Nicholas Wald, MB BS DSc(Med) FRS FRCP FFPH FRCOG FMedSci FIBiol
Professor of Environmental and Preventive Medicine
Centre for Environmental and Preventive Medicine
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7882 6269
Professor Wald is the founding Director of the Wolfson Institute (1992-1995 and 1997-2013) and remains Head of the Centre of Environmental and Preventive Medicine in the Institute.
He is known internationally for his research in epidemiology and preventive medicine.
He pioneered the field of antenatal screening for congenital malformation and made discoveries that form the basis of screening for neural tube defects and Down's syndrome in early pregnancy.
He showed, in a large randomised trial, that a lack of folic acid is a cause of neural tube defects, and that an adequate intake of the vitamin immediately before pregnancy can prevent most cases.
He has demonstrated that passive smoking is a cause of lung cancer and with Professor Law showed it also increased the risk of ischaemic heart disease.
Screening procedures for early detection of certain cancers, notably breast cancer, have been advanced from his work. With Professor Law, he determined the relationship between salt intake, blood pressure and cardiovascular disease and clarified the quantitative relationship between blood cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.
Recent research includes screening and treatment of hypothyroidism in pregnancy and subsequent intellectual development in children. He is the innovator of the "Polypill", a new approach to the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, and with his son David has conducted a trial demonstrating the expected effect of a polypill.
Current research includes screening and treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection and subsequent stomach cancer. He gave the Royal Society of Medicine Jephcott Lecture 'Nutrition in prevention: time for a SASS Tax' in 2010. His book, Antenatal and Neonatal Screening, won first prize in the BMA Medical Book Competition (2001) in the public health category.
He is the founding Editor of the Journal of Medical Screening.
- Birth defects
- Cardiovascular disease
- Health effects of smoking
- Public Health nutrition policy
- Wald NJ, Bestwick JP Incorporating DNA sequencing into current prenatal screening practice for Downs syndrome. PLoS ONE 2013;8:e58732
- Lazarus JH, Bestwick JP, Channon S, Paradice R, Maina A, Rees R, Chiusano E, John R, Guaraldo V, George LM, Perona M, Dallâ€™Amico D, Parkes AB, Jomun M, Wald NJ. Antenatal thyroid screening and childhood cognitive function. N Engl J Med 2012;366:493-501
- Wald NJ, Simmonds M, Morris JK. Screening for future cardiovascular disease using age alone compared with multiple risk factors and age. PLoS One 2011 May 4;6(5):e18742
- Wald NJ, Morris JK. Assessing risk factors as potential screening tests: A simple assessment tool. Arch Intern Med 2010. 10.1001/archinternmed.2010.378
- Law MR, Morris JK, Wald NJ. Use of blood pressure lowering drugs in the prevention of cardiovascular disease: meta-analysis of 147 randomised trials in the context of expectations from prospective epidemiological studies. BMJ 2009;338:b1665
- Wald NJ, Law MR. A strategy to reduce cardiovascular disease by more than 80%. BMJ 2003; 326: 1419-23
- Wald Nicholas, Leck Ian (Eds) Antenatal and Neonatal Screening. (2nd edition). Oxford University Press, 2000, 23-57. 1st Prize, Public Health Category, BMA Book Awards, 2001
- Wald NJ, Watt HC, Hackshaw AK. Integrated screening for Down's syndrome based on tests performed during the first and second trimesters. N Engl J Med 1999;341:461-7
- Wald N, Sneddon J, Densem J, Frost C, Stone R for the MRC Vitamin Study Research Group.MRC Vitamin Study Research Group. Prevention of neural tube defects: results of the MRC Vitamin Study. Lancet 1991; 338:132-137
- Wald NJ, Cuckle HS, Densem JW, Nanchahal K, Royston P, Chard T, Haddow JE, Knight GJ, Palomaki GE, Canick JA. Maternal serum screening for Down's syndrome in early pregnancy. BMJ 1988; 297:883-887