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We have previously shown that higher intake of cruciferous vegetables is inversely associated with carotid artery intima-media thickness. To further test the hypothesis that an increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables is associated with reduced indicators of structural vascular disease in other areas of the vascular tree, we aimed to investigate the cross-sectional association between cruciferous vegetable intake and extensive calcification in the abdominal aorta. Dietary intake was assessed, using a FFQ, in 684 older women from the Calcium Intake Fracture Outcome Study. Cruciferous vegetables included cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli. Abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) was scored using the Kauppila AAC24 scale on dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry lateral spine images and was categorised as ‘not extensive’ (0–5) or ‘extensive’ (≥6). Mean age was 74·9 (sd 2·6) years, median cruciferous vegetable intake was 28·2 (interquartile range 15·0–44·7) g/d and 128/684 (18·7 %) women had extensive AAC scores. Those with higher intakes of cruciferous vegetables (>44·6 g/d) were associated with a 46 % lower odds of having extensive AAC in comparison with those with lower intakes (<15·0 g/d) after adjustment for lifestyle, dietary and CVD risk factors (ORQ4 v. Q1 0·54, 95 % CI 0·30, 0·97, P = 0·036). Total vegetable intake and each of the other vegetable types were not related to extensive AAC (P > 0·05 for all). This study strengthens the hypothesis that higher intake of cruciferous vegetables may protect against vascular calcification.
People with severe enduring mental illness (SMI) are at least twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease (CVD) than the general population, with 60% of excess mortality rate attributable to physical illness.
We report implementation in primary care of screening and intervention for cardiometabolic risk factors in SMI in Cheshire, UK. Data search was performed through the EMIS software provider.
453 patients (55.8% male 44.2% female) on the SMI Register in Cheshire, UK were screened for dysglycaemia (screening rate 57.3 %) and dyslipidaemia (screening rate 36.2%). There were no differences in BMI by gender, but a greater proportion of women (25% vs 20%) were obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2). Fasting glucose was in the impaired fasting glycaemia range (6.1-6.9mM) in 6.5% of those screened and at or above the threshold for type 2 diabetes (7.0mM) in 17.3% of the group. Fasting serum cholesterol was high at >5mmol/L in 62.8% of those screened for whom the mean cholesterol was 6.2±0.8 mmol/L). Despite high rates of dysglycaemia and dyslipidaemia, systolic blood pressure was greater than 140mmHg in only 13% of those examined. 61% were active smokers.
Multivariate linear regression analyses revealed a direct relation between fasting glucose levels and BMI (beta = 0.22, p< 0.001) independent of age, gender, systolic blood pressure and fasting cholesterol and triglycerides.
There is scope for cardiometabolic risk reduction in patients with severe mental illness. Measures to encourage weight reduction and smoking cessation would be vital in risk reduction strategies.
Paliperidone palmitate (PP) is a long acting depot antipsychotic that received marketing authorisation in the UK in 2011. It is costly compared to first generation antipsychotics (FGAs) and there are no robust trials comparing PP with FGAs. We examined the effectiveness and use of PP in a mental health trust as well as the characteristics of patients prescribed PP.
We identified all patients prescribed PP in North Staffordshire (population 470 000) since launch and examined records for demography, diagnosis, bed and medication use. We examined the effectiveness of PP using a mirror image design with bed use as the primary outcome.
52 patients received PP in a time frame allowing a one year follow up. 58% were male and the mean age was 41 years. Over half were detained under the 1983 Mental Health Act. 51 patients had a psychotic diagnosis. There was a significant reduction in bed occupancy (44 v 26 days, P=0.018) and admissions (1.1 v 0.2, P=0.0001). The mean dose was 100mg. Lack of effectiveness was the primary reason for starting PP in 84%. Two patients stopped due to side effects and 26% due to lack of efficacy.
Within the limitations of the methodology our results show a reduction in psychiatric bed use in the year following PP initiation on an intention to treat basis. The reduction in bed use equates to a minimum saving of £5400 per patient. PP at the mean study dose costs £3769.
Ablify Maintena (AM) is a long acting injection of aripiprazole that received marketing authorisation in the UK in January 2014. It is costly compared to first generation antipsychotics (FGAs) LAIs and there are no robust trials comparing AM with FGAs. We examined the effectiveness and use of AM in a mental health trust.
We identified all patients prescribed AM in North Staffordshire (population: 470,000) since launch and examined records for demography, diagnosis, bed and medication use. We examined the effectiveness of AM using a mirror image design.
Thirty patients received AM in a time frame allowing a 1-year follow-up. Sixty-nine percent were male and the mean age was 39 years. Over half were detained under the 1983 Mental Health Act and 30% were inpatients on a psychiatric intensive care unit when AM was started. Twenty-eight patients had a psychotic diagnosis. There was a significant reduction in bed occupancy (63 v 6 days, P = 0.0001) and admissions (1.6 v 0.5, P = 0.0001). The median dose was 400 mg. Lack of effectiveness/poor adherence with prior treatments were the main reason for starting AM in 84%. Eighty-six percent of patients clinically improved on AM. Blood parameters were in the normal range.
Within the limitations of the methodology, our results show a reduction in psychiatric bed use in the year following AM initiation on an intention to treat basis. The reduction in bed use equates to a minimum annual saving of £14,250 per patient. AM at the median study dose costs £2645 per year.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Psychiatric comorbidity is common among individuals with addictive disorders, with patients frequently suffering from anxiety disorders. While the genetic architecture of comorbid addictive and anxiety disorders remains unclear, elucidating the genes involved could provide important insights into the underlying etiology.
Here we examine a sample of 1284 Mexican-Americans from randomly selected extended pedigrees. Variance decomposition methods were used to examine the role of genetics in addiction phenotypes (lifetime history of alcohol dependence, drug dependence or chronic smoking) and various forms of clinically relevant anxiety. Genome-wide univariate and bivariate linkage scans were conducted to localize the chromosomal regions influencing these traits.
Addiction phenotypes and anxiety were shown to be heritable and univariate genome-wide linkage scans revealed significant quantitative trait loci for drug dependence (14q13.2-q21.2, LOD = 3.322) and a broad anxiety phenotype (12q24.32-q24.33, LOD = 2.918). Significant positive genetic correlations were observed between anxiety and each of the addiction subtypes (ρg = 0.550–0.655) and further investigation with bivariate linkage analyses identified significant pleiotropic signals for alcohol dependence-anxiety (9q33.1-q33.2, LOD = 3.054) and drug dependence-anxiety (18p11.23-p11.22, LOD = 3.425).
This study confirms the shared genetic underpinnings of addiction and anxiety and identifies genomic loci involved in the etiology of these comorbid disorders. The linkage signal for anxiety on 12q24 spans the location of TMEM132D, an emerging gene of interest from previous GWAS of anxiety traits, whilst the bivariate linkage signal identified for anxiety-alcohol on 9q33 peak coincides with a region where rare CNVs have been associated with psychiatric disorders. Other signals identified implicate novel regions of the genome in addiction genetics.
The Mediterranean diet offers a range of health benefits. However, previous studies indicate that the restricted consumption of red meat in the diet may affect long-term sustainability in non-Mediterranean countries. A 24-week randomised controlled parallel cross-over design compared a Mediterranean diet supplemented with 2–3 serves per week of fresh, lean pork (MedPork) with a low-fat control diet (LF). Thirty-three participants at risk of CVD followed each intervention for 8 weeks, with an 8-week washout period separating interventions. The primary outcome was home-measured systolic blood pressure. Secondary outcomes included diastolic blood pressure, fasting lipids, glucose, insulin, C-reactive protein (CRP), body composition and dietary adherence. During the MedPork intervention, participants achieved high adherence to dietary guidelines. Compared with the MedPork intervention, the LF intervention led to greater reductions in weight (Δ = −0·65; 95 % CI −0·04, −1·25 kg, P = 0·04), BMI (Δ = −0·25; 95 % CI −0·03, −0·47 kg/m2, P = 0·01) and waist circumference (Δ = −1·40; 95 % CI −0·45, −2·34 cm, P < 0·01). No significant differences were observed for blood pressure, lipids, glucose, insulin or CRP. These findings indicate that Australians are capable of adhering to a Mediterranean diet with 2–3 weekly serves of fresh, lean pork. Larger intervention studies are now required to demonstrate clinical efficacy of the diet in populations with elevated blood pressure.
Supplementation with n-3 fatty acids can influence inflammation and markers of arterial stiffness that are increased in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, it is unknown whether specific patterns of dietary fatty acid intake are similarly associated. In a longitudinal study, eighty-six RA patients reported their dietary intake and had arterial stiffness measured using the augmentation index (AIx) at baseline and 8 months. Latent profile analysis (LPA) was performed to characterise patterns of fatty acid intake using sixteen major fatty acids. Models for two to six profiles were compared using the Akaike and Bayesian information criteria. Associations between AIx and the profiles were adjusted for age, sex, disease activity, fish oil supplementation, medications, physical activity and socio-economic status. LPA identified five distinct profiles. Profile 1 subjects (n 7) reported significantly higher intake of palmitoleic acid (16 : 1), arachidonic acid (20 : 4n-6), EPA (20 : 5n-3), DHA (22 : 6n-3) and docosapentaenoic acid (22 : 5n-3) (P<0·001 for each) than profiles 2 (n 14), 3 (n 19), 4 (n 23) and 5 (n 23) and significantly higher grilled and tinned fish consumption. The AIx varied significantly across the five profiles (P=0·023); subjects in profile 1 had a significantly lower AIx than those in profile 3 (β=–7·2 %; 95 % CI –11·5, –2·9; P=0·001) who had the lowest reported intake of n-3 fatty acids. Fish oil supplementation was also independently associated with lower AIx (β=–4·15 %; 95 % CI –6·73, –1·56; P=0·002). A diet characterised by a higher reported intake of n-3 fatty acids, palmitoleic acid (16 : 1) and arachidonic acid (20 : 4n-6) is associated with a lower AIx in RA patients.
The role of vegetable and fruit intake in reducing falls risk in elderly populations is uncertain. This study examined the associations of vegetable and fruit intake with falls-related hospitalisations in a prospective cohort study of elderly women (n 1429, ≥70 years), including effects on muscular function, which represented a potential causal pathway. Muscular function, measured using grip strength and timed-up-and-go (TUG), and vegetable and fruit intake, quantified using a validated FFQ, were assessed at baseline (1998). Incident falls-related hospitalisation over 14·5-year follow-up was captured by the Hospital Morbidity Data Collection, linked via the Western Australian Data Linkage System. Falls-related hospitalisation occurred in 568 (39·7 %) of women. In multivariable-adjusted models, falls-related hospitalisations were lower in participants consuming more vegetables (hazard ratio (HR) per 75 g serve: 0·90 (95 % CI 0·82, 0·99)), but not fruit intake (per 150 g serve: 1·03 (95 % CI 0·93, 1·14)). Only total cruciferous vegetable intake was inversely associated with falls-related hospitalisation (HR: per 20 g serve: 0·90 (95 % CI 0·83, 0·97)). Higher total vegetable intake was associated with lower odds for poor grip strength (OR: 0·87 (95 % CI 0·77, 0·97)) and slow TUG (OR: 0·88 (95 % CI 0·78, 0·99)). Including grip strength and TUG in the multivariable-adjusted model attenuated the association between total vegetable intake and falls-related hospitalisations. In conclusion, elderly women with higher total and cruciferous vegetable intake had lower injurious falls risk, which may be explained in a large part by better physical function. Falls reduction may be considered an additional benefit of higher vegetable intake in older women.
Arterial wall thickening, stimulated by low-grade systemic inflammation, underlies many cardiovascular events. As diet is a significant moderator of systemic inflammation, the dietary inflammatory index (DIITM) has recently been devised to assess the overall inflammatory potential of an individual’s diet. The primary objective of this study was to assess the association of the DII with common carotid artery–intima-media thickness (CCA–IMT) and carotid plaques. To substantiate the clinical importance of these findings we assessed the relationship of DII score with atherosclerotic vascular disease (ASVD)-related mortality, ischaemic cerebrovascular disease (CVA)-related mortality and ischaemic heart disease (IHD)-related mortality more. The study was conducted in Western Australian women aged over 70 years (n 1304). Dietary data derived from a validated FFQ (completed at baseline) were used to calculate a DII score for each individual. In multivariable-adjusted models, DII scores were associated with sub-clinical atherosclerosis: a 1 sd (2·13 units) higher DII score was associated with a 0·013-mm higher mean CCA–IMT (P=0·016) and a 0·016-mm higher maximum CCA–IMT (P=0·008), measured at 36 months. No relationship was seen between DII score and carotid plaque severity. There were 269 deaths during follow-up. High DII scores were positively associated with ASVD-related death (per sd, hazard ratio (HR): 1·36; 95 % CI 1·15, 1·60), CVA-related death (per sd, HR: 1·30; 95 % CI 1·00, 1·69) and IHD-related death (per sd, HR: 1·40; 95 % CI 1·13, 1·75). These results support the hypothesis that a pro-inflammatory diet increases systemic inflammation leading to development and progression of atherosclerosis and eventual ASVD-related death.
Higher fruit intake is associated with lower risk of all-cause and disease-specific mortality. However, data on individual fruits are limited, and the generalisability of these findings to the elderly remains uncertain. The objective of this study was to examine the association of apple intake with all-cause and disease-specific mortality over 15 years in a cohort of women aged over 70 years. Secondary analyses explored relationships of other fruits with mortality outcomes. Usual fruit intake was assessed in 1456 women using a FFQ. Incidence of all-cause and disease-specific mortality over 15 years was determined through the Western Australian Hospital Morbidity Data system. Cox regression was used to determine the hazard ratios (HR) for mortality. During 15 years of follow-up, 607 (41·7 %) women died from any cause. In the multivariable-adjusted analysis, the HR for all-cause mortality was 0·89 (95 % CI 0·81, 0·97) per sd (53 g/d) increase in apple intake, HR 0·80 (95 % CI 0·65, 0·98) for consumption of 5–100 g/d and HR 0·65 (95 % CI 0·48, 0·89) for consumption of >100 g/d (an apple a day), compared with apple intake of <5 g/d (Pfor trend=0·03). Our analysis also found that higher apple intake was associated with lower risk for cancer mortality, and that higher total fruit and banana intakes were associated lower risk of CVD mortality (P<0·05). Our results support the view that regular apple consumption may contribute to lower risk of mortality.
We are investigating if the orbital geometry of exoplanets affects the activity of their host star by studying a sample of planetary systems known to contain massive planets on short period, highly elliptical orbits. While recent studies in the optical, UV, and X-Ray have shown enhanced chromospheric activity for stars hosting exoplanets with orbital semi-major axes less than 0.1 AU (Krejcova 2012, Shkolnik 2013, Kashyap 2008, Poppenhaeger 2010), it is not yet clear whether this activity is driven by magnetic or tidal interactions. We are probing the dependence of star-planet interactions (SPI) on the orbital geometry of the planetary systems by analyzing chromospheric lines (such as Ca II H & K) for variability phased with the exoplanet's orbit. We have obtained high resolution spectra of several systems with the McDonald 2.1-m Sandiford echelle spectrograph, ARCES on the APO 3.5-m, and for HIRES on Keck I from the Keck Observatory Archive. We describe our methodology and review how our results will use orbital geometry to deduce how planets may affect the activity of their host stars.
Epidemiological studies have indicated that dietary flavonoids generally, and flavonols specifically, may contribute to cardiovascular health. Tea consumption, which is often the main dietary source of flavonoids and flavonols, is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular outcomes. The primary objective of the present study was to explore the association of the habitual intake of flavonols from tea and non-tea sources with the risk of atherosclerotic vascular disease mortality in a population of elderly women. A total of 1063 women, aged over 75 years, were randomly selected from ambulant Caucasian women living in Perth, Western Australia. Flavonoid consumption was assessed using the US Department of Agriculture Flavonoid, Flavone and Proanthocyanidin databases. Atherosclerotic vascular disease mortality was assessed over 5 years of follow-up through the Western Australian Data Linkage System. During the follow-up, sixty-four women died from atherosclerotic vascular disease. Women in the highest compared with the lowest tertile of flavonol intake had a lower risk of atherosclerotic vascular disease death (OR 0·27, 95 % CI 0·13, 0·59; P≤ 0·01 for trend in multivariate-adjusted models). Similar relationships were observed for flavonol intake derived from both tea (OR 0·38, 95 % CI 0·18, 0·79; P< 0·01) and non-tea (OR 0·41, 95 % CI 0·20, 0·85; P= 0·05) sources. Tea was the main contributor to flavonol intake (65 %), and the intakes of flavonols from tea and non-tea sources were not significantly correlated. In conclusion, increased consumption of flavonols was independently associated with a lower risk of atherosclerotic vascular disease mortality. Both tea and non-tea sources of flavonols were independently associated with this benefit.
Statistical models of epidemiology in wildlife populations usually consider diseased individuals as a single class, despite knowledge that infections progress through states of severity. Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a serious zoonotic disease threatening the UK livestock industry, but we have limited understanding of key epidemiological processes in its wildlife reservoirs. We estimated differential survival, force of infection and progression in disease states in a population of Eurasian badgers (Meles meles), naturally infected with bTB. Our state-dependent models overturn prevailing categorizations of badger disease states, and find novel evidence for early onset of disease-induced mortality in male but not female badgers. Males also have higher risk of infection and more rapid disease progression which, coupled with state-dependent increases in mortality, could promote sex biases in the risk of transmission to cattle. Our results reveal hidden complexities in wildlife disease epidemiology, with implications for the management of TB and other zoonotic diseases.
The main objectives of our study were to explore reasons for seasonal influenza vaccine acceptance and declination in employees of a large integrated healthcare system and to identify underlying constructs that influence acceptance versus declination. Secondary objectives were to determine whether vaccine acceptance varied by hospital location and to identify facility-level measures that explained variability.
A national health promotion survey of employees was conducted that included items on vaccination in the 2009-2010 influenza season. The survey was administered with two other institutional surveys in a stratified fashion: approximately 40% of participating employees were randomly assigned to complete the health promotion survey.
National single-payer healthcare system with 152 hospitals.
Employees of the healthcare system in 2010 who responded to the survey.
Factor analysis was used to identify underlying constructs that influenced vaccine acceptance versus declination. Mean factor scores were examined in relation to demographic characteristics and occupation. Multilevel logistic regression models were used to determine whether vaccine acceptance varied by location and to identify facility-level measures that explained variability.
Four factors were identified related to vaccine declination and were labeled as (1) “don't care,” (2) “don't want,” (3) “don't believe,” and (4) “don't know.” Significant differences in mean factor scores existed by demographic characteristics and occupation. Vaccine acceptance varied by location, and vaccination rates in the previous year were an important facility-level predictor.
Results should guide interventions that tailor messages on the basis of particular reasons for declination. Occupation-specific and culturally appropriate messaging should be considered. Continued efforts will be taken to better understand how workplace context influences vaccine acceptance.
Patients with schizophrenia have excess cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Previous studies suggest that this may be partly due to inadequate somatic treatment and care, such as non-optimal use of lipid-lowering and antihypertensive pharmacotherapy, but longitudinal studies on such aetiological pathways are scarce.
We investigated the use of lipid-lowering and antihypertensive pharmacotherapy, and the risk of hospitalization for and death from coronary heart disease and stroke among patients with schizophrenia in a birth cohort of 12 939 subjects (Helsinki Birth Cohort Study). This cohort was followed for over 30 adult years by using national databases on cardio- and cerebrovascular hospitalizations and mortality and on reimbursement entitlements and use of drugs for treatment of hypertension, dyslipidaemia, coronary heart disease and diabetes.
Individuals with schizophrenia had a higher risk of hospitalization for coronary heart disease [hazard ratio (HR) 1.65, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03–2.57], and mortality from this disease was markedly higher (HR 2.92, 95% CI 1.70–5.00), particularly among women (p=0.001 for women, p=0.008 for men). Women with schizophrenia had also marginally increased stroke mortality (p=0.06). However, patients with schizophrenia used less lipid-lowering (odds ratio 0.47, 95% CI 0.27–0.80) and antihypertensive drug treatment (HR 0.37, 95% CI 0.22–0.61).
In this longitudinal study, coronary heart disease morbidity was increased and coronary heart disease mortality markedly increased in patients, especially in women with schizophrenia. These patients nevertheless received less antihypertensive and lipid-lowering treatment.
Short-term randomised, controlled trials have found that dietary protein relative to carbohydrate can reduce blood pressure. Our objective was to investigate the effects on blood pressure of an increase in protein intake from whey over 2 years in women aged over 70 years. From the general population, 219 women aged between 70 and 80 years were recruited to a 2-year randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel-design trial: 181 women completed the trial to the end of year 2. Participants were randomly assigned to consume a daily whey protein-based beverage (protein) or an energy-matched low-protein high-carbohydrate beverage (control). Blood pressure measurements were performed at baseline, year 1 and year 2. For protein relative to control, the estimated mean net differences in protein and carbohydrate intakes were 18 (95 % CI 13, 23) and − 22 (95 % CI − 9, − 35) g/d at year 1, and 22 (95 % CI 17, 28) and − 18 (95 % CI − 6, − 31) g/d at year 2. Intention-to-treat analysis found no overall differences between groups in blood pressure (P>0·5). Net differences in systolic and diastolic blood pressure were − 2·3 (95 % CI − 5·3, 0·7) and − 1·5 (95 % CI − 3·6, 0·6) mmHg at year 1, and 1·6 (95 % CI − 1·5, 4·7) and 0·3 (95 % CI − 1·9, 2·4) mmHg at year 2. Similar differences in systolic and diastolic blood pressure at years 1 and 2 were observed with per-protocol analysis. Therefore, the present study did not provide evidence that a higher whey protein intake in older women can have prolonged effects on blood pressure.