Publications by authors named "Thomas H Mosley"

360 Publications

Reflection on modern methods: shared-parameter models for longitudinal studies with missing data.

Int J Epidemiol 2021 Jun 11. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.

A primary goal of longitudinal studies is to examine trends over time. Reported results from these studies often depend on strong, unverifiable assumptions about the missing data. Whereas the risk of substantial bias from missing data is widely known, analyses exploring missing-data influences are commonly done either ad hoc or not at all. This article outlines one of the three primary recognized approaches for examining missing-data effects that could be more widely used, i.e. the shared-parameter model (SPM), and explains its purpose, use, limitations and extensions. We additionally provide synthetic data and reproducible research code for running SPMs in SAS, Stata and R programming languages to facilitate their use in practice and for teaching purposes in epidemiology, biostatistics, data science and related fields. Our goals are to increase understanding and use of these methods by providing introductions to the concepts and access to helpful tools.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyab086DOI Listing
June 2021

The ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities) Study: JACC Focus Seminar 3/8.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2021 Jun;77(23):2939-2959

Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities) initiated community-based surveillance in 1987 for myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease (CHD) incidence and mortality and created a prospective cohort of 15,792 Black and White adults ages 45 to 64 years. The primary aims were to improve understanding of the decline in CHD mortality and identify determinants of subclinical atherosclerosis and CHD in Black and White middle-age adults. ARIC has examined areas including health disparities, genomics, heart failure, and prevention, producing more than 2,300 publications. Results have had strong clinical impact and demonstrate the importance of population-based research in the spectrum of biomedical research to improve health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2021.04.035DOI Listing
June 2021

Accelerated DNA methylation age and medication use among African Americans.

Aging (Albany NY) 2021 Jun 3;13. Epub 2021 Jun 3.

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.

DNA methylation age acceleration, the discrepancy between epigenetic age and chronological age, is associated with mortality and chronic diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. In this study, we investigate whether medications commonly used to treat these diseases in 15 drug categories are associated with four epigenetic age acceleration measures: HorvathAge acceleration (HorvathAA), HannumAge acceleration (HannumAA), PhenoAge acceleration, and GrimAge acceleration (GrimAA) using cross-sectional (Phase 1, N=1,100) and longitudinal (Phases 1 and 2, N=266) data from African Americans in the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA) study. In cross-sectional analyses, the use of calcium channel blockers was associated with 1.27 years lower HannumAA after adjusting for covariates including hypertension (p=0.001). Longitudinal analyses showed that, compared to those who never used antihypertensives, those who started to take antihypertensives after Phase 1 had a 0.97-year decrease in GrimAA (p=0.007). In addition, compared to those who never used NSAID analgesics, those who started to take them after Phase 1 had a 2.61-year increase in HorvathAA (p=0.0005). Our study demonstrates that three commonly used medications are associated with DNAm age acceleration in African Americans and sheds light on the potential epigenetic effects of pharmaceuticals on aging at the cellular level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/aging.203115DOI Listing
June 2021

Association between Circulating Protein C Levels and Incident Dementia: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.

Neuroepidemiology 2021 Jun 2:1-10. Epub 2021 Jun 2.

Department of Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi, USA.

Introduction: Hemostasis depends on the delicate balance between coagulants and anticoagulants. Higher levels of circulating coagulants have been associated with higher risk of cerebral infarctions and dementia. In contrast, higher levels of circulating protein C, an endogenous anticoagulant, have been associated with lower risk of cerebral infarctions, and the association between protein C levels and the risk of dementia is unknown. The goal of this study was to evaluate the association of circulating protein C levels in midlife and late life with incident dementia.

Methods: Circulating protein C levels were measured using blood samples collected at the midlife baseline (1987-1989) and the late-life baseline (2011-2013) among 14,462 and 3,614 participants, respectively, in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study. Protein C levels were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay at midlife and a modified aptamer-based assay at late life. Participants were followed up to 2013 from midlife and up to 2017 from late life. Incident dementia was ascertained during the follow-up periods using in-person cognitive and functional assessment, informant interviews, and International Classification of Diseases codes at hospitalization discharge and on death certificates. Cause-specific Cox regression models were used to evaluate the association between quintiles of circulating protein C and incident dementia.

Results: From midlife (mean age of 54), 1,389 incident dementia events were observed over a median follow-up of 23 years. From late life (mean age of 75), 353 incident dementia events were observed over a median follow-up of 4.9 years. At both midlife and late life, circulating protein C had an inverse association with incident dementia after adjusting for demographic, vascular, and hemostatic risk factors, incident stroke as time-dependent covariate, and incorporating stabilized weights based on propensity scores (quintile 5 vs. quintile 1 as the reference, midlife hazard ratio 0.80, 95% confidence interval 0.66-0.96, p value for trend 0.04; late-life hazard ratio 0.84, 95% confidence interval: 0.55-1.28, p value for trend 0.04).

Discussion/conclusion: Circulating protein C has an inverse association with incident dementia independent of established risk factors, including stroke. Our results suggest studying anticoagulants in addition to coagulants can increase our understanding on the relationship between hemostasis and dementia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000516287DOI Listing
June 2021

Plasma amyloid β levels are driven by genetic variants near APOE, BACE1, APP, PSEN2: A genome-wide association study in over 12,000 non-demented participants.

Alzheimers Dement 2021 May 18. Epub 2021 May 18.

Human Genetics Center, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences, School of Public Health, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas, USA.

Introduction: There is increasing interest in plasma amyloid beta (Aβ) as an endophenotype of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Identifying the genetic determinants of plasma Aβ levels may elucidate important biological processes that determine plasma Aβ measures.

Methods: We included 12,369 non-demented participants from eight population-based studies. Imputed genetic data and measured plasma Aβ1-40, Aβ1-42 levels and Aβ1-42/Aβ1-40 ratio were used to perform genome-wide association studies, and gene-based and pathway analyses. Significant variants and genes were followed up for their association with brain positron emission tomography Aβ deposition and AD risk.

Results: Single-variant analysis identified associations with apolipoprotein E (APOE) for Aβ1-42 and Aβ1-42/Aβ1-40 ratio, and BACE1 for Aβ1-40. Gene-based analysis of Aβ1-40 additionally identified associations for APP, PSEN2, CCK, and ZNF397. There was suggestive evidence for interaction between a BACE1 variant and APOE ε4 on brain Aβ deposition.

Discussion: Identification of variants near/in known major Aβ-processing genes strengthens the relevance of plasma-Aβ levels as an endophenotype of AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/alz.12333DOI Listing
May 2021

Atrial Fibrillation and Ischemic Stroke with the Amyloidogenic V122I Transthyretin Variant among Black Americans.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2021 Apr 19. Epub 2021 Apr 19.

Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2021.04.042DOI Listing
April 2021

Epidemiology of Heart Failure Stages in Middle-Aged Black People in the Community: Prevalence and Prognosis in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.

J Am Heart Assoc 2021 May 21;10(9):e016524. Epub 2021 Apr 21.

Department of Medicine University of Mississippi Medical Center Jackson MS.

Background Black individuals have a higher burden of risk factors for heart failure (HF) and subclinical left ventricular remodeling. Methods and Results We evaluated 1871 Black participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study cohort who attended a routine examination (1993-1996, median age 58 years) when they underwent echocardiography. We estimated the prevalences of 4 HF stages: (1) : no risk factors; (2) : presence of HF risk factors (hypertension, diabetes mellitus, obesity, smoking, dyslipidemia, coronary artery disease without clinical myocardial infarction), no cardiac structural/functional abnormality; (3) : presence of prior myocardial infarction, systolic dysfunction, left ventricular hypertrophy, regional wall motion abnormality, or left ventricular enlargement; and (4) : prevalent HF. We assessed the incidence of clinical HF, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease events, and all-cause mortality on follow-up according to HF stage. The prevalence of HF Stages 0, A, B, and C/D were 3.8%, 20.6%, 67.0%, and 8.6%, respectively, at baseline. On follow-up (median 19.0 years), 309 participants developed overt HF, 390 incurred new-onset cardiovascular disease events, and 651 individuals died. Incidence rates per 1000 person-years for overt HF, cardiovascular disease events, and death, respectively, were Stage 0, 2.4, 0.8, and 7.6; Stage A, 7.4, 9.7, and 13.5; Stage B 13.6, 15.9, and 22.0. Stage B HF was associated with a 1.5- to 2-fold increased adjusted risk of HF, cardiovascular disease events and death compared with Stages 0/A. Conclusions In our large community-based sample of Black individuals, we observed a strikingly high prevalence of Stage B HF in middle age that was a marker of high cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.120.016524DOI Listing
May 2021

Association of Carotid Intima-Media Thickness and Other Carotid Ultrasound Features With Incident Dementia in the ARIC-NCS.

J Am Heart Assoc 2021 May 17;10(9):e020489. Epub 2021 Apr 17.

Division of Epidemiology and Community Health School of Public Health University of Minnesota Minneapolis MN.

Background Increased carotid intima-media thickness, interadventitial diameter, presence of carotid plaque, and lower distensibility are predictors for cardiovascular disease. These indices likely relate to cerebrovascular disease, and thus may constitute a form of vascular contributions to dementia and Alzheimer disease-related dementia. Therefore, we assessed the relationship of carotid measurements and arterial stiffness with incident dementia in the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) study. Methods and Results A total of 12 459 ARIC participants with carotid arterial ultrasounds in 1990 to 1992 were followed through 2017 for dementia. Dementia cases were identified using in-person and phone cognitive status assessments, hospitalization discharge codes, and death certificate codes. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the hazard ratios (HRs) for incident dementia. Participants were aged 57±6 at baseline, 57% were women, and 23% were Black individuals. Over a median follow-up time of 24 years, 2224 dementia events were ascertained. After multivariable adjustments, the highest quintile of carotid intima-media thickness and interadventitial diameter in midlife was associated with increased risk of dementia (HR [95% CIs], 1.25 [1.08-1.45]; and 1.22 [1.04-1.43], respectively) compared with its respective lowest quintile. Presence of carotid plaque did not have a significant association with dementia (HR [95% CI], 1.06 [0.97-1.15]). Higher distensibility was associated with lower risk of dementia (HR [95% CI] highest versus lowest quintile, 0.76 [0.63-0.91]). Conclusions Greater carotid intima-media thickness, interadventitial diameter, and lower carotid distensibility are associated with an increased risk of incident dementia. These findings suggest that both atherosclerosis and carotid stiffness may be implicated in dementia risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.120.020489DOI Listing
May 2021

Allele Specific Variation at APOE Increases Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Obesity but Decreases Risk of Alzheimer's Disease and Myocardial Infarction.

Hum Mol Genet 2021 Apr 15. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Department of Biochemistry, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a leading cause of chronic liver disease and is highly correlated with metabolic disease. NAFLD results from environmental exposures acting on a susceptible polygenic background. This study performed the largest multiethnic investigation of exonic variation associated with NAFLD and correlated metabolic traits and diseases. An exome array meta-analysis was carried out among eight multiethnic population-based cohorts (n = 16 492) with computed tomography (CT) measured hepatic steatosis. A fixed effects meta-analysis identified five exome-wide significant loci (P < 5.30x10-7); including a novel signal near TOMM40/APOE. Joint analysis of TOMM40/APOE variants revealed the TOMM40 signal was attributed to APOE rs429358-T; APOE rs7412 was not associated with liver attenuation. Moreover, rs429358-T was associated with higher serum alanine aminotransferase, liver steatosis, cirrhosis, triglycerides and obesity; as well as, lower cholesterol and decreased risk of myocardial infarction (MI) and Alzheimer's disease (ad) in phenome-wide association analyses in the Michigan Genomics Initiative, United Kingdom Biobank and/or public datasets. These results implicate APOE in imaging-based identification of NAFLD. This association may or may not translate to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH); however, these results indicate a significant association with advanced liver disease and hepatic cirrhosis. These findings highlight allelic heterogeneity at the APOE locus and demonstrate an inverse link between NAFLD and ad at the exome level in the largest analysis to date.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddab096DOI Listing
April 2021

Frequent Premature Atrial Contractions Are Associated With Poorer Cognitive Function in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study.

Mayo Clin Proc 2021 05 9;96(5):1147-1156. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

Objective: To evaluate the association of premature atrial contraction (PAC) frequency with cognitive test scores and prevalence of dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Materials And Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis using Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study visit 6 (January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2017) data. We included 2163 participants without atrial fibrillation (AF) (age mean ± SD, 79±4 years; 1273 (58.9%) female; and 604 (27.97.0% Black) who underwent cognitive testing and wore a leadless, ambulatory electrocardiogram monitor for 14 days. We categorized PAC frequency based on the percent of beats: less than 1%, minimal; 1% to <5%, occasional; greater than or equal to 5%, frequent. We derived cognitive domain-specific factor scores (memory, executive function, language, and global z-score). Dementia and MCI were adjudicated.

Results: During a mean analyzable time of 12.6±2.6 days, 339 (15.7%) had occasional PACs and 107 (4.9%) had frequent PACs. Individuals with frequent PACs (vs minimal) had lower executive function factor scores by 0.30 (95% CI, -0.46 to -0.14) and lower global factor scores by 0.20 (95% CI, -0.33 to -0.07) after multivariable adjustment. Individuals with frequent PACs (vs minimal) had higher odds of prevalent dementia or MCI after multivariable adjustment (odds ratio, 1.74; 95% CI, 1.09 to 2.79). These associations were unchanged with additional adjustment for stroke.

Conclusion: In community-dwelling older adults without AF, frequent PACs were cross-sectionally associated with lower executive and global cognitive function and greater prevalence of dementia or MCI, independently of stroke. Our findings lend support to the notion that atrial cardiomyopathy may be a driver of AF-related outcomes. Further research to confirm these associations prospectively and to elucidate underlying mechanisms is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2021.01.025DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8106627PMC
May 2021

Cognition and 20-year subsequent sleep disturbances.

Sleep Health 2021 Mar 6. Epub 2021 Mar 6.

Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Introduction: There is a paucity of data exploring the extent that preclinical cognitive changes are predictive of subsequent sleep outcomes.

Methods: Logistic regression models were used to evaluate data from a cohort of 196 African American adults who had measures of cognitive function assessed at 2 time points during a 20-year period across the mid- to late-life transition. Cognitive testing included the Delayed Word Recall, the Digit Symbol Substitution, and the Word Fluency tests, which were summarized as a composite cognitive z-score. Sleep apnea was measured by in-home sleep apnea testing and sleep duration and quality were derived from 7-day wrist actigraphy at the end of the study period.

Results: A one standard deviation (SD) lower composite cognitive z-score at baseline was significantly associated with greater odds of low sleep efficiency (<85%) (odds ratio [OR] = 1.85, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.13, 3.04) and greater odds of increased wakefulness after sleep onset time (WASO; >60 minutes) (OR = 1.65, 95% CI = 1.05, 2.60) in adjusted models. A one SD faster rate of cognitive decline over the study period was significantly associated with greater odds of low sleep efficiency (OR = 1.68, 95% CI = 1.04, 2.73), greater odds of sleep fragmentation (>35%); (OR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.05, 2.85), and greater odds of increased WASO (OR = 1.85, 95% CI = 1.15, 2.95) in adjusted models. Neither baseline cognitive z-score nor rate of cognitive decline was associated with sleep apnea or the total average sleep duration.

Conclusion: Cognition at baseline and change over time predicts sleep quality and may reflect common neural mechanisms and vulnerabilities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2021.01.008DOI Listing
March 2021

Epigenetic age acceleration is associated with cardiometabolic risk factors and clinical cardiovascular disease risk scores in African Americans.

Clin Epigenetics 2021 Mar 16;13(1):55. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality among US adults. African Americans have higher burden of CVD morbidity and mortality compared to any other racial group. Identifying biomarkers for clinical risk prediction of CVD offers an opportunity for precision prevention and earlier intervention.

Results: Using linear mixed models, we investigated the cross-sectional association between four measures of epigenetic age acceleration (intrinsic (IEAA), extrinsic (EEAA), PhenoAge (PhenoAA), and GrimAge (GrimAA)) and ten cardiometabolic markers of hypertension, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia in 1,100 primarily hypertensive African Americans from sibships in the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA). We then assessed the association between epigenetic age acceleration and time to self-reported incident CVD using frailty hazard models and investigated CVD risk prediction improvement compared to models with clinical risk scores (Framingham risk score (FRS) and the atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk equation). After adjusting for sex and chronological age, increased epigenetic age acceleration was associated with higher systolic blood pressure (IEAA), higher pulse pressure (EEAA and GrimAA), higher fasting glucose (PhenoAA and GrimAA), higher fasting insulin (EEAA), lower low density cholesterol (GrimAA), and higher triglycerides (GrimAA). A five-year increase in GrimAA was associated with CVD incidence with a hazard ratio of 1.54 (95% CI 1.22-2.01) and remained significant after adjusting for CVD risk factors. The addition of GrimAA to risk score models improved model fit using likelihood ratio tests (P = 0.013 for FRS and P = 0.008 for ASCVD), but did not improve C statistics (P > 0.05). Net reclassification index (NRI) showed small but significant improvement in reassignment of risk categories with the addition of GrimAA to FRS (NRI: 0.055, 95% CI 0.040-0.071) and the ASCVD equation (NRI: 0.029, 95% CI 0.006-0.064).

Conclusions: Epigenetic age acceleration measures are associated with traditional CVD risk factors in an African-American cohort with a high prevalence of hypertension. GrimAA was associated with CVD incidence and slightly improved prediction of CVD events over clinical risk scores.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13148-021-01035-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7962278PMC
March 2021

Discovery and fine-mapping of height loci via high-density imputation of GWASs in individuals of African ancestry.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 04 12;108(4):564-582. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

The Charles R. Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY 10029, USA.

Although many loci have been associated with height in European ancestry populations, very few have been identified in African ancestry individuals. Furthermore, many of the known loci have yet to be generalized to and fine-mapped within a large-scale African ancestry sample. We performed sex-combined and sex-stratified meta-analyses in up to 52,764 individuals with height and genome-wide genotyping data from the African Ancestry Anthropometry Genetics Consortium (AAAGC). We additionally combined our African ancestry meta-analysis results with published European genome-wide association study (GWAS) data. In the African ancestry analyses, we identified three novel loci (SLC4A3, NCOA2, ECD/FAM149B1) in sex-combined results and two loci (CRB1, KLF6) in women only. In the African plus European sex-combined GWAS, we identified an additional three novel loci (RCCD1, G6PC3, CEP95) which were equally driven by AAAGC and European results. Among 39 genome-wide significant signals at known loci, conditioning index SNPs from European studies identified 20 secondary signals. Two of the 20 new secondary signals and none of the 8 novel loci had minor allele frequencies (MAF) < 5%. Of 802 known European height signals, 643 displayed directionally consistent associations with height, of which 205 were nominally significant (p < 0.05) in the African ancestry sex-combined sample. Furthermore, 148 of 241 loci contained ≤20 variants in the credible sets that jointly account for 99% of the posterior probability of driving the associations. In summary, trans-ethnic meta-analyses revealed novel signals and further improved fine-mapping of putative causal variants in loci shared between African and European ancestry populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.02.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8059339PMC
April 2021

Common Medications and Intracerebral Hemorrhage: The ARIC Study.

J Am Heart Assoc 2021 Feb 15;10(5):e014270. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Department of Neurology Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore MD.

Background Antiplatelets, anticoagulants, and statins are commonly prescribed for various indications. The associations between these medications and the risk of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) and cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) are unclear. Methods and Results We performed a retrospective study of the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) study cohort, recruited from 4 US communities in 1987 to 1989 with follow-up. In 2011 to 2013, a subset (N=1942) underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging with CMB evaluation. Time-varying and any antiplatelet, anticoagulant, or statin use was evaluated at subsequent study visits in participants not on each medication at baseline. To determine the hazard of ICH and odds of CMB by medication use, logistic and Cox proportional hazard models were built, respectively, adjusting for the propensity to take the medication, concomitant use of other medications, and cognitive, genetic, and radiographic data. Of 15 719 individuals during up to 20 years of follow-up, 130 participants experienced an ICH. The adjusted hazard of ICH was significantly lower among participants taking an antiplatelet at the most recent study visit before ICH versus nonusers (hazard ratio [HR], 0.53; 95% CI, 0.30-0.92). Statin users had a significantly lower hazard of an ICH compared with nonusers (adjusted HR, 0.13; 95% CI, 0.05-0.34). There was no association of CMB and antiplatelet, anticoagulant, or statin use in adjusted models. Conclusions In this US community-based study, antiplatelet and statin use were associated with lower ICH hazard, whereas no association was noted between CMBs and antiplatelets, anticoagulants, and statins. Further study is needed to understand the differential roles of these medications in cerebral microhemorrhages and macrohemorrhages.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.120.014270DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8174245PMC
February 2021

Imaging-based indices of Neuropathology and gait speed decline in older adults: the atherosclerosis risk in communities study.

Brain Imaging Behav 2021 Jan 13. Epub 2021 Jan 13.

Department of Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2500 North State Street, Jackson, MS, 39216, USA.

Imaging markers of cerebrovascular disease and Alzheimer's disease (AD) are implicated in mobility impairment in older adults, but few studies have examined these relationships longitudinally in a racially-diverse population-based sample. At Visit 5 (2011-13) of the ARIC Study, 1859 participants had usual pace gait speed (cm/s) assessed and brain MRI (mean age = 76.3, 28.5% Black) and PET (n = 343; mean age = 75.9, 42.6% Black) measures including total/regional brain volume (cm), white matter hyperintensities (WMH; cm), infarcts (present/absent), microbleeds (count) and global beta-amyloid (Aβ). Participants returned at Visit 6 (n = 1264, 2016-17) and Visit 7 (n = 1108, 2018-19) for follow-up gait speed assessments. We used linear regression to estimate effects of baseline infarct presence, higher microbleed count, and a one interquartile range (IQR) poorer measures of continuous predictors (-1 IQR total brain volume, temporal-parietal lobe meta region of interest(ROI); +1 IQR WMH volume, global Aβ SUVR) on cross-sectional gait speed and change in gait speed adjusting for age, sex, education, study site, APOE e4, estimated intracranial volume, BMI, and cardiovascular risk factors. Cross-sectionally, slower gait speed outcome was associated with higher WMH volume, -3.38 cm/s (95%CI:-4.71, -2.04), infarct presence, -5.60 cm/s (-7.69, -3.51), microbleed count, -2.20 cm/s (-3.20, -0.91), smaller total brain volume, -9.26 cm/s (-12.1, -6.43), and smaller temporal-parietal lobe ROI -6.28 cm/s (-8.28, -4.28). Longitudinally, faster gait speed outcome decline was associated with higher WMH volume, -0.27 cm/s/year, (-0.51, -0.03) and higher global Aβ SUVR, -0.62 cm/s/year (-1.20, -0.03). Both cerebrovascular and AD pathology may contribute to mobility decline commonly seen with aging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11682-020-00435-yDOI Listing
January 2021

Prospective Analysis of Leisure-Time Physical Activity in Midlife and Beyond and Brain Damage on MRI in Older Adults.

Neurology 2021 02 6;96(7):e964-e974. Epub 2021 Jan 6.

From the Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine (P.P.), Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY; Department of Epidemiology (A.R.S., R.F.G.), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD; Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health (K.P.G.), The University of Alabama at Birmingham; Department of Neurology (R.F.G.), Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health (A.R.F.), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Department of Epidemiology (M.C.P.), Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University, Washington, DC; Department of Epidemiology (K.R.E., G.H.), Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Departments of Radiology (C.R.J.) and Neurology (D.S.K.), Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; and The MIND Center (T.H.M.), University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson.

Objective: To test the hypothesis that greater levels of leisure-time moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) in midlife or late life are associated with larger gray matter volumes, less white matter disease, and fewer cerebrovascular lesions measured in late life, we utilized data from 1,604 participants enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study.

Methods: Leisure-time MVPA was quantified using a past-year recall, interviewer-administered questionnaire at baseline and 25 years later and classified as none, low, middle, and high at each time point. The presence of cerebrovascular lesions, white matter hyperintensities (WMH), white matter integrity (mean fractional anisotropy [FA] and mean diffusivity [MD]), and gray matter volumes were quantified with 3T MRI in late life. The odds of cerebrovascular lesions were estimated with logistic regression. Linear regression estimated the mean differences in WMH, mean FA and MD, and gray matter volumes.

Results: Among 1,604 participants (mean age 53 years, 61% female, 27% Black), 550 (34%), 176 (11%), 250 (16%), and 628 (39%) reported no, low, middle, and high MVPA in midlife, respectively. Compared to no MVPA in midlife, high MVPA was associated with more intact white matter integrity in late life (mean FA difference 0.13 per SD [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.004, 0.26]; mean MD difference -0.11 per SD [95% CI -0.21, -0.004]). High MVPA in midlife was also associated with a lower odds of lacunar infarcts (odds ratio 0.68, 95% CI 0.46, 0.99). High MVPA was not associated with gray matter volumes. High MVPA compared to no MVPA in late life was associated with most brain measures.

Conclusion: Greater levels of physical activity in midlife may protect against cerebrovascular sequelae in late life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011375DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8055339PMC
February 2021

Corrigendum to 'Association of sickle cell trait with measures of cognitive function and dementia in African Americans' Vol. 16 (2019), 100,201.

eNeurologicalSci 2020 Dec 12;21:100281. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorder Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory Department of Pediatrics, Atlanta, GA, United States of America.

[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1016/j.ensci.2019.100201.].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ensci.2020.100281DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7719690PMC
December 2020

Cerebral small vessel disease genomics and its implications across the lifespan.

Nat Commun 2020 12 8;11(1):6285. Epub 2020 Dec 8.

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, Birmingham, AL, 35233, USA.

White matter hyperintensities (WMH) are the most common brain-imaging feature of cerebral small vessel disease (SVD), hypertension being the main known risk factor. Here, we identify 27 genome-wide loci for WMH-volume in a cohort of 50,970 older individuals, accounting for modification/confounding by hypertension. Aggregated WMH risk variants were associated with altered white matter integrity (p = 2.5×10-7) in brain images from 1,738 young healthy adults, providing insight into the lifetime impact of SVD genetic risk. Mendelian randomization suggested causal association of increasing WMH-volume with stroke, Alzheimer-type dementia, and of increasing blood pressure (BP) with larger WMH-volume, notably also in persons without clinical hypertension. Transcriptome-wide colocalization analyses showed association of WMH-volume with expression of 39 genes, of which four encode known drug targets. Finally, we provide insight into BP-independent biological pathways underlying SVD and suggest potential for genetic stratification of high-risk individuals and for genetically-informed prioritization of drug targets for prevention trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19111-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7722866PMC
December 2020

Associations Between Atrial Cardiopathy and Cerebral Amyloid: The ARIC-PET Study.

J Am Heart Assoc 2020 12 8;9(24):e018399. Epub 2020 Dec 8.

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore MD.

Background Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a risk factor for cognitive decline, possibly from silent brain infarction. Left atrial changes in structure or function (atrial cardiopathy) can lead to AF but may impact cognition independently. It is unknown if AF or atrial cardiopathy also acts on Alzheimer disease-specific mechanisms, such as deposition of β-amyloid. Methods and Results A total of 316 dementia-free participants from the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) study underwent florbetapir positron emission tomography, electrocardiography, and 2-dimensional echocardiography. Atrial cardiopathy was defined as ≥1: (1) left atrial volume index >34 mL/m; (2) P-wave terminal force >5000 µV×ms; and (3) serum NT-proBNP (N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide) >250 pg/mL. Cross-sectional associations between global cortical β-amyloid (>1.2 standardized uptake value ratio) and adjudicated history of AF and atrial cardiopathy, each, were evaluated using multivariable logistic regression. Participants (mean age, 76 years) were 56% women and 42% Black individuals. Odds of elevated florbetapir standardized uptake value ratio were significantly increased among those with atrial cardiopathy (odds ratio, 1.81; 95% CI, 1.02-3.22) and doubled for those with enlarged left atrial volume index after adjustment for demographics/risk factors (95% CI, 1.04-4.61). There was no association between P-wave terminal force or NT-proBNP and elevated florbetapir standardized uptake value ratio, nor between AF and elevated standardized uptake value ratio. Conclusions Among healthy, nondemented community-dwelling older individuals, we report an association between atrial cardiopathy, left atrial volume index, and elevated brain amyloid, by positron emission tomography, without a similar association in individuals with AF. Potential limitations include reverse causation and survival bias. Ongoing work will help determine if changes in cardiac structure and function precede or occur simultaneously with amyloid deposition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.120.018399DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7955392PMC
December 2020

A Noncoding Variant Near PPP1R3B Promotes Liver Glycogen Storage and MetS, but Protects Against Myocardial Infarction.

J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2021 Jan;106(2):372-387

Brigham and Women's Hospital, Havard University, Boston, MA, USA.

Context: Glycogen storage diseases are rare. Increased glycogen in the liver results in increased attenuation.

Objective: Investigate the association and function of a noncoding region associated with liver attenuation but not histologic nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Design: Genetics of Obesity-associated Liver Disease Consortium.

Setting: Population-based.

Main Outcome: Computed tomography measured liver attenuation.

Results: Carriers of rs4841132-A (frequency 2%-19%) do not show increased hepatic steatosis; they have increased liver attenuation indicative of increased glycogen deposition. rs4841132 falls in a noncoding RNA LOC157273 ~190 kb upstream of PPP1R3B. We demonstrate that rs4841132-A increases PPP1R3B through a cis genetic effect. Using CRISPR/Cas9 we engineered a 105-bp deletion including rs4841132-A in human hepatocarcinoma cells that increases PPP1R3B, decreases LOC157273, and increases glycogen perfectly mirroring the human disease. Overexpression of PPP1R3B or knockdown of LOC157273 increased glycogen but did not result in decreased LOC157273 or increased PPP1R3B, respectively, suggesting that the effects may not all occur via affecting RNA levels. Based on electronic health record (EHR) data, rs4841132-A associates with all components of the metabolic syndrome (MetS). However, rs4841132-A associated with decreased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and risk for myocardial infarction (MI). A metabolic signature for rs4841132-A includes increased glycine, lactate, triglycerides, and decreased acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate.

Conclusions: These results show that rs4841132-A promotes a hepatic glycogen storage disease by increasing PPP1R3B and decreasing LOC157273. rs4841132-A promotes glycogen accumulation and development of MetS but lowers LDL cholesterol and risk for MI. These results suggest that elevated hepatic glycogen is one cause of MetS that does not invariably promote MI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgaa855DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7823249PMC
January 2021

Associations Between Carotid Artery Plaque Burden, Plaque Characteristics, and Cardiovascular Events: The ARIC Carotid Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study.

JAMA Cardiol 2021 Jan;6(1):79-86

The Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Importance: It remains unknown whether in an asymptomatic community-based cohort magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures of plaque characteristics are independently associated with incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) events when adjusted for carotid artery (CA) wall thickness, a measure of plaque burden.

Objective: To assess associations of CA MRI plaque characteristics with incident CVD events.

Design, Setting, And Participants: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study is a prospective epidemiologic study of the incidence of CVD in 15 792 adults of which 2066 women and men were enrolled in the ARIC Carotid MRI substudy. ARIC participants were enrolled from 1987 to 1989, and the substudy was conducted between January 2004 and December 2005. Analysis began January 2017 and ended August 2020.

Exposures: Incident CVD events during a median (interquartile range [IQR]) follow-up time of 10.5 (8.1-10.9) years were assessed.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Proportional hazards Cox analyses were performed to ascertain associations between MRI variables of CA plaque burden and plaque characteristics.

Results: Of 15 792 ARIC participants, 2066 were enrolled in the substudy, of whom 1256 (701 women [55.8%]) had complete data and were eligible for incident CVD analyses. Carotid artery plaques in participants with incident CVD events (172 [13.7%]) compared with those without (1084 [86.3%]) had a higher normalized wall index (median [IQR], 0.48 [0.36-0.62] vs 0.43 [0.34-0.55]; P = .001), maximum CA wall thickness (median [IQR], 2.22 [1.37-3.52] mm vs 1.96 [1.29-2.85] mm; P = .01), maximum CA stenosis (median [IQR], 5% [0%-22%] vs 0% [0%-13%]; P < .001), and when present, a larger lipid core volume (median [IQR], 0.05 [0.02-0.11] mL vs 0.03 [0.01-0.07] mL; P = .03), respectively. The presence of a lipid core was independently associated with incident CVD events when adjusted for traditional CVD risk factors and maximum CA wall thickness (hazard ratio, 2.48 [95% CI, 1.36-4.51]; P = .003), whereas the presence of calcification was not. The frequency of intraplaque hemorrhage presence in this population of individuals free of CVD at baseline who were not recruited for carotid stenosis was too small to draw any meaningful conclusions (intraplaque hemorrhage presence: 68 of 1256 participants [5.4%]). Carotid artery lumen area and maximum stenosis, which were overall low, were independently associated with incident CVD events when adjusted for traditional CVD risk factors, as anticipated.

Conclusions And Relevance: The presence of a CA lipid core on MRI is associated with incident CVD events independent of maximum CA wall thickness in asymptomatic participants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2020.5573DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7675218PMC
January 2021

Epigenome-wide association study identifies DNA methylation sites associated with target organ damage in older African Americans.

Epigenetics 2020 Oct 26:1-14. Epub 2020 Oct 26.

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

Target organ damage (TOD) manifests as vascular injuries in the body organ systems associated with long-standing hypertension. DNA methylation in peripheral blood leukocytes can capture inflammatory processes and gene expression changes underlying TOD. We investigated the association between epigenome-wide DNA methylation and five measures of TOD (estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), urinary albumin-creatinine ratio (UACR), left ventricular mass index (LVMI), relative wall thickness (RWT), and white matter hyperintensity (WMH)) in 961 African Americans from hypertensive sibships. A multivariate (multi-trait) model of eGFR, UACR, LVMI, and RWT identified seven CpGs associated with at least one of the traits (cg21134922, cg04816311 near , cg09155024, cg10254690 near , cg07660512, cg12661888 near , and cg02264946 near ) at FDR q < 0.1. Adjusting for blood pressure, body mass index, and type 2 diabetes attenuated the association for four CpGs. DNA methylation was associated with -gene expression for some CpGs, but no significant mediation by gene expression was detected. Mendelian randomization analyses suggested causality between three CpGs and eGFR (cg04816311, cg10254690, and cg07660512). We also assessed whether the identified CpGs were associated with TOD in 614 African Americans in the Hypertension Genetic Epidemiology Network (HyperGEN) study. Out of three CpGs available for replication, cg04816311 was significantly associated with eGFR (p = 0.0003), LVMI (p = 0.0003), and RWT (p = 0.002). This study found evidence of an association between DNA methylation and TOD in African Americans and highlights the utility of using a multivariate-based model that leverages information across related traits in epigenome-wide association studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15592294.2020.1827717DOI Listing
October 2020

Microvascular Brain Disease Progression and Risk of Stroke: The ARIC Study.

Stroke 2020 11 1;51(11):3264-3270. Epub 2020 Oct 1.

Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland (S.K., A.L.C.S., R.F.G., J.C.).

Background And Purpose: Data on the significance of combined white matter hyperintensities (WMH)/lacunar brain infarcts, and their progression over time for the prediction of stroke are scarce. We studied associations between the progression in combined measures of microvascular brain disease and risk of stroke in the ARIC study (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities).

Methods: Prospective analysis of 907 stroke-free ARIC participants who underwent a brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in 1993 to 1995, a second brain MRI in 2004 to 2006, and were subsequently followed for stroke incidence through December 31, 2017 (median [25%-75%] follow-up 12.6 [8.9-13.4] years). A combined measure of microvascular brain disease was defined at each visit and categorized by progression from first to second brain MRI as no progression; mild progression (increase of ≥1 unit in WMH grade or new lacune), and moderate progression (increase of ≥1 unit in WMH grade and new lacune). All definite/probable ischemic or hemorrhagic incident strokes occurring after this second MRI, and through 2017, were included. Associations between microvascular brain disease, progression in the combined measures, and stroke incidence were studied with Cox proportional hazard models, adjusting for age, sex, race, education level, time from first to second MRI, body mass index, smoking, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and coronary heart disease.

Results: At the second brain MRI (mean age 72), the distribution of the combined measure was 37% WMH grade <2 and no lacune; 57% WMH grade ≥2 or lacune; and 6% WMH grade ≥2 and lacune. No progression in the combined measures was observed in 38% of participants, 57% showed mild progression and 5% showed moderate progression. Sixty-four incident strokes occurred during the follow-up period. Compared with no change in the combined measure, moderate progression of microvascular brain disease was significantly associated with higher risk of stroke (adjusted hazard ratio, 3.00 [95% CI, 1.30-6.94]).

Conclusions: Progression of microvascular brain disease, manifesting as both new lacunes and increase in WMHs grade, is related to substantial increase in long-term risk of stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.030063DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7769118PMC
November 2020

Carotid Intima-Media Thickness and the Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death: The ARIC Study and the CHS.

J Am Heart Assoc 2020 10 25;9(19):e016981. Epub 2020 Sep 25.

Department of Medicine University of Mississippi Medical Center Jackson MS.

Background Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is associated with severe coronary heart disease in the great majority of cases. Whether carotid intima-media thickness (C-IMT), a known surrogate marker of subclinical atherosclerosis, is associated with risk of SCD in a general population remains unknown. The objective of this study was to investigate the association between C-IMT and risk of SCD. Methods and Results We examined a total of 20 862 participants: 15 307 participants of the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) study and 5555 participants of the CHS (Cardiovascular Health Study). C-IMT and common carotid artery intima-media thickness was measured at baseline by ultrasound. Presence of plaque was judged by trained readers. Over a median of 23.5 years of follow-up, 569 participants had SCD (1.81 cases per 1000 person-years) in the ARIC study. Mean C-IMT and common carotid artery intima-media thickness were associated with risk of SCD after adjustment for traditional risk factors and time-varying adjustors: hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% CIs for fourth versus first quartile were 1.64 (1.15-2.63) and 1.49 (1.05-2.11), respectively. In CHS, 302 participants developed SCD (4.64 cases per 1000 person-years) over 13.1 years. Maximum C-IMT was associated with risk of SCD after adjustment: HR (95% CI) for fourth versus first quartile was 1.75 (1.22-2.51). Presence of plaque was associated with 35% increased risk of SCD: HR (95% CI) of 1.37 (1.13-1.67) in the ARIC study and 1.32 (1.04-1.68) in CHS. Conclusions C-IMT was associated with risk of SCD in 2 biracial community-based cohorts. C-IMT may be used as a marker of SCD risk and potentially to initiate early therapeutic interventions to mitigate the risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.120.016981DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7792412PMC
October 2020

Genetic correlations and genome-wide associations of cortical structure in general population samples of 22,824 adults.

Nat Commun 2020 09 22;11(1):4796. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Cortical thickness, surface area and volumes vary with age and cognitive function, and in neurological and psychiatric diseases. Here we report heritability, genetic correlations and genome-wide associations of these cortical measures across the whole cortex, and in 34 anatomically predefined regions. Our discovery sample comprises 22,824 individuals from 20 cohorts within the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium and the UK Biobank. We identify genetic heterogeneity between cortical measures and brain regions, and 160 genome-wide significant associations pointing to wnt/β-catenin, TGF-β and sonic hedgehog pathways. There is enrichment for genes involved in anthropometric traits, hindbrain development, vascular and neurodegenerative disease and psychiatric conditions. These data are a rich resource for studies of the biological mechanisms behind cortical development and aging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18367-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7508833PMC
September 2020

Epigenetic loci for blood pressure are associated with hypertensive target organ damage in older African Americans from the genetic epidemiology network of Arteriopathy (GENOA) study.

BMC Med Genomics 2020 09 11;13(1):131. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, USA.

Background: Hypertension is a major modifiable risk factor for arteriosclerosis that can lead to target organ damage (TOD) of heart, kidneys, and peripheral arteries. A recent epigenome-wide association study for blood pressure (BP) identified 13 CpG sites, but it is not known whether DNA methylation at these sites is also associated with TOD.

Methods: In 1218 African Americans from the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA) study, a cohort of hypertensive sibships, we evaluated the associations between methylation at these 13 CpG sites measured in peripheral blood leukocytes and five TOD traits assessed approximately 5 years later.

Results: Ten significant associations were found after adjustment for age, sex, blood cell counts, time difference between CpG and TOD measurement, and 10 genetic principal components (FDR q < 0.1): two with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR, cg06690548, cg10601624), six with urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR, cg16246545, cg14476101, cg19693031, cg06690548, cg00574958, cg22304262), and two with left ventricular mass indexed to height (LVMI, cg19693031, cg00574958). All associations with eGFR and four associations with UACR remained significant after further adjustment for body mass index (BMI), smoking status, and diabetes. We also found significant interactions between cg06690548 and BMI on UACR, and between 3 CpG sites (cg19693031, cg14476101, and cg06690548) and diabetes on UACR (FDR q < 0.1). Mediation analysis showed that 4.7% to 38.1% of the relationship between two CpG sites (cg19693031 and cg00574958) and two TOD measures (UACR and LVMI) was mediated by blood pressure (Bonferroni-corrected P < 0.05). Mendelian randomization analysis suggests that methylation at two sites (cg16246545 and cg14476101) in PHGDH may causally influence UACR.

Conclusions: In conclusion, we found compelling evidence for associations between arteriosclerotic traits of kidney and heart and previously identified blood pressure-associated DNA methylation sites. This study may lend insight into the role of DNA methylation in pathological mechanisms underlying target organ damage from hypertension.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12920-020-00791-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7488710PMC
September 2020

Association of common genetic variants with brain microbleeds: A genome-wide association study.

Neurology 2020 12 10;95(24):e3331-e3343. Epub 2020 Sep 10.

From the Departments of Epidemiology (M.J.K., H.H.H.A., D.V., S.J.v.d.L., P.Y., M.W.V., N.A., C.M.v.D., M.A.I.), Radiology and Nuclear Medicine (H.H.H.A., P.Y., A.v.d.L., M.W.V.), and Clinical Genetics (H.H.H.A.), Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Stroke Research Group, Department of Clinical Neurosciences (D.L., M.T., J.L., D.J.T., H.S.M.), University of Cambridge, UK; Department of Neurology (J.R.J.R., C.L.S., J.J.H., A.S.B., C.D., S. Seshadri), Boston University School of Medicine; The Framingham Heart Study (J.R.J.R., C.L.S., J.J.H., A.S.B., S. Seshadri), MA; Department of Biostatistics (A.V.S.), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Icelandic Heart Association (A.V.S., S. Sigurdsson, V.G.), Kopavogur, Iceland; Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine, McGovern Medical School (M.F.), and Human Genetics Center, School of Public Health (M.F.), University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; Clinical Division of Neurogeriatrics, Department of Neurology (E.H., L.P., R.S.), Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Documentation (E.H.), and Gottfried Schatz Research Center, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (Y.S., H.S.), Medical University of Graz, Austria; Center of Cerebrovascular Diseases, Department of Neurology (J.L.), West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu; Stroke Research Centre, Queen Square Institute of Neurology (I.C.H., D.W., H.H., D.J.W.), University College London, UK; Department of Neurosurgery (I.C.H.), Klinikum rechts der Isar, University of Munich, Germany; Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, Psychology (M.L., D.C.M.L., M.E.B., I.J.D., J.M.W.), and Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, Edinburgh Imaging, UK Dementia Research Institute (M.E.B., J.M.W.), University of Edinburgh, UK; Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Gerontology and Geriatrics (S.T.), Department of Cardiology (S.T., J.v.d.G., J.W.J.), Section of Molecular Epidemiology, Biomedical Data Sciences (E.B.v.d.A., M.B., P.E.S.), Leiden Computational Biology Center, Biomedical Data Sciences (E.B.v.d.A.), Department of Radiology (J.v.d.G.), and Einthoven Laboratory for Experimental Vascular Medicine (J.W.J.), Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands; Department of Neurology (A.-K.G., N.S.R.), Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Memory Aging and Cognition Center (S.H., C.C.), National University Health System, Singapore; Department of Pharmacology (S.H., C.C.) and Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health (S.H.), National University of Singapore and National University Health System, Singapore; Pattern Recognition & Bioinformatics (E.B.v.d.A.), Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands; Department of Biostatistics (S.L., J.J.H., Q.Y., A.S.B.), Boston University School of Public Health, MA; Department of Radiology (C.R.J., K.K.), Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer's & Neurodegenerative Diseases (C.L.S., S. Seshadri), UT Health San Antonio, TX; Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics (B.G.W., T.H.M), and Memory Impairment and Neurodegenerative Dementia (MIND) Center (T.H.M.), University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson; Singapore Eye Research Institute (C.Y.C., J.Y.K., T.Y.W.); Department of Neuroradiology (Z.M., J.M.W.), NHS Lothian, Edinburgh; Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences (D.J.S.), College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK; Division of Cerebrovascular Neurology (R.F.G.), Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; Department of Neuroradiology (A.D.M.), Atkinson Morley Neurosciences Centre, St George's NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK; Department of Neurology (C.D.), University of California at Davis; Nuffield Department of Population Health (C.M.v.D.), University of Oxford, UK; Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Sciences (L.J.L.), National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MD; and Faculty of Medicine (V.G.), University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland.

Objective: To identify common genetic variants associated with the presence of brain microbleeds (BMBs).

Methods: We performed genome-wide association studies in 11 population-based cohort studies and 3 case-control or case-only stroke cohorts. Genotypes were imputed to the Haplotype Reference Consortium or 1000 Genomes reference panel. BMBs were rated on susceptibility-weighted or T2*-weighted gradient echo MRI sequences, and further classified as lobar or mixed (including strictly deep and infratentorial, possibly with lobar BMB). In a subset, we assessed the effects of ε2 and ε4 alleles on BMB counts. We also related previously identified cerebral small vessel disease variants to BMBs.

Results: BMBs were detected in 3,556 of the 25,862 participants, of which 2,179 were strictly lobar and 1,293 mixed. One locus in the region reached genome-wide significance for its association with BMB (lead rs769449; odds ratio [OR] [95% confidence interval (CI)] 1.33 [1.21-1.45]; = 2.5 × 10). ε4 alleles were associated with strictly lobar (OR [95% CI] 1.34 [1.19-1.50]; = 1.0 × 10) but not with mixed BMB counts (OR [95% CI] 1.04 [0.86-1.25]; = 0.68). ε2 alleles did not show associations with BMB counts. Variants previously related to deep intracerebral hemorrhage and lacunar stroke, and a risk score of cerebral white matter hyperintensity variants, were associated with BMB.

Conclusions: Genetic variants in the region are associated with the presence of BMB, most likely due to the ε4 allele count related to a higher number of strictly lobar BMBs. Genetic predisposition to small vessel disease confers risk of BMB, indicating genetic overlap with other cerebral small vessel disease markers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000010852DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7836652PMC
December 2020

Hearing loss and microstructural integrity of the brain in a dementia-free older population.

Alzheimers Dement 2020 11 2;16(11):1515-1523. Epub 2020 Aug 2.

Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Introduction: As hearing loss has been identified as an important risk factor for dementia, we aimed to assess the association between hearing loss and microstructural integrity of the brain.

Methods: A total of 1086 dementia-free participants (mean age = 75.2 [standard deviation: 4.9], 61.4% female) of the population-based Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study underwent hearing assessment (2016-2017) and magnetic resonance imaging of the brain (2011-2013). Microstructural integrity was determined with diffusion tensor imaging. Multivariable linear regression was used to investigate associations between hearing loss and microstructural integrity of different brain regions and white matter (WM) tracts.

Results: Hearing loss was associated with lower WM microstructural integrity in the temporal lobe, lower gray matter integrity of the hippocampus, and with lower WM microstructural integrity of the limbic tracts and the uncinate fasciculus.

Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that hearing loss is indepedently associated with lower microstructural integrity in brain regions that are important for different cognitive processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/alz.12151DOI Listing
November 2020

Late-onset epilepsy and 25-year cognitive change: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study.

Epilepsia 2020 08 24;61(8):1764-1773. Epub 2020 Jul 24.

Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Objective: To define the association between late-onset epilepsy (LOE) and 25-year change in cognitive performance.

Methods: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study is a multicenter longitudinal cohort study with participants from four U.S. communities. From linked Medicare claims, we identified cases of LOE, defined as ≥2 seizure-related diagnostic codes starting at age ≥67. The ARIC cohort underwent evaluation with in-person visits at intervals of 3-15 years. Cognition was evaluated 4 times over >25 years (including before the onset of seizures) using the Delayed Word Recall Test (DWRT), Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST), and Word Fluency Test (WFT); a global z-score was also calculated. We compared the longitudinal cognitive changes of participants with and without LOE, adjusting for demographics and LOE risk factors.

Results: From 8033 ARIC participants with midlife cognitive testing and Medicare claims data available (4523 [56%] female, 1392 [17%] Black), we identified 585 cases of LOE. The rate of cognitive decline was increased on all measures in the participants who developed LOE compared to those without LOE. On the measure of global cognition, participants with LOE declined by -0.43 z-score points more over 25 years than did participants without epilepsy (95% confidence interval [CI] -0.59 to -0.27). Prior to the onset of seizures, cognitive decline was more rapid on the DWRT, DSST, and global z-scores in those who would later develop LOE than it was in non-LOE participants. Results were similar after excluding data from participants with dementia.

Significance: Global cognition, verbal memory, executive function, and word fluency declined faster over time in persons developing LOE than without LOE. Declines in cognition preceding LOE suggest these are linked; it will be important to investigate causes for midlife cognitive declines associated with LOE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.16616DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7718433PMC
August 2020

Genome-wide association study of cognitive function in diverse Hispanics/Latinos: results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos.

Transl Psychiatry 2020 07 22;10(1):245. Epub 2020 Jul 22.

Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine, McGovern Medical School, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, USA.

Cognitive function such as reasoning, attention, memory, and language is strongly correlated with brain aging. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics/Latinos have a higher risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. The genetic determinants of cognitive function have not been widely explored in this diverse and admixed population. We conducted a genome-wide association analysis of cognitive function in up to 7600 middle aged and older Hispanics/Latinos (mean = 55 years) from the Hispanic Community Health Study / Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL). Four cognitive measures were examined: the Brief Spanish English Verbal Learning Test (B-SEVLT), the Word Fluency Test (WFT), the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST), the Six-Item Screener (SIS). Four novel loci were identified: one for B-SEVLT at 4p14, two for WFT at 3p14.1 and 6p21.32, and one for DSST at 10p13. These loci implicate genes highly expressed in brain and previously connected to neurological diseases (UBE2K, FRMD4B, the HLA gene complex). By applying tissue-specific gene expression prediction models to our genotype data, additional genes highly expressed in brain showed suggestive associations with cognitive measures possibly indicating novel biological mechanisms, including IFT122 in the hippocampus for SIS, SNX31 in the basal ganglia for B-SEVLT, RPS6KB2 in the frontal cortex for WFT, and CSPG5 in the hypothalamus for DSST. These findings provide new information about the genetic determinants of cognitive function in this unique population. In addition, we derived a measure of general cognitive function based on these cognitive tests and generated genome-wide association summary results, providing a resource to the research community for comparison, replication, and meta-analysis in future genetic studies in Hispanics/Latinos.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-020-00930-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7376098PMC
July 2020