MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Julien Vaucher
Physician and clinical research fellow (joint first author)
Department of Internal Medicine
Lausanne University Hospital
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Since the sixties, traditional studies have found that people who stay longer in the educational system subsequently develop less coronary heart disease. However, whether this association is causal is not clear, partly because randomised controlled trials are practically infeasible in this area. In our study, we used a genetic approach, called Mendelian randomization, that represents the next best thing to do.Based on genetic variants randomized by nature, we were able to randomize individuals according to 162 genetic markers that associate with more or less education. In other words, we used genetic markers, free from condounding factors, as proxies of education to reproduce the conditions of a trial. Then, if the genetic markers also associate together with coronary heart disease, the association between education and coronary heart disease is likely to be causal.