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Maternal stress has been linked to low birth weight in newborns. One potential pathway involves epigenetic changes at candidate genes that may mediate the effects of prenatal maternal stress on birth weight. This relationship has been documented in stress-related genes, such as NR3C1. There is less literature exploring the effect of stress on growth-related genes. IGF1 and IGF2 have been implicated in fetal growth and development, though via different mechanisms as IGF2 is under imprinting control. In this study, we tested for associations between prenatal stress, methylation of IGF1 and IGF2, and birth weight. A total of 24 mother–newborn dyads in the Democratic Republic of Congo were enrolled. Ethnographic interviews were conducted with mothers at delivery to gather culturally relevant war-related and chronic stressors. DNA methylation data were generated from maternal venous, cord blood and placental tissue samples. Multivariate regressions were used to test for associations between stress measures, DNA methylation and birth weight in each of the three tissue types. We found an association between IGF2 methylation in maternal blood and birth weight. Previous literature on the relationship between IGF2 methylation and birth weight has focused on methylation at known differentially methylated regions in cord blood or placental samples. Our findings indicate there may be links between the maternal epigenome and low birth weight that rely on mechanisms outside known imprinting pathways. It thus may be important to consider the effect of maternal exposures and epigenetic profiles on birth weight even in the setting of maternally imprinted genes such as IGF2.
Fruit and vegetable (FV) intake is associated with reduced risk of a number of non-communicable diseases. Research tends to focus on antioxidants, flavonoids and polyphenols contained in FV as the main beneficial components to health; however, increasing FV may also alter overall diet profile. Extra FV may be substituted for foods thought to be less healthy, therefore altering the overall macronutrient and/or micronutrient content in the diet. This analysis merged dietary data from four intervention studies in participants with varying health conditions and examined the effect of increased FV consumption on diet profile. Dietary intake was assessed by either diet diaries or diet histories used in four FV randomised intervention studies. All food and drink intake recorded was analysed using WISP version 3.0, and FV portions were manually counted using household measures. Regression analysis revealed significant increases in intakes of energy (172 kJ (+41 kcal)), carbohydrate (+3·9 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)), total sugars (+6·0 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)) and fibre (+0·8 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)) and significant decreases in intakes of total fat (−1·4 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)), SFA (−0·6 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)), MUFA (−0·6 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)), PUFA (−0·1 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)) and starch (−2·1 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)) per one portion increase in FV. Significant percentage increases were also observed in vitamin C (+24 %) and -carotene (+20 %) intake, per one portion increase in FV. In conclusion, pooled analysis of four FV intervention studies, that used similar approaches to achieving dietary change, in participants with varying health conditions, demonstrated an increase in energy, total carbohydrate, sugars and fibre intake, and a decrease in fat intake alongside an expected increase in micronutrient intake.
To investigate familial influences on the full range of variability in attention and activity across adolescence, we collected maternal ratings of 339 twin pairs at ages 12, 14, and 16, and estimated the transmitted and new familial influences on attention and activity as measured by the Strengths and Weaknesses of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms and Normal Behavior Scale. Familial influences were substantial for both traits across adolescence: genetic influences accounted for 54%–73% (attention) and 31%–73% (activity) of the total variance, and shared environmental influences accounted for 0%–22% of the attention variance and 13%–57% of the activity variance. The longitudinal stability of individual differences in attention and activity was largely accounted for by familial influences transmitted from previous ages. Innovations over adolescence were also partially attributable to familial influences. Studying the full range of variability in attention and activity may facilitate our understanding of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder's etiology and intervention.
Health-beneficial effects of adhering to a healthy Nordic diet index have been suggested. However, it has not been examined to what extent the included dietary components are exclusively related to the Nordic countries or if they are part of other European diets as well, suggesting a broader preventive potential. The present study describes the intake of seven a priori defined healthy food items (apples/pears, berries, cabbages, dark bread, shellfish, fish and root vegetables) across ten countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) and examines their consumption across Europe.
Cross-sectional study. A 24 h dietary recall was administered through a software program containing country-specific recipes. Sex-specific mean food intake was calculated for each centre/country, as well as percentage of overall food groups consumed as healthy Nordic food items. All analyses were weighted by day and season of data collection.
Multi-centre, European study.
Persons (n 36 970) aged 35–74 years, constituting a random sample of 519 978 EPIC participants.
The highest intakes of the included diet components were: cabbages and berries in Central Europe; apples/pears in Southern Europe; dark bread in Norway, Denmark and Greece; fish in Southern and Northern countries; shellfish in Spain; and root vegetables in Northern and Central Europe. Large inter-centre variation, however, existed in some countries.
Dark bread, root vegetables and fish are strongly related to a Nordic dietary tradition. Apples/pears, berries, cabbages, fish, shellfish and root vegetables are broadly consumed in Europe, and may thus be included in regional public health campaigns.
Dietary interventions with flavan-3-ols have shown beneficial effects on vascular function. The translation of these findings into the context of the health of the general public requires detailed information on habitual dietary intake. However, only limited data are currently available for European populations. Therefore, in the present study, we assessed the habitual intake of flavan-3-ol monomers, proanthocyanidins (PA) and theaflavins in the European Union (EU) and determined their main food sources using the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) Comprehensive European Food Consumption Database. Data for adults aged 18–64 years were available from fourteen European countries, and intake was determined using the FLAVIOLA Flavanol Food Composition Database, developed for the present study and based on the latest US Department of Agriculture and Phenol-Explorer databases. The mean habitual intake of flavan-3-ol monomers, theaflavins and PA ranged from 181 mg/d (Czech Republic) to 793 mg/d (Ireland). The highest intakes of flavan-3-ol monomers and theaflavins were observed in Ireland (191/505 mg/d) and the lowest intakes in Spain (24/9 mg/d). In contrast, the daily intake of PA was highest in Spain (175 mg/d) and lowest in The Netherlands (96 mg/d). Main sources were tea (62 %), pome fruits (11 %), berries (3 %) and cocoa products (3 %). Tea was the major single contributor to monomer intake (75 %), followed by pome fruits (6 %). Pome fruits were also the main source of PA (28 %). The present study provides important data on the population-based intake of flavanols in the EU and demonstrates that dietary intake amounts for flavan-3-ol monomers, PA and theaflavins vary significantly across European countries. The average habitual intake of flavan-3-ols is considerably below the amounts used in most dietary intervention studies.
Organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices were fabricated using a novel draw bar premetered coating technique, whereby a meniscus of fluid is dragged across a substrate to leave a trailing wet film. The results showed that coating thickness could be controlled by varying the coating speed, rod diameter, gap height, amount of solution injected, rod diameter, rod composition material and number of layers. Devices on PET with active areas of 10 cm2 and active layer thicknesses ranging from 35 to 475 nm were produced using the technique. Active layers of 160 nm were the optimum of thicknesses trialled, achieving typical best efficiencies around 0.4 %. Devices with films thinner than 90 nm did not function due to short-circuiting. The draw-bar coating method has the advantage of allowing controlled deposition of a wide range of film thicknesses with no solution wastage.
The role of dietary phyto-oestrogens in health has been of continued interest and debate, but data available on the distribution of intake in the Australian diet are scarce. Therefore, we aimed to estimate phyto-oestrogen consumption in Australian women, describe the pattern of intake and identify correlates of high phyto-oestrogen intake. Study participants were 2078 control women (18–79 years) from two population-based case–control studies on gynaecological cancers (2002–2007). Dietary information was obtained using a 135-item FFQ, and the intakes of isoflavones, lignans, enterolignans and coumestans, including their individual components, were estimated using a database of phyto-oestrogen content in food developed in the UK. Median total intake (energy-adjusted) of phyto-oestrogens was 1·29 mg/d, including 611 µg/d isoflavones, 639 µg/d lignans, 21 µg/d enterolignans and 8 µg/d coumestrol. Both isoflavone and lignan intakes were strongly skewed towards higher values and positively correlated with age. Women consumed on average two servings of soyabean foods/week. Compared to lower phyto-oestrogen consumers (≤1·29 mg/d, median split), higher phyto-oestrogen consumers (>1·29 mg/d) were slightly older, less likely to be smokers, had a higher educational and physical activity level, lower BMI, lower intake of dietary fat, and higher intake of fibre, selected micronutrients and soyabean foods (all P < 0·03). The daily intake of phyto-oestrogens in Australian women with predominantly Caucasian ethnicity is approximately 1 mg; this is similar to other Western populations, but considerably lower than that among Asian women. However, those with a relatively high phyto-oestrogen diet seem to have a healthier lifestyle and a more favourable dietary profile compared to others.
Both HIV infection and high levels of early life stress (ELS) have been related to abnormalities in frontal-subcortical structures, yet the combined effects of HIV and ELS on brain structure and function have not been previously investigated. In this study we assessed 49 non-demented HIV-seropositive (HIV+) and 47 age-matched HIV-seronegative healthy control (HC) adults. Levels of ELS exposure were quantified and used to define four HIV-ELS groups: HC Low-ELS (N = 20); HC High-ELS (N = 27); HIV+ Low-ELS (N = 24); HIV+ High-ELS (N = 25). An automated segmentation tool measured volumes of brain structures known to show HIV-related or ELS-related effects; a brief neurocognitive battery was administered. A significant HIV-ELS interaction was observed for amygdala volumes, which was driven by enlargements in HIV+ High-ELS participants. The HIV+ High-ELS group also demonstrated significant reductions in psychomotor/processing speed compared with HC Low-ELS. Regression analyses in the HIV+ group revealed that amygdala enlargements were associated with higher ELS, lower nadir CD4 counts, and reduced psychomotor/processing speed. Our results suggest that HIV infection and high ELS interact to increase amygdala volume, which is associated with neurocognitive dysfunction in HIV+ patients. These findings highlight the lasting neuropathological influence of ELS and suggest that high ELS may be a significant risk factor for neurocognitive impairment in HIV-infected individuals. (JINS, 2012, 19, 1–12)
Antidepressant prescribing is widespread. Nonetheless, response to antidepressants is variable. If it was possible to predict response to medication and thus tailor treatment accordingly, this would not only improve patient outcomes but may also have economic benefits.
To test the hypothesis that individuals with more severe depression would benefit more from noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (NARIs) than selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) compared with individuals with less severe depression.
Individuals recruited from UK primary care who met ICD-10 criteria for a depressive episode and scored 15 or more on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were randomised to either an SSRI (citalopram 20mg daily) or a NARI (reboxetine 4mg twice daily). Randomisation was by means of a remote automated telephone system. The main outcome was depressive symptoms measured by the BDI total score 6 weeks after randomisation. (Trial registration: ISRCTN31345163.)
In total, 601 participants were randomised (citalopram: n = 298, reboxetine: n = 303). Ninety-one per cent were followed up at 6 weeks (citalopram: n = 274, reboxetine: n = 272). There was little evidence to support an interaction between treatment and severity of depression (interaction term: 0.02, 95% CI −0.59 to 0.62, P = 0.96). Adjustment for potential confounders (age, gender, employment status, history of depression, number of life events and social support) did not affect the findings (interaction term: 0.06, 95% CI −0.54 to 0.66, P = 0.85).
Treatment with NARIs does not confer any advantage over SSRI treatment for outcome in those with more severe depressive illness presenting in primary care.
Mass casualty triage is the process of prioritizing multiple victims when resources are not sufficient to treat everyone immediately. No national guideline for mass casualty triage exists in the United States. The lack of a national guideline has resulted in variability in triage processes, tags, and nomenclature. This variability has the potential to inject confusion and miscommunication into the disaster incident, particularly when multiple jurisdictions are involved. The Model Uniform Core Criteria for Mass Casualty Triage were developed to be a national guideline for mass casualty triage to ensure interoperability and standardization when responding to a mass casualty incident. The Core Criteria consist of 4 categories: general considerations, global sorting, lifesaving interventions, and individual assessment of triage category. The criteria within each of these categories were developed by a workgroup of experts representing national stakeholder organizations who used the best available science and, when necessary, consensus opinion. This article describes how the Model Uniform Core Criteria for Mass Casualty Triage were developed.
(Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2011;5:129-137)
Antidepressants exhibit a variety of pharmacological actions including
inhibition of the serotonin and noradrenaline transporters. We wished to
investigate whether genetic variation could be used to target or
personalise treatment, in a comparison of selective serotonin reuptake
inhibitors (SSRIs) with noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (NARIs).
To test the hypothesis that patients homozygous for the long (insertion)
polymorphism of the serotonin transporter (5-HTTLPR) have an increased
response to SSRI antidepressants but not to NARI antidepressants.
In an individually randomised, parallel-group controlled trial, people
meeting criteria for a depressive episode who were referred by their
general practitioner were randomised to receive either citalopram (an
SSRI) or reboxetine (an NARI). Randomisation was by means of a remote
automated system accessed by telephone. The main outcome was depressive
symptoms, measured by Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) total score 6 weeks
after randomisation. The trial was registered with the International
Standard Randomised Controlled Trials Number registry
Altogether 298 participants were randomised to receive citalopram and 303
were randomised to reboxetine. At 6 weeks follow-up, complete data were
available for 258 participants taking citalopram and 262 taking
reboxetine. We found no evidence to support an influence of 5-HTTLPR on
outcome following antidepressant treatment. The interaction term for BDI
score at 6 weeks was 0.50 (95% CI −2.04 to 3.03, P =
0.70), which indicated that responses to the SSRI and NARI were similar
irrespective of 5-HTTLPR genotype.
It is unlikely that the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism alone will be clinically
useful in predicting response to antidepressants in people with
Phyto-oestrogens have been associated with a decreased risk for osteoporosis, but results from intervention and observational studies in Western countries have been inconsistent. In the present study, we investigated the association between habitual phyto-oestrogen intake and broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA) of the calcanaeum as a marker of bone density. We collected 7 d records of diet, medical history and demographic and anthropometric data from participants (aged 45–75 years) in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer-Norfolk study. Phyto-oestrogen (biochanin A, daidzein, formononetin; genistein, glycitein; matairesinol; secoisolariciresinol; enterolactone; equol) intake was determined using a newly developed food composition database. Bone density was assessed using BUA of the calcanaeum. Associations between bone density and phyto-oestrogen intake were investigated in 2580 postmenopausal women who were not on hormone replacement therapy and 4973 men. Median intake of total phyto-oestrogens was 876 (interquartile range 412) μg/d in postmenopausal women and 1212 (interquartile range 604) μg/d in men. The non-soya isoflavones formononetin and biochanin A were marginally significant or significantly associated with BUA in postmenopausal women (β = 1·2; P < 0·1) and men (β = 1·2; P < 0·05), respectively; enterolignans and equol were positively associated with bone density in postmenopausal women, but this association became non-significant when dietary Ca was added to the model. In the lowest quintile of Ca intake, soya isoflavones were positively associated with bone density in postmenopausal women (β = 1·4; P < 0·1). The present results therefore suggest that non-soya isoflavones are associated with bone density independent of Ca, whereas the association with soya or soya isoflavones is affected by dietary Ca.
A system is described for forming three-dimensional parts from a
polymerizable slurry. This liquid is delivered from a fine nozzle to build
up the component as a series of layers described from a CAD drawing of the
part. This is one of a family of solid freebody forming methods. The
layerwise process lends itself particularly to chemically syntheized
materials where shrinkage and mass transport are major problems. The
technique also has considerable potential for combining various materials
into a single component.
We are examining various spinel-structured thin films (e.g., Cd2SnO4, Zn2SnO4) to develop higher-quality transparent conducting oxides (TCO) than more conventional materials such as indium tin oxide. Here, we report on cadmium indate (CdIn2O4, CIO), which is another member of this family. Thin films of CIO were deposited by radio-frequency (RF) magnetron sputtering, from an oxide target, onto borosilicate glass substrates. The variables included the substrate temperature, sputtering gas composition, and pressure. Film properties were measured before and after heat treatment. Characterization involved Hall effect measurements, optical and infrared spectrophotometry, X-ray diffraction, and atomic-force microscopy. Film resistivities as low as 2.3x10-4Ω cm were achieved for a film thickness of 0.55 μm. The transmittance was 90% in the visible region of the spectrum, without correction for substrate losses and without an anti-reflection coating. The plasma resonance occurred at longer wavelengths than for other materials and this, with a bandgap of approximately 3.1 eV, presents a wide window for optical transmittance. The highest mobility was 54 cm2 V-s-1 and the highest carrier concentration was 7.5x1020 cm-3.
The population biology of the fish acanthocephalan Acanthocephalus clavula was described from 161 wild brown trout, Salmo trutta sampled over a two-year period in Clogher Lake in the west of Ireland. Overall prevalence of the parasite was 86% and the mean abundance was 53 worms per fish. Despite the presence of large numbers of worms in the trout very few females (2%) attained full reproductive maturity. This suggests that trout is an accidental host. A sample of yellow eels, Anguilla anguilla was examined at a different time from the same lake. The prevalence of A. clavula was 97% and the average abundance was 8 worms per fish. In contrast to the situation in trout, the proportion of female worms attaining full reproductive maturity was 61% fulfilling the expected characteristic of a preferred definitive host. The possible explanations for the very high abundance of A. clavula in trout are discussed and include the influence of fluctuations in host populations, host diet and the absence of a potential competitor.
To describe the diversity in dietary patterns existing across centres/regions participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
Design and setting:
Single 24-hour dietary recall measurements were obtained by means of standardised face-to-face interviews using the EPIC-SOFT software. These have been used to present a graphic multi-dimensional comparison of the adjusted mean consumption of 22 food groups.
In total, 35 955 men and women, aged 35–74 years, participating in the EPIC nested calibration study.
Although wide differences were observed across centres, the countries participating in EPIC are characterised by specific dietary patterns. Overall, Italy and Greece have a dietary pattern characterised by plant foods (except potatoes) and a lower consumption of animal and processed foods, compared with the other EPIC countries. France and particularly Spain have more heterogeneous dietary patterns, with a relatively high consumption of both plant foods and animal products. Apart from characteristics specific to vegetarian groups, the UK ‘health-conscious’ group shares with the UK general population a relatively high consumption of tea, sauces, cakes, soft drinks (women), margarine and butter. In contrast, the diet in the Nordic countries, The Netherlands, Germany and the UK general population is relatively high in potatoes and animal, processed and sweetened/refined foods, with proportions varying across countries/centres. In these countries, consumption of vegetables and fruit is similar to, or below, the overall EPIC means, and is low for legumes and vegetable oils. Overall, dietary patterns were similar for men and women, although there were large gender differences for certain food groups.
There are considerable differences in food group consumption and dietary patterns among the EPIC study populations. This large heterogeneity should be an advantage when investigating the relationship between diet and cancer and formulating new aetiological hypotheses related to dietary patterns and disease.
To describe the trends of self-reported past consumption of alcoholic beverages and ethanol intake from 1950 to 1995 within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
Data on consumption of beer/cider, wine and liqueur/spirits were obtained retrospectively at age 20, 30 and 40 years to calculate average consumption and ethanol intake for the time periods 1950–1975 (at age 20), 1960–1985 (at age 30) and 1970–1995 (at age 40). Regression analysis was conducted with the time period data to assess trends in past alcoholic beverage consumption and ethanol intake with time.
The EPIC project.
In total, 392 064 EPIC participants (275 249 women and 116 815 men) from 21 study centres in eight European countries.
Generally, increases in beer/cider consumption were observed for most EPIC centres for 1950–1975, 1960–1985 and 1970–1995. Trends in wine consumption differed according to geographical location: downward trends with time were observed for men in southern European EPIC centres, upward trends for those in middle/northern European study centres. For women, similar but less pronounced trends were observed. Because wine consumption was the major contributor to ethanol intake for both men and women in most study centres, time trends for ethanol intake showed a similar geographical pattern to that of wine consumption.
The different trends in alcoholic beverage consumption and ethanol intake suggest that information depicting lifetime history of ethanol intake should be included in analyses of the relationship between ethanol and chronic diseases, particularly in multi-centre studies such as EPIC.