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The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Maternal exposures to fever and infections in pregnancy have been linked to subsequent psychiatric morbidity in the child. This study examined whether fever and common infections in pregnancy were associated with psychosis-like experiences (PLEs) in the child.
A longitudinal study of 46 184 children who participated in the 11-year follow-up of the Danish National Birth Cohort was conducted. Pregnant women were enrolled between 1996 and 2002 and information on fever, genitourinary infections, respiratory tract infection, and influenza-like illness during pregnancy was prospectively collected in two interviews during pregnancy. PLEs were assessed using the seven-item Adolescent Psychotic-Like Symptom Screener in a web-based questionnaire completed by the children themselves at age 11.
PLEs were reported among 11% of the children. Multinomial logistic regression models with probability weights to adjust for potential selection bias due to attrition suggested that maternal fever, genitourinary infections and influenza-like illness were associated with a weak to moderate increased risk of subclinical psychosis-like symptoms in the offspring, whereas respiratory tract infections were not. No clear pattern was observed between the strengths of the associations and the timing of exposure, or the type of psychosis-like symptom.
In this study, maternal exposures to fevers and common infections in pregnancy were generally associated with a subtle excess risk of PLEs in the child. A more pronounced association was found for influenza-like illness under an a priori definition, leaving open the possibility that certain kinds of infections may constitute important risk factors.
Habitat loss is widely recognized as the major cause of global biodiversity decline, but remaining habitat is increasingly threatened by chronic human disturbances. Using a multi-model averaging approach we examined the association between five chronic disturbance surrogates and the richness and taxonomic and functional composition of ants in Brazilian Caatinga. Using pitfall traps in 47 plots near Parnamirim city (Pernambuco) across two soil types (sand and clay), we recorded 53 species from 27 genera. Ant species richness on sand was slightly higher than on clay, and was negatively related to most surrogates of anthropogenic disturbance. Soil type and human population size were the main predictors of ant species richness. Soil type was the most important predictor of functional group abundance. Taxonomic and functional composition were influenced by soil type and disturbance, but this relationship varied between clay and sandy soils. Ant functional composition showed a weak relationship with disturbance on sandy soils, but on clay soils it showed predictable winner–loser replacement. We attribute the greater effect of disturbance on clay soils to higher intensity of land use, and our study highlights the importance of considering context dependence when evaluating biodiversity responses to disturbance.
Bones that have undergone burning at high temperatures (i.e. cremation) no longer contain organic carbon. Lanting et al. (2001) proposed that some of the original structural carbonate, formed during bioapatite formation, survives. This view is based on paired radiocarbon dating of cremated bone apatite and contemporary charcoal. However, stable carbon isotope composition of carbonate in cremated bones is consistently light compared to the untreated material and is closer to the δ13C values seen in C3 plant material. This raises the question of the origin of carbonate carbon in cremated bone apatite. That is, does the isotope signal reflect an exchange of carbon with the local cremation atmosphere and thus with carbon from the burning fuel, or is it caused by isotopic fractionation during cremation?
To study the changes in carbon isotopes (14C, 13C) of bone apatite during burning up to 800 °, a modern bovine bone was exposed to a continuous flow of an artificial atmosphere (basically a high-purity O2/N2 gas mix) under defined conditions (temperature, gas composition). To simulate the influence of the fuel carbon available under real cremation conditions, fossil CO2 was added at different concentrations. To yield cremated bone apatite properties similar to archaeological cremated bones, in terms of crystallographic criteria, water vapor had to be added to the atmosphere in the oven. Infrared vibrational spectra reveal large increases in crystal size and loss of carbonate upon cremation. The isotope results indicate an effective carbon exchange between bone apatite carbonate and CO2 in the combustion gases depending on temperature and CO2 concentration. 14C dates on archaeological cremated bone apatite may thus suffer from an old-wood effect. Paired 13C and 14C values indicate that in addition to this exchange, isotope fractionation between CO2 and carbonate, and admixture of carbon from other sources such as possibly collagen or atmospheric CO2, may play a role in determining the final composition of the apatite carbonate.
Several new AMS 14C dates on shells from the Fossvogur sea sediments in southern Iceland are reported. Up till now, researchers have assumed that the Fossvogur sediments formed during the last interglacial period (Eem), some 100,000 years ago. However, a recent 14C determination from this location yielded an age of ca 11,000 yr. Because of the importance of these sediments for the Quaternary chronology of Iceland, further sampling for 14C dating was subsequently initiated. The present results on several shell samples collected from the Fossvogur layers strongly indicate that these sediments were formed during the warm Allerød period toward the end of the last glaciation.
Radii and luminosities for Cepheid variables provide fundamental information on stellar evolution. Such data, obtained by the Baade-Wesselink method, are available and have been used for a number of galactic Cepheids. It is of particular interest to obtain corresponding data for Cepheids in the Magellanic Clouds. Firstly, this allows a comparative study of stellar evolution between the Galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds. Secondly, it provides data for an independent determination of the distance to the Magellanic Clouds.
Radial-velocity observations have been made for a total of around 20 Cepheid variables in both the LMC and the SMC. All measurements were made with the photoelectric scanner CORAVEL attached to the Cassegrain focus of the Danish 1.54-m telescope at European Southern Observatory, La Silla, Chile. Observations were made from January 1981 through October 1983. The accuracy of individual radial-velocity observations is of the order of 1 km s−1. The B magnitudes of the six Cepheids presented range from 13.0 to 15.5.
Dietary advanced glycation end products (AGE) formed during heating of food have gained interest as potential nutritional toxins with adverse effects on inflammation and glucose metabolism. In the present study, we investigated the short-term effects of high and low molecular weight (HMW and LMW) dietary AGE on insulin sensitivity, expression of the receptor for AGE (RAGE), the AGE receptor 1 (AGER1) and TNF-α, F2-isoprostaglandins, body composition and food intake. For 2 weeks, thirty-six Sprague–Dawley rats were fed a diet containing 20 % milk powder with different proportions of this being given as heated milk powder (0, 40 or 100 %), either native (HMW) or hydrolysed (LMW). Gene expression of RAGE and AGER1 in whole blood increased in the group receiving a high AGE LMW diet, which also had the highest urinary excretion of the AGE, methylglyoxal-derived hydroimidazolone 1 (MG-H1). Urinary excretion of Nε-carboxymethyl-lysine increased with increasing proportion of heat-treated milk powder in the HMW and LMW diets but was unrelated to gene expression. There was no difference in insulin sensitivity, F2-isoprostaglandins, food intake, water intake, body weight or body composition between the groups. In conclusion, RAGE and AGER1 expression can be influenced by a high AGE diet after only 2 weeks in proportion to MG-H1 excretion. No other short-term effects were observed.
Virtual reality surgical simulation of mastoidectomy is a promising training tool for novices. Final-product analysis for assessing novice mastoidectomy performance could be limited by a peak or ceiling effect. These may be countered by simulator-integrated tutoring.
Twenty-two participants completed a single session of self-directed practice of the mastoidectomy procedure in a virtual reality simulator. Participants were randomised for additional simulator-integrated tutoring. Performances were assessed at 10-minute intervals using final-product analysis.
In all, 45.5 per cent of participants peaked before the 60-minute time limit. None of the participants achieved the maximum score, suggesting a ceiling effect. The tutored group performed better than the non-tutored group but tutoring did not eliminate the peak or ceiling effects.
Timing and adequate instruction is important when using final-product analysis to assess novice mastoidectomy performance. Improved real-time feedback and tutoring could address the limitations of final product based assessment.
Maternal infection in pregnancy is a known risk factor for adverse pregnancy outcome, and a number of zoonotic pathogens may constitute a risk to pregnant women and their fetuses. With animal contact as a proxy for the risk of zoonotic infection, this study aimed to evaluate pregnancy outcome in women with self-reported occupational or domestic contact with livestock compared to pregnant women without such contact. The Danish National Birth Cohort collected information on pregnancy outcome from 100 418 pregnant women (1996–2002) from which three study populations with occupational and/or domestic exposure to livestock and a reference group of women with no animal contact was sampled. Outcome measures were miscarriage, very preterm birth (before gestational week 32), preterm birth (before 37 gestational weeks), small for gestational age (SGA), and perinatal death. Adverse reproductive outcomes were assessed in four different exposure groups of women with occupational or domestic exposure to livestock with no association found between exposure to livestock and miscarriage, preterm birth, SGA or perinatal death. These findings should diminish general occupational health concerns for pregnant women with exposures to a range of different farm animals.
We assessed the role of tuberculosis (TB) disease and HIV infection on the level of physical activity. A combined heart rate and movement sensor was used to assess habitual physical activity in TB patients and non-TB controls. The association between sputum-negative TB, sputum-positive TB, HIV and physical activity estimates were assessed in multivariable linear regression models adjusted for age, sex, haemoglobin and alpha-1-acid glycoprotein (AGP). Sputum-positive [eB 0·43, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·29–0·64] and sputum-negative (eB 0·67, 95% CI 0·47–0·94) TB as well as HIV infection (eB 0·59, 95% CI 0·46–0·75) were associated with reduced activity compared to controls. Anaemia accounted for a substantial part of the effects of HIV, while elevated AGP primarily mediated the TB effect. The level of physical activity is highly influenced by TB and HIV, and mainly mediated through anaemia of infection and associated with elevated acute phase response.
Use of antidepressants during pregnancy has been associated with a low
Apgar score in infants but a contribution from the underlying depressive
disorder might influence this association.
To estimate the effects of maternal depression and use of antidepressants
during pregnancy on low Apgar scores (<7) 5min after birth.
Register study on all pregnant women in Denmark from 1996 to 2006 linking
nationwide individualised data from the Medical Birth Register, the
Psychiatric Central Register and the National Prescription database.
Infants exposed to antidepressants during pregnancy had an increased rate
of a low Apgar score (odds ratio (OR) = 1.72, 95% CI 1.34-2.20). The
increased rate was only found among infants exposed to selective
serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIS) (OR =1.96, 95% CI 1.52-2.54), not
among those exposed to newer (OR = 0.83, 95% CI 0.40-1.74) or older
antidepressants (OR=0.53, 95% CI 0.19-1.45). Maternal depression before
or during pregnancy, without prescription of antidepressants, was not
associated with a low Apgar score (OR=0.44, 95% CI 0.11-1.74). Women who
had only used antidepressants prior to pregnancy had no increased rate of
a low Apgar score in their subsequent pregnancy, regardless of depression
Use of SSRls during pregnancy increases the risk of a low Apgar score
independently of maternal depression.
The antibiotic trimethoprim acts as a folate antagonist. Since trophoblasts are very sensitive to drugs that interfere with the folic acid cycle and thereby inhibit DNA synthesis, use of trimethoprim during the first trimester could be associated with miscarriage. A nationwide cohort study including all women in Denmark with a registered pregnancy between 1997 and 2005 was conducted. We used nationwide registers to identify all women giving birth, having a record of miscarriage or induced abortion. Data on exposure to trimethoprim were obtained from the National Prescription Register. Cox proportional hazard regression analysis with exposure to trimethoprim as a time-dependent variable was used to estimate the risk of miscarriage. The adjusted hazard ratio of having a miscarriage after exposure to trimethoprim in the first trimester compared to non-exposure was 2·04 (95% confidence interval 1·43–2·91). Our results indicate that trimethoprim exposure in the first trimester is associated with a doubling of the hazard of miscarriage.
Environmental factors influencing grass establishment and performance in tropical savannas are poorly understood, particularly in relation to disturbance. We describe a seed sowing experiment that examined the effects of fire regime, canopy cover and litter cover on the emergence, establishment, height and fecundity (seed production) of the regionally dominant annual grass Sorghum intrans in northern Australia. Establishment was significantly lower under the woody canopy compared with canopy gaps, and where seeds were sown on a layer of litter compared with bare soil. However, variation in fire regime had no significant effect on establishment or seed production. Additionally, a shade-house experiment was conducted to test the effects of litter on seedling emergence of S. intrans and six other grass species representative of the local flora (Pseudopogonatherum contortum, Sorghum plumosum, Chrysopogon latifolius, Eriachne triseta, Heteropogon triticeus and Alloteropsis semialata). All species showed reduced emergence when sown either above or below litter, compared with bare soil. Our results demonstrate the importance of the overstorey as a determinant of S. intrans abundance and savanna grass composition more generally, through its effect on establishment. The aversion of savanna grasses to litter (and S. intrans to canopy shading) supports the notion of savanna species being highly adapted to disturbance.
Trichinella nativa infection (trichinellosis) is highly prevalent in Arctic wildlife, but the human burden of trichinellosis in present-day Greenland is unknown. The study aimed to determine Trichinella seroprevalence in an eastern Greenlandic hunting community and to evaluate risk factors for seropositivity. Overall, 998 inhabitants aged ⩾10 years in the Ammassalik municipality were tested for Trichinella-specific IgG antibodies. Background information was obtained from questionnaires. Seropositivity was 1·4% in persons aged <40 years and increased to >12% in those aged ⩾60 years. Older age, occupation as hunter or fisherman, and consumption of polar bear meat significantly increased the risk of Trichinella seropositivity. The seropositivity age pattern probably reflects changes in dietary preferences, but could also reflect mandatory meat inspection since 1966. However, preventive measures against Trichinella infection should be strengthened in Greenland.
This report provides the recommendations of ARENA Working Group 1 concerning the development of and objectives for a wide-field, optical/infrared, 2.5 m class telescope for Antarctica. It discusses the key science drivers for such a telescope, the performance and capabilities it should have, and the logistics and infrastructure issues relevant to its construction and operation.
We present a site testing program initiated at the SUMMIT station on the Greenland Ice Cap. A DIMM was mounted in the SWISS tower, 39 m above the ice level, during a period of 3 weeks in the late Arctic summer 2008. Tracking Polaris, the DIMM obtained continuous seeing measurements. The campaign was hampered by poor weather and the measured seeing was fluctuating, suggesting that the boundary layer was very unstable. However, during short periods, the un-calibrated seeing went below 0″.5, indicating that the free atmosphere seeing above Greenland is not significantly different from what is found above the Antarctic plateau.
Felsic volcanic rocks exposed in the Frasnian Gafo Formation, in the Azinhalinho area of Portugal, display very similar geochemical signatures to volcanic rocks from the Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB). located immediately to the south. The similarities include anomalously low high field-strength elements (HFSE) concentrations, possibly caused by low-temperature crustal melting, which translate into classification problems.
A geochronological study, using laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) analyses of zircon grains from these rocks, has provided concordia ages of 356±1.5 Ma and 355±2.5 Ma for two samples of rhyodacite porphyry, and 356±1.4 Ma for a granular rhyodacite. These results show that volcanism at Azinhalinho was broadly contemporaneous with IPB volcanism, widely interpreted as being of Famennian to Visean age. Considering that the host rocks of the Azinhalinho volcanic rocks are Frasnian, and therefore deposited synchronously with the Upper Devonian Phyllite-Quartzite Group sedimentation in the IPB basin, the radiometric ages imply that the Azinhalinho felsic rocks are intrusive and likely represent conduits or feeders to the volcanism of the IPB.