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Approved Research

Association of Lifestyle Behaviors and Genetic Risk With cardio-cerebrovascular diseases.

Principal Investigator: Professor Minghuan Wang
Approved Research ID: 90311
Approval date: September 14th 2022

Lay summary

Cardio-cerebrovascular disease is the major cause of mortality and morbidity and is driven by both genetic and environmental factors. Early evidence supporting a role for genetics in risk of a range of vascular events came from genome wide association studies. Lifestyle is an another important modifiable risk factor for vascular events. Clear evidence has showed that adhering to a healthy lifestyle, including not smoking, regular physical activity, and a healthy diet, is associated with a decreased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.

The results indicated that genetic and lifestyle factors were independently associated with risk of cardio-cerebrovascular diseases, and an unfavorable lifestyle profile was associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke across all genetic risk stratums. Further evidence indicated that genetic composition and combined health behaviors had a log-additive effect on the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and stroke and adhering to a healthy lifestyle could attenuate the effect of genetics on cardiovascular disease and stroke risk. However, the relationship with genetic and lifestyle risks in cardio-cerebrovascular diseases have not yet been fully investigated, and the extent to which this can be offset by lifestyle factors is unknown.

In this study, we plan to conduct a Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis to assess the causal effects of lifestyle behaviors on risk of cardio-cerebrovascular disease and investigate whether health behaviors may offset the genetic risk for age-related health outcomes. We hope our study will provide a unique evidence regarding the causal relationships between lifestyle behaviors and cardio-cerebrovascular diseases, which may help to identify those at high risk of vascular events at an early stage and highlight the potential of lifestyle interventions to reduce risk of vascular events across entire populations, even in those at high genetic risk.

The project is scheduled to begin in July 2022 and be completed in December 2023. The research plan are as follows:

1) July 2022-December 2022: Genome-wide association analysis identifies genetic variations associated with lifestyle behaviors and cardio-cerebrovascular disease.

2) January 2023-June 2023: (1) To conduct a Mendelian randomization study to assess the causal effects of lifestyle behaviors on risk of cardio-cerebrovascular disease. (2) To investigate whether a healthy lifestyle is associated with lower risk of cardio-cerebrovascular disease regardless of genetic risk.

3) July 2023-December 2023: Summarizing research results, writing research papers.