To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
The aim of this study was to explore associations between internet/email use in a large sample of older English adults with their social isolation and loneliness. Data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing Wave 8 were used, with complete data available for 4,492 men and women aged ⩾ 50 years (mean age = 64.3, standard deviation = 13.3; 51.7% males). Binomial logistic regression was used to analyse cross-sectional associations between internet/email use and social isolation and loneliness. The majority of older adults reported using the internet/email every day (69.3%), fewer participants reported once a week (8.5%), once a month (2.6%), once every three months (0.7%), less than every three months (1.5%) and never (17.4%). No significant associations were found between internet/email use and loneliness, however, non-linear associations were found for social isolation. Older adults using the internet/email either once a week (odds ratio (OR) = 0.60, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.49–0.72) or once a month (OR = 0.60, 95% CI = 0.45–0.80) were significantly less likely to be socially isolated than every day users; those using internet/email less than once every three months were significantly more likely to be socially isolated than every day users (OR = 2.87, 95% CI = 1.28–6.40). Once every three months and never users showed no difference in social isolation compared with every day users. Weak associations were found between different online activities and loneliness, and strong associations were found with social isolation. The study updated knowledge of older adults’ internet/email habits, devices used and activities engaged in online. Findings may be important for the design of digital behaviour change interventions in older adults, particularly in groups at risk of or interventions targeting loneliness and/or social isolation.
I write this commentary as a part of a special issue published in this journal to celebrate Nick Martin’s contribution to the field of human genetics. In this commentary, I briefly describe the background of the Yang et al. (2010) study and show some of the unpublished details of this study, its contribution to tackling the missing heritability problem and Nick’s contribution to the work.
Current dietary recommendations encourage increased fibre and reduced sugar consumption. In the UK, specific targets and benchmarks have been established for the sugar content of some foods but not for fibre. National Food Consumption Surveys provide comprehensive information of all foods consumed by representative population samples. The Irish national food surveys as completed by the Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance (IUNA) capture dietary data at brand level with all details as gathered on pack entered into a discrete but inter-linked database, the Irish National Food Ingredient Database (INFID). The aim of this study was to profile the carbohydrate quality of a convenience sub-sample of packaged foods as eaten by Irish children during the National Children's Food Survey II (2017/2018) as entered into INFID.
Materials and Methods:
All on-pack details from 385 available foods in the categories ‘white breads and rolls’; ‘brown breads and rolls’; ‘other breads and scones’; ‘ready to eat breakfast cereals (RTEBC)’; ‘biscuits’; and ‘cakes, buns and pastries’ were entered in to INFID and quality control completed. The carbohydrate profile of the products was assessed with respect to fibre labelling criteria and UK sugar guidelines and targets. SPSS Version 25 was used for all analyses.
Although 56% (n210) of all products entered were eligible to make a ‘source of’ or ‘high’ fibre claim, only 20% (n78) made such a claim. Of this, 46% stated ‘high fibre’ and 32% ‘source’, predominately in the ‘brown breads and rolls’ and ‘RTEBC’ groups. When compared to UK Department of Health guidance for ‘low’, ‘medium’ and ‘high’ sugar, 65% of all products examined (n250) were either ‘low’ or ‘medium’ sugar. Comparison of median sugar contents with Public Health England sugar reformulation targets revealed different responses in each category, with all categories other than foods deemed as “morning goods” yet to meet the 2020 target of 20% reduction in sugar content.
This small pilot study of a convenience sample of foods suggests that for the limited number of foods examined, for some there remains challenges to reduce sugar and increase fibre contents. Strategies such as reformulation, change in portion size, flexibility in labelling and/or a shift in sales portfolios could be considered but only alongside technological and safety considerations. Further research to broaden this analysis and to link nutrient levels as listed on pack with actual consumption patterns could help ensure all recent initiatives including reformulation are recognised.
A major uncertainty in the determination of the mass profile of the Milky Way using stellar kinematics in the halo is the poorly determined anisotropy parameter, , where σr is the Galactocentric radial velocity dispersion, and σθ and σφ are the tangential components of the velocity dispersion. We have used a sample of over 24,000 Galactic halo K giant and blue horizontal branch stars from the LAMOST stellar spectroscopic survey and SDSS/SEGUE, combined with proper motions from Gaia Data Release 2, to measure β(rgc) over a wide range of Galactocentric distances rgc from 5 to 80 kpc. Kinematic substructures have been carefully removed to reveal the underlying diffuse stellar halo prior to measuring β. We find that orbits are generally radial (β > 0) and β is constant out to distances of about 40 kpc, with a dependence on metallicity of the stars, such that β declines with lower metallicity. Similar behavior is seen in both the K giant and BHB samples.
We report the utility of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) conducted in a clinically relevant time frame (ie, sufficient for guiding management decision), in managing a Streptococcus pyogenes outbreak, and present a comparison of its performance with emm typing.
A 2,000-bed tertiary-care psychiatric hospital.
Active surveillance was conducted to identify new cases of S. pyogenes. WGS guided targeted epidemiological investigations, and infection control measures were implemented. Single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)–based genome phylogeny, emm typing, and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) were performed. We compared the ability of WGS and emm typing to correctly identify person-to-person transmission and to guide the management of the outbreak.
The study included 204 patients and 152 staff. We identified 35 patients and 2 staff members with S. pyogenes. WGS revealed polyclonal S. pyogenes infections with 3 genetically distinct phylogenetic clusters (C1–C3). Cluster C1 isolates were all emm type 4, sequence type 915 and had pairwise SNP differences of 0–5, which suggested recent person-to-person transmissions. Epidemiological investigation revealed that cluster C1 was mediated by dermal colonization and transmission of S. pyogenes in a male residential ward. Clusters C2 and C3 were genomically diverse, with pairwise SNP differences of 21–45 and 26–58, and emm 11 and mostly emm120, respectively. Clusters C2 and C3, which may have been considered person-to-person transmissions by emm typing, were shown by WGS to be unlikely by integrating pairwise SNP differences with epidemiology.
WGS had higher resolution than emm typing in identifying clusters with recent and ongoing person-to-person transmissions, which allowed implementation of targeted intervention to control the outbreak.
Individuals with personality disorders often have extensive involvement with healthcare services including frequent utilisation of emergency departments.
The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with emergency department presentations by individuals with personality disorders.
A 12-month retrospective data analysis of all mental-health-related emergency department visits was performed. Age, gender, time and season of presentation, length of stay, mode of arrival and discharge arrangements for individuals with personality disorders were compared to individuals with other psychiatric diagnoses.
There were 336 visits by individuals with personality disorders and 5290 visits by individuals with other psychiatric diagnoses.
Individuals with personality disorders were significantly more likely to be female, young adults, brought in by police, arrive in the evening, discharged home and have a longer median length of stay.
Knowing what factors are associated with emergency department presentations by individuals with personality disorders can help ensure that appropriately trained support staff are available.
Here we report on the material chemistry following crystallization in the presence of water vapor of chlorinated formamidinium lead-triiodide (NH2CH = NH2PbI3−xClx) perovskite films. We found in-situ exposure to water vapor reduces, or possibly eliminates, the retention of chlorine (Cl) inside NH2CH = NH2PbI3−xClx crystals. There is a strong tendency toward Cl volatility, which indicates the sensitivity of these materials for their integration into solar cells. The requisite for additional efforts focused on the mitigation of water vapor is reported. Based on the in situ results, hot casting (<100 °C) in dry conditions demonstrates improved film coverage and Cl retention with efficiencies reaching 12.07%.
We aimed to evaluate a pilot service to facilitate discharge of patients with stable long-term mental health needs from secondary to primary care.
Patients with stable long-term mental health conditions are often not discharged from secondary mental health services when no longer needed due to insufficient systems and processes to enable safe, effective, recovery-focussed treatment and support. The Primary Care Mental Health Specialist (PCMHS) Service was developed to address this gap; new PCMHS posts were introduced to act as a conduit for patients being discharged from secondary care and a single point of referral back into secondary care, should it be required. The two-year pilot, across six Clinical Commissioning Groups in South East England, began in March 2013.
Interviews were conducted with all PCMHS employed in the pilot service (n=13) and a sample of service users (n=12). The views of professionals working alongside the service, including GPs, Psychiatrists and Mental Health Nurses, were captured using a brief online questionnaire (n=50). Time and Activity Recording Sheets were used to capture data required for economic analysis.
Our findings indicate that the service is working well from the perspective of patients; staff employed within the service and professionals working alongside the service. Patients described the service as a ‘safety net’ they could fall back on in case of difficulties, whereas staff used the analogy of a ‘bridge’ to describe the way the service improved communication and collaboration between the various professionals and organisations involved in the patient’s care. Improvements in well-being were seen to result from increased support for those transitioning from secondary to primary care, a more pro-active approach to relapse prevention and increased engagement in daily activities. Each PCMHS covered 36 patients in a one-month period, with a unit cost of £73.01 per patient.
Approximately half of the variation in wellbeing measures overlaps with variation in personality traits. Studies of non-human primate pedigrees and human twins suggest that this is due to common genetic influences. We tested whether personality polygenic scores for the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) domains and for item response theory (IRT) derived extraversion and neuroticism scores predict variance in wellbeing measures. Polygenic scores were based on published genome-wide association (GWA) results in over 17,000 individuals for the NEO-FFI and in over 63,000 for the IRT extraversion and neuroticism traits. The NEO-FFI polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction in 7 cohorts, positive affect in 12 cohorts, and general wellbeing in 1 cohort (maximal N = 46,508). Meta-analysis of these results showed no significant association between NEO-FFI personality polygenic scores and the wellbeing measures. IRT extraversion and neuroticism polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction and positive affect in almost 37,000 individuals from UK Biobank. Significant positive associations (effect sizes <0.05%) were observed between the extraversion polygenic score and wellbeing measures, and a negative association was observed between the polygenic neuroticism score and life satisfaction. Furthermore, using GWA data, genetic correlations of -0.49 and -0.55 were estimated between neuroticism with life satisfaction and positive affect, respectively. The moderate genetic correlation between neuroticism and wellbeing is in line with twin research showing that genetic influences on wellbeing are also shared with other independent personality domains.
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.
Medical savings accounts (MSAs) allow enrolees to withdraw money from earmarked funds to pay for health care. The accounts are usually accompanied by out-of-pocket payments and a high-deductible insurance plan. This article reviews the association of MSAs with efficiency, equity, and financial protection. We draw on evidence from four countries where MSAs play a significant role in the financing of health care: China, Singapore, South Africa, and the United States of America. The available evidence suggests that MSA schemes have generally been inefficient and inequitable and have not provided adequate financial protection. The impact of these schemes on long-term health-care costs is unclear. Policymakers and others proposing the expansion of MSAs should make explicit what they seek to achieve given the shortcomings of the accounts.
Brown seaweeds such as Ascophyllum nodosum are a rich source of phlorotannins (oligomers and polymers of phloroglucinol units), a class of polyphenols that are unique to Phaeophyceae. At present, there is no information on the bioavailability of seaweed polyphenols and limited evidence on their bioactivity in vivo. Consequently, we investigated the gastrointestinal modifications in vitro of seaweed phlorotannins from A. nodosum and their bioavailability and effect on inflammatory markers in healthy participants. In vitro, some phlorotannin oligomers were identified after digestion and colonic fermentation. In addition, seven metabolites corresponding to in vitro-absorbed metabolites were identified. Urine and plasma samples contained a variety of metabolites attributed to both unconjugated and conjugated metabolites (glucuronides and/or sulphates). In both urine and plasma, the majority of the metabolites were found in samples collected at late time points (6–24 h), suggesting colonic metabolism of high-molecular-weight phlorotannins, with three phlorotannin oligomers (hydroxytrifuhalol A, 7-hydroxyeckol, C-O-C dimer of phloroglucinol) identified in urine samples. A significant increase of the cytokine IL-8 was also observed. Our study shows for the first time that seaweed phlorotannins are metabolised and absorbed, predominantly in the large intestine, and there is a large inter-individual variation in their metabolic profile. Three phlorotannin oligomers present in the capsule are excreted in urine. Our study is the first investigation of the metabolism and bioavailability of seaweed phlorotannins and the role of colonic biotransformation. In addition, IL-8 is a possible target for phlorotannin bioactivity.
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.
Data-constrained modeling is a method that enables three-dimensional distribution of mineral phases and porosity in a sample to be modeled based on micro-computed tomography scans acquired at different X-ray energies. Here we describe an alternative method for measuring porosity, synchrotron K-edge subtraction using xenon gas as a contrast agent. Results from both methods applied to the same Darai limestone sample are compared. Reasonable agreement between the two methods and with other porosity measurements is obtained. The possibility of a combination of data-constrained modeling and K-edge subtraction methods for more accurate sample characterization is discussed.
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.