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Approved Research

Risk factors for morbidity and mortality

Principal Investigator: Dr Dagfinn Aune
Approved Research ID: 49351
Approval date: January 11th 2022

Lay summary

The current project will aim to clarify the association between a number of risk factors and the risk of a wide range of disease and mortality outcomes to provide a more complete assessment of the impact of these risk factors on the burden of disease and death. We have conducted several outcome-wide association studies on physical activity, smoking, hypertension, diabetes and other medical history and very detailed causes of death in the National Health Interview Survey (under review) and wish to explore these (and other) associations further in the UK Biobank study. We will examine potentially underlying mechanisms by including biomarkers and intermediate disease outcomes in mediation analyses. Effect modification by genetic risk scores will be assessed and we will incorporate Mendelian Randomisation analyses to strengthen causal inferences. The project may contribute to improved improved risk assessments and recommendations regarding modifiable risk factors for the prevention of  chronic diseases and mortality and may have an important public health impact in the form of primary and secondary prevention.

Some of the topics that we will work on is and publications that we expect from this work is as follows (papers on morbidity may be split into several papers for each of the disease groups mentioned above, while for mortality we will include all causes of death in one paper for each exposure):

- Smoking and all-cause and cause-specific mortality

- Smoking and morbidity

- Physical activity and all-cause and cause-specific mortality

- Physical activity and morbidity

- Adiposity and all-cause and cause-specific mortality

- Adiposity and morbidity

- Dietary factors and all-cause and cause-specific mortality

- Dietary factors and morbidity

- Diabetes and all-cause and cause-specific mortality

- Diabetes and morbidity

- Blood pressure and all-cause and cause-specific mortality

- Blood pressure and morbidity

- Biomarkers and all-cause and cause-specific mortality

- Biomarkers and morbidity

We will also explore associations between other chronic diseases (than just diabetes) and mortality and morbidity. We will explore potential mediation between biological risk factors and the different health outcomes (e.g. how much of the association between physical activity and cardiovascular disease is explained by cardiovascular risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, adiposity, or how much of the association between adiposity and cancer is explained by insulin resistance, hormonal or other biological factors).