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  • Author
    Grace Riley
  • PI

    Heather McCreath

  • Co-Author

    Teresa Seeman, Janet Pregler

  • Title

    Associations between self-rated health and later chronic inflammatory markers in two MIDUS cohorts

  • Program


  • Other Program (if not listed above)

    Leichtman-Levine TEM Summer Research Scholars Program of the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women's Health Center

  • Abstract

    Inflammation is a necessary response to bodily insult and injury, but excessive and chronic inflammatory processes play a role in many diseases. For example, the inflammatory markers interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C reactive protein (CRP) are elevated in people with metabolic diseases, depression, low socioeconomic status, poor self-rated health (SRH), and in those who identify as Black. We evaluated the association between IL-6 and CRP with SRH among 2,118 participants in two cohorts (2004-2009 and 2012-2016) from the Biomarker Project in the Midlife in the US (MIDUS) study, a longitudinal study of participants ages 25-84. SRH was assessed in three ways in a phone interview 5 months to 5 years prior to inflammation measures: self-rated physical health, self-rated mental health, and health compared to others of the same age and gender. No significant difference in CRP levels was detected between cohorts. IL-6 was significantly higher in cohort 1. In bivariate analyses, a worse rating for all three SRH measures was associated with increased log-transformed IL-6 (Mean (SD) for SRH-physical excellent vs. fair/poor: 0.45 (0.78) vs. 1.10 (0.80)) and CRP (-0.12 (1.09) vs. 0.83 (1.24)). After controlling for cohort and several biological and social covariates in the model, self-rated mental health was not significantly associated with IL-6 or CRP. The relationship remained significant for the two other SRH measures, such that worse ratings were associated with increased inflammation. Significant covariates were educational attainment, race and ethnicity, number of chronic conditions, and BMI. This study identified several social and biological variables that may mediate the relationship between self-rated health and inflammatory markers. Future work can further investigate the mechanistic relationship and identify areas in which interventions may reduce inflammation.

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