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Department of Epidemiology & Prevention

Understanding the Etiology and Prevention of Human Disease
Alain Bertoni, MD, MPH, Chair

Faculty and staff in the Department on Epidemiology & Prevention are dedicated to research and teaching in the etiology and prevention of chronic diseases and their complications. The ultimate goal of these efforts is to reduce death and disability and improve quality of life. Dr. Alain Bertoni is the Chair, and Dr. Mara Vitolins is the Vice-Chair.

Faculty in the Department conducts research, using classical epidemiologic observational studies, clinical trials and population-based experiments, in disease prevention. Many of our studies are collaborative and include colleagues in other departments of Wake Forest School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, as well as institutions across the US and abroad. Areas of research emphasis include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, nutrition, aging, cognition, gastrointestinal diseases, pediatrics, health disparities, genetics, cancer, and health services research. Examples of observational studies that are currently active in the Department include the Atherosclerosis in Communities (ARIC) Study, Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), and the Microbiome Insulin Longitudinal Evaluation Study (MILES). We also conduct clinical trials in the areas of diabetes prevention and treatment, weight management, hypertension. Recent studies in these areas have included Healthy Living Partnerships to Prevent Diabetes (HELP Diabetes), Lifestyle Intervention For Treatment of Diabetes (LIFT Diabetes), and Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT).

Faculty have opportunities to participate in teaching in the School of Medicine, the Biomedical Graduate Program, and the Physician Assistant Studies Program, and have mentored students, trainees, and junior faculty across these programs. The Department jointly sponsors, with other Departments, the Clinical and Population Translational Sciences Graduate Program.

The following publications are recent (2017) examples of the research being pursued by faculty in and affiliated with Epidemiology and Prevention.


Patient Portal Utilization Among Ethnically Diverse Low Income Older Adults: Observational Study.

Arcury TA, Quandt SA, Sandberg JC, Miller DP Jr, Latulipe C, Leng X, Talton JW, Melius KP, Smith A, Bertoni AG.

JMIR Med Inform. 2017 Nov 14;5(4):e47. doi: 10.2196/medinform.8026.


Skin in the game: Does paying for obesity treatment out of pocket lead to better outcomes compared to insurance coverage?

Ard JD, Emery M, Cook M, Hale E, Frain A, Lewis KH, Song E.

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017 Jun;25(6):993-996. doi: 10.1002/oby.21837.


Normal findings on noninvasive cardiac assessment and the prediction of heart failure: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).

Broughton ST, O'Neal WT, Al-Mallah M, Bluemke DA, Heckbert SR, Lima JAC, Soliman EZ.

Int J Cardiol. 2017 Dec 15;249:308-312. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2017.08.078.


A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial of Fruit and Vegetable Concentrates on Intermediate Biomarkers in Head and Neck Cancer.

Datta M, Shaw EG, Lesser GJ, Case LD, Vitolins MZ, Schneider C, Frizzell B, Sullivan C, Lively M, Franzmann E, Hu JJ.

Integr Cancer Ther. 2017 Jan 1:1534735416684947. doi: 10.1177/1534735416684947.


Diabetes status modifies the association between carotid intima-media thickness and incident heart failure: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study.

Effoe VS, McClendon EE, Rodriguez CJ, Wagenknecht LE, Evans GW, Chang PP, Bertoni AG.

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2017 Jun;128:58-66. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2017.04.009. Epub 2017 Apr 13.

PMID: 28448893 [PubMed - in process]


Association of Fenofibrate Therapy With Long-term Cardiovascular Risk in Statin-Treated Patients With Type 2 Diabetes.

Elam MB, Ginsberg HN, Lovato LC, Corson M, Largay J, Leiter LA, Lopez C, O'Connor PJ, Sweeney ME, Weiss D, Friedewald WT, Buse JB, Gerstein HC, Probstfield J, Grimm R, Ismail-Beigi F, Goff DC Jr, Fleg JL, Rosenberg Y, Byington RP; ACCORDION Study Investigators.

JAMA Cardiol. 2017 Apr 1;2(4):370-380. doi: 10.1001/jamacardio.2016.4828.

PMID: 28030716 [PubMed - in process]


Mental illness in bariatric surgery: A cohort study from the PORTAL network.

Fisher D, Coleman KJ, Arterburn DE, Fischer H, Yamamoto A, Young DR, Sherwood NE, Trinacty CM, Lewis KH.

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017 May;25(5):850-856. doi: 10.1002/oby.21814.

PMID: 28440047 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


Genome-wide physical activity interactions in adiposity - A meta-analysis of 200,452 adults.
Graff M, Scott RA, Justice AE, Young KL, Feitosa MF, Barata L, Winkler TW, Chu AY, Mahajan A, Hadley D, Xue L, Workalemahu T, Heard-Costa NL, den Hoed M, Ahluwalia TS, Qi Q, Ngwa JS, Renström F, Quaye L, Eicher JD, Hayes JE, Cornelis M, Kutalik Z, Lim E, Luan J, Huffman JE, Zhang W, Zhao W, Griffin PJ, Haller T, Ahmad S, Marques-Vidal PM, Bien S, Yengo L, Teumer A, Smith AV, Kumari M, Harder MN, Justesen JM, Kleber ME, Hollensted M, Lohman K, Rivera NV, Whitfield JB, Zhao JH, Stringham HM, Lyytikäinen LP, Huppertz C, Willemsen G, Peyrot WJ, Wu Y, Kristiansson K, Demirkan A, Fornage M, Hassinen M, Bielak LF, Cadby G, Tanaka T, Mägi R, van der Most PJ, Jackson AU, Bragg-Gresham JL, Vitart V, Marten J, Navarro P, Bellis C, Pasko D, Johansson Å, Snitker S, Cheng YC, Eriksson J, Lim U, Aadahl M, Adair LS, Amin N, Balkau B, Auvinen J, Beilby J, Bergman RN, Bergmann S, Bertoni AG, Blangero J, Bonnefond A, Bonnycastle LL, Borja JB, Brage S, Busonero F, Buyske S, Campbell H, Chines PS, Collins FS, Corre T, Smith GD, Delgado GE, Dueker N, Dörr M, Ebeling T, Eiriksdottir G, Esko T, Faul JD, Fu M, Færch K, Gieger C, Gläser S, Gong J, Gordon-Larsen P, Grallert H, Grammer TB, Grarup N, van Grootheest G, Harald K, Hastie ND, Havulinna AS, Hernandez D, Hindorff L, Hocking LJ, Holmens OL, Holzapfel C, Hottenga JJ, Huang J, Huang T, Hui J, Huth C, Hutri-Kähönen N, James AL, Jansson JO, Jhun MA, Juonala M, Kinnunen L, Koistinen HA, Kolcic I, Komulainen P, Kuusisto J, Kvaløy K, Kähönen M, Lakka TA, Launer LJ, Lehne B, Lindgren CM, Lorentzon M, Luben R, Marre M, Milaneschi Y, Monda KL, Montgomery GW, De Moor MHM, Mulas A, Müller-Nurasyid M, Musk AW, Männikkö R, Männistö S, Narisu N, Nauck M, Nettleton JA, Nolte IM, Oldehinkel AJ, Olden M, Ong KK, Padmanabhan S, Paternoster L, Perez J, Perola M, Peters A, Peters U, Peyser PA, Prokopenko I, Puolijoki H, Raitakari OT, Rankinen T, Rasmussen-Torvik LJ, Rawal R, Ridker PM, Rose LM, Rudan I, Sarti C, Sarzynski MA, Savonen K, Scott WR, Sanna S, Shuldiner AR, Sidney S, Silbernagel G, Smith BH, Smith JA, Snieder H, Stancakova A, Sternfeld B, Swift AJ, Tammelin T, Tan ST, Thorand B, Thuillier D, Vandenput L, Vestergaard H, van Vliet-Ostaptchouk JV, Vohl MC, Völker U, Waeber G, Walker M, Wild S, Wong A, Wright AF, Zillikens MC, Zubair N, Haiman CA, Lemarchand L, Gyllensten U, Ohlsson C, Hofman A, Rivadeneira F, Uitterlinden AG, Pérusse L, Wilson JF, Hayward C, Polasek O, Cucca F, Hveem K, Hartman CA, Tönjes A, Bandinelli S, Palmer LJ, Kardia SLR, Rauramaa R, Sørensen TIA, Tuomilehto J, Salomaa V, Penninx BWJH, de Geus EJC, Boomsma DI, Lehtimäki T, Mangino M, Laakso M, Bouchard C, Martin NG, Kuh D, Liu Y, Linneberg A, März W, Strauch K, Kivimäki M, Harris TB, Gudnason V, Völzke H, Qi L, Järvelin MR, Chambers JC, Kooner JS, Froguel P, Kooperberg C, Vollenweider P, Hallmans G, Hansen T, Pedersen O, Metspalu A, Wareham NJ, Langenberg C, Weir DR, Porteous DJ, Boerwinkle E, Chasman DI; CHARGE Consortium; EPIC-InterAct Consortium; PAGE Consortium, Abecasis GR, Barroso I, McCarthy MI, Frayling TM, O'Connell JR, van Duijn CM, Boehnke M, Heid IM, Mohlke KL, Strachan DP, Fox CS, Liu CT, Hirschhorn JN, Klein RJ, Johnson AD, Borecki IB, Franks PW, North KE, Cupples LA, Loos RJF, Kilpeläinen TO.
PLoS Genet. 2017 Apr 27;13(4):e1006528. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006528. eCollection 2017 Apr. Erratum in: PLoS Genet. 2017 Aug 23;13(8):e1006972.


Changes in metabolic risk factors over 10 years and their associations with late-life cognitive performance: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.


 Hughes TM, Craft S, Baker LD, Espeland MA, Rapp SR, Sink KM, Bertoni AG, Burke GL, Gottesman RF, Michos ED, Luchsinger JA, Fitzpatrick AL, Hayden KM.


Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2017 Mar 31;8:18-25. doi: 10.1016/j.dadm.2017.03.003. eCollection 2017.


MID: 28435852 [PubMed] Free PMC Article


Smoking and risk of atrial fibrillation in the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study.

Imtiaz Ahmad M, Mosley CD, O'Neal WT, Judd SE, McClure LA, Howard VJ, Howard G, Soliman EZ.

J Cardiol. 2017 Sep 5. pii: S0914-5087(17)30214-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jjcc.2017.07.014.


Child Feeding Style and Dietary Outcomes in a Cohort of Latino Farmworker Families.

Ip EH, Marshall SA, Arcury TA, Suerken CK, Trejo G, Skelton JA, Quandt SA.

J Acad Nutr Diet. 2017 Sep 29. pii: S2212-2672(17)31145-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2017.07.024. [Epub ahead of print]


Early-life environmental exposures interact with genetic susceptibility variants in pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis.

Jensen ET, Kuhl JT, Martin LJ, Langefeld CD, Dellon ES, Rothenberg ME.

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2017 Sep 12. pii: S0091-6749(17)31262-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2017.07.010. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID: 29029802 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]


The Relationship of Maternal Prepregnancy Body Mass Index and Pregnancy Weight Gain to Neurocognitive Function at Age 10 Years among Children Born Extremely Preterm.

Jensen ET, van der Burg JW, O'Shea TM, Joseph RM, Allred EN, Heeren T, Leviton A, Kuban KCK; Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborns Study Investigators.

J Pediatr. 2017 Aug;187:50-57.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.02.064. Epub 2017 Mar 21.

PMID: 28341527 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


CT-Derived Body Fat Distribution and Incident Cardiovascular Disease: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.

Mongraw-Chaffin M, Allison MA, Burke GL, Criqui MH, Matsushita K, Ouyang P, Shah RV, Shay CM, Anderson CAM.

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Nov 1;102(11):4173-4183. doi: 10.1210/jc.2017-01113.

PMID: 28938406 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


A prospective study of low fasting glucose with cardiovascular disease events and all-cause mortality: The Women's Health Initiative.

Mongraw-Chaffin M, LaCroix AZ, Sears DD, Garcia L, Phillips LS, Salmoirago-Blotcher E, Zaslavsky O, Anderson CA.

Metabolism. 2017 May;70:116-124. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2017.02.010. Epub 2017 Feb 16.

PMID: 28403935 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


GWAS of the electrocardiographic QT interval in Hispanics/Latinos generalizes previously identified loci and identifies population-specific signals.

Méndez-Giráldez R, Gogarten SM, Below JE, Yao J, Seyerle AA, Highland HM, Kooperberg C, Soliman EZ, Rotter JI, Kerr KF, Ryckman KK, Taylor KD, Petty LE, Shah SJ, Conomos MP, Sotoodehnia N, Cheng S, Heckbert SR, Sofer T, Guo X, Whitsel EA, Lin HJ, Hanis CL, Laurie CC, Avery CL.

Sci Rep. 2017 Dec 6;7(1):17075. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-17136-0.

PMID: 29213071 [PubMed - in process]


Association Between QT-Interval Components and Sudden Cardiac Death: The ARIC Study (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities).

O'Neal WT, Singleton MJ, Roberts JD, Tereshchenko LG, Sotoodehnia N, Chen LY, Marcus GM, Soliman EZ.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2017 Oct;10(10). pii: e005485. doi: 10.1161/CIRCEP.117.005485.

PMID: 29030380 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


The 24-month metabolic benefits of the healthy living partnerships to prevent diabetes: A community-based translational study.

Pedley CF, Case LD, Blackwell CS, Katula JA, Vitolins MZ.

Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2017 Sep 23. pii: S1871-4021(17)30311-9. doi: 10.1016/j.dsx.2017.09.011. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID: 28964720 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]


American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) Class I Guidelines for the Treatment of Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk: Implications for US Hispanics/Latinos Based on Findings From the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL).

Qureshi WT, Kaplan RC, Swett K, Burke G, Daviglus M, Jung M, Talavera GA, Chirinos DA, Reina SA, Davis S, Rodriguez CJ.

J Am Heart Assoc. 2017 May 11;6(5). pii: e005045. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.116.005045.

PMID: 28495699 [PubMed - in process] Free PMC Article


Tobacco exposure-related alterations in DNA methylation and gene expression in human monocytes: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).

Reynolds LM, Lohman K, Pittman GS, Barr RG, Chi GC, Kaufman J, Wan M, Bell DA, Blaha MJ, Rodriguez CJ, Liu Y.

Epigenetics. 2017 Nov 23:1-30. doi: 10.1080/15592294.2017.1403692. [Epub ahead of print]


From Neighborhood to Genome: Three Decades of Nutrition-Related Research from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.

Savoca MR, Steffen LM, Bertoni AG, Wagenknecht LE.

J Acad Nutr Diet. 2017 Dec;117(12):1881-1886.e10. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2017.08.008. No abstract available.


Clinical Outcomes by Race and Ethnicity in the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT): A Randomized Clinical Trial.

Still CH, Rodriguez CJ, Wright JT Jr, Craven TE, Bress AP, Chertow GM, Whelton PK, Whittle JC, Freedman BI, Johnson KC, Foy CG, He J, Kostis JB, Lash JP, Pedley CF, Pisoni R, Powell JR, Wall BM; SPRINT Writing Group.

Am J Hypertens. 2017 Aug 23. doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpx138. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID: 28985268 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]


Effect of Intensive Blood Pressure Treatment on Heart Failure Events in the Systolic Blood Pressure Reduction Intervention Trial.

Upadhya B, Rocco M, Lewis CE, Oparil S, Lovato LC, Cushman WC, Bates JT, Bello NA, Aurigemma G, Fine LJ, Johnson KC, Rodriguez CJ, Raj DS, Rastogi A, Tamariz L, Wiggers A, Kitzman DW; SPRINT Research Group.

Circ Heart Fail. 2017 Apr;10(4). pii: e003613. doi: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.116.003613.

PMID: 28364091 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


Weight Fluctuation and Cancer Risk in Postmenopausal Women: The Women's Health Initiative.

Welti LM, Beavers DP, Caan BJ, Sangi-Haghpeykar H, Vitolins MZ, Beavers KM.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2017 May;26(5):779-786. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-16-0611. Epub 2017 Jan 9.

PMID: 28069684 [PubMed - in process]


Adult Height, Prevalent Coronary Artery Calcium Score, and Incident Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes in a Multiethnic Cohort.

Yeboah J, Blaha MJ, Michos ED, Qureshi W, Miedema M, Flueckiger P, Rodriguez CJ, Szklo M, Bertoni AG.

Am J Epidemiol. 2017 Oct 15;186(8):935-943. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwx165.

PMID: 28535166 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]



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