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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.
Failure of the Fontan circulation is not a well-understood clinical phenomena.For some patients, a gradual increase in pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) and structural changes in the pulmonary artery may be an important causative factor. To further investigate this issue, we employed optical coherence tomography (OCT) to evaluate structural changes within the pulmonary arteries of Fontan patients and compared to those with a normal pulmonary circulation.
Materials and Methods:
Pulmonary artery OCT was performed, without complications, in 12 Fontan and 11 control patients. Wall thickness and wall:vessel cross-sectional area (CSA) ratio were calculated after image acquisition, using digital planimetry.
There was no difference in wall thickness between both groups. Median wall thickness for Fontan patients was 0.12 mm (IQR, 0.10–0.14) and for controls was 0.11 mm (IQR, 0.10–0.12; p = 0.62). Wall:vessel CSA ratio for Fontan patients was 0.13 (IQR, 0.12–0.16) and for controls was 0.13 (IQR, 0.11–0.15) (p = 0.73). There was no association between wall thickness and ventricle morphology, age at catheterisation, age at Fontan, years since Fontan completion, pulmonary artery pressure, and PVR. The vessel media was more readily visualised in control patients.
OCT of the pulmonary arteries in Fontan patients is safe and feasible. Our OCT findings suggest that during childhood, pulmonary artery wall dimensions are normal in Fontan children with reassuring hemodynamics. Further evaluation of Fontan patients with abnormal hemodynamics and serial evaluation into adulthood are required to conclude on the utility of OCT for identifying early pulmonary artery structural changes.
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.
To assess the safety against failure of rock slopes in cold regions, such as high mountain areas, where stability is potentially maintained by ice in rock discontinuities, the shear strength of ice-filled rock joints was investigated in a series of direct shear-box tests. To permit control and repeatability, the experiments were conducted using simulated rock specimens. These were cast in the laboratory using high-strength concrete. Laboratory measurements showed that at a constant rate of shearing, the interface shear strength between ice and a joint surface of repeatable roughness is a function of both temperature and normal stress.
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.
The period covered by this report, 1984 July to 1987 June, was of extraordinary importance for the progress of cometary physics. For the first time in the history, special space probes were launched to comets. Vega 1, Vega 2 and Giotto encountered P/Halley, providing us with the first close-up pictures of a cometary nucleus, its surface features, and with the first in situ measurements of the matter escaping from it. ICE, Suisei and Sakigake carried out measurements relevant to P/Giacobini-Zinner and P/Halley in interplanetary space. Unprecedented worldwide campaigns of ground-based observations, with the participation of about 1000 professional and 2000 amateur astronomers, were coordinated in 8 sections of the International Halley Watch. Additional measurements were made from artificial satellites, sounding rockets, and highflying airplanes. The wealth of data collected in this way, to a major extent thanks to an excellent international cooperation, represents a milestone in cometary astronomy. Another important step was the progress in processing the extensive 1983 IRAS observations of minor planets and comets, including the discovery of asteroid dust bands and cometary dust trails.
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.
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.
The Chiquibul Forest Reserve and National Park in Belize is a priority conservation area within the ‘Maya Forest’ in Central America. Although taxonomic data are essential for the development of conservation plans in the region, there is limited knowledge of the existing species in the area. Here we present a botanical species list of mostly woody taxa based on voucher specimens, with particular focus on the Raspaculo watershed in the eastern part of the National Park. Within the Raspaculo watershed, a comparison is made between 0.1 ha of valley floor and 0.1 ha of hilltop vegetation, sampling trees, shrubs, palms and lianas ≥2.5 cm diameter at breast height. Additionally, a 1 ha plot was established in the Upper Raspaculo watershed. Our study shows 38 new species records for the region, and important additions to the flora of Belize. New records were recorded from forests on both metamorphic and karstic substrate, including previously overlooked hilltop forest elements. Quantitative assessment of vegetation across elevation zones shows distinct elements dominating on valley floors and hilltops. Our results show that the Chiquibul contains at least 58% of Belize’s threatened plant species, and represent a source of information for the management and conservation of the area.
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.
Optical components such as lenses, glass windows, and prisms are subject to Fresnel reflection due to the mismatch between the refractive indices of the air and glass. An optical interface layer, i.e., antireflection (AR) layer, is needed to eliminate this unwanted reflection at the air/glass interface. Nanostructured broadband and wide-angle AR structures have been developed using a scalable self-assembly process. Ultra-high performance of the nanostructured AR coatings has been demonstrated on various substrates such as quartz, sapphire, polymer, and other materials typically employed in optical lenses. AR coatings on polycarbonate lead to optical transmittance enhancement from approximately 90% to almost 100% for the entire visible, and part of the near-infrared (NIR), band. The AR coatings have also been demonstrated on curved surfaces. AR coatings on n-BK7 lenses enable ultra-high light transmittance for the entire visible, and most of the NIR, spectrum. Nanostructured oxide layers with step-graded index profiles, deposited onto the optical elements of an optical system, can significantly increase sensitivity, and hence improve the overall performance of the system.
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.