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Exploring associations between multimorbidity, frailty and lifestyle

Department of Health Sciences

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Dr F Zaccardi , Prof K Khunti No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Multimorbidity and frailty affect an increasing number of the population and are leading causes of hospitalisation and health care utilisation. Given medication usage is already high in these populations, non-pharmaceutical interventions are required. In order to inform such interventions, we need a better understanding of which patterns of lifestyle behaviours are optimally associated with maintaining good physical function (ability to move around independently) and reduced premature death in populations with and without multimorbidity.

This PhD project will undertake a series of epidemiological analysis on datasets available nationally, such as UK Biobank and the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), and regionally using data collected through the Diabetes Research Centre, University of Leicester, or through local authority data capture systems. The post holder will work to identify key patterns of lifestyle behaviours (sleep, physical activity, diet, alcohol consumption, smoking) and related factors, such body composition, that are associated with a reduced risk of frailty and that maximise life expectancy in those with and without multimorbidity. The student will be embedded within a team of experts in lifestyle related epidemiology and receive training in a broad range of statistical methods used to investigate survival, along with approaches to collate and process lifestyle data.

The PhD project will be integrated into a vibrant postgraduate research community within the Diabetes Research Centre and Real World Evidence Unit, University of Leicester and help advance the aims of the National Institute of Health Research Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (BRU) and East Midlands Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC).


Zaccardi et al. Comparative relevance of physical fitness and adiposity on life expectancy: A UK Biobank observational study. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 2019 in press

Zemedikun DT, et al. Patterns of Multimorbidity in Middle-Aged and Older Adults: An Analysis of the UK Biobank Data. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 2018;93:857-866.

Yates et al. Association of walking pace and handgrip strength with all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality: a UK Biobank observational study. Eur Heart J 2017, 38, 3232-3240.

Bakrania et al. Associations between sedentary behaviours and cognitive function: cross-sectional and prospective findings from the UK Biobank. Am J Epidemiol. 2018;187:441-454.

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