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This study aimed to evaluate the effects of an intervention including nutritional telemonitoring, nutrition education, and follow-up by a nurse on nutritional status, diet quality, appetite, physical functioning and quality of life of Dutch community-dwelling elderly. We used a parallel arm pre-test post-test design with 214 older adults (average age 80 years) who were allocated to the intervention group (n 97) or control group (n 107), based on the municipality. The intervention group received a 6-month intervention including telemonitoring measurements, nutrition education and follow-up by a nurse. Effect measurements took place at baseline, after 4·5 months, and at the end of the study. The intervention improved nutritional status of participants at risk of undernutrition (β (T1)=2·55; 95 % CI 1·41, 3·68; β (T2)=1·77; 95 % CI 0·60, 2·94) and scores for compliance with Dutch guidelines for the intake of vegetables (β=1·27; 95 % CI 0·49, 2·05), fruit (β=1·24; 95 % CI 0·60, 1·88), dietary fibre (β=1·13; 95 % CI 0·70, 1·57), protein (β=1·20; 95 % CI 0·15, 2·24) and physical activity (β=2·13; 95 % CI 0·98, 3·29). The intervention did not have an effect on body weight, appetite, physical functioning and quality of life. In conclusion, this intervention leads to improved nutritional status in older adults at risk of undernutrition, and to improved diet quality and physical activity levels of community-dwelling elderly. Future studies with a longer duration should focus on older adults at higher risk of undernutrition than this study population to investigate whether the impact of the intervention on nutritional and functional outcomes can be improved.
Lower prenatal exposure to n-3 PUFA relative to n-6 PUFA has been hypothesised to influence allergy development, but evidence remains largely inconsistent. In the Dutch Maastricht Essential Fatty Acid Birth (MEFAB) (n 293) and Greek RHEA Mother–Child (n 213) cohorts, we investigated whether cord blood phospholipid PUFA concentrations are associated with symptoms of wheeze, asthma, rhinitis and eczema at the age of 6–7 years. Information on allergy-related phenotypes was collected using validated questionnaires. We estimated relative risks (RR) and 95 % CI for associations of PUFA with child outcomes using multivariable generalised linear regression models. In pooled analyses, higher concentration of the n-3 long-chain EPA and DHA and a higher total n-3:n-6 PUFA ratio were associated with lower risk of current wheeze (RR 0·61; 95 % CI 0·45, 0·82 per sd increase in EPA+DHA and 0·54; 95 % CI 0·39, 0·75 per unit increase in the n-3:n-6 ratio) and reduced asthma risk (RR 0·50; 95 % CI 0·31, 0·79 for EPA+DHA and 0·43; 95 % CI 0·26, 0·70 for the n-3:n-6 ratio). No associations were observed for other allergy-related phenotypes. The results were similar across cohorts. In conclusion, higher EPA and DHA concentrations and a higher n-3:n-6 fatty acid ratio at birth were associated with lower risk of child wheeze and asthma. Our findings suggest that dietary interventions resulting in a marked increase in the n-3:n-6 PUFA ratio, and mainly in n-3 long-chain PUFA intake in late gestation, may reduce the risk of asthma symptoms in mid-childhood.
During and after hospitalisation, older adults are recommended to consume 1·2–1·5 g of protein/kg body weight per d (g/kg per d) to improve recovery. This randomised controlled trial studied the effectiveness of a 12-week intervention with protein-enriched foods and drinks by following-up seventy-five older patients (mean age: 76·8 (sd 6·9) years) during their first 6 months after hospital discharge. Primary outcomes were protein intake and physical performance (measured with Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB)). Secondary outcomes for physical recovery were gait speed, chair-rise time, leg-extension strength, hand-grip strength, body weight, nutritional status (Mini Nutritional Assessment), independence in activities of daily living (ADL) and physical activity. The intervention group consumed more protein during the 12-week intervention period compared with the control group (P<0·01): 112 (sd 34) g/d (1·5 (sd 0·6) g/kg per d) v. 78 (sd 18) g/d (1·0 (sd 0·4) g/kg per d). SPPB total score, gait speed, chair-rise time, body weight and nutritional status improved at week 12 compared with baseline (time effect P<0·05), but were not different between groups. Leg-extension strength, hand-grip strength and independence in ADL did not change. In conclusion, protein-enriched products enabled older adults to increase their protein intake to levels that are higher than their required intake. In these older adults with already adequate protein intakes and limited physical activity, protein enrichment did not enhance physical recovery in the first 6 months after hospital discharge.
Randomised studies examining the effect on patients of training
professionals in adherence to suicide guidelines are scarce.
To assess whether patients benefited from the training of professionals
in adherence to suicide guidelines.
In total 45 psychiatric departments were randomised (Dutch trial
register: NTR3092). In the intervention condition, all staff in the
departments were trained with an e-learning supported train-the-trainer
programme. After the intervention, patients were assessed at admission
and at 3-month follow-up. Primary outcome was change in suicide ideation,
assessed with the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation.
For the total group of 566 patients with a positive score on the Beck
Scale for Suicide Ideation at baseline, intention-to-treat analysis
showed no effects of the intervention on patient outcomes at 3-month
follow-up. Patients who were suicidal with a DSM-IV diagnosis of
depression (n = 154) showed a significant decrease in
suicide ideation when treated in the intervention group. Patients in the
intervention group more often reported that suicidality was discussed
Overall, no effect of our intervention on patients was found. However, we
did find a beneficial effect of the training of professionals on patients
The ageing process is influenced by a variety of factors, including extrinsic, malleable lifestyle variables. The present paper deals with the epidemiological evidence for the role of dietary patterns and key nutritional concerns in relation to survival and ageing-related disorders that present themselves in later life. Healthful dietary patterns appear to be most relevant in old age. Specific nutritional concerns are related to vitamin D, vitamin B12 and protein malnutrition. An important challenge to further expand the knowledge base is currently addressed by the NuAge project, acknowledging the complexity of the ageing process and integrating different dimensions of research into human healthy ageing. In the meantime, reversing poor adherence to existing guidelines for a healthy diet remains a first challenge in public health nutritional practices.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble hormone that traditionally has been linked to bone health. Recently, its involvement has been extended to other (extra-skeletal) disease areas, such as cancer, CVD, energy metabolism and autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide problem, and several recommendation-setting bodies have published guidelines for adequate vitamin D intake and status. However, recommendations from, for example, the Health Council of the Netherlands do not provide advice on how to treat vitamin D deficiency, a condition that is often encountered in the clinic. In addition, these recommendations provide guidelines for the maintenance of ‘minimum levels’, and do not advise on ‘optimum levels’ of vitamin D intake/status to further improve health. The NutriProfiel project, a collaboration between the Gelderse Vallei Hospital (Ede, the Netherlands) and the Division of Human Nutrition of Wageningen University (Wageningen, the Netherlands), was initiated to formulate a protocol for the treatment of vitamin deficiency and for the maintenance of optimal vitamin D status. To discuss the controversies around treatment of deficiency and optimal vitamin D status and intakes, a workshop meeting was organised with clinicians, scientists and dietitians. In addition, a literature review was conducted to collect recent information on optimal intake of vitamins, their optimal circulating concentrations, and effective dosing regimens to treat deficiency. This information has been translated into the NutriProfiel advice, which is outlined in this article.
Micronutrient deficiencies and low dietary intakes among community-dwelling older adults are associated with functional decline, frailty and difficulties with independent living. As such, studies that seek to understand the types and magnitude of potential dietary inadequacies might be beneficial for guiding future interventions. We carried out a systematic review following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement. Observational cohort and longitudinal studies presenting the habitual dietary intakes of older adults ( ≥ 65 years) were included. Sex-specific mean (and standard deviation) habitual micronutrient intakes were extracted from each article to calculate the percentage of older people who were at risk for inadequate micronutrient intakes using the estimated average requirement (EAR) cut-point method. The percentage at risk for inadequate micronutrient intakes from habitual dietary intakes was calculated for twenty micronutrients. A total of thirty-seven articles were included in the pooled systematic analysis. Of the twenty nutrients analysed, six were considered a possible public health concern: vitamin D, thiamin, riboflavin, Ca, Mg and Se. The extent to which these apparent inadequacies are relevant depends on dynamic factors, including absorption and utilisation, vitamin and mineral supplement use, dietary assessment methods and the selection of the reference value. In light of these considerations, the present review provides insight into the type and magnitude of vitamin and mineral inadequacies.
Plant genetic resources are conserved by genebanks mainly in the form of seeds. In most of the cases, the dried seeds can be stored for a considerable period of time, but eventually seed deterioration results in the inability to generate healthy seedlings. Prolonging seed longevity during storage reduces the frequency of regeneration, which is beneficial from a genetic as well as a management point of view. To reduce the rate of deterioration, cool and dry storage conditions are usually practised for long-term seed storage. In spite of the growing body of evidence that seed deterioration is predominantly caused by oxidative processes, the importance of seed storage under anoxic conditions has received little attention from the genebank community. Herein, we report on the effects of anoxia on seed viability, the oxygen uptake by dry seeds in closed containers and the permeability for oxygen of various seed storage containers. Our results confirm that the ageing of dry seeds is accelerated by the presence of oxygen in the storage environment. Therefore, we recommend that genebanks store dry seeds under anoxic conditions to prolong their longevity during ex situ conservation. To reduce the initial rate of viability loss, we further recommend that the period of temporary storage after seed harvest be minimized and also that the seeds are kept during this period under controlled conditions, including anoxia.
A combination of high folate with low vitamin B12 plasma status has been associated with cognitive impairment in a population exposed to mandatory folic acid fortification. The objective of the present study was to examine the interactions between plasma concentrations of folate and vitamin B12 markers in relation to cognitive performance in Norwegian elderly who were unexposed to mandatory or voluntary folic acid fortification. Cognitive performance was assessed by six cognitive tests in 2203 individuals aged 72–74 years. A combined score was calculated using principal component analysis. The associations of folate concentrations, vitamin B12 markers (total vitamin B12, holotranscobalamin (holoTC) and methylmalonic acid (MMA)) and their interactions in relation to cognitive performance were evaluated by quantile regression and least-squares regression, adjusted for sex, education, apo-ɛ4 genotype, history of CVD/hypertension and creatinine. Cross-sectional analyses revealed an interaction (P= 0·009) between plasma concentrations of folate and vitamin B12 in relation to cognitive performance. Plasma vitamin B12 concentrations in the lowest quartile ( < 274 pmol/l) combined with plasma folate concentrations in the highest quartile (>18·5 nmol/l) were associated with a reduced risk of cognitive impairment compared with plasma concentrations in the middle quartiles of both vitamins (OR 0·22, 95 % CI 0·05, 0·92). The interaction between folate and holoTC or MMA in relation to cognitive performance was not significant. In conclusion, this large study population unexposed to mandatory folic acid fortification showed that plasma folate, but not plasma vitamin B12, was associated with cognitive performance. Among the elderly participants with vitamin B12 concentrations in the lower range, the association between plasma folate and cognitive performance was strongest.
Frontalin, seudenol, and a spruce terpene blend are key components of a lure for monitoring spruce beetle, Dendroctonus rufipennis (Kirby) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) in eastern Canada, catching the highest number of beetles in several field trials. The standard two-component commercial lure for this species, developed from populations in western North America and composed of 95%:5% (±)-α-pinene and frontalin, failed to elicit attraction to traps in Atlantic Canada; thus a series of trapping experiments were conducted to identify an improved combination of pheromone and host volatiles for this region. Analysis of volatiles from D. rufipennis collected from Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, Canada detected seudenol as an additional female-produced component. Laboratory analysis of the eastern host (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss; Pinaceae) detected the presence of 75%:25% (±)-α-pinene; however, a two-component lure comprised of 75%:25% (±)-α-pinene and frontalin caught no more beetles than an unbaited control. Frontalin and seudenol alone or spruce terpene blend and ethanol alone typically had among the lowest trap catches, but when combined they caught the highest numbers of D. rufipennis, supporting the hypothesis that host volatiles synergise attraction to pheromones. Our results highlight the importance of geographic variation in the response to pheromones and kairomones in this bark beetle.
The metal-catalyst-free growth of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) using chemical vapor deposition and the application in field-effect transistors (FETs) is presented. The CNT growth process used a 3-nm-thick Ge layer on SiO2 that was subsequently annealed to produce Ge nanoparticles. Raman measurements show the presence of radial breathing mode (RBM) peaks and the absence of the disorder induced D-band, indicating single walled CNTs (SWNTs) with a low defect density. The synthesized CNTs are used to fabricate CNTFETs and the best device has a state-of-the-art on/off current ratio of 3×108 and a steep sub-threshold slope of 110 mV/decade.
Long-term supplementation with folic acid may improve cognitive performance in older individuals. The relationship between folate status and cognitive performance might be mediated by changes in methylation capacity, as methylation reactions are important for normal functioning of the brain. Although aberrant DNA methylation has been implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders, the relationship between DNA methylation status and non-pathological cognitive functioning in human subjects has not yet been investigated. The present study investigated the associations between global DNA methylation and key domains of cognitive functioning in healthy older adults. Global DNA methylation, defined as the percentage of methylated cytosine to total cytosine, was measured in leucocytes by liquid chromatography–MS/MS, in 215 men and women, aged 50–70 years, who participated in the Folic Acid and Carotid Intima-Media Thickness (FACIT) study (clinical trial registration number NCT00110604). Cognitive performance was assessed by means of the Visual Verbal Word Learning Task, the Stroop Colour-Word Interference Test, the Concept Shifting Test, the Letter–Digit Substitution Test and the Verbal Fluency Test. Using hierarchical linear regression analyses adjusted for age, sex, level of education, alcohol consumption, smoking status, physical activity, erythrocyte folate concentration and 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase 677 C → T genotype, we found that global DNA methylation was not related to cognitive performance on any of the domains measured. The present study results do not support the hypothesis that global DNA methylation, as measured in leucocytes, might be associated with cognitive functioning in healthy older individuals.
The Rank Forum on Vitamin D was held on 2nd and 3rd July 2009 at the University of Surrey, Guildford, UK. The workshop consisted of a series of scene-setting presentations to address the current issues and challenges concerning vitamin D and health, and included an open discussion focusing on the identification of the concentrations of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) (a marker of vitamin D status) that may be regarded as optimal, and the implications this process may have in the setting of future dietary reference values for vitamin D in the UK. The Forum was in agreement with the fact that it is desirable for all of the population to have a serum 25(OH)D concentration above 25 nmol/l, but it discussed some uncertainty about the strength of evidence for the need to aim for substantially higher concentrations (25(OH)D concentrations>75 nmol/l). Any discussion of ‘optimal’ concentration of serum 25(OH)D needs to define ‘optimal’ with care since it is important to consider the normal distribution of requirements and the vitamin D needs for a wide range of outcomes. Current UK reference values concentrate on the requirements of particular subgroups of the population; this differs from the approaches used in other European countries where a wider range of age groups tend to be covered. With the re-emergence of rickets and the public health burden of low vitamin D status being already apparent, there is a need for urgent action from policy makers and risk managers. The Forum highlighted concerns regarding the failure of implementation of existing strategies in the UK for achieving current vitamin D recommendations.
TO evaluate the effectiveness of a rigorous search and destroy policy for controlling methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection or colonization.
Hospital-based observational follow-up study.
Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, a 1,200-bed tertiary care center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Outbreak control was accomplished by the use of active surveillance cultures for persons at risk, by the preemptive isolation of patients at risk, and by the strict isolation of known MRSA carriers and the eradication of MRSA carriage. For unexpected cases of MRSA colonization or infection, patients placed in strict isolation or contact isolation and healthcare workers (HCWs) were screened. We collected data from 2000–2004.
During the 5-year study period, 51,907 MRSA screening cultures were performed for 21,598 persons at risk (8,403 patients and 13,195 HCWs). By screening, it was determined that 123 (1.5%) of 8,403 patients and 31 (0.2%) of 13,195 HCWs were MRSA carriers. From the performance of clinical cultures, it was determined that 54 additional patients were MRSA carriers, resulting in a total of 177 patients carrying MRSA. Of the 177 patients carrying MRSA, 144 (81%) were primary patients, and 33 (19%) secondary Patients. The average number of nosocomial transmissions was 6.7 per year. The cumulative incidence of MRSA colonization among this group of patients was 0.10 cases per 100 admissions. Of 156 cases of MRSA colonization, 44 (28%) were acquired in a foreign healthcare institution, and 45 (29%) were acquired in other Dutch hospitals, 22 (47%) of which were acquired in a single hospital in our region. There were 16 cases (10%) that occurred in a nursing home and another 16 cases (10%) that fulfilled our definition of community-acquired MRSA colonization; there were 4 cases (3%) categorized as “other” and 31 cases (20%) for which the source of MRSA acquisition remained unknown. The basic reproduction rate was 10-fold less for patients isolated on admission, compared with those who were not. During the 5-year study period, 5 episodes of MRSA bacteremia occurred in which 4 patients died, an incidence rate of 0.28 cases of infection per 100,000 patient-days per year.
Our results show that, during a rigorous search and destroy policy, a low incidence of MRSA in our medical center was continuously observed and that this policy most likely contributed to a very low nosocomial transmission rate.