB1, PPARα genotypes in the Lithuanian adult population and to determine the relationship of these genotypes with dyslipidemia.
A cross-sectional health survey was carried out in a representative random sample of the Lithuanian population aged 25–64 (n=1030). A variety of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the APOE (rs429358 and rs7412), SCARB1 (rs5888) and PPARα (rs1800206) genes were assessed using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Serum lipids were determined using enzymatic methods.
Results/Principal findings
Men and women with the APOE2 genotype had the lowest level of total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). Men with the APOE2 genotype had significantly higher levels of triglycerides (TG) than those with the APOE3 genotype. In men, the carriers of the APOE4 genotype had higher odds ratios (OR) of reduced (<1.0 mmol/L) high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels versus APOE3 carriers (OR=1.98; 95% CI=1.05-3.74). The odds of having elevated (>1.7 mmol/L) TG levels was significantly lower in SCARB1 genotype CT carriers compared to men with the SCARB1 genotype CC (OR=0.50; 95% CI=0.31-0.79). In men, carriers of the PPARα genotype CG had higher OR of elevated TG levels versus carriers of PPARα genotype CC (OR=2.67; 95% CI=1.15-6.16). The odds of having high LDL-C levels were lower in women with the APOE2 genotype as compared to APOE3 genotype carriers (OR=0.35; 95% CI=0.22-0.57).
Our data suggest a gender difference in the associations between APOE, SCARB1, PPARα genotypes and lipid levels. In men, the APOE4 genotype and PPARα genotype CG were correlated with an atherogenic lipid profile while the SCARB1 genotype CT had an atheroprotective effect. In women, APOE2 carriers had the lowest odds of high LDL-C.
PMCID: PMC3751123  PMID: 23919842
Apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype; Scavenger receptor class B type 1 (SCARB1) genotype; Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPARα) genotype; Dyslipidemia
7.  SCARB1 single nucleotide polymorphism (rs5888) is associated with serum lipid profile and myocardial infarction in an age- and gender-dependent manner 
Mutation in SCARB1 gene, exon 8 rs5888, has been associated with altered lipid levels and cardiovascular risk in humans though the results have been inconsistent. We analysed the impact of SCARB1 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs5888 with plasma lipid profile and association with coronary artery disease (CAD) in a Lithuanian population characterized by high morbidity and mortality from CAD and high prevalence of hypercholesterolemia.
The study included 1976 subjects from a random sample (reference group) and an myocardial infarction (MI) group of 463 patients. Genotyping of SCARB1 (rs5888) was carried out using the real-time polymerase chain reaction method.
Results/principal findings
Analysis of rs5888 C/T gene polymorphism in the reference group revealed that male TT genotype carriers (25–74 years) had significantly higher total cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations (5.70 mmol/l vs. 5.49 mmol/l; p = 0.036, and 1.70 mmol/l vs. 1.40 mmol/l, p = 0.023, respectively) than CT carriers and the oldest males (65–74 years) TT carriers had significantly higher high density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations in comparison to heterozygous (1.52 mmol/l vs. 1.36 mmol/l, p = 0.033). The youngest female (25–44 years) TT genotype carriers had significantly lower low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations in comparison to C homozygous (2.59 mmol/l vs. 2.92 mmol/l, p = 0.023). The frequency of the SCARB1 TT genotype in the oldest male MI group (65–74 years) was significantly lower than in the corresponding reference group subjects (9.4% vs. 22.3%, p = 0.006). SCARB1 TT genotype was associated with decreased odds of MI in males aged 65–75 years (OR = 0.24, 95% CI 0.10-0.56, p = 0.001).
SCARB1 polymorphism is associated with lipid metabolism and CAD in an age- and gender- dependent manner. Analysis of SCARB1 SNP rs5888 C/T genotypes revealed an atheroprotective phenotype of lipid profile in older men and in young women TT genotype carriers in the reference group. SCARB1 TT genotype was associated with decreased odds of MI in aged men.
PMCID: PMC3599926  PMID: 23510561
Coronary artery disease (CAD); Myocardial infarction (MI); Scavenger receptor Class B Type 1 gene (SCARB1); Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)
8.  Cardiovascular risk factors and cognitive function in middle aged and elderly Lithuanian urban population: results from the HAPIEE study 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:149.
The purpose of this study was to examine associations between cardiovascular risk factors and cognitive ability in middle aged and elderly Lithuanian urban population.
Data from the survey performed in the framework of the HAPIEE (Health, Alcohol, Psychosocial Factors in Eastern Europe) study were presented. A random sample of 7,087 individuals aged 45–72 years was screened in 2006–2008.
The scores of immediate recall and delayed verbal recall, cognitive speed and attention were significantly lower in men than in women; yet numerical ability scores were higher in men. Significant associations between lowered cognitive functions and previous stroke (in male OR = 2.52; 95% CI = 1.75-3.64; in female OR = 2.45; 95% CI = 1.75, 3.64) as well as ischemic heart disease history (among male OR = 1.28; 95% CI = 1.03-1.60) have been determined. Higher level of physical activity in leisure time (among female OR = 1.32; 95% CI = 1.03-1.69), poor self-rated health (among male OR = 1.57; 95% CI = 1.15-2.14) and poor quality of life (in male OR = 1.67; 95% CI = 1.07-2.61; in female OR = 2.81; 95% CI = 1.92-4.11) were related to lowered cognitive function.
The findings of the study suggest that associations between cardiovascular risk factors and lowered cognitive function among healthy middle-aged and elderly adults strongly depend on gender.
PMCID: PMC3517768  PMID: 23199035
9.  Trends in prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension, and the risk of mortality among middle-aged Lithuanian urban population in 1983–2009 
Arterial hypertension (AH) is a main risk factor for the risk from cardiovascular (CVD) and stroke mortality. Only few data was published on prevalence, awareness and management of AH in Lithuania. Development of objective approaches to the treatment and control of AH reduces the risk of mortality. The aim of this study was to evaluate time trends, the prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of AH and risk of mortality among Lithuanian urban population aged 45–64 years during the period of 1983–2009.
Time trends of AH and risk of mortality were examined in three MONICA health surveys in 1983, 1986, 1992, and in one health survey according to MONICA protocol in 2002 included randomly recruited of 2,218 men and 2,491 women. AH was defined as systolic blood pressure (BP) ≥140 mmHg and/or diastolic BP of ≥90 mmHg or current use of antihypertensive medication. The main outcome measures were all-cause mortality, mortality from CVD, coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. The mean duration of follow-up was 11.8 ± 9.2 years. All survey periods were age standardized to the year 2006 of Kaunas population. The estimates of hazard ratio and 95% confidence interval were based on the multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression.
In men during 1983–2002 period hypertension prevalence was 52.1–58.7% and did not significantly change whereas in women decreased from 61.0 to 51.0%. There was a significant increase in hypertension awareness among hypertensive men and women (45.0 to 64.4% and 47.7 to 72.3%, respectively) and in treated hypertensives (55.4 to 68.3% in men and 65.6 to 86.2% in women). Adjusted Cox proportional hazard regression analyses revealed a strong dose–response association between blood-pressure level and all-cause, CVD, CHD and stroke-mortality risk in both men and women groups.
In Lithuanian urban population the prevalence of hypertension remains high. Despite positive changes in hypertension awareness and treatment, hypertension control remains poor. A strong dose–response association between the level of BP and all-cause, CVD, CHD and stroke mortality risk was indicated.
PMCID: PMC3480954  PMID: 22937997
Hypertension; Awareness; Treatment; Control; Risk of mortality

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