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Understanding the consequences of education inequality on cardiovascular disease: mendelian randomisation study

Carter, AR; Gill, D; Davies, NM; Taylor, AE; Tillmann, T; Vaucher, J; Wootton, RE; ... Dehghan, A; + view all (2019) Understanding the consequences of education inequality on cardiovascular disease: mendelian randomisation study. The British Medical Journal , 365 , Article l1855. 10.1136/bmj.l1855. Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the role of body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure, and smoking behaviour in explaining the effect of education on the risk of cardiovascular disease outcomes. DESIGN: Mendelian randomisation study. SETTING: UK Biobank and international genome-wide association study data. PARTICIPANTS: Predominantly participants of European ancestry. EXPOSURE: Educational attainment, BMI, systolic blood pressure, and smoking behaviour in observational analysis, and randomly allocated genetic variants to instrument these traits in mendelian randomisation. MAIN OUTCOMES MEASURE: The risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, myocardial infarction, and cardiovascular disease (all subtypes; all measured in odds ratio), and the degree to which this is mediated through BMI, systolic blood pressure, and smoking behaviour respectively. RESULTS: Each additional standard deviation of education (3.6 years) was associated with a 13% lower risk of coronary heart disease (odds ratio 0.86, 95% confidence interval 0.84 to 0.89) in observational analysis and a 37% lower risk (0.63, 0.60 to 0.67) in mendelian randomisation analysis. As a proportion of the total risk reduction, BMI was estimated to mediate 15% (95% confidence interval 13% to 17%) and 18% (14% to 23%) in the observational and mendelian randomisation estimates, respectively. Corresponding estimates were 11% (9% to 13%) and 21% (15% to 27%) for systolic blood pressure and 19% (15% to 22%) and 34% (17% to 50%) for smoking behaviour. All three risk factors combined were estimated to mediate 42% (36% to 48%) and 36% (5% to 68%) of the effect of education on coronary heart disease in observational and mendelian randomisation analyses, respectively. Similar results were obtained when investigating the risk of stroke, myocardial infarction, and cardiovascular disease. CONCLUSIONS: BMI, systolic blood pressure, and smoking behaviour mediate a substantial proportion of the protective effect of education on the risk of cardiovascular outcomes and intervening on these would lead to reductions in cases of cardiovascular disease attributable to lower levels of education. However, more than half of the protective effect of education remains unexplained and requires further investigation.

Type: Article
Title: Understanding the consequences of education inequality on cardiovascular disease: mendelian randomisation study
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmj.l1855
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l1855
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Adult, Aged, Blood Pressure, Body Mass Index, Cardiovascular Diseases, Educational Status, Female, Humans, Male, Mendelian Randomization Analysis, Middle Aged, Multivariate Analysis, Odds Ratio, Risk Factors, Smoking, Socioeconomic Factors, United Kingdom
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10075804
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