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Some studies found that providing micronutrient powder (MNP) causes adverse health outcomes, but modifying factors are unknown. We aimed to investigate whether Fe status and inherited Hb disorders (IHbD) modify the impact of MNP on growth and diarrhoea among young Lao children. In a double-blind controlled trial, 1704 children of age 6–23 months were randomised to daily MNP (with 6 mg Fe plus fourteen micronutrients) or placebo for about 36 weeks. IHbD, and baseline and final Hb, Fe status and anthropometrics were assessed. Caregivers provided weekly morbidity reports. At enrolment, 55·6 % were anaemic; only 39·3 % had no sign of clinically significant IHbD. MNP had no overall impact on growth and longitudinal diarrhoea prevalence. Baseline Hb modified the effect of MNP on length-for-age (LAZ) (P for interaction = 0·082). Among children who were initially non-anaemic, the final mean LAZ in the MNP group was slightly lower (–1·93 (95 % CI –1·88, –1·97)) v. placebo (–1·88 (95 % CI –1·83, –1·92)), and the opposite occurred among initially anaemic children (final mean LAZ –1·90 (95 % CI –1·86, –1·94) in MNP v. –1·92 (95 % CI –1·88, –1·96) in placebo). IHbD modified the effect on diarrhoea prevalence (P = 0·095). Among children with IHbD, the MNP group had higher diarrhoea prevalence (1·37 (95 % CI 1·17, 1·59) v. 1·21 (95 % CI 1·04, 1·41)), while it was lower among children without IHbD who received MNP (1·15 (95 % CI 0·95, 1·39) v. 1·37 (95 % CI 1·13, 1·64)). In conclusion, there was a small adverse effect of MNP on growth among non-anaemic children and on diarrhoea prevalence among children with IHbD.
The use of spatial econometric models in political science has steadily risen in recent years. However, the interpretation of these models has generally ignored the important substantive, and even spatial, nature of the estimated effects. This leaves many papers with a (non-spatial) interpretation of coefficients on the covariates and a brief discussion of the sign and strength of the spatial parameter. We introduce a general approach to interpreting spatial models and provide several avenues for an exposition of substantive spatial effects. Our approach can be generalized to most models in the spatial econometric taxonomy. Building on the example of the diffusion of democracy, we elucidate how our approach can be applied to modern political science problems.
Dementia is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality without pharmacologic prevention or cure. Mounting evidence suggests that adherence to a Mediterranean dietary pattern may slow cognitive decline, and is important to characterise in at-risk cohorts. Thus, we determined the reliability and validity of the Mediterranean Diet and Culinary Index (MediCul), a new tool, among community-dwelling individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). A total of sixty-eight participants (66 % female) aged 75·9 (sd 6·6) years, from the Study of Mental and Resistance Training study MCI cohort, completed the fifty-item MediCul at two time points, followed by a 3-d food record (FR). MediCul test–retest reliability was assessed using intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC), Bland–Altman plots and κ agreement within seventeen dietary element categories. Validity was assessed against the FR using the Bland–Altman method and nutrient trends across MediCul score tertiles. The mean MediCul score was 54·6/100·0, with few participants reaching thresholds for key Mediterranean foods. MediCul had very good test–retest reliability (ICC=0·93, 95 % CI 0·884, 0·954, P<0·0001) with fair-to-almost-perfect agreement for classifying elements within the same category. Validity was moderate with no systematic bias between methods of measurement, according to the regression coefficient (y=−2·30+0·17x) (95 % CI −0·027, 0·358; P=0·091). MediCul over-estimated the mean FR score by 6 %, with limits of agreement being under- and over-estimated by 11 and 23 %, respectively. Nutrient trends were significantly associated with increased MediCul scoring, consistent with a Mediterranean pattern. MediCul provides reliable and moderately valid information about Mediterranean diet adherence among older individuals with MCI, with potential application in future studies assessing relationships between diet and cognitive function.
The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.
New Britain in the Bismarck Archipelago of Papua New Guinea supports 14 endemic bird species and together with New Ireland, forms an Endemic Bird Area that supports 38 restricted range species. Extensive conversion of lowland forest to oil palm plantations resulted in the loss of over 20% of forest under 100 m altitude between 1989 and 2000. However the rate of loss has subsequently slowed (2.2% loss across all altitudes between 2002 and 2014), and much forest remains at higher altitudes: 72% of New Britain remained forested (including secondary forest) in 2014. Despite the ongoing high threat and rich endemic bird fauna, the state of knowledge of the conservation status of birds in New Britain is very poor. We use an unprecedented dataset based on 415 hours of bird surveys conducted in oil palm plantations, as well as primary and secondary forests at all altitudes, to revise the IUCN status of New Britain’s birds. These data indicate that six species of elevated conservation concern are less dependent on old-growth forest than previously assessed. We recommend reduced population size estimates for one species, New Britain Kingfisher Todiramphus albonotatus. We recommend increased population size estimates for seven species: Pied Cuckoo-dove Reinwardtoena browni, Yellowish Imperial Pigeon Ducula subflavescens, Green-fronted Hanging Parrot Loriculus tener, Blue-eyed Cockatoo Cacatua opthalmica, Violaceous Coucal Centropus violaceous, New Britain Boobook Ninox odiosa and New Britain Thrush Zoothera talaseae. Despite our comprehensive surveys, Slaty-backed Goshawk Accipiter luteoschistaceus, New Britain Sparrowhawk Accipiter brachyurus, New Britain Bronzewing Henicophaps foersteri and Golden Masked-owl Tyto aurantia remain very rarely recorded and require further assessment. With ongoing habitat loss, particularly in lowland areas, New Britain’s birds urgently require more attention.
A range of wheat cultivars, including elite cultivars, older cultivars and some preferred by organic growers, were trialled under high and low nitrogen (N) conventional and organic conditions to determine whether cultivars that yield highly under organic conditions have the same relative yield under conventional conditions. A range of cultivar mixtures was also assessed to see whether these gave yield advantages or superiority in either farming system. The conventional trials were grown with and without full fungicide programmes, which largely controlled disease. Amongst the cultivars, Alchemy showed superior yield under organic conditions as did Pegassos, but under conventional conditions Pegassos was always one of the low-ranking cultivars. Under conventional conditions the more recent cultivars Alchemy, Glasgow and Istabraq yielded highly, while an older one, Consort, yielded highly under low fertilizer conditions, and both Ambrosia and Deben also yielded highly generally. Fungicide and high N favoured the disease-susceptible, high-yield cultivars such as Glasgow whereas Consort, an older susceptible cultivar, was favoured by fungicide and low N. Together this demonstrates that whilst the yield characteristics of some elite germplasm are also expressed under organic conditions, at least one cultivar that yielded poorly under conventional conditions showed adaptation towards the organic conditions of these trials. Other cultivars yielding poorly under conventional conditions also gave poor yield under organic conditions. The equal proportion mixtures of cultivars grown under conventional conditions showed no evidence of differences in yield from the mean of the component cultivars grown separately, but combinations of Glasgow, Alchemy and Istabraq gave consistently high yield.
Objectives: The cardinal motor deficits seen in ideomotor limb apraxia are thought to arise from damage to internal representations for actions developed through learning and experience. However, whether apraxic patients learn to develop new representations with training is not well understood. We studied the capacity of apraxic patients for motor adaptation, a process associated with the development of a new internal representation of the relationship between movements and their sensory effects. Methods: Thirteen healthy adults and 23 patients with left hemisphere stroke (12 apraxic, 11 nonapraxic) adapted to a 30-degree visuomotor rotation. Results: While healthy and nonapraxic participants successfully adapted, apraxics did not. Rather, they showed a rapid decrease in error early but no further improvement thereafter, suggesting a deficit in the slow, but not the fast component of a dual-process model of adaptation. The magnitude of this late learning deficit was predicted by the degree of apraxia, and was correlated with the volume of damage in parietal cortex. Apraxics also demonstrated an initial after-effect similar to the other groups likely reflecting the early learning, but this after-effect was not sustained and performance returned to baseline levels more rapidly, consistent with a disrupted slow learning process. Conclusions: These findings suggest that the early phase of learning may be intact in apraxia, but this leads to the development of a fragile representation that is rapidly forgotten. The association between this deficit and left parietal damage points to a key role for this region in learning to form stable internal representations. (JINS, 2017, 23, 139–149)
Many variables crucial to the social sciences are not directly observed but instead are latent and measured indirectly. When an external variable of interest affects this measurement, estimates of its relationship with the latent variable will then be biased. Such violations of “measurement invariance” may, for example, confound true differences across countries in postmaterialism with measurement differences. To deal with this problem, researchers commonly aim at “partial measurement invariance” that is, to account for those differences that may be present and important. To evaluate this importance directly through sensitivity analysis, the “EPC-interest” was recently introduced for continuous data. However, latent variable models in the social sciences often use categorical data. The current paper therefore extends the EPC-interest to latent variable models for categorical data and demonstrates its use in example analyses of U.S. Senate votes as well as respondent rankings of postmaterialism values in the World Values Study.
Over 300 cases of acute toxoplasmosis are confirmed by reference testing in England and Wales annually. We conducted a case-control study to identify risk factors for Toxoplasma gondii infection to inform prevention strategies. Twenty-eight cases and 27 seronegative controls participated. We compared their food history and environmental exposures using logistic regression to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals in a model controlling for age and sex. Univariable analysis showed that the odds of eating beef (OR 10·7, P < 0·001), poultry (OR 6·4, P = 0·01) or lamb/mutton (OR 4·9, P = 0·01) was higher for cases than controls. After adjustment for potential confounders a strong association between beef and infection remained (OR 5·6, P = 0·01). The small sample size was a significant limitation and larger studies are needed to fully investigate potential risk factors. The study findings emphasize the need to ensure food is thoroughly cooked and handled hygienically, especially for those in vulnerable groups.
Zinc is an important micronutrient, essential in the diet to avoid a variety of conditions associated with malnutrition such as diarrhoea and alopecia. Lowered circulating levels of zinc are also found in diabetes mellitus, a condition which affects one in twelve of the adult population and whose treatments consume approximately 10 % of healthcare budgets. Zn2+ ions are essential for a huge range of cellular functions and, in the specialised pancreatic β-cell, for the storage of insulin within the secretory granule. Correspondingly, genetic variants in the SLC30A8 gene, which encodes the diabetes-associated granule-resident Zn2+ transporter ZnT8, are associated with an altered risk of type 2 diabetes. Here, we focus on (i) recent advances in measuring free zinc concentrations dynamically in subcellular compartments, and (ii) studies dissecting the role of intracellular zinc in the control of glucose homeostasis in vitro and in vivo. We discuss the effects on insulin secretion and action of deleting or over-expressing Slc30a8 highly selectively in the pancreatic β-cell, and the role of zinc in insulin signalling. While modulated by genetic variability, healthy levels of dietary zinc, and hence normal cellular zinc homeostasis, are likely to play an important role in the proper release and action of insulin to maintain glucose homeostasis and lower diabetes risk.
Although a voluminous literature has shed light on the relationship between economic conditions and government accountability, most studies in this literature have implicitly assumed that the actions of competing political parties are either irrelevant or that they cancel each other out. In this paper, we take an important first step toward relaxing this strong assumption. We develop and test a set of theoretical propositions from the issue competition literature about the amount of emphasis that parties place on the economy during election campaigns. We test these propositions with an estimation technique that properly situates the motivations of rival elites within the context of spatial party competition using a spatial autoregressive model. On a sample of 22 advanced democracies from 1957 to 2006, we find strong support for the proposition that parties with a greater role in economic policymaking respond to worsening economic conditions by increasing their emphasis on the economy during election campaigns. We also find strong evidence of spatial contagion effects as parties respond positively to the campaign strategies of ideologically proximate parties. This finding reveals a fundamental link in the chain of economic accountability and has important implications for the study of party competition.
Whole-grain intake has been reported to be associated with a lower risk of several lifestyle-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, CVD and some types of cancers. As measurement errors in self-reported whole-grain intake assessments can be substantial, dietary biomarkers are relevant to be used as complementary tools for dietary intake assessment. Alkylresorcinols (AR) are phenolic lipids found almost exclusively in whole-grain wheat and rye products among the commonly consumed foods and are considered as valid biomarkers of the intake of these products. In the present study, we analysed the plasma concentrations of five AR homologues in 2845 participants from ten European countries from a nested case–control study in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. High concentrations of plasma total AR were found in participants from Scandinavia and Central Europe and lower concentrations in those from the Mediterranean countries. The geometric mean plasma total AR concentrations were between 35 and 41 nmol/l in samples drawn from fasting participants in the Central European and Scandinavian countries and below 23 nmol/l in those of participants from the Mediterranean countries. The whole-grain source (wheat or rye) could be determined using the ratio of two of the homologues. The main source was wheat in Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK, whereas rye was also consumed in considerable amounts in Germany, Denmark and Sweden. The present study demonstrates a considerable variation in the plasma concentrations of total AR and concentrations of AR homologues across ten European countries, reflecting both quantitative and qualitative differences in the intake of whole-grain wheat and rye.
We demonstrate the eclipsing binary detection performance of the Gaia variability analysis and processing pipeline using Hipparcos data. The automated pipeline classifies 1 067 (0.9%) of the 118 204 Hipparcos sources as eclipsing binary candidates. The detection rate amounts to 89% (732 sources) in a subset of 819 visually confirmed eclipsing binaries, with the period correctly identified for 80% of them, and double or half periods obtained in 6% of the cases.
We present the variability processing and analysis that is foreseen for the Gaia mission within Coordination Unit 7 (CU7) of the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC). A top level description of the tasks is given.
A report on Toxoplasma gondii by the UK Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food recommended that more accurate figures on the burden of disease in the UK are needed. We present the first 5 years of data from an enhanced surveillance scheme for toxoplasmosis in England and Wales. Between 2008 and 2012, 1824 cases were reported, with an average of 365 each year. There were 1109 immunocompetent cases, the majority presenting with lymphadenopathy, and 364 immunosuppressed cases, with central nervous system and systemic symptoms most frequently reported. There were also 190 pregnant and 33 congenital cases. Of the pregnant cases, 148 were asymptomatic (probably detected during screening), while 28 suffered a fetal loss or stillbirth. The enhanced surveillance system has led to an improvement in the detection of toxoplasmosis in England and Wales. However, numbers are still likely to be an underestimate, biasing towards the more severe infections.
We use the wide-field capabilities of the 2 degree field fibre positioner and the AAOmega spectrograph on the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) to obtain redshifts of galaxies that hosted supernovae during the first 3 years of the Supernova Legacy Survey (SNLS). With exposure times ranging from 10 to 60 ks per galaxy, we were able to obtain redshifts for 400 host galaxies in two SNLS fields, thereby substantially increasing the total number of SNLS supernovae with host galaxy redshifts. The median redshift of the galaxies in our sample that hosted photometrically classified Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) is z ~ 0.77, which is 25% higher than the median redshift of spectroscopically confirmed SNe Ia in the 3-year sample of the SNLS. Our results demonstrate that one can use wide-field fibre-fed multi-object spectrographs on 4-m telescopes to efficiently obtain redshifts for large numbers of supernova host galaxies over the large areas of the sky that will be covered by future high-redshift supernova surveys, such as the Dark Energy Survey.