Sex differences in the association between salivary telomere length and multimorbidity within the US Health & Retirement Study

Niedzwiedz, C. L. , Katikireddi, S. V. , Pell, J. P. and Smith, D. J. (2019) Sex differences in the association between salivary telomere length and multimorbidity within the US Health & Retirement Study. Age and Ageing, 48(5), pp. 703-710. (doi: 10.1093/ageing/afz071) (PMID:31165156) (PMCID:PMC6984958)

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Background: Telomere length is associated with several physical and mental health conditions, but whether it is a marker of multimorbidity is unclear. We investigated associations between telomere length and multimorbidity by sex. Methods: Data from adults (N = 5,495) aged ≥50 years were taken from the US Health and Retirement Study (2008–14). Telomere length was measured in 2008 from salivary samples. The cross-sectional associations between telomere length and eight chronic health conditions were explored using logistic regression, adjusting for confounders and stratified by sex. Logistic, ordinal and multinomial regression models were calculated to explore relationships between telomere length and multimorbidity (using a binary variable and a sum of the number of health conditions) and the type of multimorbidity (no multimorbidity, physical multimorbidity, or multimorbidity including psychiatric problems). Using multilevel logistic regression, prospective relationships between telomere length and incident multimorbidity were also explored. Results: In cross-sectional analyses, longer telomeres were associated with reduced likelihood of lung disease and psychiatric problems among men, but not women. Longer telomeres were associated with lower risk of multimorbidity that included psychiatric problems among men (OR=0.521, 95% CI: 0.284 to 0.957), but not women (OR=1.188, 95% CI: 0.771 to 1.831). Prospective analyses suggested little association between telomere length and the onset of multimorbidity in men (OR=1.378, 95% CI: 0.931 to 2.038) nor women (OR=1.224, 95% CI: 0.825 to 1.815). Conclusions: Although telomere length does not appear to be a biomarker of overall multimorbidity, further exploration of the relationships is merited particularly for multimorbidity including psychiatric conditions among men.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Smith, Professor Daniel and Katikireddi, Professor Vittal and Niedzwiedz, Dr Claire and Pell, Professor Jill
Authors: Niedzwiedz, C. L., Katikireddi, S. V., Pell, J. P., and Smith, D. J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Age and Ageing
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1468-2834
Published Online:05 June 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Age and Ageing 48(5)703-710
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
3021820A machine learning approach to understanding comorbidity between mental and physical health conditionsJill PellMedical Research Council (MRC)MR/R024774/1HW - Public Health
699162Understanding the impacts of welfare policy on health: A novel data linkage studySrinivasa KatikireddiOffice of the Chief Scientist (CSO)SCAF/15/02IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727651SPHSU Core Renewal: Measuring and Analysing Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health Research ProgrammeAlastair LeylandMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/13IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727671SPHSU Core Renewal: Informing Healthy Public Policy Research ProgrammePeter CraigMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/15IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU13
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU15
3029570Mental Health Data PathfinderDaniel SmithMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_PC_17217HW - Mental Health and Wellbeing