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The face on an old Chinese woman

Improvements in life expectancy worldwide have resulted in an increased prevalence of many age-related degenerative disorders such as fractures, frailty, and dementia. There is limited evidence in China and elsewhere about the incidence, prediction, prognosis and determinants of these conditions. The pace of aging varies greatly from person to person, and while chronological aging simply measures the passage of time, biological aging refers to the underlying aging processes at the biological level. The CKB aging research programme involves analysis of currently available exposure and outcome data in addition to emerging proteomic and genetic data.     

Our ongoing and planned future work aims:

  • to examine the prevalence, characteristics, risk factors and prognosis of major degenerative conditions and associated multi-morbidity in China and to compare these with those in the UK populations;
  • to compare the different instruments for assessment of frailty and evaluate their utility for prediction of subsequent risks of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality in Chinese adults;
  • to examine the causal relevance of selected CVD risk factors for the frailty index and frailty-related complications using Mendelian randomisation approaches;
  • to predict biological aging using proteomic markers and assess their characteristics and utility for prediction of disease risks, and explore the extent to which genetic instruments for such proteins can be used to predict frailty-related complications in older people;
  • to develop risk scores for hip and other fragility fractures and use Mendelian randomisation approaches to assess the causal relevance of diabetes and other risk factors for fracture;
  • to determine the likely causal relevance of frailty for other aging-related diseases, including falls, fractures, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, multi-morbidity, and all-cause mortality.  

To address some of these research objectives, we will use data from other cohorts (e.g. UK Biobank and Million Women Study) in addition to CKB. We will also contribute results of CKB analyses on these themes to international collaborations and consortia.