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Major depressive disorder and neuroticism (Neu) share a large genetic basis. We sought to determine whether this shared basis could be decomposed to identify genetic factors that are specific to depression.
We analysed summary statistics from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of depression (from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, 23andMe and UK Biobank) and compared them with GWAS of Neu (from UK Biobank). First, we used a pairwise GWAS analysis to classify variants as associated with only depression, with only Neu or with both. Second, we estimated partial genetic correlations to test whether the depression's genetic link with other phenotypes was explained by shared overlap with Neu.
We found evidence that most genomic regions (25/37) associated with depression are likely to be shared with Neu. The overlapping common genetic variance of depression and Neu was genetically correlated primarily with psychiatric disorders. We found that the genetic contributions to depression, that were not shared with Neu, were positively correlated with metabolic phenotypes and cardiovascular disease, and negatively correlated with the personality trait conscientiousness. After removing shared genetic overlap with Neu, depression still had a specific association with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, coronary artery disease and age of first birth. Independent of depression, Neu had specific genetic correlates in ulcerative colitis, pubertal growth, anorexia and education.
Our findings demonstrate that, while genetic risk factors for depression are largely shared with Neu, there are also non-Neu-related features of depression that may be useful for further patient or phenotypic stratification.
Enhanced odor sensitivity, particularly toward threat-related cues, may be adaptive during periods of danger. Research also suggests that chronic psychological distress may lead to functional changes in the olfactory system that cause heightened sensitivity to odors. Yet, the association between self-reported odor sensitivity, objective odor detection, and affective psychopathology is currently unclear, and research suggests that persons with affective problems may only be sensitive to specific, threat-related odors.
The current study compared adults with self-reported odor sensitivity that was described as functionally impairing (OSI; n = 32) to those who reported odor sensitivity that was non-impairing (OS; n = 17) on affective variables as well as quantitative odor detection.
Increased anxiety sensitivity, trait anxiety, depression, and life stress, even while controlling for comorbid anxiety and depressive disorders, was found for OSI compared to OS. While OSI, compared to OS, demonstrated only a trend increase in objective odor detection of a smoke-like, but not rose-like, odor, further analysis revealed that increased detection of that smoke-like odor was positively correlated with anxiety sensitivity.
These findings suggest that persons with various forms of psychological distress may find themselves significantly impaired by an intolerance of odors, but that self-reported odor sensitivity does not necessarily relate to enhanced odor detection ability. However, increased sensitivity to a smoke-like odor appears to be associated with sensitivity to aversive anxiogenic stimuli. Implications for the pathophysiology of fear- and anxiety-related disorders are discussed.
The macular carotenoids lutein (L), zeaxanthin (Z) and meso-zeaxanthin (MZ) accumulate at the macula, where they are collectively referred to as macular pigment (MP). Augmentation of this pigment, typically achieved through diet and supplementation, enhances visual function and protects against progression of age-related macular degeneration. However, it is known that eggs are a rich dietary source of L and Z, in a highly bioavailable matrix. In this single-blind placebo-controlled study, L- and MZ-enriched eggs and control non-enriched eggs were fed to human subjects (mean age 41 and 35 years, respectively) over an 8-week period, and outcome measures included MP, visual function and serum concentrations of carotenoids and cholesterol. Serum carotenoid concentrations increased significantly in control and enriched egg groups, but to a significantly greater extent in the enriched egg group (P<0·001 for L, Z and MZ). There was no significant increase in MP in either study group post intervention, and we saw no significant improvement in visual performance in either group. Total cholesterol increased significantly in each group, but it did not exceed the upper limit of the normative range (6·5 mmol/l). Therefore, carotenoid-enriched eggs may represent an effective dietary source of L, Z and MZ, reflected in significantly raised serum concentrations of these carotenoids, and consequentially improved bioavailability for capture by target tissues. However, benefits in terms of MP augmentation and /or improved visual performance were not realised over the 8-week study period, and a study of greater duration will be required to address these questions.
The xanthophyll carotenoids lutein (L), zeaxanthin (Z) and meso-zeaxanthin (MZ) are found at the macula, the central part of the retina, where they are referred to as macular pigment (MP). MP is studied in human subjects because of its proven role in enhancing visual function and its putative role in protecting against age-related macular degeneration. These benefits are probably due to the antioxidant and short-wavelength filtering properties of MP. It is known that eggs are a dietary source of L and Z. This experiment was designed to measure the egg yolk carotenoid response to hen supplementation with L, Z and MZ. A total of forty hens were used in the trial and were divided into eight groups of five hens. Each group was supplemented (with about 140 mg active xanthophylls/kg feed) with one of the following oil-based carotenoid formulations for 6 weeks: unesterified L (group 1); L diacetate (group 2); unesterified Z (group 3); Z diacetate (group 4); unesterified MZ (group 5); MZ diacetate (group 6); L–MZ (1:1) diacetate mixture (group 7); L–MZ diacetate (1:3) mixture (group 8). Yolk carotenoid content was analysed weekly (in four randomly selected eggs) by HPLC. We found that hens supplemented with Z diacetate and MZ diacetate produced eggs with significantly greater carotenoid concentrations than their free form counterparts. This finding potentially represents the development of a novel food, suitable to increase MP and its constituent carotenoids in serum.
Gaia's Radial Velocity Spectrometer (RVS) has been operating in routine phase for over one year since initial commissioning. RVS continues to work well but the higher than expected levels of straylight reduce the limiting magnitude. The end-of-mission radial-velocity (RV) performance requirement for G2V stars was 15 km s−1 at V = 16.5 mag. Instead, 15 km s−1 precision is achieved at 15 < V < 16 mag, consistent with simulations that predict a loss of 1.4 mag. Simulations also suggest that changes to Gaia's onboard software could recover ~0.14 mag of this loss. Consequently Gaia's onboard software was upgraded in April 2015. The status of this new commissioning period is presented, as well as the latest scientific performance of the on-ground processing of RVS spectra. We illustrate the implications of the RVS limiting magnitude on Gaia's view of the Milky Way's halo in 6D using the Gaia Universe Model Snapshot (GUMS).
Methylation of the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) exon 1/intron 1 boundary positioned fragile X related epigenetic element 2 (FREE2), reveals skewed X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) in fragile X syndrome full mutation (FM: CGG > 200) females. XCI skewing has been also linked to abnormal X-linked gene expression with the broader clinical impact for sex chromosome aneuploidies (SCAs). In this study, 10 FREE2 CpG sites were targeted using methylation specific quantitative melt analysis (MS-QMA), including 3 sites that could not be analysed with previously used EpiTYPER system. The method was applied for detection of skewed XCI in FM females and in different types of SCA. We tested venous blood and saliva DNA collected from 107 controls (CGG < 40), and 148 FM and 90 SCA individuals. MS-QMA identified: (i) most SCAs if combined with a Y chromosome test; (ii) locus-specific XCI skewing towards the hypomethylated state in FM females; and (iii) skewed XCI towards the hypermethylated state in SCA with 3 or more X chromosomes, and in 5% of the 47,XXY individuals. MS-QMA output also showed significant correlation with the EpiTYPER reference method in FM males and females (P < 0.0001) and SCAs (P < 0.05). In conclusion, we demonstrate use of MS-QMA to quantify skewed XCI in two applications with diagnostic utility.
To examine the use of vitamin D supplements during infancy among the participants in an international infant feeding trial.
Information about vitamin D supplementation was collected through a validated FFQ at the age of 2 weeks and monthly between the ages of 1 month and 6 months.
Infants (n 2159) with a biological family member affected by type 1 diabetes and with increased human leucocyte antigen-conferred susceptibility to type 1 diabetes from twelve European countries, the USA, Canada and Australia.
Daily use of vitamin D supplements was common during the first 6 months of life in Northern and Central Europe (>80 % of the infants), with somewhat lower rates observed in Southern Europe (>60 %). In Canada, vitamin D supplementation was more common among exclusively breast-fed than other infants (e.g. 71 % v. 44 % at 6 months of age). Less than 2 % of infants in the USA and Australia received any vitamin D supplementation. Higher gestational age, older maternal age and longer maternal education were study-wide associated with greater use of vitamin D supplements.
Most of the infants received vitamin D supplements during the first 6 months of life in the European countries, whereas in Canada only half and in the USA and Australia very few were given supplementation.
To study different radiological signs and sequences including apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and gradient echo (GRE) to differentiate degenerative parkinsonian syndromes.
Multiple system atrophy (MSA), Parkinson's disease (PD), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal degeneration (CbD) differ in the pattern of neurodegeneration and cellular damage. Measuring the ADC, GRE sequences for paramagnetic substances and simple anatomical assessments have been reported individually to assist in separating some of these disorders, but have not been compared.
brain MRIs from May 2002 to February 2008 were retrospectively evaluated by raters blinded to the clinical diagnosis for predefined MRI signs on T1, T2 and GRE sequences. ADC values were quantitatively measured. Medical records were objectively analyzed using standard clinical criteria for different parkinsonian syndromes.
195 cases comprising of 61 PD, 15 MSA-P, 7 MSA-C, 21 PSP, 6 Corticobasal syndrome, 21 not fitting criteria and 64 controls were evaluated. 73% of patients with MSA-P had hypointensity of the putamen (compared to the pallidum) on GRE. The specificity of this sign to diagnose MSA-P was 90% versus PD and 76% versus PSP. When GRE hypointensity was combined with atrophy of the putamen the specificity improved to 98% (versus PD) and 95% (versus PSP) without altering the sensitivity. The ADC values were significantly higher in the middle cerebellar peduncle in cases with MSA-C versus controls, PD and PSP (p<0.001).
The combination of hypointensity and atrophy of the putamen on GRE is useful in differentiating MSA-P from other parkinsonian syndromes.
Macular pigment (MP) is composed of lutein (L), zeaxanthin (Z) and meso-zeaxanthin (MZ). The present study reports on serum response to three different MP supplements in normal subjects (n 27) and in subjects with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (n 27). Subjects were randomly assigned to: Group 1 (20 mg L and 2 mg Z), Group 2 (10 mg L, 2 mg Z and 10 mg MZ) or Group 3 (3 mg L, 2 mg Z and 17 mg MZ). Serum carotenoids were quantified at baseline, and at 4 and 8 weeks using HPLC. Response data for normal and AMD subjects were comparable and therefore combined for analysis. We report response as the average of the 4- and 8-week concentrations (saturation plateau). Serum L increased significantly in Group 1 (0·036 μmol/l per mg (269 %); P< 0·001) and Group 2 (0·079 μmol/l per mg (340 %); P< 0·001), with no significant change in Group 3 (0·006 μmol/l per mg (7 %); P= 0·466). Serum Z increased significantly in Group 1 (0·037 μmol/l per mg (69 %); P= 0·001) and Group 2 (0·015 μmol/l per mg (75 %); P< 0·001), with no significant change in Group 3 ( − 0·0002 μmol/l per mg ( − 6 %); P= 0·384). Serum MZ increased significantly in Group 1 (0·0094 μmol/l (absolute value); P= 0·015), Group 2 (0·005 μmol/l per mg; P< 0·001) and Group 3 (0·004 μmol/l per mg; P< 0·001). The formulation containing all three macular carotenoids (Group 2 supplement) was the most efficacious in terms of achieving the highest combined concentration of the three MP constituent carotenoids in serum, thereby potentially optimising the bioavailability of these compounds for capture by the target tissue (retina).