• Queen Mary University of London
  • Barts Health NHS
  • Bradford NHS
  • Manchester Uni

S00035: Understanding the precursors of multimorbidity risk

Institution: Cardiff University

Investigator: Prof Marianne van den Bree

Multimorbidity is when an individual has two or more long term health conditions. Multimorbidity is common and carries a large social and economic cost, but despite this we understand little about the causes of multimorbidity, or how to treat it.

This project will combine information from five large research studies that follow participants over a period of time. The cohorts (Born in Bradford, Genes and Health, ALSPAC/Children of the 90s, UK Biobank, and the Danish study IPSYCH) have a total of around 680,000 individuals. Using information from all of these studies at once will help us study what social, genetic and environmental factors contribute to a person's risk of multimorbidity. Combining the information from these studies will allow us to see how the risk of physical and mental health problems influence each other. Importantly we will be able to see how these influences change over time or work differently in different age, ethnic or socioeconomic groups.

Our specific aims are to:

  • Understand how genetics contribute to physical and mental health multimorbidity
  • Understand how non-genetic factors such as living environment or lifestyle contribute to multimorbidity
  • Understand what factors might help protect against multimorbidity
  • Investigate how ethnic and economic health inequalities affect the development of health conditions

We hope that the results of this project will help develop better interventions for tackling multimorbidity that could be tailored to specific risk groups. This would benefit the whole of the UK, including the British South Asian population.