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To determine associations of alcohol use with cognitive aging among middle-aged men.
1,608 male twins (mean 57 years at baseline) participated in up to three visits over 12 years, from 2003–2007 to 2016–2019. Participants were classified into six groups based on current and past self-reported alcohol use: lifetime abstainers, former drinkers, very light (1–4 drinks in past 14 days), light (5–14 drinks), moderate (15–28 drinks), and at-risk drinkers (>28 drinks in past 14 days). Linear mixed-effects regressions modeled cognitive trajectories by alcohol group, with time-based models evaluating rate of decline as a function of baseline alcohol use, and age-based models evaluating age-related differences in performance by current alcohol use. Analyses used standardized cognitive domain factor scores and adjusted for sociodemographic and health-related factors.
Performance decreased over time in all domains. Relative to very light drinkers, former drinkers showed worse verbal fluency performance, by –0.21 SD (95% CI –0.35, –0.07), and at-risk drinkers showed faster working memory decline, by 0.14 SD (95% CI 0.02, –0.20) per decade. There was no evidence of protective associations of light/moderate drinking on rate of decline. In age-based models, light drinkers displayed better memory performance at advanced ages than very light drinkers (+0.14 SD; 95% CI 0.02, 0.20 per 10-years older age); likely attributable to residual confounding or reverse association.
Alcohol consumption showed minimal associations with cognitive aging among middle-aged men. Stronger associations of alcohol with cognitive aging may become apparent at older ages, when cognitive abilities decline more rapidly.
Schistosomiasis has been subjected to extensive control efforts in the People's Republic of China (China) which aims to eliminate the disease by 2030. We describe baseline results of a longitudinal cohort study undertaken in the Dongting and Poyang lakes areas of central China designed to determine the prevalence of Schistosoma japonicum in humans, animals (goats and bovines) and Oncomelania snails utilizing molecular diagnostics procedures. Data from the Chinese National Schistosomiasis Control Programme (CNSCP) were compared with the molecular results obtained.
Sixteen villages from Hunan and Jiangxi provinces were surveyed; animals were only found in Hunan. The prevalence of schistosomiasis in humans was 1.8% in Jiangxi and 8.0% in Hunan determined by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), while 18.3% of animals were positive by digital droplet PCR. The CNSCP data indicated that all villages harboured S. japonicum-infected individuals, detected serologically by indirect haemagglutination assay (IHA), but very few, if any, of these were subsequently positive by Kato-Katz (KK).
Based on the outcome of the IHA and KK results, the CNSCP incorporates targeted human praziquantel chemotherapy but this approach can miss some infections as evidenced by the results reported here. Sensitive molecular diagnostics can play a key role in the elimination of schistosomiasis in China and inform control measures allowing for a more systematic approach to treatment.
Previous studies of sociodemographic and lifestyle correlates of dietary patterns among young adults have primarily focused on physical activity and smoking, with inconclusive results. This study aims to examine the associations between a broader range of lifestyles of young adults and their patterns of food consumption.
The data set are from a long running birth cohort study which commenced in 1981. Details of dietary intake and sociodemographic and lifestyle factors were from the 21-year follow-up of the Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy (MUSP) birth cohort. The effective cohort (n 2665, 57 % women) is of young adult offspring. Usual dietary intake was assessed using a Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). Data on sociodemographic and lifestyle variables were obtained from self-reports.
Western and prudent dietary patterns were identified for the combined cohort of women and men using principal components analysis. Multivariable linear regression models were used to examine the associations between lifestyle variables and dietary patterns adjusting for potential confounders. Results from multivariable adjusted models showed that physical activity, watching TV and smoking were strongly associated with each dietary pattern; alcohol consumption and BMI showed weaker associations (P < 0·05 for all).
Our study describes a clustering of unhealthy lifestyles in young adults. Young adults with unhealthy lifestyles less often adhere to a healthy prudent dietary pattern and more often an unhealthy Western pattern. Dietary preferences are enmeshed in a lifestyle matrix which includes physical activity, sedentary activity, smoking and alcohol consumption of young adults.
Recently, artificial intelligence-powered devices have been put forward as potentially powerful tools for the improvement of mental healthcare. An important question is how these devices impact the physician-patient interaction.
Aifred is an artificial intelligence-powered clinical decision support system (CDSS) for the treatment of major depression. Here, we explore the use of a simulation centre environment in evaluating the usability of Aifred, particularly its impact on the physician–patient interaction.
Twenty psychiatry and family medicine attending staff and residents were recruited to complete a 2.5-h study at a clinical interaction simulation centre with standardised patients. Each physician had the option of using the CDSS to inform their treatment choice in three 10-min clinical scenarios with standardised patients portraying mild, moderate and severe episodes of major depression. Feasibility and acceptability data were collected through self-report questionnaires, scenario observations, interviews and standardised patient feedback.
All 20 participants completed the study. Initial results indicate that the tool was acceptable to clinicians and feasible for use during clinical encounters. Clinicians indicated a willingness to use the tool in real clinical practice, a significant degree of trust in the system's predictions to assist with treatment selection, and reported that the tool helped increase patient understanding of and trust in treatment. The simulation environment allowed for the evaluation of the tool's impact on the physician–patient interaction.
The simulation centre allowed for direct observations of clinician use and impact of the tool on the clinician–patient interaction before clinical studies. It may therefore offer a useful and important environment in the early testing of new technological tools. The present results will inform further tool development and clinician training materials.
Recent years have seen an exponential increase in the variety of healthcare data captured across numerous sources. However, mechanisms to leverage these data sources to support scientific investigation have remained limited. In 2013 the Pediatric Heart Network (PHN), funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, developed the Integrated CARdiac Data and Outcomes (iCARD) Collaborative with the goals of leveraging available data sources to aid in efficiently planning and conducting PHN studies; supporting integration of PHN data with other sources to foster novel research otherwise not possible; and mentoring young investigators in these areas. This review describes lessons learned through the development of iCARD, initial efforts and scientific output, challenges, and future directions. This information can aid in the use and optimisation of data integration methodologies across other research networks and organisations.
To examine changes in the spatial clustering of malnutrition in children under 5 years of age (under-5s) for the period 1999 to 2011 in Bangladesh.
We used data from four nationally representative Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) conducted in 1999–2000, 2004, 2007 and 2011 in Bangladesh involving a total of 24 211 under-5s located in 1661 primary sampling units (PSU; geographical unit of analysis) throughout Bangladesh. The prevalence of stunting (height/length-for-age Z-score <−2), underweight (weight-for-age Z-score <−2) and wasting (weight-for-height/length Z-score <−2) at each PSU site and for each survey year were estimated based on the WHO child growth standard. The extent of spatial clustering was quantified using semivariograms.
Whole of Bangladesh.
Children under 5 years of age.
Our results demonstrate that in 1999–2000 most PSU throughout Bangladesh experienced stunting, underweight and wasting prevalence which exceeded the WHO thresholds. By 2011, this situation improved, although in two of the six divisions (Barisal and Sylhet) PSU still exhibited higher levels of malnutrition compared with other divisions of the country. The pattern of spatial clustering for stunting, underweight and wasting also changed between 1999 and 2011 both at national and sub-national (division) levels.
We identified divisions where malnutrition indicators (stunting, underweight and wasting) remain highly clustered and other divisions where they are more widely spread in Bangladesh. This has important implications on how interventions for malnutrition need to be delivered (geographically targeted interventions v. random interventions) within each division of the country.
We have previously shown that the minor alleles of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 and superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs2758331 are both associated with improved transplant-free survival after surgery for CHD in infants, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. We hypothesised that one or both of these minor alleles are associated with better systemic ventricular function, resulting in improved survival.
This study is a follow-up analysis of 422 non-syndromic CHD patients who underwent neonatal cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. Echocardiographic reports were reviewed. Systemic ventricular function was subjectively categorised as normal, or as mildly, moderately, or severely depressed. The change in function was calculated as the change from the preoperative study to the last available study. Stepwise linear regression, adjusting for covariates, was performed for the outcome of change in ventricular function. Model comparison was performed using Akaike’s information criterion. Only variables that improved the model prediction of change in systemic ventricular function were retained in the final model.
Genetic and echocardiographic data were available for 335/422 subjects (79%). Of them, 33 (9.9%) developed worse systemic ventricular function during a mean follow-up period of 13.5 years. After covariate adjustment, the presence of the VEGFA minor allele was associated with preserved ventricular function (p=0.011).
These data support the hypothesis that the mechanism by which the VEGFA single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 minor allele improves survival may be the preservation of ventricular function. Further studies are needed to validate this genotype–phenotype association and to determine whether this mechanism is related to increased vascular endothelial growth factor production.
Schistosomiasis in China has been substantially reduced due to an effective control programme employing various measures including bovine and human chemotherapy, and the removal of bovines from endemic areas. To fulfil elimination targets, it will be necessary to identify other possible reservoir hosts for Schistosoma japonicum and include them in future control efforts. This study determined the infection prevalence of S. japonicum in rodents (0–9·21%), dogs (0–18·37%) and goats (6·9–46·4%) from the Dongting Lake area of Hunan province, using a combination of traditional coproparasitological techniques (miracidial hatching technique and Kato-Katz thick smear technique) and molecular methods [quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and droplet digital PCR (ddPCR)]. We found a much higher prevalence in goats than previously recorded in this setting. Cattle and water buffalo were also examined using the same procedures and all were found to be infected, emphasising the occurrence of active transmission. qPCR and ddPCR were much more sensitive than the coproparasitological procedures with both KK and MHT considerably underestimating the true prevalence in all animals surveyed. The high level of S. japonicum prevalence in goats indicates that they are likely important reservoirs in schistosomiasis transmission, necessitating their inclusion as targets of control, if the goal of elimination is to be achieved in China.
The current World Health Organization strategic plan targets the elimination of schistosomiasis as a public health problem by 2025 and accurate diagnostics will play a pivotal role in achieving this goal. DNA-based detection methods provide a viable alternative to some of the commonly used tests, notably microscopy and serology, for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis. The detection of parasite cell-free DNA in different clinical samples is a recent valuable advance, which provides significant benefits for accurate disease diagnosis. Here we validated a novel duplex droplet digital PCR assay for the diagnosis of Chinese (SjC) and Philippine (SjP) strains of Schistosoma japonicum infection in a mouse model. The assay proved applicable for both SjC and SjP infections and capable of detecting infection at a very early intra-mammalian stage in conveniently obtainable samples (urine and saliva) as well as in serum and feces. The target DNA copy numbers obtained in the assay showed a positive correlation with the infection burden assessed by direct traditional parasitology. The potential to detect parasite DNA in urine and saliva has important practical implications for large-scale epidemiological screening programmes in the future, particularly in terms of logistical convenience, and the assay has the potential to be a valuable additional tool for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis japonica.
Approximately half of the variation in wellbeing measures overlaps with variation in personality traits. Studies of non-human primate pedigrees and human twins suggest that this is due to common genetic influences. We tested whether personality polygenic scores for the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) domains and for item response theory (IRT) derived extraversion and neuroticism scores predict variance in wellbeing measures. Polygenic scores were based on published genome-wide association (GWA) results in over 17,000 individuals for the NEO-FFI and in over 63,000 for the IRT extraversion and neuroticism traits. The NEO-FFI polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction in 7 cohorts, positive affect in 12 cohorts, and general wellbeing in 1 cohort (maximal N = 46,508). Meta-analysis of these results showed no significant association between NEO-FFI personality polygenic scores and the wellbeing measures. IRT extraversion and neuroticism polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction and positive affect in almost 37,000 individuals from UK Biobank. Significant positive associations (effect sizes <0.05%) were observed between the extraversion polygenic score and wellbeing measures, and a negative association was observed between the polygenic neuroticism score and life satisfaction. Furthermore, using GWA data, genetic correlations of -0.49 and -0.55 were estimated between neuroticism with life satisfaction and positive affect, respectively. The moderate genetic correlation between neuroticism and wellbeing is in line with twin research showing that genetic influences on wellbeing are also shared with other independent personality domains.
To estimate the average annual rates of reduction of stunting, underweight and wasting for the period 1996 to 2011, and to evaluate whether Bangladesh will be expected to achieve the target of Millennium Development Goal 1C of reducing the prevalence of underweight by half by 2015.
We used five nationwide, cross-sectional, Demographic and Health Survey data sets to estimate prevalence of undernutrition defined by stunting, underweight and wasting among children under 5 years of age using the WHO child growth standards. We then computed the average annual rates of reduction of prevalence of undernutrition using the formula derived by UNICEF. Finally, we projected the prevalence of undernutrition for the year 2015 using the estimated average annual rates of reduction.
Nationwide covering Bangladesh.
Children under 5 years of age (n 28 941).
The prevalence of stunting decreased by 18·8 % (from 60·0 % to 41·2 %), underweight by 16·0 % (from 52·2 % to 36·2 %) and wasting by 5·1 % (from 20·6 % to 15·5 %) during 1996 to 2011. The overall average annual rates of reduction were 2·84 %, 2·69 % and 2·47 %, respectively, for stunting, underweight and wasting. We forecast that in 2015, the prevalence of stunting, underweight and wasting will be 36·7 %, 32·5 % and 14·0 %, respectively, at the national level. The prevalence of undernutrition is likely to remain high in rural areas, in the Sylhet division and in the poorest wealth quintile.
Bangladesh is likely to achieve the Millennium Development Goal 1C target of reducing the prevalence of underweight by half by 2015. However, it is falling behind in reducing stunting and further investment is needed to reduce individual, household and environmental determinants of stunting in Bangladesh.
Gram-negative bacilli frequently cause epidemics in high-risk newborn intensive care units. Recently, an epidemic caused by a multiply-resistant K. pneumoniae, serotype 21, occurred in the Vanderbilt University intensive care nursery. The background of this outbreak included an increasing endemic nosocomial sepsis rate, operation of the facility in excess of rated capacity, and increasingly inadequate nurse-to-patient staffing ratios. The epidemic lasted 11 weeks; 26 (12%) of the 232 infants at risk in the unit became colonized. Five infants developed systemic illness and one died. Cohorting, reinforcement of strict handwashing and isolation procedures, and closure of the unit to outborn admissions resulted in rapid termination of the outbreak. Followup studies performed on infants colonized with the epidemic bacterium demonstrated persistent fecal shedding up to 13 months following discharge from the hospital. This epidemic had a detrimental influence on high-risk newborn and obstetric health care delivery in an area encompassing portions of three states. Under a system of progressively more sophisticated referral units, nosocomial infections occurring at a tertiary center can have an impact on other hospitals within the network.
Large-scale sequencing tests, including whole-exome and whole-genome sequencing (WES/WGS), are rapidly moving into clinical use. Sequencing is already being used clinically to identify therapeutic opportunities for cancer patients who have run out of conventional treatment options, to help diagnose children with puzzling neurodevelopmental conditions, and to clarify appropriate drug choices and dosing in individuals. To evaluate and support clinical applications of these technologies, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) have funded studies on clinical and research sequencing under the Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research (CSER) program as well as studies on return of results (RoR). Most of these studies use sequencing in real-world clinical settings and collect data on both the application of sequencing and the impact of receiving genomic findings on study participants. They are occurring in the context of controversy over how to obtain consent for exome and genome sequencing.
To examine the prospective association of television (TV) watching from adolescence to young adulthood with BMI, waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and obesity.
A community-based longitudinal cohort study.
Mater–University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy (MUSP) Cohort, Brisbane, Australia.
A sub-sample of 2439 children was followed up at ages 14 years and 21 years as part of a population-based birth cohort. Offspring reported the number of TV viewing hours each day at 14 and 21 years. BMI, WC and WHR were measured at 21 years.
In the adjusted model, offspring who watched TV for <3 h/d at 14 years but for ≥3 h/d at 21 years, or who watched TV for ≥3 h/d at 14 and 21 years, had greater BMI, WC and WHR at 21 years. Offspring who watched TV for ≥3 h/d at 14 years but for <3 h/d at 21 years had similar mean BMI, WC and WHR at 21 years to those who watched TV for <3 h/d at 14 and 21 years. Those offspring who reduced their TV watching hours to <3 h/d during the transition from adolescence into young adulthood were at less risk of becoming obese and those who continued or increased their TV watching to ≥3 h/d were at greater risk of becoming obese. This association remained independent of the potential confounding factors considered.
The present findings suggest that our efforts to decrease obesity by reducing TV watching hours among adults should consider interventions to reduce TV time among adolescents.
Evidence from longitudinal studies on the association between diet quality and change in anthropometric measures is scarce. We therefore investigated the relationship between a recently developed food-based dietary index and change in measured BMI and waist circumference (WC) in Australian adults (1992–2007). We used data from the Australian population-based Nambour Skin Cancer Study comprising 1231 adults aged 25–75 years at baseline (1992). We applied generalised estimating equations (GEE) to examine the association between diet quality and change in anthropometric measures. Dietary intake was assessed by an FFQ in 1992, 1996 and 2007. Diet quality was estimated using the dietary guideline index (DGI), developed to reflect the dietary guidelines for Australian adults; a higher score indicating increased compliance. Multivariable models, stratified by sex, were adjusted for sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics. We show that men with higher diet quality had a lower gain in BMI as compared to those with low diet quality during the 15-year follow-up. In a multivariable adjusted model, as compared to men in quartile 1 (reference), those in the highest quartile had the lowest gain in BMI (mean (95 % CI): 0·05 (0·00, 0·09) v. 0·11 (0·06, 0·16) kg/m2 per year, P =0·01). Diet quality was inversely, but non-significantly associated with change in WC. In women, DGI score was unrelated to change in any body measure. Energy underreporting did not explain the lack of association. We conclude that adherence to a high-quality diet according to Australian dietary guidelines leads to lower gain in BMI and WC in middle-aged men, but not in women.
We present the first spatially resolved observations of circumstellar envelopes of 25 bright northern Be stars. The survey was performed with the CHARA Array interferometer in the K-band at intermediate and long baselines. The interferometric visibilities are well fitted by a viscous disk model where the gas density steeply decreases with the radius. Physical and geometrical parameters such as the density profile, the inclination, and the position angles of the circumstellar disks are determined. We find that the density radial exponent ranges between n ≈ 2.4 − 3.2, which is consistent with previous IRAS measurements. We have also obtained simultaneous optical and near-IR spectrophotometric measurements, and found that the model reproduces well the observed disk IR-continuum excess emission. By combining the projected rotational velocity of the Be star with the disk inclination derived from interferometry, we give estimates of the equatorial rotational velocities of these Be stars.