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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.
A new species of the genus Plagiorhynchus Lühe, 1911 from the intestine of the long-billed curlew (Numenius americanus) from northern Mexico is described. Plagiorhynchus (Plagiorhynchus) aznari n. sp. is morphologically distinguished from other congeneric species from the Americas by having a trunk expanded anteriorly and a cylindrical proboscis, armed with 19 longitudinal rows of hooks, with 14–15 hooks each row. Nearly complete sequences of the small subunit and large subunit of the nuclear ribosomal DNA of the new species were determined and compared with available sequences from GenBank. Phylogenetic analyses inferred from the two molecular markers consistently showed that P. (Plagiorhynchus) aznari n. sp. is closely related to P. (Plagiorhynchus) allisonae, and this clade is sister to a clade formed by P. (Prosthorhynchus) transversus and P. (Prosthorhynchus) cylindraceus from Plagiorhynchidae. The new species represents the second record of the genus in Mexico and the fourth species in the Americas. The phylogenetic relationships among the members of the order Polymorphida in this study provide significant insights into the evolution of ecological associations between parasites and their definitive hosts. Our analyses suggest that the colonization of marine mammals, fish-eating birds and waterfowl in Polymorphidae might have occurred independently, from a common ancestor of Centrorhynchidae and Plagiorhynchidae that colonized terrestrial birds and mammals.
Although many mental health care systems provide care interventions that are not related to direct health care, little is known about the interfaces between the latter and core health care. ‘Core health care’ refers to services whose explicit aim is direct clinical treatment which is usually provided by health professionals, i.e., physicians, nurses, psychologists. ‘Other care’ is typically provided by other staff and includes accommodation, training, promotion of independence, employment support and social skills. In such a definition, ‘other care’ does not necessarily mean being funded or governed differently. The aims of the study were: (1) using a standard classification system (Description and Evaluation of Services and Directories in Europe for Long Term Care, DESDE-LTC) to identify ‘core health’ and ‘other care’ services provided to adults with mental health problems; and (2) to investigate the balance of care by analysing the types and characteristics of core health and other care services.
The study was conducted in eight selected local areas in eight European countries with different mental health systems. All publicly funded mental health services, regardless of the funding agency, for people over 18 years old were identified and coded. The availability, capacity and the workforce of the local mental health services were described using their functional main activity or ‘Main Types of Care’ (MTC) as the standard for international comparison, following the DESDE-LTC system.
In these European study areas, 822 MTCs were identified as providing core health care and 448 provided other types of care. Even though one-third of mental health services in the selected study areas provided interventions that were coded as ‘other care’, significant variation was found in the typology and characteristics of these services across the eight study areas.
The functional distinction between core health and other care overcomes the traditional division between ‘health’ and ‘social’ sectors based on governance and funding. The overall balance between core health and other care services varied significantly across the European sites. Mental health systems cannot be understood or planned without taking into account the availability and capacity of all services specifically available for this target population, including those outside the health sector.
Pollinator declines coupled with increasing demand for insect pollinated crops have the potential to cause future pollinator shortages for our most nutritious and valuable crops. Ensuring adequate crop pollination may necessitate a shift in pollination management, from one that primarily relies on the managed European honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) to one that integrates alternative pollinators. While a growing body of scientific evidence supports significant contributions made by naturally occurring, native bees for crop pollination, translating research to practice requires buy-in from growers. The intention of agricultural extension is to address grower needs and concerns; however, few studies have assessed grower knowledge, perceptions and attitudes about native pollinators. Here we present findings from questionnaire-based surveys of over 600 apple growers in New York State and Pennsylvania, coupled with ecological data from bee surveys. This hybrid sociological and biological survey allows us to compare grower knowledge and perceptions to an actual pollinator census. While up to 93% of respondents highly valued importance of native bees, 20% growers did not know how much native bees actually contribute to their orchard pollination. Despite the uncertainty, a majority of growers were open to relying on native bees (up to 60% in NY and 67% in PA) and to making low-cost changes to their farm's management that would benefit native pollinators (up to 68 in NY and 85% in PA). Growers consistently underestimated bee diversity, but their estimates corresponded to major bee groups identifiable by lay persons, indicating accurate local knowledge about native bees. Grower reliance on honeybees increased with farm size; because native bee abundance did not measurably decrease with farm size, renting honeybees may be motivated by risk avoidance rather than grower perception of lower native bee activity. Demonstrated effectiveness of native pollinators and clear guidelines for their management were the most important factors influencing grower decision to actively manage orchards for native bees. Our results highlight a pressing need for an active and research-based extension program to support diversification of pollination strategies in the region.
The asymptotic phase θ of an initial point x in the stable manifold of a limit cycle (LC) identifies the phase of the point on the LC to which the flow φt(x) converges as t → ∞. The infinitesimal phase response curve (iPRC) quantifies the change in timing due to a small perturbation of a LC trajectory. For a stable LC in a smooth dynamical system, the iPRC is the gradient ∇x(θ) of the phase function, which can be obtained via the adjoint of the variational equation. For systems with discontinuous dynamics, the standard approach to obtaining the iPRC fails. We derive a formula for the iPRCs of LCs occurring in piecewise smooth (Filippov) dynamical systems of arbitrary dimension, subject to a transverse flow condition. Discontinuous jumps in the iPRC can occur at the boundaries separating subdomains, and are captured by a linear matching condition. The matching matrix, M, can be derived from the saltation matrix arising in the associated variational problem. For the special case of linear dynamics away from switching boundaries, we obtain an explicit expression for the iPRC. We present examples from cell biology (Glass networks) and neuroscience (central pattern generator models). We apply the iPRCs obtained to study synchronization and phase-locking in piecewise smooth LC systems in which synchronization arises solely due to the crossing of switching manifolds.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can cause serious respiratory infections, second only to influenza virus. In order to know RSV's genetic changes we examined 4028 respiratory specimens from local hospital outpatients in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea over six consecutive years by real-time one-step RT–PCR; 183 patients were positive for RSV infection. To investigate the specific distribution of RSV genotypes, we performed partial sequencing of the glycoprotein gene. Of the 131 RSV-A specimens sequenced, 61 (43·3%) belonged to the ON1 genotype, 66 (46·8%) were NA1 genotype, 3 (2·1%) were GA5 genotype, and 1 (0·7%) belonged to the GA1 genotype. Of the 31 RSV-B specimens sequenced, 29 were BA9 genotype (87·9%) and 2 were BA10 genotype (6·1%). The most common clinical symptoms were fever, cough, nasal discharge, and phlegm; multiple logistic regression analysis showed that RSV-positive infection on pediatric patients was strongly associated with cough (OR = 2·8, 95% CI 1·6–5·1) and wheezing (OR = 2·8, 95% CI 1·7–4·4). The ON1 genotype was significantly associated with phlegm (OR = 11·8, 95% CI 3·8–46·7), while the NA1 genotype was associated with the pediatric patients’ gender (males, OR = 2·4, 95% CI 1·1–5·4) and presence of chills (OR = 5·1, 95% CI 1·1–27·2). RSV subgroup B was showed association with nasal obstruction (OR = 4·6, 95% CI 1·2–20·0). The majority of respiratory virus coinfections with RSV were human rhinovirus (47·2%). This study contributes to our understanding of the molecular epidemiological characteristics of RSV, which promotes the potential for improving RSV vaccines.
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.
A radiocarbon (14C) dating technique with accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) was applied to estimate the year of death and the year of birth of unidentified human remains. Because many of the samples have been preserved in formaldehyde, it was necessary to evaluate the influence of formaldehyde on carbon ages. Samples intentionally preserved in formaldehyde during the known period were measured, and their Δ14C values were compared with results obtained from fresh samples. The influence of formaldehyde on soft tissue was 14 times larger than that on cortical bone. Unfortunately, an effective method for removing the influence of formaldehyde has not yet been found. 14C ages could be obtained only from the samples not preserved in formaldehyde. The years of birth were determined by the ages of the dentin samples, while the years of death were determined by the ages of the bone and soft tissue samples. Multiple sampling from a body provides an advantage in determination of one of two possible ages of a sample obtained using the bomb peak. Victims of the Korean War were ascertained by the year of death. The year of death and the age at death of unidentified bodies were also determined for forensic investigation.
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 have observed A14C concentrations in the northern hemisphere temperate region in the bomb pulse period, using cross-dated tree ring samples. The tree-ring samples were taken from one 70-year-old and two 50-year-old red pines (Pinus densiflora) on Mt Chiak, Korea and from a 50-year-old red pine (Pinus densiflora) on Mt Kyeryong, Korea. Twenty-two tree-ring samples from four red pines ranging from 1950 to 2000 AD were pretreated to obtain holo-cellulose, combusted to CO2 by an element analyzer (EA) and converted to graphite for δ14C measurement using the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) facility at Seoul National University. Our results for δ14C showed good agreement with those measured by other researchers at similar latitudes. The observed steady decrease of δ14C from 1965 to 2000 AD is described by a single exponential function with a lifetime τ = 15.99 ± 0.43 yr. This lifetime is similar to that of the high-latitude region in Europe.
We present the current status of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating of iron artifacts at Seoul National University (SNU). In ancient iron production, charcoal was widely used as carbon for the smelting process, whereas coal is used in modern times. If reliable data could be obtained from carbon by using AMS, ancient iron artifacts could be traced to their production age. In normal acid treatment, it is not easy to extract carbon due to its colloidal property. The negative charge property of the carbon colloid, however, makes it possible for it to be precipitated with positive ions by dissolving the iron chemically. An extraction yield of the carbon incorporated in modern cast iron of about 70% is attained. More refined methods to increase the extraction rate are under progress for archaeological applications.
Construction of a new science complex in Osong, Cheongwon-gun, Korea, has allowed the investigation of 14 different Paleolithic localities, excavated during 2005–2007. Here, we investigated localities 1 and 12 of the Mansuri Paleolithic site to obtain chronological information using radiocarbon dating. The soil deposition rates varied from 0.09 to 0.15 mm/yr over the period ranging from 33 to 31 kyr BP for locality 1. Locality 12 samples were more recent, <10 ka, and have similar accumulation rates, averaging 0.11 mm/yr. The soil ages of locality 12 were found to be younger than 10 kyr BP. Results for both soil and organic materials at this locality gave much younger ages at shallower depths than the ages expected by the Korean Paleolithic cultural history for this region. Therefore, these more recent deposits may not be associated with the cultural layers and are interpreted to have been hydrologically modified following emplacement. 14C dates of the soil and organic materials at locality 12 confirm that there is evidence for multiple human occupations throughout the last 9 kyr BP.
The accelerator mass spectrometry facility at Seoul National University (SNU-AMS) began functioning in December 1998 and was first reported at the Vienna AMS conference in October 1999 and at the 17th International Radiocarbon Conference in Israel in June 2000. At the Vienna conference, we reported our accelerator system (Kim et al. 2000) and details of the basic sample preparation system (Lee et al. 2000), such as the combustion line to produce CO2; the catalytic reduction line for the graphitization of CO2; and the pretreatment procedures for wood, charcoal, and peat samples. The recent progress of the AMS facility (Kim et al. 2001) and the extension of the sample pretreatment system to iron and bone samples were reported at the 17th International Radiocarbon Conference (Cheoun et al. 2001). In the meantime, extensive testing of accuracy and reproducibility has been carried out, and ∼1000 unknown archaeological and geological samples have been measured every year. In this report, the archaeological, geological, and environmental data carried out in 1999 are presented in terms of yr BP.
The relationship between temperature and time required for collagenization using modern bone samples was investigated. Gelatinized samples of bone collagen were filtered to selectively collect different molecular weight fractions. The results of this study suggest that heating to 70 ° for a duration of 12 hr provides the optimal conditions for gelatinization.
The accelerator mass spectrometry facility at the Seoul National University (SNU-AMS) was completed in December 1998 and a report was presented at the Vienna AMS conference in September 1999. At the conference, we described the basic components of our accelerator system and reported the results of the performance test. Since then, extensive testing of the accuracy and reproducibility of the system has been carried out, and about 200 unknown samples have been measured so far. We obtained a precision of 4‰ for modern samples, and an accuracy of approximately 40 yr was demonstrated by analyzing samples that were previously dated with a conventional technique and by other AMS laboratories. We present these results here, together with detailed descriptions of our data-taking and analysis procedures.
The development of radiocarbon dating for degraded bone samples collected at Korean archaeological sites has been successful through the characterization of raw bone C/N ratios and application of an ultrafiltration method. It was found that the C/N ratios of raw bone samples are inversely proportional to the carbon content and residue amount after gelatinization. We have examined a few dozen Korean archaeological bone samples for this study. Well-preserved bone samples are found to be physically dense. The range of C/N ratios of Korean raw bone samples ranged from 3.4 to 74. We found that the C/N ratios of degraded raw bone samples can be used to determine whether 14C samples are acceptable for normal pretreatment processing and eventual dating. The results of this study support that even if the C/N ratio of a degraded raw bone sample is 11, extraction of collagen for bone dating is feasible by a carefully designed ultrafiltration process. Our preliminary 14C dating results of a depth profile of Gunang-gul Cave, an archaeological site in Danyang, Korea, indicate that this site has been either geologically or anthropologically disturbed in the past, with 14C ages ranging from 28,910 ± 200 to 48,090 ± 1050 yr BP. The C/N ratios of the collagen samples of Gunang-gul were determined to be 3.2–3.6. Our study establishes a new guide for the pretreatment of degraded bone samples such as those collected in Korea for 14C dating.