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1.  Validation of Secondary Data Sources to Identify Parkinson Disease Against Clinical Diagnostic Criteria 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2014;181(3):185-190.
Parkinson disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. Its diagnosis relies solely on a clinical examination and is not straightforward because no diagnostic test exists. Large, population-based, prospective cohort studies designed to examine other outcomes that are more common than PD might provide cost-efficient alternatives for studying the disease. However, most cohort studies have not implemented rigorous systematic screening for PD. A majority of epidemiologic studies that utilize population-based prospective designs rely on secondary data sources to identify PD cases. Direct validation of these secondary sources against clinical diagnostic criteria is lacking. The Framingham Heart Study has prospectively screened and evaluated participants for PD based on clinical diagnostic criteria. We assessed the predictive value of secondary sources for PD identification relative to clinical diagnostic criteria in the Framingham Heart Study (2001–2012). We found positive predictive values of 1.0 (95% confidence interval: 0.868, 1.0), 1.0 (95% confidence interval: 0.839, 1.0), and 0.50 (95% confidence interval: 0.307, 0.694) for PD identified from self-report, use of antiparkinsonian medications, and Medicare claims, respectively. The negative predictive values were all higher than 0.99. Our results highlight the limitations of using only Medicare claims data and suggest that population-based cohorts may be utilized for the study of PD determined via self-report or medication inventories while preserving a high degree of confidence in the validity of PD case identification.
PMCID: PMC4312428  PMID: 25550359
case ascertainment; International Classification of Diseases; Parkinson disease; validation studies
2.  Comparison of Factors Associated with Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) and the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study (HNR) 
The measurement of carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) is a valid method to quantify levels of atherosclerosis. The present study was conducted to compare the strengths of associations between CIMT and cardiovascular risk factors in two different populations.
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) and the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study (HNR) are two population-based prospective cohort studies of subclinical cardiovascular disease. All Caucasian subjects aged 45 to 75 years from these cohorts who were free of baseline cardiovascular disease (n = 2,820 in HNR, n = 2,270 in MESA) were combined. CIMT images were obtained using B-mode sonography at the right and left common carotid artery and measured 1 cm starting from the bulb.
In both studies, age, male sex, and systolic blood pressure showed the strongest association (P < .0001 for each) for a higher CIMT. The mean of mean far wall CIMT was slightly higher in MESA participants (0.71 vs 0.67 mm). Almost all significant variables were consistent between the two cohorts in both magnitude of association with CIMT and statistical significance, including age, sex, smoking, diabetes, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. For example, the association with systolic blood pressure was (ΔSD = 0.011; 95% confidence interval, 0.0009 to 0.014) per mm Hg in MESA and (ΔSD = 0.010; 95% confidence interval, 0.005 to 0.021) per mm Hg in HNR. This consistency persisted throughout the traditional (Framingham) risk factors.
A comparison of the associations between traditional cardiovascular risk factors and CIMT across two culturally diverse populations showed remarkable consistency.
PMCID: PMC3694173  PMID: 23611058
Carotid intima-media thickness; Subclinical atherosclerosis; Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis; MESA; Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study; HNR
3.  Risk Factors Associated with the Incidence and Progression of Mitral Annulus Calcification: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
American heart journal  2013;166(5):904-912.
Significant cardiovascular morbidity has been associated with mitral annulus calcification (MAC), but limited data exist regarding its progression. The purpose of this study was to examine the natural history of and risk factors for MAC progression.
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) is a longitudinal cohort study of participants aged 45–84 years without clinical cardiovascular disease who underwent serial cardiac computed tomography studies with quantification of MAC. Regression models were used to identify risk factors associated with MAC incidence and progression.
Prevalent MAC was observed in 534 of 5,895 (9%) participants. Over a median 2.3 years, 280 (5%) developed incident MAC. After adjustment, age was the strongest predictor of incident MAC (adjusted OR, 2.25 per 10 yrs; 95% CI, 1.97 to 2.58; P<0.0001). Female gender, white ethnicity, body mass index, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, serum cholesterol, smoking, and interleukin-6 were also significant predictors of incident MAC. In participants with prevalent MAC, the median rate of change was 10.1 [IQR, −6.7, 60.7] Agatston units (AU)/year. Baseline MAC severity was the predominant predictor of rate of MAC progression (β-coefficient per 10 AU, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.85 to 0.91; P<0.0001), although ethnicity and smoking status possessed modest influence.
Several cardiovascular risk factors predicted incident MAC, as did female gender. Severity of baseline MAC was the primary predictor of MAC progression, suggesting that, while atherosclerotic processes may initiate MAC, they are only modestly associated with its progression over these time frames.
PMCID: PMC3978772  PMID: 24176447
calcification; mitral valve; progression; risk factors; gender
4.  Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the risk of Clostridium difficile-associated disease 
Several case reports have linked diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), with Clostridium difficile associated disease (CDAD). We assessed whether NSAID use in general, and diclofenac use in particular, is associated with an increased risk of CDAD.
We used the United Kingdom's General Practice Research Database (GPRD) to conduct a population-based case–control study. All cases of CDAD occurring between 1994 and 2005 were identified and were matched to 10 controls each. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratio of CDAD associated with current NSAID use, adjusting for covariates.
We identified 1360 CDAD cases and 13 072 controls. We found an increased risk of CDAD associated with diclofenac (adjusted odds ratio (RR) 1.35, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.10, 1.67). We did not observe an increased risk of CDAD with use of any other NSAID. No dose–response for diclofenac exposure was found. When we analyzed only patients who were not hospitalized in the year before the index date, we found diclofenac to have a similar effect on CDAD risk (adjusted RR 1.43, 95% CI 1.11, 1.84).
Diclofenac use is associated with a modest increase in the risk of CDAD. In patients at risk of CDAD, other NSAIDs could be prescribed.
PMCID: PMC3630757  PMID: 22283873
Clostridium difficile; diclofenac; NSAID; risk factor
5.  Associations of Left Ventricular Hypertrophy with Prevalent and Incident Valve Calcification: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
JACC. Cardiovascular imaging  2012;5(8):781-788.
We aim to evaluate the relationship between percent of predicted left ventricular mass (%PredLVM) and valve calcification in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
Cardiac valve calcification has been associated with left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), which portends cardiovascular events. However, this relationship and its mediators are poorly understood.
MESA is a longitudinal cohort study of men and women aged 45-84 years without clinical cardiovascular disease in whom serial cardiac magnetic resonance and computed tomography imaging were performed. The relationships between baseline %PredLVM and the prevalence, severity, and incidence of aortic valve (AVC) and mitral annulus calcification (MAC) were determined by regression modeling.
Prevalent AVC was observed in 630 and MAC in 442 of 5,042 subjects (median 55.9 and 71.1 Agatston units, respectively). After adjustment for age, gender, body mass index, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, physical activity, diabetes, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, smoking, kidney function, serum lipids, and antihypertensive and statin medications, %PredLVM was associated with prevalent AVC (OR=1.18 per SD increase in %PredLVM [95%CI 1.08 – 1.30]; p=0.0004) and MAC (OR=1.18 [95%CI 1.06 – 1.32]; p=0.002). Similarly, %PredLVM was associated with increased severity of prevalent AVC (risk difference = 0.26 [95%CI 0.15 – 0.38]; p<0.0001) and MAC (risk difference = 0.20 [95%CI 0.03 – 0.37]; p=0.02). During follow-up (mean 2.4±0.9 years), 153 subjects (4%) developed AVC and 198 (5%) MAC. %PredLVM was associated with incident AVC (OR=1.24 [95%CI 1.04 – 1.47]; p=0.02) and MAC (OR=1.18 [1.01-1.40]; p=0.04). Further adjustment for inflammatory markers and coronary artery calcification did not attenuate these associations. Specifically, concentric LVH most strongly predicted incident valve calcification.
Within the MESA cohort, LVH was associated with prevalence, severity, and incidence of valve calcification independent of hypertension and other identified confounders.
PMCID: PMC3426868  PMID: 22897991
aortic valve; calcification; left ventricular mass; mitral valve annulus
6.  Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Use Is Associated with Right Ventricular Structure and Function: The MESA-Right Ventricle Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e30480.
Serotonin and the serotonin transporter have been implicated in the development of pulmonary hypertension (PH). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may have a role in PH treatment, but the effects of SSRI use on right ventricular (RV) structure and function are unknown. We hypothesized that SSRI use would be associated with RV morphology in a large cohort without cardiovascular disease (N = 4114).
SSRI use was determined by medication inventory during the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis baseline examination. RV measures were assessed via cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. The cross-sectional relationship between SSRI use and each RV measure was assessed using multivariable linear regression; analyses for RV mass and end-diastolic volume (RVEDV) were stratified by sex.
After adjustment for multiple covariates including depression and left ventricular measures, SSRI use was associated with larger RV stroke volume (RVSV) (2.75 mL, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.48–5.02 mL, p = 0.02). Among men only, SSRI use was associated with greater RV mass (1.08 g, 95% CI 0.19–1.97 g, p = 0.02) and larger RVEDV (7.71 mL, 95% 3.02–12.40 mL, p = 0.001). SSRI use may have been associated with larger RVEDV among women and larger RV end-systolic volume in both sexes.
SSRI use was associated with higher RVSV in cardiovascular disease-free individuals and, among men, greater RV mass and larger RVEDV. The effects of SSRI use in patients with (or at risk for) RV dysfunction and the role of sex in modifying this relationship warrant further study.
PMCID: PMC3281845  PMID: 22363441
7.  Bisphosphonate use and the Prevalence of Valvular and Vascular Calcification in Women: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
To determine whether nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate (NCBP) therapy is associated with the prevalence of cardiovascular calcification.
Cardiovascular calcification correlates with atherosclerotic disease burden. Experimental data suggest that NCBP may limit cardiovascular calcification, which has implications for disease prevention.
The relationship of NCBP use to the prevalence of aortic valve, aortic valve ring, mitral annulus, thoracic aorta, and coronary artery calcification (AVC, AVRC, MAC, TAC, and CAC, respectively) detected by computed tomography was assessed in 3,636 women within the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) using regression modeling.
Analyses were age-stratified because of a significant interaction between age and NCBP use (interaction p-values: AVC p<0.0001; AVRC p<0.0001; MAC p=0.002; TAC p<0.0001; CAC p=0.046). After adjusting for age, body mass index, demographics, diabetes, smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and statin, hormone replacement, and renin-angiotensin inhibitor therapy, NCBP use was associated with a lower prevalence of cardiovascular calcification in women ≥65 years old (prevalence ratio [95% confidence interval]: AVC 0.68 [0.41, 1.13]; AVRC 0.65 [0.51, 0.84]; MAC 0.54 [0.33, 0.93]; TAC 0.69 [0.54, 0.88]; CAC 0.89 [0.78, 1.02]), whereas calcification was more prevalent in NCBP users among the 2,181 women <65 years old (AVC 4.00 [2.33, 6.89]; AVRC 1.92 [1.42, 2.61]; MAC 2.35 [1.12, 4.84]; TAC 2.17 [1.49, 3.15]; CAC 1.23 [0.97, 1.57]).
Among women in the diverse MESA cohort, NCBPs were associated with decreased prevalence of cardiovascular calcification in older subjects, but more prevalent cardiovascular calcification in younger ones. Further study is warranted to clarify these age-dependent NCBP effects.
PMCID: PMC3004769  PMID: 21070928
bisphosphonate; calcification; coronary artery; valve; vascular
8.  Effect of inter-reader variability on outcomes in studies using carotid intima media thickness quantified by carotid ultrasonography 
European journal of epidemiology  2010;25(6):385-392.
Systematic differences between readers or equipment in imaging studies are not uncommon; failure to account for such differences when using Carotid Ultrasonography may introduce bias into associations between carotid intima media thickness (cIMT) and outcomes. We demonstrate the impact of this source of systematic measurement error (SME) using data on 5,521 participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) and 661 participants from the Study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM). Participants were between 37 and 78 years old. Two outcomes were considered: (1) the effect of HIV infection on cIMT (between study) and (2) the association of cIMT with cardiovascular events (within study). All estimates were adjusted for demographics (age, gender, and ethnicity) and for traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors (smoking, blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol). When comparing the FRAM and MESA cohorts to estimate the association of HIV infection on common cIMT, accounting for machine and reader variability (between study variability) reduced the difference associated with HIV infection from +0.080 mm (95% Confidence Interval (CI):0.065–0.095) to +0.037 mm (95% CI:0.003 to 0.072) while internal cIMT declined from +0.254 mm (95% CI:0.205–0.303) to +0.192 mm (95% CI:0.076–0.308). Attenuation of the association between cIMT and cardiovascular endpoints occurred when within study reader variability was not accounted for. The effect of SME due to use of multiple readers or machines is most important when comparisons are made between two different study populations. Within-cohort measurement error dilutes the association with events.
PMCID: PMC3161119  PMID: 20309612
Carotid intima media thickness; Measurement error; Bias; Carotid ultrasonography
9.  Associations of factor VIIIc, D-dimer and plasmin-antiplasmin with incident cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality 
American journal of hematology  2009;84(6):349-353.
To examine the associations of three understudied hemostatic factors – D-dimer, factor VIIIc, and antiplasmin (PAP) complex -- with incident CVD and all cause mortality in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) cohort. Hemostatic factors were measured at baseline in 45–84 year olds (n =6,391) who were free of clinically recognized CVD. Over 4.6 years of follow-up, we identified 307 CVD events, 207 hard coronary heart disease (CHD) events, and 210 deaths. D-dimer, factor VIIIc, and PAP were not associated with CVD incidence after adjustment for other risk factors. In contrast, each factor was associated positively with total mortality, and D-dimer and factor VIIIc were associated positively with cancer mortality. When modeled as ordinal variables and adjusted for risk factors, total mortality was greater by 33% (95% CI = 15–54%) for each quartile increment of D-dimer, 26% (11–44%) for factor VIIIc, and 20% (4–38%) for PAP. This prospective cohort study did not find D-dimer, factor VIIIc, or PAP to be risk factors for CVD. Instead, elevated levels of these three hemostatic factors were associated independently with increased risk of death. Elevated D-dimer and factor VIIIc were associated with increased cancer death.
PMCID: PMC2950108  PMID: 19472201
cancer; cardiovascular disease; CHD; D-dimer; factor VIII; plasmin-antiplasmin

Results 1-9 (9)