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2011 Seminar Series
Speaker: Dr Andrew Wills, MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, UCL
Title: ‘Life course trajectories of systolic blood pressure using data from several UK cohorts’
Date & Time: Friday 20 May 1pm-2pm
Venue: G37 & G38
About a third of US and UK adults are hypertensive of which isolated systolic hypertension is the most common form. High systolic blood pressure (SBP) is considered one of the most important, modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular and other diseases. While it is generally known that SBP, on average, increases with age in western populations, it is important to understand this pattern in more detail and understand how known determinants may influence this pattern in order to best inform practice for intervention. Textbook descriptions of age-related changes in SBP are based on cross sectional studies that measured SBP at a single time point in people of different ages. Such cross-sectional studies do not capture within-individual changes in SBP and may be strongly influenced by environmental effects related to specific historical periods. A potential improvement is to use longitudinal data from several cohorts each with data covering different but overlapping ages (since no single cohort yet has blood pressure data from across the life course). In this seminar I will discuss findings from such a study using several UK population-based cohorts and an occupational cohort - describing the life course pattern of SBP, the potential influence of body mass index on this pattern, and some of the issues with using this approach for life course studies.
Andrew Wills is an Investigator Scientist at the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing and an honorary Research associate at UCL. He has a PhD in biomechanics and musculoskeletal epidemiology (Biomedical Engineering Group, University of Surrey) and an MSc in Statistics (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine). Andrew has a general interest in life course epidemiology, and in particular some of the methodological issues to answering life course hypotheses and issues concerning causal inference for observational epidemiology. In this regard, his recent work has examined trajectories of body mass index and blood pressure, and issues with modelling growth as an exposure. He also has a longstanding interest in musculoskeletal health and has been developing this using data from the 1946 British birth cohort study.
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