Imperial College London

MrAndyHeard

Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

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Publications

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10 results found

Robinson O, Chadeau Hyam M, Karaman I, Climaco Pinto R, Ala-Korpela M, Handakas E, Fiorito G, Gao H, Heard A, Jarvelin M-R, Lewis M, Pazoki R, Polidoro S, Tzoulaki I, Wielscher M, Elliott P, Vineis Pet al., 2020, Determinants of accelerated metabolomic and epigenetic ageing in a UK cohort, Aging Cell, Vol: 19, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 1474-9718

Markers of biological aging have potential utility in primary care and public health. We developed a model of age based on untargeted metabolic profiling across multiple platforms, including nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry in urine and serum, within a large sample (N = 2,239) from the UK Airwave cohort. We validated a subset of model predictors in a Finnish cohort including repeat measurements from 2,144 individuals. We investigated the determinants of accelerated aging, including lifestyle and psychological risk factors for premature mortality. The metabolomic age model was well correlated with chronological age (mean r = .86 across independent test sets). Increased metabolomic age acceleration (mAA) was associated after false discovery rate (FDR) correction with overweight/obesity, diabetes, heavy alcohol use and depression. DNA methylation age acceleration measures were uncorrelated with mAA. Increased DNA methylation phenotypic age acceleration (N = 1,110) was associated after FDR correction with heavy alcohol use, hypertension and low income. In conclusion, metabolomics is a promising approach for the assessment of biological age and appears complementary to established epigenetic clocks.

Journal article

Eriksen R, Gibson R, Aresu M, Heard A, Chan Q, Evangelou E, Gao H, Elliott P, Frost Get al., 2019, Gene-diet quality interactions on HbA1c and type 2 diabetes risk: The Airwave Health Monitoring Study, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, Vol: 2, Pages: 1-7, ISSN: 2398-9238

Introduction: Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is multi-factorial involving lifestyle, environmental and genetic risk factors. This study aims to investigate the impact of genetic interactions with alcohol and diet quality on glycated haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) independent of obesity, in a British population.Methods: Cross-sectional study of 14,089 white British participants from Airwave Health Monitoring Study, and a sub-sample of 3,733 participants with dietary data. A T2D genetic risk score (GRS) was constructed and its interactions with diet on HbA1c were assessed.Results: GRS was associated with a higher HbA1c% ( 0.03, p<0.0001) and a higher risk of pre-diabetes (OR 1.09, p<0.0001) and T2D (OR 1.14, p 0.006). The genetic effect on HbA1c% was significantly higher in obese participants ( 1.88, pinteraction 0.03). A high intake of wholegrain attenuated the effect on HbA1c% in high-risk individuals pinteraction 0.04. Conclusion: The genetic effect on HbA1c was almost doubled in obese individuals, compared with those with a healthy weight, and independent of weight there was a modest offset on HbA1c in high-genetic risk individuals consuming a diet high in wholegrain. This supports the importance of a healthy diet high in wholegrains and along with maintaining a healthy weight in controlling HbA1c amongst high genetic risk groups.

Journal article

Gibson R, Eriksen R, Chambers E, Gao H, Aresu M, Heard A, Chan Q, Elliott P, Frost Get al., 2019, Intakes and food sources of dietary fibre and their associations with measures of body composition and inflammation in UK adults: Cross-sectional analysis of the Airwave Health Monitoring Study, Nutrients, Vol: 11, ISSN: 2072-6643

The purpose of this study was to investigate the associations between intakes of fibre from the main food sources of fibre in the UK diet with body mass index (BMI), percentage body fat (%BF), waist circumference (WC) and C-reactive protein (CRP). Participants enrolled in the Airwave Health Monitoring Study (2007–2012) with 7-day food records (n = 6898; 61% men) were included for cross-sectional analyses. General linear models evaluated associations across fifths of fibre intakes (total, vegetable, fruit, potato, whole grain and non-whole grain cereal) with BMI, %BF, WC and CRP. Fully adjusted analyses showed inverse linear trends across fifths of total fibre and fibre from fruit with all outcome measures (ptrend < 0.0001). Vegetable fibre intake showed an inverse association with WC (ptrend 0.0156) and CRP (ptrend 0.0005). Fibre from whole grain sources showed an inverse association with BMI (ptrend 0.0002), %BF (ptrend 0.0007) and WC (ptrend 0.0004). Non-whole grain cereal fibre showed an inverse association with BMI (Ptrend 0.0095). Direct associations observed between potato fibre intake and measures of body composition and inflammation were attenuated in fully adjusted analyses controlling for fried potato intake. Higher fibre intake has a beneficial association on body composition, however, there are differential associations based on the food source.

Journal article

Elliott P, Aresu M, Gao H, Vergnaud A-C, Heard A, McRobie D, Spear J, Singh D, Kongsgård HW, Mbema C, Muller DCet al., 2019, Use of TETRA personal radios and sickness absence in the Airwave Health Monitoring Study of the British police forces, Environmental Research, Vol: 175, Pages: 148-155, ISSN: 0013-9351

BackgroundTerrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) is used for radiocommunications among the British police forces.ObjectivesTo investigate association of personal radio use and sickness absence among police officers and staff from the Airwave Health Monitoring Study.MethodsParticipant-level sickness absence records for 26 forces were linked with personal radio use for 32,102 participants. We used multivariable logistic regression to analyse TETRA usage in year prior to enrolment and sickness absence (lasting more than 7 or 28 consecutive days) in the following year and a zero-inflated negative binomial model for analyses of number of sickness absence episodes of any duration (‘spells’) over the same period. In secondary analyses, we looked at an extended period of observation among a sub-cohort with linked data over time, using Cox proportional hazards regression.ResultsMedian personal radio use (year prior to enrolment) was 29.7 min per month (interquartile range 7.5, 64.7) among users. In the year following enrolment there were 25,655 sickness absence spells among 15,248 participants. There were similar risks of sickness absence lasting more than seven days among users and non-users, although among users risk was higher with greater use, odds ratio = 1.04 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02 to 1.06) per doubling of radio use. There was no association for sickness absence of more than 28 days. For sickness absence spells, risk was lower among users than non-users (incidence rate ratio = 0.91; 95% CI 0.75 to 1.11), again with higher risk among users for greater radio use. There was no association between radio use and sickness absence in secondary analyses.DiscussionThere were similar or lower risks of sickness absence in TETRA radio users compared with non-users. Among users, the higher risk of sickness absence with greater radio use may reflect working pattern differences among police personnel rather than effects of radiofrequency exposure.

Journal article

Gao H, Aresu M, Vergnaud AC, McRobie D, Spear J, Heard A, Kongsgard HW, Singh D, Muller DC, Elliott P, Wells Jet al., 2018, Personal radio use and cancer risks among 48,158 British police officers and staff from the Airwave Health Monitoring Study, British Journal of Cancer, Vol: 120, Pages: 375-378, ISSN: 0007-0920

BackgroundRadiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) from mobile phones have been classified as potentially carcinogenic. No study has investigated use of Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA), a source of RF-EMF with wide occupational use, and cancer risks.MethodsWe investigated association of monthly personal radio use and risk of cancer using Cox proportional hazards regression among 48,518 police officers and staff of the Airwave Health Monitoring Study in Great Britain.ResultsDuring median follow-up of 5.9 years, 716 incident cancer cases were identified. Among users, the median of the average monthly duration of use in the year prior to enrolment was 30.5  min (inter-quartile range 8.1, 68.1). Overall, there was no association between personal radio use and risk of all cancers (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.98, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.93, 1.03). For head and neck cancers HR = 0.72 (95% CI: 0.30, 1.70) among personal radio users vs non-users, and among users it was 1.06 (95% CI: 0.91, 1.23) per doubling of minutes of personal radio use.ConclusionsWith the limited follow-up to date, we found no evidence of association of personal radio use with cancer risk. Continued follow-up of the cohort is warranted.

Journal article

Gibson R, Frost G, Chan Q, Elliott P, Singh D, Eriksen R, Heard A, Vergnaud ACet al., 2018, A cross-sectional investigation into the occupational and socio-demographic characteristics of British police force employees reporting a dietary pattern associated with cardiometabolic risk: Findings from the Airwave Health Monitoring Study, European Journal of Nutrition, Vol: 57, Pages: 2913-2926, ISSN: 0044-264X

PurposeThe aims of this study were to (1) determine the association between diet quality using the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) score and cardiometabolic risk in a British working population and (2) identify employee characteristics associated with reporting a poorer quality dietary pattern.MethodsBritish police employees enrolled (2007–2012) into the Airwave Health Monitoring Study (n = 5527) were included for sex-specific cross-sectional analyses. Dietary intakes were measured using 7-day food records. DASH score was calculated to determine diet quality. Logistic regression evaluated associations between (1) diet quality and increased cardiometabolic risk (defined as ≥ 3 risk markers: dyslipidaemia, elevated blood pressure, waist circumference, CRP or HbA1c), and (2) poor diet quality (lowest fifth of DASH score distribution) and employee characteristics.ResultsEmployees recording a poor diet quality had greater odds (OR) of increased cardiometabolic risk independent of established risk factors (demographic, lifestyle and occupational) and BMI: men OR 1.50 (95% CI 1.12–2.00), women: OR 1.84 (95% CI 1.19–2.97) compared to the healthiest diet group. Characteristics associated with reporting a poor quality diet were employment in Scotland vs. England: men OR 1.88 (95% CI 1.53–2.32), women: OR 1.49 (95% CI 1.11–2.00), longer working hours (≥ 49 vs. ≤40 h) men: OR 1.53 (95% CI 1.21–1.92) women: OR 1.53 (95% CI 1.12–2.09). For men, job strain (high vs. low) was associated with reporting a poor diet quality OR 1.66 (95% CI 1.30–2.12).ConclusionsThe general population disparities in diet quality between England and Scotland were reflected in British police employees. The association of longer working hours and job strain with diet quality supports the targeting of workplace nutritional interventions.

Journal article

Vergnaud A-C, Aresu M, Kongsgård HW, McRobie D, Singh D, Spear J, Heard A, Gao H, Carpenter JR, Elliott Pet al., 2018, Estimation of TETRA radio use in the Airwave Health Monitoring Study of the British police forces, Environmental Research, Vol: 167, Pages: 169-174, ISSN: 0013-9351

BACKGROUND: The Airwave Health Monitoring Study aims to investigate the possible long-term health effects of Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) use among the police forces in Great Britain. Here, we investigate whether objective data from the network operator could be used to correct for misreporting in self-reported data and expand the radio usage availability in our cohort. METHODS: We estimated average monthly usage of personal radio in the 12 months prior to enrolment from a missing value imputation model and evaluated its performance against objective and self-reported data. Factors associated with TETRA radio usage variables were investigated using Chi-square tests and analysis of variance. RESULTS: The imputed data were better correlated with objective than self-reported usage (Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.72 vs. 0. 52 and kappa 0.56 [95% confidence interval 0.55, 0.56] vs. 0.46 [0.45, 0.47]), although the imputation model tended to under-estimate use for higher users. Participants with higher personal radio usage were more likely to be younger, men vs. women and officer vs. staff. The median average monthly usage level for the entire cohort was estimated to be 29.3 min (95% CI: [7.2, 66.6]). CONCLUSION: The availability of objective personal radio records for a large proportion of users allowed us to develop a robust imputation model and hence obtain personal radio usage estimates for ~50,000 participants. This substantially reduced exposure misclassification compared to using self-reported data and will allow us to carry out analyses of TETRA usage for the entire cohort in future work.

Journal article

Elliott P, Burgess AP, fouquet NC, Seri S, Hawken MB, Heard A, Neasham D, Little MPet al., 2016, Acute Exposure to Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) has effects on theelectroencephalogram and electrocardiogram, consistent with vagal nervestimulation., Environmental Research, Vol: 150, Pages: 461-469, ISSN: 1096-0953

BackgroundTerrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) is a telecommunications system widely used by police and emergency services around the world. The Stewart Report on mobile telephony and health raised questions about possible health effects associated with TETRA signals. This study investigates possible effects of TETRA signals on the electroencephalogram and electrocardiogram in human volunteers.MethodsBlinded randomized provocation study with a standardized TETRA signal or sham exposure. In the first of two experiments, police officers had a TETRA set placed first against the left temple and then the upper-left quadrant of the chest and the electroencephalogram was recorded during rest and active cognitive processing. In the second experiment, volunteers were subject to chest exposure of TETRA whilst their electroencephalogram and heart rate variability derived from the electrocardiogram were recorded.ResultsIn the first experiment, we found that exposure to TETRA had consistent neurophysiological effects on the electroencephalogram, but only during chest exposure, in a pattern suggestive of vagal nerve stimulation. In the second experiment, we observed changes in heart rate variability during exposure to TETRA but the electroencephalogram effects were not replicated.ConclusionsObserved effects of exposure to TETRA signals on the electroencephalogram (first experiment) and electrocardiogram are consistent with vagal nerve stimulation in the chest by TETRA. However given the small effect on heart rate variability and the lack of consistency on the electroencephalogram, it seems unlikely that this will have a significant impact on health. Long-term monitoring of the health of the police force in relation to TETRA use is on-going.

Journal article

Vergnaud A-C, Aresu M, McRobie D, Singh D, Spear J, Heard A, Elliott Pet al., 2016, Validation of objective records and misreporting of personal radio use in a cohort of British Police forces (the Airwave Health Monitoring Study), ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH, Vol: 148, Pages: 367-375, ISSN: 0013-9351

Journal article

Elliott P, Vergnaud A-C, Singh D, Neasham D, Spear J, Heard Aet al., 2014, The airwave health monitoring study of police officers and staff in Great Britain: rationale, design and methods, Environmental Research, Vol: 134, Pages: 280-285, ISSN: 1096-0953

BackgroundThe Airwave Health Monitoring Study was established to evaluate possible health risks associated with use of TETRA, a digital communication system used by police forces and other emergency services in Great Britain since 2001. The study has been broadened to investigate more generally the health of the work force.MethodsFrom 2004, participants from each force who agreed to participate were enrolled either with an enrolment questionnaire or a comprehensive health screening performed locally. This includes questionnaire, 7-day food diaries, anthropometry, measurements of cardiovascular and cognitive function, blood chemistry, coagulation and haematology. Blood and urine samples are stored in vapour phase liquid nitrogen allowing long-term access for biochemical or genetic analysis. Access to the resource is via an access committee and a steering committee, including external scientific advisers as well as representatives of the police officers and staff.ResultsBy the end of 2012, the study had recruited 42,112 participants, of whom 35,199 (83.6%) had attended the health screening. Almost two thirds of participants were men and 71% of them were a TETRA user. Being in lower ranks (constable/sergeant and staff) was associated with a worse cardio-metabolic risk profile compared to higher ranks (inspector or chief inspector, superintendent and above).ConclusionThe Airwave Health Monitoring Study is the only large-scale cohort study of police employees worldwide. The specificities of this sample, such as its well-defined job hierarchy, make it a particularly valuable occupational cohort. Participants have consented to the use of their data and samples for future, currently unspecified, research purposes.

Journal article

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