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The Murcia Twin Registry (MTR) is the only population-based registry in Spain. Created in 2006, the registry has been growing more than a decade to become one of the references for twin research in the Mediterranean region. The MTR database currently comprises 3545 adult participants born between 1940 and 1977. It also holds a recently launched satellite registry of university students (N = 204). Along five waves of data collection, the registry has gathered questionnaire and anthropometric data, as well as biological samples. The MTR keeps its main research focus on health and health-related behaviors from a public health perspective. This includes lifestyle, health promotion, quality of life or environmental conditions. Future short-term development points to the expansion of the biobank and the continuation of the collection of longitudinal data.
To determine the prevalence of low scores for two neuropsychological tests with five total scores that evaluate learning and memory functions.
N = 5402 healthy adults from 11 countries in Latin America and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico were administered the Rey–Osterrieth Complex Figure (ROCF) and the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT-R). Two-thirds of the participants were women, and the average age was 53.5 ± 20.0 years. Z-scores were calculated for ROCF Copy and Memory scores and HVLT-R Total Recall, Delayed Recall, and Recognition scores, adjusting for age, age2, sex, education, and interaction variables if significant for the given country. Each Z-score was converted to a percentile for each of the five subtest scores. Each participant was categorized based on his/her number of low scoring tests in specific percentile cutoff groups (25th, 16th, 10th, 5th, and 2nd).
Between 57.3% (El Salvador) and 64.6% (Bolivia) of the sample scored below the 25th percentile on at least one of the five scores. Between 27.1% (El Salvador) and 33.9% (Puerto Rico) scored below the 10th percentile on at least one of the five subtests. Between 5.9% (Chile, El Salvador, Peru) and 10.3% (Argentina) scored below the 2nd percentile on at least one of the five scores.
Results are consistent with other studies that found that low scores are common when multiple neuropsychological outcomes are evaluated in healthy individuals. Clinicians should consider the higher probability of low scores when evaluating learning and memory using various sets of scores to reduce false-positive diagnoses of cognitive deficits.
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.
Endemic insular species are particularly vulnerable to anthropogenic threats. The fish-eating bat Myotis vivesi is restricted mainly to the islands of the Gulf of California in Mexico and although several aspects of its biology have been studied there are no recent accounts of its current distribution. We conducted several expeditions during 2001–2016 to verify the current geographical distribution of this bat, and to record the presence of introduced predators. We identified the localities in which maternity colonies occur, estimated the size of the bat population on Partida Norte Island in 2003, and monitored bat presence on this island during 2004–2016. We found fish-eating bats on 36 islands and maternity colonies on 19 islands. Introduced rats Rattus rattus or cats Felis catus were captured on seven islands where the bats were present, and on five islands where they were absent. We estimated a population of c. 30,000 fish-eating bats in May 2003 and we confirmed the species’ presence on Partida Norte Island during 2004–2016. Based on the information compiled from our surveys and previous studies, we discuss the adequacy of the species’ current categorization as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, and its conservation status conferred by Mexican conservation authorities.
The usual emotional experience of the person (affective style) is an influential factor in therapeutic assimilation. Based on a dynamic model of affect shaped dimensionally by the valence and arousal axes (core affect) that fluctuate over time according to the specific context of the individual, its relationship with different variables was investigated and the changes after a 6-month intervention in a specialized hospital unit (N = 103) were observed. The orthogonal structure of core-affect was confirmed. Emotional valence appeared to be positively related to social skills (r = .375; p < .01) and self-esteem (r = .491; p < .01) and negatively to depressive symptoms (r = –.631; p < .01), general disturbance (r = –.395; p < .01) and suicidality (r = –.490; p < .01). Emotional arousal is associated with impulsivity (r = .345; p < .01). The group of patients with an affective style characterized by negative valence and low arousal core-affect gained less therapeutic benefit compared to those with positive valence core-affect (p < .05). Throughout the treatment, valence became more positive (d = .26; IC 95%: 1.9 – 7.2; p = .001), arousal increased (d = .23; IC 95%: 0.2 – 1.7; p = .015) and variability decreased (d = –.44; IC 95%: (–2.9) – (–1.1); p = .001). Changes in the core-affect are related to therapeutic improvement. Adjusting expectations of change can reduce therapeutic frustration, which is as common as it is harmful in the treatment of severe personality disorders.
Although there is increasing evidence for the effects on wildlife of primary infrastructure (paved roads and human settlements), the effect of secondary infrastructure (tracks and isolated buildings) is generally assumed to be low in sparsely developed areas. We hypothesized that secondary infrastructure may have a negative effect similar to that of primary infrastructure, and hence may be the source of extended impacts in landscapes that are otherwise relatively undisturbed. We studied multi-year breeding site data for a community of large birds (raptors and storks) in the Monfragüe Biosphere Reserve, in the south-west Iberian Peninsula. Using a bootstrap model selection approach we modelled the distribution of breeding sites, using as predictors measures of habitat accessibility (relief, hydrography) and various types of infrastructure (primary and secondary) at different scales. Distance effect functions were developed. Secondary infrastructure exerted a negative effect on breeding sites that was equivalent to that of primary infrastructure, in terms of both transport (track vs road) and dwellings (scattered vs aggregated). The negative effect was distance (rather than density) mediated, and remained within the 1 km scale. The potential impact of secondary infrastructure is greater than that of primary infrastructure as it occupies more extensive areas and includes richer communities, with significant proportions of threatened populations. Our results contradict common assumptions about the negligible impact of secondary infrastructure on biodiversity, reveal new challenges for biodiversity conservation, and provide insights relevant for the spatial planning of isolated buildings and tracks in sparsely developed areas with species of conservation interest.
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.
During the Middle Paleolithic period, carnivores and hominids periodically occupied the same areas at different times and each predator generated significant palimpsests, rendering difficult their archaeological interpretation. Teixoneres Cave, a carnivore den site, located in the northeastern part of the Iberian Peninsula, demonstrates that it is possible to overcome these problems by using a careful strategy in selecting samples for radiocarbon dating, in order to produce an accurate chronology of the site in question and certainly attest the human occupation.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
A range of optical and optoelectronic applications would benefit from high refractive index (n), dense and transparent films that guide, concentrate and couple light. However, materials with high n usually have a high optical extinction coefficient (κ) which keeps these materials from being suitable for optical components that require long optical paths. We studied titanium hafnium oxide alloy films to obtain high refractive index (n>2) with minimum optical extinction coefficients (κ < 10−5) over the visible and near IR spectrum (380-930 nm). Titanium hafnium oxide alloys were deposited using pulsed DC reactive magnetron sputtering with and without RF substrate bias on silicon dioxide. For a given deposition condition intended for a specific titanium/hafnium molar fraction ratio, the ion energy of deposition species was explicitly controlled by varying the RF substrate bias. Spectroscopic ellipsometry, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) were used to characterize the films. It appears that applying RF substrate bias reduces the nanocrystalline size, changes the surface morphology and increases the refractive index while maintaining comparable titanium/hafnium cation molar fraction. Precise control of the nanostructure of ternary metal oxides can alter their macroscopic properties, resulting in improved optical films.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
The Stroop Color-Word Test is a useful tool to evaluate executive attention and speed of processing. Recent studies have provided norms for different populations of healthy individuals to avoid misinterpretation of scores due to demographic and cultural differences. In addition, clinical norms may improve the assessment of cognitive dysfunction severity and its clinical course. Spanish normative data are provided for 158 closed traumatic brain injury (TBI) and 149 first-episode schizophrenia spectrum disorder (SCH) patients. A group of 285 Spanish healthy individuals (HC) was also considered for comparison purposes. Differences between groups were found in all Stroop scores with HC outperforming both clinical groups (p < .002 in all cases; d > .3 in all cases). TBI patients scored lower than SCH patients in word-reading (p < .001 and d = .6), and color-naming conditions (p < .001 and d = .4), but not in the color-word condition (p = .34 and d = .03). However, SCH patients exhibited a higher interference effect as compared to TBI (p < .002 and d = .5). Three sets of norms stratified by age and education (HC), and by education (TBI and SCH) are presented for clinical use.
This research explored the underlying processes mediating risky decisions for individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). We tested whether BPD patients were more apt to take risks compared to a matched comparison group. We used two controlled tasks designed to assess risky decision-making, both to achieve gains and to avoid losses. Overall, BPD patients showed increased risk-taking compared to the comparison group (p = .011, η2 = .224), and were especially likely to be risk-seeking when the decision was framed as a potential loss (p < .0001, d = 1.77). When the outcome involved pure losses, BPD patients were insensitive to the relative expected value between choice options resulting in suboptimal decision making (p = .004, d = 1.24), but did not differ from the comparison group when taking risks to achieve gains (p = .603, d = 0.21). We discuss these results in the context of behavioral and neuropsychiatric research suggesting abnormalities BPD patients’ ability to effectively regulate affect.
The Murcia Twin Registry (MTR) was created in 2006, under the auspices of the University of Murcia and the regional Health Authority, aiming to develop a research resource in Spain intended to stimulate current research and new investigation on the analysis of genetic factors related to health and health-related behaviors. The MTR development strategy was designed as a step-by-step process. Initially, it was focused on women's health but nowadays it includes males and opposite-sex twins. The database comprises 2,281 participants born between 1940 and 1966 in the region of Murcia, in Spain. There have been three waves of data collection and today the MTR databases include questionnaire and anthropometric data as well as biological samples. The current main areas of research interest are health and health-related behaviors, including lifestyle, health promotion, and quality of life. Future short-term development points to the completion of the biobank and continuing the collection of longitudinal data.
New data and a review of historiographic information from Neolithic sites of the Malaga and Algarve coasts (southern Iberian Peninsula) and from the Maghreb (North Africa) reveal the existence of a Neolithic settlement at least from 7.5 cal ka BP. The agricultural and pastoralist food producing economy of that population rapidly replaced the coastal economies of the Mesolithic populations. The timing of this population and economic turnover coincided with major changes in the continental and marine ecosystems, including upwelling intensity, sea-level changes and increased aridity in the Sahara and along the Iberian coast. These changes likely impacted the subsistence strategies of the Mesolithic populations along the Iberian seascapes and resulted in abandonments manifested as sedimentary hiatuses in some areas during the Mesolithic–Neolithic transition. The rapid expansion and area of dispersal of the early Neolithic traits suggest the use of marine technology. Different evidences for a Maghrebian origin for the first colonists have been summarized. The recognition of an early North-African Neolithic influence in Southern Iberia and the Maghreb is vital for understanding the appearance and development of the Neolithic in Western Europe. Our review suggests links between climate change, resource allocation, and population turnover.
Many migratory waterbird populations are in decline and loss of natural wetlands is one of the main causes. However, some species may respond positively to artificial wetland recreation. In Extremadura (south-west Europe), several large reservoirs were created for irrigation since the 1960s and some comparatively small reservoirs were built from the late 1990s onwards close to rice fields. Here we analyse the abundance of wintering dabbling ducks (Anas spp.) in Extremadura before (1991–1994) and after (2007–2010) the creation of these new reservoirs in order to address the current importance of the area for this guild within the East Atlantic Flyway (EAF). A mean of 25,277 dabbling ducks wintered in the study area during 1991–1994, increasing to 46,163 individuals during 2007–2010. After controlling for environmental variables, Northern Pintail Anas acuta, Common Teal A. crecca and Northern Shoveler A. clypeata experienced significant increases in the area between both periods, and only Eurasian Wigeon A. penelope suffered a significant decrease. Mallard A. platyrhynchos and Gadwall A. strepera populations did not show any significant trend. The large older reservoirs experienced overall population decreases between the two periods, with four new reservoirs holding more than 35,000 wintering dabbling ducks. Our results reflect an overall improvement in habitat conditions, driven by the creation of reservoirs near to rice fields that could have resulted in a partial redistribution of wintering dabbling ducks in the EAF. The area emerges as one of the most important wintering sites for dabbling ducks in southern Europe, regularly exceeding two of the Ramsar Convention criteria for the conservation of several populations. The protection of these new reservoirs by legal mechanisms would guarantee the existence of a large functional wetland area, which could also mitigate the loss of natural wetlands for populations using the EAF.
To investigate the relationship between dietary patterns and self-perceived body shape silhouette and BMI in a sample of Mexican women.
A cross-sectional analysis of dietary habits from baseline data of a large cohort study (EsMaestra) conducted in 2006–2008.
The state of Veracruz, Mexico.
Mexican teachers (n 20 330) provided information on body shape silhouette at baseline, changes in body shape silhouette and BMI, as well as information on sociodemographic variables and lifestyle.
The median BMI was 26·8 kg/m2; 43 % of women were overweight and 24 % were obese. The carbohydrates, sweet drinks and refined foods pattern was associated with a greater risk of having a large silhouette and a large BMI (BMI ≥ 30·0 kg/m2v. BMI < 25·0 kg/m2; ORT1−3 = 1·86, 95 % CI 1·56, 2·22 and 1·47, 95 % CI 1·28, 1·69, respectively) with a significant trend when comparing the first and third tertiles of intake. The fruit and vegetable pattern was associated with a lower risk of having a large silhouette and a large BMI (ORT1−3 = 0·68, 95 % CI 0·57, 0·82 and ORT1−3 = 0·77, 95 % CI 0·67, 0·88, respectively) with a significant decreasing trend. Similar results were observed when change in silhouette (from 18 years of age to current silhouette) was considered.
High intakes of carbohydrates, sweet drinks and refined foods are related to larger silhouettes. Public health intervention improving access to healthy dietary guidelines, healthy food choice in the work place, promotion of physical activity and regulation of beverages with a high sugar content and of refined foods should be considered.
Several viologen electrochromic devices with different thicknesses on glass substrates were constructed, using a mixture of 4,4’-bipyridine and 1-bromoethane. The thickness of each device was fixed using a thermoplastic spacer. The devices were electrochemically tested with optical and impedance analysis. The range of the transmittance change is highly dependent on thickness. The electrical behavior of the material and the physical and chemical characteristics are derived from the proposed electrical equivalent circuit model. A simple Randles circuit including a Warburg diffusion impedance element, a charge transfer resistance and a double layer capacitive element is proposed for the fittings process. Variations on thickness of internal layer of devices lead to use a short or an open circuit Warburg element. A threshold potential, from which the device is colored, indicates the charge diffusion effects.