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Mental disorders can have a major impact on brain development. Peripheral blood concentrations of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are lower in adult psychiatric disorders. Serum BDNF concentrations and BDNF genotype have been associated with cortical maturation in children and adolescents. In 2 large independent samples, this study tests associations between serum BDNF concentrations, brain structure, and psychopathology, and the effects of BDNF genotype on BDNF serum concentrations in late childhood and early adolescence.
Children and adolescents (7-14 years old) from 2 cities (n = 267 in Porto Alegre; n = 273 in São Paulo) were evaluated as part of the Brazilian high-risk cohort (HRC) study. Serum BDNF concentrations were quantified by sandwich ELISA. Genotyping was conducted from blood or saliva samples using the SNParray Infinium HumanCore Array BeadChip. Subcortical volumes and cortical thickness were quantified using FreeSurfer. The Development and Well-Being Behavior Assessment was used to identify the presence of a psychiatric disorder.
Serum BDNF concentrations were not associated with subcortical volumes or with cortical thickness. Serum BDNF concentration did not differ between participants with and without mental disorders, or between Val homozygotes and Met carriers.
No evidence was found to support serum BDNF concentrations as a useful marker of developmental differences in brain and behavior in early life. Negative findings were replicated in 2 of the largest independent samples investigated to date.
Consanguineous marriages potentially play an important role in the transmission of β-thalassaemia in many communities. This study aimed to determine the rate and socio-demographic associations of consanguineous marriages and to assess the influence on the prevalence of β-thalassaemia in Sri Lanka. Three marriage registrars from each district of Sri Lanka were randomly selected to prospectively collect data on all couples who registered their marriage during a 6-month period starting 1st July 2009. Separately, the parents of patients with β-thalassaemia were interviewed to identify consanguinity. A total of 5255 marriages were recorded from 22 districts. The average age at marriage was 27.3 (±6.1) years for males and 24.1 (±5.7) years for females. A majority (71%) of marriages were ‘love’ marriages, except in the Moor community where 84% were ‘arranged’ marriages. Overall, the national consanguinity rate was 7.4%. It was significantly higher among ethnic Tamils (22.4%) compared with Sinhalese (3.8%) and Moors (3.2%) (p < 0.001). Consanguinity rates were also higher in ‘arranged’ as opposed to ‘love’ marriages (11.7% vs 5.6%, p < 0.001). In patients with β-thalassaemia, the overall consanguinity rate was 14.5%; it was highest among Tamils (44%) and lowest among Sinhalese (12%). Parental consanguinity among patients with β-thalassaemia was double the national average. Although consanguinity is not the major factor in the transmission of the disease in the country, emphasis should be given to this significant practice when conducting β-thalassaemia prevention and awareness campaigns, especially in high-prevalence communities.
Traditionally, personalised nutrition was delivered at an individual level. However, the concept of delivering tailored dietary advice at a group level through the identification of metabotypes or groups of metabolically similar individuals has emerged. Although this approach to personalised nutrition looks promising, further work is needed to examine this concept across a wider population group. Therefore, the objectives of this study are to: (1) identify metabotypes in a European population and (2) develop targeted dietary advice solutions for these metabotypes. Using data from the Food4Me study (n 1607), k-means cluster analysis revealed the presence of three metabolically distinct clusters based on twenty-seven metabolic markers including cholesterol, individual fatty acids and carotenoids. Cluster 2 was identified as a metabolically healthy metabotype as these individuals had the highest Omega-3 Index (6·56 (sd 1·29) %), carotenoids (2·15 (sd 0·71) µm) and lowest total saturated fat levels. On the basis of its fatty acid profile, cluster 1 was characterised as a metabolically unhealthy cluster. Targeted dietary advice solutions were developed per cluster using a decision tree approach. Testing of the approach was performed by comparison with the personalised dietary advice, delivered by nutritionists to Food4Me study participants (n 180). Excellent agreement was observed between the targeted and individualised approaches with an average match of 82 % at the level of delivery of the same dietary message. Future work should ascertain whether this proposed method could be utilised in a healthcare setting, for the rapid and efficient delivery of tailored dietary advice solutions.
Black widows and redbacks are binary systems consisting of a millisecond pulsar in a close binary with a companion having matter driven off of its surface by the pulsar wind. X-rays due to an intrabinary shock have been observed from many of these systems, as well as orbital variations in the optical emission from the companion due to heating and tidal distortion. We have been systematically studying these systems in radio, optical and X-rays. Here we will present an overview of X-ray and optical studies of these systems, including new XMM-Newton and NuStar data obtained from several of them, along with new optical photometry.
To characterise clusters of individuals based on adherence to dietary recommendations and to determine whether changes in Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores in response to a personalised nutrition (PN) intervention varied between clusters.
Food4Me study participants were clustered according to whether their baseline dietary intakes met European dietary recommendations. Changes in HEI scores between baseline and month 6 were compared between clusters and stratified by whether individuals received generalised or PN advice.
Individuals in cluster 1 (C1) met all recommended intakes except for red meat, those in cluster 2 (C2) met two recommendations, and those in cluster 3 (C3) and cluster 4 (C4) met one recommendation each. C1 had higher intakes of white fish, beans and lentils and low-fat dairy products and lower percentage energy intake from SFA (P<0·05). C2 consumed less chips and pizza and fried foods than C3 and C4 (P<0·05). C1 were lighter, had lower BMI and waist circumference than C3 and were more physically active than C4 (P<0·05). More individuals in C4 were smokers and wanted to lose weight than in C1 (P<0·05). Individuals who received PN advice in C4 reported greater improvements in HEI compared with C3 and C1 (P<0·05).
The cluster where the fewest recommendations were met (C4) reported greater improvements in HEI following a 6-month trial of PN whereas there was no difference between clusters for those randomised to the Control, non-personalised dietary intervention.
To characterise participants who dropped out of the Food4Me Proof-of-Principle study.
The Food4Me study was an Internet-based, 6-month, four-arm, randomised controlled trial. The control group received generalised dietary and lifestyle recommendations, whereas participants randomised to three different levels of personalised nutrition (PN) received advice based on dietary, phenotypic and/or genotypic data, respectively (with either more or less frequent feedback).
Seven recruitment sites: UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Poland and Greece.
Adults aged 18–79 years (n 1607).
A total of 337 (21 %) participants dropped out during the intervention. At baseline, dropouts had higher BMI (0·5 kg/m2; P<0·001). Attrition did not differ significantly between individuals receiving generalised dietary guidelines (Control) and those randomised to PN. Participants were more likely to drop out (OR; 95 % CI) if they received more frequent feedback (1·81; 1·36, 2·41; P<0·001), were female (1·38; 1·06, 1·78; P=0·015), less than 45 years old (2·57; 1·95, 3·39; P<0·001) and obese (2·25; 1·47, 3·43; P<0·001). Attrition was more likely in participants who reported an interest in losing weight (1·53; 1·19, 1·97; P<0·001) or skipping meals (1·75; 1·16, 2·65; P=0·008), and less likely if participants claimed to eat healthily frequently (0·62; 0·45, 0·86; P=0·003).
Attrition did not differ between participants receiving generalised or PN advice but more frequent feedback was related to attrition for those randomised to PN interventions. Better strategies are required to minimise dropouts among younger and obese individuals participating in PN interventions and more frequent feedback may be an unnecessary burden.
AMS radiocarbon and OSL dating, and profiling were used to directly delimit periods of variscite production at Pico Centeno Mine 2. These results were integrated with analysis of other well-dated periods of variscite production to establish an Iberian-wide chronological framework. Variscite production at Pico Centeno Mine 2 began at ~ 5200 BC, coincident with alpine jade production or Casa Montero Iberian flint production. Variscite was only used occasionally, together with other greenstones, during the 5th and 6th millennia BC. During the 4th millennium BC, variscite use began to increase to its apogee in the first half of 3rd millennium BC when it appeared in nearly every Iberian burial site. This increase in variscite production and use coincided with decline in the popularity of alpine jade. By the end of the 3rd millennium BC, new resources began to be valued such as Asian and African Ivory, Baltic and Sicilian amber, and copper-based metal products. The variscite cycle thus started with the decline of jade in the 5th–4th millennium BC, and ended with the appearance of copper, ivory and extra-peninsular amber by the end of the 3rd millennium BC.
The interplay between the fat mass- and obesity-associated (FTO) gene variants and diet has been implicated in the development of obesity. The aim of the present analysis was to investigate associations between FTO genotype, dietary intakes and anthropometrics among European adults. Participants in the Food4Me randomised controlled trial were genotyped for FTO genotype (rs9939609) and their dietary intakes, and diet quality scores (Healthy Eating Index and PREDIMED-based Mediterranean diet score) were estimated from FFQ. Relationships between FTO genotype, diet and anthropometrics (weight, waist circumference (WC) and BMI) were evaluated at baseline. European adults with the FTO risk genotype had greater WC (AAv. TT: +1·4 cm; P=0·003) and BMI (+0·9 kg/m2; P=0·001) than individuals with no risk alleles. Subjects with the lowest fried food consumption and two copies of the FTO risk variant had on average 1·4 kg/m2 greater BMI (Ptrend=0·028) and 3·1 cm greater WC (Ptrend=0·045) compared with individuals with no copies of the risk allele and with the lowest fried food consumption. However, there was no evidence of interactions between FTO genotype and dietary intakes on BMI and WC, and thus further research is required to confirm or refute these findings.
An efficient and robust method to measure vitamin D (25-hydroxy vitamin D3 (25(OH)D3) and 25-hydroxy vitamin D2 in dried blood spots (DBS) has been developed and applied in the pan-European multi-centre, internet-based, personalised nutrition intervention study Food4Me. The method includes calibration with blood containing endogenous 25(OH)D3, spotted as DBS and corrected for haematocrit content. The methodology was validated following international standards. The performance characteristics did not reach those of the current gold standard liquid chromatography-MS/MS in plasma for all parameters, but were found to be very suitable for status-level determination under field conditions. DBS sample quality was very high, and 3778 measurements of 25(OH)D3 were obtained from 1465 participants. The study centre and the season within the study centre were very good predictors of 25(OH)D3 levels (P<0·001 for each case). Seasonal effects were modelled by fitting a sine function with a minimum 25(OH)D3 level on 20 January and a maximum on 21 July. The seasonal amplitude varied from centre to centre. The largest difference between winter and summer levels was found in Germany and the smallest in Poland. The model was cross-validated to determine the consistency of the predictions and the performance of the DBS method. The Pearson’s correlation between the measured values and the predicted values was r 0·65, and the sd of their differences was 21·2 nmol/l. This includes the analytical variation and the biological variation within subjects. Overall, DBS obtained by unsupervised sampling of the participants at home was a viable methodology for obtaining vitamin D status information in a large nutritional study.
The aim of this study was to examine cross-sectionally whether higher cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) might favorably modify amyloid-β (Aβ)-related decrements in cognition in a cohort of late-middle-aged adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Sixty-nine enrollees in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention participated in this study. They completed a comprehensive neuropsychological exam, underwent 11C Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB)-PET imaging, and performed a graded treadmill exercise test to volitional exhaustion. Peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) during the exercise test was used as the index of CRF. Forty-five participants also underwent lumbar puncture for collection of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples, from which Aβ42 was immunoassayed. Covariate-adjusted regression analyses were used to test whether the association between Aβ and cognition was modified by CRF. There were significant VO2peak*PiB-PET interactions for Immediate Memory (p=.041) and Verbal Learning & Memory (p=.025). There were also significant VO2peak*CSF Aβ42 interactions for Immediate Memory (p<.001) and Verbal Learning & Memory (p<.001). Specifically, in the context of high Aβ burden, that is, increased PiB-PET binding or reduced CSF Aβ42, individuals with higher CRF exhibited significantly better cognition compared with individuals with lower CRF. In a late-middle-aged, at-risk cohort, higher CRF is associated with a diminution of Aβ-related effects on cognition. These findings suggest that exercise might play an important role in the prevention of AD. (JINS, 2015, 21, 841–850)
As for many invertebrates, the gut of marine polychaete species has key physiological functions. However, studies integrating microanatomical descriptions with physiological processes are scarce. The present investigates histological, histochemical and cytological changes in the alimentary canal during the digestive cycle of the marine annelid Eulalia viridis, a species that combines opportunist scavenging, predation and cannibalistic behavior. The gut is comprised of an eversible pharynx, esophagus, intestine and rectum. Three main phases of digestion were identified, namely, resting/secretory, absorptive and excretory. The intestinal epithelium is complex and exhibited the most significant changes regarding intracellular digestion, excretion and storage. Conversely, the pharynx and esophagus were chiefly important for enzyme secretion. The results also indicate the existence of two distinct types of secretory cells in the intestine, with likely distinct physiological roles. Some similarities have been found between the intestinal epithelia and the molluscan (especially cephalopod) digestive gland, as, for instance, the shedding of apical corpuscles by digestive cells at posterior stages of digestion. The findings indicate that the digestive process in this worm is complex and related to the many physiological roles that cells need to play in the presence of reduced organ differentiation.
To assess current salt† reduction policies in countries of the WHO European Region against the backdrop of varying levels of human development adjusted for income, education and health (longevity) inequalities.
Population-based, cross-sectional study, with data gathered through systematic review of relevant databases and supplementary information provided by WHO Nutrition Counterparts.
Member States of the WHO European Region.
Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index scores were analysed against assessed levels of development and implementation of national nutrition policies and initiatives targeting population-level salt reduction.
Within the WHO European Region, Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index values among countries with no existing salt reduction initiatives (mean 0·643 (se 0·022)) were significantly lower than among those with either partially implemented/planned salt initiatives (mean 0·766 (se 0·017), P < 0·001) or fully implemented salt initiatives (mean 0·780 (se 0·021), P < 0·001).
Where salt reduction strategies are implemented as an integral part of national policy, outcomes have been promising. However, low- and middle-income countries may face severe resource constraints that keep them from emulating more comprehensive strategies pursued in high-income countries. Care must be taken to ensure that gaps are not inadvertently widened by monitoring differential policy impacts of salt policies, particularly regarding trade flows.
The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO), which will be launched onboard the
Lomonosov spacecraft, contains two crucial instruments: UFFO Burst
Alert & Trigger Telescope (UBAT) for detection and localization of Gamma-Ray Bursts
(GRBs) and the fast-response Slewing Mirror Telescope (SMT) designed for the observation
of the prompt optical/UV counterparts. Here we discuss the in-space calibrations of the
UBAT detector and SMT telescope. After the launch, the observations of the standard X-ray
sources such as pulsar in Crab nebula will provide data for necessary calibrations of
UBAT. Several standard stars will be used for the photometric calibration of SMT. The
celestial X-ray sources, e.g. X-ray binaries with bright optical sources
in their close angular vicinity will serve for the cross-calibration of UBAT and SMT.
The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO) Pathfinder for Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) consists
of two telescopes. The UFFO Burst Alert & Trigger Telescope (UBAT) handles the
detection and localization of GRBs, and the Slewing Mirror Telescope (SMT) conducts the
measurement of the UV/optical afterglow. UBAT is equipped with an X-ray detector, analog
and digital signal readout electronics that detects X-rays from GRBs and determines the
location. SMT is equipped with a stepping motor and the associated electronics to rotate
the slewing mirror targeting the GRBs identified by UBAT. First the slewing mirror points
to a GRB, then SMT obtains the optical image of the GRB using the intensified CCD and its
readout electronics. The UFFO Data Acquisition system (UDAQ) is responsible for the
overall function and operation of the observatory and the communication with the satellite
main processor. In this paper we present the design and implementation of the electronics
of UBAT and SMT as well as the architecture and implementation of UDAQ.
One of the unexplored domains in the study of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) is the early time
phase of the optical light curve. We have proposed Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO) to
address this question through extraordinary opportunities presented by a series of small
space missions. The UFFO is equipped with a fast-response Slewing Mirror Telescope that
uses a rapidly moving mirror or mirror array to redirect the optical beam rather than
slewing the entire spacecraft or telescope to aim the optical instrument at the GRB
position. The UFFO will probe the early optical rise of GRBs with sub-second response, for
the first time, opening a completely new frontier in GRB and transient studies. Its fast
response measurements of the optical emission of dozens of GRB each year will provide
unique probes of the burst mechanism and test the prospect of GRB as a new standard
candle, potentially opening up the z > 10 universe. We describe the current limit in
early photon measurements, the aspects of early photon physics, our soon-to-be-launched
UFFO-pathfinder mission, and our next planned mission, the UFFO-100.
The UFFO (Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory) is a GRB detector on board the Lomonosov
satellite, to be launched in 2013. The GRB trigger is provided by an X-ray detector,
called UBAT (UFFO Burst Alarm & Trigger Telescope), which detects X-rays from the GRB
and then triggers to determine the direction of the GRB and then alerts the Slewing Mirror
Telescope (SMT) to turn in the direction of the GRB and record the optical photon fluxes.
This report details the calibration of the two components: the MAPMTs and the YSO crystals
and simulations of the UBAT. The results shows that this design can observe a GRB within a
field of view of ±35° and can trigger in a time scale as short as 0.2 – 1.0 s
after the appearance of a GRB X-ray spike.
The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO) is a space observatory for optical follow-ups of
gamma ray bursts (GRBs), aiming to explore the first 60 seconds of GRBs optical emission.
UFFO is utilized to catch early optical emissions from GRBs within few sec after trigger
using a Gimbal mirror which redirects the optical path rather than slewing entire
spacecraft. We have developed a 15 cm two-axis Gimbal mirror stage for the UFFO-Pathfinder
which is going to be on board the Lomonosov satellite which is to be launched in 2013. The
stage is designed for fast and accurate motion with given budgets of 3 kg of mass and 3
Watt of power. By employing stepping motors, the slewing mirror can rotate faster than 15
deg/sec so that objects in the UFFO coverage (60 deg × 60 deg) can be targeted in
~1 sec. The obtained targeting resolution is better 2 arcmin using a close-loop
control with high precision rotary encoder. In this presentation, we will discuss details
of design, manufacturing, space qualification tests, as well as performance tests.
The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO) aims to detect the earliest moment of Gamma-Ray
Bursts (GRBs) which is not well known, resulting into the enhancement of GRB mechanism
understanding. The pathfinder mission was proposed to be a scaled-down version of UFFO,
and only contains the UFFO Burst Alert & Trigger Telescope (UBAT) measuring the
X-ray/gamma-ray with the wide-field of view and the Slewing Mirror Telescope (SMT) with a
rapid-response for the UV/optical photons. Once the UBAT detects a GRB candidate with the
position accuracy of 10 arcmin, the SMT steers the UV/optical photons from the candidate
to the telescope by the fast rotatable mirror and provides the early UV/optical photons
measurements with 4 arcsec accuracy. The SMT has a modified Ritchey-Chrètien telescope
with the aperture size of 10 cm diameter including the rotatable mirror and the image
readout by the intensified charge-coupled device. There is a key board called the UFFO
Data Acquisition system (UDAQ) that manages the communication of each telescope and also
of the satellite and the UFFO overall operation. This pathfinder is designed and built
within the limited size and weight of ~20 kg and the low power consumption up to
~30 W. We will discuss the design and performance of the UFFO-pathfinder, and its
integration to the Lomonosov satellite.