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Studies suggest that alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders have distinct genetic backgrounds.
We examined whether polygenic risk scores (PRS) for consumption and problem subscales of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C, AUDIT-P) in the UK Biobank (UKB; N = 121 630) correlate with alcohol outcomes in four independent samples: an ascertained cohort, the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA; N = 6850), and population-based cohorts: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC; N = 5911), Generation Scotland (GS; N = 17 461), and an independent subset of UKB (N = 245 947). Regression models and survival analyses tested whether the PRS were associated with the alcohol-related outcomes.
In COGA, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with alcohol dependence, AUD symptom count, maximum drinks (R2 = 0.47–0.68%, p = 2.0 × 10−8–1.0 × 10−10), and increased likelihood of onset of alcohol dependence (hazard ratio = 1.15, p = 4.7 × 10−8); AUDIT-C PRS was not an independent predictor of any phenotype. In ALSPAC, the AUDIT-C PRS was associated with alcohol dependence (R2 = 0.96%, p = 4.8 × 10−6). In GS, AUDIT-C PRS was a better predictor of weekly alcohol use (R2 = 0.27%, p = 5.5 × 10−11), while AUDIT-P PRS was more associated with problem drinking (R2 = 0.40%, p = 9.0 × 10−7). Lastly, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with ICD-based alcohol-related disorders in the UKB subset (R2 = 0.18%, p < 2.0 × 10−16).
AUDIT-P PRS was associated with a range of alcohol-related phenotypes across population-based and ascertained cohorts, while AUDIT-C PRS showed less utility in the ascertained cohort. We show that AUDIT-P is genetically correlated with both use and misuse and demonstrate the influence of ascertainment schemes on PRS analyses.
Translocation and rehabilitation programmes are critical tools for wildlife conservation. These methods achieve greater impact when integrated in a combined strategy for enhancing population or ecosystem restoration. During 2002–2016 we reared 37 orphaned southern sea otter Enhydra lutris nereis pups, using captive sea otters as surrogate mothers, then released them into a degraded coastal estuary. As a keystone species, observed increases in the local sea otter population unsurprisingly brought many ecosystem benefits. The role that surrogate-reared otters played in this success story, however, remained uncertain. To resolve this, we developed an individual-based model of the local population using surveyed individual fates (survival and reproduction) of surrogate-reared and wild-captured otters, and modelled estimates of immigration. Estimates derived from a decade of population monitoring indicated that surrogate-reared and wild sea otters had similar reproductive and survival rates. This was true for males and females, across all ages (1–13 years) and locations evaluated. The model simulations indicated that reconstructed counts of the wild population are best explained by surrogate-reared otters combined with low levels of unassisted immigration. In addition, the model shows that 55% of observed population growth over this period is attributable to surrogate-reared otters and their wild progeny. Together, our results indicate that the integration of surrogacy methods and reintroduction of juvenile sea otters helped establish a biologically successful population and restore a once-impaired ecosystem.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
Heart rate variability (HRV) is a proxy measure of autonomic function and can be used as an indicator of swine stress. While traditional linear measures are used to distinguish between stressed and unstressed treatments, inclusion of nonlinear HRV measures that evaluate data structure and organization shows promise for improving HRV interpretation. The objective of this study was to evaluate the inclusion of nonlinear HRV measures in response to an acute heat episode. Twenty 12- to 14-week-old growing pigs were individually housed for 7 days and acclimated to thermoneutral conditions (20.35°C ± 0.01°C; 67.6% ± 0.2% RH) before undergoing one of the two treatments: (1) thermoneutral control (TN; n = 10 pigs) or (2) acute heat stress (HS; n = 10 pigs; 32.6°C ± 0.1°C; 26.2% ± 0.1% RH). In Phase 1 of the experimental procedure (P1; 60 min), pigs underwent a baseline HRV measurement period in thermoneutral conditions before treatment [Phase 2; P2; 60 min once gastrointestinal temperature (Tg) reached 40.6°C], where HS pigs were exposed to heated conditions and TN pigs remained in thermoneutral conditions. After P2, all pigs were moved back to thermoneutral conditions (Phase 3; P3; 60 min). During each phase, Tg data were collected every 5 min and behavioural data were collected to evaluate the amount of time each pig spent in an active posture. Additionally, linear (time and frequency domain) and nonlinear [sample entropy (SampEn), de-trended fluctuation analysis, percentage recurrence, percentage determinism (%DET), mean diagonal line length in a recurrence plot] HRV measures were quantified. Heat stressed pigs exhibited greater Tg (P = 0.002) and spent less time in an active posture compared to TN pigs during P2 (P = 0.0003). Additionally, low frequency to high frequency ratio was greater in HS pigs during P3 compared to TN pigs (P = 0.02). SampEn was reduced in HS pigs during P2 (P = 0.01) and P3 (P = 0.03) compared to TN pigs. Heat stressed pigs exhibited greater %DET during P3 (P = 0.03) and tended to have greater %DET (P = 0.09) during P2 than TN pigs. No differences between treatments were detected for the remaining HRV measures. In conclusion, linear HRV measures were largely unchanged during P2. However, changes to SampEn and %DET suggest increased heat stress as a result of the acute heat episode. Future work should continue to evaluate the benefits of including nonlinear HRV measures in HRV analysis of swine heat stress.
Background: Cervical sponylotic myelopathy (CSM) may present with neck and arm pain. This study investiagtes the change in neck/arm pain post-operatively in CSM. Methods: This ambispective study llocated 402 patients through the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network. Outcome measures were the visual analogue scales for neck and arm pain (VAS-NP and VAS-AP) and the neck disability index (NDI). The thresholds for minimum clinically important differences (MCIDs) for VAS-NP and VAS-AP were determined to be 2.6 and 4.1. Results: VAS-NP improved from mean of 5.6±2.9 to 3.8±2.7 at 12 months (P<0.001). VAS-AP improved from 5.8±2.9 to 3.5±3.0 at 12 months (P<0.001). The MCIDs for VAS-NP and VAS-AP were also reached at 12 months. Based on the NDI, patients were grouped into those with mild pain/no pain (33%) versus moderate/severe pain (67%). At 3 months, a significantly high proportion of patients with moderate/severe pain (45.8%) demonstrated an improvement into mild/no pain, whereas 27.2% with mild/no pain demonstrated worsening into moderate/severe pain (P <0.001). At 12 months, 17.4% with mild/no pain experienced worsening of their NDI (P<0.001). Conclusions: This study suggests that neck and arm pain responds to surgical decompression in patients with CSM and reaches the MCIDs for VAS-AP and VAS-NP at 12 months.
Disease surveillance in wildlife populations presents a logistical challenge, yet is critical in gaining a deeper understanding of the presence and impact of wildlife pathogens. Erinaceus coronavirus (EriCoV), a clade C Betacoronavirus, was first described in Western European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) in Germany. Here, our objective was to determine whether EriCoV is present, and if it is associated with disease, in Great Britain (GB). An EriCoV-specific BRYT-Green® real-time reverse transcription PCR assay was used to test 351 samples of faeces or distal large intestinal tract contents collected from casualty or dead hedgehogs from a wide area across GB. Viral RNA was detected in 10.8% (38) samples; however, the virus was not detected in any of the 61 samples tested from Scotland. The full genome sequence of the British EriCoV strain was determined using next generation sequencing; it shared 94% identity with a German EriCoV sequence. Multivariate statistical models using hedgehog case history data, faecal specimen descriptions and post-mortem examination findings found no significant associations indicative of disease associated with EriCoV in hedgehogs. These findings indicate that the Western European hedgehog is a reservoir host of EriCoV in the absence of apparent disease.
Objectives: Apathy is a debilitating symptom of Huntington’s disease (HD) and manifests before motor diagnosis, making it an excellent therapeutic target in the preclinical phase of Huntington’s disease (prHD). HD is a neurological genetic disorder characterized by cognitive and motor impairment, and psychiatric abnormalities. Apathy is not well characterized within the prHD. In previous literature, damage to the caudate and putamen has been correlated with increased apathy in other neurodegenerative and movement disorders. The objective of this study was to determine whether apathy severity in individuals with prHD is related to striatum volumes and cognitive control. We hypothesized that, within prHD individuals, striatum volumes and cognitive control scores would be related to apathy. Methods: We constructed linear mixed models to analyze striatum volumes and cognitive control, a composite measure that includes tasks assessing with apathy scores from 797 prHD participants. The outcome variable for each model was apathy, and the independent variables for the four separate models were caudate volume, putamen volume, cognitive control score, and motor symptom score. We also included depression as a covariate to ensure that our results were not solely related to mood. Results: Caudate and putamen volumes, as well as measures of cognitive control, were significantly related to apathy scores even after controlling for depression. Conclusions: The behavioral apathy expressed by these individuals was related to regions of the brain commonly associated with isolated apathy, and not a direct result of mood symptoms. (JINS, 2019, 25, 462–469)
Laser-based compact MeV X-ray sources are useful for a variety of applications such as radiography and active interrogation of nuclear materials. MeV X rays are typically generated by impinging the intense laser onto ~mm-thick high-Z foil. Here, we have characterized such a MeV X-ray source from 120 TW (80 J, 650 fs) laser interaction with a 1 mm-thick tantalum foil. Our measurements show X-ray temperature of 2.5 MeV, flux of 3 × 1012 photons/sr/shot, beam divergence of ~0.1 sr, conversion efficiency of ~1%, that is, ~1 J of MeV X rays out of 80 J incident laser, and source size of 80 m. Our measurement also shows that MeV X-ray yield and temperature is largely insensitive to nanosecond laser contrasts up to 10−5. Also, preliminary measurements of similar MeV X-ray source using a double-foil scheme, where the laser-driven hot electrons from a thin foil undergoing relativistic transparency impinging onto a second high-Z converter foil separated by 50–400 m, show MeV X-ray yield more than an order of magnitude lower compared with the single-foil results.
Knowledge of the effects of burial depth and burial duration on seed viability and, consequently, seedbank persistence of Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri S. Watson) and waterhemp [Amaranthus tuberculatus (Moq.) J. D. Sauer] ecotypes can be used for the development of efficient weed management programs. This is of particular interest, given the great fecundity of both species and, consequently, their high seedbank replenishment potential. Seeds of both species collected from five different locations across the United States were investigated in seven states (sites) with different soil and climatic conditions. Seeds were placed at two depths (0 and 15 cm) for 3 yr. Each year, seeds were retrieved, and seed damage (shrunken, malformed, or broken) plus losses (deteriorated and futile germination) and viability were evaluated. Greater seed damage plus loss averaged across seed origin, burial depth, and year was recorded for lots tested at Illinois (51.3% and 51.8%) followed by Tennessee (40.5% and 45.1%) and Missouri (39.2% and 42%) for A. palmeri and A. tuberculatus, respectively. The site differences for seed persistence were probably due to higher volumetric water content at these sites. Rates of seed demise were directly proportional to burial depth (α=0.001), whereas the percentage of viable seeds recovered after 36 mo on the soil surface ranged from 4.1% to 4.3% compared with 5% to 5.3% at the 15-cm depth for A. palmeri and A. tuberculatus, respectively. Seed viability loss was greater in the seeds placed on the soil surface compared with the buried seeds. The greatest influences on seed viability were burial conditions and time and site-specific soil conditions, more so than geographical location. Thus, management of these weed species should focus on reducing seed shattering, enhancing seed removal from the soil surface, or adjusting tillage systems.
Small perturbations to a steady uniform granular chute flow can grow as the material moves downslope and develop into a series of surface waves that travel faster than the bulk flow. This roll wave instability has important implications for the mitigation of hazards due to geophysical mass flows, such as snow avalanches, debris flows and landslides, because the resulting waves tend to merge and become much deeper and more destructive than the uniform flow from which they form. Natural flows are usually highly polydisperse and their dynamics is significantly complicated by the particle size segregation that occurs within them. This study investigates the kinematics of such flows theoretically and through small-scale experiments that use a mixture of large and small glass spheres. It is shown that large particles, which segregate to the surface of the flow, are always concentrated near the crests of roll waves. There are different mechanisms for this depending on the relative speed of the waves, compared to the speed of particles at the free surface, as well as on the particle concentration. If all particles at the surface travel more slowly than the waves, the large particles become concentrated as the shock-like wavefronts pass them. This is due to a concertina-like effect in the frame of the moving wave, in which large particles move slowly backwards through the crest, but travel quickly in the troughs between the crests. If, instead, some particles on the surface travel more quickly than the wave and some move slower, then, at low concentrations, large particles can move towards the wave crest from both the forward and rearward sides. This results in isolated regions of large particles that are trapped at the crest of each wave, separated by regions where the flow is thinner and free of large particles. There is also a third regime arising when all surface particles travel faster than the waves, which has large particles present everywhere but with a sharp increase in their concentration towards the wave fronts. In all cases, the significantly enhanced large particle concentration at wave crests means that such flows in nature can be especially destructive and thus particularly hazardous.
Objectives: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disproportionately affects Hispanics/Latinos in the United States, yet little is known about neurocognitive impairment (NCI) in this group. We compared the rates of NCI in large well-characterized samples of HIV-infected (HIV+) Latinos and (non-Latino) Whites, and examined HIV-associated NCI among subgroups of Latinos. Methods: Participants included English-speaking HIV+ adults assessed at six U.S. medical centers (194 Latinos, 600 Whites). For overall group, age: M=42.65 years, SD=8.93; 86% male; education: M=13.17, SD=2.73; 54% had acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. NCI was assessed with a comprehensive test battery with normative corrections for age, education and gender. Covariates examined included HIV-disease characteristics, comorbidities, and genetic ancestry. Results: Compared with Whites, Latinos had higher rates of global NCI (42% vs. 54%), and domain NCI in executive function, learning, recall, working memory, and processing speed. Latinos also fared worse than Whites on current and historical HIV-disease characteristics, and nadir CD4 partially mediated ethnic differences in NCI. Yet, Latinos continued to have more global NCI [odds ratio (OR)=1.59; 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.13–2.23; p<.01] after adjusting for significant covariates. Higher rates of global NCI were observed with Puerto Rican (n=60; 71%) versus Mexican (n=79, 44%) origin/descent; this disparity persisted in models adjusting for significant covariates (OR=2.40; CI=1.11–5.29; p=.03). Conclusions: HIV+ Latinos, especially of Puerto Rican (vs. Mexican) origin/descent had increased rates of NCI compared with Whites. Differences in rates of NCI were not completely explained by worse HIV-disease characteristics, neurocognitive comorbidities, or genetic ancestry. Future studies should explore culturally relevant psychosocial, biomedical, and genetic factors that might explain these disparities and inform the development of targeted interventions. (JINS, 2018, 24, 163–175)
Tail docking of pigs is commonly performed to reduce the incidence of unwanted tail-biting behaviour. Two docking methods are commonly used: blunt trauma cutting (i.e. using side clippers), or cutting and concurrent cauterisation using a hot cautery iron. A potential consequence of tail amputation is the development of neuromas at the docking site. Neuromas have been linked to neuropathic pain, which can influence the longer-term welfare of affected individuals. To determine whether method of tail docking influences the extent of neuroma formation, 75 pigs were allocated to one of three treatments at birth: tail docked using clippers; tail docked using cautery iron; tail left intact. Tail docking was performed at 2 days of age and pigs were kept under conventional conditions until slaughter at 21 weeks of age. Tails were removed following slaughter and subjected to histological examination. Nerve histomorphology was scored according to the following scale: 1=discrete well-organised nerve bundles; 2=moderate neural proliferation and disorganisation affecting more than half of the circumference of the tail; 3=marked neural proliferation to form almost continuous disorganised bundles or non-continuous enlarged bundles compressing the surrounding connective tissue. Scores of 2 or 3 indicated neuroma formation. Scores were higher in docked pigs than undocked pigs (P<0.001), but did not differ between pigs docked using clippers and those docked using cautery (P=0.23). The results indicate that tail docking using either clippers or cautery results in neuroma formation, thus having the potential to affect long-term pig welfare.
Maternal diet-induced obesity can cause detrimental developmental origins of health and disease in offspring. Perinatal exposure to a high-fat diet (HFD) can lead to later behavioral and metabolic disturbances, but it is not clear which behaviors and metabolic parameters are most vulnerable. To address this critical gap, biparental and monogamous oldfield mice (Peromyscus polionotus), which may better replicate most human societies, were used in the current study. About 2 weeks before breeding, adult females were placed on a control or HFD and maintained on the diets throughout gestation and lactation. F1 offspring were placed at weaning (30 days of age) on the control diet and spatial learning and memory, anxiety, exploratory, voluntary physical activity, and metabolic parameters were tested when they reached adulthood (90 days of age). Surprisingly, maternal HFD caused decreased latency in initial and reverse Barnes maze trials in male, but not female, offspring. Both male and female HFD-fed offspring showed increased anxiogenic behaviors, but decreased exploratory and voluntary physical activity. Moreover, HFD offspring demonstrated lower resting energy expenditure (EE) compared with controls. Accordingly, HFD offspring weighed more at adulthood than those from control fed dams, likely the result of reduced physical activity and EE. Current findings indicate a maternal HFD may increase obesity susceptibility in offspring due to prenatal programming resulting in reduced physical activity and EE later in life. Further work is needed to determine the underpinning neural and metabolic mechanisms by which a maternal HFD adversely affects neurobehavioral and metabolic pathways in offspring.
Objectives: Visuospatial processing deficits have been reported in Huntington’s disease (HD). To date, no study has examined associations between visuospatial cognition and posterior brain findings in HD. Methods: We compared 119 premanifest (55> and 64<10.8 years to expected disease onset) and 104 early symptomatic (59 stage-1 and 45 stage-2) gene carriers, with 110 controls on visual search and mental rotation performance at baseline and 12 months. In the disease groups, we also examined associations between task performance and disease severity, functional capacity and structural brain measures. Results: Cross-sectionally, there were strong differences between all disease groups and controls on visual search, and between diagnosed groups and controls on mental rotation accuracy. Only the premanifest participants close to onset took longer than controls to respond correctly to mental rotation. Visual search negatively correlated with disease burden and motor symptoms in diagnosed individuals, and positively correlated with functional capacity. Mental rotation (“same”) was negatively correlated with motor symptoms in stage-2 individuals, and positively correlated with functional capacity. Visual search and mental rotation were associated with parieto-occipital (pre-/cuneus, calcarine, lingual) and temporal (posterior fusiform) volume and cortical thickness. Longitudinally, visual search deteriorated over 12 months in stage-2 individuals, with no evidence of declines in mental rotation. Conclusions: Our findings provide evidence linking early visuospatial deficits to functioning and posterior cortical dysfunction in HD. The findings are important since large research efforts have focused on fronto-striatal mediated cognitive changes, with little attention given to aspects of cognition outside of these areas. (JINS, 2016, 22, 595–608)
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess whether age-related differences in white matter microstructure are associated with altered task-related connectivity during episodic recognition. Methods: Using functional magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging from 282 cognitively healthy middle-to-late aged adults enrolled in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention, we investigated whether fractional anisotropy (FA) within white matter regions known to decline with age was associated with task-related connectivity within the recognition network. Results: There was a positive relationship between fornix FA and memory performance, both of which negatively correlated with age. Psychophysiological interaction analyses revealed that higher fornix FA was associated with increased task-related connectivity amongst the hippocampus, caudate, precuneus, middle occipital gyrus, and middle frontal gyrus. In addition, better task performance was associated with increased task-related connectivity between the posterior cingulate gyrus, middle frontal gyrus, cuneus, and hippocampus. Conclusions: The findings indicate that age has a negative effect on white matter microstructure, which in turn has a negative impact on memory performance. However, fornix microstructure did not significantly mediate the effect of age on performance. Of interest, dynamic functional connectivity was associated with better memory performance. The results of the psychophysiological interaction analysis further revealed that alterations in fornix microstructure explain–at least in part–connectivity among cortical regions in the recognition memory network. Our results may further elucidate the relationship between structural connectivity, neural function, and cognition. (JINS, 2016, 22, 191–204)
We present the results of two 2.3 μm near-infrared (NIR) radial velocity (RV) surveys to detect exoplanets around 36 nearby and young M dwarfs. We use the CSHELL spectrograph (R ~ 46,000) at the NASA InfraRed Telescope Facility (IRTF), combined with an isotopic methane absorption gas cell for common optical path relative wavelength calibration. We have developed a sophisticated RV forward modeling code that accounts for fringing and other instrumental artifacts present in the spectra. With a spectral grasp of only 5 nm, we are able to reach long-term radial velocity dispersions of ~20–30 m s−1 on our survey targets.