Dr Kimberley Smith

Senior lecturer in Clinical Health Psychology
PhD, PGDip, BSc (Hons)
+44 (0)1483 686743


University roles and responsibilities

  • Research group lead applied clinical and health psychology group

    My qualifications

    PhD Neuroscience
    PGDip Statistics
    BSc (Hons) Psychology and Neuroscience

    Business, industry and community links


    Research interests

    Research collaborations

    Additional roles

    Trustee McCarthy Stone Foundation (since 2023)

    Invited reviewer for journals and funding bodies (since 2008)


    Postgraduate research supervision




    Invited talks

    The link between loneliness with health – a review of the literature. Royal Voluntary Service report launch event, 23rd November 2021.

    The role of health and care in tackling loneliness panel speaker. International conference of the Campaign to End Loneliness, virtual, 18th November 2021.

    Overview of Haemochromatosis UK patient report.  Hameochromatosis UK patient report launch event. House of Commons, UK, 31st October 2018.

    Psychosocial predictors of quality of life in adults with Usher Syndrome. 4th International symposium for Usher syndrome. Mainz, Germany, 21st July 2018.

    Social and emotional loneliness. Loneliness in older people (soledad en las personas mayores). UIMP (in association with the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics), Valencia, Spain, 23rd November 2017.

    Typologies of loneliness and social isolation in an English community sample. Autumn Research and Policy Forum on Loneliness with the Campaign to End Loneliness, in collaboration with Brunel University London. Brunel University London, London, UK, 30th October 2017.

    Conference presentations

    Smith KJ, Round J, Benzimra A, King, A. Creating an explanatory framework for retirement community transitions (part of a symposium titled “Fostering social inclusion for older people across physical environments: messages from current research in England and Wales”). Meeting of the British Society of Gerontology, Lancaster (online), UK, 7th-9th July 2021. 

    Smith KJ. Investigating the association between loneliness and health (part of a symposium titled "Loneliness in older adults: Public health issue or moral panic"). Meeting of the British Society of Gerontology, Liverpool, UK, 10th-12th July 2019.

    Smith KJ, Gavey S, Riddel N, Victor C. Investigating the association between inflammation and loneliness: A systematic review (part of a symposium titled "Loneliness in older adults: Public health issue or moral panic"). Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Boston, USA, 14th-19th November 2018.

    Smith KJ, Kontari P. Risk of dementia associated with cardiometabolic abnormalities and depression. Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Boston, USA, 14th-19th November 2018.

    Smith KJ, Peterson M, Victor C, Ryan J. Incidence of dementia in adults with cerebral palsy: a UK cohort study. Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Boston, USA, 14th-19th November 2018.

    Smith KJ, Victor C. Investigating the longitudinal association between loneliness and cardiometabolic conditions.  Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Boston, USA, 14th-19th November 2018.

    Smith KJ, Peterson M, O'Connell N, Victor C, Liverani S, Anoyade N, Ryan J. The incidence of common mental illness in adults with Cerebral Palsy (as part of mini-symposium titled "Ageing with Cerebral Palsy: perspectives from the UK and USA"). European Association of Childhood Disability meeting, Tbilisi, Georgia, 28th-31st May 2018.

    Chan C, Smith KJ (presenting author), Cockhaw W, Holmes-Truscott E, Ventura A, Browne J, Speight J. The relationship between social support, diabetes distress and blood glucose levels in people with diabetes: Diabetes-MILES Australia. Diabetes UK professional conference, London, UK 14th-16th March 2018

    Xi Liu, Silvia Liverani, Kimberley J. Smith, Keming Yu (2020)Modeling tails for collinear data with outliers in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing: Quantile profile regression, In: Biometrical journal62(4)pp. 916-931 Wiley

    Research has shown that high blood glucose levels are important predictors of incident diabetes. However, they are also strongly associated with other cardiometabolic risk factors such as high blood pressure, adiposity, and cholesterol, which are also highly correlated with one another. The aim of this analysis was to ascertain how these highly correlated cardiometabolic risk factors might be associated with high levels of blood glucose in older adults aged 50 or older from wave 2 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). Due to the high collinearity of predictor variables and our interest in extreme values of blood glucose we proposed a new method, called quantile profile regression, to answer this question. Profile regression, a Bayesian nonparametric model for clustering responses and covariates simultaneously, is a powerful tool to model the relationship between a response variable and covariates, but the standard approach of using a mixture of Gaussian distributions for the response model will not identify the underlying clusters correctly, particularly with outliers in the data or heavy tail distribution of the response. Therefore, we propose quantile profile regression to model the response variable with an asymmetric Laplace distribution, allowing us to model more accurately clusters that are asymmetric and predict more accurately for extreme values of the response variable and/or outliers. Our new method performs more accurately in simulations when compared to Normal profile regression approach as well as robustly when outliers are present in the data. We conclude with an analysis of the ELSA.

    Carina K. Y. Chan, Wendell Cockshaw, Kimberley Smith, Elizabeth Holmes-Truscott, Frans Pouwer, Jane Speight (2020)Social support and self-care outcomes in adults with diabetes: The mediating effects of self-efficacy and diabetes distress. Results of the second diabetes MILES - Australia (MILES-2) study, In: Diabetes research and clinical practice166108314pp. 108314-108314 Elsevier

    Aims: Diabetes self-care outcomes are positively impacted by social support. Understanding the mechanisms involved can inform more effective interventions. This study tested potential cross-sectional mediation of social support through self-efficacy and diabetes distress for self-care and clinical outcomes (diet, physical activity, blood glucose monitoring, HbA(1c)). Method: We analysed a sub-sample of the Australian Diabetes MILES-2 cross-sectional online survey (N =1727). Measures were: Diabetes Social Support Scale, Confidence in Diabetes Self-care Scale, Problem Areas In Diabetes scale, diet and physical activity subscales of the Summary of Diabetes Self-Care Activities, and self-reported HbA(1c). Separate mediation path models were tested for each of the four self-care/clinical outcomes in groups with type 1 and type 2 (insulinand non-insulin-treated) diabetes. Results: Social support was associated with more optimal self-care and self-reported HbA(1c) outcomes. When diabetes-specific self-efficacy and distress were included as mediators, the direct path from social support became non-significant. Conversely, the indirect effects of social support through diabetes-specific self-efficacy and distress were significant across all diabetes groups and outcomes. Conclusion: Diabetes-specific self-efficacy and distress may be important mechanisms link ing social support with diabetes self-care and clinical outcomes. Social support interventions could explore whether improving diabetes self-efficacy and decreasing diabetes distress could help improve self-care. (C) 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

    N Schmitz, SS Deschênes, RJ Burns, KJ Smith, A Lesage, I Strychar, R Rabasa-Lhoret, C Freitas, E Graham, P Awadalla, JL Wang (2016)Depression and risk of type 2 diabetes: the potential role of metabolic factors, In: Molecular Psychiatry21pp. 1726-1732 Springer Nature

    The aim of the present study was to evaluate the interaction between depressive symptoms and metabolic dysregulations as risk factors for type 2 diabetes. The sample comprised of 2525 adults who participated in a baseline and a follow-up assessment over a 4.5-year period in the Emotional Health and Wellbeing Study (EMHS) in Quebec, Canada. A two-way stratified sampling design was used, on the basis of the presence of depressive symptoms and metabolic dysregulation (obesity, elevated blood sugar, high blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides and decreased high-density lipoprotein). A total of 87 (3.5%) individuals developed diabetes. Participants with both depressive symptoms and metabolic dysregulation had the highest risk of diabetes (adjusted odds ratio=6.61, 95% confidence interval (CI): 4.86–9.01), compared with those without depressive symptoms and metabolic dysregulation (reference group). The risk of diabetes in individuals with depressive symptoms and without metabolic dysregulation did not differ from the reference group (adjusted odds ratio=1.28, 95% CI: 0.81–2.03), whereas the adjusted odds ratio for those with metabolic dysregulation and without depressive symptoms was 4.40 (95% CI: 3.42–5.67). The Synergy Index (SI=1.52; 95% CI: 1.07–2.17) suggested that the combined effect of depressive symptoms and metabolic dysregulation was greater than the sum of individual effects. An interaction between depression and metabolic dysregulation was also suggested by a structural equation model. Our study highlights the interaction between depressive symptoms and metabolic dysregulation as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Early identification, monitoring and a comprehensive management approach of both conditions might be an important diabetes prevention strategy.

    Jennifer M Ryan, Michelle H Cameron, Silvia Liverani, Kimberley J. Smith, Neil O'connell, Mark D Peterson, Nana Anokye, Christina Victor, Fiona Boland (2019)Incidence of falls among adults with cerebral palsy: a cohort study using primary care data, In: Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology Wiley

    Aim To compare the rate of falls between adults with and without cerebral palsy (CP). Method We used primary care data on 1705 adults with CP and 5115 adults without CP matched for age, sex, and general practice attended. We compared odds of experiencing a fall between adults with and without CP using conditional logistic regression. We compared the rate of falls using a negative binomial model. Results Participants were 3628 males (53%) and 3192 females (47%) (median age 29y, interquartile range 20–42y) at the start of follow‐up. Follow‐up was 14 617 person‐years for adults with CP and 56 816 person‐years for adults without CP. Of adults with CP, 15.3% experienced at least one fall compared to 5.7% of adults without CP. Adults with CP had 3.64 times (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.98–4.45) the odds of experiencing a fall compared to adults without CP. The rate of falls was 30.5 per 1000 person‐years and 6.7 per 1000 person‐years for adults with and without CP respectively (rate ratio 5.83, 95% CI 4.84–7.02) Interpretation Adults with CP are more likely to fall, and fall more often, than adults without CP. The causes and consequences of falls in adults with CP need examination.

    N Schmitz, G Gariépy, KJ Smith, M Clyde, A Malla, R Boyer, I Strychar, A Lesage, J Wang (2014)Recurrent Subthreshold Depression in Type 2 Diabetes: An Important Risk Factor for Poor Health Outcomes, In: Diabetes Care37(4)pp. 970-978

    OBJECTIVE To evaluate the association between recurrent subthreshold depressive episodes and functioning in a prospective community sample of people with type 2 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS A prospective community study in Quebec, Canada, was carried out between 2008 and 2013 (n = 1,064). Five yearly follow-up assessments (telephone interviews) were conducted. Baseline and the first three follow-up assessments were used to identify recurrent subthreshold depressive episodes (Patient Health Questionnaire [PHQ]-9). Functioning (World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule II [WHODAS-II]) and health-related quality of life (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] unhealthy days) at 4- and 5-year follow-up assessments were the outcome measures. RESULTS Nearly half of the participants suffered from at least one episode of subthreshold depressive symptoms. After adjusting for potentially confounding factors, the risk of poor functioning/impaired health–related quality of life was nearly three times higher (relative risk = 2.86) for participants with four subthreshold depressive episodes compared with participants with no/minimal depression. Results suggest a dose-response relationship: the risk of poor functioning/impaired health–related quality of life increased with the number of recurrent subthreshold depressive episodes even after controlling for potentially confounding variables (significant linear trend, P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS Recurrent subthreshold depressive symptoms might be an important risk factor for poor health outcomes in type 2 diabetes. Early identification, monitoring, and treatment of recurrent subthreshold depressive symptoms might improve functioning and quality of life in people with type 2 diabetes.

    Kimberley Smith, B Au, LUCIE BEATRICE OLLIS, N Schmitz (2017)The association between C-reactive protein, Interleukin-6 and depression among older adults in the community: a systematic review and meta-analysis, In: Experimental Gerontology102pp. 109-132 Elsevier

    Previous research indicates there may be an association between inflammation and depression in older adults but results are inconsistent. Therefore, the aim of this review was to determine the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of two inflammatory markers C-reactive protein (CRP) and Interleukin-6 (IL-6) with depression in older adults. We searched five databases for cross-sectional and longitudinal studies reporting an association between CRP or IL-6 with depression among adults sampled from the community aged 50 or older. We found 32 studies (23 cross-sectional, 7 longitudinal, and 2 assessing both cross-sectional and longitudinal associations) that met eligibility criteria. These studies were entered into a random-effects meta-analysis to determine the cross-sectional association and longitudinal direction of association between both IL-6 and CRP with depression. Results indicated a cross-sectional and longitudinal association between both CRP and IL-6 with depression in older adults, with inflammation leading to depression in longitudinal studies rather than depression to inflammation. However, there was notable heterogeneity between studies as results differed based on adjusting for confounders and on how inflammation and depression were measured. These sources of heterogeneity could explain differences in study results.

    Stefano Licchelli, Andrew King, Kimberley Jane Smith (2023)“It’s still in the test tube and finding out how the experiment ends… ”. A qualitative study on health and ageing in older gay males living with HIV in England., In: Journal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care22 SAGE Publications

    This paper highlights experiences and perceptions of older gay males living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in relation to age, sexual orientation, HIV status and how they perceive health. Participants were gay males aged 50 and over living in England, diagnosed with HIV for longer than 2 years. In total, 19 interviews were conducted between March 2020 and March 2021. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Three major themes were generated: 1.) Health as holistic and as a balance; 2.) The impact of HIV on people’s lives; 3.) The Intersectionality of stigma: a lifetime of discrimination. Participants highlighted the changing nature of the concept of health through their lifespan while the intersectionality of stigma in different contexts is examined considering the personal journey of living with HIV. The implications of health as a complex concept and intersectional stigma on the planning and delivering of care in this population are discussed

    Neil E. O'Connell, Kimberley J. Smith, Mark D. Peterson, Nicola Ryan, Silvia Liverani, Nana Anokye, Christina Victor, Jennifer M. Ryan (2019)Incidence of osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and inflammatory musculoskeletal diseases in adults with cerebral palsy: A population-based cohort study, In: Bone125pp. 30-35 Elsevier

    Background People with cerebral palsy (CP) may be at increased risk of musculoskeletal conditions due to various factors including malnutrition and abnormal levels of skeletal loading. This study aimed to compare the incidence of osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and inflammatory musculoskeletal diseases between adults with and without CP. Methods A population based cohort study was conducted using data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink collected between 1987 and 2015. Adults with CP were matched to adults without CP for age, sex and general practice. Cox models, stratified by matched set and adjusted for potential confounders, were fitted to compare the risk of osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and inflammatory musculoskeletal diseases. Results 1705 adults with CP were matched to 5115 adults without CP. Adults with CP had an increased risk of osteoporosis in unadjusted (Hazard Ratio (HR) 3.67, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 2.32 to 5.80, p ˂ 0.001) and adjusted (HR 6.19, 95% CI 3.37 to 11.39, p ˂ 0.001) analyses. No evidence of increased risk of inflammatory musculoskeletal diseases was observed in unadjusted or adjusted analyses. For osteoarthritis no evidence of increased risk was seen in the unadjusted analysis, but evidence of an increased risk was seen when the analysis was adjusted for alcohol consumption, smoking status, and mean yearly general practice (GP) visits (HR 1.54, 95% CI 1.17 to 2.02, p ˂ 0.001). Conclusions After accounting for potential confounding variables, we found that CP is associated with increased risk of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. These findings provide the strongest epidemiological evidence to date for increased risk of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis in people with CP, and highlight need for clinical awareness of such conditions in this population.

    G Dean, A Orford, R Staines, A McGee, Kimberley Smith (2017)Psychosocial wellbeing and health-related quality of life in a UK population with Usher syndrome, In: BMJ Open7(1)e013261 BMJ Journals

    Objectives: To determine whether psychosocial wellbeing is associated with the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of people with Usher syndrome. Setting: The survey was advertised online and through deafblind-related charities, support groups and social groups throughout the UK. Participants: 90 people with Usher syndrome took part in the survey. Inclusion criteria are having a diagnosis of Usher syndrome, being 18 or older and being a UK resident. Primary and secondary outcome measures: All participants took part in a survey that measured depressive symptoms, loneliness and social support ( predictors) and their physical and mental HRQOL (outcomes). Measured confounders included agerelated, sex-related and health-related characteristics. Hierarchical multiple linear regression analyses examined the association of each psychosocial wellbeing predictor with the physical and mental HRQOL outcomes while controlling for confounders in a stepwise manner. Results: After adjusting for all confounders, psychosocial well-being was shown to predict physical and mental HRQOL in our population with Usher syndrome. Increasing depressive symptoms were predictive of poorer physical (β=−0.36, p

    Jennifer M. Ryan, Mark D. Peterson, Anthony Matthews, Nicola Ryan, Kimberley J. Smith, Neil E. O’Connell, Silvia Liverani, Nana Anokye, Christina Victor, Elizabeth Allen Allen (2019)Non-communicable disease among adults with cerebral palsy: A matched cohort study, In: Neurology American Academy of Neurology

    Objective: This study aimed to compare the incidence of non-communicable diseases between adults with and without cerebral palsy (CP). Methods: A cohort study was conducted using primary care data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. Cox models, stratified by matched set and adjusted for potential confounders, were fitted to compare the risk of any non-communicable disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and respiratory disease between adults with and without CP. Results: The analysis included 1,705 adults with CP and 5,115 age-, sex-, and general practice matched adults without CP. There was evidence from adjusted analyses that adults with CP had 75% increased risk of developing any non-communicable disease compared to adults without CP (HR: 1·75, 95% CI 1·58 to 1·94). Specifically, they had increased risk of cardiovascular disease (HR: 1.76, 95% CI 1.48 to 2.11) and respiratory disease (HR: 2.61, 95% CI 2.14 to 3.19). There was no evidence of increased risk of cancer or type 2 diabetes. Conclusions: Adults with CP had increased risk of non-communicable disease, specifically cardiovascular and respiratory disease. These findings highlight the need for clinical vigilance regarding identification of non-communicable disease in people with CP, and further research into the etiology and management of non-communicable disease in this population.

    P. J. Shanahan, S. Palod, K. J. Smith, C. Fife-Schaw, N. Mirza (2019)Interventions for sleep difficulties in adults with an intellectual disability: a systematic review., In: Journal of Intellectual Disability Research Wiley

    Background Current literature highlights higher prevalence rates of sleep difficulties amongst adults with an intellectual disability. However, no synthesis has been conducted to assess the effectiveness of existing interventions in this population. Thus, the aim of this review was to assess the effectiveness of sleep interventions in adults with an intellectual disability (ID). Method Eight databases were searched to identify interventions for sleep difficulties amongst adults with an ID. The study quality was assessed with the Risk Of Bias In Non‐randomised Studies – of Interventions. Nine studies (n = 97) were eligible for inclusion in the review. Results There was a notable study on heterogeneity in terms of the population, study design, intervention studied, sleep assessment and outcome assessments used. Eight of the nine studies reported improvement in sleep following intervention. However, these findings need additional support as only 97 participants involving a variety of interventions and measurement systems were used across all studies. Furthermore, eight of the nine studies had serious to critical risk of bias. The only study identified as having low risk of bias was a placebo‐controlled randomised controlled trial for the use of melatonin. Conclusions This review highlights the need for objective measures such as actigraphy and studies with greater experimental control investigating sleep interventions in adults with ID.

    Kimberley Smith, Shannon Gavey, Natalie Riddell, Panagiota Kontari, Christina Victor (2020)The association between loneliness, social isolation and inflammation: A systematic review and meta-analysis., In: NEUROSCIENCE AND BIOBEHAVIORAL REVIEWS PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD

    The review synthesised evidence examining the association between a.) loneliness with inflammation and b.) social isolation with inflammation in adults aged 16 or older from the general population. From an initial 7,400 articles we identified 14 papers that examined loneliness, and 16 that examined social isolation. Qualitative syntheses indicated mixed results, variable study quality, and methodological heterogeneity. Most studies provided associations for C-reactive protein (CRP), fibrinogen and Interleukin-6 (IL-6), and these results were synthesised using random-effects meta-analyses. There was no association between loneliness with CRP or fibrinogen, but there was a significant association between loneliness and IL-6 for most-adjusted (but not least-adjusted) analyses. There was also a significant least-adjusted association between social isolation with CRP and fibrinogen, which remained significant for fibrinogen in most-adjusted analyses. There was no association between social isolation with IL-6. Sensitivity analyses indicated that methodological heterogeneity impacted on results. Results indicate that social isolation and loneliness could be linked with systemic inflammation, but more robust methodology is needed to confirm these associations and unpack mechanisms.

    Jennifer M. Ryan, Mark D. Peterson, Nicola Ryan, Kimberley J. Smith, Neil E. O’Connell, Silvia Liverani, Nana Anokye, Christina Victor, Elizabeth Allen (2019)Mortality due to cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and cancer in adults with cerebral palsy, In: Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology Wiley

    Aim: To compare mortality rates for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and respiratory disease between adults with cerebral palsy (CP) and the general population. Method: A cohort study was conducted using data from adults with CP in England, identified through a primary care dataset (the Clinical Practice Research Datalink), with linked data on death registrations from the Office for National Statistics. Cause of death was categorised according to ICD codes. Standardised mortality ratios were calculated to compare mortality rates between adults with CP and the general population, adjusted for age, sex, and calendar-year. Results: 958 adults with CP were identified (median age at start of follow-up 31 yr; 52.5% males) and followed for a total of 7693 person-years. 142 patients (15%) died during follow-up. Adults with CP had an increased risk of death due to cardiovascular disease (SMR: 3.19, 95% CI 2.20 to 4.62) and respiratory disease (SMR: 13.59, 95% CI to 18.67), but not from malignant neoplasms (SMR: 1.42, 95% CI 0.83 to 2.45). Interpretation: We found that adults with CP in England have increased risk of death due to diseases of the circulatory and respiratory systems, supporting findings from two studies that compared cause-specific mortality rates between adults with CP in the US and the general population. Further research is required into primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular and respiratory disease in people with CP worldwide.

    Kimberley J. Smith, Mark D. Peterson, Neil E. O’Connell, Christina Victor, Silvia Liverani, Nana Anokye, Jennifer M. Ryan (2018)Risk of depression and anxiety in adults with cerebral palsy: A UK-cohort study using GP data, In: JAMA Neurology76(3)pp. 294-300 American Medical Association

    Importance: Cerebral palsy (CP) is considered a paediatric condition despite most people living into adulthood. Due to this we lack evidence in adults with CP, this includes a paucity of research examining mental health in this population. Objectives: Determine the risk of depression and anxiety in adults with a diagnosis of CP compared with an age-, sex-, and practice-matched reference group of adults without CP, using primary care data. Design, setting and participants: Retrospective longitudinal cohort study set in UK primary care. Data were analysed using Cox proportional hazards regression analyses adjusted for chronic conditions and visits to their physician. The study period ran from 1987 to 2015. Data for 1,705 adults aged 18 or older with CP and 5,115 matched adults who did not have CP were extracted. CP was identified using diagnostic codes, and each person with CP was compared with 3 age, sex and practice matched controls. Exposure: Diagnosis of CP, with a second analysis accounting for co-morbidity of intellectual disability (ID). Main outcomes: Time to diagnosis for depression or anxiety following the date of entry into the study in adults with CP (with and without ID) when compared with matched controls. Results: The mean age of the CP and matched group was 33.3 and 46.8% (n=798) were female. People with CP had an increased adjusted hazard of depression (HR 1.28, 95% CI: 1.09-1.51) and anxiety (HR 1.40, 95% CI: 1.21-1.63) when compared with the matched reference group. When we accounted for ID co-morbidity there were 363 adults with CP who also had ID (mean age 32.1, 47.6% (n=159) female) and 1342 adults with CP who did not have ID (mean age 33.6, 43.8% (n=639) female). Only those people with CP and no co-morbid ID had a higher risk of incident depression (HR 1.44: 95% CI 1.20-1.72) and anxiety (HR 1.55: 95% CI 1.28-1.87) than their matched controls. Conclusions: The results demonstrate that adults with CP have an increased risk of depression or anxiety. In particular, our results indicate that this association is driven largely by those individuals with CP with no co-occurring ID. Future work is needed in community-based samples in order to fully elucidate the causal mechanisms driving these associations.

    Kimberley Smith, C Victor (2018)Typologies of loneliness, living alone and social isolation and their associations with physical and mental health., In: Ageing and Society39(8)pp. 1709-1730 Cambridge University Press

    The relationship between living alone, loneliness and social isolation and how they are associated with health remains contentious. We sought to explore typologies based on shared experiences of loneliness, social isolation and living alone using Latent Class Analysis and determine how these groups may differ in terms of their physical and mental health. We used Wave 7 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (n=7032, mean age 67.3) and responses to the UCLA loneliness scale, household composition, participation in social/societal activities plus frequency of contact with friends, family and relatives for the Latent Class Analysis. The optimal number of groups were identified using model fit criteria. The sociodemographic characteristics of groups and health outcomes were explored using descriptive statistics and logistic regression. We identified a 6-cluster typology: 1.) No loneliness or isolation; 2.) Moderate loneliness 3.) Living alone; 4.) Moderate isolation; 5.) Moderate loneliness, living alone 6.) High loneliness, moderate isolation (with high likelihood of living alone). Groups experiencing loneliness and/or isolation were more likely to report poorer physical and mental health even after adjusting for sociodemographic confounders, this was particularly notable for group 6. Our results indicate that different typologies of living alone, loneliness and isolation can be identified using data-driven techniques, and can be differentiated by the number and severity of issues they experience.

    Panagiota Kontari, Kimberley Smith (2018)Risk of dementia associated with cardiometabolic abnormalities and depressive symptoms: A longitudinal cohort study using the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, In: International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry34(2)pp. 289-298 Wiley

    Objectives: Depression and cardiometabolic abnormalities are independently associated with a high risk of dementia. This study aimed to examine the association of comorbid depressive symptoms and cardiometabolic abnormalities with risk of dementia. Methods: The sample comprised 4859 participants aged 50 or older without baseline dementia who took part in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (Waves 2-7). Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression tool. Cardiometabolic abnormalities were defined as three or more cardiometabolic risk factors (inflammation, central obesity, raised triglycerides, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, hypertension and hyperglycaemia or diabetes). Participants were classified into four groups based on presence of depressive symptoms and cardiometabolic abnormalities. Results were analysed using Cox Proportional Hazards Regression adjusted for covariates. Results: A total of 216 cases of incident dementia were reported over 10 years of follow-up. The group with high depressive symptoms only had an increased hazard of developing incident dementia during follow-up (HR 2.68, 95% CI [1.70 - 4.23]) which was attenuated after adjustment for baseline cognition. No evidence was found for an association of overall cardiometabolic abnormalities with incident dementia, though hyperglycaemia, hypertension and abdominal obesity with depressive symptoms had an unadjusted association with incident dementia. Only low-HDL cholesterol with depressive symptoms had an adjusted association with incident dementia (HR 0.18: 95% CI [0.04 – 0.75]). Conclusions: This work confirms depressive symptoms as a risk factor for incident dementia. However, low HDL-cholesterol with depressive symptoms may be protective against dementia, though more work is required to confirm this association.

    Kimberley Smith, Sonya S. Deschênes, Norbert Schmitz (2018)Investigating the longitudinal association between diabetes and anxiety: a systematic review and meta-analysis, In: Diabetic Medicine35(6)pp. 677-693 Wiley

    Objectives: Previous research has indicated that there is an association between diabetes and anxiety. However, no synthesis has determined the direction of this association. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the longitudinal relationship between anxiety and diabetes. Method: We searched seven databases for studies examining the longitudinal relationship between anxiety and diabetes. Two independent reviewers screened studies from a population aged 16 or older that either a) examined anxiety as a risk factor for incident diabetes or b) examined diabetes as a risk factor for incident anxiety. Studies that met eligibility criteria were put forward for data extraction and meta-analysis. Results: In total 14 studies (n=1,760,800) that examined anxiety as a risk factor for incident diabetes and 2 studies (n=88,109) that examined diabetes as a risk factor for incident anxiety were eligible for inclusion in the review. Only studies examining anxiety as a risk factor for incident diabetes were put forward for the meta-analysis. The least adjusted (unadjusted or adjusted for age only) estimate indicated a significant association between baseline anxiety with incident diabetes (OR 1.47: 1.23-1.75). Furthermore, most-adjusted analyses indicated a significant association between baseline anxiety and incident diabetes. Included studies that examined diabetes to incident anxiety found no association. Conclusions: There was an association between baseline anxiety with incident diabetes. Results also indicate the need for more research to examine the direction of association from diabetes to incident anxiety. This work adds to the growing body of evidence that poor mental health increases the risk of developing diabetes.

    Panagiota Kontari, Chris Fife-Schaw, Kimberley Jane Smith (2022)Clustering of cardiometabolic risk factors and dementia incidence in older adults: a cross-country comparison in England, the USA and China, In: The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences Oxford University Press

    Background: There is mixed evidence for an association between cardiometabolic risk factors and dementia incidence. This study aimed to determine whether different latent classes of cardiometabolic conditions were associated with dementia risk in older adults across England, the USA and China. Methods: A total of 4511 participants aged 50 and older were drawn from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), 5112 from Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and 9022 from China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS). Latent class analyses were performed across each dataset utilising seven baseline cardiometabolic conditions: obesity, low high‐density-lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP), hyperglycemia, diabetes, and inflammation. Confounder-adjusted Cox proportional hazards regressions were conducted to estimate dementia incidence by cardiometabolic latent classes. Results: Three similar cardiometabolic classes were identified across all countries: 1) ‘relatively healthy/healthy obesity’, 2) ‘obesity-hypertension’ and 3) ‘complex cardiometabolic’. Across the three samples, a total of 1,230 individuals developed dementia over a median of 6.8-12.2 years. Among ELSA and HRS participants, the ‘complex cardiometabolic’ group had a higher dementia risk when compared to the ‘healthy obesity’ groups (England: AdjHR=1.62 [95%CI=1.11–2.37]; USA: AdjHR=1.31 [95%CI=1.02–1.68]). However, in CHARLS participants, the ‘obesity-hypertension’ group had a greater risk of dementia when compared to the ‘relatively healthy’ group (AdjHR=1.28 [95%CI=1.04–1.57]). Conclusion: This study provides evidence that in western populations, complex cardiometabolic clusters are associated with higher rates of dementia incidence, whereas in a Chinese sample, a different cardiometabolic profile seems to be linked to an increased risk of dementia.

    Background and objective: Loneliness is proposed to be linked with increased service use. This review examined the proposed association between loneliness and health and social care utilisation (HSCU) in older adults from the general population. Methods: Four databases were screened for studies that examined the association between loneliness (predictor) with HSCU (outcome) in older adults (defined as majority of sample 60 or older). Study quality was assessed with the NIH scale for observational cohorts and cross-sectional studies. Results: We identified 32 studies, of which 9 prospective studies were evaluated as being of good or good-fair quality. Two good-fair quality studies suggested that loneliness at baseline was associated with subsequent admission to a residential care home. There was emerging evidence that loneliness was associated with emergency department use (n=1), and CVD-specific hospitalisation (n=1). Once adjusted for confounders the highest quality studies found no association between baseline loneliness with physician utilisation, outpatient service utilisation, skilled nursing facility use, and planned or unplanned hospital admissions. The remaining, studies were cross-sectional, or of fair to poor quality, and inadequate to reliably determine whether loneliness was associated with a subsequent change in HSCU. Discussion and implications: There was heterogeneity in study design, measurement, and study quality. This generated an inconsistent evidence base where we cannot determine clear inferences about the relationship between loneliness and HSCU. Only one consistent finding was observed between two good-fair quality studies regarding care home admission. To determine clinical implications and make reliable inferences additional good quality longitudinal research is needed.

    Kimberley J Smith, Mark D Peterson, Christina Victor, Jennifer M Ryan (2021)Risk of dementia in adults with cerebral palsy: a matched cohort study using general practice data, In: BMJ Open11(1)e042652

    Objectives: Determine the risk of incident dementia in adults with cerebral palsy (CP) compared with age, sex and general practice (GP) matched controls.DesignRetrospective cohort study.SettingUK GPs linked into the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD). Participants:CPRD data were used to identify adults aged 18 or older with a diagnosis of CP. Each adult with CP was matched to three controls who were matched for age, sex and GP. In total, 1703 adults with CP and 5109 matched controls were included in the analysis. The mean baseline age of participants was 33.30 years (SD: 15.48 years) and 46.8% of the sample were female. Primary outcome: New diagnosis of dementia during the follow-up period (earliest date of 1987 to latest date of 2015). Results:During the follow-up, 72 people were identified with a new diagnosis of dementia. The overall proportion of people with and without CP who developed dementia was similar (CP: n=19, 1.1%; matched controls n=54, 10.0%). The unadjusted HR suggested that people with CP had an increased hazard of being diagnosed with dementia when compared with matched controls (HR 2.69, 95% CI 1.44 to 5.00). This association was attenuated when CP comorbidities (sensory impairment, intellectual disability and epilepsy) were accounted for (HR 1.92, 95% CI 0.92 to 4.02). Conclusions: There was no difference in the proportion of people with CP and matched controls who were diagnosed with dementia during the follow-up. Furthermore, while there was evidence for an increased hazard of dementia among people with CP, the fact that this association was attenuated after controlling for comorbidities indicates that this association may be explained by comorbidities rather than being a direct result of CP. Findings should be interpreted with caution due to the low number of incident cases of dementia.

    PAUL JOSEPH SHANAHAN, Shahnaz Ahmad, KIMBERLEY JANE SMITH, Swapnil Palod, CHRISTOPHER RICHARD FIFE-SCHAW (2022)The prevalence of sleep disorders in adults with learning disabilities: A systematic review, In: British journal of learning disabilities Wiley

    Background Previous research indicated a high prevalence of disordered sleep among adults with learning disabilities, however issues with design impacted findings. The current systematic review aims to: (a) present how disordered sleep and sleep disorders amongst adults with learning disabilities are described in the literature, and (b) report on the prevalence of disordered sleep and sleep disorders among adults with learning disabilities. Methods Five databases (EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsycARTICLES, PsycINFO and PubMed) were searched for articles published from 1900 to October 2021 that examined the prevalence of disordered sleep and/or sleep disorders in adults aged 18 or older with learning disabilities. The Joanna Briggs Institute critical appraisal checklist for prevalence studies was used to assess study quality and prevalence is described and reported as ranges. The study was registered on PROSPERO (ID: CRD42019134550). Findings A total of 27 studies were selected. Twenty studies (n = 8043 participants) examined the prevalence of disordered sleep and identified prevalence ranging from 6.1% to 74.2% across a range of sleep parameters. Twelve studies examined sleep-related breathing disorders (n = 2558 participants) and identified prevalence which ranged from 0.5% to 100%. There was notable heterogeneity between studies in terms of quality, definition of disordered sleep, measurement of sleep, and study design. Conclusion There was a variable prevalence of disordered sleep among people living with learning disabilities. There were problems in meaningfully synthesising results due to heterogeneity in measurement, diagnosis, study design and study quality. Based on these limitations, we suggest that future studies should seek to utilise objective, replicable and consistent measures of sleep in this population and control for physical health factors which could influence prevalence such as epilepsy and iatrogenic effects.

    Kimberley J. Smith, Chris Fife-Schaw, Bridget Dibb, William Griffiths (2018)Living with the impact of iron overload Haemochromatosis UK

    The large response to our 2017 patient survey, 2,000 in all, speaks to the need for people living with haemochromatosis to have a voice. Whilst our knowledge of the biological mechanisms at work in haemochromatosis continues to develop, little research is published on the impact of the condition on people’s lives. This report is the result of an independent expert analysis of the 2017 survey responses. It highlights the wide array of symptoms experienced by people with haemochromatosis. You will read that most of the people who responded reported debilitating symptoms including fatigue and pain, particularly those for whom diagnosis was delayed. Yet, treatment is relatively simple. The report provides support for its effectiveness in reducing some of the symptoms although for some patients, treatment is a difficult and unpleasant experience. In the report you will read about haemochromatosis patients’ experiences of healthcare. Whilst most patients are satisfied with the information and support provided by medical specialists, this is not the case with regard to their GPs. Greater awareness of recent guidelines for screening for haemochromatosis is recommended by the report authors, and we strongly support implementation of these guidelines in order to avoid delays in treatment and prevent irreversible tissue damage. At HUK, our aims are to support those with haemochromatosis and those at risk, to educate patients, families, the wider public and healthcare community about the condition in order to raise awareness of haemochromatosis, and to stimulate research into the condition and its impact on people’s lives. We hope that this report will contribute to all of these aims and, in particular, that it will encourage earlier diagnosis and stimulate much needed new research.

    Additional publications