The latest list of publications from the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre with a brief summary. 

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Publication: The Journal of Nutrition

Jannasch F, Kröger J, Agnoli C, Barricarte A, Boeing H, Cayssials V, et al.

24 April 2019

The aim of this study was to derive country-specific exploratory dietary patterns, investigate their association with type 2 diabetes incidence, and replicate diabetes-associated dietary patterns in other countries.

Dietary intake data were used, assessed by country-specific questionnaires at baseline of 11,183 incident diabetes cases and 14,694 subcohort members (mean age 52.9 y) from 8 countries, nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study (mean follow-up time 6.9 y).

Exploratory dietary patterns were derived by principal component analysis. HRs for incident type 2 diabetes were calculated by Prentice-weighted Cox proportional hazard regression models. Diabetes-associated dietary patterns were simplified or replicated to be applicable in other countries. A meta-analysis across all countries evaluated the generalizability of the diabetes-association.

Only few country/center-specific dietary patterns (3 of 18) were statistically significantly associated with diabetes incidence in this multicountry European study population. One pattern, whose association with diabetes was confirmed across other countries, showed overlaps in the food groups potatoes and processed meat with identified diabetes-associated dietary patterns from other studies. The study demonstrates that replication of associations of exploratory patterns with health outcomes is feasible and a necessary step to overcome population-specificity in associations from such analyses.

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Publication: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Zheng J, Imamura F, Sharp SJ, Koulman A, Griffin JL, Mulligan AA, et al.

17 April 2019

Little is known about changes in blood fatty acid compositions over time and the correlates of any changes in a general population.

The aim of this study was to estimate changes in 27 individual plasma phospholipid fatty acids and fatty acid groups over time, and to identify potential correlates of these changes, using profiles from 722 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Norfolk Study, UK.

Changes in fatty acid levels were associated with consumption of different food groups. For example, a mean 100 g/d increase in fatty fish intake was associated with a 19.3% greater annual increase in marine n–3 PUFAs.

Even-chain SFAs and TFAs declined and marine n–3 PUFAs increased over time. These changes were partially explained by changes in dietary habits, and could potentially help interpret associations of baseline fatty acid composition with future disease risk.

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Publication: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Fretts AM, Imamura F, Marklund M, Micha R, Wu JHY, Murphy RA, et al.

15 April 2019

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Publication: International Journal of Obesity

White T, Westgate K, Hollidge S, Venables M, Olivier P, Wareham N,

2 April 2019

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Publication: Nature Medicine

Kaitlin H. Wade, Brian Y. H. Lam, Audrey Melvin, Warren Pan, Laura J. Corbin, David A. Hughes, Kara Rainbow, Jian-Hua Chen, Katie Duckett, Xiaoming Liu, Jacek Mokrosiński, Alexander Mörseburg, Sam Neaves, Alice Williamson, Chen Zhang, I. Sadaf Farooqi, Giles S. H. Yeo, Nicholas J. Timpson & Stephen O’Rahilly 

27 May 2021


Could a gene be the key why some of us carry extra fat? New research has found that one in every 340 people might carry a mutation in a single gene that makes them more likely to have a greater weight from early childhood and, by 18 years of age, they could be up to 30 pounds heavier with the excess weight likely to be mostly fat. Read the full story


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Publication: BMJ Open

Ioannis Bakolis Robert Stewart,David Baldwin, Jane Beenstock, Paul Bibby, Matthew Broadbent, Rudolf CardinalShanquan Chen, Karthik Chinnasamy, Andrea Cipriani, Simon Douglas, Philip Horner, Caroline A Jackson, Ann John, Dan W Joyce, Sze Chim Lee, Jonathan Lewis, Andrew McIntosh, Neil Nixon, David Osborn, Peter Phiri, Shanaya Rathod, Tanya Smith, Rachel Sokal, Rob Waller, Sabine Landau

26 May 21


To investigate changes in daily mental health (MH) service use and mortality in response to the introduction and the lifting of the COVID-19 ‘lockdown’ policy in Spring 2020. Data was reviewed looking at lockdown policy, changes and admissions, with findings of sizeable changes during the first national lockdown, but still unclear what the effect is.


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Publication: Nature Communications

Sungsam Gong, Francesca Gaccioli, Justyna Dopierala, Ulla Sovio, Emma Cook, Pieter-Jan Volders, Lennart Martens, Paul D. W. Kirk, Sylvia Richardson, Gordon C. S. Smith & D. Stephen Charnock-Jones 

11 May 2021


The placenta is understudied and is commonly omitted from large-scale “-omic” analyses, this study enables tissue-wide comparison of transcriptome analyses, looking at identification placentally-related adverse pregnancy outcomes such as fetal growth restriction (FGR) and preeclimisia (PE).

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Publication: bioRxiv

Conde C Domínguez, T Gomes, LB Jarvis, C Xu, SK Howlett, DB Rainbow, O Suchanek, HW King, L Mamanova, K Polanski, N Huang, E Fasouli, KT Mahbubani, M Prete, L Campos, HS Mousa, EJ Needham, S Pritchard, T Li, R Elmentaite, J Park, DK Menon, OA Bayraktar, LK James, KB Meyer, MR Clatworthy, K Saeb-Parsy, JL Jones, SA Teichmann

28 April 2021


Despite their crucial role in health and disease, researchers knowledge of immune cells within human tissues, in contrast to those circulating in the blood, remains limited. Researchers surveyed the immune compartment of lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues of six adult donors by single-cell RNA sequencing, including alpha beta T-cell receptor, gamma delta TCR and B-cell receptor variable regions.

To aid systematic cell type identification researchers developed CellTypist, a tool for automated and accurate cell type annotation. Using this approach combined with manual curation, researchers determined the tissue distribution of finely phenotyped immune cell types and cell states.

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Publication: Science

Josephine M. Bryant,  Karen P. Brown,  Sophie Burbaud,  Isobel Everall,  Juan M. Belardinelli, Daniela Rodriguez-Rincon,  Dorothy M. Grogono,  Chelsea M. Peterson,  Deepshikha Verma,  Ieuan E. Evans,  Christopher Ruis,  Aaron Weimann,  Divya Arora,  Sony Malhotra,  Bridget Bannerman, Charlotte Passemar,  Kerra Templeton,  Gordon MacGregor, Kasim Jiwa,  Andrew J. Fisher,  Tom L. Blundell,  Diane J. Ordway,  Mary Jackson, Julian Parkhill, R. Andres Floto

30 April 2021


Researchers have been able to track how a multi-drug resistant organism is able to evolve and spread widely among cystic fibrosis patients – showing that it can evolve rapidly within an individual during chronic infection. The researchers say their findings highlight the need to treat patients with Mycobacterium abscessus infection immediately, counter to current medical practice.

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Publication: Nature Communications

Wittemans LBL, Lotta LA, Oliver-Williams C, Stewart ID, Surendran P, Karthikeyan S, et al.

5 March 2019

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Publication: Diabetes Care

Vissers LET, Sluijs I, van der Schouw YT, Forouhi NG, Imamura F, Burgess S, et al.

6 February 2019

Eating healthily on a daily basis is a major step to prevent development of type 2 diabetes. Higher intake of dairy products has been associated with a lower risk of diabetes in a meta-analysis of observational studies. Yogurt and cheese intake particularly were associated with lower diabetes risk, whereas milk intake was not, with substantial heterogeneity for most dairy products.

However, potential confounding and reverse causation cannot be excluded. Owing to these limitations, the causal role of dairy products in diabetes prevention remains debatable.

The relationship between dairy products and risk of diabetes could be investigated by applying a Mendelian randomization (MR) approach, using genetic variability in the MCM6 gene associated with lactase persistence (LP) in adults as an instrumental variable (IV).

Lactase is necessary to break down the sugars that are found in dairy products, i.e., lactose. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the MCM6 region have been associated with LP (6). rs4988235 (LCT-12910C>T) has been associated with LP in European populations and has been associated with a higher intake of milk in European cohorts, albeit not in all.

Previous MR studies reported no association between LP-associated milk intake and diabetes. However, variation in the MCM6 gene is likely to lead to population stratification, which would introduce bias to an MR analysis, and previous MR studies did not sufficiently adjust for population substructure. Also, previous studies did not investigate whether rs4988235 was specifically associated with dairy product intake after adjusting for population substructure.

We therefore investigated whether rs4988235 associated with intake of dairy products and other foods in a pan-European study in eight countries with different dietary habits. We adjusted for genetic principal components (PCs) and study center to adjust for population substructure (16). Next, we used rs4988235 in an IV analysis to investigate whether there is a causal relationship between the LP-associated exposure and risk of diabetes.

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Publication: Sage Journals

Maria Herrero-Zazo, Rachel BerryEmma Bines, Debi BhattacharyaPhyo K. MyintVictoria L. Keevil

6 May 2021


Researchers describe how commonly medicines which block the chemical acetylcholine are prescribed to older adults admitted to hospital as an emergency and explore links between these medicines and death during or soon after hospital admission. Researchers use data collected as part of routine medical care at one university hospital to describe how often these medicines are prescribed in a large sample of older adults admitted to hospital as an emergency. They looked at the medicines patients are prescribed on admission to the hospital and also when they are later discharged.

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