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Apolipoprotein E (APOE) E4 is the main genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Due to the consistent association, there is interest as to whether E4 influences the risk of other neurodegenerative diseases. Further, there is a constant search for other genetic biomarkers contributing to these phenotypes, such as microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) haplotypes. Here, participants from the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative were genotyped to investigate whether the APOE E4 allele or MAPT H1 haplotype are associated with five neurodegenerative diseases: (1) AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), (2) amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (3) frontotemporal dementia (FTD), (4) Parkinson’s disease, and (5) vascular cognitive impairment.
Genotypes were defined for their respective APOE allele and MAPT haplotype calls for each participant, and logistic regression analyses were performed to identify the associations with the presentations of neurodegenerative diseases.
Our work confirmed the association of the E4 allele with a dose-dependent increased presentation of AD, and an association between the E4 allele alone and MCI; however, the other four diseases were not associated with E4. Further, the APOE E2 allele was associated with decreased presentation of both AD and MCI. No associations were identified between MAPT haplotype and the neurodegenerative disease cohorts; but following subtyping of the FTD cohort, the H1 haplotype was significantly associated with progressive supranuclear palsy.
This is the first study to concurrently analyze the association of APOE isoforms and MAPT haplotypes with five neurodegenerative diseases using consistent enrollment criteria and broad phenotypic analysis.
Grains rich in starch constitute the primary source of energy for both pigs and humans, but there is incomplete understanding of physiological mechanisms that determine the extent of digestion of grain starch in monogastric animals including pigs and humans. Slow digestion of starch to produce glucose in the small intestine (SI) leads to undigested starch escaping to the large intestine where it is fermented to produce short-chain fatty acids. Glucose generated from starch provides more energy than short-chain fatty acids for normal metabolism and growth in monogastrics. While incomplete digestion of starch leads to underutilised feed in pigs and economic losses, it is desirable in human nutrition to maintain consistent body weight in adults. Undigested nutrients reaching the ileum may trigger the ileal brake, and fermentation of undigested nutrients or fibre in the large intestine triggers the colonic brake. These intestinal brakes reduce the passage rate in an attempt to maximise nutrient utilisation, and lead to increased satiety that may reduce feed intake. The three physiological mechanisms that control grain digestion and feed intake are: (1) gastric emptying rate; (2) interplay of grain digestion and passage rate in the SI controlling the activation of the ileal brake; and (3) fermentation of undigested nutrients or fibre in the large intestine activating the colonic brake. Fibre plays an important role in influencing these mechanisms and the extent of their effects. In this review, an account of the physiological mechanisms controlling the passage rate, feed intake and enzymatic digestion of grains is presented: (1) to evaluate the merits of recently developed methods of grain/starch digestion for application purposes; and (2) to identify opportunities for future research to advance our understanding of how the combination of controlled grain digestion and fibre content can be manipulated to physiologically influence satiety and food intake.
Vitamin D deficiency is recognised as a public health problem globally, and a high prevalence of deficiency has previously been reported in Australia. This study details the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in a nationally representative sample of Australian adults aged ≥25 years, using an internationally standardised method to measure serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations and identifies demographic and lifestyle factors associated with vitamin D deficiency. We used data from the 2011–2013 Australian Health Survey (n 5034 with complete information on potential predictors and serum 25(OH)D concentrations). Serum 25(OH)D concentrations were measured by a liquid chromatography-tandem MS that is certified to the reference measurement procedures developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Ghent University and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency were defined as serum 25(OH)D concentrations <50 nmol/l and 50 to <75 nmol/l, respectively. Overall, 20 % of participants (19 % men; 21 % women) were classified as vitamin D deficient, with a further 43 % classified as insufficient (45 % men; 42 % women). Independent predictors of vitamin D deficiency included being born in a country other than Australia or the main English-speaking countries, residing in southern (higher latitude) states of Australia, being assessed during winter or spring, being obese, smoking (women only), having low physical activity levels and not taking vitamin D or Ca supplements. Given our increasingly indoor lifestyles, there is a need to develop and promote strategies to maintain adequate vitamin D status through safe sun exposure and dietary approaches.
The Yellow Chat Epthianura crocea is comprised of three disjunct subspecies. Subspecies E. c. macgregori (Capricorn Yellow Chat) is listed as Critically Endangered under the EPBC Act and has a distribution that also appears to be disjunct, with a limited geographic area of less than 7,000 ha. Some populations are threatened by rapid industrial development, and it is important for conservation of the subspecies to determine the extent to which the putative populations are connected. We used 14 microsatellite markers to measure genetic diversity and to determine the extent of gene flow between two disjunct populations at the northern and southern extremes of the subspecies’ range. No significant differences in genetic diversity (number of alleles and heterozygosity) were observed, but clear population structuring was apparent, with obvious differentiation between the northern and southern populations. The most likely explanation for reduced gene flow between the two populations is either the development of a geographic barrier as a consequence of shrinkage of the marine plains associated with the rise in sea levels following the last glacial maxima, or reduced connectivity across the largely unsuitable pasture and forest habitat that now separates the two populations, exacerbated by declining population size and fewer potential emigrants. Regardless of the mechanism, restricted gene flow between these two populations has important consequences for their ongoing conservation. The relative isolation of the smaller southern groups (the Fitzroy River delta and Curtis Island) from the much larger northern group (both sides of the Broad Sound) makes the southern population more vulnerable to local extinction. Conservation efforts should focus on nature refuge agreements with land owners agreeing to maintain favourable grazing management practices in perpetuity, particularly in the northern area where most chats occur. Supplemental exchanges of individuals from northern and southern populations should be explored as a way of increasing genetic diversity and reducing inbreeding.
Phased Array Feed (PAF) technology is the next major advancement in radio astronomy in terms of combining high sensitivity and large field of view. The Focal L-band Array for the Green Bank Telescope (FLAG) is one of the most sensitive PAFs developed so far. It consists of 19 dual-polarization elements mounted on a prime focus dewar resulting in seven beams on the sky. Its unprecedented system temperature of ~17 K will lead to a 3 fold increase in pulsar survey speeds as compared to contemporary single pixel feeds. Early science observations were conducted in a recently concluded commissioning phase of the FLAG where we clearly demonstrated its science capabilities. We observed a selection of normal and millisecond pulsars and detected giant pulses from PSR B1937+21.
This paper presents latest thinking from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ Model Risk Working Party and follows on from their Phase I work, Model Risk: Daring to Open the Black Box. This is a more practical paper and presents the contributors’ experiences of model risk gained from a wide range of financial and non-financial organisations with suggestions for good practice and proven methods to reduce model risk. After a recap of the Phase I work, examples of model risk communication are given covering communication: to the Board; to the regulator; and to external stakeholders. We present a practical framework for model risk management and quantification with examples of the key actors, processes and cultural challenge. Lessons learned are then presented from other industries that make extensive use of models and include the weather forecasting, software and aerospace industries. Finally, a series of case studies in practical model risk management and mitigation are presented from the contributors’ own experiences covering primarily financial services.
Low birth weight is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood. Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) hearts have fewer CMs in early postnatal life, which may impair postnatal cardiovascular function and hence, explain increased disease risk, but whether the cardiomyocyte deficit persists to adult life is unknown. We therefore studied the effects of experimentally induced placental restriction (PR) on cardiac outcomes in young adult sheep. Heart size, cardiomyocyte number, nuclearity and size were measured in control (n=5) and PR (n=5) male sheep at 1 year of age. PR lambs were 36% lighter at birth (P=0.007), had 38% faster neonatal relative growth rates (P=0.001) and had 21% lighter heart weights relative to body weight as adults (P=0.024) than control lambs. Cardiomyocyte number, nuclearity and size in the left ventricle did not differ between control and PR adults; hearts of both groups contained cardiomyocytes (CM) with between one and four nuclei. Overall, cardiomyocyte number in the adult left ventricle correlated positively with birth weight but not with adult weight. This study is the first to demonstrate that intrauterine growth directly influences the complement of CM in the adult heart. Cardiomyocyte size was not correlated with cardiomyocyte number or birth weight. Our results suggest that body weight at birth affects lifelong cardiac functional reserve. We hypothesise that decreased cardiomyocyte number of low birth weight individuals may impair their capacity to adapt to additional challenges such as obesity and ageing.
Previous findings have been mixed regarding the relationship between maternal depressive symptoms and child cognitive development. The objective of this study was to systematically review relevant literature and to perform a meta-analysis.
Three electronic databases (PubMed, EMBASE, PsycINFO) were searched. Initial screening was conducted independently by two reviewers. Studies selected for detailed review were read in full and included based on a set of criteria. Data from selected studies were abstracted onto a standardized form. Meta-analysis using the inverse variance approach and random-effects models was conducted.
The univariate analysis of 14 studies revealed that maternal depressive symptoms are related to lower cognitive scores among children aged ⩽56 months (Cohen's d = −0.25, 95% CI −0.39 to −0.12). The synthesis of studies controlling for confounding variables showed that the mean cognitive score for children 6–8 weeks post-partum whose mothers had high depressive symptoms during the first few weeks postpartum was approximately 4.2 units lower on the Mental Developmental Index (MDI) of the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development (BSID) compared with children with non-symptomatic mothers (B̂ = −4.17, 95% CI −8.01 to −0.32).
The results indicated that maternal depressive symptoms are related to lower cognitive scores in early infancy, after adjusting for confounding factors. An integrated approach for supporting child cognitive development may include program efforts that promote maternal mental health in addition to family economic wellbeing, responsive caregiving, and child nutrition.
The United States Supreme Court recently employed foreign legal sources to interpret U.S. law, provoking widespread political and legal controversy. Scholars have yet to examine systematically the conditions under which justices cite foreign law, however. Applying theoretical approaches from international relations and judicial politics scholarship, we search every Supreme Court opinion between 1953 and 2009 for references to foreign law. Justices strategically reference foreign law to prop up their most controversial opinions. They also borrow law from countries whose domestic political institutions are viewed as legitimate; and, surprisingly, conservatives are as likely as liberals to cite foreign law. These findings add important information to the discussion over citing foreign law, and highlight how geopolitical context influences domestic legal policy.
Adequate Zn and Mg intakes may be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. We aimed to investigate the prospective association between dietary intakes of Zn and Mg and internalising and externalising behaviour problems in a population-based cohort of adolescents.
Prospective analysis (general linear mixed models) of dietary intakes of Zn and Mg assessed using a validated FFQ and mental health symptoms assessed using the Youth Self-Report (YSR), adjusting for sex, physical activity, family income, supplement status, dietary misreporting, BMI, family functioning and energy intake.
Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study.
Adolescents (n 684) at the 14- and 17-year follow-ups.
Higher dietary intake of Mg (per sd increase) was significantly associated with reduced externalising behaviours (β=−1·45; 95 % CI −2·40, −0·50; P=0·003). There was a trend towards reduced externalising behaviours with higher Zn intake (per sd increase; β=−0·73; 95 % CI −1·57, 0·10; P=0·085).
The study shows an association between higher dietary Mg intake and reduced externalising behaviour problems in adolescents. We observed a similar trend, although not statistically significant, for Zn intake. Randomised controlled trials are necessary to determine any benefit of micronutrient supplementation in the prevention and treatment of mental health problems in adolescents.
Papillary microcarcinoma of the thyroid has been described as either a normal variant or a serious malignancy. We describe our experience with papillary microcarcinoma and lymph node metastases.
A total of 685 consecutive total thyroidectomies with central compartment neck dissection were reviewed for papillary microcarcinoma. Association of central compartment lymph node metastases with age, gender, tumour multifocality, bilaterality and extrathyroidal extension was analysed.
Out of 170 papillary microcarcinoma cases, multifocality was found in 72 (42.4 per cent), bilaterality in 49 (28.8 per cent) and extrathyroidal extension in 16 (9.4 per cent). In all, 23 patients (13.5 per cent) had lymph node metastases. There was a significant association (p < 0.05) between extrathyroidal extension (but no other tumour characteristics) and lymph node metastases.
In all, 13.5 per cent of papillary microcarcinomas in our series showed lymph node metastases. Lymph node metastases were associated with extrathyroidal invasion of the papillary microcarcinoma.
Exclusion of children with presumptive Verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) from childcare facilities until negative stool specimens are obtained is routine practice that disrupts families. We estimated the shedding and exclusion duration and transmission risk in such facilities. The study population comprised 225 children aged <6 years attending 201 childcare facilities in England with microbiologically confirmed VTEC in 2010–2011. We estimated the interval from onset to first negative specimen, and identified transmission events with secondary cases linked to facilities. The median duration of shedding was 31 days, and median period of exclusion was 39·5 days. Cases attending facilities while shedding VTEC did so for a median of 2 days before exclusion. Secondary cases occurred in 6/83 facilities (7%) attended by infectious cases. Despite evidence of VTEC shedding at facilities, transmission is relatively low. Revised control guidelines could consider supervised return for prolonged asymptomatic shedders.