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Rapid infant growth increases the risk for adult obesity. The gut microbiome is associated with early weight status; however, no study has examined how interactions between microbial and host ribonucleic acid (RNA) expression influence infant growth. We hypothesized that dynamics in infant stool micro-ribonucleic acids (miRNAs) would be associated with both microbial activity and infant growth via putative metabolic targets. Stool was collected twice from 30 full-term infants, at 1 month and again between 6 and 12 months. Stool RNA were measured with high-throughput sequencing and aligned to human and microbial databases. Infant growth was measured by weight-for-length z-score at birth and 12 months. Increased RNA transcriptional activity of Clostridia (R = 0.55; Adj p = 3.7E-2) and Burkholderia (R = −0.820, Adj p = 2.62E-3) were associated with infant growth. Of the 25 human RNAs associated with growth, 16 were miRNAs. The miRNAs demonstrated significant target enrichment (Adj p < 0.05) for four metabolic pathways. There were four associations between growth-related miRNAs and growth-related phyla. We have shown that longitudinal trends in gut microbiota activity and human miRNA levels are associated with infant growth and the metabolic targets of miRNAs suggest these molecules may regulate the biosynthetic landscape of the gut and influence microbial activity.
Depression and obesity are highly prevalent, and major impacts on public health frequently co-occur. Recently, we reported that having depression moderates the effect of the FTO gene, suggesting its implication in the association between depression and obesity.
To confirm these findings by investigating the FTO polymorphism rs9939609 in new cohorts, and subsequently in a meta-analysis.
The sample consists of 6902 individuals with depression and 6799 controls from three replication cohorts and two original discovery cohorts. Linear regression models were performed to test for association between rs9939609 and body mass index (BMI), and for the interaction between rs9939609 and depression status for an effect on BMI. Fixed and random effects meta-analyses were performed using METASOFT.
In the replication cohorts, we observed a significant interaction between FTO, BMI and depression with fixed effects meta-analysis (β=0.12, P = 2.7 × 10−4) and with the Han/Eskin random effects method (P = 1.4 × 10−7) but not with traditional random effects (β = 0.1, P = 0.35). When combined with the discovery cohorts, random effects meta-analysis also supports the interaction (β = 0.12, P = 0.027) being highly significant based on the Han/Eskin model (P = 6.9 × 10−8). On average, carriers of the risk allele who have depression have a 2.2% higher BMI for each risk allele, over and above the main effect of FTO.
This meta-analysis provides additional support for a significant interaction between FTO, depression and BMI, indicating that depression increases the effect of FTO on BMI. The findings provide a useful starting point in understanding the biological mechanism involved in the association between obesity and depression.
Mount Erebus is the most active volcano on the Antarctic continent, and it has the most geographically and physically isolated geothermal soil on Earth. Preliminary genetic analysis of the microbial community present in the 65°C subsurface soil of Tramway Ridge, on Mount Erebus, revealed a unique high temperature ecosystem, with the dominant members possessing little genetic similarity to known bacteria. This study investigated the metabolism and physiology of this intriguing ecosystem using physical-chemical soil surveying, community-based phenotypic arrays, nutritional enrichment experiments and pyrosequencing. Results have provided new insights into the metabolic requirements and putative roles of specific organisms, as well as the significance of specific carbon and nitrogen sources. In enrichment experiments bicarbonate slowed down an otherwise dramatic shift in community structure. This suggests that bicarbonate maintains the native community in vitro by supplying an essential inorganic compound that is utilized for slow, autotrophic growth. This approach shows potential as a model for future investigations of cultivation resistant thermophilic communities.
Shorter telomere length (TL) has found to be associated with lower birth weight and with lower cognitive ability and psychiatric disorders. However, the direction of causation of these associations and the extent to which they are genetically or environmentally mediated are unclear. Within-pair comparisons of monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins can throw light on these questions. We investigated correlations of within pair differences in telomere length, IQ, and anxiety/depression in an initial sample from Brisbane (242 MZ pairs, 245 DZ same sex (DZSS) pairs) and in replication samples from Amsterdam (514 MZ pairs, 233 DZSS pairs) and Melbourne (19 pairs selected for extreme high or low birth weight difference). Intra-pair differences of birth weight and telomere length were significantly correlated in MZ twins, but not in DZSS twins. Greater intra-pair differences of telomere length were observed in the 10% of MZ twins with the greatest difference in birth weight compared to the bottom 90% in both samples and also in the Melbourne sample. Intra-pair differences of telomere length and IQ, but not of TL and anxiety/depression, were correlated in MZ twins, and to a smaller extent in DZSS twins. Our findings suggest that the same prenatal effects that reduce birth weight also influence telomere length in MZ twins. The association between telomere length and IQ is partly driven by the same prenatal effects that decrease birth weight.
Overwintered cover crops mechanically terminated into mulch can be a weed management tool for reduced-tillage organic agriculture. However, the impacts of management options for cover cropping are not well understood, including cover crop variety, termination timing and termination method. In a field experiment, conducted in 2012 and 2013 in Western Washington, we examined three grains, four vetches and one barley–vetch mix terminated with two mechanical methods and at two different times. We determined the influence of cover crop variety and termination time on cover crop biomass production and tissue nitrogen (N), effectiveness of cover crop termination, soil nitrate–N and percent weed cover. We also determined the influence of termination method on percent weed cover. Cover crop biomass ranged between 3 and 9 Mg ha−1 and was not influenced by termination time; the greatest production was from three varieties of grain. Rye varieties were more effectively terminated with a roller–crimper than barley. Mean soil nitrate–N levels ranged from 1.9 to 18 mg kg−1 and were the greatest with vetches. Post-termination weed cover was greater in 2013 than in 2012 and the cover crop variety influenced weed cover at the Late termination time only. Neither plant N concentration in the cover crop mulch nor soil nitrate influenced weed cover. The results of this study indicate that cover crop biomass and termination timing are important factors influencing weed cover and termination effectiveness in cover crop mulch.
Patient registries represent an important method of organizing “real world” patient information for clinical and research purposes. Registries can facilitate clinical trial planning and recruitment and are particularly useful in this regard for uncommon and rare diseases. Neuromuscular diseases (NMDs) are individually rare but in aggregate have a significant prevalence. In Canada, information on NMDs is lacking. Barriers to performing Canadian multicentre NMD research exist which can be overcome by a comprehensive and collaborative NMD registry.
We describe the objectives, design, feasibility and initial recruitment results for the Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR).
The CNDR is a clinic-based registry which launched nationally in June 2011, incorporates paediatric and adult neuromuscular clinics in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and, as of December 2012, has recruited 1161 patients from 12 provinces and territories. Complete medical datasets have been captured on 460 “index disease” patients. Another 618 “non-index” patients have been recruited with capture of physician-confirmed diagnosis and contact information. We have demonstrated the feasibility of blended clinic and central office-based recruitment. “Index disease” patients recruited at the time of writing include 253 with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy, 161 with myotonic dystrophy, and 71 with ALS.
The CNDR is a new nationwide registry of patients with NMDs that represents an important advance in Canadian neuromuscular disease research capacity. It provides an innovative platform for organizing patient information to facilitate clinical research and to expedite translation of recent laboratory findings into human studies.
Research is essential for the development of evidence-based emergency medical services (EMS) systems of care. When resources are scarce and gaps in evidence are large, a national agenda may inform the growth of EMS research in Canada. This mixed methods consensus study explores current barriers and existing strengths within Canadian EMS research, provides recommendations, and suggests EMS topics for future study.
Purposeful sampling was employed to invite EMS research stakeholders from various roles across the country. Study phases consisted of 1) baseline interviews of a subsample, 2) roundtable discussion, and 3) an online Delphi survey, in which participants scored each statement for importance. Consensus was defined a priori and met if 80% scored a statement as “important” or “very important.”
Fifty-three stakeholders participated, representing researchers (37.7%), EMS administrators (24.6%), clinicians/ providers (20.7%), and educators (17.0%). Participation rates were as follows: interviews, 13 of 13 (100%); roundtable, 47 of 53 (89%); survey round 1, 50 of 53 (94%); survey round 2, 47 of 53 (89%); and survey round 3, 40 of 53 (75%). A total of 141 statements were identified as important: 20 barriers, 54 strengths/opportunities, 31 recommendations, and 36 suggested topics for future research. Like statements were synthesized, resulting in barriers (n 5 10), strengths/opportunities (n 5 24), and recommendations (n 5 19), which were categorized as time, opportunities, and funding; education and mentorship; culture of research and collaboration; structure, process, and outcome of research; EMS and paramedic practice; and the future of the EMS Research Agenda.
Consensus-based key messages from this agenda should be considered when designing, funding, and publishing EMS research and will advance EMS research locally, regionally, and nationally.