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Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) by infants and young children are less explored in Asian populations. The Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes cohort study examined associations between SSB intake at 18 months and 5 years of age, with adiposity measures at 6 years of age. We studied Singaporean infants/children with SSB intake assessed by FFQ at 18 months of age (n 555) and 5 years of age (n 767). The median for SSB intakes is 28 (interquartile range 5·5–98) ml at 18 months of age and 111 (interquartile range 57–198) ml at 5 years of age. Association between SSB intake (100 ml/d increments and tertile categories) and adiposity measures (BMI standard deviation scores (sd units), sum of skinfolds (SSF)) and overweight/obesity status were examined using multivariable linear and Poisson regression models, respectively. After adjusting for confounders and additionally for energy intake, SSB intake at age 18 months were not significantly associated with later adiposity measures and overweight/obesity outcomes. In contrast, at age 5 years, SSB intake when modelled as 100 ml/d increments were associated with higher BMI by 0·09 (95 % CI 0·02, 0·16) sd units, higher SSF thickness by 0·68 (95 % CI 0·06, 1·44) mm and increased risk of overweight/obesity by 1·2 (95 % CI 1·07, 1·23) times at age 6 years. Trends were consistent with SSB intake modelled as categorical tertiles. In summary, SSB intake in young childhood is associated with higher risks of adiposity and overweight/obesity. Public health policies working to reduce SSB consumption need to focus on prevention programmes targeted at young children.
Evidence on long-term influences of maternal vitamin B12 deficiency or concentrations on infant cognition is limited. We examined associations between maternal plasma vitamin B12 and cognitive development in 24-month-old infants. Maternal plasma vitamin B12 concentrations were measured at 26–28 weeks’ gestation; infant cognitive development was assessed with the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development-III at 24 months, for 443 mother–infant pairs from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes cohort. Linear regressions adjusted for key confounders examined associations of maternal vitamin B12 with cognitive, receptive and expressive language, fine and gross motor subscales. Co-occurrence of maternal vitamin B12 with folate or vitamin B6 insufficiencies on child’s cognition was explored. Average maternal plasma vitamin B12 concentrations was 220·5 ± 80·5 pmol/l; 15 % and 41 % of mothers were vitamin B12 deficient (<148 pmol/l) and insufficient (148–220·9 pmol/l), respectively. Infants of mothers with vitamin B12 deficiency had 0·42 (95 % CI −0·70, −0·14) sd lower cognitive scores, compared with infants of mothers with sufficient vitamin B12. Co-occurrence of maternal vitamins B12 and B6 insufficiencies was associated with 0·37 (95 % CI −0·69, −0·06) sd lower cognitive scores in infants compared with infants of mothers sufficient in both vitamins. No significant associations were observed with other subscales. Study findings suggest the possible need to ensure adequate vitamin B12 during pregnancy. The impact of co-occurrence of maternal B-vitamins insufficiencies on early cognitive development warrants further investigation.
The quality of prenatal maternal mental health, from psychological stress and depressive symptoms to anxiety and other nonpsychotic mental disorders, profoundly affects fetal neurodevelopment. Despite the evidence for the influence of positive mental well-being on health, there is, to our knowledge, no research examining the possible effects of positive antenatal mental health on the development of the offspring. Using exploratory bifactor analysis, this prospective study (n = 1,066) demonstrated the feasibility of using common psychiatric screening tools to examine the effect of positive maternal mental health. Antenatal mental health was assessed during 26th week of pregnancy. The effects on offspring were assessed when the child was 12, 18, and 24 months old. Results showed that positive antenatal mental health was uniquely associated with the offspring's cognitive, language and parentally rated competences. This study shows that the effects of positive maternal mental health are likely to be specific and distinct from the sheer absence of symptoms of depression or anxiety.
In recent years, various pro-natalist policies have been adopted in Singapore and other high-income Asian countries with low fertility, aiming at raising fertility rates. Previous studies were mainly focused on the impact or outcome of the policies. This paper, however, aims to identify the most influential groups in determining Singapore's total fertility rate (TFR) and evaluate the targeting of pro-natalist measures adopted by the government. We first reveal the changing age-parity-and-marital-status composition of women at childbearing age, and further conduct an elasticity analysis to assess the roles of different subgroups of women in changing the TFR. Our results show that compared to other groups, the 20–29-year-old single women and the married childless women aged 30–34 (‘married’ throughout this paper includes women who are or have been married) are more influential in determining the TFR and should be the potential pro-natalist target groups. However, Singapore's pro-natalist policies are more in favour of third and higher-order births. Such mismatch indicates that, if more efforts are devoted to facilitating marriage and first births in these potential groups, the TFR may be increased effectively. In order to achieve a long-term and significant fertility reversal, it calls for a long-term and integrated policy package.
Faster eating rates are associated with increased energy intake, but little is known about the relationship between children’s eating rate, food intake and adiposity. We examined whether children who eat faster consume more energy and whether this is associated with higher weight status and adiposity. We hypothesised that eating rate mediates the relationship between child weight and ad libitum energy intake. Children (n 386) from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes cohort participated in a video-recorded ad libitum lunch at 4·5 years to measure acute energy intake. Videos were coded for three eating-behaviours (bites, chews and swallows) to derive a measure of eating rate (g/min). BMI and anthropometric indices of adiposity were measured. A subset of children underwent MRI scanning (n 153) to measure abdominal subcutaneous and visceral adiposity. Children above/below the median eating rate were categorised as slower and faster eaters, and compared across body composition measures. There was a strong positive relationship between eating rate and energy intake (r 0·61, P<0·001) and a positive linear relationship between eating rate and children’s BMI status. Faster eaters consumed 75 % more energy content than slower eating children (Δ548 kJ (Δ131 kcal); 95 % CI 107·6, 154·4, P<0·001), and had higher whole-body (P<0·05) and subcutaneous abdominal adiposity (Δ118·3 cc; 95 % CI 24·0, 212·7, P=0·014). Mediation analysis showed that eating rate mediates the link between child weight and energy intake during a meal (b 13·59; 95 % CI 7·48, 21·83). Children who ate faster had higher energy intake, and this was associated with increased BMI z-score and adiposity.
Early life environments interact with genotype to determine stable phenotypic outcomes. Here we examined the influence of a variant in the brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) gene (Val66Met), which underlies synaptic plasticity throughout the central nervous system, on the degree to which antenatal maternal anxiety associated with neonatal DNA methylation. We also examined the association between neonatal DNA methylation and brain substructure volume, as a function of BDNF genotype. Infant, but not maternal, BDNF genotype dramatically influences the association of antenatal anxiety on the epigenome at birth as well as that between the epigenome and neonatal brain structure. There was a greater impact of antenatal maternal anxiety on the DNA methylation of infants with the methionine (Met)/Met compared to both Met/valine (Val) and Val/Val genotypes. There were significantly more cytosine–phosphate–guanine sites where methylation levels covaried with right amygdala volume among Met/Met compared with both Met/Val and Val/Val carriers. In contrast, more cytosine–phosphate–guanine sites covaried with left hippocampus volume in Val/Val infants compared with infants of the Met/Val or Met/Met genotype. Thus, antenatal Maternal Anxiety × BDNF Val66Met Polymorphism interactions at the level of the epigenome are reflected differently in the structure of the amygdala and the hippocampus. These findings suggest that BDNF genotype regulates the sensitivity of the methylome to early environment and that differential susceptibility to specific environmental conditions may be both tissue and function specific.
An inherent prerequisite to mental health first-aid (MHFA) is the ability to identify that there is a mental health problem, but little is known about the association between psychiatric labelling and MHFA. This study examined this association using data from two national surveys of Australian young people.
This study involved a national telephonic survey of 3746 Australian youth aged 12–25 years in 2006, and a similar survey in 2011 with 3021 youth aged 15–25 years. In both surveys, respondents were presented with a vignette portraying depression, psychosis or social phobia in a young person. The 2011 survey also included depression with suicidal thoughts and post-traumatic stress disorder. Respondents were asked what they thought was wrong with the person, and reported on their first-aid intentions and beliefs, which were scored for quality of the responses.
Accurate labelling of the mental disorder was associated with more helpful first-aid intentions and beliefs across vignettes, except for the intention to listen non-judgementally in the psychosis vignette.
Findings suggest that community education programmes that improve accurate psychiatric label use may have the potential to improve the first-aid responses young people provide to their peers, although caution is required in the case of psychosis.
Emerging evidence suggests that psychiatric labels may facilitate help seeking in young people. This study examined whether young people's use of accurate labels for five disorders would predict their help-seeking preferences.
Young people's help-seeking intentions were assessed by a national telephone survey of 3021 Australian youths aged 15–25. Respondents were presented with a vignette of a young person portraying depression, depression with suicidal thoughts, psychosis, social phobia or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They were then asked what they thought was wrong with the person, and where they would go for help if they had a similar problem.
Accurate psychiatric label use was associated with a preference to seek help from a general practitioner or mental health specialist. Accurately labelling the psychosis vignette was also associated with a preference to not seek help from family or friends.
Findings add to the emerging evidence that accurate psychiatric labelling may facilitate help seeking for various mental disorders in young people, and support the promise of community awareness campaigns designed to improve young people's ability to accurately identify mental disorders.
Although mental health information on the internet is often of poor quality, relatively little is known about the quality of websites, such as Wikipedia, that involve participatory information sharing. The aim of this paper was to explore the quality of user-contributed mental health-related information on Wikipedia and compare this with centrally controlled information sources.
Content on 10 mental health-related topics was extracted from 14 frequently accessed websites (including Wikipedia) providing information about depression and schizophrenia, Encyclopaedia Britannica, and a psychiatry textbook. The content was rated by experts according to the following criteria: accuracy, up-to-dateness, breadth of coverage, referencing and readability.
Ratings varied significantly between resources according to topic. Across all topics, Wikipedia was the most highly rated in all domains except readability.
The quality of information on depression and schizophrenia on Wikipedia is generally as good as, or better than, that provided by centrally controlled websites, Encyclopaedia Britannica and a psychiatry textbook.
Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) prepared by the HiPco process were purified using a modified gas phase purification technique. A TEM-STM holder was used to study the morphological changes of SWCNT ropes as a function of applied voltage. Kink formation, buckling behavior, tubular transformation and eventual breakdown of the system were observed. The tubular formation was attributed to a transformation from SWCNT ropes to multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) structures. It is likely mediated by the patching and tearing mechanism which is promoted primarily by the mobile vacancies generated due to current-induced heating and, to some extent, by electron irradiation.
Little research has focused on delineating the specific predictors of emotional over-involvement (EOI) and critical comments (CC) in the early course of psychosis. The purpose of this study was to investigate the differential relationships of EOI and CC with relevant predictors in relatives of first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients.
Baseline patient-related factors including psychotic symptoms, depression and duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) and carer attributes comprising CC, EOI, burden of care and carers' stress and depression were assessed in a cohort of 63 remitted FEP patients and their relatives. Carers were reassessed at 7 months follow-up.
Baseline analysis showed that EOI was more strongly correlated with family stress compared with CC, whereas CC yielded a stronger association with DUP than EOI. Carers' CC at follow-up was not significantly predicted by either baseline family stress, burden of care or patient-related variables. Conversely, baseline EOI predicted both family stress and burden of care at 7 months follow-up. Finally, family burden of care at follow-up was a function of baseline EOI and patients' depressive symptoms.
This study provides preliminary support to the postulate that EOI and CC may be influenced by separate factors early in the course of psychosis and warrant future research and therapeutic interventions as separate constructs. Implications for family interventions in the early phase of psychosis and the prevention of CC and EOI are discussed.
Large-scale production of perfect conical carbon nanostructures that are fundamentally different from the other nanocarbon materials, such as buckyballs and nanotubes, can be made using the so-called Kvaerner Carbon Black & Hydrogen Process. This involves pyrolysis of hydrocarbons using a torch plasma process. The carbon cones that occur appear in five distinctly different forms. In addition, disk-shaped particles may be produced. Here we report about the current status for the experimental research and theoretical modeling of these particles, which have properties different from the other known forms of carbon.