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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.
Decreases in Fe status have been reported in military women during initial training periods of 8–10 weeks. The present study aimed to characterise Fe status and associations with physical performance in female New Zealand Army recruits during a 16-week basic combat training (BCT) course. Fe status indicators – Hb, serum ferritin (sFer), soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), transferrin saturation (TS) and erythrocyte distribution width (RDW) – were assessed at the beginning (baseline) and end of BCT in seventy-six volunteers without Fe-deficiency non-anaemia (sFer <12 µg/l; Hb ≥120 g/l) or Fe-deficiency anaemia (sFer <12 µg/l; Hb <120 g/l) at baseline or a C-reactive protein >10 mg/l at baseline or end. A timed 2·4 km run followed by maximum press-ups were performed at baseline and midpoint (week 8) to assess physical performance. Changes in Fe status were investigated using paired t tests and associations between Fe status and physical performance evaluated using Pearson correlation coefficients. sFer (56·6 (sd 33·7) v. 38·4 (sd 23·8) µg/l) and TS (38·8 (sd 13·9) v. 34·4 (sd 11·5) %) decreased (P<0·001 and P=0·014, respectively), while sTfR (1·21 (sd 0·27) v. 1·39 (sd 0·35) mg/l) and RDW (12·8 (sd 0·6) v. 13·2 (sd 0·7) %) increased (P<0·001) from baseline to end. Hb (140·6 (sd 7·5) v. 142·9 (sd 7·9) g/l) increased (P=0·009) during BCT. At end, sTfR was positively (r 0·29, P=0·012) and TS inversely associated (r –0·32, P=0·005) with midpoint run time. There were no significant correlations between Fe status and press-ups. Storage and functional Fe parameters indicated a decline in Fe status in female recruits during BCT. Correlations between tissue-Fe indicators and run times suggest impaired aerobic fitness. Optimal Fe status appears paramount for enabling success in female recruits during military training.
X-ray powder pattern line intensities were measured for the (Cr, Re)σ and (Re, Fe)σ phases by a step-scanning diffractometer, using CrKα radiation, scintillation counter, and a pulse height analyzer. The measured intensity ratios for all available pairs of adjacent lines were compared by means of a computer with the corresponding calculated intensity ratios based on approximately 1800 different ordering schemes for each alloy. The results showed ordering in both alloys, and indicated that the ordering was based on atomic size. These results are different from those obtained previously by Kasper and Waterstrat (no ordering), and by Ageyev et al. [In (Cr, Re)σ the Cr atoms are preferentially in large coordination number positions.]
Indigenous women and children experience some of the most profound health disparities globally. These disparities are grounded in historical and contemporary trauma secondary to colonial atrocities perpetuated by settler society. The health disparities that exist for chronic diseases may have their origins in early-life exposures that Indigenous women and children face. Mechanistically, there is evidence that these adverse exposures epigenetically modify genes associated with cardiometabolic disease risk. Interventions designed to support a resilient pregnancy and first 1000 days of life should abrogate disparities in early-life socioeconomic status. Breastfeeding, prenatal care and early child education are key targets for governments and health care providers to start addressing current health disparities in cardiometabolic diseases among Indigenous youth. Programmes grounded in cultural safety and co-developed with communities have successfully reduced health disparities. More works of this kind are needed to reduce inequities in cardiometabolic diseases among Indigenous women and children worldwide.
Dignity therapy (DT) is designed to address psychological and existential challenges that terminally ill individuals face. DT guides patients in developing a written legacy project in which they record and share important memories and messages with those they will leave behind. DT has been demonstrated to ease existential concerns for adults with advanced-stage cancer; however, lack of institutional resources limits wide implementation of DT in clinical practice. This study explores qualitative outcomes of an abbreviated, less resource-intensive version of DT among participants with advanced-stage cancer and their legacy project recipients.
Qualitative methods were used to analyze postintervention interviews with 11 participants and their legacy recipients as well as the created legacy projects. Direct content analysis was used to assess feedback from the interviews about benefits, barriers, and recommendations regarding abbreviated DT. The legacy projects were coded for expression of core values.
Findings suggest that abbreviated DT effectively promotes (1) self-expression, (2) connection with loved ones, (3) sense of purpose, and (4) continuity of self. Participants observed that leading the development of their legacy projects promoted independent reflection, autonomy, and opportunities for family interaction when reviewing and discussing the projects. Consistent with traditional DT, participants expressed “family” as the most common core value in their legacy projects. Expression of “autonomy” was also a notable finding.
Significance of results
Abbreviated DT reduces resource barriers to conducting traditional DT while promoting similar benefits for participants and recipients, making it a promising adaptation warranting further research. The importance that patients place on family and autonomy should be honored as much as possible by those caring for adults with advanced-stage cancer.
Advance care planning (ACP) increases quality of life and satisfaction with care for those with cancer and their families, yet these important conversations often do not occur. Barriers include patients’ and families’ emotional responses to cancer, such as anxiety and sadness, which can lead to avoidance of discussing illness-related topics such as ACP. Interventions that address psychological barriers to ACP are needed. The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of a mindfulness intervention designed to cultivate patient and caregiver emotional and relational capacity to respond to the challenges of cancer with greater ease, potentially decreasing psychological barriers to ACP and enhancing ACP engagement.
The Mindfully Optimizing Delivery of End-of-Life (MODEL) Care intervention provided 12 hours of experiential training to two cohorts of six to seven adults with advanced-stage cancer and their family caregivers (n = 13 dyads). Training included mindfulness practices, mindful communication skills development, and information about ACP. Patient and caregiver experiences of the MODEL Care program were assessed using semistructured interviews administered immediately postintervention and open-ended survey questions delivered immediately and at 4 weeks postintervention. Responses were analyzed using qualitative methods.
Four salient themes were identified. Patients and caregivers reported the intervention (1) enhanced adaptive coping practices, (2) lowered emotional reactivity, (3) strengthened relationships, and (4) improved communication, including communication about their disease.
Significance of results
The MODEL Care intervention enhanced patient and caregiver capacity to respond to the emotional challenges that often accompany advanced cancer and decreased patient and caregiver psychological barriers to ACP.
Low energy and protein intakes have been associated with an increased risk of malnutrition in outpatients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We aimed to assess the energy and protein intakes of hospitalised COPD patients according to nutritional risk status and requirements, and the relative contribution from meals, snacks, drinks and oral nutritional supplements (ONS), and to examine whether either energy or protein intake predicts outcomes. Subjects were COPD patients (n 99) admitted to Landspitali University Hospital in 1 year (March 2015–March 2016). Patients were screened for nutritional risk using a validated screening tool, and energy and protein intake for 3 d, 1–5 d after admission to the hospital, was estimated using a validated plate diagram sheet. The percentage of patients reaching energy and protein intake ≥75 % of requirements was on average 59 and 37 %, respectively. Malnourished patients consumed less at mealtimes and more from ONS than lower-risk patients, resulting in no difference in total energy and protein intakes between groups. No clear associations between energy or protein intake and outcomes were found, although the association between energy intake, as percentage of requirement, and mortality at 12 months of follow-up was of borderline significance (OR 0·12; 95 % CI 0·01, 1·15; P=0·066). Energy and protein intakes during hospitalisation in the study population failed to meet requirements. Further studies are needed on how to increase energy and protein intakes during hospitalisation and after discharge and to assess whether higher intake in relation to requirement of hospitalised COPD patients results in better outcomes.
There is increasing interest in the use of red clover (Trifolium pratense) as a high protein forage crop to finish growing lambs. Red clover contains the isoflavanoid compound formononetin which is converted to the non-steroidal oestrogen analogue equol by rumen micro-organisms. Equol is absorbed by the animal, and can have significant effects, such as suppressing reproductive cycling in ewes. Very few commercial red clover varieties have been bred with a low formononetin content to prevent this problem. Although human health benefits have been linked to the consumption of oestrogenically active compounds in foods such as soya (Kurzer and Xu, 1997), there is a need to investigate the presence of oestrogenically active compounds in animal products. The objective of this study was to investigate plasma metabolite and hormone concentrations, and the residual levels of equol in meat, of lambs grazing two varieties of red clover differing in their formononetin contents, compared to control animals grazing grass.
Alpha-tocopherol is the natural antioxidant in milk preventing the oxidation of milk fat and development of off-flavour and off-odour. The feeding of dairy cows can significantly affect plasma and milk concentrations of α-tocopherol. There is growing interest in the use of legumes in milk production and so it is important to investigate their effects on milk a-tocopherol as well as the oxidation of milk fat during storage and, hence, shelf-life of milk.
Red clover silage is an important component of many organic dairy systems. The high intake and milk production potential of red clover silage has been recognised for many years (e.g. Thomas et al., 1985). Our earlier studies confirmed this potential and showed additional benefits with increased polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content of milk (Dewhurst et al., 2002). The objective of this study was to investigate further the effect of red clover silage on milk PUFA and to examine whether supplementary vitamin E, which is needed to slow oxidative deterioration of milk with enhanced PUFA content, had an effect.
This paper presents latest thinking from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ Model Risk Working Party and follows on from their Phase I work, Model Risk: Daring to Open the Black Box. This is a more practical paper and presents the contributors’ experiences of model risk gained from a wide range of financial and non-financial organisations with suggestions for good practice and proven methods to reduce model risk. After a recap of the Phase I work, examples of model risk communication are given covering communication: to the Board; to the regulator; and to external stakeholders. We present a practical framework for model risk management and quantification with examples of the key actors, processes and cultural challenge. Lessons learned are then presented from other industries that make extensive use of models and include the weather forecasting, software and aerospace industries. Finally, a series of case studies in practical model risk management and mitigation are presented from the contributors’ own experiences covering primarily financial services.
Interstellar magnetic fields are known to be a constraint for star formation, but their influence on the formation of spiral structures and the evolution of galaxies is generally neglected. Structure, strength and degree of uniformity of interstellar magnetic fields can be determined by measuring the linearly polarised radio continuum emission at several frequencies (e.g. Beck, 1982). Results for 7 galaxies observed until now with the Effelsberg and Westerbork radio telescopes are given in the table. The Milky Way is also included for comparison.
Total-power and polarization observations of NGC 253 at 10.7 GHz have been performed with the 100-m MPIfR radio telescope. The observed arm/interarm polarization contrasts are discussed in the context of possible field configurations in spiral arms.
Intense star formation activity, in the absence of interactions, occurs nearly always in barred spiral systems, but many barred galaxies do not show especially enhanced activity. On the other hand bars provide an efficient mechanism of transport of gas from the disk into the active star forming circumnuclear region (Combes and Gerin, 1987). The type of activity in the circumnuclear regions would also depend on the characteristics of the bars (Arsenault, 1989). The dynamics of the gas inside the bars could also be related to outflows of gas into the halo detected in some barred galaxies with intense nuclear activity.
Polarized radio continuum emission and degree of polarization are reduced on dust lanes containing molecular clouds, whereas the total power emission is strong there. Faraday effects can explain only part of this depolarization. The remaining part must be due to tangled field lines within the radio beam.
There are an estimated 400 million hectares of non-cropland in the United States primarily designated as rangeland and pastureland, and there are more than 300 invasive weeds found on these sites, causing an estimated annual loss of $5 billion. Among the most invasive and problematic weeds are Dalmatian toadflax, diffuse knapweed, downy brome, and musk thistle. Currently, herbicides are the most common management strategy for broadleaf weeds and invasive winter annual grasses. Indaziflam, a new herbicide for invasive plant management in non-crop areas, is a cellulose-biosynthesis inhibitor capable of providing residual invasive winter annual grass control up to 3 yr after treatment (YAT). A field experiment was conducted to determine whether residual Dalmatian toadflax and downy brome control by aminocyclopyrachlor, imazapic, and picloram could be extended by tank mixing these herbicides with indaziflam. Indaziflam tank mixed with aminocyclopyrachlor, imazapic, and picloram provided increased Dalmatian toadflax (84% to 91%) and downy brome (89% to 94%) control 4 YAT, compared with treatments excluding indaziflam. Treatments without indaziflam controlled 50% to 68% of Dalmatian toadflax and <25% downy brome 4 YAT. Based on these results, a greenhouse dose–response experiment was conducted with aminocyclopyrachlor, aminopyralid, and indaziflam to compare preemergence control of nine common non-crop weeds. Averaged across species, aminocyclopyrachlor and aminopyralid GR50 values (herbicide concentration resulting in 50% reduction in plant biomass) were 29 and 52 times higher compared with indaziflam, respectively. These data suggest that indaziflam could be used for residual control of non-crop weeds as a tank-mix partner with other foliar-applied broadleaf herbicides.
The shear frame is a simple in situ device for indexing the shear strength of thin weak layers. The index is sensitive to shear-frame geometry, rate-of-pull, and shear-frame mass. It is time-consuming to carefully align the device on the Gleitschicht (shear failure plane) in a slab avalanche zone. The ratio shear frame index/shear stress of the Gleitschicht has a high variance, and may not be a fundamental measure of slab avalanche stability. Corrections for the normal stress on the Gleitschicht reduce the variance only slightly. Despite these limitations, the shear frame is a useful tool for gathering statistical data on strength distributions and anisotropies of the Gleitschicht until a more fundamental technique is developed.
This southern galaxy with its fairly regular pattern is well suited to study the influence of a bar onto the magnetic field in a galaxy. With its low inclination of 24° it provides a geometry similar to M 51. Also the magnetic field strength of 11±2 μG is in the same range.
Measurements at five radio wavelengths between 2.8 and 21.1 cm (Buczilowski and Beck, 1987) with the Effelsberg 100-m telescope make M33 the best studied nearby galaxy in linear polarization so far. The polarized emission is concentrated to the northwestern quadrant of the galaxy. Almost no polarization is detectable around the 35 known supernova remnant candidates. The explosions may have disturbed the interstellar magnetic field on scale sizes smaller than our antenna beams.