Abstract: A series of studies have shown associations between psychosocial factors and the risk of premature mortality, different cardiovascular disease presentations (stroke, heart disease), selected cancers, and dementia. These are not, however, universal observations, and many of the studies in this field are small in scale. Underpowered studies can lead to unreliable estimates of risk, an inability to explore effects across the full range of an exposure, hampered insights into the role of reverse causality, and a lack of opportunity to examine risk factor–disease associations in different contexts (gender, prevalent illness, social group). In recent work we have applied the technique of individual participant meta-analysis – essentially the pooling of raw data across studies with some refinements – to examine these issues. First utilised very influentially in the context of cardiovascular disease risk factor epidemiology, our exposures of interest have been psychosocial stress, personality type, and psychological distress. In this presentation I will provide an overview of these areas with a focus on distress where, uniquely, we have made use of up to 18 single-institution cohort studies with near-identical measures of exposure, covariates, and health outcomes.   

David Batty is a Reader in Epidemiology in the Research Department of Epidemiology & Public Health at University College London, a Professor of Epidemiology in the MRC Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh where he leads the Epidemiology Programme, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Glasgow.  He is an investigator on three cohort studies of ageing: the Whitehall II study, the 1958 Birth Cohort Study, and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. A former Wellcome Trust Research Fellow (2004 to 2012), his work focuses on how psychological, biological, behavioural, and social factors from across the life course, and between generations, influence the risk of chronic disease and ageing outcomes. In most of his work, David utilises data from observational studies, often in the context of individual participant meta-analyses which aim to provide robust, best-evidence, quantitative summaries of risk factor–disease associations.

The seminar will take place in room No 549 (CHESS Library) at CHESS, 5th floor, Sveavägen 160 (Sveaplan), on Thursday 28 May at 1 pm.