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Neurodevelopment is sensitive to genetic and pre/postnatal environmental influences. These effects are likely mediated by epigenetic factors, yet current knowledge is limited. Longitudinal twin studies can delineate the link between genetic and environmental factors, epigenetic state at birth and neurodevelopment later in childhood. Building upon our study of the Peri/postnatal Epigenetic Twin Study (PETS) from gestation to 6 years of age, here we describe the PETS 11-year follow-up in which we will use neuroimaging and cognitive testing to examine the relationship between early-life environment, epigenetics and neurocognitive outcomes in mid-childhood. Using a within-pair twin model, the primary aims are to (1) identify early-life epigenetic correlates of neurocognitive outcomes; (2) determine the developmental stability of epigenetic effects and (3) identify modifiable environmental risk factors. Secondary aims are to identify factors influencing gut microbiota between 6 and 11 years of age to investigate links between gut microbiota and neurodevelopmental outcomes in mid-childhood. Approximately 210 twin pairs will undergo an assessment at 11 years of age. This includes a direct child cognitive assessment, multimodal magnetic resonance imaging, biological sampling, anthropometric measurements and a range of questionnaires on health and development, behavior, dietary habits and sleeping patterns. Data from complementary data sources, including the National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy and the Australian Early Development Census, will also be sought. Following on from our previous focus on relationships between growth, cardiovascular health and oral health, this next phase of PETS will significantly advance our understanding of the environmental interactions that shape the developing brain.
Essential variables to consider for an efficient control strategy for invasive plants include dispersion pattern (i.e., satellite or invasion front) and patch expansion rate. These variables were demonstrated for buffelgrass [Pennisetum ciliare (L.) Link], a C4 perennial grass introduced from Africa, which has invaded broadly around the world. The study site was along a roadway in southern Arizona (USA). The P. ciliare plant distributions show the pattern of clumping associated with the satellite (nascent foci) colonization pattern (average nearest neighbor test, z-score −47.2, P<0.01). The distance between patches ranged from 0.743 to 12.8 km, with an average distance between patches of 5.6 km. Median patch expansion rate was 271% over the 3-yr monitoring period versus 136% found in other studies of established P. ciliare patches. Targeting P. ciliare satellite patches as a control strategy may exponentially reduce the areal doubling time, while targeting the largest patches may have less effect on the invasion speed.
Lithium-ion capacitors (LICs) and Hybrid LICs (H-LICs) were assembled as three-layered pouch cells in an asymmetric configuration employing Faradaic pre-lithiated hard carbon anodes and non-Faradaic ion adsorption-desorption activated carbon (AC) cathodes for LICs and lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4-LFP)/AC composite cathodes for H-LICs. The room temperature rate performance was evaluated after the initial LIC and H-LIC cell formation as a function of the electrolyte additives. The capacity retention was measured after charging at high temperature conditions, while the design factor explored was electrolyte additive formulation, with a focus on their stability. The high temperature potential holds simulate electrochemical energy materials under extreme environments and act to accelerate the failure mechanisms associated with cell degradation to determine robust electrolyte/additive combinations.
We commend Rotolo et al. (2018) for introducing a new lens for viewing the well-known gap between industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology research and human resource (HR) practices in organizations. However, Rotolo et al.’s characterization of practitioner behavior as “anti I-O” suggests a particularly negative view of scientific research among some HR practitioners. The label implies that some HR practitioners are intentionally ignoring or actively resisting academic research. More likely, the behavior stems from a passive indifference to academia, which may be the appropriate attitude for some practitioners to adopt when a great deal of academic research is too slow, too theoretical, and too cryptically communicated to be useful in applied settings. We agree with Rotolo et al. when they say, “we are a discipline that is not geared for being cutting edge” (p. 182), and we appreciate their recommendations for addressing this lack of relevance. However, most recommendations in this broader discussion do not address the foundational problem within our field: a systemic mismatch between the incentives of practitioners and academics. To support this point, we briefly describe a typology of I-O psychologists as well as the varying contexts and incentives that drive their behavior. We then close with our own recommendations for how academia can improve its relevance to practitioners and close the gap. These changes are not easy, but we agree with Rotolo and colleagues that if any field can address such foundational problems, it is ours.
Objective: The human gut microbiota has been demonstrated to be associated with a number of host phenotypes, including obesity and a number of obesity-associated phenotypes. This study is aimed at further understanding and describing the relationship between the gut microbiota and obesity-associated measurements obtained from human participants. Subjects/Methods: Here, we utilize genetically informative study designs, including a four-corners design (extremes of genetic risk for BMI and of observed BMI; N = 50) and the BMI monozygotic (MZ) discordant twin pair design (N = 30), in order to help delineate the role of host genetics and the gut microbiota in the development of obesity. Results: Our results highlight a negative association between BMI and alpha diversity of the gut microbiota. The low genetic risk/high BMI group of individuals had a lower gut microbiota alpha diversity when compared to the other three groups. Although the difference in alpha diversity between the lean and heavy groups of the BMI-discordant MZ twin design did not achieve significance, this difference was observed to be in the expected direction, with the heavier participants having a lower average alpha diversity. We have also identified nine OTUs observed to be associated with either a leaner or heavier phenotype, with enrichment for OTUs classified to the Ruminococcaceae and Oxalobacteraceae taxonomic families. Conclusion: Our study presents evidence of a relationship between BMI and alpha diversity of the gut microbiota. In addition to these findings, a number of OTUs were found to be significantly associated with host BMI. These findings may highlight separate subtypes of obesity, one driven by genetic factors, the other more heavily influenced by environmental factors.
To explore the prevalence and drivers of hospital-level variability in antibiotic utilization among hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients to inform antimicrobial stewardship initiatives.
Retrospective cohort study using data merged from the Pediatric Health Information System and the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research.
The study included 27 transplant centers in freestanding children’s hospitals.
The primary outcome was days of broad-spectrum antibiotic use in the interval from day of HCT through neutrophil engraftment. Hospital antibiotic utilization rates were reported as days of therapy (DOTs) per 1,000 neutropenic days. Negative binomial regression was used to estimate hospital utilization rates, adjusting for patient covariates including demographics, transplant characteristics, and severity of illness. To better quantify the magnitude of hospital variation and to explore hospital-level drivers in addition to patient-level drivers of variation, mixed-effects negative binomial models were also constructed.
Adjusted hospital rates of antipseudomonal antibiotic use varied from 436 to 1121 DOTs per 1,000 neutropenic days, and rates of broad-spectrum, gram-positive antibiotic use varied from 153 to 728 DOTs per 1,000 neutropenic days. We detected variability by hospital in choice of antipseudomonal agent (ie, cephalosporins, penicillins, and carbapenems), but gram-positive coverage was primarily driven by vancomycin use. Considerable center-level variability remained even after controlling for additional hospital-level factors. Antibiotic use was not strongly associated with days of significant illness or mortality.
Among a homogenous population of children undergoing HCT for acute leukemia, both the quantity and spectrum of antibiotic exposure in the immediate posttransplant period varied widely. Antimicrobial stewardship initiatives can apply these data to optimize the use of antibiotics in transplant patients.
The Arctic marine environment is undergoing a transition from thick multi-year to first-year sea-ice cover with coincident lengthening of the melt season. Such changes are evident in the Baffin Bay-Davis Strait-Labrador Sea (BDL) region where melt onset has occurred ~8 days decade−1 earlier from 1979 to 2015. A series of anomalously early events has occurred since the mid-1990s, overlapping a period of increased upper-air ridging across Greenland and the northwestern North Atlantic. We investigate an extreme early melt event observed in spring 2013. (~6σ below the 1981–2010 melt climatology), with respect to preceding sub-seasonal mid-tropospheric circulation conditions as described by a daily Greenland Blocking Index (GBI). The 40-days prior to the 2013 BDL melt onset are characterized by a persistent, strong 500 hPa anticyclone over the region (GBI >+1 on >75% of days). This circulation pattern advected warm air from northeastern Canada and the northwestern Atlantic poleward onto the thin, first-year sea ice and caused melt ~50 days earlier than normal. The episodic increase in the ridging atmospheric pattern near western Greenland as in 2013, exemplified by large positive GBI values, is an important recent process impacting the atmospheric circulation over a North Atlantic cryosphere undergoing accelerated regional climate change.
National security is one of many fields where experts make vague probability assessments when evaluating high-stakes decisions. This practice has always been controversial, and it is often justified on the grounds that making probability assessments too precise could bias analysts or decision makers. Yet these claims have rarely been submitted to rigorous testing. In this paper, we specify behavioral concerns about probabilistic precision into falsifiable hypotheses which we evaluate through survey experiments involving national security professionals. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we find that decision makers responding to quantitative probability assessments are less willing to support risky actions and more receptive to gathering additional information. Yet we also find that when respondents estimate probabilities themselves, quantification magnifies overconfidence, particularly among low-performing assessors. These results hone wide-ranging concerns about probabilistic precision into a specific and previously undocumented bias that training may be able to correct.
Those of us who study human cognition have no easy task. We try to understand how people functionally represent and process information in performing cognitive activities such as vision, perception, memory, language, and decision making. Fortunately, experimental psychology has a rich theoretical tradition, and there is no shortage of insightful theoretical proposals. Also, it has a rich experimental tradition, with a multitude of experimental techniques for isolating purported processes. What it lacks, however, is a rich statistical tradition to link theory to data. At the heart of the field is the difficult task of trying to use data from experiments to inform theory, that is, to understand accurately the relationships within the data and how they provide evidence for or against various theoretical positions.
The difficulty in linking data to theory can be seen in a classic example from Estes (1956). Estes considered two different theories of learning: one in which learning was gradual, and another where learning happened all at once. These two accounts are shown in Figure 9.1A. Because these accounts are so different, adjudicating between them should be trivial: one simply examines the data for either a step function or a gradual change. Yet, in many cases, this task is surprisingly difficult. To see this difficulty, consider the data of Reder and Ritter (1992), who studied the speed up in response times from repeated practice of a mathematics tasks. The data are shown in Figure 9.1B, and the gray lines show the data from individuals. These individual data are highly variable, making it impossible to spot trends. A first-order approach is to simply take the means across individuals at different levels of practice, and these means (points) decrease gradually, seemingly providing support for the gradual theory of learning. Estes, however, noted that this pattern does not necessarily imply that learning is gradual. Instead, learning might be all-at-once, but the time at which different individuals transition may be different. Figure 9.1C shows an example; for demonstration purposes, hypothetical data are shown without noise. If data are generated from the all-at-once model and there is variation in this transition time, then the mean will reflect the proportion of individuals in the unlearned state at a given level of practice.
Objectives: Following pediatric moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (msTBI), few predictors have been identified that can reliably identify which individuals are at risk for long-term cognitive difficulties. This study sought to determine the relative contribution of detailed descriptors of injury severity as well as demographic and psychosocial factors to long-term cognitive outcomes after pediatric msTBI. Methods: Participants included 8- to 19-year-olds, 46 with msTBI and 53 uninjured healthy controls (HC). Assessments were conducted in the post-acute and chronic stages of recovery. Medical record review provided details regarding acute injury severity. Parents also completed a measure of premorbid functioning and behavioral problems. The outcome of interest was four neurocognitive measures sensitive to msTBI combined to create an index of cognitive performance. Results: Results indicated that none of the detailed descriptors of acute injury severity predicted cognitive performance. Only the occurrence of injury, parental education, and premorbid academic competence predicted post-acute cognitive functioning. Long-term cognitive outcomes were best predicted by post-acute cognitive functioning. Discussion: The findings suggest that premorbid factors influence cognitive outcomes nearly as much as the occurrence of a msTBI. Furthermore, of youth with msTBI who initially recover to a level of moderate disability or better, a brief cognitive battery administered within several months after injury can best predict which individuals will experience poor long-term cognitive outcomes and require additional services. (JINS, 2016, 22, 1–8)
We analyzed birth order differences in means and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from infancy to old age. The data were derived from the international CODATwins database. The total number of height and BMI measures from 0.5 to 79.5 years of age was 397,466. As expected, first-born twins had greater birth weight than second-born twins. With respect to height, first-born twins were slightly taller than second-born twins in childhood. After adjusting the results for birth weight, the birth order differences decreased and were no longer statistically significant. First-born twins had greater BMI than the second-born twins over childhood and adolescence. After adjusting the results for birth weight, birth order was still associated with BMI until 12 years of age. No interaction effect between birth order and zygosity was found. Only limited evidence was found that birth order influenced variances of height or BMI. The results were similar among boys and girls and also in MZ and DZ twins. Overall, the differences in height and BMI between first- and second-born twins were modest even in early childhood, while adjustment for birth weight reduced the birth order differences but did not remove them for BMI.
Designers faced with the task of developing a new product model of a brand must balance several considerations. The design must be novel and express attributes important to the customers, while also recognizable as a representative of the brand. This balancing is left to the intuition of the designers, who must anticipate how customers will perceive the new design. Oftentimes, the design freedom used to meet a product attribute can compromise the recognition of the product as a member of the brand. In this paper, an experiment is conducted for measuring changes in ten styling attributes common to both design freedom and brand recognition for automotive designs from four brands, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, and Lexus, using customer responses to two- and three-dimensional vehicle designs created and presented interactively through a crowdsourced web application. Results show that while brand recognition is highly dependent on the manufacturer, two brands have strong negative relationship between design freedom and brand recognition, suggesting that these two manufacturers face a significant challenge when evolving their respective brand styling. This study is a first effort toward quantifying and predicting tradeoffs between design freedom and brand recognition, contributing to existing efforts that augment human intuition during strategic design decisions.
• Party control of Congress is the strongest determinant of presidential success – majority party presidents win more roll call votes than do minority party presidents.
• Until recently, the effects of party control were similar in both chambers. Rising party polarization in Congress affects presidential success differently in the House and Senate.
• In the House, party polarization amplifies the effects of party control – as party polarization increases, majority party presidents win more and minority presidents win less.
• In the Senate, party polarization suppresses success rates – majority presidents still win more on average, but as party voting increases, success rates decline for both majority and minority presidents.
• The rise in cloture votes and the emergence of the minority party filibuster during the Bush and Obama presidencies is responsible for the changes in how party polarization conditions the effects of party control in the Senate.
• Since cloture votes are unique to the Senate, excluding cloture votes provides a mix of Senate votes similar to the House – as party polarization increases on non-cloture votes, majority presidents win more and minority presidents win less, though the relationships are weaker than in the House.
• On cloture votes, polarization magnifies the effects of party control, but the pattern of success is a mirror image of the House – as party polarization increases, minority presidents win more and majority presidents win less.
• The simple arithmetic of which side of cloture the president is on explains why the relationships flip. Majority presidents usually favor invoking cloture, which requires 60 votes to win. Minority presidents usually oppose invoking cloture, which requires only 41 votes to win.
To achieve his goals, the president must persuade Congress to support his positions. Ite's a hard sell. The American system of “separated institutions sharing powers” (Neustadt 1960: 33) makes it difficult for any president to win support from Congress. Presidential success in Congress varies – some presidents win more than others – but President Obama seems to be having an especially hard time. In 2012, for example, Obama won only 15.5 percent of House roll call votes on which he expressed a position. Thate's pretty low, but not quite a record – President Bush barely holds on to this dubious distinction, winning only 15.4 percent of House roll calls in 2008.
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.
We aimed to obtain a better understanding of how different aspects of patient functioning affect key cost and caregiver outcomes in Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Baseline data from a prospective observational study of community-living AD patients (GERAS) were used. Functioning was assessed using the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study – Activities of Daily Living Scale. Generalized linear models were conducted to analyze the relationship between scores for total activities of daily living (ADL), basic ADL (BADL), instrumental ADL (IADL), ADL subdomains (confirmed through factor analysis) and individual ADL questions, and total societal costs, patient healthcare and social care costs, total and supervision caregiver time, and caregiver burden.
Four distinct ADL subdomains were confirmed: basic activities, domestic/household activities, communication, and outside activities. Higher total societal costs were associated with impairments in all aspects of ADL, including all subdomains; patient costs were associated with total ADL and BADL, and basic activities subdomain scores. Both total and supervision caregiver hours were associated with total ADL and IADL scores, and domestic/household and outside activities subdomain scores (greater hours associated with greater functional impairments). There was no association between caregiver burden and BADL or basic activities subdomain scores. The relationship between total ADL, IADL, and the outside activities subdomain and outcomes differed between patients with mild and moderate-to-severe AD.
Identification of ADL subdomains may lead to a better understanding of the association between patient function and costs and caregiver outcomes at different stages of AD, in particular the outside activities subdomain within mild AD.