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1.  Global Prevalence and Major Risk Factors of Diabetic Retinopathy 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(3):556-564.
To examine the global prevalence and major risk factors for diabetic retinopathy (DR) and vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy (VTDR) among people with diabetes.
A pooled analysis using individual participant data from population-based studies around the world was performed. A systematic literature review was conducted to identify all population-based studies in general populations or individuals with diabetes who had ascertained DR from retinal photographs. Studies provided data for DR end points, including any DR, proliferative DR, diabetic macular edema, and VTDR, and also major systemic risk factors. Pooled prevalence estimates were directly age-standardized to the 2010 World Diabetes Population aged 20–79 years.
A total of 35 studies (1980–2008) provided data from 22,896 individuals with diabetes. The overall prevalence was 34.6% (95% CI 34.5–34.8) for any DR, 6.96% (6.87–7.04) for proliferative DR, 6.81% (6.74–6.89) for diabetic macular edema, and 10.2% (10.1–10.3) for VTDR. All DR prevalence end points increased with diabetes duration, hemoglobin A1c, and blood pressure levels and were higher in people with type 1 compared with type 2 diabetes.
There are approximately 93 million people with DR, 17 million with proliferative DR, 21 million with diabetic macular edema, and 28 million with VTDR worldwide. Longer diabetes duration and poorer glycemic and blood pressure control are strongly associated with DR. These data highlight the substantial worldwide public health burden of DR and the importance of modifiable risk factors in its occurrence. This study is limited by data pooled from studies at different time points, with different methodologies and population characteristics.
PMCID: PMC3322721  PMID: 22301125
2.  CKD and Hospitalization in the Elderly: A Community-Based Cohort Study in the United Kingdom 
We previously have shown that chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in community-dwelling people 75 years and older. The present study addresses the hypothesis that CKD is associated with a higher rate of hospital admission at an older age.
Study Design
Cohort study.
Setting & Participants
15,336 participants from 53 UK general practices underwent comprehensive health assessment between 1994 and 1999.
Data for estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR, derived from creatinine levels using the CKD Epidemiology Collaboration [CKD-EPI] study equation) and dipstick proteinuria were available for 12,371 participants.
Hospital admissions collected from hospital discharge letters for 2 years after assessment.
Age, sex, cardiovascular risk factors, possible biochemical and health consequences of kidney disease (hemoglobin, phosphate, and albumin levels; physical and mental health problems).
2,310 (17%) participants had 1 hospital admission, and 981 (7%) had 2 or more. After adjusting for age, sex, and cardiovascular risk factors, HRs were 1.66 (95% CI, 1.21-2.27), 1.17 (95% CI, 0.95-1.43), 1.08 (95% CI, 0.90-1.30), and 1.11 (95% CI, 0.91-1.35) for eGFRs <30, 30-44, 45-59, and ≥75 mL/min/1.73 m2, respectively, compared with eGFRs of 60-74 mL/min/1.73 m2 for hospitalizations during <6 months of follow-up. HRs were weaker for follow-up of 6-18 months. Dipstick-positive proteinuria was associated with an increased HR throughout follow-up (HR, 1.29 [95% CI, 1.11-1.49], adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors). Dipstick-positive proteinuria and eGFR <30 mL/min/1.73 m2 were independently associated with 2 or more hospital admissions during the 2-year follow-up. Adjustment for other health factors and laboratory measurements attenuated the effect of eGFR, but not the effect of proteinuria.
Follow-up limited to 2 years, selection bias due to nonparticipation in study, missing data for potential covariates, and single noncalibrated measurements from multiple laboratories.
The study indicates that community-dwelling older people who have dipstick-positive proteinuria and/or eGFR <30 mL/min/1.73 m2 are at increased risk of hospitalization.
PMCID: PMC3392651  PMID: 21146270
Chronic kidney disease; cohort study; dipstick proteinuria testing; general population; hospitalization; older people
3.  Clinical risk factors for age-related macular degeneration: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
BMC Ophthalmology  2010;10:31.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in Western countries. Numerous risk factors have been reported but the evidence and strength of association is variable. We aimed to identify those risk factors with strong levels of evidence which could be easily assessed by physicians or ophthalmologists to implement preventive interventions or address current behaviours.
A systematic review identified 18 prospective and cross-sectional studies and 6 case control studies involving 113,780 persons with 17,236 cases of late AMD that included an estimate of the association between late AMD and at least one of 16 pre-selected risk factors. Fixed-effects meta-analyses were conducted for each factor to combine odds ratio (OR) and/or relative risk (RR) outcomes across studies by study design. Overall raw point estimates of each risk factor and associated 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated.
Increasing age, current cigarette smoking, previous cataract surgery, and a family history of AMD showed strong and consistent associations with late AMD. Risk factors with moderate and consistent associations were higher body mass index, history of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and higher plasma fibrinogen. Risk factors with weaker and inconsistent associations were gender, ethnicity, diabetes, iris colour, history of cerebrovascular disease, and serum total and HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Smoking, previous cataract surgery and a family history of AMD are consistent risk factors for AMD. Cardiovascular risk factors are also associated with AMD. Knowledge of these risk factors that may be easily assessed by physicians and general ophthalmologists may assist in identification and appropriate referral of persons at risk of AMD.
PMCID: PMC3009619  PMID: 21144031
4.  A reliable measure of frailty for a community dwelling older population 
Frailty remains an elusive concept despite many efforts to define and measure it. The difficulty in translating the clinical profile of frail elderly people into a quantifiable assessment tool is due to the complex and heterogeneous nature of their health problems. Viewing frailty as a 'latent vulnerability' in older people this study aims to derive a model based measurement of frailty and examines its internal reliability in community dwelling elderly.
The British Women's Heart and Health Study (BWHHS) cohort of 4286 women aged 60-79 years from 23 towns in Britain provided 35 frailty indicators expressed as binary categorical variables. These indicators were corrected for measurement error and assigned relative weights in its association with frailty. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) reduced the data to a smaller number of factors and was subjected to confirmatory factor analysis (CFA)which restricted the model by fitting the EFA-driven structure to observed data. Cox regression analysis compared the hazard ratios for adverse outcomes of the newly developed British frailty index (FI) with a widely known FI. This process was replicated in the MRC Assessment study of older people, a larger cohort drawn from 106 general practices in Britain.
Seven factors explained the association between frailty indicators: physical ability, cardiac symptoms/disease, respiratory symptoms/disease, physiological measures, psychological problems, co-morbidities and visual impairment. Based on existing concepts and statistical indices of fit, frailty was best described using a General Specific Model. The British FI would serve as a better population metric than the FI as it enables people with varying degrees of frailty to be better distinguished over a wider range of scores. The British FI was a better independent predictor of all-cause mortality, hospitalization and institutionalization than the FI in both cohorts.
Frailty is a multidimensional concept represented by a wide range of latent (not directly observed) attributes. This new measure provides more precise information than is currently recognized, of which cluster of frailty indicators are important in older people. This study could potentially improve quality of life among older people through targeted efforts in early prevention and treatment of frailty.
PMCID: PMC2988728  PMID: 21029450
5.  Cataract visual impairment and quality of life in a Kenyan population 
To evaluate the World Health Organization Prevention of Blindness and Deafness 20‐item Visual Functioning Questionnaire (WHO/PBD VF20), a vision‐related quality of life scale, and to describe the relationship between cataract visual impairment and vision‐ and generic health‐related quality of life, in people ⩾50 years of age in Nakuru district, Kenya.
The WHO/PBD VF20 was pilot tested and modified. 196 patients with visual impairment from cataract and 128 population‐based controls without visual impairment from cataract were identified through a district‐wide survey. Additional cases were identified through case finding. Vision‐ and health‐related quality of life were assessed using the WHO/PBD VF20 scale and EuroQol generic health index (European Quality of Life Questionnaire (EQ‐5D)), respectively. WHO/PBD VF20 was evaluated using standard psychometric tests, including factor analysis to determine item grouping for summary scores.
The modified WHO/PBD VF20 demonstrated good psychometric properties. Two subscales (general functioning and psychosocial) and one overall eyesight‐rating item were appropriate for these data. Increased severity of visual impairment in cases was associated with worsening general functioning, psychosocial and overall eyesight scores (p for trend <0.001). Cases were more likely to report problems with EQ‐5D descriptive dimensions than controls (p<0.001), and, among cases, increased severity of visual impairment was associated with worsening self‐rated health score.
The modified WHO/PBD VF20 is a valid and reliable scale to assess vision‐related quality of life associated with cataract visual impairment in this Kenyan population. The association between health‐related quality of life and visual impairment reflects the wider implications of cataract for health and well‐being, beyond visual acuity alone.
PMCID: PMC1955630  PMID: 17272387
6.  Life expectancy in relation to cardiovascular risk factors: 38 year follow-up of 19 000 men in the Whitehall study 
Objective To assess life expectancy in relation to cardiovascular risk factors recorded in middle age.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Setting Men employed in the civil service in London, England.
Participants 18 863 men examined at entry in 1967-70 and followed for 38 years, of whom 13 501 died and 4811 were re-examined in 1997.
Main outcome measures Life expectancy estimated in relation to fifths and dichotomous categories of risk factors (smoking, “low” or “high” blood pressure (≥140 mm Hg), and “low” or “high” cholesterol (≥5 mmol/l)), and a risk score from these risk factors.
Results At entry, 42% of the men were current smokers, 39% had high blood pressure, and 51% had high cholesterol. At the re-examination, about two thirds of the previously “current” smokers had quit smoking shortly after entry and the mean differences in levels of those with high and low levels of blood pressure and cholesterol were attenuated by two thirds. Compared with men without any baseline risk factors, the presence of all three risk factors at entry was associated with a 10 year shorter life expectancy from age 50 (23.7 v 33.3 years). Compared with men in the lowest 5% of a risk score based on smoking, diabetes, employment grade, and continuous levels of blood pressure, cholesterol concentration, and body mass index (BMI), men in the highest 5% had a 15 year shorter life expectancy from age 50 (20.2 v 35.4 years).
Conclusion Despite substantial changes in these risk factors over time, baseline differences in risk factors were associated with 10 to 15 year shorter life expectancy from age 50.
PMCID: PMC2746269  PMID: 19762417
7.  Risk factors for falls with severe fracture in elderly people living in a middle-income country: a case control study 
BMC Geriatrics  2008;8:21.
Fracture after falling has been identified as an important problem in public health. Most studies of risk factors for fractures due to falls have been carried out in developed countries, although the size of the elderly population is increasing fast in middle income countries. The objective of this paper is to identify risk factors for fall related to severe fractures in those aged 60 or more in a middle-income country.
A case-control study was carried out in Rio de Janeiro-Brazil based general hospitals between 2002–2003. Two hundred-fifty hospitalised cases of fracture were matched with 250 community controls by sex, age group and living area. Data were collected for socio-demographic variables, health status and drugs used before the fall. A conditional logistic regression model was fitted to identify variables associated with the risk of fall related severe fracture.
Low body mass index, cognitive impairment, stroke and lack of urine control were associated with increased risk of severe fall related fractures. Benzodiazepines and muscle relaxants were also related to an increased risk of severe fractures while moderate use of alcohol was associated with reduced risk.
Although the association between benzodiazepines and fractures due to fall has been consistently demonstrated for old people, this has not been the case for muscle relaxant drugs. The decision to prescribe muscle relaxants for elderly people should take into account the risk of severe fracture associated with these drugs.
PMCID: PMC2532993  PMID: 18727832
8.  Cross-sectional survey of older peoples' views related to influenza vaccine uptake 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:249.
The population's views concerning influenza vaccine are important in maintaining high uptake of a vaccine that is required yearly to be effective. Little is also known about the views of the more vulnerable older population over the age of 74 years.
A cross-sectional survey of community dwelling people aged 75 years and over wh, previous participant was conducted using a postal questionnaire. Responses were analysed by vaccine uptake records and by socio-demographic and medical factors.
85% of men and 75% of women were vaccinated against influenza in the previous year. Over 80% reported being influenced by a recommendation by a health care worker. The most common reason reported for non uptake was good health (44%), or illness considered to be due to the vaccine (25%). An exploration of the crude associations with socio-economic status suggested there may be some differences in the population with these two main reasons. 81% of people reporting good health lived in owner occupied housing with central heating vs. 63% who did not state this as a reason (p = 0.04), whereas people reporting ill health due to the vaccine was associated with poorer social circumstances. 11% lived in the least deprived neighbourhood compared to 36% who did not state this as a reason (p = 0.05) and were less likely to be currently married than those who did not state this as a reason (25% vs 48% p = 0.05).
Vaccine uptake was high, but non uptake was still noted in 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men aged over 74 years. Around 70% reported they would not have the vaccine in the following year. The divergent reasons for non-uptake, and the positive influence from a health care worker, suggests further uptake will require education and encouragement from a health care worker tailored towards the different views for not having influenza vaccination. Non-uptake of influenza vaccine because people viewed themselves as in good health may explain the modest socio-economic differentials in influenza vaccine uptake in elderly people noted elsewhere. Reporting of ill-health due to the vaccine may be associated with a different, poorer background.
PMCID: PMC1621069  PMID: 17034625
9.  Effect of influenza vaccination on excess deaths occurring during periods of high circulation of influenza: cohort study in elderly people 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2004;329(7467):660.
Objective To estimate the protection against death provided by vaccination against influenza.
Design Prospective cohort follow up supplemented by weekly national counts of influenza confirmed in the community.
Setting Primary care.
Participants 24 535 patients aged over 75 years from 73 general practices in Great Britain.
Main outcome measure Death.
Results In unvaccinated members of the cohort daily all cause mortality was strongly associated with an index of influenza circulating in the population (mortality ratio 1.16, 95% confidence interval 1.04 to 1.29 at 90th centile of circulating influenza). The association was strongest for respiratory deaths but was also present for cardiovascular deaths. In contrast, in vaccinated people mortality from any cause was not associated with circulating influenza. The difference in patterns between vaccinated and unvaccinated people could not easily be due to chance (P = 0.02, all causes).
Conclusions This study, using a novel and robust approach to control for confounding, provides robust evidence of a protective effect on mortality of vaccination against influenza.
PMCID: PMC517645  PMID: 15313884
10.  Vulnerability to winter mortality in elderly people in Britain: population based study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2004;329(7467):647.
Objective To examine the determinants of vulnerability to winter mortality in elderly British people.
Design Population based cohort study (119 389 person years of follow up).
Setting 106 general practices from the Medical Research Council trial of assessment and management of older people in Britain.
Participants People aged ≥ 75 years.
Main outcome measures Mortality (10 123 deaths) determined by follow up through the Office for National Statistics.
Results Month to month variation accounted for 17% of annual all cause mortality, but only 7.8% after adjustment for temperature. The overall winter:non-winter rate ratio was 1.31 (95% confidence interval 1.26 to 1.36). There was little evidence that this ratio varied by geographical region, age, or any of the personal, socioeconomic, or clinical factors examined, with two exceptions: after adjustment for all major covariates the winter:non-winter ratio in women compared with men was 1.11 (1.00 to 1.23), and those with a self reported history of respiratory illness had a winter:non-winter ratio of 1.20 (1.08 to 1.34) times that of people without a history of respiratory illness. There was no evidence that socioeconomic deprivation or self reported financial worries were predictive of winter death.
Conclusion Except for female sex and pre-existing respiratory illness, there was little evidence for vulnerability to winter death associated with factors thought to lead to vulnerability. The lack of socioeconomic gradient suggests that policies aimed at relief of fuel poverty may need to be supplemented by additional measures to tackle the burden of excess winter deaths in elderly people.
PMCID: PMC517639  PMID: 15315961

Results 1-13 (13)