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Observational associations between cannabis and schizophrenia are well documented, but ascertaining causation is more challenging. We used Mendelian randomization (MR), utilizing publicly available data as a method for ascertaining causation from observational data.
We performed bi-directional two-sample MR using summary-level genome-wide data from the International Cannabis Consortium (ICC) and the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC2). Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with cannabis initiation (p < 10−5) and schizophrenia (p < 5 × 10−8) were combined using an inverse-variance-weighted fixed-effects approach. We also used height and education genome-wide association study data, representing negative and positive control analyses.
There was some evidence consistent with a causal effect of cannabis initiation on risk of schizophrenia [odds ratio (OR) 1.04 per doubling odds of cannabis initiation, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01–1.07, p = 0.019]. There was strong evidence consistent with a causal effect of schizophrenia risk on likelihood of cannabis initiation (OR 1.10 per doubling of the odds of schizophrenia, 95% CI 1.05–1.14, p = 2.64 × 10−5). Findings were as predicted for the negative control (height: OR 1.00, 95% CI 0.99–1.01, p = 0.90) but weaker than predicted for the positive control (years in education: OR 0.99, 95% CI 0.97–1.00, p = 0.066) analyses.
Our results provide some that cannabis initiation increases the risk of schizophrenia, although the size of the causal estimate is small. We find stronger evidence that schizophrenia risk predicts cannabis initiation, possibly as genetic instruments for schizophrenia are stronger than for cannabis initiation.
This paper briefly describes the principle of operation and science goals of the AMANDA high energy neutrino telescope located at the South Pole, Antarctica. Results from an earlier phase of the telescope, called AMANDA-BIO, demonstrate both reliable operation and the broad astrophysical reach of this device, which includes searches for a variety of sources of ultrahigh energy neutrinos: generic point sources, Gamma-Ray Bursts and diffuse sources. The predicted sensitivity and angular resolution of the telescope were confirmed by studies of atmospheric muon and neutrino backgrounds. We also report on the status of the analysis from AMANDA-II, a larger version with far greater capabilities. At this stage of analysis, details of the ice properties and other systematic uncertainties of the AMANDA-II telescope are under study, but we have made progress toward critical science objectives. In particular, we present the first preliminary flux limits from AMANDA-II on the search for continuous emission from astrophysical point sources, and report on the search for correlated neutrino emission from Gamma Ray Bursts detected by BATSE before decommissioning in May 2000. During the next two years, we expect to exploit the full potential of AMANDA-II with the installation of a new data acquisition system that records full waveforms from the in-ice optical sensors.
Single-wall carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were discovered in 1993 and have been an area of intense research since then. They offer the right dimensions to explore material science and physical chemistry at the nanoscale and are the perfect system to study low-dimensional physics and transport. In the past decade, more attention has been shifted toward making use of this unique nanomaterial in real-world applications. In this article, we focus on potential applications of CNTs in the high-performance logic computing area—the main component of the semiconductor industry. We discuss the key challenges for nanotubes to replace silicon in integrated circuits and review progress made in recent years on the material, device, and circuit integration development of CNT technology.
A clearer understanding of the basis for the association between cannabis use and psychotic experiences (PEs) is required. Our aim was to examine the extent to which associations between cannabis and cigarette use and PEs are due to confounding.
A cohort study of 1756 adolescents with data on cannabis use, cigarette use and PEs.
Cannabis use and cigarette use at age 16 were both associated, to a similar degree, with PEs at age 18 [odds ratio (OR) 1.48, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.18–1.86 for cannabis and OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.31–1.98 for cigarettes]. Adjustment for cigarette smoking frequency (OR 1.27, 95% CI 0.91–1.76) or other illicit drug use (OR 1.25, 95% CI 0.91–1.73) substantially attenuated the relationship between cannabis and PEs. The attenuation was to a lesser degree when cannabis use was adjusted for in the cigarette PE association (OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.05–1.92). However, almost all of the participants used cannabis with tobacco, including those who classed themselves as non-cigarette smokers.
Teasing out the effects of cannabis from tobacco is highly complex and may not have been dealt with adequately in studies to date, including this one. Complementary methods are required to robustly examine the independent effects of cannabis, tobacco and other illicit drugs on PEs.
An argument often used to support the view that psychotic experiences (PEs) in general population samples are a valid phenotype for studying the aetiology of schizophrenia is that risk factors for schizophrenia show similar patterns of association with PEs. However, PEs often co-occur with depression, and no study has explicitly tested whether risk factors for schizophrenia are shared between PEs and depression, or are psychopathology specific, while jointly modelling both outcomes.
We used data from 7030 subjects from a birth cohort study. Depression and PEs at age 18 years were assessed using self-report questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. We compared the extent to which risk factors for schizophrenia across sociodemographic, familial, neurodevelopmental, stress–adversity, emotional–behavioural and substance use domains showed different associations with PEs and depression within bivariate models that allowed for their correlation.
Most of the exposures examined were associated, to a similar degree, with an increased risk of both outcomes. However, whereas female sex and family history of depression showed some discrimination as potential risk factors for depression and PEs, with stronger associations in the former, markers of abnormal neurodevelopment showed stronger associations with PEs.
The argument that PEs are valid markers for studying the aetiology of schizophrenia, made simply on the basis that they share risk factors in common, is not well supported. PEs seem to be a weak index of genetic and environmental risk for schizophrenia; however, studies disentangling aetiological pathways to PEs from those impacting upon co-morbid psychopathology might provide important insights into the aetiology of psychotic disorders.
Poor fetal growth is associated with later-life changes in adult body composition and decrements in muscle strength and morphology. Few studies have investigated the association of poor fetal growth with whole-body exercise. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association of poor fetal growth with the maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), lactate levels during exercise and the response to aerobic training. Thirty-six college-aged men and women (aged 20.8 ± 0.3 years), born to term (37–42 weeks gestation), were recruited to participate in an 8-week training program. Participants comprised two groups, high ponderal index (HIGHPI) and low ponderal index (LOWPI) (n = 18/group), identified as falling above and below the 10th percentile of the ponderal index (g/cm3)-for-gestational age distribution, respectively. The HIGHPI and LOWPI were matched pair-wise on age, sex, body mass index and pre-study physical activity patterns. The LOWPI and HIGHPI did not differ significantly before training, after training or with a change (Δ) in training VO2max (l/min or ml/min kg/fat-free mass (FFM)). However, LOWPI had significantly lower pre-training lactate levels at similar levels of relative work output (P = 0.016), and significantly smaller decreases in lactate at a fixed level of absolute work after training (P = 0.044). These differences were independent of pre-training aerobic fitness, the change in fitness with training, diet and fuel substrate choice. The lower lactate of untrained LOWPI subjects during exercise could reflect metabolic reprograming due to intrauterine growth restriction, or could be secondary to muscle morphological and/or fiber-type distribution changes that also associate with poor fetal growth.
The effects of salient testing parameters on four-point adhesion measurements of thin-film structures on silicon substrates were systematically studied. These included specimen geometry, applied displacement rate, and load point separation. Measured fracture energy values, Gc, were observed to increase as the ratio of applied moment arm to specimen thickness was decreased beyond a value of ∼4, particularly for specimens with Gc > 5 J/m2. Testing parameters that affect the steady-state crack velocity were also found to affect reported Gc values. The resulting trends in Gc values are shown to be related to loading-point friction and environmentally assisted cracking effects. Good practice testing guidelines are suggested to improve the accuracy and precision of four-point bend measurements.
Comparative studies show that variation in sperm morphometry across taxa is associated with the environment in which sperm function, and the species' mating pattern dictating the risk of sperm competition. Accordingly, sperm have evolved to function in a non-self environment (in contrast to somatic cells) and sperm morphometry is predicted to be optimized independently of the individual male producing them, but is the result of selective forces arising directly from the fertilization and competitive environment in which sperm will operate. Males within a population are therefore under stabilizing selection to produce an optimal distribution of sperm sizes. The nature of this distribution was explored using consistent techniques to measure detailed sperm morphometry for 10 species in a range of taxa from insects to humans. Although we expected variance in sperm morphometry to be optimized by every individual male through stabilizing selection at a population or species level, we found the exact opposite; for every species examined there was significant variation between individual males in the total lengths of the sperm they produced. A significant variation is reported between individual males for every species in the sizes of each sperm head, mid-piece and flagellum component. The between-male variation exists consistently in wild, domestic and human populations, subject to a wide range of levels of inbreeding. In gryllid crickets sperm length is shown to be male-specific and is repeatable between successive ejaculates. Between-female variation in ova size (data are presented for trout) is explainable by individual female fecundity optimization strategies; however, the adaptive significance of widespread between-individual variance in male gamete size is counter-intuitive and difficult to interpret, particularly as the limited evidence available shows that sperm morphometry is not condition-dependent or resource-constrained. The differences, however, do suggest negligible influences from haploid expression in the development of sperm morphometry – if haplotypic expression were manifested we would expect more profound variation within a male's sperm population (to reflect the inherent within-male variance in haplotypes derived from recombination) rather than the significant between-male differences we found that suggests the diploid control of spermatozoal phenotype
We evaluated the effects of free-range chickens and geese on insect pests and weeds in an experimental, nonchemical agroecosystem consisting of an apple orchard with intercropped potatoes. The objective was to assess the potential of these domestic bird species as biological control agents. Four insect pests were studied: plum curculio, apple maggot, Japanese beetle, and Colorado potato beetle. Chickens fed on several potential crop pests, including Japanese beetle. Although Japanese beetles were less abundant on apple trees when chickens were present, the proportion of damaged fruit was not reduced. Furthermore, chickens did not affect weed abundance or crop productivity. In contrast, geese were effective weeders. Their activities reduced weed abundance and increased potato plant growth and yields compared with a minimally weeded control. In addition, the activities of geese indirectly reduced apple fruit damage by plum curculio and increased the proportion of pest-free fruit, possibly because removal of vegetation by the geese reduced humidity at the soil surface and therefore reduced the activity of plum curculio.
We evaluated free-range domestic chickens and geese as components of a nonchemical apple orchard intercropped with potato. Chickens and geese were compatible with the system but provided different benefits and had different requirements. Chickens were omnivorous and highly active throughout the day, and dispersed throughout the available area. In contrast, geese were strictly herbivorous and less active, and usually remained close to their coop and water source. Geese substantially reduced vegetation biomass under the trees and around the potatoes without damaging either crop. Chickens reduced noncrop vegetation biomass slightly but also consumed several insect species, including Japanese beetle and Colorado potato beetle. Factors influencing the feasibility of integrating domestic chickens or geese into agroecosystems are discussed.
This review summarizes the range of possible mechanisms of action of neuronal grafts in the central nervous system. It aims to illustrate the capacity and limitations of the transplanted tissue in the promotion of neurological recovery after experimental surgical insults.
During the last few years evidence has accumulated that fetal neurons, implanted into the depth of the brain in adult rats, can reestablish damaged connections in the host brain and substitute functionally for elements lost or damaged as a result of a preceding lesion. This research work has led to the realization that, contrary to traditional views, the adult mammalian CNS has a potential to incorporate new neuronal elements into already established neuronal circuitry and that such implanted neurons can modify the function and behavior of the recipient. For a long time it was thought that the remarkable regenerative and functional potential of CNS tissue grafts that had been demonstrated in cold-blooded vertebrates reflected a fundamental difference in the regenerative properties of central nervous tissue between cold-blooded vertebrates and mammals. During the last few years it has become evident however, that at least certain types of intracerebral neural grafts can perfoum just as well in developing and mammals as in developing or adult submammalian vertebrates.
Aerial colour infra-red photographs were used to detect grasshopper damage to cereal grains, determine extent of damage, estimate crop yield, and identify crops. The detection and identification of grasshopper damage was facilitated by the development of a dichotomous key which differentiates grasshopper damage from other crop anomalies. Crop types and yield were determined from correlations between the optical density of the photographs and the biomass of standing crops.
Cost of an aerial survey was estimated at $0.02 per hectare as compared with ground survey cost of $0.20 per hectare. Information provided by an aerial survey of damage has the potential to assist grain growers, extension personnel, and researchers in evaluating the influence of grasshoppers on grain production
The study examined quantitatively the effects of embryonic development in the preceding fall and cumulative heat units from 1 April to 31 July in the current year on density trends of three major grasshopper species (Melanoplus sanguinipes (Fabr.), M. bivittatus (Say), and Camnula pellucida (Scudder)) in Saskatchewan. The influence of adult density of the previous year, embryonic development, heat units, and their interactions were examined by multiple regression analyses for each of the three species to determine their contribution to next year’s adult populations. The models tended to underestimate density during a population increase and to overestimate during a population decline. Combined heat units during the preceding fall and following spring indicated that a general increase in density should occur when heat units were equal to or greater than 1600 °D50.
Seasonal occurrence of three important grasshopper species (Melanoplus sanguinipes (Fabr.), M. bivittatus (Say), and Camnula pellucida (Scudder)) is estimated. The predictions are based on the amount of embryonic development occurring in fall after oviposition and the rate of egg and nymphal development in spring. Embryonic development is calculated from heat units accumulated above 50°F (10 °C) from daily maximum and minimum temperatures from 1 August to 30 September. Egg and nymphal development during spring can be monitored by accumulating heat above 50°F (10 °C) using daily maximum and minimum temperatures from 1 April.
The number of heat units required by each life stage is provided for comparison with current heat accumulations. The average date of occurrence from hatch to adults is provided based on 17 years of weather data from seven Saskatchewan weather stations.