Principal Investigator: Dr David Llewellyn
Department: Medical School
Institution: University of ExeterTags: 9462, Dementia, Genotype, Solar irradiance, stroke, vitamin D
Lead collaborators: Professor Elina Hyppönen, Dr Nicholas Osborne, Dr Thomas Littlejohns, Dr Tom Russ
Collaborating Institutions and Addresses:
University of South Australia, Centre for Population Health Research, SAHMRI, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia
University of Sydney, Pharmacology, School of Medical Sciences, Rm 301, Blackburn Building, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
University of Oxford, Nuffield Department of Population Health, Richard Doll Building, Old Road Campus, Oxford OX3 7LF, UK
University of Edinburgh, Division of Psychiatry, Kennedy Tower, Morningside Terrace, Edinburgh EH10 5HF, UK
1a: We aim to better understand the role of vitamin D and associated environmental and genetic factors in the development of stroke and dementia. We will address the following key research questions:
1) Are geographic location and sunlight exposure linked to stroke and dementia?
2) Are vitamin D-related genetic variants linked to stroke and dementia?
3) Are any observed associations explained by differences in circulating vitamin D levels?
4) Do genetic variants modify the relationship between circulating vitamin D levels and stroke and dementia?
1b: Our research directly addresses the aim of UK Biobank to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of serious and life-threatening illnesses – including stroke and dementia. Our research will take advantage of the wealth of UK Biobank data available to provide important new insights to elucidate the role may vitamin D play in the maintenance of ‘brain health’. Low vitamin D levels are common in the general population in the UK and further afield, and the recently established associations with stroke and dementia are therefore a significant public health concern.
1c: Using information from the UK Biobank and linked databases we will first investigate whether people who live further north and are exposed to lower levels of sunlight have a higher risk of stroke and dementia. We will then investigate whether genetic markers linked to vitamin D modify the risk of stroke and dementia. Lastly we will investigate the possibility that these environmental and genetic factors increase the risk of stroke and dementia by reducing vitamin D levels found in the bloodstream.
1d: We require access to data from the full cohort. This will include follow-up data relevant to stroke and dementia (in subsets as appropriate) as this becomes available.