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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.
We present a broad study of linear, clustered, noble gas puffs irradiated with the frequency doubled (527 nm) Titan laser at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Pure Ar, Kr, and Xe clustered gas puffs, as well as two mixed-gas puffs consisting of KrAr and XeKrAr gases, make up the targets. Characterization experiments to determine gas-puff density show that varying the experimental parameter gas-delay timing (the delay between gas puff initialization and laser-gas-puff interaction) provides a simple control over the gas-puff density. X-ray emission (>1.4 keV) is studied as a function of gas composition, density, and delay timing. Xe gas puffs produce the strongest peak radiation in the several keV spectral region. The emitted radiation was found to be anisotropic, with smaller X-ray flux observed in the direction perpendicular to both laser beam propagation and polarization directions. The degree of anisotropy is independent of gas target type but increases with photon energy. X-ray spectroscopic measurements estimate plasma parameters and highlight their difference with previous studies. Electron beams with energy in excess of 72 keV are present in the noble gas-puff plasmas and results indicate that Ar plays a key role in their production. A drastic increase in harder X-ray emissions (X-ray flash effect) and multi-MeV electron-beam generation from Xe gas-puff plasma occurred when the laser beam was focused on the front edge of the linear gas puff.
During the summer of 2016, the Hawaii Department of Health responded to the second-largest domestic foodborne hepatitis A virus (HAV) outbreak in the post-vaccine era. The epidemiological investigation included case finding and investigation, sequencing of RNA positive clinical specimens, product trace-back and virologic testing and sequencing of HAV RNA from the product. Additionally, an online survey open to all Hawaii residents was conducted to estimate baseline commercial food consumption. We identified 292 confirmed HAV cases, of whom 11 (4%) were possible secondary cases. Seventy-four (25%) were hospitalised and there were two deaths. Among all cases, 94% reported eating at Oahu or Kauai Island branches of Restaurant Chain A, with 86% of those cases reporting raw scallop consumption. In contrast, a food consumption survey conducted during the outbreak indicated 25% of Oahu residents patronised Restaurant Chain A in the 7 weeks before the survey. Product trace-back revealed a single distributor that supplied scallops imported from the Philippines to Restaurant Chain A. Recovery, amplification and sequence comparison of HAV recovered from scallops revealed viral sequences matching those from case-patients. Removal of product from implicated restaurants and vaccination of those potentially exposed led to the cessation of the outbreak. This outbreak further highlights the need for improved imported food safety.
Human bocaviruses (HBoVs) have been detected in human gastrointestinal infections worldwide. In 2005, HBoV was also discovered in infants and children with infections of the lower respiratory tract. Recently, several genotypes of this parvovirus, including HBoV genotype 2 (HBoV2), genotype 3 (HBoV3) and genotype 4 (HBoV4), were discovered and found to be closely related to HBoV. HBoV2 was first detected in stool samples from children in Pakistan, followed by detection in other countries. HBoV3 was detected in Australia and HBoV4 was identified in stool samples from Nigeria, Tunisia and the USA. Recently, HBoV infection has been on the rise throughout the world, particularly in countries neighbouring South Korea; however, there have been very few studies on Korean strains. In this study, we characterised the whole genome and determined the phylogenetic position of CUK-BC20, a new clinical HBoV strain isolated in South Korea. The CUK-BC20 genome of 5184 nucleotides (nt) contains three open-reading frames (ORFs). The genotype of CUK-BC20 is HBoV2, and 98.77% of its nt sequence is identical with those of other HBoVs, namely Rus-Nsc10-N386. Especially, the ORF3 amino acid sequences from positions 212–213 and 454 corresponding to a variable region (VR)1 and VR5, respectively, showed genotype-specific substitutions that distinguished the four HBoV genotypes. As the first whole-genome sequence analysis of HBoV in South Korea, this information will provide a valuable reference for the detection of recombination, tracking of epidemics and development of diagnosis methods for HBoV.
There is a need of more quantitative standardised data to compare local Mental Health Systems (MHSs) across international jurisdictions. Problems related to terminological variability and commensurability in the evaluation of services hamper like-with-like comparisons and hinder the development of work in this area. This study was aimed to provide standard assessment and comparison of MHS in selected local areas in Europe, contributing to a better understanding of MHS and related allocation of resources at local level and to lessen the scarcity in standard service comparison in Europe. This study is part of the Seventh Framework programme REFINEMENT (Research on Financing Systems’ Effect on the Quality of Mental Health Care in Europe) project.
A total of eight study areas from European countries with different systems of care (Austria, England, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, Romania, Spain) were analysed using a standard open-access classification system (Description and Evaluation of Services for Long Term Care in Europe, DESDE-LTC). All publicly funded services universally accessible to adults (≥18 years) with a psychiatric disorder were coded. Care availability, diversity and capacity were compared across these eight local MHS.
The comparison of MHS revealed more community-oriented delivery systems in the areas of England (Hampshire) and Southern European countries (Verona – Italy and Girona – Spain). Community-oriented systems with a higher proportion of hospital care were identified in Austria (Industrieviertel) and Scandinavian countries (Sør-Trøndelag in Norway and Helsinki-Uusimaa in Finland), while Loiret (France) was considered as a predominantly hospital-based system. The MHS in Suceava (Romania) was still in transition to community care.
There is a significant variation in care availability and capacity across MHS of local areas in Europe. This information is relevant for understanding the process of implementation of community-oriented mental health care in local areas. Standard comparison of care provision in local areas is important for context analysis and policy planning.
This study aimed to identify the effect of lateral neck dissection on voice change in thyroidectomised patients.
Medical records from 264 patients who underwent thyroidectomy with (n = 65) or without (n = 199) lateral neck dissection were reviewed. Clinical and voice evaluation data were compared between the two groups.
Patients who underwent surgery that included lateral neck dissection had lower fundamental frequencies and speaking fundamental frequencies. They also had a higher incidence of asymmetric mucosal wave and vocal fold oedema on videostroboscopy during the first month after surgery, with the incidence of vocal fold oedema remaining significantly higher at three months. Self-assessed voice quality scores were significantly higher in lateral neck dissection patients at both one and three months after surgery.
In thyroidectomised patients, lateral neck dissection lowers the vocal pitch in the initial period after surgery and induces vocal fold oedema that persists for several months. Although most objective parameters improved within a month, subjective symptoms lasted for longer.
This study aimed to examine the association between vitamin B6, folate and vitamin B12 biomarkers and plasma fatty acids in European adolescents. A subsample from the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence study with valid data on B-vitamins and fatty acid blood parameters, and all the other covariates used in the analyses such as BMI, Diet Quality Index, education of the mother and physical activity assessed by a questionnaire, was selected resulting in 674 cases (43 % males). B-vitamin biomarkers were measured by chromatography and immunoassay and fatty acids by enzymatic analyses. Linear mixed models elucidated the association between B-vitamins and fatty acid blood parameters (changes in fatty acid profiles according to change in 10 units of vitamin B biomarkers). DHA, EPA) and n-3 fatty acids showed positive associations with B-vitamin biomarkers, mainly with those corresponding to folate and vitamin B12. Contrarily, negative associations were found with n-6:n-3 ratio, trans-fatty acids and oleic:stearic ratio. With total homocysteine (tHcy), all the associations found with these parameters were opposite (for instance, an increase of 10 nmol/l in red blood cell folate or holotranscobalamin in females produces an increase of 15·85 µmol/l of EPA (P value <0·01), whereas an increase of 10 nmol/l of tHcy in males produces a decrease of 2·06 µmol/l of DHA (P value <0·05). Positive associations between B-vitamins and specific fatty acids might suggest underlying mechanisms between B-vitamins and CVD and it is worth the attention of public health policies.
Extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) production has been very rare in serotype K1 Klebsiella pneumoniae ST23 strains, which are well-known invasive community strains. Among 92 ESBL-producing strains identified in 218 isolates from nine Asian countries, serotype K1 K. pneumoniae strains were screened. Two ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae isolates from Singapore and Indonesia were determined to be serotype K1 and ST23. Their plasmids, which contain CTX-M-15 genes, are transferable rendering the effective transfer of ESBL resistance plasmids to other organisms.
We present recent observation results of Sgr A* at millimeter obtained with VLBI arrays in Korea and Japan.
7 mm monitoring of Sgr A* is part of our AGN large project. The results at 7 epochs during 2013-2014, including high resolution maps, flux density and two-dimensional size measurements are presented. The source shows no significant variation in flux and structure related to the G2 encounter in 2014. According to recent MHD simulations by kawashima et al., flux and magnetic field energy can be expected to increase several years after the encounter; We will keep our monitoring in order to test this prediction.
Astrometric observations of Sgr A* were performed in 2015 at 7 and 3.5 millimeter simultaneously. Source-frequency phase referencing was applied and a combined ”core-shift” of Sgr A* and a nearby calibrator was measured. Future observations and analysis are necessary to determine the core-shift in each source.
Apparent ileal digestibility (AID) of energy, dry matter (DM), nitrogen (N) and amino acids and standardized ileal digestibility (SID) of amino acids in low quality soybean meals with different CP concentration (SBM 44% CP and SBM 48% CP) with or without 400 U β-mannanase/kg supplementation were evaluated in 20 cannulated barrows ((Landrace×Yorkshire)×Duroc) with an average BW of 25.08±3.42 kg. A N-free diet was used to determine basal endogenous losses of amino acids. The supplementation of β-mannanase improved (P<0.05) AID of DM compared with non-supplemented diet. However, enzyme supplementation did not improve (P>0.05) AID of N and energy. The type of SBM (SBM 44% CP v. SBM 48% CP) had no effect on AID of DM, N and energy. β-mannanase improved (P<0.05) AID of sum of essential amino acids, arginine, histidine, lysine, valine and glycine. The SID of lysine was higher (P<0.05) in enzyme supplemented than in non-supplemented diets. Larger AID and SID of threonine and proline (P<0.05) were observed in SBM 48% CP than in SBM 44% CP. In conclusion, the supplementation of enzyme improved AID of arginine, histidine, lysine, valine and glycine, but it did not cause marked difference in SID of these amino acids except for lysine. The low nutrient digestibility of the SBM sources used in the present experiment might have favoured the positive effect of β-mannanase supplementation.
We present an autonomous visual landmark recognition and pose estimation algorithm designed for use in navigation of spacecraft around small asteroids. Landmarks are selected as generic points on the asteroid surface that produce strong Harris corners in an image under a wide range in viewing and illumination conditions; no particular type of morphological feature is required. The set of landmarks is triangulated to obtain a tightly fitting mesh representing an optimal low resolution model of the natural asteroid shape, which is used onboard to determine the visibility of each landmark and enables the algorithm to work with highly concave bodies. The shape model is also used to estimate the centre of brightness of the asteroid and eliminate large translation errors prior to the main landmark recognition stage. The algorithm works by refining an initial estimate of the spacecraft position and orientation. Tests with real and synthetic images show good performance under realistic noise conditions. Using simulated images, the median landmark recognition error is 2m, and the error on the spacecraft position in the asteroid body frame is reduced from 45m to 21m at a range of 2km from the surface. With real images the translation error at 8km to the surface increases from 107m to 119m, due mainly to the larger range and lack of sensitivity to translations along the camera boresight. The median number of landmarks detected in the simulated and real images is 59 and 44 respectively. This algorithm was partly developed and tested during industrial studies for the European Space Agency’s Marco Polo-R asteroid sample return mission.
An individual's risk of infection from an infectious agent can depend on both the individual's own risk and protective factors and those of individuals in the same community. We hypothesize that an individual's exposure to an infectious agent is associated with the risks of infection of those living nearby, whether their risks are modified by pharmaceutical interventions or by other factors, because of the potential for transmission from them. For example, unvaccinated individuals living in a highly vaccinated community can benefit from indirect protection, or living near more children in a typhoid-endemic region (where children are at highest risk) might result in more exposure to typhoid. We tested this hypothesis using data from a cluster-randomized typhoid vaccine trial. We first estimated each individual's relative risk of confirmed typhoid outcome using their vaccination status and age. We defined a new covariate, potential exposure, to be the sum of the relative risks of all who live within 100 m of each person. We found that potential exposure was significantly associated with an individual's typhoid outcome, and adjusting for potential exposure affected estimates of vaccine efficacy. We suggest that it is useful and feasible to adjust for spatially heterogeneous distributions of individual-level risk factors, but further work is required to develop and test such approaches.
To identify clinical factors that can explain the differences in treatment outcome, and examine the value of human papillomavirus infection as a prognostic biomarker in stage IVa tonsillar carcinomas.
Fifty-nine patients with tonsillar carcinoma classified as stage IVa were retrospectively analysed for survival outcomes according to various clinical factors. Human papillomavirus infection was evaluated using a human papillomavirus DNA chip test and immunohistochemical staining for p16 and p53.
Lower disease-free survival rates were associated with increasing local invasiveness and nodal status. Although human papillomavirus positivity and p16 expression was more common in locally advanced tonsillar carcinomas with advanced nodal status, the overall survival rate was better for patients with human papillomavirus positive, p16-positive tumours.
The disease-free survival rate may differ according to local tumour invasiveness and nodal status, even for stage IVa tonsillar cancers. Human papillomavirus infection may be a useful biomarker for predicting treatment outcomes for stage VIa tumours.
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.
Ototoxicity due to cisplatin therapy interferes with treatment and often forces a reduction in the dosage, duration and frequency of the cisplatin therapy. (-)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate is known to have the highest antioxidant potency among all tea catechins. This study aimed to investigate the effect of (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate on cisplatin ototoxicity in an auditory cell line: House Ear Institute-Organ of Corti 1 cells.
Cultured House Ear Institute-Organ of Corti 1 cells were exposed to cisplatin with or without pre-treatment with (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate. Cell viability was evaluated using a 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay. Hoechst 33258 staining was used to identify cells undergoing apoptosis. Western blot analysis was conducted to determine whether (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate inhibited cisplatin-induced caspase activation. Intracellular reactive oxygen species production was examined to investigate whether (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate was capable of scavenging cisplatin-induced reactive oxygen species accumulation.
Cell viability significantly increased in cells pre-treated with (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate compared with cells exposed to cisplatin alone. Cisplatin increased cleaved caspase-3 on Western blot analysis; however, pre-treatment with (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate inhibited the expression of caspase-3. (-)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate attenuated reactive oxygen species production and apoptosis in House Ear Institute-Organ of Corti 1 cells.
(-)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate protected against cisplatin cytotoxicity through anti-apoptotic and anti-oxidative effects. Therefore, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate could play a preventive role in cisplatin-induced ototoxicity.
The Arabidopsis gene AVP1 encodes a vacuolar H+-translocating inorganic pyrophosphatase (enzyme classification (EC) 188.8.131.52) that functions as an electronic proton pump in the vacuolar membrane and affects growth development and the stress response in plants. The current study was conducted to evaluate the molecular properties of the Arabidopsis thaliana vacuolar H+-pyrophosphatase (AVP1) gene in rice (Oryza sativa L.). Incorporation and expression of the transgene was confirmed by semi-quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and quantitative real-time PCR. Expression of the AVP1 gene in transgenic rice plants (TRP1 and TRP2) resulted in a significantly enhanced tolerance to 5·8 g/l NaCl under greenhouse conditions when compared with the control wild-type (WT) rice plants. Augmented AVP1 expression in the transgenic rice plants (TRP) also affected total biomass and improved ion homoeostasis through increased accumulation of Na+ ions in whole tissues when compared with control WT rice plants under high salinity conditions. The photochemical yield (Fv/Fm) values of TRP were higher than those of the WT rice plants, even though the values decreased over time in both the WT and transgenic (TRP1 to TRP8) rice plants. Furthermore, rice grain yield and biomass of the TRP were at least 15% higher based on culm and root weights, and panicle and spikelet numbers when compared with those of the WT rice plants during the 2010 and 2010 growing seasons in South Korea. Thus, these results suggest that ectopic AVP1 expression conferred tolerance and stress resistance to genetically modified transgenic crop plants by improving cellular ion homoeostasis in response to saline conditions, which enhanced rice yield and biomass under natural conditions in paddy fields.