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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.
The Nordic countries have comprehensive, population-based health and medical registries linkable on individually unique personal identity codes, enabling complete long-term follow-up. The aims of this study were to describe the NorTwinCan cohort established in 2010 and assess whether the cancer mortality and incidence rates among Nordic twins are similar to those in the general population. We analyzed approximately 260,000 same-sexed twins in the nationwide twin registers in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Cancer incidence was determined using follow-up through the national cancer registries. We estimated standardized incidence (SIR) and mortality (SMR) ratios with 95% confidence intervals (CI) across country, age, period, follow-up time, sex and zygosity. More than 30,000 malignant neoplasms have occurred among the twins through 2010. Mortality rates among twins were slightly lower than in the general population (SMR 0.96; CI 95% [0.95, 0.97]), but this depends on information about zygosity. Twins have slightly lower cancer incidence rates than the general population, with SIRs of 0.97 (95% CI [0.96, 0.99]) in men and 0.96 (95% CI [0.94, 0.97]) in women. Testicular cancer occurs more often among male twins than singletons (SIR 1.15; 95% CI [1.02, 1.30]), while cancers of the kidney (SIR 0.82; 95% CI [0.76, 0.89]), lung (SIR 0.89; 95% CI [0.85, 0.92]) and colon (SIR 0.90; 95% CI [0.87, 0.94]) occur less often in twins than in the background population. Our findings indicate that the risk of cancer among twins is so similar to the general population that cancer risk factors and estimates of heritability derived from the Nordic twin registers are generalizable to the background populations.
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.
In low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) in general and sub-Sahara African (SSA) countries in particular, there is both a large treatment gap for mental disorders and a relative paucity of empirical evidence about how to fill this gap. This is more so for severe mental disorders, such as psychosis, which impose an additional vulnerability for human rights abuse on its sufferers. A major factor for the lack of evidence is the few numbers of active mental health (MH) researchers on the continent and the distance between the little evidence generated and the policy-making process.
The Partnership for Mental Health Development in Africa (PaM-D) aimed to bring together diverse MH stakeholders in SSA, working collaboratively with colleagues from the global north, to create an infrastructure to develop MH research capacity in SSA, advance global MH science by conducting innovative public health-relevant MH research in the region and work to link research to policy development. Participating SSA countries were Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and South Africa. The research component of PaM-D focused on the development and assessment of a collaborative shared care (CSC) program between traditional and faith healers (T&FHs) and biomedical providers for the treatment of psychotic disorders, as a way of improving the outcome of persons suffering from these conditions. The capacity building component aimed to develop research capacity and appreciation of the value of research in a broad range of stakeholders through bespoke workshops and fellowships targeting specific skill-sets as well as mentoring for early career researchers.
In the research component of PaM-D, a series of formative studies were implemented to inform the development of an intervention package consisting of the essential features of a CSC for psychosis implemented by primary care providers and T&FHs. A cluster randomised controlled trial was next designed to test the effectiveness of this package on the outcome of psychosis. In the capacity-building component, 35 early and mid-career researchers participated in the training workshops and several established mentor-mentee relationships with senior PaM-D members. At the end of the funding period, 60 papers have been published and 21 successful grant applications made.
The success of PaM-D in energising young researchers and implementing a cutting-edge research program attests to the importance of partnership among researchers in the global south working with those from the north in developing MH research and service in LMIC.
Despite the advances of molecular tools, new nematode species are still described mainly based on morphological characters. Parapharyngodon and Thelandros are two genera of oxyurids with unclear related taxonomic histories. Here we use morphological characters (linear measurements and categorical variables) and genetic information (18S rRNA, 28S rRNA and COI partial gene sequences) to confirm the relationships between representatives of these two genera and to determine whether they can be discriminated morphologically. Genetic results confirm the existence of two main clades, mostly congruent with Parapharyngodon and Thelandros genera but with several discordances. Thelandros is polyphyletic, with two of the species analysed (T. filiformis and T. tinerfensis) being part of the Thelandros clade, but with a third one (T. galloti) falling within the Parapharyngodon clade. Regarding the Parapharyngodon clade, P. cubensis, P. scleratus and Parapharyngodon sp. from Mexico form congruent lineages, while most P. echinatus samples cluster in another group, with one exception. Interestingly, P. micipsae samples are scattered across the Parapharyngodon clade, suggesting that they were misidentified or rather represent alternative morphotypes of other species. Morphological analysis identified the length of the tail, number of caudal papillae, position of the nerve ring, presence of caudal alae and length of the lateral alae as reliable characters to distinguish between Parapharyngodon and Thelandros genetic clades. Our study highlights the current taxonomic inconsistency in these groups, mainly derived from the exclusive use of morphological data. As such, we advocate for the routine implementation of molecular data in nematode taxonomic studies.
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.
We have previously reported an association between childhood abuse and psychotic experiences (PEs) in survey data from South East London. Childhood abuse is related to subsequent adulthood adversity, which could form one pathway to PEs. We aimed to investigate evidence of mediation of the association between childhood abuse and PEs by adverse life events.
Data were analysed from the South East London Community Health Study (SELCoH, n = 1698). Estimates of the total effects on PEs of any physical or sexual abuse while growing up were partitioned into direct (i.e. unmediated) and indirect (total and specific) effects, mediated via violent and non-violent life events.
There was strong statistical evidence for direct (OR 1.58, 95% CI: 1.19–2.1) and indirect (OR 1.51, 95% CI: 1.32–1.72) effects of childhood abuse on PEs after adjustment for potential confounders, indicating partial mediation of this effect via violent and non-violent life events. An estimated 47% of the total effect of abuse on PEs was mediated via adulthood adverse life events, of which violent life events made up 33% and non-violent life events the remaining 14%.
The association between childhood abuse and PEs is partly mediated through the experience of adverse life events in adulthood. There is some evidence that a larger proportion of this effect was mediated through violent life events than non-violent life events.
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 (PoCUS) has become an established tool in the initial management of patients with undifferentiated hypotension in the emergency department (ED). Current established protocols (e.g. RUSH and ACES) were developed by expert user opinion, rather than objective, prospective data. Recently the SHoC Protocol was published, recommending 3 core scans; cardiac, lung, and IVC; plus other scans when indicated clinically. We report the abnormal ultrasound findings from our international multicenter randomized controlled trial, to assess if the recommended 3 core SHoC protocol scans were chosen appropriately for this population. Methods: Recruitment occurred at seven centres in North America (4) and South Africa (3). Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 or shock index>1) who were randomized to PoCUS or control (standard care with no PoCUS) groups. All scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians within one hour of arrival in the ED. Demographics, clinical details and study findings were collected prospectively. A threshold incidence for positive findings of 10% was established as significant for the purposes of assessing the appropriateness of the core recommendations. Results: 138 patients had a PoCUS screen completed. All patients had cardiac, lung, IVC, aorta, abdominal, and pelvic scans. Reported abnormal findings included hyperdynamic LV function (59; 43%); small collapsing IVC (46; 33%); pericardial effusion (24; 17%); pleural fluid (19; 14%); hypodynamic LV function (15; 11%); large poorly collapsing IVC (13; 9%); peritoneal fluid (13; 9%); and aortic aneurysm (5; 4%). Conclusion: The 3 core SHoC Protocol recommendations included appropriate scans to detect all pathologies recorded at a rate of greater than 10 percent. The 3 most frequent findings were cardiac and IVC abnormalities, followed by lung. It is noted that peritoneal fluid was seen at a rate of 9%. Aortic aneurysms were rare. This data from the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients, supports the use of the prioritized SHoC protocol, though a larger study is required to confirm these findings.
Between the Battle of Mylae in 260 bc (when Rome defeated Carthage off the north coast of Sicily) and the Battle of Myonnesus in 190 (when Rome defeated the Seleucid navy off the west coast of Asia Minor), the Romans established naval domination over the whole Mediterranean. Scholars generally believe, for quite good reasons, that this process of naval aggrandisement began abruptly, the Romans having previously taken no interest in the sea. That, after all, is what Polybius quite clearly says.
Parental criminal offending is an established risk factor for offending among offspring, but little evidence is available indicating the impact of offending on early childhood functioning. We used data from a large Australian population cohort to determine associations between exposure to parental offending and a range of developmental outcomes at age 5 years.
Multi-generation data in 66 477 children and their parents from the New South Wales Child Development Study were combined using data linkage. Logistic and multinomial regressions tested associations between any and violent offending histories of parents (fathers, mothers, or both parents) obtained from official records, and multiple measures of early childhood developmental functioning (social, emotional–behavioural, cognitive, communication and physical domains) obtained from the teacher-reported 2009 Australian Early Development Census.
Parental offending conferred significantly increased risk of vulnerability on all domains, particularly the cognitive domain. Greater risk magnitudes were observed for offending by both parents and by mothers than by fathers, and for violent than for any offending. For all parental offending exposures, vulnerability on multiple domains (where medium to large effects were observed) was more likely than on a single domain (small to medium effects). Relationships remained significant and of comparable magnitude following adjustment for sociodemographic covariates.
The effect of parental offending on early childhood developmental outcomes is pervasive, with the strongest effects on functioning apparent when both parents engage in violent offending. Supporting affected families in early childhood might mitigate both early developmental vulnerability and the propensity for later delinquency among these offspring.
The horse is a non-ruminant herbivore adapted to eating plant-fibre or forage-based diets. Some horses are stabled for most or the majority of the day with limited or no access to fresh pasture and are fed preserved forage typically as hay or haylage and sometimes silage. This raises questions with respect to the quality and suitability of these preserved forages (considering production, nutritional content, digestibility as well as hygiene) and required quantities. Especially for performance horses, forage is often replaced with energy dense feedstuffs which can result in a reduction in the proportion of the diet that is forage based. This may adversely affect the health, welfare, behaviour and even performance of the horse. In the past 20 years a large body of research work has contributed to a better and deeper understanding of equine forage needs and the physiological and behavioural consequences if these are not met. Recent nutrient requirement systems have incorporated some, but not all, of this new knowledge into their recommendations. This review paper amalgamates recommendations based on the latest understanding in forage feeding for horses, defining forage types and preservation methods, hygienic quality, feed intake behaviour, typical nutrient composition, digestion and digestibility as well as health and performance implications. Based on this, consensual applied recommendations for feeding preserved forages are provided.
Childhood maltreatment and a family history of a schizophrenia spectrum disorder (SSD) are each associated with social-emotional dysfunction in childhood. Both are also strong risk factors for adult SSDs, and social-emotional dysfunction in childhood may be an antecedent of these disorders. We used data from a large Australian population cohort to determine the independent and moderating effects of maltreatment and parental SSDs on early childhood social-emotional functioning.
The New South Wales Child Development Study combines intergenerational multi-agency data using record linkage methods. Multiple measures of social-emotional functioning (social competency, prosocial/helping behaviour, anxious/fearful behaviour; aggressive behaviour, and hyperactivity/inattention) on 69 116 kindergarten children (age ~5 years) were linked with government records of child maltreatment and parental presentations to health services for SSD. Multivariable analyses investigated the association between maltreatment and social-emotional functioning, adjusting for demographic variables and parental SSD history, in the population sample and in sub-cohorts exposed and not exposed to parental SSD history. We also examined the association of parental SSD history and social-emotional functioning, adjusting for demographic variables and maltreatment.
Medium-sized associations were identified between maltreatment and poor social competency, aggressive behaviour and hyperactivity/inattention; small associations were revealed between maltreatment and poor prosocial/helping and anxious/fearful behaviours. These associations did not differ greatly when adjusted for parental SSD, and were greater in magnitude among children with no history of parental SSD. Small associations between parental SSD and poor social-emotional functioning remained after adjusting for demographic variables and maltreatment.
Childhood maltreatment and history of parental SSD are associated independently with poor early childhood social-emotional functioning, with the impact of exposure to maltreatment on social-emotional functioning in early childhood of greater magnitude than that observed for parental SSDs. The impact of maltreatment was reduced in the context of parental SSDs. The influence of parental SSDs on later outcomes of maltreated children may become more apparent during adolescence and young adulthood when overt symptoms of SSD are likely to emerge. Early intervention to strengthen childhood social-emotional functioning might mitigate the impact of maltreatment, and potentially also avert future psychopathology.
Clozapine is the most effective medication for treatment refractory schizophrenia. However, descriptions of the mental health and comorbidity profile and care experiences of people on clozapine in routine clinical settings are scarce. Using data from the 2010 Australian Survey of High Impact Psychosis, we aimed to examine the proportion of people using clozapine, and to compare clozapine users with other antipsychotic users on demographic, mental health, adverse drug reaction, polypharmacy and treatment satisfaction variables.
Data describing 1049 people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, who reported taking any antipsychotic medication in the previous 4 weeks, were drawn from a representative Australian survey of people with psychotic disorders in contact with mental health services in the previous 12 months. We compared participants taking clozapine (n = 257, 22.4%) with those taking other antipsychotic medications, on a range of demographic, clinical and treatment-related indicators.
One quarter of participants were on clozapine. Of participants with a chronic course of illness, only one third were on clozapine. After adjusting for diagnosis and illness chronicity, participants taking clozapine had significantly lower odds of current alcohol, cannabis and other drug use despite similar lifetime odds. Metabolic syndrome and diabetes were more common among people taking clozapine; chronic pain was less common. Psychotropic polypharmacy did not differ between groups.
Consistent with international evidence of clozapine underutilisation, a large number of participants with chronic illness and high symptom burden were not taking clozapine. The lower probabilities of current substance use and chronic pain among clozapine users warrant further study.