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Objectives: To test the hypothesis that brain arterial diameters are associated with cognitive performance, particularly in arteries supplying domain-specific territories. Methods: Stroke-free participants in the Northern Manhattan Study were invited to have a brain MRI from 2003–2008. The luminal diameters of 13 intracranial arterial segments were obtained using time-of-flight magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA), and then averaged and normalized into a global score and region-specific arterial diameters. Z-Scores for executive function, semantic memory, episodic memory and processing speed were obtained at MRI and during follow-up. Adjusted generalized additive models were used to assess for associations. Results: Among the 1034 participants with neurocognitive testing and brain MRI, there were non-linear relationships between left anterior (ACA) and middle cerebral artery (MCA) diameter and semantic memory Z-scores (χ2=10.00; DF=3; p=.019), and left posterior cerebral artery (PCA) and posterior communicating artery (Pcomm) mean diameter and episodic memory Z-scores (χ2=9.88; DF=3; p=.020). Among the 745 participants who returned for 2nd neuropsychological testing, on average 5.0±0.4 years after their MRI, semantic memory change was associated non-linearly with the left PCA/Pcomm mean diameter (χ2=13.09; DF=3; p=.004) and with the right MCA/ACA mean diameter (χ2=8.43; DF=3; p=.03). In both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses, participants with the larger brain arterial diameters had more consistently lower Z-scores and greater decline than the rest of the participants. Conclusions: Brain arterial diameters may have downstream effects in brain function presenting as poorer cognition. Identifying the mechanisms and the directionality of such interactions may increase the understanding of the vascular contribution to cognitive impairment and dementia. (JINS, 2018, 24, 335–346)
This paper summarizes a study initiated by the Turkish General Directorate of Agricultural Research and ICARDA/CIMMYT Wheat Improvement Program on the adoption of five new winter and spring wheat varieties developed and released by the Turkish national breeding program and through international collaboration in the past 10 years. The study results are based on a survey of 781 households selected randomly in the Adana, Ankara, Diyarbakir, Edirne, and Konya provinces of Turkey. The five new wheat varieties are compared to old improved varieties released prior to 1995 that are also still grown by farmers. Technical and biological indicators of impacts including crop productivity are measured to determine the impact of these varieties. Yield stability is assessed by comparing average yields in normal, good and dry years and by comparing the coefficients of variation of yields by variety. Profitability is measured by the gross margin generated per unit of land. Household income from wheat and for all economic activities are estimated and compared between adopters and non-adopters. Adopters of the new varieties have higher per-capita income than non-adopters as compared to the same group using old varieties. However, the overall impact of the improved varieties is generally low, mainly due to their low adoption levels. Farmers’ knowledge and perception of certain variety characteristics and unavailability of adequate and timely seed are the main reasons. Increasing adoption has the potential to improve household income and this requires revising wheat impact pathway to achieve the expected impact.
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