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Structural Assessments


At age 60-64, study members were invited, for the first time, to undergo a series of clinic-based structural and functional assessments at one of six Clinical Research Facilities (CRFs). Full details can be found in the cohort profile paper and a summary of the measures is shown below.

Measurements taken in NSHD at 60-64 years
Cardiovascular assessment Vascular structure and function: carotid intima-medial thickness (IMT) and arterial distensibility (GE Vivid-I), carotid/femoral pulse wave velocity (Vicorder) and central blood pressure and pulse wave analysis (Sphygmocor)

Cardiac structure and function: echocardiography (GE Vivid-I). Images from parasternal long axis and short axis views, apical 5-chamber, 4-chamber, 3-chamber, 2-chamber and aortic views (plus conventional and tissue Doppler in 4-chamber view).

Brachial blood pressure (Omron HEM-705), 12 lead ECG (Burdick Eclipse 850i), including 6 minute heart rate and respiration recordings by ECG for heart rate variability measurements.
Musculoskeletal assessment DXA (QDR 4500 Discovery): Hip (total, femoral neck, trochanter, Ward’s), lumbar spine (L1-4), whole body & region BMD, fat & lean mass, vertebral fracture assessment, aortic calcification score

pQCT (Stratec XCT 2000) radius: 4% site(trabecular, cortical and subcortical BMD), 50% site (endosteal/periosteal circumference, cortical CS area & thickness, BMC & BMD, CS muscle & fat area, stress strain index, moment of inertia)
Tests of functional capacity, biological function and anthropometric measuresVerbal memory, search speed and concentration, simple and choice reaction time, standing balance, grip strength, chair rises, get up and go test, spirometry

Standing and sitting height, weight, chest, upper arm, waist & hip circumference.
Assessment of free-living physical activity Five continuous days by combined heart rate and movement sensor (Actiheart) with individual calibration.
Cardio-respiratory fitness Heart rate response to an incremental step test
Overnight fasting 50ml blood sample See table 2 for details of sample observations
Overnight fasting urine sample Dipstick, spun and unspun aliquots stored at -80°C and -20°C
Salivary samples One salivary sample was collected at the visit and a further three in the following 24 hours (evening, next day waking, and 30 minutes later).
Scales or questions Rose angina, intermittent claudication, bronchitis, chest pain, doctor diagnosed CVD events and test for chest pain/heart disease, osteoarthritis symptoms, back pain, knee injuries, functional limitations, fracture history, prescribed and non-prescribed regular medication, hospital admissions, day surgery, outpatients

Dietary and alcohol assessment (5-day diary), CAGE, smoking, physical activity assessment (EPAQ2), GHQ28, the Close Person Questionnaire, life events, SF36, Edinburgh wellbeing scale, life satisfaction, neighbourhood satisfaction, spare time activities, parental death, time spent caring for others, updated marital and fertility histories

Household income and sources, perceived financial hardship, periods of unemployment, household size and housing tenure, own/partner’s occupation and work status