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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.
Cow routines and behavioral responses are altered substantially following the installation of robot milking. The present study was designed to analyze the effect that switching from milking parlor to automatic milking system (AMS) had on the culling rate (due to various causes) of dairy cattle. For this purpose, culling records and causes for culling were tracked in 23 dairy farms in the Galicia region (NW Spain). The animals in these farms were monitored for 5 years. For the present study, that length of time was divided into three different stages, as follows: 2 years before switching from a milking parlor to AMS (stage 1), the 1st year following the implementation of AMS (stage 2) and the 2nd and 3rd years succeeding the implementation of AMS (stage 3). Cox models for survival analysis were used to estimate the time to culling due to different reasons during stage 1 in relation to stages 2 and 3. The data indicated that the risk of loss due to death or emergency slaughter decreased significantly following the installation of AMS. In contrast, the risk of culling due to low production, udder problems, infertility or lameness increased significantly. Low-production cows (such as cows in advanced lactation due to infertility) or sick cows (such as mastitic or lame cows) allegedly have a noticeable effect both on the performance and the amortization of the cost of AMS, which in turn would lead to a higher probability of elimination than in conventional systems.
Carotid artery aneurysm is a potentially fatal complication of skull base osteomyelitis. It is important to know the warning signs for this complication, as early diagnosis is of great importance. This report aimed to determine whether the pattern of cranial nerve involvement may predict the occurrence of aneurysm involving the internal carotid artery in skull base osteomyelitis.
Two diabetic patients with skull base osteomyelitis were incidentally diagnosed with pseudo-aneurysm of the petrous internal carotid artery on follow-up magnetic resonance imaging. They presented with lower cranial nerve palsy; however, facial nerve function was almost preserved in both cases. Computed tomography angiography confirmed aneurysms at the junction of the horizontal and vertical segments of the petrous carotid artery.
Internal carotid artery trapping was conducted using coil embolisation. Post-coiling magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated no procedure-related complications. Regular follow up has demonstrated that patients’ symptoms are improving.
One should be mindful of this potentially fatal complication in skull base osteomyelitis patients with lower cranial nerve palsies, with or without facial nerve involvement, especially in the presence of intracranial thromboembolic events or Horner's syndrome.
In ovo feeding (IOF) of l-arginine (Arg) can affect growth performance of broilers, but the response of IOF of Arg on breast muscle growth is unclear, and the mechanism involved in protein deposition remains unknown. Hense, this experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of IOF of Arg on breast muscle growth and protein-deposited signalling in post-hatch broilers. A total of 720 fertile eggs were collected from 34-week-old Arbor Acres breeder hens and distributed to three treatments: (1) non-injected control group; (2) 7.5 g/l (w/v) NaCl diluent-injected control group; (3) 0.6 mg Arg/egg solution-injected group. At 17.5 days of incubation, fertile eggs were injected 0.6 ml solutions into the amnion of the injected groups. Upon hatching, 80 male chicks were randomly assigned to eight replicates of 10 birds each and fed ad libitum for 21 days. The results indicated that IOF of Arg increased relative breast muscle weight compared with those of control groups at hatch, 3-, 7- and 21-day post-hatch (P<0.05). In the Arg-injected group, the plasma total protein and albumen concentrations were higher at 7- and 21-day post-hatch than those of control groups (P<0.05). The alanine aminotransferase activity in Arg group was higher at hatch than that of control groups (P<0.05). The levels of triiodothyronine at four time points and thyroxine hormones at hatch, 7- and 21-day post-hatch in Arg group were higher than those of control groups (P<0.05). In addition, IOF of Arg increased the amino acid concentrations of breast muscle at hatch, 7- and 21-day post-hatch (P<0.05). In ovo feeding of Arg also enhanced mammalian target of rapamycin, ribosomal protein S6 kinase-1 and eIF4E-bindingprotein-1 messenger RNA expression levels at hatch compared with those of control groups (P<0.05). It was concluded that IOF of Arg treatment improved breast muscle growth, which might be associated with the enhancement of protein deposition.
Little is known about the combined use of benzodiazepines and antidepressants in older psychiatric patients. This study examined the prescription pattern of concurrent benzodiazepines in older adults treated with antidepressants in Asia, and explored its demographic and clinical correlates.
The data of 955 older adults with any type of psychiatric disorders were extracted from the database of the Research on Asian Psychotropic Prescription Patterns for Antidepressants (REAP-AD) project. Demographic and clinical characteristics were recorded using a standardized protocol and data collection procedure. Both univariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were performed.
The proportion of benzodiazepine and antidepressant combination in this cohort was 44.3%. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that higher doses of antidepressants, younger age (<65 years), inpatients, public hospital, major comorbid medical conditions, antidepressant types, and country/territory were significantly associated with more frequent co-prescription of benzodiazepines and antidepressants.
Nearly, half of the older adults treated with antidepressants in Asia are prescribed concurrent benzodiazepines. Given the potentially adverse effects of benzodiazepines, the rationale of benzodiazepines and antidepressants co-prescription needs to be revisited.
A global array of 20 radio observatories was used to measure the three-dimensional position and velocity of the two meteorological balloons that were injected into the equatorial region of the Venus atmosphere by the VEGA spacecraft.
The effects of in ovo feeding (IOF) of creatine pyruvate (CrPyr) on the hatchability, growth performance and energy status of embryos and broilers (Arbor Acres) were investigated. Five treatments were arranged as non-injected treatment (Control), 0.6 ml physiological saline (0.75%) injected treatment (Saline), and IOF treatments injected with 0.6 ml physiological saline (0.75%) containing 3, 6 or 12 mg CrPyr (CrPyr3, CrPyr6 or CrPyr12) into the amnion per fertile egg on day 17.5 of incubation. After hatching, 80 male chicks from each treatment with similar weight close to the average BW of their pooled group were selected and randomly assigned into eight replicates of 10 chicks each. The results showed that the hatchability was not affected among groups, whereas the hatching weight of broilers in CrPyr12 was significantly higher than the control and saline groups (P<0.05). At 21 day post-hatch, the BWs of broilers in CrPyr6 and CrPyr12 were increased relative to the control and saline groups (P<0.05). Chickens in CrPyr6 and CrPyr12 exhibited higher BW gain and feed intake than the control and saline groups during 8 to 21 days post-hatch and the entire experiment period (P<0.05). Compared with the control and saline groups, the total and relative weight of pectoral muscle of embryos or chickens were greater in CrPyr6 and CrPyr12 at 19th day of incubation (19 E), hatch, 3 and 21 days post-hatch (P<0.05). The concentrations of glucose and glycogen in liver were increased in CrPyr6 and CrPyr12 at 19 E and hatch (P<0.05). Neither glycogen nor glucose concentration in pectoral muscle was altered among treatments (P>0.05). Irrespective of dosage, the concentrations of creatine and phosphocreatine, and activities of creatine kinase in embryos were enhanced in CrPyr treatments at 19 E when compared with the control and saline groups (P<0.05). The activities of glucose-6-phosphatase in liver in CrPyr6 and CrPyr12 treatments were higher than the control and saline groups at 19 E (P<0.05). In conclusion, these results indicated that IOF of CrPyr, especially at the level of 12 mg/egg, could improve energy status of embryos and hatchlings, which was useful for enhancing hatching weight, BW and pectoral muscle weight until the end of the experiments at 21 days post-hatch in broilers.
H9 avian influenza virus played a key role during generation of the novel H7N9 virus. A surveillance programme was conducted to assess the H9 virus in relation to the risk of H7N9 virus contamination in the environment. Risk of H7N9 virus contamination in the presence of H9 virus was higher than without (adjusted odds ratio 4·49, 95% confidence interval 3·79–5·31). Adjusted odds ratios of the H7N9 virus associated with co-presence of H9 virus and interacting factors were 4·93 (rural vs. urban area), 46·80 (live poultry markets vs. other premises), 6·86 (Huzhou vs. Hangzhou prefecture), 40·67 (year 2015 vs. 2013), and 9·63 (sewage from cleaning poultry vs. poultry faeces). Regular surveillance on gene variability of H7N9 and H9 viruses should be conducted and extra measures are needed to reduce co-circulation of H7N9 and H9 viruses in the environment.
The Universe is permeated by hot, turbulent, magnetized plasmas. Turbulent plasma is a major constituent of active galactic nuclei, supernova remnants, the intergalactic and interstellar medium, the solar corona, the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere, just to mention a few examples. Energy dissipation of turbulent fluctuations plays a key role in plasma heating and energization, yet we still do not understand the underlying physical mechanisms involved. THOR is a mission designed to answer the questions of how turbulent plasma is heated and particles accelerated, how the dissipated energy is partitioned and how dissipation operates in different regimes of turbulence. THOR is a single-spacecraft mission with an orbit tuned to maximize data return from regions in near-Earth space – magnetosheath, shock, foreshock and pristine solar wind – featuring different kinds of turbulence. Here we summarize the THOR proposal submitted on 15 January 2015 to the ‘Call for a Medium-size mission opportunity in ESAs Science Programme for a launch in 2025 (M4)’. THOR has been selected by European Space Agency (ESA) for the study phase.
Insect defensins, are cationic peptides that play an important role in immunity against microbial infection. In the present study, an anionic defensin from Plutella xylostella, (designated as PxDef) was first cloned and characterized. Amino acid sequence analysis showed that the mature peptide owned characteristic six-cysteine motifs with predicted isoelectric point of 5.57, indicating an anionic defensin. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis showed that PxDef was significantly induced in epidermis, fat body, midgut and hemocytes after injection of heat-inactivated Bacillus thuringiensis, while such an induction was delayed by the injection of live B. thuringiensis in the 4th instar larvae of P. xylostella. Knocking down the expression of nuclear transcription factor Dorsal in P. xylostella by RNA interference significantly decreased the mRNA level of PxDef, and increased the sensitivity of P. xylostella larvae to the infection by live B. thuringiensis. The purified recombinant mature peptide (PxDef) showed higher activity against Gram-positive bacteria, with the minimum inhibition concentrations of 1.6 and 2.6 µM against B. thuringiensis and Bacillus subtilis, respectively. To our knowledge, this is the first report about an anionic PxDef, which may play an important role in the immune system of P. xylostella against B. thuringiensis.
Brief review of AGNs observations in the X-ray / soft gamma-ray bands with the orbital observatory GRANAT is presented.
For three well known bright objects (3C273, NGC4151 and Cen A) broad band (3 keV–few hundreds keV) spectra have been obtained. Imaging capabilities allowed accurate (several arcminutes) identification of these objects with sources of hard X-rays.
The spectrum of NGC4151 above ≈ 50 keV was found to be much steeper than that in most of the previous observations, while in standard X-ray band the spectrum agrees with observed previously. The comparison of the observed spectra with that of the X-Ray Background (XRB) indicates that sources similar to NGC4151 could reproduce the shape of XRB spectrum in 3–60 keV band.
Cen A was observed in the very low state during most of observations in 1990–1993, except for two observations in 1991. The variability of the hard X-ray flux has been detected on the time scales of several days.
At the first meeting of the newly formed Commission on Spectrophotometry, at Paris in 1935, a thorough discussion, aided by several reports, took place on the principles of this branch of astrophysics. So it will be sufficient now to treat only such special points of theory and practice as have won interest by researches of the last few years.
The light of the night sky consists of atmospheric components (airglow, light scattered in the atmosphere) and – even in the case of spaceborne observations – of zodiacal, galactic and extragalactic light. Although all components are of similar importance, investigations on zodiacal light have profitted most by the space age since their object of research, the interplanetary dust cloud, became accessible to direct in-situ measurements. Lunar samples and measurements by micrometeoroid detectors provide individual and eventually detailed information on impact events, which however are limited in number and therefore restricted in statistical significance. Zodiacal light investigations involve scattered light of many particles in large volume elements and therefore provide global information about physical properties and spatial distribution of interplanetary dust grains, however just in terms of average values. Therefore both sources of information are complementary and a synthesis can only be achieved by synoptic interpretation of zodiacal light, micrometeoroid, and meteoroid investigations also including dynamical aspects. Measurements of zodiacal light (and emission) from rockets, manned or non manned spacecraft, and deep space probes gained drastically in importance compared to ground based observations. On the other hand investigations on airglow have become more and more a topic of geophysics Caeronomy). They remain relevant however to astronomy as far as photometric features are concerned. These general trends continued in the last triennium and have influenced the activities of our commission.
A radiochemical 71Ga−71 Ge experiment to determine the integral flux of neutrinos from the sun has been constructed at the Baksan Neutrino Observatory in the USSR. Measurements have begun with 30 tonnes of gallium. The experiment is being expanded with the addition of another 30 tonnes. The motivation, experimental procedures, and present status of this experiment are presented.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is moderately heritable, however genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for MDD, as well as for related continuous outcomes, have not shown consistent results. Attempts to elucidate the genetic basis of MDD may be hindered by heterogeneity in diagnosis. The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scale provides a widely used tool for measuring depressive symptoms clustered in four different domains which can be combined together into a total score but also can be analysed as separate symptom domains.
We performed a meta-analysis of GWAS of the CES-D symptom clusters. We recruited 12 cohorts with the 20- or 10-item CES-D scale (32 528 persons).
One single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs713224, located near the brain-expressed melatonin receptor (MTNR1A) gene, was associated with the somatic complaints domain of depression symptoms, with borderline genome-wide significance (pdiscovery = 3.82 × 10−8). The SNP was analysed in an additional five cohorts comprising the replication sample (6813 persons). However, the association was not consistent among the replication sample (pdiscovery+replication = 1.10 × 10−6) with evidence of heterogeneity.
Despite the effort to harmonize the phenotypes across cohorts and participants, our study is still underpowered to detect consistent association for depression, even by means of symptom classification. On the contrary, the SNP-based heritability and co-heritability estimation results suggest that a very minor part of the variation could be captured by GWAS, explaining the reason of sparse findings.
This study aimed to characterise the geometry of the human bilateral spiral cochlea by measuring curvature and length.
Eight subjects were recruited in this study. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to visualise the right and left cochlea. Visualisation of the cochlear spiral was enhanced by T2 weighting and further processing of the raw images. The spirals were divided into three segments: the basal turn, the middle turn and the apex turn. The length and curvature of each segment were non-invasively measured.
The mean left and right cochlear lengths were 3.11 cm and 3.95 cm, respectively. The measured lengths of the cochlear spiral are consistent with data in the literature derived from anatomical dissections. Overall, the apex turn segment of the cochlea had the greatest degree of curvature (p < 0.05). The mean apex turn segment curvatures for left and right cochleae were 9.65 cm−1 and 10.09 cm−1, respectively.
A detailed description of the cochlear spiral is provided, using measurements of curvature and length. These data will provide a valuable reference in the development of cochlear implantation procedures for minimising the potential damage during implantation.
Neurological soft signs (NSS) have long been considered potential endophenotypes for schizophrenia. However, few studies have investigated the heritability and familiality of NSS. The present study examined the heritability and familiality of NSS in healthy twins and patient–relative pairs.
The abridged version of the Cambridge Neurological Inventory was administered to 267 pairs of monozygotic twins, 124 pairs of dizygotic twins, and 75 pairs of patients with schizophrenia and their non-psychotic first-degree relatives.
NSS were found to have moderate but significant heritability in the healthy twin sample. Moreover, patients with schizophrenia correlated closely with their first-degree relatives on NSS.
Taken together, the findings provide evidence on the heritability and familiality of NSS in the Han Chinese population.
Limited information is available on the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the general population in China. A community-based epidemiological study was conducted in three counties in eastern China. A total of 149 175 individuals were investigated in 60 communities in three counties in Jiangsu province, eastern China, of whom 1175 subjects [0·79%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·74–0·83] were HCV antibody positive. The prevalence was low in children (0·09%, 95% CI 0·04–0·17), but increased progressively from adolescents (0·20%, 95% CI 0·15–0·28) to adults aged ⩾21 years (95% CI 0·15–1·64). Women had a higher prevalence of HCV infection than men in most age groups. In a multilevel regression analysis, age, sex, education, occupation, blood transfusion [odds ratio (OR) 2·91, 95% CI 1·09–5·37], invasive testing (OR 1·28, 95% CI 1·14–1·61), and dental therapy (OR 2·27, 95% CI 1·41–3·42) were associated with HCV infection. In conclusion, although the prevalence of HCV in this population was lower than reported from national levels, the total reservoir of infection is significant and warrants public health measures, such as health education to limit the magnitude of the problem.
Gray matter (GM) atrophy and disrupted intrinsic functional connectivity (IFC) are often present in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), which shows high risk of developing into Alzheimer's disease. Little is known, however, about the relationship between GM atrophy and altered IFC, and whether they are related to cognitive decline.
A total of 30 aMCI and 26 cognitively normal (CN) subjects were recruited for this study. Optimized voxel-based morphometric and resting-state functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging approaches were performed to measure the GM volumes (GMVs) and atrophy-related IFC, respectively. Multivariate linear regression analysis was used to examine the effects of GM atrophy and IFC on cognitive performance across subjects, after controlling for the effects of age, education, gender and group.
Compared with CN subjects, aMCI subjects showed significantly reduced GMVs and decreased IFC in the frontal-parietal and medial temporal lobe systems. Multivariate regression analysis further demonstrated that the GMVs and decreased IFC simultaneously affected the cognitive function. Specifically, GMVs were positively correlated with cognitive performances, including global cognition and episodic memory, and showed a strong trend in correlation between GMVs and non-episodic memory, whilst IFC was positively correlated with the above three cognitive measures, across all subjects. In addition, significant correlation was found between GMVs and altered IFC strength across all subjects.
Our findings demonstrated that GMVs and IFC jointly contribute to cognitive performance, and combining quantitative information about GMVs and the strength of functional connectivity may serve as an indicator of cognitive deficits in non-demented elderly.
We compared the epidemiological and clinical features of avian influenza A(H7N9) virus infections in the population in Zhejiang province, China, between March and April 2013 (first wave) and October 2013 and February 2014 (second wave). No statistical difference was found for age, sex, occupation, presence of underlying conditions, exposure history, white blood cell count, lymphocyte percentage and illness timeline and duration (all P > 0·05). The virus spread to 30 new counties compared to the first wave. The case-fatality rate was 22% in the first wave and 42% in the second (P = 0·023). Of those infected, 66% in the first wave and 62% in the second wave had underlying conditions. The proportion of those exposed to live poultry markets were 80% and 66%, respectively. We recommend permanent closure of live poultry markets and reformation of poultry supply and sales.