Derek Cook is Professor of Epidemiology and leads the Primary Care Epidemiology Group within the Population Health Research Institute. He has wide-ranging interests in the epidemiology of chronic diseases.
These include understanding the reasons for ethnic, geographic and social variations in cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and the determinants of time trends in these diseases. Professor Cook also has a longstanding interest in how chronic disease risks emerge over the life course and in their early life determinants.
During the 1990s Professor Cook developed a strong interest in the health effects of passive smoking, carrying out both primary research and systematic reviews.
Professor Cook formed a Primary Care Epidemiology Group which developed the Doctor’s Independent Network (DIN) database for research purposes and carried out parallel studies in DIN and the General Practice Research Database (GPRD) examining the role of antibiotics, immunisations and infections on risk of hay fever in children.
More recently the group have exploited the GPRD and The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database, using postcode and other forms of linkage to study a range of research topics. These include the cardio-respiratory health effects of air-pollution; the quality of care of older people living in care homes compared to community settings; the impact of bereavement on healthcare use and health, and the effectiveness of annual health checks and quality of health care for adults with learning disability.
A second focus of the Primary Care Epidemiology Group has been to carry out studies within primary care; currently we are running two large trials to assess the benefits of pedometers for increasing physical activity within a primary care setting (Principal Investigator Dr Tess Harris).
Professor Cook collaborates heavily with other members of the Population Research Centre; in particular with Professor Whincup on the early origins of cardiovascular disease and diabetes (Ten Towns Studies, Child Heart and Health Study in England (CHASE) and Assessment of Body Composition in Children (ABCC) study and with Dr Chris Owen on the ENABLE Study, an assessment of the role of the built environment on physical activity.
Professor Cook formed the multidisciplinary Primary Care Epidemiology Group in 1997 to bridge the gap between epidemiology and primary care with the twin aims of exploiting the potential of large primary care databases for epidemiological and health services research and exploiting primary care as a setting for carrying out epidemiological studies.
Professor Cook trained in mathematics and statistics at University College and Imperial College London before moving into medical statistics and then epidemiology. From 1979-1991 he worked at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine on the British Regional Heart Study becoming co-director in 1987. He moved to St George's in 1991 as Senior Lecturer (subsequently Reader and Professor) in Epidemiology. In 1999, he was awarded the European Respiratory Society prize for paediatric respiratory research in Europe (jointly with Professor David Strachan), for systematic reviews of the effects of parental smoking on health of children.
The Primary Care Epidemiology Group is currently running: (A) studies in which large scale primary care data are being linked in novel ways to study the impact of traffic on health, the impact of bereavement on health and the quality of care provided in care homes and to individuals with learning disabilities (PI Sunil Shah); (B) two large NIHR funded trials based in Primary Care to increase walking in adults (PI Tess Harris). The latter fits with Propfessor Cook's interest in moving from observational to interventional studies, particularly in the areas of physical activity and nutrition. Professor Cook also collaborates widely with other members of the Population Health Research Institute; in particular with Chris Owen and others on the ENABLE study which aims to exploit a natural experiment as a tool for studying the role of the built environment on physical activity, and with Professor Peter Whincup on developing interventions to improve diet and reduce obesity and insulin resistance in children, particularly in South Asians.
Shah SM, Carey IM, Harris T, DeWilde S, Cook DG. Mortality in older care home residents in England and Wales. Age & Ageing 2013;42:209-15 (doi: 10.1093/ageing/afs174)
Atkinson R, Carey IM, Kent A, van Staa TP, Anderson HR, Cook DG. Long term exposure to outdoor air pollution and incidence of cardiovascular diseases. Epidemiology 2013;24:44-53 (doi:10.1097/EDE.0b013e318276ccb8)
Carey IM, Atkinson R, Kent A, van Staa TP, Cook DG, Anderson HR. Mortality associations with long-term exposure to outdoor air pollution in a national English cohort. AJRCCM 2013 (doi:10.1164/rccm.201210-1758OC)
Shah S, Carey IM, Harris T, DeWilde S, Victor C, Cook DG. Do good health and material circumstances protect older people from the increase in mortality after bereavement? AJE 2012 (doi: 10.1093/aqje/kws 162)
Shah SM, Carey IM, Owen CG, Harris T, DeWilde S, Cook DG. Does beta-adrenoceptor blocker therapy improve cancer survival? Findings from a population based retrospective cohort study. Brit J Clin Pharmacol 2011;72:157-61 (DOI:10.111/j.1365-2125.03980.x)
Shah S, Carey IM, Harris T, DeWilde S, Lewis S, Hubbard R, Cook DG. A novel methodology for identifying care home residents in primary care databases. Age & Aging 2010 39:617-23 (doi: 10.1093/ageing/afq086)
Whincup PH, Nightingale CM, Owen CG, Rudnicka AR, Gibb I, McKay CM, Donin AS, Sattar N, Alberti GMM, Cook DG. Early emergence of ethnic differences in type 2 diabetes precursors in the UK: the Child Heart and Health Study in England (CHASE Study). PLOS Med 2010:7(4):e1000263. (doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000263)
Owen CG, Whincup PH, Orfei L, Chou Q-A, Rudnicka AR, Wathern AK, Kaye SJ, Eriksson JG, Osmond C, Cook DG. Is body mass index before middle age related to coronary heart disease in later life? Evidence from observational studies. IJO 2009;33:866-77 (doi:10.1038/ijo.2009.102)
Harris T, Owen CG, Victor C, Adams R, Ekelund U, Cook DG. A comparison of questionnaire, accelerometer and pedometer: measures in older people. Med Sci Sports Exer 2009;41:1392-1402
Whincup PH, Kaye S, Owen CG, Huxley R, Cook DG on behalf of the EARLYREAD collaboration. Birthweight and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: a Systematic Review. JAMA 2008;300:2886-97 (DOI:10.1001/jama.2008.886)
Cook DG, Pocock SJ. Multiple regression in geographical mortality studies with allowance for spatially correlated errors. Biometrics 1983;39:361-371.
Cook DG, Shaper AG, Macfarlane P. Using the WHO (Rose) angina questionnaire in cardiovascular epidemiology. Int J Epidemiol 1989;18:607-613. (doi:10.1093/ije/18.3.607)
Cook DG, Strachan DP. Health effects of passive smoking -10: Summary of effects of parental smoking on children’s respiratory health and implications for research. Thorax 1999;54:357-366.
Iain Carey – Senior research fellow in statistics and epidemiology.
Stephen DeWilde – General practitioner and senior lecturer in primary care epidemiology.
Tess Harris – Senior lecturer in primary care and general practitioner.
Sunil Shah – Senior lecturer in public health.
Professor Ashley Cooper – (Centre for Exercise Nutrition & Health Sciences, University of Bristol).
Professor Billie Giles-Corti – (McCaughey Centre, University of Melbourne).
Professor Frank Kelly and the Environmental Health Group - (Environmental Health Group , Kings College London).
Professor C Victor – (Health Sciences and Social Carte, Brunel University).
2012-2016: NIHR (HTA programme) >£2 million for “A multicentre randomised controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of enhanced motivational interviewing with usual care for reducing cardiovascular risk” (Ismail K, Winkley K, Ashworth M, Treasure J, Greenough A, Whincup P, Stahl D, McCrone P, Cook D, de Zoysa N)
2012-2015: NIHR (HTA programme) £1,100,000 for “Randomised controlled trial of a pedometer-based walking intervention with and without practice nurse support in patients aged 45-74 years.” (Harris T, Cook DG, Kerry S, Victor C, Shah S, Iliffe S, Ussher M, Whincup PH)
2013-2015: NIHR (HS&DR programme) £310,000 For “An evaluation of the effectiveness of annual health checks and quality of health care for adults with learning disability” (Shah SM, Cook DG, Harris T, Carey IM, DeWilde S)
2012-2015: NPRI (£755,493) to study “Will moving into social and affordable housing in the Athletes Village increase family physical activity levels? Evaluation of a natural experiment.” (Owen CG, Rudnicka A, Whincup PH, Cook DG, Cooper A, Giles-Causey B, Ellaway A)
2012-2013: Diabetes UK (£76,000) to study “Emerging ethnic differences in type 2 diabetes risk in children of South Asian, black African-Caribbean and white European origin: the role of childhood diet and eating patterns” (Whincup P, Cook D, Owen C, Donin A)
2011-2014: MRC/NERC (Environment & Health Programme) £1.2 million to study “Traffic Pollution and Health in London” (joint application between KCL, IC, and SGUL – Lead Applicant Frank Kelly, KCL) of which £372,000 was awarded to SGUL (Atkinson RA, Cook DG, Whincup PH)
2011-2014: RfPB (NIHR) £250,000 for “A RCT of a pedometer-based intervention combined with primary care physical activity consultations, in patients aged 60-74”. (Harris T, Cook DG, Whincup PH, Victor C, Kerry S, Ekelund U, Beighton C, Woodcock A, Iliffe S)
2011-2013: Dunhill Medical Trust. £131,000 to study “The Health and Healthcare impact of bereavement in older people” (Shah S, Carey IM, Harris T, DeWilde S, Victor C, Cook DG)
2011-2012: Diabetes UK (£70,324) to study “Emerging ethnic differences in type 2 diabetes risk in children of South Asian, black African-Caribbean and white European origin: the role of early life factors” (Whincup, PH, Cook DG, Owen CG, Sattar N)
2011-2012: BUPA Foundation (£90k) for “Investigating the determinants of emerging ethnic differences in type 2 diabetes risk in UK South Asian, African-Caribbean and white European children” (Whincup PH, Owen CG, Rudnicka A, Cook DG)
2011: Care Quality Commission. £18,500 to develop “Indicators of quality of medical care in residential and nursing homes” (Shah SM, Harris T, DeWilde S, Carey IM, Cook DG)
2010-2013: NIHR Cochrane Collaboration Programme Grant Scheme. £269,511 for “Reviews of current treatment for COPD and Asthma in adults and children“. (Cates C, Strachan DP, Cook DG)
2010-2012: British Heart Foundation (£177,396) to study “Adiposity over the lifecourse and risks of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, mobility limitation and healthy survival in older men.” Owen CG, Whincup PH, Wannametthee SG, Rudnicka A, Cook DG.
2010-2013: NIHR PhD Studentship (£303,000) to study “Adiposity, overweight and obesity in South Asian, black African Caribbean and white European children”. (Nightingale C (student), Whincup PH, Cook DG, Rudnicka A)
2009-2012: Department of Health (Policy Research Program: Air Pollution). £197,000 to study “An investigation of the effects of long term exposure to air pollution on cardiorespiratory morbidity in a large population cohort” (Atkinson RA, Anderson HR, Cook DG, Armstrong B, Stedman J)
2009-2011: BUPA Foundation £81,000 to study “Influence of socio-economic factors on emerging risks of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease among South Asians, black African-Caribbeans and white Europeans: the Child Heart And Health Study in England (CHASE Study)“ (Whincup PH, Cook DG, Owen CG, Rudnicka A).
2008-2011: BUPA Foundation £144,161 for “An investigation of the quality of primary care for older care home residents using linkage within a primary care database” (Shah SM, Cook DG, Harris T, DeWilde S, Carey IM, Hubbard R, Lewis S)
Professor Cook teaches on the St George’s, University of London MBBS and MRes courses primarily in the areas of epidemiology, public health and critical appraisal. He has responsibility for the Case Analysis Project (CAP) which runs in the transition year of the MBBS courses.