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Here we provide an update of the 2013 report on the Nigerian Twin and Sibling Registry (NTSR). The major aim of the NTSR is to understand genetic and environmental influences and their interplay in psychological and mental health development in Nigerian children and adolescents. Africans have the highest twin birth rates among all human populations, and Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. Due to its combination of large population and high twin birth rates, Nigeria has one of the largest twin populations in the world. In this article, we provide current updates on the NTSR samples recruited, recruitment procedures, zygosity assessment and findings emerging from the NTSR.
A 4-year-old boy presented with intractable atrial tachycardia and heart failure. Antiarrhythmic drugs, such as digoxin, beta-blockers, and amiodarone were ineffective. Although we attempted multiple radiofrequency catheter ablations, the atrial tachycardia arising from left atrial appendage frequently recurred. Finally, we decided to perform atrial appendectomy using the thoracoscopic approach. Immediately after the appendectomy, the atrial tachycardia was terminated and restored to sinus rhythm. Left ventricular ejection fraction increased from 33 to 60% within 1 week. He had no arrhythmia during the subsequent 9-month follow-up period. Minimally invasive thoracoscopic surgery can be applied even in a small child who has focal atrial tachycardia originating from an atrial appendage.
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.
This study aimed to examine a range of factors influencing the long-term recovery of New York City residents affected by Hurricane Sandy.
In a series of logistic regressions, we analyzed data from a survey of New York City residents to assess self-reported recovery status from Hurricane Sandy.
General health, displacement from home, and household income had substantial influences on recovery. Individuals with excellent or fair health were more likely to have recovered than were individuals with poor health. Those with high and middle income were more likely to have recovered than were those with low income. Also, individuals who had not experienced a decrease in household income following Hurricane Sandy had higher odds of recovery than the odds for those with decreased income. Additionally, displacement from the home decreased the odds of recovery. Individuals who applied for assistance from the Build it Back program and the Federal Emergency Management Agency had lower odds of recovering than did those who did not apply.
The study outlines the critical importance of health and socioeconomic factors in long-term disaster recovery and highlights the need for increased consideration of those factors in post-disaster interventions and recovery monitoring. More research is needed to assess the effectiveness of state and federal assistance programs, particularly among disadvantaged populations. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:172–175)
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.
In 1969, Robert E. Gregg collected five species of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in three Subarctic localities near the town of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, which he documented in a 1972 publication in The Canadian Entomologist. To determine whether there have been any additions to the local fauna – as might be predicted to occur in response to a warming climate and increased traffic to the Port of Churchill in the intervening 40 years – we re-collected ants from the same localities in 2012. We identified the ants we collected from Gregg’s sampling sites using both traditional morphological preparations and DNA barcoding. In addition, we examined specimens from Gregg’s initial collection that are accessioned at the Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago, Illinois, United States of America). Using this integrative approach we report seven species present at the same sites Gregg sampled 40 years earlier. We conclude that the apparent increase is likely not due to any arrivals from more southerly distributed ants, but to the increased resolution provided by DNA barcodes to resident species complexes with a complicated history. We provide a brief synopsis of these results and their taxonomic context.
Formation of patterned metal and semiconductor (e.g. silicon) nanowires is achieved using anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) templates with porous structures of different heights resulting from an initial step difference made by etching the aluminum (Al) thin film with a photoresist developer prior to the anodization process. This approach allows for the growth of vertically aligned nanowire arrays on a metal substrate, instead of an oriented semiconductor substrate, using an electroplating or a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process. The vertically aligned metal and semiconductor nanowires defined on a metal substrate could be applied to the realization of vertical 3D transistors, field emission devices, or nano-micro sensors for biological applications.
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.
Lutein has significant nutritional benefits for human health. Therefore, enhancing soybean lutein concentrations is an important breeding objective. However, selection for soybeans with high and environmentally stable lutein concentrations has been limited. The objectives of this study were to select soybeans with high seed lutein concentrations and to determine the stability of lutein concentrations across environments. A total of 314 genotypes were screened and 18 genotypes with high lutein concentrations and five genotypes with low lutein concentrations were selected for further examination. These 23 genotypes and two check varieties were evaluated under six environments (two planting dates for 2 years at one location and two planting dates for 1 year at another location). Lutein concentrations were influenced by genotype, environment and genotype × environment interactions. Genotypes with late maturity and low lutein concentrations were more stable than those with early maturity and high concentrations. Early (May) planting resulted in greater lutein concentrations than late (June) planting. Among the genotypes evaluated, PI603423B (7.7 μg/g) and PI89772 (5.8 μg/g) had the greatest mean lutein concentrations and exhibited medium and high stability across the six environments, respectively. Thus, these genotypes may be useful for breeding soybeans with high and stable seed lutein concentrations.
Improved root architecture of cultivated barley can improve crop performance in drought-prone areas. In this study, seedlings of 315 wild barley (Hordeum vulgare subsp. spontaneum) accessions from the Wild Barley Diversity Collection (WBDC) were grown under hydroponic conditions for 8 d after germination and then root characteristics were analysed. Significant differences were observed among the accessions with regard to seminal root number (SRN), root length (RL), specific root length (SRL), root fresh weight and root dry weight (RDW). Principal component analysis explained about 81% of the total variation for ten traits. Principal component (PC) 1, PC2 and PC3 explained about 38, 30 and 13% of the total variation among the accessions. The two most prominent contributors in each PC were RL and SRL, RDW and SRN, and the longitude and latitude of the collection sites, respectively. Accessions WBDC266, WBDC302, WBDC286 and WBDC011 had the longest RL and the highest RDW, specific dry root weight and SRL, respectively. These accessions may be useful genetic resources for the improvement of these root traits in cultivated barley.
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 present study investigated whether whey (WH) protein, casein (CAS) protein or a carbohydrate placebo (PLA) consumed 30 min before sleep could acutely alter appetite or cardiometabolic risk the following morning. A total of forty-four sedentary overweight and obese women (BMI: 25·7–54·6 kg/m2) completed this stratified, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (WH: n 16, age 27·4 (sd 5·0) years; CAS: n 15, age 30·3 (sd 8·1) years; PLA: n 13, age 28·5 (sd 7·2) years). The participants came to the laboratory at baseline (visit 1) and again in the morning after night-time ingestion of either protein or PLA (visit 2). Visit 2 was conducted at least 48 h after visit 1. During visits 1 and 2, the following parameters were measured: appetite (hunger, satiety and desire to eat); resting metabolism; blood lipid and glucose levels; the levels of insulin, leptin, C-reactive protein, insulin-like growth factor-1, cortisol and adiponectin. Data were analysed using repeated-measures ANOVA. No group × time interactions were observed for the measured variables; however, a main effect of time was observed for increased satiety (P= 0·03), reduced desire to eat (P= 0·006), and increased insulin levels (P= 0·004) and homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance values (P= 0·01) after the consumption of either protein or PLA. The results of the present study reveal that night-time consumption of protein or carbohydrate by sedentary overweight and obese women improves their appetite measures but negatively affects insulin levels. Long-term studies are needed to evaluate the effects of chronic consumption of low-energy snacks at night on body composition and cardiometabolic risk.
We report a simple synthesis technique to attached poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) on magnetic nanoparticles. Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles were prepared using co-precipitation method. Nearly monodisperse nanoparticles were separated by terminating surface of Fe3O4 with dopamine followed by careful centrifugation and decantation. NHS/EDC coupling chemistry was employed to attached the carboxylic acid terminated poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) to amine end of dopamine on surface of the magnetic particles. Analysis of the polymer brush layers was conducted using UV-Vis spectroscopy, ATR−FTIR, and Transmission electron microscopy techniques. The magnetic property was investigated using direct current superconducting quantum interference device (DC-SQUID) method.
Temperature-sensitive ferrogel prepared using Fe3O4 nanoparticles are characterized under varying temperature conditions. The nanoparticles were distributed in Nisopropylacrylamide (NIPAm) during their polymerization to form hydrogel. Particle distribution and agglomeration characteristics of the prepared ferrogels were investigated using ultra small angle x-ray scattering (USAXS) at various temperatures through the Lower Critical Solution Temperature (LCST). Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to estimate the particle size distribution. The magnetic property was investigated using direct current superconducting quantum interference device (DC-SQUID) under hydrated conditions. The USAXS analysis showed an increase in the volume of particles without changing the agglomeration characteristics as the temperature is increased during the measurements. The ferrogel did not show any sedimentation or particle detachment from the gel under thermal cycling. Details of our results and analysis are presented.
Polystyrene (PS), polymethyl-methacrylate (PMMA) and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNT) were used to fabricate conductive nanocomposites using various mixing methods, followed by compression molding to analyze their electrical properties. The main objective of this research project was to evaluate how using different mixing techniques alter the composite microstructure and hence the properties of the resultant composite material. Three fabrication techniques were selected to be investigated: mechanical mixing, melt-mixing, and solution mixing. The concentration of the fillers was kept constant at 2 wt% MWNT to simplify comparisons. After mixing, the composite mixtures were compression molded at the same temperature of 180°C. It was found that each mixing method yielded uniquely different AC conductivity profiles which can be attributed to how the fabrication method used affected the arrangement of the CNTs in the composite structure. This newfound control of the electrical properties of the composite materials could definitely be useful to researchers because one can choose the proper fabrication technique based on what properties are desired.