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Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88) presented a critique of our recently published paper in Cell Reports entitled ‘Large-Scale Cognitive GWAS Meta-Analysis Reveals Tissue-Specific Neural Expression and Potential Nootropic Drug Targets’ (Lam et al., Cell Reports, Vol. 21, 2017, 2597–2613). Specifically, Hill offered several interrelated comments suggesting potential problems with our use of a new analytic method called Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS (MTAG) (Turley et al., Nature Genetics, Vol. 50, 2018, 229–237). In this brief article, we respond to each of these concerns. Using empirical data, we conclude that our MTAG results do not suffer from ‘inflation in the FDR [false discovery rate]’, as suggested by Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88), and are not ‘more relevant to the genetic contributions to education than they are to the genetic contributions to intelligence’.
Being breastfed in infancy has been shown to benefit neurodevelopment. However, whether the benefits persist to old age remains unclear.
We examined the associations between breastfeeding and its duration on cognitive ability in young adulthood and old age, and on aging-related cognitive change over five decades. In total, 931 men from the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study born in 1934–1944 in Finland took the Finnish Defence Forces Basic Intellectual Ability Test (total and verbal, arithmetic and visuospatial subtest scores) twice, at ages 20.2 and 67.9 years, and had data on breastfeeding (yes v. no) and its duration (‘never breastfed’, ‘up to 3’, ‘3 to 6’ and ‘6 or more months’). Linear and mixed model regressions tested the associations.
At 20.2 years, breastfed men had higher cognitive ability total and visuospatial subtest scores [mean differences (MDs) ranged between 3.0–3.9, p values < 0.013], and its longer duration predicted higher cognitive ability total and arithmetic and visuospatial subtest scores (MDs ranged between 3.0 and 4.8, p values < 0.039). At 67.9 years, breastfed men had higher total cognitive ability and all subtest scores (MDs ranged between 2.6 and 3.4, p values < 0.044) and its longer duration predicted all cognitive ability scores (MDs ranged between 3.1 and 4.7, p values < 0.050). Verbal subtest scores decreased over five decades in men who were never breastfed or were breastfed for 3 months or less, and increased in those breastfed for longer than 3 months.
Neurodevelopmental advantages of breastfeeding and its longer duration persist into old age, and longer duration of breastfeeding may benefit aging-related change, particularly in verbal reasoning ability.
There is strong evidence that physical activity (PA) has an influence on physical performance in later life. Also, a small body size at birth has been associated with lower physical functioning in older age and both small and high birth weight have shown to be associated with lower leisure time physical activity. However, it is unknown whether size at birth modulates the association between PA and physical performance in old age. We examined 695 individuals from the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study born in Helsinki, Finland between 1934 and 1944. At a mean age of 70.7 years PA was objectively assessed with a multisensory activity monitor and physical performance with the Senior Fitness Test (SFT). Information on birth weight and gestational age was retrieved from hospital birth records. The study participants were divided in three birth weight groups, that is <3000 g, 3000–3499 g and ⩾3500 g. The volume of PA was significantly associated with the physical performance in all birth weight groups. However, the effect size of the association was large and significant only in men with a birth weight <3000 g (β 0.59; 95% confidence interval 0.37–0.81, P<0.001). Our study shows that the association between PA and physical performance is largest in men with low birth weight. Our results suggest that men with low birth weight might benefit most from engaging in PA in order to maintain a better physical performance.
Visual processing problems may be one underlying factor for cognitive impairments related to autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). We examined associations between ASD-traits (Autism-Spectrum Quotient) and visual processing performance (Rey–Osterrieth Complex Figure Test; Block Design task of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III) in young adults (mean age=25.0, s.d.=2.1 years) born preterm at very low birth weight (VLBW; <1500 g) (n=101) or at term (n=104). A higher level of ASD-traits was associated with slower global visual processing speed among the preterm VLBW, but not among the term-born group (P<0.04 for interaction). Our findings suggest that the associations between ASD-traits and visual processing may be restricted to individuals born preterm, and related specifically to global, not local visual processing. Our findings point to cumulative social and neurocognitive problems in those born preterm at VLBW.
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.
Results of adulthood mental health of those born late-preterm (34 + 0–36 + 6 weeks + days of gestation) are mixed and based on national registers. We examined if late-preterm birth was associated with a higher risk for common mental disorders in young adulthood when using a diagnostic interview, and if this risk decreased as gestational age increased.
A total of 800 young adults (mean = 25.3, s.d. = 0.62 years), born 1985–1986, participated in a follow-up of the Arvo Ylppö Longitudinal Study. Common mental disorders (mood, anxiety and substance use disorders) during the past 12 months were defined using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (Munich version). Gestational age was extracted from hospital birth records and categorized into early-preterm (<34 + 0, n = 37), late-preterm (34 + 0–36 + 6, n = 106), term (37 + 0–41 + 6, n = 617) and post-term (⩾42 + 0, n = 40).
Those born late-preterm and at term were at a similar risk for any common mental disorder [odds ratio (OR) 1.11, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.67–1.84], for mood (OR 1.11, 95% CI 0.54–2.25), anxiety (OR 1.00, 95% CI 0.40–2.50) and substance use (OR 1.31, 95% CI 0.74–2.32) disorders, and co-morbidity of these disorders (p = 0.38). While the mental disorder risk decreased significantly as gestational age increased, the trend was driven by a higher risk in those born early-preterm.
Using a cohort born during the advanced neonatal and early childhood care, we found that not all individuals born preterm are at risk for common mental disorders in young adulthood – those born late-preterm are not, while those born early-preterm are at a higher risk. Available resources for prevention and intervention should be targeted towards the preterm group born the earliest.
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.
Epidemiological studies have shown that a number of nutrients are associated with better physical performance. However, little is still known about the role of the whole diet, particularly a healthy Nordic diet, in relation to physical performance. Therefore, we examined whether a healthy Nordic diet was associated with measures of physical performance 10 years later. We studied 1072 participants from the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study. Participants’ diet was assessed using a validated 128-item FFQ at the mean age of 61 years, and a priori-defined Nordic diet score (NDS) was calculated. The score included Nordic fruits and berries, vegetables, cereals, PUFA:SFA and trans-fatty acids ratio, low-fat milk, fish, red and processed meat, total fat and alcohol. At the mean age of 71 years, participants’ physical performance was measured using the Senior Fitness Test (SFT), and an overall SFT score was calculated. Women in the highest fourth of the NDS had on average 5 points higher SFT score compared with those in the lowest fourth (Pfor trend 0·005). No such association was observed in men. Women with the highest score had 17 % better result in the 6-min walk test, 16 % better arm curl and 20 % better chair stand results compared with those with the lowest score (all P values<0·01). In conclusion, a healthy Nordic diet was associated with better overall physical performance among women and might help decrease the risk of disability in old age.
We compare in a systematic way spectrometric, photometric and mid-infrared (VLTI/MIDI) interferometric measurements with different types of model atmospheres. Self-consistent dynamic model atmospheres in particular were used to interpret in a consistent way the dynamic behavior of gas and dust. The results underline how the joint use of different kind of observations, as photometry, spectroscopy and interferometry, is essential to understand the atmospheres of pulsating C-rich AGB stars. The sample of C-rich stars discussed in this work provides crucial constraints for the atmospheric structure.
Late preterm births constitute the majority of preterm births. However, most evidence suggesting that preterm birth predicts the risk of mental disorders comes from studies on earlier preterm births. We examined if late preterm birth predicts the risks of severe mental disorders from early to late adulthood. We also studied whether adulthood mental disorders are associated with post-term birth or with being born small (SGA) or large (LGA) for gestational age, which have been previously associated with psychopathology risk in younger ages.
Of 12 597 Helsinki Birth Cohort Study participants, born 1934–1944, 664 were born late preterm, 1221 post-term, 287 SGA, and 301 LGA. The diagnoses of mental disorders were identified from national hospital discharge and cause of death registers from 1969 to 2010. In total, 1660 (13.2%) participants had severe mental disorders.
Individuals born late preterm did not differ from term-born individuals in their risk of any severe mental disorder. However, men born late preterm had a significantly increased risk of suicide. Post-term birth predicted significantly increased risks of any mental disorder in general and particularly of substance use and anxiety disorders. Individuals born SGA had significantly increased risks of any mental and substance use disorders. Women born LGA had an increased risk of psychotic disorders.
Although men born late preterm had an increased suicide risk, late preterm birth did not exert widespread effects on adult psychopathology. In contrast, the risks of severe mental disorders across adulthood were increased among individuals born SGA and individuals born post-term.
We investigate the occurrence of water vapour signatures in a total of 10 red giants in the solar neighbourhood at mid-infrared wavelengths (12 μm). With the use of high resolution spectra from TEXES and synthesized spectra based on MARCS model atmospheres, we analyse the differences and discuss plausible causes. These include abundance adjustments, the addition of non-photospheric components (MOLspheres) and a different temperature profile.
Patients with schizophrenia have excess cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Previous studies suggest that this may be partly due to inadequate somatic treatment and care, such as non-optimal use of lipid-lowering and antihypertensive pharmacotherapy, but longitudinal studies on such aetiological pathways are scarce.
We investigated the use of lipid-lowering and antihypertensive pharmacotherapy, and the risk of hospitalization for and death from coronary heart disease and stroke among patients with schizophrenia in a birth cohort of 12 939 subjects (Helsinki Birth Cohort Study). This cohort was followed for over 30 adult years by using national databases on cardio- and cerebrovascular hospitalizations and mortality and on reimbursement entitlements and use of drugs for treatment of hypertension, dyslipidaemia, coronary heart disease and diabetes.
Individuals with schizophrenia had a higher risk of hospitalization for coronary heart disease [hazard ratio (HR) 1.65, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03–2.57], and mortality from this disease was markedly higher (HR 2.92, 95% CI 1.70–5.00), particularly among women (p=0.001 for women, p=0.008 for men). Women with schizophrenia had also marginally increased stroke mortality (p=0.06). However, patients with schizophrenia used less lipid-lowering (odds ratio 0.47, 95% CI 0.27–0.80) and antihypertensive drug treatment (HR 0.37, 95% CI 0.22–0.61).
In this longitudinal study, coronary heart disease morbidity was increased and coronary heart disease mortality markedly increased in patients, especially in women with schizophrenia. These patients nevertheless received less antihypertensive and lipid-lowering treatment.
Potatoes, especially mashed potatoes, are known to result in high glycaemic and insulinaemic responses. However, in most meals, potatoes are accompanied by other foods. The objective of the present study was to investigate how glycaemic and insulinaemic responses to a mashed potato meal changed when a high-fat food (rapeseed oil), a high-protein food (chicken breast) and/or salad were added to the meal. Healthy subjects (n 11) ingested the test meals once and the reference food (glucose solution) twice in a random order at 1-week intervals. Capillary blood samples were then drawn for 2 h, and glucose and insulin were analysed. The 2 h glycaemic responses to six mashed potato-containing meals varied more than twofold. The glycaemic index (GI) of pure mashed potato was 108, whereas combined with chicken breast, rapeseed oil and salad, it was only 54. The latter GI also differed considerably from its predicted value of 103, which was based on the individual GI of the components of the meal. The insulinaemic indices of the mashed potato-based meals varied between 94 and 148. Chicken breast in the meal increased the insulinaemic response, and rapeseed oil diminished it. However, the insulinaemic response to mashed potato with chicken breast and rapeseed oil was lower than that to mashed potato alone. In conclusion, the protein, fat and salad contents of a meal exert considerable influence on the glycaemic and insulinaemic responses to mashed potatoes. Furthermore, the estimation of the GI of a mixed meal by calculation is imprecise.
The beneficial effects of a low-glycaemic index (GI) meal on postprandial glucose and insulin levels have been demonstrated. However, limited data are available on the impact of overweight and glucose tolerance on postprandial responses to different GI meals. Our aim was to study the effects of physiological characteristics on postprandial glucose, insulin and lipid responses and the relative glycaemic response (RGR) of a low-GI (LGI) and a high-GI (HGI) meal. We recruited twenty-four normal-weight and twenty-four overweight subjects, twelve with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) and twelve with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) in each group. Both test meals were consumed once and the glucose reference twice. Blood glucose and insulin were measured in the fasting state and over a 2 h period after each study meal, and TAG and NEFA were measured in the fasting state and over a 5 h period. The glucose responses of subjects with IGT differed significantly from those of subjects with NGT. The highest insulin responses to both meals were observed in overweight subjects with IGT. Physiological characteristics did not influence TAG or NEFA responses or the RGR of the meals. The LGI meal resulted in lower glucose (P < 0·001) and insulin (P < 0·001) responses, but higher TAG responses (P < 0·001), compared with the HGI meal. The GI of the meals did not affect the NEFA responses. In conclusion, the LGI meal causes lower glucose and insulin responses, but higher TAG responses, than the HGI meal. The RGR of the meals does not differ between normal-weight and overweight subjects with NGT or IGT.
The aim of this study is to assess the interception and transfer to edible part of wet deposited 134Cs and 85Sr to spring oilseed rape and spring wheat and the dependency of the intercepted fraction on the development stage e.g. the total plant biomass. The radionuclides, 134Cs and 85Sr, were deposited at six different development stages using a rainfall simulator. The results showed that there was a positive correlation between the interception fraction for 134Cs and 85Sr and the biomass both for spring oilseed rape and spring wheat. The interception fraction and transfer factors were highest at growing stage of senescence (ripening) for both crops.
Early attachment relationships from infancy onward contribute to attachment patterns later in life, to the ability to build up close relationships and to well-being in general. Severely preterm birth may challenge the development of these attachment relationships. We studied whether there are differences in attachment patterns related to romantic relationships between young adults (mean age 22.4 years, s.d. 2.2 years) with very low birth weight (VLBW, <1500 g; n = 162) and their peers born at term (n = 172), who completed the Experiences in Close Relationships Questionnaire – Revised. Young adults born at VLBW showed lower attachment-related anxiety than their peers born at term (mean difference −9.5%, 95% CI −16.0 to −2.6) when adjusted for sex, age, parental education and being in a romantic relationship currently. The groups did not differ in attachment-related avoidance. In subgroup analyses, the VLBW women born small for gestational age (SGA, birth weight <−2 s.d.) scored on average 14.8% (95% CI 3.1–26.6) higher than the control women on attachment avoidance. The effects remained after the exclusion of 18 participants with neurosensory deficits. We found no evidence for a compromised attachment pattern in young adults born at VLBW, with a possible exception of women born SGA at VLBW. VLBW adults were rather characterized by a lower level of attachment-related anxiety.
New findings on the maternal and placental programming of chronic disease lead to four conclusions: (1) Growth of the placental surface is polarized from the time of implantation, so that growth along the major axis, the length, is qualitatively different from growth along the minor axis, the breadth. (2) The human fetus may attempt to compensate for undernutrition by expansion of the placental surface along its minor axis. This only occurs if the mother was well nourished before conception, and may have long-term costs that include hypertension. (3) The effects of placental size on long-term health are conditioned by the mother’s nutritional state, as indicated by her socio-economic status, height and body mass index. (4) The maternal–placental programming of chronic disease differs in boys and girls. Boys invest less than girls in placental growth but more readily expand the placental surface if they become undernourished in mid-late gestation. Boys are more responsive to their mothers’ current diets while girls respond more to their mothers’ lifetime nutrition and metabolism.
We analyze a sample of 21 super-metal-rich (SMR) stars, using high-resolution échelle spectra obtained with the FEROS Spectrograph at the 1.5m ESO telescope. The metallicities are in the range 0.15 < [Fe/H] < 0.5, 3 of them in common with Pompéia et al. (2002). Geneva photometry, astrometric data from Hipparcos, and radial velocities from CORAVEL are available for these stars. The peculiar kinematics suggests the thin disk close to the bulge as the probable birthplace of these stars (Grenon 1999). From Hipparcos data, it appears that the turnoff of this population indicates an age of 10-11 Gyr (Grenon 1999). Detailed analysis of the sample stars is carried out. Lithium abundances of these stars were derived, and their behaviour with effective temperature is shown.