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Title page for ETD etd-08022017-142117

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Hollister, Brittany Marie
Author's Email Address brittany.m.hollister@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-08022017-142117
Title Examining the Role of Socioeconomic Status on Blood Pressure in African Americans
Degree PhD
Department Human Genetics
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Melinda Aldrich Committee Chair
Amy Non Committee Member
Dana Crawford Committee Member
Derek Griffith Committee Member
Todd Edwards Committee Member
  • African Americans
  • genetic
  • socioeconomic status
  • blood pressure
Date of Defense 2017-05-05
Availability unrestricted
Understanding the genetic and environmental factors contributing to blood pressure is an important step in elucidating the causes of hypertension, a disease of high blood pressure. African Americans experience the highest burden of hypertension in the United States, however little is known about the genetic factors contributing to blood pressure in African Americans, despite a high estimated heritability. Furthermore, current large scale studies of genetic variants contributing to blood pressure in African Americans do not include socioeconomic status (SES) information, in spite of a strong association between SES and blood pressure. To examine the potential interactions between SES and genetic variants contributing to blood pressure, a hospital-based population with electronic health records was used. Prior to conducting genetic analysis, several algorithms were developed to extract SES information from electronic health records (EHR). These algorithms extracted occupation, retirement, education level, unemployment, homelessness, Medicaid, and uninsured status with high accuracy. With the extracted education information, interactions between genetic variants contributing to blood pressure in African Americans and education were examined. No statistically significant interactions were observed. Some novel statistically significant and suggestive associations between genetic variants and blood pressure were observed. One suggestive interaction between a genetic variant and education level affecting blood pressure was detected. These results indicate that exploring interactions between SES data extracted from EHRs and genetic variants is possible on a large scale.
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