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Approved research

Potential causal interplay of lifestyle factors, sex hormones, oral health and chronic diseases

Principal Investigator: Dr Yiqian Sun
Approved Research ID: 58114
Approval date: February 3rd 2020

Lay summary

Non-communicable chronic diseases (NCDs) have increased rapidly during the past decades. NCDs are preventable as they are associated with lifestyle factors that can be modified. Targeting a lifestyle factor can exert the greatest effect on preventing a disease if it is a causal factor. The overall aim of this project is to investigate causal interrelationships between lifestyle factors, sex hormones, oral health and chronic diseases. The lifestyle factors that we will focus on are vitamin D status, physical activity and obesity. The project duration is planned for five years. We will use the UK Biobank data in combination with data from the Norwegian HUNT population and the publicly available consortium data to improve statistical power and verify results. We will primarily apply the Mendelian randomization (MR) method, i.e. using genetic variants as instruments for the lifestyle or environmental exposure of interest to investigate causal association. Investigation into causal association has a great public health impact. The confirmed causal factors should be targeted, e.g. promoting physical activity and oral health if they are causal risk factors for chronic diseases. Also, finding the value of vitamin D or body mass index that is associated with the lowest risk of disease is of great importance. It will provide evidence-based guidance for a healthy vitamin D intake and healthy body weight.