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Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with poorer cognitive function in older adults. Although understudied in middle-aged adults, the relationship between alcohol and cognition may also be influenced by genetics such as the apolipoprotein (ApoE) ε4 allele, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. We examined the relationship between alcohol consumption, ApoE genotype, and cognition in middle-aged adults and hypothesized that light and/or moderate drinkers (≤2 drinks per day) would show better cognitive performance than heavy drinkers or non-drinkers. Additionally, we hypothesized that the association between alcohol use and cognitive function would differ by ApoE genotype (ε4+ vs. ε4−).
Participants were 1266 men from the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging (VETSA; M age = 56; range 51–60) who completed a neuropsychological battery assessing seven cognitive abilities: general cognitive ability (GCA), episodic memory, processing speed, executive function, abstract reasoning, verbal fluency, and visuospatial ability. Alcohol consumption was categorized into five groups: never, former, light, moderate, and heavy.
In fully adjusted models, there was no significant main effect of alcohol consumption on cognitive functions. However, there was a significant interaction between alcohol consumption and ApoE ε4 status for GCA and episodic memory, such that the relationship of alcohol consumption and cognition was stronger in ε4 carriers. The ε4+ heavy drinking subgroup had the poorest GCA and episodic memory.
Presence of the ε4 allele may increase vulnerability to the deleterious effects of heavy alcohol consumption. Beneficial effects of light or moderate alcohol consumption were not observed.
The Academic Development Study of Australian Twins was established in 2012 with the purpose of investigating the relative influence of genes and environments in literacy and numeracy capabilities across two primary and two secondary school grades in Australia. It is the first longitudinal twin project of its kind in Australia and comprises a sample of 2762 twin pairs, 40 triplet sets and 1485 nontwin siblings. Measures include standardized literacy and numeracy test data collected at Grades 3, 5, 7 and 9 as part of the National Assessment Program: Literacy and Numeracy. A range of demographic and behavioral data was also collected, some at multiple longitudinal time points. This article outlines the background and rationale for the study and provides an overview for the research design, sample and measures collected. Findings emerging from the project and future directions are discussed.
Microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition (MPCVD) was used to diffuse boron into tantalum using plasma initiated from a feedgas mixture containing hydrogen and diborane. The role of substrate temperature and substrate bias in influencing surface chemical structure and hardness was investigated. X-ray diffraction shows that increased temperature results in increased TaB2 formation (relative to TaB) along with increased strain in the tantalum body-centered cubic lattice. Once the strained tantalum becomes locally supersaturated with boron, TaB and TaB2 precipitate. Additional boron remains in a solid solution within the tantalum. The combination of precipitation and solid solution hardening along with boron-induced lattice strain may help explain the 40 GPa average hardness measured by nanoindentation. Application of negative substrate bias did not further increase the hardness, possibly due to etching from increased ion bombardment. These results show that MPCVD is a viable method for synthesis of superhard borides based on plasma-assisted diffusion.
A 2018 workshop on the White Mountain Apache Tribe lands in Arizona examined ways to enhance investigations into cultural property crime (CPC) through applications of rapidly evolving methods from archaeological science. CPC (also looting, graverobbing) refers to unauthorized damage, removal, or trafficking in materials possessing blends of communal, aesthetic, and scientific values. The Fort Apache workshop integrated four generally partitioned domains of CPC expertise: (1) theories of perpetrators’ motivations and methods; (2) recommended practice in sustaining public and community opposition to CPC; (3) tactics and strategies for documenting, investigating, and prosecuting CPC; and (4) forensic sedimentology—uses of biophysical sciences to link sediments from implicated persons and objects to crime scenes. Forensic sedimentology served as the touchstone for dialogues among experts in criminology, archaeological sciences, law enforcement, and heritage stewardship. Field visits to CPC crime scenes and workshop deliberations identified pathways toward integrating CPC theory and practice with forensic sedimentology’s potent battery of analytic methods.
Depression in older people is likely to become a growing global health problem with aging populations. Significant cultural variation exists in beliefs about depression (terminology, symptomatology, and treatments) but data from sub-Saharan Africa are minimal. Low-resource interventions for depression have been effective in low-income settings but cannot be utilized without accurate diagnosis. This study aimed to achieve a shared understanding of depression in Tanzania in older people.
Using a qualitative design, focus groups were conducted with participants aged 60 and over. Participants from rural villages of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, were selected via randomized sampling using census data. Topic guides were developed including locally developed case vignettes. Transcripts were translated into English from Swahili and thematic analysis conducted.
Ten focus groups were held with 81 participants. Three main themes were developed: a) conceptualization of depression by older people and differentiation from other related conditions (“too many thoughts,” cognitive symptoms, affective and biological symptoms, wish to die, somatic symptoms, and its difference to other concepts); b) the causes of depression (inability to work, loss of physical strength and independence, lack of resources, family difficulties, chronic disease); c) management of depression (love and comfort, advice, spiritual support, providing help, medical help).
This research expands our understanding of how depression presents in older Tanzanians and provides information about lay beliefs regarding causes and management options. This may allow development of culturally specific screening tools for depression that, in turn, increase diagnosis rates, support accurate diagnosis, improve service use, and reduce stigma.