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Ecomorphological and biogeochemical (trace element, and carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen isotope ratios) analyses have been used for determining the dietary niches and habitat preferences of large mammals from lower Pleistocene deposits at Venta Micena (Guadix-Baza Basin, Spain). The combination of these two approaches takes advantage of the strengths and overcome the weakness of both approaches. The range of δ13Ccollagen values for ungulate species indicates that C3 plants were dominant in the diet of these mammals. δ13Ccollagen values vary among ungulates: perissodactyls have the lowest values and bovids the highest ones, with cervids showing intermediate values. The hypsodonty index measured in lower molar teeth and the relative length of the lower premolar tooth row indicate that the horse, Equus altidens, was a grazing species, whereas the rhino, Stephanorhinus etruscus, was a mixed feeder in open habitats. The similar δ13Ccollagen values shown in both perissodactyls does not reflect differences in feeding behavior with other ungulates, but rather a lower isotope enrichment factor in these monogastric herbivores than in ruminants, owing to their lower metabolic efficiency. The cervids Eucladoceros giulii and Dama sp. show low hypsodonty values, indicating that they were mixed feeders or browsers from forested habitats, an ecomorphologically based conclusion corroborated in the former by its low δ15Ncollagen content (canopy effect). Bovid species (Bovini aff. Leptobos, Soergelia minor, and Hemitragus albus) presumably inhabited open environments, according to their comparatively high hypsodonty and δ15Ncollagen values. Carnivore species (Homotherium latidens, Megantereon whitei, Pachycrocuta brevirostris, Canis falconeri, and Canis etruscus) exhibit higher δ15Ncollagen values than ungulates. These results record the isotopic enrichment expected with an increase in trophic level and are also supported by low bone Sr.Zn ratios. The elevated δ15Ncollagen value for a sample of Mammuthus meridionalis, which came from an individual with unfused epiphyses, confirms that it was a suckling animal. The δ15Ncollagen value of the scimitar-cat H. latidens is well above that obtained for the young individual of Mammuthus, which indicates that juvenile elephants were an important part of its diet. The hippo, Hippopotamus antiquus, yielded unexpectedly high δ15Ncollagen values, which suggest feeding on aquatic, non-N2-fixing plants. The high δ18Ohydroxyl values of bovids Hemitragus and Soergelia and of cervid Dama indicate that these ungulates obtained most of their water requirements from the vegetation. The megaherbivores and Eucladoceros exhibit the lowest δ18Ohydroxyl values, which suggest increased water dependence for them. Paleosynecological analysis was based on the relative abundance of species of large mammals from different ecological categories, determined by feeding behavior and locomotion types. The comparison of the frequencies of such categories in Venta Micena with those found in modern African communities indicates that the composition of the paleocommunity closely resembles those of savannas with tall grass and shrubs. The net above-ground primary productivity estimated for the on-crop biomass of the mammalian species preserved in the fossil assemblage also yields a figure congruent with that expected for an open environment.
Whole-grain intake has been reported to be associated with a lower risk of several lifestyle-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, CVD and some types of cancers. As measurement errors in self-reported whole-grain intake assessments can be substantial, dietary biomarkers are relevant to be used as complementary tools for dietary intake assessment. Alkylresorcinols (AR) are phenolic lipids found almost exclusively in whole-grain wheat and rye products among the commonly consumed foods and are considered as valid biomarkers of the intake of these products. In the present study, we analysed the plasma concentrations of five AR homologues in 2845 participants from ten European countries from a nested case–control study in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. High concentrations of plasma total AR were found in participants from Scandinavia and Central Europe and lower concentrations in those from the Mediterranean countries. The geometric mean plasma total AR concentrations were between 35 and 41 nmol/l in samples drawn from fasting participants in the Central European and Scandinavian countries and below 23 nmol/l in those of participants from the Mediterranean countries. The whole-grain source (wheat or rye) could be determined using the ratio of two of the homologues. The main source was wheat in Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK, whereas rye was also consumed in considerable amounts in Germany, Denmark and Sweden. The present study demonstrates a considerable variation in the plasma concentrations of total AR and concentrations of AR homologues across ten European countries, reflecting both quantitative and qualitative differences in the intake of whole-grain wheat and rye.
We investigated extra-cardiac clinical symptoms and signs in the rare Jervell and Lange-Nielsen Syndrome, characterised by impaired KCNQ1 function, a gene essential for gastric acid secretion.
All Swedish Jervell and Lange-Nielsen cases with double KCNQ1 mutations (14 cases) were investigated by medical record review, an interview, and were offered laboratory testing for iron-deficiency anaemia and gastrointestinal markers.
A history of iron-deficiency anaemia in 12 of 14 patients and subjective gastrointestinal symptoms in 13 of 14 patients was revealed. Previous endoscopy in five cases had revealed no case of coeliac or inflammatory bowel disease but three cases of mucosal hyperplasia/dysplasia. Current signs of anaemia or iron substitution were present in 9 of 12 tested cases. Elevated levels of gastrin in seven of nine cases, pepsinogen in six of seven cases, and faecal calprotectin in nine of nine cases were present. A significant correlation between elevated gastrin levels and concurrent iron-deficiency and/or anaemia was revealed (p-value 0.039).
A high frequency of extra-cardiac clinical symptoms and previous medical investigations was found. We propose that the Jervell and Lange-Nielsen Syndrome phenotypically includes gastrointestinal symptoms/signs and secondary iron-deficiency anaemia owing to hypochlorhydria on the basis of KCNQ1 mutations. The resultant elevated gastrin level is a potential risk factor for later gastrointestinal cancer. Clinical monitoring with regard to developing anaemia and hypergastrinaemia should be considered in the Jervell and Lange-Nielsen Syndrome.
There is increasing evidence for a significant effect of processed meat (PM) intake on cancer risk. However, refined knowledge on how components of this heterogeneous food group are associated with cancer risk is still missing. Here, actual data on the intake of PM subcategories is given; within a food-based approach we considered preservation methods, cooking methods and nutrient content for stratification, in order to address most of the aetiologically relevant hypotheses.
Design and setting
Standardised computerised 24-hour diet recall interviews were collected within the framework of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), a prospective cohort study in 27 centres across 10 European countries.
Subjects were 22 924 women and 13 031 men aged 35–74 years.
Except for the so-called ‘health-conscious’ cohort in the UK, energy-adjusted total PM intake ranged between 11.1 and 47.9 g day−1 in women and 18.8 and 88.5 g day−1 in men. Ham, salami-type sausages and heated sausages contributed most to the overall PM intake. The intake of cured (addition of nitrate/nitrite) PM was highest in the German, Dutch and northern European EPIC centres, with up to 68.8 g day−1 in men. The same was true for smoked PM (up to 51.8 g day−1). However, due to the different manufacturing practice, the highest average intake of NaNO2 through PM consumption was found for the Spanish centres (5.4 mg day−1 in men) as compared with German and British centres. Spanish centres also showed the highest intake of NaCl-rich types of PM; most cholesterol- and iron-rich PM was consumed in central and northern European centres. Possibly hazardous cooking methods were more often used for PM preparation in central and northern European centres.
We applied a food-based categorisation of PM that addresses aetiologically relevant mechanisms for cancer development and found distinct differences in dietary intake of these categories of PM across European cohorts. This predisposes EPIC to further investigate the role of PM in cancer aetiology.
Tree nuts, peanuts and seeds are nutrient dense foods whose intake has been shown to be associated with reduced risk of some chronic diseases. They are regularly consumed in European diets either as whole, in spreads or from hidden sources (e.g. commercial products). However, little is known about their intake profiles or differences in consumption between European countries or geographic regions. The objective of this study was to analyse the population mean intake and average portion sizes in subjects reporting intake of nuts and seeds consumed as whole, derived from hidden sources or from spreads. Data was obtained from standardised 24-hour dietary recalls collected from 36 994 subjects in 10 different countries that are part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Overall, for nuts and seeds consumed as whole, the percentage of subjects reporting intake on the day of the recall was: tree nuts = 4·4%, peanuts = 2·3% and seeds = 1·3%. The data show a clear northern (Sweden: mean intake = 0·15 g/d, average portion size = 15·1 g/d) to southern (Spain: mean intake = 2·99 g/d, average portion size = 34·7 g/d) European gradient of whole tree nut intake. The three most popular tree nuts were walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts, respectively. In general, tree nuts were more widely consumed than peanuts or seeds. In subjects reporting intake, men consumed a significantly higher average portion size of tree nuts (28·5 v. 23·1 g/d, P<0·01) and peanuts (46·1 v. 35·1 g/d, P<0·01) per day than women. These data may be useful in devising research initiatives and health policy strategies based on the intake of this food group.
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