• Early life socioeconomic adversity is associated in adult life with chronic inflammation, carotid atherosclerosis, poorer lung function and decreased cognitive performance: a cross-sectional, population-based study

      Packard, Chris J; Bezylak, Vladimir; McLean, Jennifer S; Batty, G David; Ford, Ian; Burns, Harry; Cavanagh, Jonathan; Deans, Kevin A; Henderson, Marion; McGinty, Agnes; et al. (2011-01-17)
      Abstract Background Socioeconomic gradients in health persist despite public health campaigns and improvements in healthcare. The Psychosocial and Biological Determinants of Ill-health (pSoBid) study was designed to uncover novel biomarkers of chronic disease that may help explain pathways between socioeconomic adversity and poorer physical and mental health. Methods We examined links between indicators of early life adversity, possible intermediary phenotypes, and markers of ill health in adult subjects (n = 666) recruited from affluent and deprived areas. Classical and novel risk factors for chronic disease (lung function and atherosclerosis) and for cognitive performance were assessed, and associations sought with early life variables including conditions in the parental home, family size and leg length. Results Associations were observed between father's occupation, childhood home status (owner-occupier; overcrowding) and biomarkers of chronic inflammation and endothelial activation in adults (C reactive protein, interleukin 6, intercellular adhesion molecule; P < 0.0001) but not number of siblings and leg length. Lung function (forced expiratory volume in 1 second) and cognition (Choice Reaction Time, the Stroop test, Auditory Verbal Learning Test) were likewise related to early life conditions (P < 0.001). In multivariate models inclusion of inflammatory variables reduced the impact and independence of early life conditions on lung function and measures of cognitive ability. Including variables of adult socioeconomic status attenuated the early life associations with disease biomarkers. Conclusions Adverse levels of biomarkers of ill health in adults appear to be influenced by father's occupation and childhood home conditions. Chronic inflammation and endothelial activation may in part act as intermediary phenotypes in this complex relationship. Reducing the 'health divide' requires that these life course determinants are taken into account.
    • A Prospective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk (PROSPER): Screening Experience and Baseline Characteristics.

      Ford, Ian; Blauw, Gerard Jan; Murphy, Michael B; Shepherd, James; Cobbe, Stuart M; Bollen, Edward LEM; Buckley, Brendan M; Jukema, J Wouter; Hyland, Michael; Gaw, Allan; et al. (2002-05-20)
      BACKGROUND: PROSPER was designed to investigate the benefits of treatment with pravastatin in elderly patients for whom a typical doctor might consider the prescription of statin therapy to be a realistic option. METHODS: The PROspective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk (PROSPER) is a randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial to test the hypothesis that treatment with pravastatin (40 mg/day) will reduce the risk of coronary heart disease death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, and fatal or non-fatal stroke in elderly men and women with pre-existing vascular disease or with significant risk of developing this condition. RESULTS: In Scotland, Ireland, and the Netherlands, 23,770 individuals were screened, and 5,804 subjects (2,804 men and 3,000 women), aged 70 to 82 years (average 75 years) and with baseline cholesterol 4.0-9.0 mmol/l, were randomised. Randomised subjects had similar distributions with respect to age, blood pressure, and body mass index when compared to the entire group of screenees, but had a higher prevalence of smoking, diabetes, hypertension, and a history of vascular disease. The average total cholesterol level at baseline was 5.4 mmol/l (men) and 6.0 mmol/l (women). CONCLUSIONS: Compared with previous prevention trials of cholesterol-lowering drugs, the PROSPER cohort is significantly older and for the first time includes a majority of women. The study, having achieved its initial goal of recruiting more than 5,500 elderly high-risk men and women, aims to complete all final subject follow-up visits in the first half of 2002 with the main results being available in the fourth quarter of 2002.