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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 introduction of agriculture is known to have profoundly affected the ecological complexion of landscapes. In this study, a rapid transition from C3 to C4 vegetation is inferred from a shift to higher stable carbon (13C/12C) isotope ratios of soils and sediments in the Benoué River Valley and upland Fali Mountains in northern Cameroon. Landscape change is viewed from the perspective of two settlement mounds and adjacent floodplains, as well as a rock terrace agricultural field dating from 1100 cal yr BP to the recent past (<400 cal yr BP). Nitrogen (15N/14N) isotope ratios and soil micromorphology demonstrate variable uses of land adjacent to the mound sites. These results indicate that Early Iron Age settlement practices involved exploitation of C3 plants on soils with low δ15N values, indicating wetter soils. Conversely, from the Late Iron Age (>700 cal yr BP) until recent times, high soil and sediment δ13C and δ15N values reflect more C4 biomass and anthropogenic organic matter in open, dry environments. The results suggest that Iron Age settlement practices profoundly changed landscapes in this part of West Africa through land clearance and/or utilization of C4 plants.
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.
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.
Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAB) are an increasing infectious threat in hospitals. We investigated the clinical epidemiology of CRAB infections vs. colonization in patients, and examined the mechanisms of resistance associated with elevated minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) for carbapenems. From January to June 2009, 75 CRAB strains were collected. CRAB infection was significantly associated with malignancy and a high APACHE II score. The most dominant resistance mechanism was ISAba1 preceding OXA-51, producing strains with overexpression of efflux pump. Strains carrying blaOXA-23-like enzymes had higher carbapenem MICs than those carrying blaOXA-51-like enzymes; however, the presence of multiple mechanisms did not result in increased resistance to carbapenems. There was no difference in the resistance mechanisms in strains from infected and colonized patients. The majority of strains were genetically diverse by DNA macrorestriction although there was evidence of clonal spread of four clusters of strains in patients.
The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO) is a space mission to detect the early moments of an explosion from Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), thus enhancing our understanding of the GRB mechanism. It consists of the UFFO Burst & Trigger telescope (UBAT) for the recognition of GRB positions using hard X-ray from GRBs. It also contains the Slewing Mirror Telescope (SMT) for the fast detection of UV-optical photons from GRBs. It is designed to begin the UV-optical observations in less than a few seconds after the trigger. The UBAT is based on a coded-mask X-ray camera with a wide field of view (FOV) and is composed of the coded mask, a hopper and a detector module. The SMT has a fast rotatable mirror which allows a fast UV-optical detection after the trigger. The telescope is a modified Ritchey-Chrétien telescope with the aperture size of 10 cm diameter, and an image intensifier readout by CCD. The UFFO pathfinder is scheduled to launch into orbit on 2012 June by the Lomonosov spacecraft. It is a scaled-down version of UFFO in order to make the first systematic study of early UV/optical light curves, including the rise phase of GRBs. We expect UBAT to trigger ~44 GRBs/yr and expect SMT to detect ~10 GRBs/yr.
The documented vaccine coverage rate of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination is almost 99% in Korea, but measles cases are constantly being reported. This study evaluated the vaccine coverage, timeliness, and barriers to immunization of measles vaccination in preschool children in Korea. We assessed 452 children aged 15–23 months and 300 children aged 4–6 years in September 2007. Questionnaires were administered in order to estimate measles vaccination rate, its timeliness and barriers to vaccine uptake. Being unaware of the necessity for vaccination and its schedule, child being sick during the recommended vaccination period, and recommended vaccination period not being over were significant preventive factors to timely vaccination (P<0·05). Children with working mothers, single parents, those not being cared for by their parents, and those younger among siblings were at a higher risk of not being vaccinated on time. In order to increase timely vaccination, accurate information should be delivered and a systematic approach should be targeted to high-risk groups.
To investigate the phylogeny of benign Theileria parasites, we determined the complete major piroplasm surface protein (MPSP) gene sequences for 6 benign theilerial organisms, including the first from tick. Sequences were analysed alongside published sequences for 39 benign Theileria parasites, using Bayesian inference and maximum parsimony. All MPSP sequences were 852 nucleotides, except for Gansu, Wuchangbuf, VB01, and VB01; Gansu contained 873 nucleotides, and the other 3 had 855. Deduced amino acid sequences contained 284 residues, except for Gansu (291) and Wuchangbuf, VB01, and VB01 (285 each). Pairwise comparisons showed identities among 45 theilerial MPSP sequences ranging from 70·9 to 99·8% for nucleotide and 71·0 to 100% for amino acid sequences. Our results clearly indicate that all global parasites, excluding Brisbane, were classified into 1 of 8 types; 6 types of Theileria exist in Korea. Each type, excluding Type 6, has several type-specific amino acid sequences. The phylogenetic tree derived from the nucleotide sequences showed 2 sister-group relationships, Type 2+Type 7 and Type 3+Brisbane, with a new branching pattern: (Type 6 (Type 8 ((Type 2, Type 7), (Type 1, (Type 4, (Type 5, (Type 3, Brisbane))))))). Our sequence data showed no geographical influence on worldwide Theileria parasite distribution.
In order to improve the outcome and to reduce the post-operative care burden following the anterior cricoid split procedure, we modified the procedure to involve splitting only the cricoid cartilage, not the mucosa deep to the cartilage. In addition, we transposed the cricoid cartilage segment after division of the cricoid ring in the midline.
We present the use of our modification in a 19-month-old boy with early-stage subglottic stenosis.
The technique was performed in one surgical field, and the graft material obtained had the same thickness as the cricoid cartilage. Because there was no intraluminal break, this procedure allowed the patient to avoid the complications of prolonged stenting, and resulted in more rapid extubation.
The anterior cricoid split procedure with transposition of the cricoid cartilage segment may be a useful treatment option for early-stage subglottic stenosis, with improved outcomes and a reduced post-operative care burden.
Local extension of thyroid carcinoma can result in massive invasion of the trachea, causing severe airway compromise. The pre- and peri-operative management of such airway compromise is difficult but critical. We report the use of extracorporeal oxygenation support as an alternative peri-operative airway management option in such a situation. This approach facilitated curative surgery in a patient with papillary thyroid carcinoma invading the trachea.
We present a case report regarding extracorporeal oxygenation support in a patient with locally advanced thyroid carcinoma.
The patient was a 68-year-old woman with aggressive thyroid papillary carcinoma invading the trachea. The airway was almost totally obstructed, and tracheal resection and end-to-end anastomosis was planned. A venovenous bypass catheter was placed for cardiopulmonary bypass, using the bilateral femoral veins. Curative surgery and reconstruction were then performed successfully, under general anaesthesia assisted by cardiopulmonary bypass oxygenation.
Cardiopulmonary bypass oxygenation is a safe and effective alternative airway management option in patients with locally aggressive thyroid cancer.
Alfentanil was reported to relax the rat aorta by direct action on the vascular smooth muscle. The aims of this in vitro study were to examine the effect of alfentanil on phenylephrine-induced contractions in the rat aorta and to determine the cellular mechanism associated with this process.
Endothelium-denuded aortic rings were suspended in order to record isometric tension. In the rings with or without 10−6 mol naloxone or 10−5 mol verapamil, the concentration–response curves for phenylephrine and potassium chloride were generated in the presence or absence of alfentanil (10−6, 5 × 10−5, 10−4 mol). In the rings exposed to a calcium-free isotonic depolarizing solution, the contractile response induced by the addition of calcium was assessed in the presence or absence of alfentanil (5 × 10−5, 10−4 mol).
Alfentanil (5 × 10−5, 10−4 mol) attenuated (P < 0.05) the phenylephrine-induced contraction in the ring with or without 10−6 mol naloxone but had no effect on the phenylephrine-induced contraction in the rings pretreated with verapamil. Alfentanil (5 × 10−5, 10−4 mol) produced a significant rightward shift (P < 0.01) in the potassium chloride dose–response curve, and attenuated the contractile response (P < 0.001) induced by calcium in the calcium-free isotonic depolarizing solution in a dose-dependent manner.
A supraclinical dose of alfentanil attenuates the phenylephrine-induced contraction via an inhibitory effect on calcium influx by blocking the l-type calcium channels in the rat aortic vascular smooth muscle.
Surveillance is an important component of influenza control. This report describes the establishment and first results of the Korean Influenza Surveillance Scheme (KISS), an integrated clinical and laboratory surveillance network involving 622 public health centres (PHCs) and private clinics. Sentinel physicians reported cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) weekly and forwarded specimens for virus isolation and characterization. Influenza activity during the opening 2000–2001 season was milder and delayed compared with previous years. The ILI consultation rate corresponded well with the number of influenza virus isolates, both peaking in week 10 of 2001. Influenza A(H3N2) was the dominant isolate. The peak ILI consultation rate was higher in private clinics than in PHCs (5·04 vs 1·79 cases/1000 visits). An evaluation questionnaire generated potential enhancements to the scheme. KISS appears to represent the pattern of influenza activity accurately and will have a valuable role in monitoring and preventing epidemics in Korea.