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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.
Neuropsychological investigations can help untangle the aetiological and phenomenological heterogeneity of schizophrenia but have scarcely been employed in the context of treatment-resistant (TR) schizophrenia. No population-based study has examined neuropsychological function in the first-episode of TR psychosis.
We report baseline neuropsychological findings from a longitudinal, population-based study of first-episode psychosis, which followed up cases from index admission to 10 years. At the 10-year follow up patients were classified as treatment responsive or TR after reconstructing their entire case histories. Of 145 cases with neuropsychological data at baseline, 113 were classified as treatment responsive, and 32 as TR at the 10-year follow-up.
Compared with 257 community controls, both case groups showed baseline deficits in three composite neuropsychological scores, derived from principal component analysis: verbal intelligence and fluency, visuospatial ability and executive function, and verbal memory and learning (p values⩽0.001). Compared with treatment responders, TR cases showed deficits in verbal intelligence and fluency, both in the extended psychosis sample (t = −2.32; p = 0.022) and in the schizophrenia diagnostic subgroup (t = −2.49; p = 0.017). Similar relative deficits in the TR cases emerged in sub-/sensitivity analyses excluding patients with delayed-onset treatment resistance (p values<0.01–0.001) and those born outside the UK (p values<0.05).
Verbal intelligence and fluency are impaired in patients with TR psychosis compared with those who respond to treatment. This differential is already detectable – at a group level – at the first illness episode, supporting the conceptualisation of TR psychosis as a severe, pathogenically distinct variant, embedded in aberrant neurodevelopmental processes.
The APM QSO survey is a quantitative survey aimed at finding a large sample (∼ 1000) of QSOs using broadly-based selection criteria applied to machine-scanned UK Schmidt Telescope direct and objective-prism plates. The survey is currently entering its third year and, as of August 1988, the sample consists of ∼ 700 QSOs with mJ ≥ 18.75 in the range 0.2 ≤ z ≤ 3.3. Preliminary analysis suggests that the sample is relatively free of the selection effects endemic to most QSO surveys based on slitless spectroscopy.
The ‘voice quality symbols’ (VoQS) transcription system for voice quality was introduced some 20 years ago, and no major revision has been undertaken since then. In this account we describe the first major revision of the VoQS chart, these changes being mostly in the form of additions to the section on phonation types, but include also changes to the layout of the supralaryngeal settings section. These reflect recent developments in the understanding of the physiological underpinnings of sounds produced in the larynx including certain phonation types.
The evidence underpinning the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) is overwhelming. As the emphasis shifts more towards interventions and the translational strategies for disease prevention, it is important to capitalize on collaboration and knowledge sharing to maximize opportunities for discovery and replication. DOHaD meetings are facilitating this interaction. However, strategies to perpetuate focussed discussions and collaborations around and between conferences are more likely to facilitate the development of DOHaD research. For this reason, the DOHaD Society of Australia and New Zealand (DOHaD ANZ) has initiated themed Working Groups, which convened at the 2014–2015 conferences. This report introduces the DOHaD ANZ Working Groups and summarizes their plans and activities. One of the first Working Groups to form was the ActEarly birth cohort group, which is moving towards more translational goals. Reflecting growing emphasis on the impact of early life biodiversity – even before birth – we also have a Working Group titled Infection, inflammation and the microbiome. We have several Working Groups exploring other major non-cancerous disease outcomes over the lifespan, including Brain, behaviour and development and Obesity, cardiovascular and metabolic health. The Epigenetics and Animal Models Working Groups cut across all these areas and seeks to ensure interaction between researchers. Finally, we have a group focussed on ‘Translation, policy and communication’ which focusses on how we can best take the evidence we produce into the community to effect change. By coordinating and perpetuating DOHaD discussions in this way we aim to enhance DOHaD research in our region.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common and disabling condition with well-established heritability and environmental risk factors. Gene–environment interaction studies in MDD have typically investigated candidate genes, though the disorder is known to be highly polygenic. This study aims to test for interaction between polygenic risk and stressful life events (SLEs) or childhood trauma (CT) in the aetiology of MDD.
The RADIANT UK sample consists of 1605 MDD cases and 1064 controls with SLE data, and a subset of 240 cases and 272 controls with CT data. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were constructed using results from a mega-analysis on MDD by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. PRS and environmental factors were tested for association with case/control status and for interaction between them.
PRS significantly predicted depression, explaining 1.1% of variance in phenotype (p = 1.9 × 10−6). SLEs and CT were also associated with MDD status (p = 2.19 × 10−4 and p = 5.12 × 10−20, respectively). No interactions were found between PRS and SLEs. Significant PRSxCT interactions were found (p = 0.002), but showed an inverse association with MDD status, as cases who experienced more severe CT tended to have a lower PRS than other cases or controls. This relationship between PRS and CT was not observed in independent replication samples.
CT is a strong risk factor for MDD but may have greater effect in individuals with lower genetic liability for the disorder. Including environmental risk along with genetics is important in studying the aetiology of MDD and PRS provide a useful approach to investigating gene–environment interactions in complex traits.
Human cystic echinococcosis (CE) is known to be endemic in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), China; however, there is relatively little data from hospital records or community prevalence studies, and the situation regarding occurrence of human alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is unclear. Here we review the available reports about human echinococcosis in the seven prefectures of TAR. In addition, two pilot studies by mass screening using ultrasound (with serology) were undertaken (2006/7) in Dangxiong County of Lhasa Prefecture (north central TAR) and Dingqing County of Changdu Prefecture (eastern TAR). In Dangxiong County a prevalence of 9.9% (55/557) for human CE was obtained but no human AE cases were detected. By contrast, in Dingqing County (N= 232 persons screened), 11 CE cases (4.7%) and 12 AE cases (5.2%) (including one mixed CE and AE case) were diagnosed by ultrasound. Hospital records and published reports indicated that CE cases were recorded in all of seven prefectures in Tibet Autonomous Region, and AE cases in four prefectures. Incidence rates of human CE were estimated to range from 1.9 to 155 per 100,000 across the seven prefectures of TAR, with a regional incidence of 45.1 per 100,000. Incidence of AE was estimated to be between 0.6 and 2.8 cases per 100,000. Overall for TAR, human AE prevalence appeared relatively low; however, the pilot mass screening in Dingqing in eastern TAR indicated that human AE disease is a potential public health problem, possibly similar to that already well described in Tibetan communities bordering TAR in north-west Sichuan and south-west Qinghai provinces.
The results of 1959-1960 radar measurements of the distance of the Moon are given. The method of reduction of the data is described The possible effects of lunar topography and errors of other origins are discussed, as well as the effects of different constants such as the radii of the Earth and of the Moon.
Scanning acoustic microscopy (SAM), when applied to biological samples has the potential to resolve the longitudinal acoustic wave speed and hence stiffness of discrete tissue components. The heterogeneity of biological materials combined with the action of cryosectioning and rehydrating can, however, create variations in section topography. Here, we set out to determine how variations in specimen thickness influence apparent acoustic wave speed measurements
Cryosections (5μm nominal thickness) of human skin biopsies were adhered to glass slides before washing and rehydrating in water. Multiple regions (200x200 μm; n = 3) were imaged by SAM to generate acoustic wave speed maps. Subsequently co-localised 30x30 μm sub-regions were imaged by atomic force microscopy (AFM) in fluid. The images were then registered using Image J. Each pixel was allocated both a height and wave speed value before their relationship was then plotted on a scattergram. The mean section thickness measured by AFM was 3.48 ± 1.12 (SD) μm. Regional height variations influenced apparent wave speed measurements. A 3.5 μm height difference was associated with a 400 ms-1 increase in wave speed. In the present study we show that local variations in specimen thickness influence apparent wave speed. We also show that a true measure of wave speed can be calculated if the thickness of the specimen is known at each sampling point.