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1.  Lipids and carotid plaque in the Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS) 
Lipids, particularly low-density (LDL) and high-density (HDL) lipoproteins, are associated with increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, probably due to atherosclerosis. The objective of this cross-sectional analysis was to investigate the relation between blood lipids and carotid plaque.
As part of a prospective population-based study to determine the incidence and risk factors of stroke in a multiethnic population, we evaluated 1804 participants with lipid measurements and B-mode ultrasound of carotid arteries (mean age 69 +/- 10 years; 40% men; 51% Hispanic, 26% black, 23% white). The association between lipid parameters and carotid plaque was analyzed by multiple logistic regression.
Plaque was present in 61% of participants. Mean total cholesterol was 202 +/- 41 mg/dl. After controlling for other lipid parameters, demographics, and risk factors, the only cholesterol subfraction associated with carotid plaque was LDL (OR per standard deviation (SD) = 1.14, 95% CI 1.02-1.27). Neither HDL nor triglycerides independently predicted carotid plaque. Apolipoprotein B (ApoB) was also associated with risk of plaque (OR per SD = 1.29, 95% CI 1.03-1.60). Apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-1) was associated with a decrease in multiple plaques (OR per SD = 0.76, 95% CI 0.60-0.97), while lipoprotein a was associated with an increased risk of multiple plaques (OR per SD = 1.31, 95% CI 1.03-1.66). ApoB:ApoA-I had the strongest relation with carotid plaque (OR per SD = 1.35, 95% CI 1.08-1.69).
Among the common lipid parameters, LDL has the strongest relation with carotid plaque. Other lipid precursor proteins such as ApoB and ApoA-I may be stronger predictors of subclinical atherosclerosis, however, and better targets for treatment to reduce plaque formation and risk of cerebrovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC2804671  PMID: 20028534
2.  Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with better endothelial function: a cross sectional study 
Moderate alcohol consumption is protective against coronary artery disease. Endothelial dysfunction contributes to atherosclerosis and the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease. The effects of alcohol consumption on endothelial function may be relevant to these cardiovascular outcomes, but very few studies have examined the effect of alcohol consumption on endothelial function assessed by flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery in humans.
In the population-based Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS), we performed a cross-sectional analysis of lifetime alcohol intake and brachial artery FMD during reactive hyperemia using high-resolution B-mode ultrasound images among 884 stroke-free participants (mean age 66.8 years, women 56.6%, Hispanic 67.4%, black 17.4%, and white 15.2%).
The mean brachial FMD was 5.7% and the median was 5.5%. Compared to non-drinkers, those who drank >1 drink/month to 2 drinks/day were more likely to have FMD above the median FMD (5.5%) (unadjusted OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.2–2.4, p = 0.005). In multivariate analysis, the relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and FMD remained significant after adjusting for multiple traditional cardiovascular risk factors, including sex, race-ethnicity, body mass index, diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, Framingham risk score, medication use (adjusted OR 1.8, 95%CI 1.1–3.0, p = 0.03). No beneficial effect on FMD was seen for those who drank more than 2 drinks/day.
In conclusion, consumption of up to 2 alcoholic beverages per day was independently associated with better FMD compared to no alcohol consumption in this multiethnic population. This effect on FMD may represent an important mechanism in explaining the protective effect of alcohol intake on cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC2653471  PMID: 19228434
3.  Endothelial dysfunction is associated with carotid plaque: a cross-sectional study from the population based Northern Manhattan Study 
Impaired vascular function occurs early in atherogenesis. Brachial flow mediated dilatation (FMD) is a non-invasive measure of vascular function and may be an important marker of preclinical atherosclerosis. Data on the association between FMD and carotid plaque in multi-ethnic populations are limited. The objective of this study was to determine whether endothelial dysfunction is independently associated with carotid plaque in a community of northern Manhattan.
In the population-based Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS), high-resolution B-mode ultrasound images of the brachial and carotid arteries were obtained in 643 stroke-free subjects (mean age 66 years; 55% women; 65% Caribbean-Hispanic, 17% African-American, 16% Caucasian). Brachial FMD was measured during reactive hyperemia. Maximum carotid plaque thickness (MCPT) was measured at the peak plaque prominence.
The mean brachial FMD was 5.78 ± 3.83 %. Carotid plaque was present in 339 (53%) subjects. The mean MCPT was 1.68 ± 0.82 mm, and the 75th percentile was 2.0 mm. Reduced FMD was significantly associated with increased MCPT. After adjusting for demographics, vascular risk factors, and education, each percent of FMD decrease was associated with a significant 0.02 mm increase in MCPT (p = 0.028). In a dichotomous adjusted model, blunted FMD was associated with an increased risk of MCPT ≥ 2.0 mm (OR, 1.11 for every 1% decrease in FMD; 95% CI, 1.03–1.19).
Decreased brachial FMD is independently associated with carotid plaque. Non-invasive evaluation of endothelial dysfunction may be a useful marker of preclinical atherosclerosis and help to individualize cardiovascular risk assessment beyond traditional risk factors.
PMCID: PMC1560160  PMID: 16916467

Results 1-3 (3)