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Objectives: Craniopharyngioma survivors experience cognitive deficits that negatively impact quality of life. Aerobic fitness is associated with cognitive benefits in typically developing children and physical exercise promotes recovery following brain injury. Accordingly, we investigated cognitive and neural correlates of aerobic fitness in a sample of craniopharyngioma patients. Methods: Patients treated for craniopharyngioma [N=104, 10.0±4.6 years, 48% male] participated in fitness, cognitive and fMRI (n=51) assessments following surgery but before proton radiation therapy. Results: Patients demonstrated impaired aerobic fitness [peak oxygen uptake (PKVO2)=23.9±7.1, 41% impaired (i.e., 1.5 SD<normative mean)], motor proficiency [Bruininks-Oseretsky (BOT2)=38.6±9.0, 28% impaired], and executive functions (e.g., WISC-IV Working Memory Index (WMI)=96.0±15.3, 11% impaired). PKVO2 correlated with better executive functions (e.g., WISC-IV WMI r=.27, p=.02) and academic performance (WJ-III Calculation r=.24, p=.04). BOT2 correlated with better attention (e.g., CPT-II omissions r=.26, p=.04) and executive functions (e.g., WISC-IV WMI r=.32, p=.01). Areas of robust neural activation during an n-back task included superior parietal lobule, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and middle and superior frontal gyri (p<.05, corrected). Higher network activation was associated with better working memory task performance and better BOT2 (p<.001). Conclusions: Before adjuvant therapy, children with craniopharyngioma demonstrate significantly reduced aerobic fitness, motor proficiency, and working memory. Better aerobic fitness and motor proficiency are associated with better attention and executive functions, as well as greater activation of a well-established working memory network. These findings may help explain differential risk/resiliency with respect to acute cognitive changes that may portend cognitive late effects. (JINS, 2019, 25, 413–425)
The longevity of Cassini’s exploration of Saturn’s atmosphere (a third of a Saturnian year) means that we have been able to track the seasonal evolution of atmospheric temperatures, chemistry and cloud opacity over almost every season, from solstice to solstice and from perihelion to aphelion. Cassini has built upon the decades-long ground-based record to observe seasonal shifts in atmospheric temperature, finding a thermal response that lags behind the seasonal insolation with a lag time that increases with depth into the atmosphere, in agreement with radiative climate models. Seasonal hemispheric contrasts are perturbed at smaller scales by atmospheric circulation, such as belt/zone dynamics, the equatorial oscillations and the polar vortices. Temperature asymmetries are largest in the middle stratosphere and become insignificant near the radiative-convective boundary. Cassini has also measured southern-summertime asymmetries in atmospheric composition, including ammonia (the key species forming the topmost clouds), phosphine and para-hydrogen (both disequilibrium species) in the upper troposphere; and hydrocarbons deriving from the UV photolysis of methane in the stratosphere (principally ethane and acetylene). These chemical asymmetries are now altering in subtle ways due to (i) the changing chemical efficiencies with temperature and insolation and (ii) vertical motions associated with large-scale overturning in response to the seasonal temperature contrasts. Similarly, hemispheric contrasts in tropospheric aerosol opacity and coloration that were identified during the earliest phases of Cassini’s exploration have now reversed, suggesting an intricate link between the clouds and the temperatures. Finally, comparisons of observations between Voyager and Cassini (both observing in early northern spring, one Saturn year apart) show tantalizing suggestions of non-seasonal variability. Disentangling the competing effects of radiative balance, chemistry and dynamics in shaping the seasonal evolution of Saturn’s temperatures, clouds and composition remains the key challenge for the next generation of observations and numerical simulations.
In 785 mother–child (50% male) pairs from a longitudinal epidemiological birth cohort, we investigated associations between inflammation-related epigenetic polygenic risk scores (i-ePGS), environmental exposures, cognitive function, and child and adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems. We examined prenatal and postnatal effects. For externalizing problems, one prenatal effect was found: i-ePGS at birth associated with higher externalizing problems (ages 7–15) indirectly through lower cognitive function (age 7). For internalizing problems, we identified two effects. For a prenatal effect, i-ePGS at birth associated with higher internalizing symptoms via continuity in i-ePGS at age 7. For a postnatal effect, higher postnatal adversity exposure (birth through age 7) associated with higher internalizing problems (ages 7–15) via higher i-ePGS (age 7). Hence, externalizing problems were related mainly to prenatal effects involving lower cognitive function, whereas internalizing problems appeared related to both prenatal and postnatal effects. The present study supports a link between i-ePGS and child and adolescent mental health.
Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88) presented a critique of our recently published paper in Cell Reports entitled ‘Large-Scale Cognitive GWAS Meta-Analysis Reveals Tissue-Specific Neural Expression and Potential Nootropic Drug Targets’ (Lam et al., Cell Reports, Vol. 21, 2017, 2597–2613). Specifically, Hill offered several interrelated comments suggesting potential problems with our use of a new analytic method called Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS (MTAG) (Turley et al., Nature Genetics, Vol. 50, 2018, 229–237). In this brief article, we respond to each of these concerns. Using empirical data, we conclude that our MTAG results do not suffer from ‘inflation in the FDR [false discovery rate]’, as suggested by Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88), and are not ‘more relevant to the genetic contributions to education than they are to the genetic contributions to intelligence’.
Good education requires student experiences that deliver lessons about practice as well as theory and that encourage students to work for the public good—especially in the operation of democratic institutions (Dewey 1923; Dewy 1938). We report on an evaluation of the pedagogical value of a research project involving 23 colleges and universities across the country. Faculty trained and supervised students who observed polling places in the 2016 General Election. Our findings indicate that this was a valuable learning experience in both the short and long terms. Students found their experiences to be valuable and reported learning generally and specifically related to course material. Postelection, they also felt more knowledgeable about election science topics, voting behavior, and research methods. Students reported interest in participating in similar research in the future, would recommend other students to do so, and expressed interest in more learning and research about the topics central to their experience. Our results suggest that participants appreciated the importance of elections and their study. Collectively, the participating students are engaged and efficacious—essential qualities of citizens in a democracy.
In September 2016, the annual meeting of the International Union for Quaternary Research’s Loess and Pedostratigraphy Focus Group, traditionally referred to as a LoessFest, met in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA. The 2016 LoessFest focused on “thin” loess deposits and loess transportation surfaces. This LoessFest included 75 registered participants from 10 countries. Almost half of the participants were from outside the United States, and 18 of the participants were students. This review is the introduction to the special issue for Quaternary Research that originated from presentations and discussions at the 2016 LoessFest. This introduction highlights current understanding and ongoing work on loess in various regions of the world and provides brief summaries of some of the current approaches/strategies used to study loess deposits.
Once-daily dosing with dasotraline, a novel dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, achieves stable plasma concentrations over 24 hours with once-daily dosing. This study evaluated dasotraline in children aged 6–12 years (NCT02428088).
Patients were randomized 1:1:1 to 6 weeks of once-daily, fixed-dose dasotraline 2 or 4 mg/day, or placebo. The primary efficacy endpoint was change from baseline (CFB) at Week 6 in ADHD Rating Scale Version IV – Home Version (ADHD RS-IV HV) total score, using a mixed model for repeated measures (MMRM) in the intent-to-treat (ITT) population. Secondary endpoints included Clinical Global Impression-Severity (CGI-S) score and safety endpoints.
The mean age of 342 randomized patients was 9.1 [SD: 1.9] years; 66.7% were male. Overall, 79% of patients completed the study. In the ITT population (N=336), ADHD RS-IV HV total score improved significantly with dasotraline 4 mg/day vs placebo(least squares [LS] mean [SE] CFB at Week 6: –17.53 [±1.31] vs –11.36 [±1.29], respectively, p<0.001; effect size [ES]: 0.48). Inattentiveness and hyperactivity/impulsivity subscale scores significantly improved with 4 mg/day vs placebo at Week 6 (p=0.001, p=0.003, respectively). Improvement in CGI-S score was statistically significant with dasotraline 4 mg/day vs placebo(LS mean [SE] CFB at Week 6: –1.39 [±0.12] vs –1.04 [±0.12], respectively, p=0.040; ES: 0.29). No significant improvement was observed on the ADHD RS-IV HV total score and the CGI-S score for dasotraline 2 mg/day vs placebo. The most frequent treatment-emergent AEs (≥5% and higher than placebo) were (2 mg/day; 4 mg/day; placebo): insomnia (15.3%; 21.7%; 4.3%, all terms combined), decreased appetite (12.6%; 21.7%; 5.2%), weight loss (5.4%; 8.7%; 0%), irritability (3.6%; 7.0%; 6.0%), nasopharyngitis (0.9%; 5.2%; 0.9%), and nausea (0%; 5.2%; 2.6%).
Compared with placebo, dasotraline 4 mg/day significantly improved ADHD symptoms in children, as assessed by ADHD RS-IV HV total score and inattentiveness and hyperactivity/impulsivity subscale scores. Dasotraline was generally well tolerated; most common AEs were insomnia, decreased appetite, weight loss and irritability.
The Neotoma Paleoecology Database is a community-curated data resource that supports interdisciplinary global change research by enabling broad-scale studies of taxon and community diversity, distributions, and dynamics during the large environmental changes of the past. By consolidating many kinds of data into a common repository, Neotoma lowers costs of paleodata management, makes paleoecological data openly available, and offers a high-quality, curated resource. Neotoma’s distributed scientific governance model is flexible and scalable, with many open pathways for participation by new members, data contributors, stewards, and research communities. The Neotoma data model supports, or can be extended to support, any kind of paleoecological or paleoenvironmental data from sedimentary archives. Data additions to Neotoma are growing and now include >3.8 million observations, >17,000 datasets, and >9200 sites. Dataset types currently include fossil pollen, vertebrates, diatoms, ostracodes, macroinvertebrates, plant macrofossils, insects, testate amoebae, geochronological data, and the recently added organic biomarkers, stable isotopes, and specimen-level data. Multiple avenues exist to obtain Neotoma data, including the Explorer map-based interface, an application programming interface, the neotoma R package, and digital object identifiers. As the volume and variety of scientific data grow, community-curated data resources such as Neotoma have become foundational infrastructure for big data science.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
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.
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.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.