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The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
The majority of paediatric Clostridioides difficile infections (CDI) are community-associated (CA), but few data exist regarding associated risk factors. We conducted a case–control study to evaluate CA-CDI risk factors in young children. Participants were enrolled from eight US sites during October 2014–February 2016. Case-patients were defined as children aged 1–5 years with a positive C. difficile specimen collected as an outpatient or ⩽3 days of hospital admission, who had no healthcare facility admission in the prior 12 weeks and no history of CDI. Each case-patient was matched to one control. Caregivers were interviewed regarding relevant exposures. Multivariable conditional logistic regression was performed. Of 68 pairs, 44.1% were female. More case-patients than controls had a comorbidity (33.3% vs. 12.1%; P = 0.01); recent higher-risk outpatient exposures (34.9% vs. 17.7%; P = 0.03); recent antibiotic use (54.4% vs. 19.4%; P < 0.0001); or recent exposure to a household member with diarrhoea (41.3% vs. 21.5%; P = 0.04). In multivariable analysis, antibiotic exposure in the preceding 12 weeks was significantly associated with CA-CDI (adjusted matched odds ratio, 6.25; 95% CI 2.18–17.96). Improved antibiotic prescribing might reduce CA-CDI in this population. Further evaluation of the potential role of outpatient healthcare and household exposures in C. difficile transmission is needed.
Methods are presented for the determination of uranium, or uranium and neptunium, in plutonium metal and plutonium alloys. Anion exchange or a combination of anion exchange - solvent extraction is used to concentrate the elements for x-ray fluorescence analysis, depending upon the impurities present and the elements to be determined. The precision for determining between 3 and 250 μg of uranium or neptunium ranges “between 30 and 2%.
The St. Louis aerosol was sampled during the period 16-22 August 1973 simultaneously at two locations using cascade impactors for sequential 12-hour samples. The six particle size fractions of each sampling were individually analyzed using PIXE for elements from S to Br and beyond and for heavy elements including Pb which permitted time variations of concentrations and particle size distributions to be followed and related to meteorological changes during the sampling period. In addition, the data were compared with average levels of the elements in coastal north Florida and maritime Bermuda as well as at a third St. Louis site. From this it appeared that some of the concentrations in St. Louis were at natural levels whereas others appeared to be higher and linked to air pollution sources. These relationships and others in this study may lead to criteria for distinguishing between pollutants and natural background in urban aerosols.
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.
To evaluate whole-genome sequencing (WGS) as a molecular typing tool for MRSA outbreak investigation.
Investigation of MRSA colonization/infection in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) over 3 years (2014–2017).
Single-center level IV NICU.
NICU infants and healthcare workers (HCWs).
Infants were screened for MRSA using a swab of the anterior nares, axilla, and groin, initially by targeted (ring) screening, and later by universal weekly screening. Clinical cultures were collected as indicated. HCWs were screened once using swabs of the anterior nares. MRSA isolates were typed using WGS with core-genome multilocus sequence typing (cgMLST) analysis and by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Colonized and infected infants and HCWs were decolonized. Control strategies included reinforcement of hand hygiene, use of contact precautions, cohorting, enhanced environmental cleaning, and remodeling of the NICU.
We identified 64 MRSA-positive infants: 53 (83%) by screening and 11 (17%) by clinical cultures. Of 85 screened HCWs, 5 (6%) were MRSA positive. WGS of MRSA isolates identified 2 large clusters (WGS groups 1 and 2), 1 small cluster (WGS group 3), and 8 unrelated isolates. PFGE failed to distinguish WGS group 2 and 3 isolates. WGS groups 1 and 2 were codistributed over time. HCW MRSA isolates were primarily in WGS group 1. New infant MRSA cases declined after implementation of the control interventions.
We identified 2 contemporaneous MRSA outbreaks alongside sporadic cases in a NICU. WGS was used to determine strain relatedness at a higher resolution than PFGE and was useful in guiding efforts to control MRSA transmission.
Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88) presented a critique of our recently published paper in Cell Reports entitled ‘Large-Scale Cognitive GWAS Meta-Analysis Reveals Tissue-Specific Neural Expression and Potential Nootropic Drug Targets’ (Lam et al., Cell Reports, Vol. 21, 2017, 2597–2613). Specifically, Hill offered several interrelated comments suggesting potential problems with our use of a new analytic method called Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS (MTAG) (Turley et al., Nature Genetics, Vol. 50, 2018, 229–237). In this brief article, we respond to each of these concerns. Using empirical data, we conclude that our MTAG results do not suffer from ‘inflation in the FDR [false discovery rate]’, as suggested by Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88), and are not ‘more relevant to the genetic contributions to education than they are to the genetic contributions to intelligence’.
Simulation models are used widely in pharmacology, epidemiology and health economics (HEs). However, there have been no attempts to incorporate models from these disciplines into a single integrated model. Accordingly, we explored this linkage to evaluate the epidemiological and economic impact of oseltamivir dose optimisation in supporting pandemic influenza planning in the USA. An HE decision analytic model was linked to a pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) – dynamic transmission model simulating the impact of pandemic influenza with low virulence and low transmissibility and, high virulence and high transmissibility. The cost-utility analysis was from the payer and societal perspectives, comparing oseltamivir 75 and 150 mg twice daily (BID) to no treatment over a 1-year time horizon. Model parameters were derived from published studies. Outcomes were measured as cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. Sensitivity analyses were performed to examine the integrated model's robustness. Under both pandemic scenarios, compared to no treatment, the use of oseltamivir 75 or 150 mg BID led to a significant reduction of influenza episodes and influenza-related deaths, translating to substantial savings of QALYs. Overall drug costs were offset by the reduction of both direct and indirect costs, making these two interventions cost-saving from both perspectives. The results were sensitive to the proportion of inpatient presentation at the emergency visit and patients’ quality of life. Integrating PK/PD–EPI/HE models is achievable. Whilst further refinement of this novel linkage model to more closely mimic the reality is needed, the current study has generated useful insights to support influenza pandemic planning.
A study employing macro- and micro-sedimentological techniques was conducted at three sites with recently deglaciated sediments in the proglacial area of Brúarjökull, a surge-type outlet glacier of the Vatnajökull ice cap, Iceland. Tills at these sites were likely deposited and deformed during the 1963/64 surge. At the height of the last surge, these sediments were beneath 90-120 m of ice, and associated basal shear stresses would have been 24-32 kPa. Tills associated with the surge at these sites formed by a combination of subglacial sediment deformation and lodgement and are thus regarded as ‘hybrid tills’. The tills show evidence of both ductile and brittle deformation. Discontinuous clay lenses within the tills, indicating local ice-bed decoupling and sliding, imply that subglacial water pressures were spatially and temporally variable during the surge. The thickness of the subglacial deforming-till layer was 50-90 cm.
The Pandemic Risk Assessment Model (PRAM) is a mathematical model developed to analyse two pandemic influenza control measures available to public health: antiviral treatment and immunization. PRAM is parameterized using surveillance data from Alberta, Canada during pandemic H1N1. Age structure and risk level are incorporated in the compartmental, deterministic model through a contact matrix. The model characterizes pandemic influenza scenarios by transmissibility and severity properties. Simulating a worst-case scenario similar to the 1918 pandemic with immediate stockpile release, antiviral demand is 20·3% of the population. With concurrent, effective and timely immunization strategies, antiviral demand would be significantly less. PRAM will be useful in informing policy decisions such as the size of the Alberta antiviral stockpile and can contribute to other pandemic influenza planning activities and scenario analyses.
The effects of environmental factors such as water stress, elevated CO2, or temperature on carbon assimilation and allocation in plants have been studied extensively (Gifford and Evans, 1981; Loomis, Rabbinge, and Ng, 1979; Neales and Incoll, 1968). However, the interactions of these processes are not well understood and cannot be predicted with any degree of confidence. Continuous and simultaneous measurements of photosynthesis, transport, and sink activity have never been made during the short- and long-term responses of live, intact plants to step changes in environmental factors. Thus, direct environmental effects and adaptive responses of plants are generally not distinguished. This results in part from limitation in experimental techniques and protocol used in past studies and the lack of experimental validation of hypotheses and models (eg, Goeschl et al, 1976; Magnuson et al, 1979; Smith et al, 1970) dealing with these problems. This paper describes in detail the components of an integrated technique for studying carbon assimilation, transportation and allocation in intact live plants under any set of environmental conditions, using continuously produced 11CO2.
We tested a simple method for removing a collagen-based glue preservative from bone destined for radiocarbon and stable isotope analyses. The method is sufficient for bone samples from which only stable isotope measurements are required. For 14C dating, such samples of age less than about 10 ka can be adequately dated, but for older samples, the circumstances must be carefully evaluated.
Not only is depression associated with increased inflammation but inflammation is a risk factor for the genesis of depression. Many of the environmental risk factors for depression are transduced through inflammatory signaling. Anti-inflammatory agents show promise for the management of depression in preclinical, epidemiological, and early clinical studies. This opens the door to the potential for anti-inflammatory agents to treat and prevent depression. There are no evidence-based pharmacotherapies for depression prevention.
ASPREE-D, aspirin in the prevention of depression in the elderly, is a sub study of ASPREE, which explores the potential of aspirin to prevent a range of inflammation related disorders in the elderly. With a sample size of 19,114, and a duration of 5 years, this placebo controlled study will be one of the largest randomized controlled trials in psychiatry and will provide definitive evidence on the ability of aspirin to prevent depression.
This paper presents the rationale for the study and presents a summary of the study design.
ASPREE-D may not only define novel therapy but will provide mechanistic proof of concept of the role of inflammation in depression.
Although only three antennas of the Australia Telescope Compact Array are currently operational, we have made use of the technique of bandwidth synthesis to make an image of the radio galaxy 2152 – 69. The three baselines were used to observe the source at three different frequencies, effectively resulting in nine baselines, which have been used to produce an image with a surprisingly high dynamic range, and with a slightly higher resolution than any existing image.
The production of such a worthwhile result, despite being made with a small subset of the capabilities of the Australia Telescope, bodes well for the future operation of the instrument.
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.
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is one of the most commonly identified infectious aetiologies of encephalitis in North America and Europe. The epidemiology of encephalitis beyond these regions, however, is poorly defined. During 2009–2012 we enrolled 313 patients in a multicentre prospective study of encephalitis in Peru, 45 (14·4%) of whom had confirmed HSV infection. Of 38 patients with known HSV type, 84% had HSV-1 and 16% had HSV-2. Patients with HSV infection were significantly more likely to present in the summer months (44·4% vs. 20·0%, P = 0·003) and have nausea (60·0% vs. 39·8%, P = 0·01) and rash (15·6% vs. 5·3%, P = 0·01) compared to patients without HSV infection. These findings highlight differences in the epidemiology and clinical presentation of HSV encephalitis outside of the Northern Hemisphere that warrant further investigation. Furthermore, there is an urgent need for improved HSV diagnostic capacity and availability of intravenous acyclovir in Peru.
Childhood maltreatment (CM) has consistently been linked with adverse outcomes including substance use disorders and adult sexual revictimization. Adult sexual victimization itself has been linked with psychopathology but has predominately been studied in women. The current investigation examines the impact of CM and co-occurring psychopathology on adult sexual victimization in men and women, replicating findings in three distinct samples.
We investigated the association between continuous CM factor scores and adult sexual victimization in the Childhood Trauma Study (CTS) sample (N = 2564). We also examined the unique relationship between childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and adult sexual victimization while adjusting for co-occurring substance dependence and psychopathology. We replicated these analyses in two additional samples: the Comorbidity and Trauma Study (CATS; N = 1981) and the Australian Twin-Family Study of Alcohol Use Disorders (OZ-ALC; N = 1537).
Analyses revealed a significant association with CM factor scores and adult sexual victimization for both men and women across all three samples. The CSA factor score was strongly associated with adult sexual victimization after adjusting for substance dependence and psychopathology; higher odds ratios were observed in men (than women) consistently across the three samples.
A continuous measure of CSA is independently associated with adult sexual trauma risk across samples in models that included commonly associated substance dependence and psychopathology as covariates. The strength of the association between this CSA measure and adult sexual victimization is higher in magnitude for men than women, pointing to the need for further investigation of sexual victimization in male community samples.
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.
Genetic influences contribute significantly to co-morbidity between conduct disorder and substance use disorders. Estimating the extent of overlap can assist in the development of phenotypes for genomic analyses.
Multivariate quantitative genetic analyses were conducted using data from 9577 individuals, including 3982 complete twin pairs and 1613 individuals whose co-twin was not interviewed (aged 24–37 years) from two Australian twin samples. Analyses examined the genetic correlation between alcohol dependence, nicotine dependence and cannabis abuse/dependence and the extent to which the correlations were attributable to genetic influences shared with conduct disorder.
Additive genetic (a2 = 0.48–0.65) and non-shared environmental factors explained variance in substance use disorders. Familial effects on conduct disorder were due to additive genetic (a2 = 0.39) and shared environmental (c2 = 0.15) factors. All substance use disorders were influenced by shared genetic factors (rg = 0.38–0.56), with all genetic overlap between substances attributable to genetic influences shared with conduct disorder. Genes influencing individual substance use disorders were also significant, explaining 40–73% of the genetic variance per substance.
Among substance users in this sample, the well-documented clinical co-morbidity between conduct disorder and substance use disorders is primarily attributable to shared genetic liability. Interventions targeted at generally reducing deviant behaviors may address the risk posed by this shared genetic liability. However, there is also evidence for genetic and environmental influences specific to each substance. The identification of these substance-specific risk factors (as well as potential protective factors) is critical to the future development of targeted treatment protocols.