Frank Kee

Frank Kee
Queen's University Belfast | QUB · Centre for Public Health

About

578
Publications
53,939
Reads
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17,743
Citations
Citations since 2016
296 Research Items
11223 Citations
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Publications

Publications (578)
Article
Background: The imposition of restrictions on social mixing early in the COVID-19 pandemic was followed by a reduction in asthma exacerbations in multiple settings internationally. Temporal trends in social mixing, incident acute respiratory infections (ARI) and asthma exacerbations following relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions have not yet been d...
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Background Evidence regarding the effectiveness of 20 miles per hour (mph) speed limit interventions is limited, and rarely have long-term outcomes been assessed. We investigate the effect of a 20 mph speed limit intervention on road traffic collisions, casualties, speed and volume at 1 and 3 years post-implementation. Methods An observational, re...
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Background Befriending services are commonly deployed in the support of older people living alone, but lack an established evidence base, particularly in relation to their association with health outcomes. Methods To explore the potentially therapeutic impact of befriending on Health-Related Quality-of-Life (HR-QoL) and cognitive function, we used...
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Objective: To examine effectiveness, cost effectiveness, generalisability, and acceptability of financial incentives for smoking cessation during pregnancy in addition to variously organised UK stop smoking services. Design: Pragmatic, multicentre, single blinded, phase 3, randomised controlled trial (Cessation in Pregnancy Incentives Trial phas...
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Background: Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) arise and affect society in complex ways. We conducted a scoping review to explore how systems-oriented methods have been used to prevent and control EIDs. Methods: We used the Joanna Briggs Institute framework for scoping reviews in this study. We included peer-reviewed articles about health care sys...
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Purpose: To report prevalence and risk factor associations for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and AMD features from multimodal retinal grading in a multidisciplinary longitudinal population-based study of aging in Northern Ireland. Study design: Population-based longitudinal cohort study. Methods: Retinal imaging at the Norther Ireland...
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Background Lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) represents a unique proatherogenic lipoprotein with potent pro-thrombotic and pro-inflammatory properties. Recent studies demonstrated that Lp(a)-associated risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) was significantly increased only in individuals with a high inflammatory burden (i.e. hsCRP levels >2 mg/L). However, the...
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Introduction Cardiovascular biomarkers may reflect different aspects of cardiovascular disease, including myocardial tissue damage (high-sensitive cardiac troponin [hs-cTn]), hemodynamic stress (N-terminal prohormone of brain natriuretic peptide [NT-proBNP)), or inflammation (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein [hs-CRP]). Purpose To determine the...
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Background Recent evidence highlights the epidemiological value of blood DNA methylation (DNAm) as surrogate biomarker for exposure to risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCD). DNAm surrogate of exposures predicts diseases and longevity better than self-reported or measured exposures in many cases. Consequently, disease prediction models ba...
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Background: Little is known about how demographic, behavioural, and vaccine-related factors affect risk of post-vaccination SARS-CoV-2 infection. We aimed to identify risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection after primary and booster vaccinations. Methods: This prospective, population-based, UK study in adults (≥16 years) vaccinated against SARS-Co...
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Antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines vary for reasons that remain poorly understood. A range of sociodemographic, behavioural, clinical, pharmacologic and nutritional factors could explain these differences. To investigate this hypothesis, we tested for presence of combined IgG, IgA and IgM (IgGAM) anti-Spike antibodies before and after 2 dose...
Article
Natural environments, such as parks, woodlands and lakes, have positive impacts on health and wellbeing. Urban Green and Blue Spaces (UGBS), and the activities that take place in them, can significantly influence the health outcomes of all communities, and reduce health inequalities. Improving access and quality of UGBS needs understanding of the r...
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Little is known about the personality and cognitive traits that shape adolescents’ sensitivity to social norms. Further, few studies have harnessed novel empirical tools to elicit sensitivity to social norms among adolescent populations. This paper examines the association between sensitivity to norms and various personality and cognitive traits us...
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Introduction Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cancer in Malaysia and cases are often detected late. Improving screening uptake is key in down-staging cancer and improving patient outcomes. The aim of this study is to develop, implement and evaluate an intervention to improve CRC screening uptake in Malaysia in the context of the CO...
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Background Transport initiatives such as 20-mph (≈30-km/h) speed limits are anticipated to result in fewer road casualties and improve perceptions of safety, leading to increases in active travel. Lower speeds may also lead to more pleasant environments in which to live, work and play. Objectives The main objective was to evaluate and understand t...
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Objective: To examine effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, generalizability and acceptability of financial incentives for smoking cessation during pregnancy ‘bolted-on’ to variously organised UK SSSs. This paper reports effectiveness. Design: A prospective pragmatic, multi-centre, parallel group, single-blinded, individually randomised controlled sup...
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Background Historically, high levels of morbidity and mortality have been associated with cardiovascular disease in the Northern Ireland population. Previously reported associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and cardiovascular disease within other populations have not always been consistent. Objective To investigate associatio...
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Background In 2016, large scale 20mph speed limits were implemented in the cities of Edinburgh (Scotland) and Belfast (Northern Ireland). The fact that both cities succeeded in implementing 20mph speed limit interventions is important. They illustrate the processes of transport and public health policy change. This paper describes how 20mph speed l...
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Background Obesity increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, mobility problems and some cancers, and its prevalence is rising. Men engage less than women in existing weight loss interventions. Game of Stones builds on a successful feasibility study and aims to find out if automated text messages with or without endowment incenti...
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Purpose To assess differences in rod-mediated dark adaptation (RMDA) between different grades of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) severity using an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)-based criterion compared to the Beckman Colour Fundus Photography-based (CFP) classification. To assess association between subretinal drusenoid deposit (SDD) pr...
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Background Physical inactivity increases the risk of chronic disease and mortality. The high prevalence of physical inactivity in the UK is likely to increase financial pressure on the National Health Service. The UK Biobank Study offered an opportunity to assess the impact of physical inactivity on healthcare use and spending using individual-leve...
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Background: This study details the within-trial economic evaluation and long-term economic model of SITLESS, a multi-country, three-armed randomized controlled trial comparing a combined intervention of exercise referral schemes (ERS) enhanced by self-management strategies (SMS) against ERS alone and usual care (UC). Methods: A cost-utility anal...
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Introduction The QCOVID algorithm is a risk prediction tool for infection and subsequent hospitalisation/death due to SARS-CoV-2. At the time of writing, it is being used in important policy-making decisions by the UK and devolved governments for combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, including deliberations on shielding and vaccine prioritisation. Ther...
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Introduction. Colorectal cancer (CRC) prevention programs using fecal immunochemical testing (FIT) in screening rely on colonoscopy for secondary and surveillance testing. Colonoscopy capacity is an important constraint. Some European programs lack sufficient capacity to provide optimal screening intensity regarding age ranges, intervals, and FIT c...
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Background Although myocardial infarction (MI) and atrial fibrillation (AF) are frequent comorbidities and share common cardiovascular risk factors, the direction and strength of the association of the risk factors with disease onset, subsequent disease incidence, and mortality are not completely understood. Methods and Results In pooled multivari...
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Educational inequalities in all-cause mortality have been observed for decades. However, the underlying biological mechanisms are not well known. We aimed to assess the role of DNA methylation changes in blood captured by epigenetic clocks in explaining these inequalities. Data were from eight prospective population-based cohort studies, representi...
Preprint
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We know little about how smoking prevention interventions might leverage social network structures to enhance protective social norms. In this study we combined statistical and network science methods to explore how social networks influence social norms related to adolescent smoking in school-specific settings in Northern Ireland and Colombia. Pup...
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We investigated the potential impact of a cohort traumatic exposure, the Troubles in Northern Ireland, on memory functioning in later life, and the potential moderating effect of social activity engagement. Using data from 6571 participants aged 60 + in the Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Ageing (NICOLA) cohort, we used a stru...
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Abstract Background Public support for the implementation of personalised medicine policies (PMPs) within routine care is important owing to the high financial costs involved and the potential for redirection of resources from other services. Aims We aimed to determine the attributes of a PMP most likely to elicit public support for implementation...
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Mobile health (mHealth) technologies, such as symptom tracking apps, are crucial for coping with the global pandemic crisis by providing near real-time, in situ information for the medical and governmental response. However, in such a dynamic and diverse environment, methods are still needed to support public health decision-making. This paper uses...
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Background : Loneliness in later life is often addressed with befriending interventions, yet evidence for their effectiveness is limited. Meanwhile it is known that loneliness has a deleterious impact on health. The aim of the study is to evaluate whether a befriending service for older adults mitigates the impact of loneliness on health outcomes,...
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To assess whether anthropometric measures (body mass index [BMI], waist-hip ratio [WHR], and estimated fat mass [EFM]) are independently associated with major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), and to assess their added prognostic value compared with serum total-cholesterol. The study population comprised 109,509 individuals (53% men) from the M...
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Objectives Traffic speed is important to public health as it is a major contributory factor to collision risk and casualty severity. 20mph (32km/h) speed limit interventions are an increasingly common approach to address this transport and health challenge, but a more developed evidence base is needed to understand their effects. This study describ...
Preprint
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Deep learning (DL) and machine learning (ML) models trained on long-term patient trajectories held as medical codes in electronic health records (EHR) have the potential to improve disease prediction. Anticoagulant prescribing decisions in atrial fibrillation (AF) offer a use case where the benchmark stroke risk prediction tool (CHA2DS2-VASc) could...
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Background Despite a steady decline in adolescent smoking globally, it remains a prevalent risk factor for non-communicable disease. Previous research points to differences in socio-environmental and psychosocial risk factors for smoking and how they vary across different settings with disparate social and cultural characteristics. As a result, smo...
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Background : With an ageing population, morbidity and multiple health conditions are an increasing public health concern. This study aimed to investigate how morbidity as measured by the Charlson comorbidity index and two morbidity measures; activity limitation and self-reported health, individually and collectively explain the increased risk of mo...
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Objective Secondary prevention is recommended to reduce cardiovascular risk after transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or ‘minor’ stroke. Mobile health interventions can provide accessible, cost-effective approaches to address modifiable risk factors, such as physical inactivity, hypertension and being overweight. The objective of this study was to eva...
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Background Evidence for the health benefits of urban green space tends to stem from small, short-term quasi-experimental or cross-sectional observational research, whilst evidence from intervention studies is sparse. The development of an urban greenway (9 km running along 3 rivers) in Northern Ireland provided the opportunity to conduct a natural...
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Risk preference is a complex trait governed by psycho-social, environmental and genetic determinants. We aimed to examine how an individual’s risk preference associates with their epigenetic profile. Risk preferences were ascertained by asking participants of the Northern Ireland COhort for the Longitudinal study of Ageing to make a series of choic...
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Background Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) experienced increasing rates of colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence in the last decade and lower 5-year survival rates compared to high-income countries (HICs) where the implementation of screening and treatment services have advanced. This review scoped and mapped the literature regarding the conte...
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Background Myocardial infarction (MI) is a known risk factor for incident atrial fibrillation (AF), while AF frequently complicates acute MI. Although both diseases share common cardiovascular risk factors, the direction and strength of the association of the risk factors with disease onset, subsequent disease incidence and mortality are not comple...
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This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of a peer support intervention to encourage adoption and maintenance of a Mediterranean Diet (MD) in established community groups where existing social support may assist the behaviour change process. Four established community groups with members at increased cardiovascular disease risk and homogenous i...
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Aims: Although absolute (AID) and functional iron deficiency (FID) are known risk factors for patients with cardiovascular (CV) disease, their relevance for the general population is unknown. The aim was to assess the association between AID/FID with incident CV disease and mortality in the general population. Methods and results: In 12 164 indi...
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Adhering to a Mediterranean Diet (MD) is associated with reduced cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. This study aimed to explore methods of increasing MD adoption in a non-Mediterranean population at high risk of CVD, including assessing the feasibility of a developed peer support intervention. The Trial to Encourage Adoption and Maintenance of a ME...
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Background Dietary-based primary prevention guidelines for chronic kidney disease (CKD) treatment are lacking due to limited evidence. Single nutrient intake studies do not account for complex dietary interactions. We assessed associations between dietary patterns and renal function in the Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Agein...
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Active travel (AT) has gained increasing attention as a way of addressing low levels of physical activity. However, little is known regarding the relationship between income and AT. The aim of this study was to investigate characteristics associated with undertaking AT in an adult population and by low- and high-income groups. Data collected from t...
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Objective: Natriuretic peptide (NP) concentrations are increased in cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) but are associated with a lower diabetes risk. We investigated associations of N-terminal pro-B-type NP (NT-proBNP) and midregional proatrial NP (MR-proANP) with incident type 2 diabetes stratified by the presence of CVD. Research design and methods...
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Introduction Reductions in traffic speed can potentially offer multiple health and public health benefits. In 2016, implementation of 20mph (30kph) speed limit interventions began in Edinburgh (city-wide) and Belfast (city centre). The aims of this paper are to describe 1) the broad theoretical approach and design of two natural experimental studie...
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Background Liveability is a complex, multifaceted concept with various definitions, but with an agreed core set of features (e.g., safety, walkability). Typically, liveability is measured at the macro-level (city or regional-level), and has been used in advocacy by local populations. However, micro-level (street-level) liveability measurements coul...
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Reducing car dependency requires orchestrated multi-sectoral, multi-policy action in a complex landscape. Thus, development of proposed interventions to reduce car dependency should be informed by systems thinking, complexity science, and socio-technical transition theory. We aim to co-design sustainable systems-oriented intervention approaches to...
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Implementing interventions with a previous evidence base in new contexts might be more efficient than developing new interventions for each context. Although some interventions transfer well, effectiveness and implementation often depend on the context. Achieving a good fit between intervention and context then requires careful and systematic adapt...
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Background The main underlying risk factors associated with coronary heart disease (CHD) are modifiable and oxidative injury and systemic inflammatory damage represent key aetiological factors associated with the development and progression of CHD and premature mortality. Objective To examine associations of plasma antioxidant status with all-caus...
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Twenty miles per hour (mph) speed limits can impact the health of the public (e.g., road safety, active travel). However, a better understanding of how individuals experience 20mph limits is required, to ensure interventions are cognisant of perceptions and potential un/intended outcomes. Focus groups (n = 9, 60 participants) to explore the Belfast...
Preprint
Full-text available
Educational inequalities in mortality have been observed for decades, however the underlying biological mechanisms are not well known. We assessed the mediating role of altered aging of immune cells functioning captured by DNA methylation changes in blood (known as epigenetic clocks) in educational associated all-cause mortality. Data were from eig...
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Background The retinal microvasculature offers unique non-invasive evaluation of systemic microvascular abnormalities. Previous studies reported associations between retinal microvascular parameters (RMPs) and diabetes. The aim of this study was to assess associations between RMPs and diabetes in a cross-sectional analysis of older persons from the...
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Aim To test the association of alcohol consumption with total and cause-specific mortality risk Design Prospective observational multicentre population-based study Setting Sixteen cohorts (15 from Europe) in the MOnica Risk, Genetics, Archiving and Monograph (MORGAM) Project Participants A total of 142,960 individuals (mean age 50±13 y, 53.9% me...
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Objective The aim was to investigate the role of systemic inflammation in the relationship between periodontitis, edentulism and all-cause mortality in a group of men in Northern Ireland aged 58–72 years. Methods A representative sample of 1558 men had a detailed dental examination between 2001 and 2003. The primary end point was death from any ca...
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