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It is traditional when investigating risk factors for mortality to use data on the underlying cause of death on death certificates. Multiple causes of death are often given on death certificates, the underlying cause and contributory causes, but little is known about the usefulness of using data based on combined underlying or contributory cause of death when investigating associations with risk factors. We examined associations between three known risk factors (smoking, low educational attainment, and hypertension) and death outcomes, based on whether cause of death is listed as underlying or appears anywhere on the certificate, using data from two cohort studies, UK Biobank and the Health Survey for England and Scottish Health Surveys. We found that associations with known risk factors were essentially the same regardless of where cause of death was given on the death certificate. This finding has implications when studying risk factors for rare causes of death or using small samples.
The relationship of cognitive function and negative emotions with morbidity and mortality: an aetiological investigation
The proposed research aims to understand why it is that poorer cognitive function and negative emotional factors are typically associated with poorer health and increased mortality. We shall use health outcome data to examine how all-cause mortality and incident cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD)vary according to prior cognitive function and negative emotions. We shall investigate the extent to which relationships we find between cognition, emotions and these health outcomes are explained or modified by physical, biological, genetic, behavioural, and socio-demographic factors. Genetic analyses will incorporate multivariate genome-wide complex trait analysis and polygenic prediction of these relationships. Poorer cognitive function and negative emotional states and traits have been shown to increase mortality but the reasons for this are unclear. We anticipate that the proposed research will: 1) show us how mortality and morbidity from common health conditions vary according to prior cognitive abilities and emotional factors; 2) reveal potential mechanisms whereby poorer cognition and negative emotion increase risk; and 3) identify whether other characteristics can increase or reduce the risk of ill health in those with poorer cognition and negative emotions. This information could help inform intervention strategies for preventing or treating common health conditions. Using data on cognitive function and negative emotions together with data collected on health outcomes, scientists at the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology will examine whether cognitive performance and emotional states predict risk of all-cause mortality and the onset of cancer and CVD. They will investigate whether other characteristics, such as lifestyle, socio-demographic, physical, behavioural or biological factors, help to explain any links between cognitive function and emotions and these health outcomes. They will estimate degree of genetic sharing between: 1) cognitive function/emotions and these characteristics, and 2) cognitive function/emotions and health outcomes. The full cohort