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Family mattersDesigning, analysing and understanding family based studies in life course epidemiology$
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Deborah A. Lawlor and Gita D. Mishra

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199231034

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231034.001.0001

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Family-based studies applied to the influence of early life factors on cardiovascular disease

Family-based studies applied to the influence of early life factors on cardiovascular disease

Chapter:
(p.263) Chapter 13 Family-based studies applied to the influence of early life factors on cardiovascular disease
Source:
Family matters
Author(s):

Debbie A Lawlor

David A Leon

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231034.003.0013

There is good evidence that associations exist between fetal and other early life factors and subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) that can be replicated in a range of settings. These associations provide the evidential basis for the developmental origin of CVD in humans, which posits that susceptibility to CVD in later life is importantly influenced by the nature of the in utero, infant, and childhood environment. However, much of this evidence is from cohort studies of unrelated individuals, and it has been argued that these associations may be explained by confounding by genetic variation or uncontrolled aspects of the environment. This chapter describes how family-based studies, including twin, sibling, and intergenerational studies demonstrate the potential of family-based studies in throwing light on the developmental origins of CVD.

Keywords:   life course epidemiology, family studies, twin studies, sibling studies, cardiovascular disease, coronary birth weight, preterm birth, developmental origins, causality, mechanisms

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