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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.
Over the past 25 years, numerous studies utilizing both X-ray diffraction (XRE) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) have been reported In the literature. Generally, conventional high-temperature X-ray data identifies solid-state transitions, then attempts to correlate them with thermal events observed by the calorimeter. Since changes occur in the sample during studies such as these, separate portions of the sample must be used for XRD and DSC experiments. When comparing results of the two experiments, questions arise concerning sample homogeniety as well as temperature and environmental differences. In fact, no conventional high-temperature X-ray diffraction instrument can give the precise control over temperature and heating rate available with a DSC, The problems of sample inhomogeneltles and Instrumental differences could be avoided if X-ray diffraction and DSC could be performed simultaneously on one sample.
The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.
Does foreign aid enable or constrain elite capture of public revenues? Reflecting on prominent debates in the foreign aid literature, we examine whether recipient preferences are consistent with a view that foreign donors wield substantial control over the flow of aid dollars, making elite capture more difficult and mass benefits more likely. We compare elite and mass support for foreign aid versus government spending on development projects through a survey experiment with behavioral outcomes. A key innovation is a parallel experiment on members of the Ugandan national parliament and a representative sample of Ugandan citizens. For two actual aid projects, we randomly assigned different funders to the projects. Significant treatment effects reveal that members of parliament support government programs over foreign aid, whereas citizens prefer aid over government. Donor control also implies that citizens should favor foreign aid more and elites less as their perceptions of government clientelism and corruption increase. We explore this and report on other alternative mechanisms. Effects for citizens and elites are most apparent for those perceiving significant government corruption, suggesting that both sets of subjects perceive significant donor control over aid.
Cognitive deficits are a core feature of schizophrenia, and impairments in most domains are thought to be stable over the course of the illness. However, cross-sectional evidence indicates that some areas of cognition, such as visuospatial associative memory, may be preserved in the early stages of psychosis, but become impaired in later established illness stages. This longitudinal study investigated change in visuospatial and verbal associative memory following psychosis onset.
In total 95 first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients and 63 healthy controls (HC) were assessed on neuropsychological tests at baseline, with 38 FEP and 22 HCs returning for follow-up assessment at 5–11 years. Visuospatial associative memory was assessed using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery Visuospatial Paired-Associate Learning task, and verbal associative memory was assessed using Verbal Paired Associates subtest of the Wechsler Memory Scale - Revised.
Visuospatial and verbal associative memory at baseline did not differ significantly between FEP patients and HCs. However, over follow-up, visuospatial associative memory deteriorated significantly for the FEP group, relative to healthy individuals. Conversely, verbal associative memory improved to a similar degree observed in HCs. In the FEP cohort, visuospatial (but not verbal) associative memory ability at baseline was associated with functional outcome at follow-up.
Areas of cognition that develop prior to psychosis onset, such as visuospatial and verbal associative memory, may be preserved early in the illness. Later deterioration in visuospatial memory ability may relate to progressive structural and functional brain abnormalities that occurs following psychosis onset.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound has become an established tool in the initial management of patients with undifferentiated hypotension. Current established protocols (RUSH, ACES, etc) were developed by expert user opinion, rather than objective, prospective data. We wished to use reported disease incidence to develop an informed approach to PoCUS in hypotension using a “4 F’s” approach: Fluid; Form; Function; Filling. Methods: We summarized the incidence of PoCUS findings from an international multicentre RCT, and using a modified Delphi approach incorporating this data we obtained the input of 24 international experts associated with five professional organizations led by the International Federation of Emergency Medicine. The modified Delphi tool was developed to reach an international consensus on how to integrate PoCUS for hypotensive emergency department patients. Results: Rates of abnormal PoCUS findings from 151 patients with undifferentiated hypotension included left ventricular dynamic changes (43%), IVC abnormalities (27%), pericardial effusion (16%), and pleural fluid (8%). Abdominal pathology was rare (fluid 5%, AAA 2%). After two rounds of the survey, using majority consensus, agreement was reached on a SHoC-hypotension protocol comprising: A. Core: 1. Cardiac views (Sub-xiphoid and parasternal windows for pericardial fluid, cardiac form and ventricular function); 2. Lung views for pleural fluid and B-lines for filling status; and 3. IVC views for filling status; B. Supplementary: Additional cardiac views; and C. Additional views (when indicated) including peritoneal fluid, aorta, pelvic for IUP, and proximal leg veins for DVT. Conclusion: An international consensus process based on prospectively collected disease incidence has led to a proposed SHoC-hypotension PoCUS protocol comprising a stepwise clinical-indication based approach of Core, Supplementary and Additional PoCUS views.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) provides invaluable information during resuscitation efforts in cardiac arrest by determining presence/absence of cardiac activity and identifying reversible causes such as pericardial tamponade. There is no agreed guideline on how to safely and effectively incorporate PoCUS into the advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) algorithm. We consider that a consensus-based priority checklist using a “4 F’s” approach (Fluid; Form; Function; Filling), would provide a better algorithm during ACLS. Methods: The ultrasound subcommittee of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) drafted a checklist incorporating PoCUS into the ACLS algorithm. This was further developed using the input of 24 international experts associated with five professional organizations led by the International Federation of Emergency Medicine. A modified Delphi tool was developed to reach an international consensus on how to integrate ultrasound into cardiac arrest algorithms for emergency department patients. Results: Consensus was reached following 3 rounds. The agreed protocol focuses on the timing of PoCUS as well as the specific clinical questions. Core cardiac windows performed during the rhythm check pause in chest compressions are the sub-xiphoid and parasternal cardiac views. Either view should be used to detect pericardial fluid, as well as examining ventricular form (e.g. right heart strain) and function, (e.g. asystole versus organized cardiac activity). Supplementary views include lung views (for absent lung sliding in pneumothorax and for pleural fluid), and IVC views for filling. Additional ultrasound applications are for endotracheal tube confirmation, proximal leg veins for DVT, or for sources of blood loss (AAA, peritoneal/pelvic fluid). Conclusion: The authors hope that this process will lead to a consensus-based SHoC-cardiac arrest guideline on incorporating PoCUS into the ACLS algorithm.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is moderately heritable, however genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for MDD, as well as for related continuous outcomes, have not shown consistent results. Attempts to elucidate the genetic basis of MDD may be hindered by heterogeneity in diagnosis. The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scale provides a widely used tool for measuring depressive symptoms clustered in four different domains which can be combined together into a total score but also can be analysed as separate symptom domains.
We performed a meta-analysis of GWAS of the CES-D symptom clusters. We recruited 12 cohorts with the 20- or 10-item CES-D scale (32 528 persons).
One single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs713224, located near the brain-expressed melatonin receptor (MTNR1A) gene, was associated with the somatic complaints domain of depression symptoms, with borderline genome-wide significance (pdiscovery = 3.82 × 10−8). The SNP was analysed in an additional five cohorts comprising the replication sample (6813 persons). However, the association was not consistent among the replication sample (pdiscovery+replication = 1.10 × 10−6) with evidence of heterogeneity.
Despite the effort to harmonize the phenotypes across cohorts and participants, our study is still underpowered to detect consistent association for depression, even by means of symptom classification. On the contrary, the SNP-based heritability and co-heritability estimation results suggest that a very minor part of the variation could be captured by GWAS, explaining the reason of sparse findings.
Depression and anxiety in Parkinson's disease are common and frequently co-morbid, with significant impact on health outcome. Nevertheless, management is complex and often suboptimal. The existence of clinical subtypes would support stratified approaches in both research and treatment.
Five hundred and thirteen patients with Parkinson's disease were assessed annually for up to 4 years. Latent transition analysis (LTA) was used to identify classes that may conform to clinically meaningful subgroups, transitions between those classes over time, and baseline clinical and demographic features that predict common trajectories.
In total, 64.1% of the sample remained in the study at year 4. LTA identified four classes, a ‘Psychologically healthy’ class (approximately 50%), and three classes associated with psychological distress: one with moderate anxiety alone (approximately 20%), and two with moderate levels of depression plus moderate or severe anxiety. Class membership tended to be stable across years, with only about 15% of individuals transitioning between the healthy class and one of the distress classes. Stable distress was predicted by higher baseline depression and psychiatric history and younger age of onset of Parkinson's disease. Those with younger age of onset were also more likely to become distressed over the course of the study.
Psychopathology was characterized by relatively stable anxiety or anxious-depression over the 4-year period. Anxiety, with or without depression, appears to be the prominent psychopathological phenotype in Parkinson's disease suggesting a pressing need to understanding its mechanisms and improve management.
We report an extremely rare case of a giant invasive prolactinoma presenting as a nasopharyngeal tumour.
Case report and literature review regarding giant prolactinoma.
Giant prolactinoma is a rare form of prolactinoma which accounts for 0.5–4.4 per cent of all pituitary tumours. It is more common in men and generally presents with symptoms of endocrine disturbance or neurological deficit.
To our knowledge, this is the first report of giant prolactinoma presenting with symptoms of sinusitis and nasopharyngeal tumour.
To examine whether lifetime DSM-IV diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD), including age at onset and number of episodes, is associated with brain atrophy in older persons without dementia.
Within the population-based Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility (AGES)–Reykjavik Study, 4354 persons (mean age 76 ± 5 years, 58% women) without dementia had a 1.5-T brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Automated brain segmentation total and regional brain volumes were calculated. History of MDD, including age at onset and number of episodes, and MDD in the past 2 weeks was diagnosed according to DSM-IV criteria using the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI).
Of the total sample, 4.5% reported a lifetime history of MDD; 1.5% had a current diagnosis of MDD (including 75% with a prior history of depression) and 3.0% had a past but no current diagnosis (remission). After adjusting for multiple covariates, compared to participants never depressed, those with current MDD (irrespective of past) had more global brain atrophy [B = –1.25%, 95% confidence interval (CI) −2.05 to −0.44], including more gray- and white-matter atrophy in most lobes, and also more atrophy of the hippocampus and thalamus. Participants with current, first-onset MDD also had more brain atrophy (B = –1.62%, 95% CI −3.30 to 0.05) whereas those remitted did not (B = 0.06%, 95% CI −0.54 to 0.66).
In older persons without dementia, current MDD, irrespective of prior history, but not remitted MDD was associated with widespread gray- and white-matter brain atrophy. Prospective studies should examine whether MDD is a consequence of, or contributes to, brain volume loss and development of dementia.
United Kingdom Nirex Limited develops and advises on safe, environmentally sound and publicly acceptable options for the long-term management of radioactive waste. One option Nirex has developed is a phased geological repository concept for intermediate level waste and some low level wastes that makes use of a combination of engineered and natural barriers. Physical containment of radionuclides would be achieved by immobilisation and packaging of wastes (mostly) in stainless steel containers.
Existing models of the migration of dissolved radionuclides from packaged wastes suggest that radionuclide release is determined largely by the rate of diffusion through the encapsulation grout used to immobilise the waste. The use of such models requires diffusion coefficient data for radionuclides in waste encapsulation grouts. This paper describes a programme of through-diffusion experiments, and modelling interpretation, aimed at deriving diffusion coefficients for some radionuclides in two types of encapsulation grout.
An intrinsic diffusion coefficient of HTO of around 1×10−13 to 2×10−13 m2s−1 was determined for a 3:1 mix of blast furnace slag to ordinary Portland cement, compared to around 4×10−13 to 5×10−13 m2s−1 for a 3:1 mix of pulverised fuel ash to ordinary Portland cement. These values are lower than that assumed for a non-sorbing radionuclide in an earlier modelling exercise. Porosity values around 0.3 were obtained in each case. For 36Cl as chloride, the experiments showed no significant breakthrough over the experimental timescale of about one year, suggesting an intrinsic diffusion coefficient below 5×10−13 m2s−1. One possibility is that chlorine-containing solids are precipitating in the cement. An intrinsic diffusion coefficient for 137Cs in the 3:1 mix of pulverised fuel ash to ordinary Portland cement of 4×10−15 m2s−1 was estimated, significantly lower than that determined for HTO.
The results from three of the sixteen experiments could not be fitted with a simple diffusion model, and for a further five experiments there was some doubt as to whether simple diffusion behaviour had been observed. It is suggested that this may have been due to cracks in the grouts that were sufficiently large to affect the diffusion properties of the grouts, although none was visible to the naked eye. Cracking of the waste encapsulation grouts could provide a mechanism for enhanced migration of radionuclides from waste packages, compared with diffusion in a homogeneous porous medium alone.
Luminescence spectra from quantum wells are routinely interpreted in terms of atomically smooth and atomically abrupt interfaces. Here we show that this interpretation is inconsistent with photoluminescence, photoluminescence excitation, and quantitative microscopic (chemical lattice imaging) results. We argue that the discussion of interfacial roughness in terms of “an island size” is too naive. A full characterization of an interface requires the description of a “roughness spectrum”, specifying the amplitude of the interfacial corrugation vs corrugation wavelength over the relevant length scale.
We present a systematic study of the low-temperature photoluminescence from undoped GaAs layers grown directly on Si substrates by MOCVD. GaAs layers from 100Å to 4 μm in thickness were deposited on Si substrates prepared with a variety of doping levels and orientations. The emission from thicker samples is dominated by pairs of lines in the band-edge region. Photoluminescence excitation measurements show that this multiplicity results from two regions in the material with different levels of strain. The stress-induced splitting of the valence band is also studied using excitation spectroscopy. In thinner samples we observe strong emission in the midgap range due to stoichiometric defects. The nature of the defects near the interface depends strongly on the character of the substrate.
We have calculated the total energy of a simple zeolite structure, sodalite, Na8Cl2Si6Al6O24 using the Modified Electron Gas (MEG) technique for the static lattice and for spherical ions. Comparison with the constituent oxides and chlorides gives a ΔGf of -0.394 au. Calculated bond lengths in the aluminosilicate framework are within 4% of the values obtained from experiment, but bond angles have error up to 12%.