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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.
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.
Understanding viral transmission dynamics within populations of reservoir hosts can facilitate greater knowledge of the spillover of emerging infectious diseases. While bat-borne viruses are of concern to public health, investigations into their dynamics have been limited by a lack of longitudinal data from individual bats. Here, we examine capture–mark–recapture (CMR) data from a species of Australian bat (Myotis macropus) infected with a putative novel Alphacoronavirus within a Bayesian framework. Then, we developed epidemic models to estimate the effect of persistently infectious individuals (which shed viruses for extensive periods) on the probability of viral maintenance within the study population. We found that the CMR data analysis supported grouping of infectious bats into persistently and transiently infectious bats. Maintenance of coronavirus within the study population was more likely in an epidemic model that included both persistently and transiently infectious bats, compared with the epidemic model with non-grouping of bats. These findings, using rare CMR data from longitudinal samples of individual bats, increase our understanding of transmission dynamics of bat viral infectious diseases.
A new approach is proposed to analyze Bremsstrahlung X-rays that are emitted from laser-produced plasmas (LPP) and are measured by a stack type spectrometer. This new method is based on a spectral tomographic reconstruction concept with the variational principle for optimization, without referring to the electron energy distribution of a plasma. This approach is applied to the analysis of some experimental data obtained at a few major laser facilities to demonstrate the applicability of the method. Slope temperatures of X-rays from LPP are determined with a two-temperature model, showing different spectral characteristics of X-rays depending on laser properties used in the experiments.
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.
This study was conducted to investigate the angles and orientation of semicircular canals, and the coplanarity of functional canal pairs.
Fluid signals in semicircular canals were reconstructed with three-dimensional reconstruction software using 20 temporal bone magnetic resonance images of normal subjects. The angles between each pair of semicircular canals were measured.
The mean angles between the anterior and horizontal semicircular canal plane, the horizontal and posterior semicircular canal plane, and the anterior and posterior semicircular canal plane were 83.7°, 82.5° and 88.4°, respectively. Pairs of contralateral synergistic canal planes were formed 15.1° between the right and left horizontal semicircular canal planes, 21.2° between the right anterior and left posterior semicircular canal, and 21.7° between the left anterior and right posterior semicircular canal.
Each semicircular canal makes an almost right angle with other canals, but synergistically acting functional canal pairs of both ears do not lie in exactly the same plane.
Depression is common after acute coronary syndrome (ACS) with adverse effects on prognosis. There is little evidence on whether depression treatment improves quality of life (QoL) in ACS patients. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of co-morbid depression and its treatment on QoL in ACS.
In total, 1152 patients were recruited at baseline, 2–14 weeks after a confirmed ACS episode, and 828 were followed 1 year thereafter. Of 446 baseline participants with co-morbid depressive disorders, 300 were randomized to a 24-week double blind trial of escitalopram or placebo, while the remaining 146 received medical treatment only (MTO). QoL was measured by the World Health Organization Quality of Life –Abbreviated form (WHOQOL-BREF).
At baseline, QoL was significantly lower in patients with co-morbid depressive disorder than those without. QoL improvement was significantly greater in those receiving escitalopram than those receiving placebo over the 24-week treatment period. In the 1-year follow-up, the better outcomes associated with escitalopram remained evident against both placebo and MTO.
Depression was significantly associated with worse QoL even in patients with recently developed ACS. Depression treatment was associated with QoL improvement in ACS patients in the 24-week treatment period, the effects of which extended to 1 year.
In February 2012, an outbreak of gastroenteritis was reported in school A; a successive outbreak was reported at school B. A retrospective cohort study conducted in school A showed that seasoned green seaweed with radishes (relative risk 7·9, 95% confidence interval 1·1–56·2) was significantly associated with illness. Similarly, a case-control study of students at school B showed that cases were 5·1 (95% confidence interval 1·1–24·8) times more likely to have eaten seasoned green seaweed with pears. Multiple norovirus genotypes were detected in samples from students in schools A and B. Norovirus GII.6 isolated from schools A and B were phylogenetically indistinguishable. Green seaweed was supplied by company X, and norovirus GII.4 was isolated from samples of green seaweed. Green seaweed was assumed to be linked to these outbreaks. To our knowledge, this is the first reported norovirus outbreak associated with green seaweed.
This paper presents a multi-agent behavior to cooperatively rescue a faulty robot using a sound signal. In a robot team, the faulty robot should be immediately recalled since it may seriously obstruct other robots, or collected matters in the faulty robot may be lost. For the rescue mission, we first developed a sound localization method, which estimates the sound source from a faulty robot by using multiple microphone sensors. Next, since a single robot cannot recall the faulty robot, the robots organized a heterogeneous rescue team by themselves with pusher, puller, and supervisor. This self-organized team succeeded in moving the faulty robot to a safe zone without help from any global positioning systems. Finally, our results demonstrate that a faulty robot among multi-agent robots can be immediately rescued with the cooperation of its neighboring robots and interactive communication between the faulty robot and the rescue robots. Experiments are presented to test the validity and practicality of the proposed approach.
The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO), which will be launched onboard the
Lomonosov spacecraft, contains two crucial instruments: UFFO Burst
Alert & Trigger Telescope (UBAT) for detection and localization of Gamma-Ray Bursts
(GRBs) and the fast-response Slewing Mirror Telescope (SMT) designed for the observation
of the prompt optical/UV counterparts. Here we discuss the in-space calibrations of the
UBAT detector and SMT telescope. After the launch, the observations of the standard X-ray
sources such as pulsar in Crab nebula will provide data for necessary calibrations of
UBAT. Several standard stars will be used for the photometric calibration of SMT. The
celestial X-ray sources, e.g. X-ray binaries with bright optical sources
in their close angular vicinity will serve for the cross-calibration of UBAT and SMT.
The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO) Pathfinder for Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) consists
of two telescopes. The UFFO Burst Alert & Trigger Telescope (UBAT) handles the
detection and localization of GRBs, and the Slewing Mirror Telescope (SMT) conducts the
measurement of the UV/optical afterglow. UBAT is equipped with an X-ray detector, analog
and digital signal readout electronics that detects X-rays from GRBs and determines the
location. SMT is equipped with a stepping motor and the associated electronics to rotate
the slewing mirror targeting the GRBs identified by UBAT. First the slewing mirror points
to a GRB, then SMT obtains the optical image of the GRB using the intensified CCD and its
readout electronics. The UFFO Data Acquisition system (UDAQ) is responsible for the
overall function and operation of the observatory and the communication with the satellite
main processor. In this paper we present the design and implementation of the electronics
of UBAT and SMT as well as the architecture and implementation of UDAQ.
One of the unexplored domains in the study of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) is the early time
phase of the optical light curve. We have proposed Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO) to
address this question through extraordinary opportunities presented by a series of small
space missions. The UFFO is equipped with a fast-response Slewing Mirror Telescope that
uses a rapidly moving mirror or mirror array to redirect the optical beam rather than
slewing the entire spacecraft or telescope to aim the optical instrument at the GRB
position. The UFFO will probe the early optical rise of GRBs with sub-second response, for
the first time, opening a completely new frontier in GRB and transient studies. Its fast
response measurements of the optical emission of dozens of GRB each year will provide
unique probes of the burst mechanism and test the prospect of GRB as a new standard
candle, potentially opening up the z > 10 universe. We describe the current limit in
early photon measurements, the aspects of early photon physics, our soon-to-be-launched
UFFO-pathfinder mission, and our next planned mission, the UFFO-100.
The Slewing Mirror Telescope (SMT) is the UV/optical telescope of UFFO-pathfinder. The
SMT optical system is a Ritchey-Chrétien (RC) telescope of 100 mm diameter pointed by
means of a gimbal-mounted flat mirror in front of the telescope. The RC telescope has a
17 × 17arcmin2 in Field of View and 4.3 arcsec resolution (full width half
maximum of the point spread function) The beam-steering mirror enables the SMT to access a
35 × 35degree region and point and settle within 1 sec. All mirrors were fabricated to
about 0.02 wavelengths RMS in wave front error (WFE) and 84.7% average reflectivity over
200 nm ~ 650 nm. The RC telescope was aligned to 0.05 wavelengths RMS in WFE (test
wavelength 632.8 nm). In this paper, the technical details of the RC telescope and slewing
mirror system assembly, integration, and testing are given shortly, and performance tests
of the full SMT optical system are reported.
The UFFO (Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory) is a GRB detector on board the Lomonosov
satellite, to be launched in 2013. The GRB trigger is provided by an X-ray detector,
called UBAT (UFFO Burst Alarm & Trigger Telescope), which detects X-rays from the GRB
and then triggers to determine the direction of the GRB and then alerts the Slewing Mirror
Telescope (SMT) to turn in the direction of the GRB and record the optical photon fluxes.
This report details the calibration of the two components: the MAPMTs and the YSO crystals
and simulations of the UBAT. The results shows that this design can observe a GRB within a
field of view of ±35° and can trigger in a time scale as short as 0.2 – 1.0 s
after the appearance of a GRB X-ray spike.
The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO) is a space observatory for optical follow-ups of
gamma ray bursts (GRBs), aiming to explore the first 60 seconds of GRBs optical emission.
UFFO is utilized to catch early optical emissions from GRBs within few sec after trigger
using a Gimbal mirror which redirects the optical path rather than slewing entire
spacecraft. We have developed a 15 cm two-axis Gimbal mirror stage for the UFFO-Pathfinder
which is going to be on board the Lomonosov satellite which is to be launched in 2013. The
stage is designed for fast and accurate motion with given budgets of 3 kg of mass and 3
Watt of power. By employing stepping motors, the slewing mirror can rotate faster than 15
deg/sec so that objects in the UFFO coverage (60 deg × 60 deg) can be targeted in
~1 sec. The obtained targeting resolution is better 2 arcmin using a close-loop
control with high precision rotary encoder. In this presentation, we will discuss details
of design, manufacturing, space qualification tests, as well as performance tests.
The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO) aims to detect the earliest moment of Gamma-Ray
Bursts (GRBs) which is not well known, resulting into the enhancement of GRB mechanism
understanding. The pathfinder mission was proposed to be a scaled-down version of UFFO,
and only contains the UFFO Burst Alert & Trigger Telescope (UBAT) measuring the
X-ray/gamma-ray with the wide-field of view and the Slewing Mirror Telescope (SMT) with a
rapid-response for the UV/optical photons. Once the UBAT detects a GRB candidate with the
position accuracy of 10 arcmin, the SMT steers the UV/optical photons from the candidate
to the telescope by the fast rotatable mirror and provides the early UV/optical photons
measurements with 4 arcsec accuracy. The SMT has a modified Ritchey-Chrètien telescope
with the aperture size of 10 cm diameter including the rotatable mirror and the image
readout by the intensified charge-coupled device. There is a key board called the UFFO
Data Acquisition system (UDAQ) that manages the communication of each telescope and also
of the satellite and the UFFO overall operation. This pathfinder is designed and built
within the limited size and weight of ~20 kg and the low power consumption up to
~30 W. We will discuss the design and performance of the UFFO-pathfinder, and its
integration to the Lomonosov satellite.
One of the key aspects of the upcoming Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO) pathfinder for
Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) identification is the UFFO Burst Alert & Trigger Telescope
(UBAT). The scientific propose of UBAT is to detect and locate as fast as possible the
GRBs in the sky. This is achieved by using a coded mask aperture camera scheme with a wide
field of view (FOV) and selecting a X-ray detector of high quantum efficiency and large
detection area. This X-ray detector of high quantum efficiency and large detection area is
called the UBAT detector. The UBAT detector consists of 48 × 48 Yttrium Oxyorthosilicate
(YSO) scintillator crystal arrays and Multi Anode Photomultiplier Tubes (MAPMTs), analog
electronics equipped with ASIC chips, digital electronics equipped with Field Programmable
Gate Array (FPGA) chips, and a mechanical structure that supports all components of the
UBAT detector. The total number of the pixels in the UBAT detector is 2304, and the total
effective detection area is 191 cm2. We will present the design and
construction, and performance of the UBAT detector including the responses of the UBAT
detector to X-ray sources.
We measured the UV-optical-near-IR spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of redshift z ~ 0.3-1.5 early-type galaxies (ETGs) with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Wide Field Camera 3 (Rutkowski et al.2012). We searched for young stellar populations and morphological signatures of the mechanisms driving recent star formation (RSF) in these ETGs in order to provide observational constraints on models of galaxy evolution.