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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.
Prior research has documented shared heritable contributions to non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and suicidal ideation (SI) as well as NSSI and suicide attempt (SA). In addition, trauma exposure has been implicated in risk for NSSI and suicide. Genetically informative studies are needed to determine common sources of liability to all three self-injurious thoughts and behaviors, and to clarify the nature of their associations with traumatic experiences.
Multivariate biometric modeling was conducted using data from 9526 twins [59% female, mean age = 31.7 years (range 24–42)] from two cohorts of the Australian Twin Registry, some of whom also participated in the Childhood Trauma Study and the Nicotine Addiction Genetics Project.
The prevalences of high-risk trauma exposure (HRT), NSSI, SI, and SA were 24.4, 5.6, 27.1, and 4.6%, respectively. All phenotypes were moderately to highly correlated. Genetic influences on self-injurious thoughts and behaviors and HRT were significant and highly correlated among men [rG = 0.59, 95% confidence interval (CI) (0.37–0.81)] and women [rG = 0.56 (0.49–0.63)]. Unique environmental influences were modestly correlated in women [rE = 0.23 (0.01–0.45)], suggesting that high-risk trauma may confer some direct risk for self-injurious thoughts and behaviors among females.
Individuals engaging in NSSI are at increased risk for suicide, and common heritable factors contribute to these associations. Preventing trauma exposure may help to mitigate risk for self-harm and suicide, either directly or indirectly via reductions in liability to psychopathology more broadly. In addition, targeting pre-existing vulnerability factors could significantly reduce risk for life-threatening behaviors among those who have experienced trauma.
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.
To assess antimicrobial prescriber knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) regarding antimicrobial stewardship (AS) and associated barriers to optimal prescribing.
A convenience sample of 2,900 US antimicrobial prescribers at 5 acute-care hospitals within a hospital network.
The following characteristics were assessed with an anonymous, online survey in February 2015: attitudes and practices related to antimicrobial resistance, AS programs, and institutional AS resources; antimicrobial prescribing and AS knowledge; and practices and confidence related to antimicrobial prescribing.
In total, 402 respondents completed the survey. Knowledge gaps were identified through case-based questions. Some respondents sometimes selected overly broad therapy for the susceptibilities given (29%) and some “usually” or “always” preferred using the most broad-spectrum empiric antimicrobials possible (32%). Nearly all (99%) reported reviewing antimicrobial appropriateness at 48–72 hours, but only 55% reported “always” doing so. Furthermore, 45% of respondents felt that they had not received adequate training regarding antimicrobial prescribing. Some respondents lacked confidence selecting empiric therapy using antibiograms (30%), interpreting susceptibility results (24%), de-escalating therapy (18%), and determining duration of therapy (31%). Postprescription review and feedback (PPRF) was the most commonly cited AS intervention (79%) with potential to improve patient care.
Barriers to appropriate antimicrobial selection and de-escalation of antimicrobial therapy were identified among front-line prescribers in acute-care hospitals. Prescribers desired more AS-related education and identified PPRF as the most helpful AS intervention to improve patient care. Educational interventions should be preceded by and tailored to local assessment of educational needs.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
Patient-reported outcomes and epidemiological studies in adults with tetralogy of Fallot are lacking. Recruitment and longitudinal follow-up investigation across institutions is particularly challenging. Objectives of this study were to assess the feasibility of recruiting adult patients with tetralogy of Fallot for a patient-reported outcomes study, describe challenges for recruitment, and create an interactive, online tetralogy of Fallot registry.
Adult patients living with tetralogy of Fallot, aged 18–58 years, at the University of North Carolina were identified using diagnosis code query. A survey was designed to collect demographics, symptoms, history, and birth mother information. Recruitment was attempted by phone (Part I, n=20) or by email (Part II, n=20). Data analysis included thematic grouping of recruitment challenges and descriptive statistics. Feasibility threshold was 75% for recruitment and for data fields completed per patient.
In Part I, 60% (12/20) were successfully contacted and eight (40%) were enrolled. Demographics and birth mother information were obtained for all enrolled patients. In Part II, 70% (14/20) were successfully contacted; 30% (6/20) enrolled and completed all data fields linked to REDCap database; the median time for survey completion was 8 minutes. Half of the patients had cardiac operations/procedures performed at more than one hospital. Automatic electronic data entry from the online survey was uncomplicated.
Although recruitment (54%) fell below our feasibility threshold, enrolled individuals were willing to complete phone or online surveys. Incorrect contact information, privacy concerns, and patient-reported time constraints were challenges for recruitment. Creating an online survey and linked database is technically feasible and efficient for patient-reported outcomes research.
Background: Epileptic encephalopathy (EE) is a severe condition in which epileptic activity itself may contribute to severe cognitive and behavioural impairments above and beyond what might be expected from the underlying pathology alone. Next generation sequencing technologies such as whole exome sequencing (WES) can detect underlying genetic causes of in EE. Methods: This report describes genotype-phenotype correlation of 29 subjects with unexplained epileptic encephalopathy, in whom WES, targeting a list of 557 epilepsy-associated genes was performed. Epilepsy phenotyping was done according to current ILAE recommendations. Results: Median age at seizure onset was 14 months (range 1-48). Electroclinical syndromes were applicable for 16/29, 8/16 had a definite/likely diagnosis. 6/8 subjects with West syndrome had variants in ALG13, STXBP1, PAFAH1B1, SLC35A2, CDKL5 and ADSL. 2 patients with Dravet syndrome had variants in SCN1A and PCDH19 respectively. 4/29 had unspecified EE and definite/likely diagnosis due to STXBP1, POLG, and KCNQ2 (2) variants. 4/29 had a possible diagnosis involving GABRB3, ARHGEF9, PCDH19 and SCN3A variants. Conclusions: The high diagnostic yield (definite/likely diagnosis in 11/29 = 38%), involving a broad variety of epilepsy-associated genes in different electroclinical syndromes justifies the diagnostic approach of early onset EE by next generation sequencing.
We describe bright microwave events that were first detected with the Parkes 64-m telescope at 8.4 or 22 GHz from six active-chromosphere stars. In some flares spectral data were obtained over a large frequency range from simultaneous measurements with the Parkes reflector (8.4 or 22 GHz), the Tidbinbilla interferometer (8.4 and 2.29 GHz), the Fleurs synthesis telescope (1.42 GHz) and the Molonglo Observatory synthesis telescope (0.843 GHz). Data on circular polarization were obtained from the Parkes observations at 8.4 GHz.
The stars were in a wide variety of evolutionary states, ranging from a single pre-main-sequence star (HD 36705), two RS CVn binaries (HD 127535, HD 128171), an Algol (HD 132742) and two apparently single K giants (HD 32918 and HD 196818). Their high brightness temperatures, positive spectral indices and low polarization are consistent with optically thick gyrosynchrotron emission from mildly relativistic electrons with average energies 0.5 to 3 MeV gyrating in inhomogeneous magnetic fields of 5 to 100 G.
It has generally been accepted that moving type IV bursts are generated as synchrotron radiation from energetic electrons high in the solar corona (Boischot and Denisse 1957). At 80 MHz the peak brightness temperature is usually ~ 108 K and the radiation becomes highly circularly polarized as the burst decays. This has led several authors (Kai 1969; Dulk 1970, 1973; Schmahl 1972; Robinson 1974, 1977; Nelson 1977) to the conclusion that the radiation comes from mildly relativistic (~ 100 keV) electrons and occurs at low harmonics of the gyro-frequency (gyro-synchrotron radiation). We present evidence of moving type IV bursts at 43, 80 and 160 MHz with brightness temperatures of ~ 109 K, and one at 43 MHz as high as 1010 K. The number (~ 1033) of energetic (≥ 1 MeV) electrons which is required in order to explain such high brightness temperatures by incoherent gyro-synchrotron emission is very large and near the upper limit for the number of fast electrons accelerated in the second phase of a solar flare. If amplification takes place a smaller number of electrons with energies ~ 100 keV would be required.
We present an overview of the survey for radio emission from active stars that has been in progress for the last six years using the observatories at Fleurs, Molonglo, Parkes and Tidbinbilla. The role of complementary optical observations at the Anglo-Australian Observatory, Mount Burnett, Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories and Mount Tamborine are also outlined. We describe the different types of star that have been included in our survey and discuss some of the problems in making the radio observations.
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.
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.
Macroevolutionary and macroecological studies must account for biases in the fossil record, especially when questions concern the relative abundance and diversity of taxa that differ in preservation and sampling potential. Using Cenozoic marine mollusks from a temperate setting (New Zealand), we find that much of the long-term temporal variation in gastropod versus bivalve occurrences is correlated with the stage-level sampling probabilities of aragonitic versus calcitic taxa. Average sampling probabilities are higher for calcitic species, but this contrast is time-varying in a predictable way, being concentrated in stages with widespread carbonate deposition.
To understand these results fully, we link them with analyses at the level of individual point occurrences. Doing so reveals that aragonite bias is effectively absent in terrigenous clastic sediments. In limestones, by contrast, calcitic species have at least twice the odds of sampling as aragonitic species. This result is most pronounced during times of widespread carbonate deposition, where the difference in the per-collection odds of sampling species is a factor of eight. During carbonate-rich intervals, calcitic taxa also have higher odds of sampling in clastics. At first glance this result may suggest simple preservational bias against aragonite. However, comparing relative odds of aragonitic versus calcitic sampling with absolute sampling rates shows that the positive calcite bias during carbonate-rich times reflects higher than average occurrence rates for calcitic taxa (rather than lower rates for aragonitic taxa) and that the negative aragonite bias in limestones reflects lower than average occurrence rates for aragonitic taxa (rather than higher rates for calcitic taxa).
Our results therefore indicate a time-varying interplay of two main factors: (1) taphonomic loss of aragonitic species in carbonate sediments, with no substantial bias in terrigenous clastics; and (2) an ecological preference of calcitic taxa for environments characteristic of periods with pervasive carbonate deposition, irrespective of lithology per se.
Manual surveillance of healthcare-associated infections is cumbersome and vulnerable to subjective interpretation. Automated systems are under development to improve efficiency and reliability of surveillance, for example by selecting high-risk patients requiring manual chart review. In this study, we aimed to validate a previously developed multivariable prediction modeling approach for detecting drain-related meningitis (DRM) in neurosurgical patients and to assess its merits compared to conventional methods of automated surveillance.
Prospective cohort study in 3 hospitals assessing the accuracy and efficiency of 2 automated surveillance methods for detecting DRM, the multivariable prediction model and a classification algorithm, using manual chart review as the reference standard. All 3 methods of surveillance were performed independently. Patients receiving cerebrospinal fluid drains were included (2012–2013), except children, and patients deceased within 24 hours or with pre-existing meningitis. Data required by automated surveillance methods were extracted from routine care clinical data warehouses.
In total, DRM occurred in 37 of 366 external cerebrospinal fluid drainage episodes (12.3/1000 drain days at risk). The multivariable prediction model had good discriminatory power (area under the ROC curve 0.91–1.00 by hospital), had adequate overall calibration, and could identify high-risk patients requiring manual confirmation with 97.3% sensitivity and 52.2% positive predictive value, decreasing the workload for manual surveillance by 81%. The multivariable approach was more efficient than classification algorithms in 2 of 3 hospitals.
Automated surveillance of DRM using a multivariable prediction model in multiple hospitals considerably reduced the burden for manual chart review at near-perfect sensitivity.
This research explored gender and cross-cultural similarities and differences in the motivational profiles of Indigenous Papua New Guinean (PNG) and Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Secondary students (N = 1,792) completed self-report motivational measures. Invariance testing demonstrated that the Inventory of School Motivation (McInerney, Yeung, & McInerney, 2001) measure was invariant across both gender and Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups. Structural equation modelling (SEM) results explicated that males were significantly more performance orientated than females in all three groups examined; however, the disparity between genders was most apparent in non-Indigenous Australians. Diverging from previous findings with non-Indigenous students, the current study found that PNG and Australian Indigenous males endorsed mastery goals more strongly than Indigenous females. In contrast, non-Indigenous females were more mastery orientated than non-Indigenous males. Finally, the two Indigenous groups endorsed social goals more strongly than the non-Indigenous Australians. The current findings highlight the importance of assessing gender and group differences, as broad statements relating to student motivation do not appear to be applicable in all cultural contexts.