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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.
In a rational world, scientific effort would reflect society's needs. We tested this hypothesis using the area of infectious diseases, where the research response to emerging threats has obvious potential to save lives through informing interventions such as vaccination and prevention policies. Pathogens continue to evolve, emerge and re-emerge and infectious diseases that were once common become less so or their global distribution changes. A question remains as to whether scientific endeavours can adapt. Here, we identified papers on infectious diseases published in the four highest ranking, health-related journals over the 118 years from 1900. Focussing on outbreak-related and burden of disease-related metrics over the two time periods, 1990 to 2017 and 1900 to 2017, our analyses suggest that there is little underrepresentation of important infectious diseases among top ranked journals. Encouragingly our results suggest the scientific process is largely self-correcting.
Small perturbations to a steady uniform granular chute flow can grow as the material moves downslope and develop into a series of surface waves that travel faster than the bulk flow. This roll wave instability has important implications for the mitigation of hazards due to geophysical mass flows, such as snow avalanches, debris flows and landslides, because the resulting waves tend to merge and become much deeper and more destructive than the uniform flow from which they form. Natural flows are usually highly polydisperse and their dynamics is significantly complicated by the particle size segregation that occurs within them. This study investigates the kinematics of such flows theoretically and through small-scale experiments that use a mixture of large and small glass spheres. It is shown that large particles, which segregate to the surface of the flow, are always concentrated near the crests of roll waves. There are different mechanisms for this depending on the relative speed of the waves, compared to the speed of particles at the free surface, as well as on the particle concentration. If all particles at the surface travel more slowly than the waves, the large particles become concentrated as the shock-like wavefronts pass them. This is due to a concertina-like effect in the frame of the moving wave, in which large particles move slowly backwards through the crest, but travel quickly in the troughs between the crests. If, instead, some particles on the surface travel more quickly than the wave and some move slower, then, at low concentrations, large particles can move towards the wave crest from both the forward and rearward sides. This results in isolated regions of large particles that are trapped at the crest of each wave, separated by regions where the flow is thinner and free of large particles. There is also a third regime arising when all surface particles travel faster than the waves, which has large particles present everywhere but with a sharp increase in their concentration towards the wave fronts. In all cases, the significantly enhanced large particle concentration at wave crests means that such flows in nature can be especially destructive and thus particularly hazardous.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) represent a disease continuum with common genetic causes and molecular pathology. We recently identified mutations in the T-cell restricted intracellular antigen-1 (TIA1) protein as a cause of ALS +/− FTD. TIA1 is an RNA-binding protein containing a low complexity domain (LCD) that promotes the assembly of membrane-less organelles, such as stress granules (SG). Whole exome sequencing of two family members with fALS/FTD revealed a novel missense mutation in the TIA1 LCD (P362L). Subsequent screening identified five more TIA1 mutations in six additional ALS patients, but none in controls. All mutation carriers presented with weakness, behavioral abnormalities or language impairments and had a final diagnosis of ALS +/− FTD. Autopsy on five TIA1 mutation carriers showed widespread neurodegeneration with TDP-43 pathology. Round eosinophilic inclusions in lower motor neurons were a consistent feature. Cellular assays revealed abnormal SG dynamics in the presence of TIA1 mutations. In summary, missense mutations in the LCD of TIA1 are a newly recognized cause of ALS/FTD with TDP-43 pathology and strengthen the role of RNA metabolism in the pathogenesis in this disease.
Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) continues to produce a significant burden of disease in New Zealand (NZ) Māori and Pacific peoples. Serious limitations in national surveillance data mean that accurate case totals cannot be generated. Given the changing epidemiology of ARF in NZ and the major national rheumatic fever prevention programme (2012–2017), we updated our previous likely true case number estimates using capture–recapture analyses. Aims were to estimate the likely true incidence of ARF in NZ and comment on the changing ability to detect cases. Data were obtained from national hospitalisation and notification databases. The Chapman Estimate partially adjusted for bias. An estimated 2342 likely true new cases arose from 1997 to 2015, giving a mean annual incidence of 2·9 per 100 000 (95% CI 2·5–3·5). Compared with the pre-intervention (2009–2011) baseline incidence (3·4 per 100 000, 95% CI 2·9–4·0), the likely true 2015 incidence declined 44%. Large gaps in data completeness are slowly closing. During the period 2012–2015, 723 cases were identified; 83·8% of notifications were matched to hospitalisation data, and 87·2% of hospitalisations matched to notifications. Despite this improvement, clinicians need to remain aware of the need to notify atypical patients. A possible unintended consequence of the national ARF prevention programme is increased misdiagnosis.
Central nervous system infections (CNSI) are a leading cause of death and long-term disability in children. Using ICD-10 data from 2005 to 2015 from three central hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam, we exploited generalized additive mixed models (GAMM) to examine the spatial-temporal distribution and spatial and climatic risk factors of paediatric CNSI, excluding tuberculous meningitis, in this setting. From 2005 to 2015, there were 9469 cases of paediatric CNSI; 33% were ⩽1 year old at admission and were mainly diagnosed with presumed bacterial CNSI (BI) (79%), the remainder were >1 year old and mainly diagnosed with presumed non-bacterial CNSI (non-BI) (59%). The urban districts of HCMC in proximity to the hospitals as well as some outer districts had the highest incidences of BI and non-BI; BI incidence was higher in the dry season. Monthly BI incidence exhibited a significant decreasing trend over the study. Both BI and non-BI were significantly associated with lags in monthly average temperature, rainfall, and river water level. Our findings add new insights into this important group of infections in Vietnam, and highlight where resources for the prevention and control of paediatric CNSI should be allocated.
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.
Synchrotron-based micro-X-ray fluorescence (μXRF) equipment has been used to analyze impurities in polar ice. A customized sample holder has been developed and the μXRF equipment has been adapted with a thermal control system to keep samples unaltered during analyses. Artificial ice samples prepared from ultra-pure water were analyzed to investigate possible contamination and/or experimental artefacts. Analyses of polar ice from Antarctica (Dome C and Vostok) confirm this μXRF technique is non-destructive and sensitive. Experiments can be reproduced to confirm or refine results by focusing on interesting spots such as crystal grain boundaries or specific inclusions. Integration times and resolution can be adjusted to optimize sensitivity. Investigation of unstable particles is possible due to the short analysis time. In addition to identification of elements in impurities, μXRF is able to determine their speciations. The accuracy and reliability of the results confirm the potential of this technique for research in glaciology.
Geophysical granular flows, such as avalanches, debris flows, lahars and pyroclastic flows, are always strongly influenced by the basal topography that they flow over. In particular, localised bumps or obstacles can generate rapid changes in the flow thickness and velocity, or shock waves, which dissipate significant amounts of energy. Understanding how a granular material is affected by the underlying topography is therefore crucial for hazard mitigation purposes, for example to improve the design of deflecting or catching dams for snow avalanches. Moreover, the interactions with solid boundaries can also have important applications in industrial processes. In this paper, small-scale experiments are performed to investigate the flow of a granular avalanche over a two-dimensional smooth symmetrical bump. The experiments show that, depending on the initial conditions, two different steady-state regimes can be observed: either the formation of a detached jet downstream of the bump, or a shock upstream of it. The transition between the two cases can be controlled by adding varying amounts of erodible particles in front of the obstacle. A depth-averaged terrain-following avalanche theory that is formulated in curvilinear coordinates is used to model the system. The results show good agreement with the experiments for both regimes. For the case of a shock, time-dependent numerical simulations of the full system show the evolution to the equilibrium state, as well as the deposition of particles upstream of the bump when the inflow ceases. The terrain-following theory is compared to a standard depth-averaged avalanche model in an aligned Cartesian coordinate system. For this very sensitive problem, it is shown that the steady-shock regime is captured significantly better by the terrain-following avalanche model, and that the standard theory is unable to predict the take-off point of the jet. To retain the practical simplicity of using Cartesian coordinates, but have the improved predictive power of the terrain-following model, a coordinate mapping is used to transform the terrain-following equations from curvilinear to Cartesian coordinates. The terrain-following model, in Cartesian coordinates, makes identical predictions to the original curvilinear formulation, but is much simpler to implement.
Geophysical granular flows, such as landslides, pyroclastic flows and snow avalanches, consist of particles with varying surface roughnesses or shapes that have a tendency to segregate during flow due to size differences. Such segregation leads to the formation of regions with different frictional properties, which in turn can feed back on the bulk flow. This paper introduces a well-posed depth-averaged model for these segregation-mobility feedback effects. The full segregation equation for dense granular flows is integrated through the avalanche thickness by assuming inversely graded layers with large particles above fines, and a Bagnold shear profile. The resulting large particle transport equation is then coupled to depth-averaged equations for conservation of mass and momentum, with the feedback arising through a basal friction law that is composition dependent, implying greater friction where there are more large particles. The new system of equations includes viscous terms in the momentum balance, which are derived from the
-rheology for dense granular flows and represent a singular perturbation to previous models. Linear stability calculations of the steady uniform base state demonstrate the significance of these higher-order terms, which ensure that, unlike the inviscid equations, the growth rates remain bounded everywhere. The new system is therefore mathematically well posed. Two-dimensional simulations of bidisperse material propagating down an inclined plane show the development of an unstable large-rich flow front, which subsequently breaks into a series of finger-like structures, each bounded by coarse-grained lateral levees. The key properties of the fingers are independent of the grid resolution and are controlled by the physical viscosity. This process of segregation-induced finger formation is observed in laboratory experiments, and numerical computations are in qualitative agreement.
There is some suggestion that infection with pandemic influenza may increase long-term mortality risks. Therefore we aimed to determine if exposure to a severe outbreak of pandemic influenza on a troopship in 1918 impacted on lifespan in the survivors. The troopship with the outbreak cohort had 1107 personnel and the comparison cohort was from two contemporaneous troopships (1108 randomly selected personnel). Data were collected from online individual military files. The main finding was that there was no statistically significant difference in the lifespan of the outbreak cohort and the comparison cohort (means of 71·5 and 71·0 years, respectively). Indeed, the outbreak cohort was actually more likely to survive into the period from 1950 onwards (P = 0·036) and to participate in the Second World War (P = 0·043). There were no significant differences between the cohorts in terms of occupational class, but the comparison cohort had a higher proportion of rural occupations (33·3% vs. 27·0%, P < 0·001) and was very slightly older in mid-1918 (27·8 vs. 27·2 years, P = 0·028). In conclusion, this study found no support for the hypothesis that exposure to the 1918 influenza pandemic adversely impacted on the lifespan in the survivors, at least in this male and military-age population.
In New Zealand, efforts to control acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and its sequelae have focused on school-age children in the poorest socioeconomic areas; however, it is unclear whether this approach is optimal given the strong association with demographic risk factors other than deprivation, especially ethnicity. The aim of this study was to estimate the stratum-specific risk of ARF by key sociodemographic characteristics. We used hospitalization and disease notification data to identify new cases of ARF between 2010 and 2013, and used population count data from the 2013 New Zealand Census as our denominator. Poisson logistic regression methods were used to estimate stratum-specific risk of ARF development. The likelihood of ARF development varied considerably by age, ethnicity and deprivation strata: while risk was greatest in Māori and Pacific children aged 10–14 years residing in the most extreme deprivation, both of these ethnic groups experienced elevated risk across a wide age range and across deprivation levels. Interventions that target populations based on deprivation will include the highest-risk strata, but they will also (a) include groups with very low risk of ARF, such as non-Māori/non-Pacific children; and (b) exclude groups with moderate risk of ARF, such as Māori and Pacific individuals living outside high deprivation areas.
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.
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.
Many species of marine sponges on tropical reefs host abundant and diverse symbiont communities capable of varied metabolic pathways. While such communities may confer a nutritional benefit to some hosts (termed High Microbial Abundance (HMA) sponges), other sympatric species host only sparse symbiont communities (termed Low Microbial Abundance (LMA) sponges) and obtain a majority of their C and N from local sources. Sponge communities are widespread across large latitudinal gradients, however, and recent evidence suggests that these symbioses may also extend beyond the tropics. We investigated the role that symbionts play in the ecology of sponges from the temperate, hard-bottom reefs of Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary by calculating the niche size (as standard ellipse area (SEAc)) and assessing the relative placement of five HMA and four LMA sponge species within bivariate (δ13C and δ15N) isotopic space. Although photosymbiont abundance was low across most of these species, sponges were widespread across isotopic niche space, implying that microbial metabolism confers an ecological benefit to temperate sponges by expanding host metabolic capability. To examine how these associations vary across a latitudinal gradient, we also compared the relative placement of temperate and tropical conspecifics within isotopic space. Surprisingly, shifts in sponge δ13C and δ15N values between these regions suggest a reduced reliance on symbiont-derived nutrients in temperate sponges compared with their tropical conspecifics. Despite this, symbiotic sponges in temperate systems likely have a competitive advantage, allowing them to grow and compete for space within these habitats.
We investigated the prevalence, diversity, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) profiles of non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) and associated risk factors on 341 pig, chicken, and duck farms in Dong Thap province (Mekong Delta, Vietnam). Sampling was stratified by species, district (four categories), and farm size (three categories). Pooled faeces, collected using boot swabs, were tested using ISO 6575: 2002 (Annex D). Isolates were serogrouped; group B isolates were tested by polymerase chain reaction to detect S. Typhimurium and (monophasic) serovar 4,,12:i:- variants. The farm-level adjusted NTS prevalence was 64·7%, 94·3% and 91·3% for chicken, duck and pig farms, respectively. Factors independently associated with NTS were duck farms [odds ratio (OR) 21·2], farm with >50 pigs (OR 11·9), pig farm with 5–50 pigs (OR 4·88) (vs. chickens), and frequent rodent sightings (OR 2·3). Both S. Typhimurium and monophasic S. Typhimurium were more common in duck farms. Isolates had a high prevalence of resistance (77·6%) against tetracycline, moderate resistance (20–30%) against chloramphenicol, sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim, ampicillin and nalidixic acid, and low resistance (<5%) against ciprofloxacin and third-generation cephalosporins. Multidrug resistance (resistance against ⩾3 classes of antimicrobial) was independently associated with monophasic S. Typhimurium and other group B isolates (excluding S. Typhimurium) and pig farms. The unusually high prevalence of NTS on Mekong Delta farms poses formidable challenges for control.