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Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have more cognitive impairments. However, the etiologies are not fully clear. Plasma homocysteine levels and vascular burden rise in CKD; meanwhile, high homocysteine levels and vascular factors are known risk factors of dementia in non-CKD patients. Thus, we aimed to investigate the association between homocysteine, vascular burden and cognitive impairment in CKD and to see if the effect of elevated homocysteine on cognitive impairment mediated by vascular factor.
146 patients with CKD and 69 normal comparisons were recruited. Cognitive function was evaluated by comprehensive neuropsychological tests assessing processing speed, executive function, language, visuospatial function, memory, and attention domains. Vascular burden was assessed by Framinghan cardiovascular risk scale (FCRS) which indicates risk of atherosclerotic diseases including stroke.
In controlled analysis, patients with CKD had lower scores in all cognitive domains, and had higher homocysteine levels (18.5±6.4 vs. 9.8±2.9, p< 0.0001) and FCRS(17.0±4.7 vs. 14.0±4.7, p< 0.0001). Among patients with CKD, higher homocysteine levels (p=0.026) were associated with lower score on digit symbol task which is related to processing speed and executive function with controlling for age, sex, education and stage of CKD. The association persisted (p=0.047) after controlling for vascular risks.
Patients with CKD had extensive cognitive impairments. Elevated homocysteine levels may be an risk factor, which is independent of vascular burden, of cognitive impairment on processing speed and executive function. Further studies to investigate if normalization of homocysteine can improve cognitive function will be suggested.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
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.
Kuratite, ideally Ca4(Fe2+10Ti2)O4[Si8Al4O36], the Fe2+-analogue of rhönite and a new member of the sapphirine supergroup, was identified from the D'Orbigny angrite meteorite by electron microscopy and micro-Raman spectroscopy. Based on the least-squares refinement of 25 d-spacings measured from selected-area electron diffraction patterns of 11 zone axes, the symmetry of kuratite was shown to be triclinic (space group by analogy to rhönite) with a = 10.513(7), b = 10.887(7), c = 9.004(18) Å, α = 105.97(13), β = 96.00(12), γ = 124.82(04)°, V = 767 ± 2 Å3 and Z = 1 for the 40 oxygen formula. The empirical formula based on eight electron microprobe analyses is (Ca3.88Na0.02REE3+0.03Mn0.03Mg0.01Ni0.02Zn0.01Sr0.01)∑4.01 (Fe2+9.989.9Ti2.00)∑11.98(Si7.80Al3.52Fe3+0.64P0.05S0.02)∑12.03O39.98F0.01Cl0.01. The simplified formula is Ca4(Fe2+10Ti2)O4[Si8Al4O36]. Micro-Raman spectroscopy showed four main bands resembling those of lunar rhönite but with higher frequencies due to different chemical composition. Analogous to the occurrence of kuratite in terrestrial basaltic rocks, kuratite coexisting with Al, Ti-bearing hedenbergite, ulvöspinel, iron-sulfide, tsangpoite, Ca-rich fayalite and kirschsteinite in D'Orbigny angrite most probably was formed at >1000°C by rapid cooling of an interstitial melt, which is subsilicic, almost Mg-free but enriched in Al-P-Ca-Ti-Fe.
Although mental disorders are significant predictors of educational attainment throughout the entire educational career, most research on mental disorders among students has focused on the primary and secondary school years.
The World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys were used to examine the associations of mental disorders with college entry and attrition by comparing college students (n = 1572) and non-students in the same age range (18–22 years; n = 4178), including non-students who recently left college without graduating (n = 702) based on surveys in 21 countries (four low/lower-middle income, five upper-middle-income, one lower-middle or upper-middle at the times of two different surveys, and 11 high income). Lifetime and 12-month prevalence and age-of-onset of DSM-IV anxiety, mood, behavioral and substance disorders were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).
One-fifth (20.3%) of college students had 12-month DSM-IV/CIDI disorders; 83.1% of these cases had pre-matriculation onsets. Disorders with pre-matriculation onsets were more important than those with post-matriculation onsets in predicting subsequent college attrition, with substance disorders and, among women, major depression the most important such disorders. Only 16.4% of students with 12-month disorders received any 12-month healthcare treatment for their mental disorders.
Mental disorders are common among college students, have onsets that mostly occur prior to college entry, in the case of pre-matriculation disorders are associated with college attrition, and are typically untreated. Detection and effective treatment of these disorders early in the college career might reduce attrition and improve educational and psychosocial functioning.
Eustachian tube dysfunction is a disorder for which there are limited medical and surgical treatments. Recently, eustachian tube balloon dilation has been proposed as a potential solution.
A systematic literature review was performed. Abstracts were selected for relevance, and pooled data analysis and qualitative analysis was conducted.
Nine prospective studies, describing 713 eustachian tube balloon dilations in 474 patients (aged 18–86 years), were identified. Follow-up duration ranged from 1.5 to 18 months. Ability to perform a Valsalva manoeuvre improved from 20 to 177 out of 245 ears following eustachian tube balloon dilation and, where data were reported in terms of patient numbers, from 15 to 189 out of 210 patients. Tympanograms were classified as type A in 7 out of 141 ears pre-operatively and in 86 out of 141 ears post-operatively.
Prospective case series can confirm the safety of eustachian tube balloon dilation. As a potential solution for chronic eustachian tube dysfunction, further investigations are warranted to establish a higher level of evidence of efficacy.
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.
Snellenius manilae (Ashmead) and Meteorus pulchricornis (Wesmael) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) are larval endoparasitoids of Spodoptera litura (Fabricius) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Both species preferentially parasitize early-instar S. litura and occupy similar ecological niches. Therefore, competition between the two species may occur. In this study, intrinsic competition and cage experiments were conducted to discuss the interactions between S. manilae and M. pulchricornis. The results indicated that in intrinsic competition, M. pulchricornis was always the dominant species. In cage experiments, when the total number of parasitoids was four, the parasitism rates following the release of one species were significantly higher than the release of two species simultaneously. In addition, parasitism rate of eight M. pulchricornis was also significantly higher than the parasitism rate of the treatment released four S. manilae and four M. pulchricornis simultaneously. Therefore, competition occurs between S. manilae and M. pulchricornis, and M. pulchricornis is typically the superior of the two species. The use of M. pulchricornis as a biological agent for S. litura should be considered.
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.
Weather conditions and social contact patterns provide some clues to understanding year-round influenza epidemics in the tropics. Recent studies suggest that contact patterns may direct influenza transmission in the tropics as critically as the aerosol channel in temperate regions. To examine this argument, we analysed a representative nationwide survey dataset of contact diaries with comprehensive weather data in Taiwan. Methods we used included model-free estimated relative changes in reproduction number, R0; relative changes in the number of contacts; and model-based estimated relative changes in mean contacts using zero-inflated negative binomial regression models. Overall, social contact patterns clearly differ by demographics (such as age groups), personal idiosyncrasies (such as personality and happiness), and social institutions (such as the division of weekdays and weekend days). Further, weather conditions also turn out to be closely linked to contact patterns under various circumstances. Fleeting contacts, for example, tend to diminish when it rains hard on weekdays, while physical contacts also decrease during weekend days with heavy rain. Frequent social contacts on weekdays and under good weather conditions, including high temperature and low absolute humidity, all might facilitate the transmission of infectious diseases in tropical regions.
We present a computational analysis of thermal transport in Silicon-Germanium alloy nanowires (SiGeNWs), particularly focusing on the relative roles of alloy scattering and boundary scattering to the significant reduction of thermal conductivity (κ). Our nonequilibrium molecular dynamics (NEMD) simulations confirm the strong dependence of κ on Si:Ge ratio, as observed in previous experimental studies. Interestingly, as the amount of impurity increases, the difference in κ between SiGe bulk and SiGeNW becomes smaller. Especially, κSiGeNW and κSiGe have similar κ values when the Ge content is 20-80 %. From a nonequilibrium Green’s function (NEGF)-density functional theory (DFT) analysis, it is suggested that the most reduction in transmission channels is attributed to the strong alloy scattering effect for both Si0.8Ge0.2 bulk and Si0.8Ge0.2 NW. The boundary scattering effect in the SiGe alloy system seems to be unimportant as alloy scattering is dominant. The improved understanding provides fundamental insight into how to modify Si-based materials to enhance their thermoelectric (TE) properties through nanostructuring and alloying.
To examine barriers to initiation and continuation of mental health treatment among individuals with common mental disorders.
Data were from the World Health Organization (WHO) World Mental Health (WMH) surveys. Representative household samples were interviewed face to face in 24 countries. Reasons to initiate and continue treatment were examined in a subsample (n = 636 78) and analyzed at different levels of clinical severity.
Among those with a DSM-IV disorder in the past 12 months, low perceived need was the most common reason for not initiating treatment and more common among moderate and mild than severe cases. Women and younger people with disorders were more likely to recognize a need for treatment. A desire to handle the problem on one's own was the most common barrier among respondents with a disorder who perceived a need for treatment (63.8%). Attitudinal barriers were much more important than structural barriers to both initiating and continuing treatment. However, attitudinal barriers dominated for mild-moderate cases and structural barriers for severe cases. Perceived ineffectiveness of treatment was the most commonly reported reason for treatment drop-out (39.3%), followed by negative experiences with treatment providers (26.9% of respondents with severe disorders).
Low perceived need and attitudinal barriers are the major barriers to seeking and staying in treatment among individuals with common mental disorders worldwide. Apart from targeting structural barriers, mainly in countries with poor resources, increasing population mental health literacy is an important endeavor worldwide.
The dynamics of influenza A viral load in respiratory samples collected from adult A(H1N1)pdm09 influenza patients were investigated. Three respiratory specimens were obtained every 2–4 days and clinical findings were recorded at the time each specimen was collected. A total of 105 serial specimens were collected from 35 patients. Viral clearance was more rapid in patients aged 15–29 years than patients aged 30–49 years (P < 0·01) or ⩾50 years (P < 0·01). Hospitalized patients showed slow viral clearance compared to outpatients (P < 0·01). Resolution of cough and headache was correlated with viral load reduction in respiratory specimens. Viral shedding was found in 17 patients (48·6%) 5 days after symptom onset. Time to hospital visit after symptom onset was significantly correlated with prolonged viral shedding (odds ratio 9·0, 95% confidence interval 1·56–51·87, P = 0·01). These findings will contribute to infection control aspects with respect to managing patients with influenza virus infections.
Double-shelled nanotubes composed of inner shell Pb(Zr0.52Ti0.48)O3 (PZT) and outer shell TiO2 are successfully fabricated by a spin coating of each sol-gel solution on porous anodic alumina template. Field emission transmission electron microscopy images show that they have a ~ 10 nm wall thickness. The selected area electron diffraction patterns show that they have two mixed crystalline phases of tetragonal PZT and anatase TiO2. The analyses of scanning transmission electron microscopy equipped with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy confirm their uniform distribution of each element.