EPIC publication highlights

EPIC colleagues have been hard at work again! Here is a collection of manuscripts that have been published in the last couple of months.

Prevalence and regional distribution of autoantibodies against GAD65Ab in a European population without diabetes: the EPIC-InterAct Study – Rolandsson and colleagues

This research looked at the prevalence of glutamate decarboxylase 65 antibody (GAD65Ab) in a subset of EPIC’s population. GAD65Ab is highly prevalent in Type 1 diabetes cases, however the prevalence in the population without diabetes was unclear. Researchers found that GAD65Ab prevalence in healthy adults was not associated with geographical location, BMI, age or sex.

Diabetes Care 2015. >> Abstract / full reference

Gender and the double burden of economic and social disadvantages on healthy eating: cross-sectional study of older adults in the EPIC-Norfolk cohort – Conklin and colleagues

This research examined the relationships of economic resources and social relationships and healthy eating in older men and women in Britain from the EPIC-Norfolk study. Lower social class, lower education, and difficulty of paying bills were associated with lower fruit and vegetable variety in the diet of both males and females. Independently, social relationships were associated with the variety of fruit in the diet of men, and the variety of vegetables in the diet of both men and women. It is recommended that public health efforts to improve healthy eating would benefit older adults with both economic and social disadvantages.

BMC Public Health 2015. >> Abstract / full reference

Potential predictors of plasma Fibroblast Growth Factor 23 concentrations: cross-sectional analysis in the EPIC-Germany study – di Giuseppe and colleagues

Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) is known to be related to the development of cardiovascular diseases, however little is known on how this happens. This study looked at the effect of diet on FGF23 concentrations. A doubling of total energy intake was found to be associated with a 4.41 fold increase in the probability of having a higher FGF23 level. Further, researcher found that men had a 66% lower probability of levels of FGF23 compared to women, and smokers had 64% higher probability of levels of FGF23 compared to non-smokers. These findings will help understand the mechanisms behind having an increased cardiovascular disease risk.

PLoS One 2015. >> Abstract / full reference

Body iron status and gastric cancer risk in the EURGAST study – Fonseca-Nunes and colleagues

This research looked at the relationship between body iron status and gastric cancer, which currently has insufficient evidence to draw any conclusive statements. Their analysis showed that a decreased risk of gastric cancer is related to higher body iron stores, measured by serum iron and ferritin. This field of research can now be expanded to further investigate the role of iron in gastric cancer.

International Journal of Cancer 2015. >> Abstract / full reference

Energy and macronutrient intake and risk of differentiated thyroid carcinoma in the EPIC study – Zamora-Ros and colleagues

The research looks at the risk of thyroid cancer, and whether the incidence rate is influenced by energy intake, macronutrient composition and glycaemic index. This research found that high total energy and low polyunsaturated fatty acids may increase the risk of differentiated thyroid cancer.

International Journal of Cancer 2015. >> Abstract / full reference

Differentially methylated microRNAs in prediagnostic samples of subjects who developed breast cancer in the EPIC-Italy cohort – Cordero and colleagues

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small pieces of RNA (a nucleic acid involved in various roles like coding, regulation and expression of genes) involved in regulation/silencing of genes. Altered miRNAs may serve as biomarkers for early detection of malignancies. This study looked at an array of miRNAs to determine if they had been altered by a process called methylation. Eight miRNAs with methylation were found in subjects who went on to develop breast cancer, and opens up further investigation on these miRNAs and the role they play in the risk of developing breast cancer.

Carcinogenesis 2015. >> Abstract / full reference

Cross sectional and longitudinal associations between cardiovascular risk factors and age related macular degeneration in the EPIC-Norfolk eye study – Yip and colleagues

Yip and colleagues looked at the relationship between cardiovascular risk factors and macular degeneration, which is the largest cause of vision loss. They looked at a nested study within the larger EPIC study – EPIC-Norfolk Eye Study. They found that an increased odds of macular degeneration was associated with a higher age and high levels of both C-reactive protein (CRP) and high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C). HDL is negatively associated with the risk of heart disease, while CRP is an inflammatory marker, and a potential risk factor for heart disease. Researchers felt that more investigation was needed into modifiable risk factors leading to macular degeneration, such as diet.

PLoS One 2015. >> Abstract / full reference

A statistical framework to model the meeting-in-the-middle principle using metabolomic data: application to hepatocellular carcinoma in the EPIC study – Assi and colleagues

Assi and colleagues devised a meet-in-the-middle way to bridge lifestyle variables with hepatocellular carcinoma. This approach will be applicable to other research that is characterised by high dimensional data, which is becoming more frequent in the current ‘omics’ era. ‘Omics’ technology and research offers enormous potential to investigate complex questions and identify biomarkers that are pivotal for disease prevention.

Mutagenesis 2015. >> Abstract / full reference

Dietary magnesium and potassium intakes and circulating magnesium are associated with heel bone ultrasound attenuation and osteoporotic fracture risk in the EPIC-Norfolk cohort study – Hayhoe and colleagues

This research further investigated the critical issue of bone health, which is critical for our ageing population. Poor bone health can put an individual at risk of osteoporosis and result in fractures. Magnesium and potassium in the diet are believed to impact bone health in individuals, however firm evidence is limited. This research demonstrated positive evidence for the role of magnesium and potassium in the potentially protective role against osteoporosis. Further investigation to identify the exact protective roles of magnesium and potassium is now warranted.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2015. >> Abstract / full reference

Physical activity, bone health, and obesity in peri-/pre- and postmenopausal women: results from the EPIC-Potsdam Study – Menzel and colleagues

Menzel and colleagues looked at the effect of physical activity on bone health in a subset of the EPIC study in Potsdam. Physical activity is thought to minimise age-related bone loss, however the impact of obesity levels is currently unclear. They found that physical activity and bone health were positively related, however this was dependent on obesity levels. They recommend that women exercise to increase bone mass in younger years and maintain bone bass in the elderly.

Calcified Tissue International 2015. >> Abstract / full reference

The relationship between dietary magnesium intake, stroke and its major risk factors, blood pressure and cholesterol, in the EPIC-Norfolk cohort – Bain and colleagues

Bain and colleagues further investigated the role of dietary magnesium and its associations with blood pressure, cholesterol and stroke risk. Dietary magnesium is thought to be a significant factor in modifying the risk factors for high blood pressure and stroke, but until now is poorly investigated. Their results demonstrate that lower magnesium intake was associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure and stroke. These findings may play an important role in the prevention of stroke and its major risk factors.

International Journal of Cardiology 2015. >> Abstract / full reference

Dietary polyphenol intake in Europe: the EPIC study – Zamora-Ros and colleagues

Polyphenols are micronutrients that are in our diets, and are thought to play a role in the prevention of diseases, like cancer. However, limited information on the dietary intake of polyphenols in populations has been described. Zamora-Ros and colleagues wanted to therefore describe the polyphenol intake from diet in a population, and utilised EPIC for this. Within EPIC, the highest polyphenol intake was in Denmark, whereas the lowest was in Greece.

European Journal of Nutrition 2015. >> Abstract / full reference

Selecting high-risk individuals for lung cancer screening – a prospective evaluation of existing risk models and eligibility criteria in the German EPIC cohort – Li and colleagues.

Li and colleagues evaluated four current lung cancer risk prediction models – Back, Spitz, LLP and PLCAM2012 in the German-EPIC cohort. It is believed that risk prediction models are superior at identifying at-risk individuals for screening programmes than the eligibility requirements. They found that all models, except Spitz, had greater benefits, and generally outperformed compared to the eligibility requirements for the screening programmes. This study demonstrates the importance of risk prediction models.

Cancer Prevention Research (Philadelphia, Pa) 2015. >> Abstract / full reference


Clare Berry

Clare Berry

Scientific Project Coordinator at Imperial College London
Clare Berry is a Scientific Project Coordinator at Imperial College, and takes on a project management role for the EPIC Cohort. Working from one of EPIC’s coordination centres, she manages the general day-to-day running of the cohort.

Research Interests: Clare Berry's background in research is diverse, including research into ovarian cancer, breast cancer, mammary gland biology and finally preterm neonate research and ventilation. After leaving the bench side for a more managerial role, she continues to show a keen interest in cancer research, and through the EPIC community is able to work alongside exceptional scientists making tangible public health impact through their discoveries.
Clare Berry

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