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The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.
Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma is thought to rarely metastasise to bone. This study hypothesised that in p16-positive disease there is a significant incidence of bony metastasis.
This was an ambispective cohort review. All patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma diagnosed and treated at one centre were included.
A total of 180 consecutive patients were identified over 5 years. Fifteen patients were excluded because of lack of p16 status, none of whom had bony metastasis. The final analysis included 165 patients: 48 (29.09 per cent) in the p16-negative group and 117 (70.91 per cent) in the p16-positive group. Ten patients (8.55 per cent) in the p16-positive group developed bony metastasis, compared with zero in the p16-negative group; this difference was statistically significant (p = 0.036).
Expression of p16 was associated with an increased incidence in bony metastasis in this cohort. This is the first study to explore this specific question.
We analyzed birth order differences in means and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from infancy to old age. The data were derived from the international CODATwins database. The total number of height and BMI measures from 0.5 to 79.5 years of age was 397,466. As expected, first-born twins had greater birth weight than second-born twins. With respect to height, first-born twins were slightly taller than second-born twins in childhood. After adjusting the results for birth weight, the birth order differences decreased and were no longer statistically significant. First-born twins had greater BMI than the second-born twins over childhood and adolescence. After adjusting the results for birth weight, birth order was still associated with BMI until 12 years of age. No interaction effect between birth order and zygosity was found. Only limited evidence was found that birth order influenced variances of height or BMI. The results were similar among boys and girls and also in MZ and DZ twins. Overall, the differences in height and BMI between first- and second-born twins were modest even in early childhood, while adjustment for birth weight reduced the birth order differences but did not remove them for BMI.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
The role of the Beowulf manuscript in scholarship dating the poem's composition has changed considerably in recent years. During the nineteenth and much of the twentieth century, discussions of the poem's date rarely embraced the manuscript as a source of relevant evidence. The omission is not unreasonable, since the presence of transcription errors throughout the manuscript reveals that it is a copy of a copy, written out perhaps at a vast remove from the authorial original. The text transmitted in a copy might contain indications that it had been committed to parchment at a much earlier date, but there is no guarantee that such indications will be present. Accordingly, the previous disregard for the manuscript in dating studies was not an inexplicable oversight, though it suddenly seemed to be such in 1981, when Kevin S. Kiernan argued that his examination of the manuscript revealed it to contain an authorial draft of an eleventh-century poem. Kiernan's hypothesis is rarely credited, and a series of subsequent studies have demonstrated that it is untenable, but the notoriety of his argument has created the impression that manuscript studies might support a later dating. This impression is registered in Nicholas Howe's belief that “from the type of evidence offered, one can predict a scholar's dating of Beowulf … the more closely one works with the language and metre, the more likely one is to date the poem early … the more closely one works with the manuscript, the more likely one is to date the poem late.”
Beowulf is a remarkable poem to have been written at any time. Around 3,200 lines of linguistically and metrically sophisticated poetry that sets “two moments in a great life,” in J.R.R. Tolkien's phrase, into a distant past and conveys a profound respect for the hero's actions while at the same time expressing a sense of the loss and futility of that world, is a remarkable achievement. A poem not of an age, but for all time. Which is not to say that it is undatable or that its date does not matter. Even without external evidence such as manuscripts and editions, we would recognize that well-known accounts of the deeds of three northern European heroes from around the year 500 – Beowulf, Arthur, and Hamlet – were written by their authors – our poet, Malory, and Shakespeare – at very different times, and recognizing their historical contexts is essential to any real appreciation of them. The reverse is also true. In the absence of precise evidence for a particular date of composition, understanding the meaning of the poem can help us to locate its likely place in history. My claim is that succession, or more precisely a change in the rules of succession brought about by the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity, is a major theme in Beowulf. The poet explores a shift from an older “Germanic” system in which many members of a kin-group are eligible for the throne to a newer “Christian” one, which limits the contenders and favors the succession of sons.
Since the date of the Beowulf manuscript is widely agreed upon, the very question which prompts this volume (and the conference it derives from, and even the 1980 conference with its 1981 proceedings volume) must assume that the date of the poem may not be the same as the date of the manuscript. It is certain that there must have been a moment of first inscription for the poem, and that the time and place of that moment remains a central point of interest for students of the poem. In this essay, I will bring new evidence to bear on this venerable question, and my argument shall be that Beowulf is metrically conservative according to a variety of independent metrical criteria. Further, I will suggest that that conservatism is so varied and consistent as to strongly indicate that the original version of Beowulf must be placed among the very earliest of the longer narrative Old English poems that survive, probably in the eighth century.
Of course, it remains true, I believe, that the moment of inscription is only one of the moments of interest which might engage modern scholars of the poem. As I argued in Authors, Audiences, and Old English Verse, our focus on authorship (and on moments of authorship) may sometimes cause us to lose sight of what can be gained by also considering audience, and I proposed there two later audiences for Beowulf, one located at Alfred's Wessex court in the late ninth century, and another, sometime around the turn of the eleventh century, perhaps in Canterbury, represented most clearly by the author of Maldon.
In a series of papers, Leonard Neidorf has argued that Germanic heroic legend circulated in Anglo-Saxon England predominantly in the seventh and eighth centuries, manifesting itself in Latin testimonia, vernacular poetry, visual art, royal genealogies, and personal names. These papers, together with conversations with their author, gave new impetus and purpose to a note I had been contemplating writing off and on for two or three of decades, a note on the other Heorot.
In two firmly historical passages Bede speaks of a place and a structure, the name of which is built on the word or name Heorot. And as unlikely as it seems, Beowulf scholarship has largely neglected to mention this potentially interesting fact. When I began research for this note, I thought that, against all probability, that neglect had been total; on the whole this initial belief has so far held true, with the unusual nineteenth-century exception of Daniel Henry Haigh, whose views I discuss below, together with brief modern allusions to Haigh. I cannot explain how this second Heorot has escaped the attention of Beowulf scholars – if it really has – and even the brashest scholar would be uneasy about too confidently asserting a negative, especially in such highly cultivated fields as Bede and Beowulf. I will at least affirm that this connection is not noticed in the encyclopedic recent edition of Klaeber or in the older commentaries known to me and so cannot, at the very least, be well known in our field.
From the publication of the poem's editio princeps in 1815 to the emergence of the present collection two centuries later, few topics in Anglo-Saxon studies have generated as much speculation and scholarship as the dating of Beowulf. Marshaling disparate forms of evidence and argumentation, scholars have assigned dates to Beowulf that range from the seventh to the eleventh century. Various individuals have been unpersuasively identified as the author of Beowulf and dozens of kings, clerics, and contexts have been associated with the poem's genesis. Scholarship on the dating of Beowulf is markedly uneven in quality: alongside sober and thoughtful argumentation, there has been a great deal of improbable hypothesizing about the author of the poem or the milieu in which it was composed. Awareness of the qualitative differences in the scholarly literature is tacitly registered in the relative frequency with which publications are cited, but these differences have rarely received explicit discussion. This introduction to the dating of Beowulf controversy examines the changing standards of evidence, methodology, and argumentation that have attended this topic, particularly in the past thirty years. The dating of Beowulf has not been a static or monolithic subject, but has undergone considerable change in the disputes it connotes and the practices it encompasses. In the following account, emphasis will be given to the reasons for prevailing opinions rather than to the multiplicity of opinions as such.
The correspondences between the names in the Scylding genealogy at the beginning of Beowulf and three names in the upper reaches of the genealogy of Æthelwulf in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Beaw, Sceldwa and Sceaf, frequently appear in arguments for a late dating of Beowulf. But these arguments overlook many aspects of Æthelwulf's genealogy that disrupt their case for a late dating. As H. Munro Chadwick pointed out over a century ago, the forms Sceldwa and Beaw found in the Chronicle for Scyld and Beow are not West Saxon spellings, and the -wa suffix of Sceldwa and Tætwa suggests that these forms may be archaic. Thus spelling alone indicates that these names were probably copied from an older, non-West Saxon text. Furthermore, the very presence of these names in the royal pedigree is puzzling. On one level the presence of Scyld is easy to explain: Scyld and the Scyldings were famous in heroic legend, and his inclusion in Æthelwulf's pedigree provides reflected glory for the West Saxon dynasty and implies genealogical, political and cultural connections between the West Saxons and the Danes that could be useful for Alfred and his heirs to foster. But on another level his inclusion is rather surprising: according to genealogical conventions, the presence of Scyld implies that the West Saxon royal family is a cadet branch of the Scylding dynasty, and is thus potentially subordinate to Scandinavian rulers in England claiming direct descent from Scyld.