Ian J. Deary's research while affiliated with University of Washington Seattle and other places

Publications (799)

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Neighbourhood features have been postulated as key predictors of frailty. However, evidence is mainly limited to cross-sectional studies without indication of long-term impact. We explored how neighbourhood social deprivation (NSD) across the life course is associated with frailty and frailty progression among older Scottish adults. Participants (n...
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Cerebral small vessel disease is a leading cause of stroke and a major contributor to cognitive decline and dementia, but our understanding of specific genes underlying the cause of sporadic cerebral small vessel disease is limited. We report a genome-wide association study and a whole-exome association study on a composite extreme phenotype of cer...
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DNA methylation (DNAm) has been reported to be associated with many diseases and with mortality. We hypothesized that the integration of DNAm with clinical risk factors would improve mortality prediction. We performed an epigenome-wide association study of whole blood DNAm in relation to mortality in 15 cohorts (n = 15,013). During a mean follow-up...
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Depression is assessed in various ways in research, with large population studies often relying on minimal phenotyping. Genetic results suggest clinical diagnoses and self-report measures of depression show some core similarities, but also important differences. It is not yet clear how neuroimaging associations depend on levels of phenotyping. We s...
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Inflammation and ageing‐related DNA methylation patterns in the blood have been linked to a variety of morbidities, including cognitive decline and neurodegenerative disease. However, it is unclear how these blood‐based patterns relate to patterns within the brain, and how each associates with central cellular profiles. In this study, we profiled D...
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We conduct a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of educational attainment (EA) in a sample of ~3 million individuals and identify 3,952 approximately uncorrelated genome-wide-significant single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). A genome-wide polygenic predictor, or polygenic index (PGI), explains 12–16% of EA variance and contributes to risk predi...
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Background Uromodulin, the most abundant protein excreted in normal urine, plays major roles in kidney physiology and disease. The mechanisms regulating the urinary excretion of uromodulin remain essentially unknown. Methods We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for raw (uUMOD) and indexed to creatinine (uUCR) urinary lev...
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Aims/hypothesis We aimed to determine the longitudinal association of circulating markers of systemic inflammation with subsequent long-term cognitive change in older people with type 2 diabetes. Methods The Edinburgh Type 2 Diabetes Study is a prospective cohort study of 1066 adults aged 60 to 75 years with type 2 diabetes. Baseline data included...
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Objectives: Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening uptake in Scotland is 56%. This study examined whether psychological factors were associated with CRC screening uptake. Design: Cross-sectional observational study. Setting: This study used data from the Healthy AGeing In Scotland (HAGIS) pilot study, a study designed to be representative of Scotti...
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Background: White matter hyperintensities (WMH) are identified on T2-weighted magnetic resonance images of the human brain as areas of enhanced brightness; WMH are a major risk factor of stroke, dementia, and death. Currently, there are no large-scale studies testing associations between WMH and circulating metabolites. Methods: We studied up to 9,...
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Protein biomarkers have been identified across many age-related morbidities. However, characterising epigenetic influences could further inform disease predictions. Here, we leverage epigenome-wide data to study links between the DNAm signatures of the circulating proteome and incident diseases. Using data from four cohorts, we trained and tested e...
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Experiencing decline in one’s cognitive abilities is among the most feared aspects of growing old [53]. Age-related cognitive decline carries a huge personal, societal, and financial cost both in pathological ageing (such as dementias) and also within the non-clinical majority of the population. A projected 152 million people worldwide will suffer...
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Measures of information processing speed vary between individuals and decline with age. Studies of aging twins suggest heritability may be as high as 67%. The Illumina HumanExome Bead Chip genotyping array was used to examine the association of rare coding variants with performance on the Digit-Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) in community-dwelling...
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Age at first sexual intercourse and age at first birth have implications for health and evolutionary fitness. In this genome-wide association study (age at first sexual intercourse, N = 387,338; age at first birth, N = 542,901), we identify 371 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, 11 sex-specific, with a 5–6% polygenic score prediction. Heritability of...
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INTRODUCTION: Plasma phospho-tau 181 (p-tau181) is a promising blood biomarker for Alzheimer's disease. However, its predictive validity for age-related cognitive decline without dementia remains unclear. Several forms of p-tau have been shown to contribute to synapse degeneration, but it is unknown whether p-tau181 is present in synapses. Here, we...
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Common carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) is an index of subclinical atherosclerosis that is associated with ischemic stroke and coronary artery disease (CAD). We undertook a cross-sectional epigenome-wide association study (EWAS) of measures of cIMT in 6400 individuals. Mendelian randomization analysis was applied to investigate the potential c...
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Long and short sleep duration are associated with elevated blood pressure (BP), possibly through effects on molecular pathways that influence neuroendocrine and vascular systems. To gain new insights into the genetic basis of sleep-related BP variation, we performed genome-wide gene by short or long sleep duration interaction analyses on four BP tr...
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Characterizing genetic influences on DNA methylation (DNAm) provides an opportunity to understand mechanisms underpinning gene regulation and disease. In the present study, we describe results of DNAm quantitative trait locus (mQTL) analyses on 32,851 participants, identifying genetic variants associated with DNAm at 420,509 DNAm sites in blood. We...
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Here, intelligence is taken to mean scores from psychometric tests of cognitive functions. This essay describes how cognitive tests offer assessments of brain functioning-an otherwise difficult-to-assess organ-that have proved enduringly useful in the field of health and medicine. The two "consequential world problems" (the phrase used by the invit...
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DNA methylation, which is modulated by both genetic factors and environmental exposures, may offer a unique opportunity to discover novel biomarkers of disease-related brain phenotypes, even when measured in other tissues than brain, such as blood. A few studies of small sample sizes have revealed associations between blood DNA methylation and neur...
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STratifying Resilience and Depression Longitudinally (STRADL) is a population-based study built on the Generation Scotland: Scottish Family Health Study (GS:SFHS) resource. The aim of STRADL is to subtype major depressive disorder (MDD) on the basis of its aetiology, using detailed clinical, cognitive, and brain imaging assessments. The GS:SFHS pro...
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There is growing evidence of the potential effects of musical training on the human brain, as well as increasing interest in the potential contribution of musical experience to healthy ageing. Conducting research on these topics with older adults requires a comprehensive assessment of musical experience across the lifespan, as well as an understand...
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DNA methylation is an epigenetic mark associated with gene repression and genome stability. Its pattern in the genome is disrupted with age and these changes can be used to statistically predict age with epigenetic clocks. Rates of aging inferred from these clocks correlate with human health. However, the molecular mechanisms underpinning age-assoc...
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Background Biological aging estimators derived from DNA methylation data are heritable and correlate with morbidity and mortality. Consequently, identification of genetic and environmental contributors to the variation in these measures in populations has become a major goal in the field. Results Leveraging DNA methylation and SNP data from more t...
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The levels of many blood proteins are associated with Alzheimer′s disease or its pathological hallmarks. Elucidating the molecular factors that control circulating levels of these proteins may help to identify proteins causally associated with the disease. Here, genome-wide and epigenome-wide studies (n individuals ≤1,064) were performed on plasma...
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Educational attainment is widely used as a surrogate for socioeconomic status (SES). Low SES is a risk factor for hypertension and high blood pressure (BP). To identify novel BP loci, we performed multi-ancestry meta-analyses accounting for gene-educational attainment interactions using two variables, “Some College” (yes/no) and “Graduated College”...
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Genomic copy number variants (CNVs) are routinely identified and reported back to patients with neuropsychiatric disorders, but their quantitative effects on essential traits such as cognitive ability are poorly documented. We have recently shown that the effect size of deletions on cognitive ability can be statistically predicted using measures of...
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Background: Lung function is highly heritable and differs between the sexes throughout life. However, little is known about sex-differential genetic effects on lung function. We aimed to conduct the first genome-wide genotype-by-sex interaction study on lung function to identify genetic effects that differ between males and females. Methods: We tes...
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Ian Deary and Robert Sternberg have been writing about intelligence differences since 1982 and 1977, respectively. As Deary was retiring at the end of 2020, they discussed an idea for their first joint paper. They composed five questions related to research on intelligence differences, about: attempts to find cognitive components of intelligence; t...
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Background Whereas several predictors of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy have been examined, the role of cognitive function following the widely publicised development of an inoculation is unknown. Accordingly, our objective was to test the association between scores from an array of cognitive function tests and self-reported vaccine hesitancy after the...
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Importance Although several predictors of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy have been identified, the role of physical health has not been well-examined, and the association with mental health is unknown. Objective To examine the association of pre-pandemic mental health, physical health, and shielding with vaccine hesitancy after the announcement of the...
Chapter
Background: Air pollution has been consistently linked with dementia and cognitive decline. However, it is unclear whether risk is accumulated through long-term exposure or whether there are sensitive/critical periods. A key barrier to clarifying this relationship is the dearth of historical air pollution data. Objective: To demonstrate the feasibi...
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Multiplex families with a high prevalence of a psychiatric disorder are often examined to identify rare genetic variants with large effect sizes. In the present study, we analysed whether the risk for bipolar disorder (BD) in BD multiplex families is influenced by common genetic variants. Furthermore, we investigated whether this risk is conferred...
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Background People with neurodegenerative disorders show diverse clinical syndromes, genetic heterogeneity, and distinct brain pathological changes, but studies report overlap between these features. DNA methylation (DNAm) provides a way to explore this overlap and heterogeneity as it is determined by the combined effects of genetic variation and th...
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Background Intelligence and longevity are phenotypically and genetically correlated. Whereas molecular genetic data has been used to show that adult intelligence is genetically correlated with longevity, no such analysis has examined the association between childhood intelligence and longevity. Method and Results Using genome wide association study...
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Individual differences in human intelligence, as assessed using cognitive test scores, have a well-replicated, hierarchical phenotypic covariance structure. They are substantially stable across the life course, and are predictive of educational, social, and health outcomes. From this solid phenotypic foundation and importance for life, comes an int...
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Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a multifunctional cytokine with both pro- and anti-inflammatory properties with a heritability estimate of up to 61%. The circulating levels of IL-6 in blood have been associated with an increased risk of complex disease pathogenesis. We conducted a two-staged, discovery, and replication meta genome-wide association study (G...
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Handedness has been extensively studied because of its relationship with language and the over-representation of left-handers in some neurodevelopmental disorders. Using data from the UK Biobank, 23andMe and the International Handedness Consortium, we conducted a genome-wide association meta-analysis of handedness (N = 1,766,671). We found 41 loci...
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It has been known since 1904 that, in humans, diverse cognitive traits are positively intercorrelated. This forms the basis for the general factor of intelligence (g). Here, we directly test whether there is a partial genetic basis for individual differences in g using data from seven different cognitive tests (n = 11,263–331,679) and genome-wide a...
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Genetic studies of blood pressure (BP) to date have mainly analyzed common variants (minor allele frequency > 0.05). In a meta-analysis of up to ~1.3 million participants, we discovered 106 new BP-associated genomic regions and 87 rare (minor allele frequency ≤ 0.01) variant BP associations (P < 5 × 10⁻⁸), of which 32 were in new BP-associated loci...
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This paper is a proposal for an update on the characterization of cognitive impairments associated with sporadic cerebral small vessel disease (SVD). We pose a series of questions about the nature of SVD-related cognitive impairments and provide answers based on a comprehensive review and meta-analysis of published data from 69 studies. Although SV...
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An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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Brain iron deposits (IDs) are indicative of microvessel dysfunction which may predispose to small vessel disease (SVD) brain damage and worsen cognition later in life. Visible perivascular spaces in the centrum semiovale (CSO-PVS) are SVD features linked with microvessel dysfunction. We examined possible associations of CSO-PVS volume and count wit...
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Psychological and social factors are known to influence blood pressure (BP) and risk of hypertension and associated cardiovascular diseases. To identify novel BP loci, we carried out genome-wide association meta-analyses of systolic, diastolic, pulse, and mean arterial BP taking into account the interaction effects of genetic variants with three ps...
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Cortical thickness, surface area and volumes vary with age and cognitive function, and in neurological and psychiatric diseases. Here we report heritability, genetic correlations and genome-wide associations of these cortical measures across the whole cortex, and in 34 anatomically predefined regions. Our discovery sample comprises 22,824 individua...
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Objective: To identify common genetic variants associated with the presence of brain microbleeds (BMB). Methods: We performed genome-wide association studies in 11 population-based cohort studies and 3 case-control or case-only stroke cohorts. Genotypes were imputed to the Haplotype Reference Consortium or 1000 Genomes reference panel. BMB were...
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Background: The UK hosts some of the world’s longest-running longitudinal cohort studies, which make repeated observations of their participants and use these data to explore health outcomes. An alternative method for data collection is record linkage; the linking together of electronic health and administrative records. Applied nationally, this co...
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Early investigations of the neuroticism by conscientiousness interaction with regards to health have been promising, but to date, there have been no systematic investigations of this interaction that account for the various personality measurement instruments, varying populations, or aspects of health. The current study – the second of three – uses...
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Background Perivascular Spaces (PVS) become increasingly visible with advancing age on brain MRI, yet their relationship to morphological changes in the underlying microvessels remains poorly understood. Retinal and cerebral microvessels share morphological and physiological properties. We compared computationally-derived PVS morphologies with reti...
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Chronic inflammation is a pervasive feature of ageing and may be linked to age-related cognitive decline. However, population studies evaluating its relationship with cognitive functioning have produced heterogeneous results. A potential reason for this is the variability of inflammatory mediators which could lead to misclassifications of individua...
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DNA methylation has fundamental roles in gene programming and aging that may help predict mortality. However, no large-scale study has investigated whether site-specific DNA methylation predicts all-cause mortality. We used the Illumina-HumanMethylation450-BeadChip to identify blood DNA methylation sites associated with all-cause mortality for 12,...
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Current literature suggests that neuroticism is positively associated with maladaptive life choices, likelihood of disease, and mortality. However, recent research has identified circumstances under which neuroticism is associated with positive outcomes. The current project examined whether "healthy neuroticism", defined as the interaction of neuro...
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The retinal and cerebral microvasculatures share many morphological and physiological properties. In this pilot we study the strength of the associations between morphological measurements of the retinal vasculature, obtained from fundus camera images, and of features of Small Vessel Disease (SVD), as white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and perivas...
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Background Genetic factors influence chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) risk, but the individual variants that have been identified have small effects. We hypothesised that a polygenic risk score using additional variants would predict COPD and associated phenotypes. Methods We constructed a polygenic risk score using a genome-wide assoc...
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Background: DNA methylation patterns associated with habitual diet have not been well studied. Methods: Diet quality was characterized using a Mediterranean-style diet score and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index score. We conducted ethnicity-specific and trans-ethnic epigenome-wide association analyses for diet quality and leukocyte-derived D...
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Background and purpose: Periventricular white matter hyperintensities (WMH; PVWMH) and deep WMH (DWMH) are regional classifications of WMH and reflect proposed differences in cause. In the first study, to date, we undertook genome-wide association analyses of DWMH and PVWMH to show that these phenotypes have different genetic underpinnings. Metho...
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Background: Lung function is highly heritable and differs between the sexes throughout life. However, little is known about sex-differential genetic effects on lung function. We aimed to conduct the first genome-wide genotype-by-sex interaction study on lung function to identify genetic effects that differ between males and females. Methods: We tes...
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Background Aging-related cognitive decline is a primary risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. More precise identification of the neurobiological bases of cognitive decline in aging populations may provide critical insights into the precursors of late-life dementias. Methods Using structural and diffusion brain MRI data from th...
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Depression is a leading cause of worldwide disability but there remains considerable uncertainty regarding its neural and behavioural associations. Here, using non-overlapping Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) datasets as a reference, we estimate polygenic risk scores for depression (depression-PRS) in a discovery (N = 10,674) and replication (...