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Vitamin D genes and mortality

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 18 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6599
  1. Paul Welsh, British Heart Foundation research fellow,
  2. Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine
  1. 1Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Science, British Heart Foundation Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8TA, UK
  1. Correspondence to: N Sattar Naveed.Sattar{at}

Harnessing genetics to re-examine the case for vitamin D

Readers of medical journals would be forgiven for a experiencing a sense of déjà vu—another study investigating of the role of vitamin D in chronic disease, another editorial. They might also be forgiven for thinking that little is left to say about vitamin D that has not already become a cliché. The wealth of research articles written on vitamin D in recent times is not the result of a comedic temporal loop designed to make one feel like Bill Murray relentlessly reliving the same experience in the 1993 cult movie Groundhog Day. Rather it reflects the collective will of the academic community to investigate this topical public health question as rapidly as possible. Afzal and colleagues therefore need make no apology for coming back to the vitamin D question again in the linked paper (doi:10.1136/bmj.g6330), here using a mendelian randomisation approach.1

What is mendelian randomisation, and why might it be better than classical observational epidemiology? We now know that approaches linking circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-(OH)D) to health outcomes are seriously hampered by confounding and reverse causality.2 The circulating …

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