Publications by authors named "Martijn Huisman"

149 Publications

Association of Thyroid Dysfunction With Cognitive Function: An Individual Participant Data Analysis.

JAMA Intern Med 2021 Sep 7. Epub 2021 Sep 7.

Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, South Korea.

Importance: In clinical guidelines, overt and subclinical thyroid dysfunction are mentioned as causal and treatable factors for cognitive decline. However, the scientific literature on these associations shows inconsistent findings.

Objective: To assess cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of baseline thyroid dysfunction with cognitive function and dementia.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This multicohort individual participant data analysis assessed 114 267 person-years (median, 1.7-11.3 years) of follow-up for cognitive function and 525 222 person-years (median, 3.8-15.3 years) for dementia between 1989 and 2017. Analyses on cognitive function included 21 cohorts comprising 38 144 participants. Analyses on dementia included eight cohorts with a total of 2033 cases with dementia and 44 573 controls. Data analysis was performed from December 2016 to January 2021.

Exposures: Thyroid function was classified as overt hyperthyroidism, subclinical hyperthyroidism, euthyroidism, subclinical hypothyroidism, and overt hypothyroidism based on uniform thyrotropin cutoff values and study-specific free thyroxine values.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary outcome was global cognitive function, mostly measured using the Mini-Mental State Examination. Executive function, memory, and dementia were secondary outcomes. Analyses were first performed at study level using multivariable linear regression and multivariable Cox regression, respectively. The studies were combined with restricted maximum likelihood meta-analysis. To overcome the use of different scales, results were transformed to standardized mean differences. For incident dementia, hazard ratios were calculated.

Results: Among 74 565 total participants, 66 567 (89.3%) participants had normal thyroid function, 577 (0.8%) had overt hyperthyroidism, 2557 (3.4%) had subclinical hyperthyroidism, 4167 (5.6%) had subclinical hypothyroidism, and 697 (0.9%) had overt hypothyroidism. The study-specific median age at baseline varied from 57 to 93 years; 42 847 (57.5%) participants were women. Thyroid dysfunction was not associated with global cognitive function; the largest differences were observed between overt hypothyroidism and euthyroidism-cross-sectionally (-0.06 standardized mean difference in score; 95% CI, -0.20 to 0.08; P = .40) and longitudinally (0.11 standardized mean difference higher decline per year; 95% CI, -0.01 to 0.23; P = .09). No consistent associations were observed between thyroid dysfunction and executive function, memory, or risk of dementia.

Conclusions And Relevance: In this individual participant data analysis of more than 74 000 adults, subclinical hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism were not associated with cognitive function, cognitive decline, or incident dementia. No rigorous conclusions can be drawn regarding the role of overt thyroid dysfunction in risk of dementia. These findings do not support the practice of screening for subclinical thyroid dysfunction in the context of cognitive decline in older adults as recommended in current guidelines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.5078DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8424529PMC
September 2021

Genome-wide association study of frontotemporal dementia identifies a C9ORF72 haplotype with a median of 12-G4C2 repeats that predisposes to pathological repeat expansions.

Transl Psychiatry 2021 Sep 2;11(1):451. Epub 2021 Sep 2.

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Genetic factors play a major role in frontotemporal dementia (FTD). The majority of FTD cannot be genetically explained yet and it is likely that there are still FTD risk loci to be discovered. Common variants have been identified with genome-wide association studies (GWAS), but these studies have not systematically searched for rare variants. To identify rare and new common variant FTD risk loci and provide more insight into the heritability of C9ORF72-related FTD, we performed a GWAS consisting of 354 FTD patients (including and excluding N = 28 pathological repeat carriers) and 4209 control subjects. The Haplotype Reference Consortium was used as reference panel, allowing for the imputation of rare genetic variants. Two rare genetic variants nearby C9ORF72 were strongly associated with FTD in the discovery (rs147211831: OR = 4.8, P = 9.2 × 10, rs117204439: OR = 4.9, P = 6.0 × 10) and replication analysis (P < 1.1 × 10). These variants also significantly associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in a publicly available dataset. Using haplotype analyses in 1200 individuals, we showed that these variants tag a sub-haplotype of the founder haplotype of the repeat expansion that was previously found to be present in virtually all pathological C9ORF72 GC repeat lengths. This new risk haplotype was 10 times more likely to contain a C9ORF72 pathological repeat length compared to founder haplotypes without one of the two risk variants (~22% versus ~2%; P = 7.70 × 10). In haplotypes without a pathologic expansion, the founder risk haplotype had a higher number of repeats (median = 12 repeats) compared to the founder haplotype without the risk variants (median = 8 repeats) (P = 2.05 × 10). In conclusion, the identified risk haplotype, which is carried by ~4% of all individuals, is a major risk factor for pathological repeat lengths of C9ORF72 GC. These findings strongly indicate that longer C9ORF72 repeats are unstable and more likely to convert to germline pathological C9ORF72 repeat expansions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-021-01577-3DOI Listing
September 2021

Psychosocial factors and cancer incidence (PSY-CA): Protocol for individual participant data meta-analyses.

Brain Behav 2021 Sep 2:e2340. Epub 2021 Sep 2.

Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht and Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Objectives: Psychosocial factors have been hypothesized to increase the risk of cancer. This study aims (1) to test whether psychosocial factors (depression, anxiety, recent loss events, subjective social support, relationship status, general distress, and neuroticism) are associated with the incidence of any cancer (any, breast, lung, prostate, colorectal, smoking-related, and alcohol-related); (2) to test the interaction between psychosocial factors and factors related to cancer risk (smoking, alcohol use, weight, physical activity, sedentary behavior, sleep, age, sex, education, hormone replacement therapy, and menopausal status) with regard to the incidence of cancer; and (3) to test the mediating role of health behaviors (smoking, alcohol use, weight, physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep) in the relationship between psychosocial factors and the incidence of cancer.

Methods: The psychosocial factors and cancer incidence (PSY-CA) consortium was established involving experts in the field of (psycho-)oncology, methodology, and epidemiology. Using data collected in 18 cohorts (N = 617,355), a preplanned two-stage individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis is proposed. Standardized analyses will be conducted on harmonized datasets for each cohort (stage 1), and meta-analyses will be performed on the risk estimates (stage 2).

Conclusion: PSY-CA aims to elucidate the relationship between psychosocial factors and cancer risk by addressing several shortcomings of prior meta-analyses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/brb3.2340DOI Listing
September 2021

The joint effects of clinically relevant depressive symptoms and cardiovascular risk factors on incident cardiovascular disease among older adults in the community.

J Psychosom Res 2021 Jul 16;149:110572. Epub 2021 Jul 16.

Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Psychiatry, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; GGZ inGeest Specialized Mental Health Care, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Objective: To determine if there is a synergistic effect between clinically relevant depressive symptoms and cardiovascular risk factors that disproportionately increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) among older adults with depressive symptoms.

Methods: Data were obtained from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, a longitudinal cohort study. N = 3091 respondents with up to seven years of follow-up were included. Incident CVD was based on self-report, medication use, general practitioners' diagnoses and causes of death. A score of ≥16 points on the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale indicated clinically relevant depressive symptoms. Risk factors included were sex, education, obesity, smoking, alcohol use, physical inactivity and diabetes mellitus. Data were analysed with Cox regression models. Measures of multiplicative and additive interaction were calculated to determine if the presence of both depressive symptoms and a risk factor amplified the risk of CVD.

Results: Of all participants, 12.6% had clinically relevant depressive symptoms and, after a median follow-up of six years, 15.7% developed CVD. Only the additive interaction between physical inactivity and depressive symptoms was statistically significant and explained 40.6% of the CVD risk among inactive persons with depressive symptoms.

Conclusion: In the general population, we did not detect synergistic effects for most risk factors. However, older adults with clinically relevant depressive symptoms and a physically inactive lifestyle appeared to be at a particularly high risk to develop CVD and may represent an important target for cardiovascular prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2021.110572DOI Listing
July 2021

Genetics Contributes to Concomitant Pathology and Clinical Presentation in Dementia with Lewy Bodies.

J Alzheimers Dis 2021 ;83(1):269-279

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a complex, progressive neurodegenerative disease with considerable phenotypic, pathological, and genetic heterogeneity.

Objective: We tested if genetic variants in part explain the heterogeneity in DLB.

Methods: We tested the effects of variants previously associated with DLB (near APOE, GBA, and SNCA) and polygenic risk scores for Alzheimer's disease (AD-PRS) and Parkinson's disease (PD-PRS). We studied 190 probable DLB patients from the Alzheimer's dementia cohort and compared them to 2,552 control subjects. The p-tau/Aβ1-42 ratio in cerebrospinal fluid was used as in vivo proxy to separate DLB cases into DLB with concomitant AD pathology (DLB-AD) or DLB without AD (DLB-pure). We studied the clinical measures age, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), and the presence of core symptoms at diagnosis and disease duration.

Results: We found that all studied genetic factors significantly associated with DLB risk (all-DLB). Second, we stratified the DLB patients by the presence of concomitant AD pathology and found that APOE ɛ4 and the AD-PRS associated specifically with DLB-AD, but less with DLB-pure. In addition, the GBA p.E365K variant showed strong associated with DLB-pure and less with DLB-AD. Last, we studied the clinical measures and found that APOE ɛ4 associated with reduced MMSE, higher odds to have fluctuations and a shorter disease duration. In addition, the GBA p.E365K variant reduced the age at onset by 5.7 years, but the other variants and the PRS did not associate with clinical features.

Conclusion: These finding increase our understanding of the pathological and clinical heterogeneity in DLB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-210365DOI Listing
January 2021

Long-Term Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy and Cognitive Functioning in Older Transgender Women Compared With Cisgender Women and Men.

J Sex Med 2021 08 8;18(8):1434-1443. Epub 2021 Jul 8.

Amsterdam University Medical Centers, location VUmc, Department of Medical Psychology, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Background: Long-term gender-affirming hormone therapy (GHT) in older transgender individuals could have beneficial effects on cognitive functioning. Cardiovascular risk factors and psychological factors are known determinants of cognition. Despite the rising number of older transgender individuals, only few studies have examined cognitive functioning in this population.

Aim: We aimed to assess differences in cognitive functioning between transgender women, and non-transgender (cisgender) women and men, and investigated the contribution of cardiovascular risk factors and psychological factors on these differences.

Methods: In this study, 37 transgender women (age range 55 to 69) receiving GHT for at least ten years (range 10.2 to 41.6) were examined, and their cognitive functioning was compared to an age and education level matched cohort consisting of 222 cisgender women and men from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. Linear regression analyses were performed.

Outcomes: Cognitive functioning was assessed by neuropsychological tests including Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Category Fluency animals, Letter Fluency D, 15-Word test (15WT) immediate and delayed recall. Additionally, cardiovascular risk factors and psychological factors such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, antihypertensive use, statin use, diabetes mellitus, overweight, smoking, alcohol consumption, psychopharmaceutical use, anxiety and depression symptoms were collected.

Results: Transgender women had higher MMSE scores compared with cisgender women (+0.9, 95% CI 0.4 to 1.5), and cisgender men (+1.1, 95% CI 0.4 to 1.8). On all other tests transgender women performed similar to cisgender men. Transgender women performed at a lower level than cisgender women on 15WT immediate recall, -5.5, 95% CI -7.6 to -3.4, and 15WT delayed recall, -2.7, 95% CI -3.7 to -1.7, and equal to cisgender women on Fluency animals and Fluency D. Cardiovascular and psychological factors (i.e., cardiovascular disease and depression symptoms) partly explained differences on MMSE score between transgender women and cisgender-control groups.

Clinical Implications: The results of this study do not indicate a need for tailored hormone treatment strategies for older transgender women, based on cognitive aspects after long-term GHT.

Strengths & Limitations: As one of the first studies, this study compared older transgender women to a large cohort of cisgender men and women regarding cognitive functioning and took into account numerous potential influencing factors. Limitations include difference in test procedures and the cross-sectional design of the study.

Conclusion: Cognitive differences between transgender women and cisgender women and men were small, albeit significant. This may suggest that long-term GHT effects on cognitive functioning in older transgender women are minimal. van Heesewijk JO, Dreijerink KMA, Wiepjes CM, et al. Long-Term Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy and Cognitive Functioning in Older Transgender Women Compared With Cisgender Women and Men. J Sex Med 2021;18:1434-1443.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2021.05.013DOI Listing
August 2021

Steeling or sensitizing? A longitudinal examination of how ongoing accumulation of negative life events affects depressive symptoms in older adults.

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 2021 Jun 25. Epub 2021 Jun 25.

Department of Epidemiology and Data Science, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Amsterdam UMC - Location VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Objectives: To examine whether: 1) as people age, accumulation of negative events increases ('sensitizing') or decreases ('steeling') the detrimental effects of subsequent events on depressive symptoms, and 2) how particular psychosocial factors are associated with the strength of these steeling or sensitizing effects.

Method: We used data from six measurement waves from 2,069 adults aged 55-84 (M=68.0) at baseline in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, the Netherlands. We included 18 different life events across the life course. Using hybrid multilevel models, we tested whether the effects of proximate life events (<3 years) on depressive symptoms (measured by the CES-D) were moderated by previous cumulative events (childhood until previous measurement wave). Additionally, we tested whether education, mastery, emotional support, neuroticism, having strong faith, and loneliness were associated with the strength of steeling/sensitizing effects.

Results: Cumulative and proximate life events were independently associated with more depressive symptoms. Interaction effects indicated that the more cumulative life events, the weaker the effects of recent life events, suggesting a 'steeling' effect. Unexpectedly, three-way interaction effects showed that higher mastery and lower neuroticism were associated with weaker steeling effects. These effects were predominantly attributable to within-person changes rather than to fixed between-person differences. Results from analyses with event severity scores were similar.

Conclusions: As a population, older adults appear to become more resilient against new stressors as they accumulate experience in dealing with negative life events. Findings on mastery tentatively suggest that accepting limits to one's own control over life circumstances may foster a steeling effect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbab114DOI Listing
June 2021

Correction to: Multiple domains of functioning in older adults during the pandemic: design and basic characteristics of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam COVID-19 questionnaire.

Aging Clin Exp Res 2021 Jun 23. Epub 2021 Jun 23.

Department of Epidemiology and Data Science, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Amsterdam UMCLocation VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40520-021-01900-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8219511PMC
June 2021

Common variants in Alzheimer's disease and risk stratification by polygenic risk scores.

Nat Commun 2021 06 7;12(1):3417. Epub 2021 Jun 7.

Servei de Neurologia, Hospital Universitari i Politècnic La Fe, Valencia, Spain.

Genetic discoveries of Alzheimer's disease are the drivers of our understanding, and together with polygenetic risk stratification can contribute towards planning of feasible and efficient preventive and curative clinical trials. We first perform a large genetic association study by merging all available case-control datasets and by-proxy study results (discovery n = 409,435 and validation size n = 58,190). Here, we add six variants associated with Alzheimer's disease risk (near APP, CHRNE, PRKD3/NDUFAF7, PLCG2 and two exonic variants in the SHARPIN gene). Assessment of the polygenic risk score and stratifying by APOE reveal a 4 to 5.5 years difference in median age at onset of Alzheimer's disease patients in APOE ɛ4 carriers. Because of this study, the underlying mechanisms of APP can be studied to refine the amyloid cascade and the polygenic risk score provides a tool to select individuals at high risk of Alzheimer's disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22491-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8184987PMC
June 2021

Older adults report cancellation or avoidance of medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic: results from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam.

Eur Geriatr Med 2021 May 28. Epub 2021 May 28.

Department of Epidemiology and Data Science, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Amsterdam UMC, Location VU University Medical Center, P.O. Box 7057, 1007MB, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Purpose: Delay of routine medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic may have serious consequences for the health and functioning of older adults. The aim of this study was to investigate whether older adults reported cancellation or avoidance of medical care during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to explore associations with health and socio-demographic characteristics.

Methods: Cross-sectional data of 880 older adults aged ≥ 62 years (mean age 73.4 years, 50.3% female) were used from the COVID-19 questionnaire of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, a cohort study among community-dwelling older adults in the Netherlands. Cancellation and avoidance of care were assessed by self-report, and covered questions on cancellation of primary care (general practitioner), cancellation of hospital outpatient care, and postponed help-seeking. Respondent characteristics included age, sex, educational level, loneliness, depression, anxiety, frailty, multimorbidity and information on quarantine.

Results: 35% of the sample reported cancellations due to the COVID-19 situation, either initiated by the respondent (12%) or by healthcare professionals (29%). Postponed help-seeking was reported by 8% of the sample. Multimorbidity was associated with healthcare-initiated cancellations (primary care OR = 1.92, 95% CI = 1.09-3.50; hospital OR = 1.86, 95% CI = 1.28-2.74) and respondent-initiated hospital outpatient cancellations (OR = 2.02, 95% CI = 1.04-4.12). Depressive symptoms were associated with postponed help-seeking (OR = 1.15, 95% CI = 1.06-1.24).

Conclusion: About one third of the study sample reported cancellation or avoidance of medical care during the first months of the pandemic, and this was more common among those with multiple chronic conditions. How this impacts outcomes in the long term should be investigated in future research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s41999-021-00514-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8159721PMC
May 2021

Current wishes to die; characteristics of middle-aged and older Dutch adults who are ready to give up on life: a cross-sectional study.

BMC Med Ethics 2021 05 21;22(1):64. Epub 2021 May 21.

Department of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 7057, 1007 MB, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Background: Literature shows that middle-aged and older adults sometimes experience a wish to die. Reasons for these wishes may be complex and involve multiple factors. One important question is to what extent people with a wish to die have medically classifiable conditions.

Aim: (1) Estimate the prevalence of a current wish to die among middle-aged and older adults in The Netherlands; (2) explore which factors within domains of vulnerability (physical, cognitive, social and psychological) are associated with a current wish to die; (3) assess how many middle-aged and older adults with a current wish to die do not have a medically classifiable condition and/or an accumulation of age-related health problems.

Methods: Data of 2015/16 from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam were used for this cross-sectional study (1563 Dutch middle-aged and older adults aged between 57 and 99 years), obtained through structured medical interviews and self-reported questionnaires. Three experienced physicians assessed whether the participants with a current wish to die could be classified as having a medically classifiable condition and/or an accumulation of age-related health problems.

Results: N = 62 participants (4.0%) had a current wish to die. Having a current wish to die was associated with multiple characteristics across four domains of vulnerability, among which: self-perceived health, problems with memory, self-perceived quality of life and meaningfulness of life. Fifty-four participants with a current wish to die were assessed with having a medically classifiable condition, of which one was also assessed with having an accumulation of age-related health problems. Six people were assessed to have neither, and for two people it was unclear.

Conclusion: A small minority of middle-aged and older adults in the Netherlands have a current wish to die. Most of them can be classified with a medical condition and one person with an accumulation of age-related health problems. Furthermore, the findings show that having a current wish to die is multi-faceted. There is still a need for more knowledge, such as insight in to what extent suffering stemming from the medical classifiable disease contributes to the development of the wish to die.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12910-021-00632-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8140496PMC
May 2021

An examination of reciprocal effects between cardiovascular morbidity, depressive symptoms and loneliness over time in a longitudinal cohort of Dutch older adults.

J Affect Disord 2021 06 31;288:122-128. Epub 2021 Mar 31.

Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Psychiatry, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; GGZ inGeest Specialized Mental Health Care, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Unidirectional studies suggest that the effects between cardiovascular disease, depressive symptoms and loneliness are reciprocal, but this has not been tested empirically. The aim was to study how cardiovascular morbidity, depressive symptoms and loneliness influence each other longitudinally.

Methods: Data from 2979 older adults from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam were analysed. Depressive symptoms (≥16 points on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale), loneliness (≥3 points on the De Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale) and cardiovascular morbidity were measured five times during 13-year follow-up. With structural equation modelling, a full cross-lagged panel model was compared to nine nested models reflecting different sets of temporal effects.

Results: The best-fitting cross-lagged panel model showed reciprocal risk increasing effects between depressive symptoms and loneliness and a risk increasing effect of cardiovascular morbidity on depressive symptoms.

Limitations: A cross-lagged panel model has technical limitations, such as that the chosen time lag may not be appropriate for each effect. In addition, differential loss to follow-up and collider bias may have led to an underestimation of the effects.

Conclusions: Reciprocal effects tend to occur only between depressive symptoms and loneliness. Their interplay with cardiovascular morbidity seems more complex and mostly indirect, highlighting the potential of interventions to reduce depressive symptoms, loneliness and cardiovascular morbidity in concert to improve health at old age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2021.03.081DOI Listing
June 2021

Multiple domains of functioning in older adults during the pandemic: design and basic characteristics of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam COVID-19 questionnaire.

Aging Clin Exp Res 2021 May 15;33(5):1423-1428. Epub 2021 Mar 15.

Department of Epidemiology and Data Science, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Amsterdam UMC-Location VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) is an ongoing cohort study among older adults in the Netherlands. Respondents are usually interviewed approximately every 3 years. Because of the exceptional situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was decided to add an extra assessment in between, consisting of a postal/digital questionnaire with measures assessing the impact of the COVID-19 situation, as well as a selection of measures from regular LASA measurement cycles covering the physical, social and mental domains. In total, 1128 LASA respondents aged 62-102 years provided data, just after the first wave of the pandemic in 2020. This paper describes the methods and design of the LASA COVID-19 questionnaire, as well as the basic characteristics of the sample, including an overview of impactful situations experienced by older adults during the first months of the pandemic. The data of the questionnaire may be used to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on multiple domains of functioning in older adults.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40520-021-01829-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7957282PMC
May 2021

Do Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Cardiovascular Disease Explain Sex Differences in Cognitive Functioning in Old Age?

J Alzheimers Dis 2021 ;80(4):1643-1655

Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Cardiology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Sex differences in cognitive functioning in old age are known to exist yet are still poorly understood.

Objective: This study examines to what extent differences in cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular disease between men and women explain sex differences in cognitive functioning.

Methods: Data from 2,724 older adults from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam were used. Information processing speed and episodic memory, measured three times during six years of follow-up, served as outcomes. The mediating role of cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular disease was examined in single and multiple mediator models. Determinant-mediator effects were estimated using linear or logistic regression, and determinant-outcome and mediator-outcome effects were estimated using linear mixed models. Indirect effects were estimated using the product-of-coefficients estimator.

Results: Women scored 1.58 points higher on information processing speed and 1.53 points higher on episodic memory. Several cardiovascular risk factors had small mediating effects. The sex difference in information processing speed was mediated by smoking, depressive symptoms, obesity, and systolic blood pressure. The sex difference in episodic memory was mediated by smoking, physical activity, and depressive symptoms. Effects of smoking, LDL cholesterol, and diabetes mellitus on information processing speed differed between men and women.

Conclusion: Differences in cardiovascular risk factors between women and men partially explained why women had better cognitive functioning. A healthy cardiovascular lifestyle seems beneficial for cognition and sex-specific strategies may be important to preserve cognitive functioning at older age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-201173DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8150475PMC
September 2021

Inequalities in Frailty Among Older Turkish and Moroccan Immigrants and Native Dutch: Data from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam.

J Immigr Minor Health 2021 Feb 26. Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Department of Epidemiology & Data Science, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Amsterdam UMC-location VU University medical center, P.O. Box 7057, Amsterdam, 1007MB, the Netherlands.

Very few studies have investigated frailty among older immigrants in Europe. The aim of the current study was to investigate inequalities in frailty in young-olds related to gender, educational level and country of origin, as well as intersections between these characteristics. Cross-sectional data were used from older Turkish and Moroccan immigrants (n = 466) and native Dutch (n = 1,020), all aged 55-65 years and participating in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. Frailty was assessed with a 30-item frailty index, based on the deficit accumulation approach. Frailty was higher among women, lower educated, and people with a migration background. Of all groups considered, frailty levels were the highest among Turkish immigrants. No statistically significant interaction effects between gender, educational level and country of origin were found. When targeting frailty interventions, special attention should be devoted to older immigrants, as they are the most vulnerable group with the highest frailty levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10903-021-01169-9DOI Listing
February 2021

Association Between Subjective Remaining Life Expectancy and Advance Care Planning in Older Adults: A Cross-Sectional Study.

J Pain Symptom Manage 2021 Feb 23. Epub 2021 Feb 23.

Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculty of Sociology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Context: Advance care planning (ACP) becomes more relevant with deteriorating health or increasing age. People might be more inclined to engage in ACP as they feel that they are approaching end of life. The perception of approaching end of life could be quantified as subjective remaining life expectancy (SRLE).

Objectives: First, to describe the prevalence of ACP with health care providers or written directives ("formal engagement in ACP") and ACP with loved-ones ("informal engagement in ACP") among older persons in the general population in The Netherlands. Second, to assess the association between SRLE and engagement in ACP.

Methods: Cross-sectional study using data from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) measurement wave of 2015-2016. Participants (n = 1585) were aged ≥ 57 years.

Results: Median age was 69.4 years (IQR: 64.1-76.7), and median SRLE 25.9 years (17.7-36.0). Formal engagement in ACP was present in 32.6%, informal without formal engagement in 45.8%, and 21.6% was not engaged in ACP. For respondents with SRLE < 25 years, there was a nonstatistically significant association between SRLE and engagement in ACP (aOR: 0.97; 95% CI: 0.93-1.01; P= .088), and a statistically significant, small association with formal vs. informal engagement in ACP (aOR: 0.96; 0.93-0.99; P= .009). For respondents with SRLE ≥ 25 years there was no association between SRLE and engagement in ACP.

Conclusion: The perception of approaching end of life is associated with higher prevalence of formal engagement in ACP, but only for those with SRLE < 25 years. For clinicians, asking patients after their SRLE might serve as a starting point to explore readiness for ACP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2021.02.019DOI Listing
February 2021

A longitudinal exploration of mental health resilience, cognitive impairment and loneliness.

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2021 07 10;36(7):1020-1028. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, School of Nursing/School of Population Health, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

Objective: There is a growing interest in how people living with dementia may achieve good outcomes and be resilient despite their health challenges. Understanding what might be important for resilience in this population is largely untested theory.

Methods: The analysis draws a subsample with cognitive impairment (N = 579) from two waves of the Cognitive Function and Ageing Studies Wales study, a nationally representative study of community-dwelling people aged 65+ in Wales. We constructed a measure of mental health resilience (MHR) defined as no depression, no anxiety and high well-being. Drawing on a resilience framework, we tested univariate and cumulative effects models of the factors that enable MHR, and then examined whether MHR is important for reducing loneliness over time.

Results: Across both waves of data 22% (n = 121) met the criteria for MHR. The cumulative effects model found the odds of MHR were greater for male gender, higher self-esteem, greater social resources and no subjective memory complaints. Controlling for these significant predictors, MHR significantly predicted lower total and sub-scale scores for loneliness at wave 2. Sensitivity analysis shows these effects held at lower levels of cognitive function when the Mini-Mental State Examination score was <25, but not at <23.

Conclusions: This paper addresses a gap in research regarding the conceptualisation and measurement of resilience when facing cognitive impairment. Understanding what aspects of a person's life might enable good mental health despite cognitive impairment-to be resilient-could inform effective strategies for friends and families, along with health, and social policy and practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gps.5504DOI Listing
July 2021

Trends in Frailty and Its Association With Mortality: Results From the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, 1995-2016.

Am J Epidemiol 2021 07;190(7):1316-1323

The aim of this study was to investigate trends in frailty and its relationship with mortality among older adults aged 64-84 years across a period of 21 years. We used data from 1995 to 2016 from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. A total of 7,742 observations of 2,874 respondents in the same age range (64-84 years) across 6 measurement waves were included. Frailty was measured with a 32-item frailty index, with a cutpoint of ≥0.25 to indicate frailty. The outcome measure was 4-year mortality. Generalized estimating equation analyses showed that among older adults aged 64-84 years the 4-year mortality rate declined between 1995 and 2016, while the prevalence of frailty increased. Across all measurement waves, frailty was associated with 4-year mortality (odds ratio = 2.79, 95% confidence interval: 2.39, 3.26). There was no statistically significant interaction effect between frailty and time on 4-year mortality, indicating a stable association between frailty and mortality. In more recent generations of older adults, frailty prevalence rates were higher, while excess mortality rates of frailty remained the same. This is important information for health policy-makers and clinical practitioners, showing that continued efforts are needed to reduce frailty and its negative health consequences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwab018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8245891PMC
July 2021

Genome-wide meta-analysis of muscle weakness identifies 15 susceptibility loci in older men and women.

Nat Commun 2021 01 28;12(1):654. Epub 2021 Jan 28.

Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Low muscle strength is an important heritable indicator of poor health linked to morbidity and mortality in older people. In a genome-wide association study meta-analysis of 256,523 Europeans aged 60 years and over from 22 cohorts we identify 15 loci associated with muscle weakness (European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People definition: n = 48,596 cases, 18.9% of total), including 12 loci not implicated in previous analyses of continuous measures of grip strength. Loci include genes reportedly involved in autoimmune disease (HLA-DQA1 p = 4 × 10), arthritis (GDF5 p = 4 × 10), cell cycle control and cancer protection, regulation of transcription, and others involved in the development and maintenance of the musculoskeletal system. Using Mendelian randomization we report possible overlapping causal pathways, including diabetes susceptibility, haematological parameters, and the immune system. We conclude that muscle weakness in older adults has distinct mechanisms from continuous strength, including several pathways considered to be hallmarks of ageing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-20918-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7844411PMC
January 2021

Green spaces, subjective health and depressed affect in middle-aged and older adults: a cross-country comparison of four European cohorts.

J Epidemiol Community Health 2021 05 26;75(5):470-476. Epub 2021 Jan 26.

Public Health, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Studies on associations between urban green space and mental health have yielded mixed results. This study examines associations of green space exposures with subjective health and depressed affect of middle-aged and older adults in four European cohorts.

Methods: Data came from four Western-European and Central-European ageing cohorts harmonised as part of the Mindmap project, comprising 16 189 adults with an average age of 50-71 years. Green space exposure was based on the distance to the nearest green space and the amount of green space within 800 m buffers around residential addresses. Cohort-specific and one-step individual participant data (IPD) meta-analyses were used to examine associations of green space exposures with subjective health and depressed affect.

Results: The amount of green spaces within 800 m buffers was lowest for Residential Environment and CORonary heart Disease (Paris, 15.0 hectares) and highest for Health, Alcohol and Psychosocial factors In Eastern Europe (Czech Republic, 35.9 hectares). IPD analyses indicated no evidence of an association between the distance to the nearest green space and depressed affect (OR 0.98, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.00) or good self-rated health (OR 1.01, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.02). Likewise, the amount of green space within 800 m buffers did not predict depressed affect (OR 0.98, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.00) or good self-rated health (OR 1.01, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.02). Findings were consistent across all cohorts.

Conclusions: Data from four European ageing cohorts provide no support for the hypothesis that green space exposure is associated with subjective health or depressed affect. While longitudinal evidence is required, these findings suggest that green space may be less important for older urban residents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech-2020-214257DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8053337PMC
May 2021

Socioeconomic pathways to inequalities in mental and functional health: a comparative study of three birth cohorts.

BMC Public Health 2021 01 19;21(1):155. Epub 2021 Jan 19.

Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Amsterdam UMC - Location VU University Medical Center, De Boelelaan 1089a, 1081 HV, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Background: Although the educational expansion is often seen as a mechanism that might reduce health inequalities, socioeconomic inequalities in health (SEIH) have persisted or increased over the past decades. Theories suggest that this persistence could be due to a changing role of education as a 'gatekeeper' to access other socioeconomic resources such as occupation and income that are also associated with health outcomes. To test this, we examine whether the mediating role of occupation and income in the education-health relationship differs between three cohorts of 55-64 year old adults.

Methods: We used cross-sectional data from three cohorts of 988, 1002, and 1023 adults born in 1928/37, 1938/47 and 1948/57 and observed in 1992/93, 2002/03, 2012/13 respectively, who participated in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, the Netherlands. We used multigroup structural equation modelling to compare the strength of indirect effects of education via occupational skill level and income to functional limitations and depressive symptoms between cohorts.

Results: Absolute educational inequalities in functional limitations increased for men and women in later cohorts, and in depressive symptoms only for men. Relative inequalities in functional limitations increased only for women and in depressive symptoms only for men. The indirect effect of education via income on both health outcomes was weaker in the most recent birth cohort compared to the earlier cohorts. In contrast, the indirect effect of education via occupation on functional limitations was stronger in the most recent cohort compared to the earlier cohorts. These differences were mainly due to a decreasing direct effect of education on income and an increasing direct effect of education on occupational skill level, rather than to changes in the direct effects of occupation and income on health.

Conclusions: The role of education in determining inequalities in health appears to have changed across cohorts. While education became a less important determinant of income, it became a more important determinant of occupational level. This changing role of education in producing health inequalities should be considered in research and policy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-10154-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7814638PMC
January 2021

Predictors of Frailty and Vitality in Older Adults Aged 75 years and Over: Results from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam.

Gerontology 2021 11;67(1):69-77. Epub 2021 Jan 11.

Department of Epidemiology and Data Science, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Introduction: Frailty can be seen as a continuum, from fit to frail. While many recent studies have focused on frailty, much less attention has been paid to the other end of the continuum: the group of older adults that remain (relatively) vital. Moreover, there is a lack of studies on frailty and vitality that investigate predictors from multiple domains of functioning simultaneously. The aim of this study was to identify predictors of frailty as well as vitality among older adults aged 75 years and over.

Methods: We used longitudinal data from 569 adults aged ≥75 years who participated in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. Predictors from the sociodemographic, social, psychological, lifestyle, and physical domains of functioning were measured at T1 (2008-2009). We used the frailty index (FI) to identify frail (FI ≥ 0.25) and vital (FI ≤ 0.15) respondents at follow-up, 3 years later (T2: 2011-2012). We conducted logistic regression analyses with backward stepwise selection to develop and internally validate our prediction models.

Results: The prevalence of frailty in our sample at follow-up was 49.4% and the prevalence of vitality was 18.3%. Predictors of frailty and vitality partly overlapped and included age, depressive symptoms, number of chronic diseases, and self-rated health. We also found predictors that did not overlap. Male sex, moderate alcohol use, more emotional support received, and no hearing problems, were predictors of vitality. Lower cognitive functioning, polypharmacy, and pain were predictors of frailty. The final model for vitality explained 42% of the variance and the final model for frailty explained 48%. Both models had a good discriminative value (area under ROC-curve [AUC] vitality: 0.88; AUC frailty: 0.85).

Conclusion: Among older adults aged 75 years and over, predictors of frailty only partially overlap with predictors of vitality. The readily accessible predictors in our models may help to identify older adults who are likely to be vital, or who are at risk of frailty.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000512049DOI Listing
January 2021

Global trends in the prevalence and incidence of depression:a systematic review and meta-analysis.

J Affect Disord 2021 02 9;281:235-243. Epub 2020 Dec 9.

Department of Health Service and Population Research, King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, London, UK.

Background: There is mixed evidence regarding the change in the prevalence of depression in the general population over time. This study aimed to synthesise the evidence on studies that use equivalent approaches in equivalent populations across different time points.

Methods: A systematic review was conducted to identify studies focused on the change over time in depression incidence and prevalence in the general population. A random-effects meta-analysis was performed to obtain a pooled effect for the change in the prevalence estimates between the first and last time points considered. Subgroup and meta-regression analyses were used to ascertain differences in the effect sizes by gender, age group, prevalence type, elapsed time between cross-sections, and depression operationalisation.

Results: 19 studies provided information on the change in depression prevalence over time, whereas none provided such information regarding incidence. The pooled odds ratio (OR) and confidence interval (CI) were estimated by using 17 studies: OR=1.35 (95% CI: 1.14, 1.61). Similar pooled effects were obtained for females and males, separately. The high heterogeneity across studies was not explained by any of the design variables considered. No evidence for publication bias was found.

Limitations: The review included published articles up to August 2018, and the information of studies with more than two time points was summarised in a single estimate of change.

Conclusions: There is a predominant increasing trend in the likelihood of experiencing depression over time that seems not to be explainable by study design differences or publication bias alone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.12.035DOI Listing
February 2021

Polygenic Risk Score of Longevity Predicts Longer Survival Across an Age Continuum.

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2021 04;76(5):750-759

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, The Netherlands.

Studying the genome of centenarians may give insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying extreme human longevity and the escape of age-related diseases. Here, we set out to construct polygenic risk scores (PRSs) for longevity and to investigate the functions of longevity-associated variants. Using a cohort of centenarians with maintained cognitive health (N = 343), a population-matched cohort of older adults from 5 cohorts (N = 2905), and summary statistics data from genome-wide association studies on parental longevity, we constructed a PRS including 330 variants that significantly discriminated between centenarians and older adults. This PRS was also associated with longer survival in an independent sample of younger individuals (p = .02), leading up to a 4-year difference in survival based on common genetic factors only. We show that this PRS was, in part, able to compensate for the deleterious effect of the APOE-ε4 allele. Using an integrative framework, we annotated the 330 variants included in this PRS by the genes they associate with. We find that they are enriched with genes associated with cellular differentiation, developmental processes, and cellular response to stress. Together, our results indicate that an extended human life span is, in part, the result of a constellation of variants each exerting small advantageous effects on aging-related biological mechanisms that maintain overall health and decrease the risk of age-related diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glaa289DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8087277PMC
April 2021

Sleep characteristics across the lifespan in 1.1 million people from the Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Nat Hum Behav 2021 01 16;5(1):113-122. Epub 2020 Nov 16.

Research Institute of Child Development and Education, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

We aimed to obtain reliable reference charts for sleep duration, estimate the prevalence of sleep complaints across the lifespan and identify risk indicators of poor sleep. Studies were identified through systematic literature search in Embase, Medline and Web of Science (9 August 2019) and through personal contacts. Eligible studies had to be published between 2000 and 2017 with data on sleep assessed with questionnaires including ≥100 participants from the general population. We assembled individual participant data from 200,358 people (aged 1-100 years, 55% female) from 36 studies from the Netherlands, 471,759 people (40-69 years, 55.5% female) from the United Kingdom and 409,617 people (≥18 years, 55.8% female) from the United States. One in four people slept less than age-specific recommendations, but only 5.8% slept outside of the 'acceptable' sleep duration. Among teenagers, 51.5% reported total sleep times (TST) of less than the recommended 8-10 h and 18% report daytime sleepiness. In adults (≥18 years), poor sleep quality (13.3%) and insomnia symptoms (9.6-19.4%) were more prevalent than short sleep duration (6.5% with TST < 6 h). Insomnia symptoms were most frequent in people spending ≥9 h in bed, whereas poor sleep quality was more frequent in those spending <6 h in bed. TST was similar across countries, but insomnia symptoms were 1.5-2.9 times higher in the United States. Women (≥41 years) reported sleeping shorter times or slightly less efficiently than men, whereas with actigraphy they were estimated to sleep longer and more efficiently than man. This study provides age- and sex-specific population reference charts for sleep duration and efficiency which can help guide personalized advice on sleep length and preventive practices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41562-020-00965-xDOI Listing
January 2021

Social and physical neighbourhood characteristics and loneliness among older adults: results from the MINDMAP project.

J Epidemiol Community Health 2021 05 5;75(5):464-469. Epub 2020 Nov 5.

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Amsterdam UMC - Locatie VUMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Loneliness is associated with several adverse mental and physical health outcomes in older adults. Previous studies have shown that a variety of individual-level and perceived area-level characteristics are associated with loneliness. This study examined the associations of objectively measured social and physical neighbourhood characteristics with loneliness.

Methods: We used cross-sectional data from 1959 older adults (63-98 years) who participated in the Longitudinal Ageing Study Amsterdam (LASA; wave 2011/12) and the Health and Living Conditions of the Population of Eindhoven and Surroundings study (GLOBE; wave 2014) in the Netherlands. Study-specific loneliness scores were harmonised across both cohort studies and divided into tertiles denoting low, medium and high levels of loneliness. Objectively measured neighbourhood characteristics, including area-level percentages of low educated residents, social security beneficiaries and unoccupied dwellings, average income, crime levels and land use mix, were linked to individual-level data. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the associations of interest.

Results: There was no statistical evidence for an association of the included neighbourhood characteristics with loneliness. Although not statistically significant, the observed associations suggested that participants living in neighbourhoods with more heterogeneous land use mix were less likely to have a medium and high level of loneliness than those living in more homogeneous neighbourhoods in terms of land use mix (OR=0.54, 95% CI=0.18-1.67; OR=0.67, 95% CI=0.21-2.11).

Conclusion: The results indicate that the included objectively measured social and physical neighbourhood characteristics are not associated with loneliness in old age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech-2020-214217DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8053323PMC
May 2021

Gender, marital and educational inequalities in mid- to late-life depressive symptoms: cross-cohort variation and moderation by urbanicity degree.

J Epidemiol Community Health 2021 05 5;75(5):442-449. Epub 2020 Nov 5.

Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK.

Background: Although ageing populations are increasingly residing in cities, it is unknown whether depression inequalities are moderated by urbanicity degree. We estimated gender, marital and educational inequalities in depressive symptoms among older European and Canadian adults, and examined whether higher levels of urbanicity, captured by population density, heightened these inequalities.

Methods: Harmonised cross-sectional data on 97 826 adults aged ≥50 years from eight cohorts were used. Prevalence ratios (PRs) were calculated for probable depression, depressed affect and depressive symptom severity by gender, marital status and education within each cohort, and combined using random-effects meta-analysis. Using a subsample of 73 123 adults from six cohorts with available data on population density, we tested moderating effects measured by the number of residents per square kilometre.

Results: The pooled PRs for probable depression by female gender, unmarried or non-cohabitating status and low education were 1.48 (95% CI 1.28 to 1.72), 1.44 (95% CI 1.29 to 1.61) and 1.29 (95% CI 1.18 to 1.41), respectively. PRs for depressed affect and high symptom severity were broadly similar. Except for one Dutch cohort with findings in an unexpected direction, there was no evidence that population density modified depressive symptom inequalities.

Conclusions: Despite cross-cohort variation in gender, marital status and educational inequalities in depressive symptoms, there was weak evidence that these inequalities differed by levels of population density.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech-2020-214241DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8053350PMC
May 2021

Aircraft noise control policy and mental health: a natural experiment based on the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA).

J Epidemiol Community Health 2021 05 4;75(5):458-463. Epub 2020 Nov 4.

Department of Global Health & Social Medicine, King's College London, London, UK.

Background: This study examines the impact of environmental noise policy on depressive symptoms by exploiting the national experiment afforded by the New Deal aircraft noise control policy introduced in Schiphol (Amsterdam) in 2008.

Methods: Data came from older adults (ages 57-102) participating in three waves (2005/2006, 2008/2009 and 2011/2012) of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) (N=1746). Aircraft noise data from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency were linked to LASA cohort addresses using the GeoDMS software. The Centre for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression (CES-D) scale was used to measure depressive symptoms. Using a difference-in-dfferences (DiD) approach, we compared changes in CES-D levels of depressive symptoms before and after the policy between people living close (≤15 km) and those living far away (>15 km) from Schiphol airport.

Results: There were few changes in noise levels after the introduction of the policy. Estimates suggested that the policy did not lead to a reduction in noise levels in the treatment areas relative to the control areas (DiD estimate=0.916 dB(A), SE=0.345), and it had no significant impact on levels of depressive symptoms (DiD estimate=0.044, SE=0.704). Results were robust to applying different distance thresholds.

Conclusion: The New Deal aircraft noise control policy introduced in Amsterdam was not effective in reducing aircraft noise levels and had no impact on depressive symptoms in older people. Our results raise questions about the effectiveness of the current noise control policy to improve the well-being of residents living near the airport.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech-2020-214264DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8053324PMC
May 2021

Work characteristics and health in older workers: Educational inequalities.

PLoS One 2020 23;15(10):e0241051. Epub 2020 Oct 23.

Department of Epidemiology and Data Science, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

To be able to extend working lives, maintaining good health in older workers is important. The aim of the present study was to identify which work characteristics are associated with physical and mental health outcomes in older workers in the Netherlands, and particularly whether there are educational differences in these associations. We used longitudinal tobit and ordered logistic regression analyses to examine the associations between physical demands, psychosocial demands, variation in tasks, autonomy, and job strain and self-rated health (SRH), functional limitations, and depressive symptoms. We included interaction terms between the work characteristics and education to examine effect modification by education. We found that high physical demands, low variation in tasks, low autonomy, and high job strain were associated with poorer physical and mental health. We found evidence for educational differences in the exposure to these work characteristics, as well as in the strengths of their associations with health, with lower educated workers being disadvantaged. The associations between physical demands (SRH: OR = 3.70 (95%CI:1.92;7.11); functional limitations: B = 1.27 (95%CI:.47;2.07)), autonomy (SRH: OR = .42(95%CI:.26;.69)), and job strain (active job; SRH: OR = .25 (95%CI:.09;.69); functional limitations: B = -1.51 (95%CI:-2.68;-.34), and health were strongest in the lower educated workers. In order to maintain good health in older workers and reduce health inequalities, it is recommended to implement workplace interventions to improve working conditions, especially among the lower educated workers.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0241051PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7584163PMC
December 2020
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