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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.
Communicating a pension product well is as important as optimising the financial value. In a recent study, we showed that up to 80% of the value of a pension lump sum could be lost if customer communication failed. In this paper, we extend the simple customer interaction of the earlier contribution to the more challenging lifetime annuity case. Using a simple mobile phone device, the pension customer can select the life-long optimal investment strategy within minutes. The financial risk trade-off is presented as a trade-off between the pension paid and the number of years the life-long annuity is guaranteed. The pension payment decreases when investment security increases. The necessary underlying mathematical financial hedging theory is included in the study.
Berseem clover (Trifolium alexandrinum L.) is an important forage legume and is the primary winter forage crop in Pakistan. There are significant gaps in yield potential among varieties of berseem clover, as well as yields obtained at research stations and on-farm. To address this problem a survey of farmers was undertaken in the districts of Kasur and Okara, Punjab, Pakistan to determine the level of knowledge and understanding of berseem forage cultivation and seed production. The study comprised 44% smallholder (<3 ha), 26% medium (3–5 ha) and 30% large farmers (>5 ha) with average age of 42 years. Most farmers had little or no knowledge of the role of seed quality, inoculation with rhizobium, pollination, fertiliser use, irrigation management and the importance of forage nutritional value in improving livestock productivity. Most farmers (56%) had received no input from the government or private sector to improve forage production, relying instead on traditional knowledge. Knowledge of the importance of land preparation (95%), sowing rate (98%) and insect and pest management (75%) was higher than seed selection and fertilisation. Adoption of improved varieties (3%) and production technologies (14%) was low due to various constraints including ignorance, high cost of inputs, lack of availability of inputs in the market and a perceived high level of financial risk. Almost 100% of the respondents agreed that seed of improved varieties was a pre-requisite for higher forage and seed production as well as essential to start village-based forage seed enterprises.
The postpartum period is well-known risk period for the first onset of autoimmune thyroid disorders (AITDs) as well as first onset of psychiatric disorders. These two disorders are some of the most prevalent medical conditions postpartum, often misdiagnosed and disabling if left untreated. Our study was designed to explore the possible bidirectional association between AITDs and psychiatric disorders during the postpartum period.
A population-based cohort study through linkage of Danish national registers, which comprised 312 779 women who gave birth to their first child during 1997–2010. We conducted Poisson regression analysis to estimate the incidence rate ratio (IRR) of psychiatric disorders among women with first-onset AITDs, the IRR of AITDs among women with first-onset psychiatric disorders as well as the overlap between these disorders using a comorbidity index.
Women with first-onset AITDs postpartum were more likely to have first-onset psychiatric disorders than women who did not have postpartum AITDs (IRR = 1.88, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.25–2.81). Women with first-onset postpartum psychiatric disorders had a higher risk of AITDs than women with no psychiatric disorders (IRR = 2.16, 95% CI: 1.45–3.20). The comorbidity index 2 years after delivery was 2.26 (95% CI: 1.61–2.90), indicating a comorbidity between first-onset AITDs and psychiatric disorders.
First-onset AITDs and psychiatric disorders co-occur in the postpartum period, which has relevance to further studies on the etiologies of these disorders and why childbirth in particular triggers the onset.
In order to exploit potentials of 20–40% reduction of herbicide use, as documented by use of Decision Support Systems (DSS), where requirements for manual field inspection constitute a major obstacle, large numbers of digital pictures of weed infestations have been collected and analysed manually by crop advisors. Results were transferred to: 1) DSS, which determined needs for control and connected, optimized options for control returned options for control and 2) convolutional, neural networks, which in this way were trained to enable automatic analysis of future pictures, which support both field- and site-specific integrated weed management.
Antipsychotics are associated with the polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, Torsade's de pointes, which in worst case can lead to sudden cardiac death. The QTc interval is used as a clinical proxy for Torsade's de pointes. QTc interval is prolonged by monotherapy with antipsychotic, but it is unknown if the QTc interval is prolonged further with antipsychotic polypharmacy.
To investigate the associations between QTc interval and antipsychotic mono- and polypharmaceutical treatment, respectively, in schizophrenic patients.
To learn more about the impact of antipsychotics on the QTc interval.
An observational cohort study of unselected patients with schizophrenia visiting outpatient facilities in the Region of Central Jutland, Denmark. Patients were enrolled from January 2013 through March 2015 with follow-up until June 2015. Data was collected from clinical interviews and clinical case records.
ECGs were available in 58 patients receiving antipsychotic treatment. We observed no difference in average QTc interval for the whole sample of patients receiving monotherapy or polypharmacy (P = 0.29). However, women presented longer QTc-interval on polypharmacy than on monotherapy (P = 0.01).
We recommend an increased focus on monitoring the QTc interval in woman with schizophrenia receiving antipsychotics as polypharmacy.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Adverse psychosocial working environments characterized by job strain (the combination of high demands and low control at work) are associated with an increased risk of depressive symptoms among employees, but evidence on clinically diagnosed depression is scarce. We examined job strain as a risk factor for clinical depression.
We identified published cohort studies from a systematic literature search in PubMed and PsycNET and obtained 14 cohort studies with unpublished individual-level data from the Individual-Participant-Data Meta-analysis in Working Populations (IPD-Work) Consortium. Summary estimates of the association were obtained using random-effects models. Individual-level data analyses were based on a pre-published study protocol.
We included six published studies with a total of 27 461 individuals and 914 incident cases of clinical depression. From unpublished datasets we included 120 221 individuals and 982 first episodes of hospital-treated clinical depression. Job strain was associated with an increased risk of clinical depression in both published [relative risk (RR) = 1.77, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.47–2.13] and unpublished datasets (RR = 1.27, 95% CI 1.04–1.55). Further individual participant analyses showed a similar association across sociodemographic subgroups and after excluding individuals with baseline somatic disease. The association was unchanged when excluding individuals with baseline depressive symptoms (RR = 1.25, 95% CI 0.94–1.65), but attenuated on adjustment for a continuous depressive symptoms score (RR = 1.03, 95% CI 0.81–1.32).
Job strain may precipitate clinical depression among employees. Future intervention studies should test whether job strain is a modifiable risk factor for depression.
In unipolar depressed patients participating in trials on antidepressants, we investigated if illness characteristics at baseline could predict conversion to bipolar disorder.
A long-term register-based follow-up study of 290 unipolar depressed patients with a mean age of 50.8 years (SD = 11.9) participating in three randomized trials on antidepressants conducted in the period 1985–1994. The independent effects of explanatory variables were examined by applying Cox regression analyses.
The overall risk of conversion was 20.7%, with a mean follow-up time of 15.2 years per patient. The risk of conversion was associated with an increasing number of previous depressive episodes at baseline, [HR 1.18, 95% CI (1.10–1.26)]. No association with gender, age, age at first depressive episode, duration of baseline episode, subtype of depression or any of the investigated HAM-D subscales included was found.
The patients were followed-up through the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register, which resulted in inherent limitations such as possible misclassification of outcome.
In a sample of middle-aged hospitalized unipolar depressed patients participating in trials on antidepressants, the risk of conversion was associated with the number of previous depressive episodes. Therefore, this study emphasizes that unipolar depressed patients experiencing a relatively high number of recurrences should be followed more closely, or at least be informed about the possible increased risk of conversion.
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.
General introduction of rocky intertidal and salt marsh systems
The land–sea margin encompasses a variety of hard and soft-bottom habitats where organisms are exposed to a dynamic range of aquatic and atmospheric conditions dependent on a rhythm set by the tides. In this chapter, we focus on rocky intertidal and salt marsh ecosystems, which have been extensively studied on many continents. Both rocky shore and salt marsh communities exhibit strong and consistent patterns of intertidal zonation over relatively compressed spatial scales, making them excellent systems for understanding the context-dependency of species interactions. Hard-bottomed rocky intertidal communities are dominated by marine macroalgae and sessile marine invertebrates extending their reach to the furthest edge of the influence of sea spray, while soft-bottomed salt marsh communities are anchored by terrestrial plants with adaptations or tolerance to inundation by salty and brackish waters. Rocky shore communities may be battered by the full force of large ocean waves or gently lapped with seawater on more protected shorelines. In contrast, salt marshes are restricted to quiet waters where sediment accretion by plants is the main mechanism for habitat creation. Both communities may experience very large tidal excursions or only minimal ones, depending on the local dynamics of the tides, with corresponding consequences for the spatial extent of these communities across the shoreline. The steep environmental gradients and distinctive biological zonation patterns that characterize both rocky shore and salt marsh ecosystems (Fig. 7.1) have provided ecologists with accessible and highly tractable ecosystems for investigating the role of bottom-up and top-down factors along environmental gradients.
Bottom-up and top-down interactions in rocky intertidal systems
Introduction to rocky intertidal systems
Rocky intertidal communities have been the subject of intensive study world-wide, especially at temperate latitudes. The typically broad tidal range and relatively moderate atmospheric conditions create a wide zone of intertidal habitat that is generally hospitable to rocky intertidal species, while also readily accessible to investigators for hours at a time during periods of low tide and calm sea state.
In the EU, pigs must have permanent access to manipulable materials such as straw, rope, wood, etc. Long straw can fulfil this function, but can increase labour requirements for cleaning pens, and result in problems with blocked slatted floors and slurry systems. Chopped straw might be more practical, but what is the effect on pigs’ behaviour of using chopped straw instead of long straw? Commercial pigs in 1/3 slatted, 2/3 solid pens of 15 pigs were provided with either 100 g/pig per day of long straw (20 pens) or of chopped straw (19 pens). Behavioural observations were made of three focal pigs per pen (one from each of small, medium and large weight tertiles) for one full day between 0600 and 2300 h at each of ~40 and ~80 kg. The time spent rooting/investigating overall (709 s/pig per hour at 40 kg to 533 s/pig per hour at 80 kg), or directed to the straw/solid floor (497 s/pig per hour at 40 kg to 343 s/pig per hour at 80 kg), was not affected by straw length but reduced with age. Time spent investigating other pigs (83 s/pig per hour at 40 kg), the slatted floor (57 s/pig per hour) or pen fixtures (21 s/pig per hour) was not affected by age or straw length. Aggressive behaviour was infrequent, but lasted about twice as long in pens with chopped straw (2.3 s/pig per hour at 40 kg) compared with pens with long straw (1.0 s/pig per hour at 40 kg, P=0.060). There were no significant effects of straw length on tail or ear lesions, but shoulders were significantly more likely to have minor scratches with chopped straw (P=0.031), which may reflect the higher levels of aggression. Smaller pigs showed more rooting/investigatory behaviour, and in particular directed towards the straw/solid floor and the slatted floor than their larger pen-mates. Females exhibited more straw and pen fixture-directed behaviour than males. There were no effects of pig size or sex on behaviour directed towards other pigs. In summary, pigs spent similar amounts of time interacting with straw/solid floor when long and chopped straw were provided, and most aspects of pig-directed behaviour and injuries were not affected by straw length. There was an increase in pigs with minor shoulder lesions with chopped straw, perhaps because of increased aggression. The use of chopped straw as an enrichment material for pigs warrants further investigation in larger and more detailed studies.
The assessment of animal welfare can include resource-based or animal-based measures. Official animal welfare inspections in Denmark primarily control compliance with animal welfare legislation based on resource measures (e.g. housing system) and usually do not regard animal response parameters (e.g. clinical and behavioural observations). Herds selected for welfare inspections are sampled by a risk-based strategy based on existing register data. The aim of the present study was to evaluate register data variables as predictors of dairy herds with violations of the animal welfare legislation (VoAWL) defined as occurrence of at least one of the two most frequently violated measures found at recent inspections in Denmark, namely (a) presence of injured animals not separated from the rest of the group and/or (b) animals in a condition warranting euthanasia still being present in the herd. A total of 25 variables were extracted from the Danish Cattle Database and assessed as predictors using a multivariable logistic analysis of a data set including 73 Danish dairy herds, which all had more than 100 cows and cubicle loose-housing systems. Univariable screening was used to identify variables associated with VoAWL at a P-value<0.2 for the inclusion in a multivariable logistic regression analysis. Backward selection procedures identified the following variables for the final model predictive of VoAWL: increasing standard deviation of milk yield for first lactation cows, high bulk tank somatic cell count (⩾250 000 cells/ml) and suspiciously low number of recorded veterinary treatments (⩽25 treatments/100 cow years). The identified predictors may be explained by underlying management factors leading to impaired animal welfare in the herd, such as poor hygiene, feeding and management of dry or calving cows and sick animals. However, further investigations are required for causal inferences to be established.
The presence of 10 virulence genes was examined using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 365 European O157 and non-O157 Escherichia coli isolates associated with verotoxin production. Strain-specific PCR data were analysed using hierarchical clustering. The resulting dendrogram clearly separated O157 from non-O157 strains. The former clustered typical high-risk seropathotype (SPT) A strains from all regions, including Sweden and Spain, which were homogenous by Cramer's V statistic, and strains with less typical O157 features mostly from Hungary. The non-O157 strains divided into a high-risk SPTB harbouring O26, O111 and O103 strains, a group pathogenic to pigs, and a group with few virulence genes other than for verotoxin. The data demonstrate SPT designation and selected PCR separated verotoxigenic E. coli of high and low risk to humans; although more virulence genes or pulsed-field gel electrophoresis will need to be included to separate high-risk strains further for epidemiological tracing.
There is a well-established association between psychotic disorders and subsequent offending but the extent to which those who develop psychosis might have a prior history of offending is less clear. Little is known about whether the association between illness and offending exists in non-psychotic disorders. The aim of this study was to determine whether the association between mental disorder and offending is present prior to illness onset in psychotic and non-psychotic disorders.
In a nested case-control study, cases (n=101 890) with a first psychiatric contact during the period 1995 to 2006 were identified and matched by age and gender to population-based controls (n=2 236 195). Exposure was defined as prior criminal and violent offending.
Males with one offence had an incidence rate ratio (IRR) of 2.32 [95% confidence interval (CI) 2.26–2.40] for psychiatric admission whereas two or more convictions yielded an IRR of 4.97 (95% CI 4.83–5.11). For violent offending the associations were stronger and IRRs of 3.97 (95% CI 3.81–4.12) and 6.18 (95% CI 5.85–6.52) were found for one and several offences respectively. Estimates for females were of a similar magnitude. The pattern was consistent across most diagnostic subgroups, although some variability in effect sizes was seen, and persisted after adjustment for substance misuse and socio-economic status (SES).
A prior history of offending is present in almost one in five patients presenting to mental health services, which makes it an important issue for clinicians to consider when assessing current and future risks and vulnerabilities.
The objective of this study was to investigate the genetic diversity of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) clonal complex (CC) 398 using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Dust and pigs at five age groups were sampled in six Danish MRSA-positive pig farms. MRSA CC398 was isolated from 284 of the 391 samples tested, including 230 (74%) animal and 54 (68%) environmental samples. PFGE analysis of a subset of 48 isolates, including the six strains previously isolated from farm workers, revealed the existence of farm-specific pulsotypes. With a single exception, human, environmental and porcine isolates originating from the same farm clustered together in the PFGE cluster analysis, indicating that spread of MRSA CC398 in Danish pig farms is mainly due to clonal dissemination of farm-specific lineages that can be discriminated by PFGE. This finding has important implications for planning future epidemiological studies investigating the spread of CC398 in pig farming.
Two independent studies were conducted to describe symptoms and potential risk factors associated with Blastocystis infection. Isolates were subtyped by molecular analysis. In the NORMAT study (126 individuals randomly sampled from the general population) 24 (19%) were positive for Blastocystis. Blastocystis was associated with irritable bowel syndrome (P=0·04), contact with pigs (P<0·01) and poultry (P=0·03). In the Follow-up (FU) study (follow-up of 92 Blastocystis-positive patients), reports on bloating were associated with subtype (ST) 2 (P<0·01), and blood in stool to mixed subtype infection (P=0·06). ST1 was more common in FU individuals (32%) than in NORMAT individuals (8%), whereas single subtype infections due to ST3 or ST4 were seen in 63% of the NORMAT cases and 28% of the FU cases. Only FU individuals hosted ST7, and ST6/7 infections due to ST7 or ST9 were characterized by multiple intestinal symptoms. The data indicate subtype-dependent differences in the clinical significance of Blastocystis.