Childhood and adult socioeconomic position, cumulative lead levels, and pessimism in later life: the VA Normative Aging Study.
ABSTRACT Pessimism, a general tendency toward negative expectancies, is a risk factor for depression and also heart disease, stroke, and reduced cancer survival. There is evidence that individuals with higher lead exposure have poorer health. However, low socioeconomic status (SES) is linked with higher lead levels and greater pessimism, and it is unclear whether lead influences psychological functioning independently of other social factors. The authors considered interrelations among childhood and adult SES, lead levels, and psychological functioning in data collected on 412 Boston area men between 1991 and 2002 in a subgroup of the VA Normative Aging Study. Pessimism was measured by using the Life Orientation Test. Cumulative (tibia) lead was measured by x-ray fluorescence. Structural equation modeling was used to quantify the relations as mediated by childhood and adult SES, controlling for age, health behaviors, and health status. An interquartile range increase in lead quartile was associated with a 0.37 increase in pessimism score (P < 0.05). Low childhood and adult SES were related to higher tibia lead levels, and both were also independently associated with higher pessimism. Lead maintained an independent association with pessimism even after childhood and adult SES were considered. Results demonstrate an interrelated role of lead burden and SES over the life course in relation to psychological functioning in older age.
Article: Systematic review of the influence of childhood socioeconomic circumstances on risk for cardiovascular disease in adulthood.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Adverse socioeconomic circumstances in childhood may confer a greater risk for adult cardiovascular disease (CVD). The purpose of this review is to systematically evaluate evidence for an association between socioeconomic circumstances during childhood and specific CVD subtypes, independent of adult socioeconomic conditions. We systematically retrieved individual-level studies of morbidity and mortality from CVD and specific CVD subtypes linked to early life influences, including coronary heart disease (CHD), ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, peripheral vascular disease, markers of atherosclerosis (carotid intima-media thickness and stenosis), and rheumatic heart disease. Indicators of socioeconomic position in childhood varied, although most studies relied on father's occupation. We located 40 studies (24 prospective, 11 case-control, and 5 cross-sectional) reported in 50 publications. Thirty-one studies (19 prospective, 7 case-control, and all 5 cross-sectional) found a robust inverse association between childhood circumstances and CVD risk, although findings sometimes varied among specific outcomes, socioeconomic measures, and sex. Case-control studies reported mixed results. The association was stronger for stroke and, in particular, hemorrhagic stroke, than for CHD. Childhood socioeconomic conditions remained important predictors of CVD, even in younger cohorts. Childhood and adulthood socioeconomic circumstances are important determinants of CVD risk. The specific contribution of childhood and adulthood characteristics varies across different CVD subtypes. Disease-specific mechanisms are likely to explain the childhood origins of these adult health inequalities.Annals of Epidemiology 03/2006; 16(2):91-104. · 3.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To test the hypothesis that long-term lead accumulation, as reflected by levels of lead in bone (as opposed to blood which reflects recent lead exposure), is associated with an increased odds of developing hypertension. Case-control study of participants in the Veterans Administration (now Department of Veterans Affairs) Normative Aging Study, a 30-year longitudinal study of men. Of 1171 active subjects who were seen between August 1991 and December 1994, 590 (50%) participated in this investigation and had data on all variables of interest. Hypertension was defined as taking daily medication for the treatment of hypertension or systolic blood pressure higher than 160 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure of 96 mm Hg or higher during the time of examination. Levels of lead in the tibia (representing cortical bone) and the patella (representing trabecular bone) were measured in vivo with a K x-ray fluorescence (KXRF) instrument. Levels of lead in blood were measured by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy. Blood lead levels were low, ranging from less than 0.05 to 1.35 micromol/L (<1 to 28 microgram/dL), with a mean (SD) of 0.30 (0.20) micromol/L (6.3[4.1] microgram/dL). Bone lead levels were similar to those described in other general populations. In comparison to nonhypertensives, mean levels of lead in blood and both tibia and patella bone lead levels were significantly higher in hypertensive subjects. In a logistic regression model of hypertensive status that began with age, race, body mass index, family history of hypertension, history of ethanol ingestion, pack-years of smoking, dietary sodium intake, dietary calcium intake, blood lead, tibia lead, and patella lead, the variables that remained after backward elimination were body mass index, family history of hypertension, and level of lead in the tibia. An increase from the midpoint of the lowest quintile to the midpoint of the highest quintile of tibia lead from 3 to 37 micrograms per gram of bone mineral was associated with an increased odds ratio of hypertension of 1.5. Our findings suggest that long-term lead accumulation, as reflected by levels of lead in bone, may be an independent risk factor for developing hypertension in men in the general population.JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 04/1996; 275(15):1171-6. · 30.03 Impact Factor