Journal Article

Birth Cohort Effect on Prevalence of Age-related Maculopathy in the Beaver Dam Eye Study

Guan-Hua Huang, Ronald Klein, Barbara E. K. Klein and Sandra C. Tomany

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 157, issue 8, pages 721-729
Published in print April 2003 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online April 2003 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:

      Birth Cohort Effect on Prevalence of Age-related Maculopathy in the Beaver Dam Eye Study

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The number of people in the United States with age-related maculopathy is increasing in recent years because of increasing longevity. However, it is possible that a birth cohort effect, due to different levels of exposure to risk factors, may explain changes in the prevalence of age-related maculopathy by age. In this report, the authors utilize data from the population-based Beaver Dam Eye Study (1988–2000) to examine this possibility. They propose a strategy to handle issues of longitudinal measurements and risk factor adjustment for analyzing the birth cohort effect. Results from the analysis (after adjusting for known risk factors) showed an apparent independent birth cohort effect on age-related maculopathy. The authors also found a strong positive association between age-related maculopathy and age, when comparing participants from the same birth cohort. The birth cohort effect was the same across different age groups, except for early age-related maculopathy, where older age increased the association. Our findings demonstrate that the birth cohort effect is likely attributable to unmeasured risk factors for age-related maculopathy and limitations of risk factor measurements. Further study of possible unmeasured risk factors that cause the cohort effect may help us understand the etiology of the disease.

Keywords: cohort effect; cohort studies; generalized estimating equation; macular degeneration; risk adjustment; Abbreviations: CI, confidence interval; OR, odds ratio.

Journal Article.  5725 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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