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Available twin-family data on sex differences in antisocial behavior (ASB) simultaneously suggest that ASB is far more prevalent in males than in females, and that its etiology (i.e. the effects of genes, environments, hormones, culture) does not differ across sex. This duality presents a conundrum: How do we make sense of mean sex differences in ASB if not via differences in genes, environments, hormones, and/or cultures? The current selective review and critique explores possible contributions to these seemingly incompatible sets of findings. We asked whether the presence of sex differences in behavior could be smaller than is typically assumed, or confined to a specific set of behaviors. We also asked whether there might be undetected differences in etiology across sex in twin-family studies. We found little evidence that bias or measurement invariance across sex account for phenotypic sex differences in ASB, but we did identify some key limitations to current twin-family approaches. These included the questionable ability of qualitative sex difference analyses to detect gender norms and prenatal exposure to testosterone, and concerns regarding specific analytic components of quantitative sex difference analyses. We conclude that the male preponderance in ASB is likely to reflect a true sex difference in observed behavior. It was less clear, however, that the genetic and environmental contributions to ASB are indeed identical across sex, as argued by prior twin-family studies. It is our hope that this review will inspire the development of new, genetically-informed methods for studying sex differences in etiology.
Callous-unemotional (CU) traits are critical to developmental, diagnostic, and clinical models of antisocial behaviors (AB). However, assessments of CU traits within large-scale longitudinal and neurobiologically focused investigations remain remarkably sparse. We sought to develop a brief measure of CU traits using items from widely administered instruments that could be linked to neuroimaging, genetic, and environmental data within already existing datasets and future studies.
Data came from a large and diverse sample (n = 4525) of youth (ages~9–11) taking part in the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study. Moderated nonlinear factor analysis was used to assess measurement invariance across sex, race, and age. We explored whether CU traits were distinct from other indicators of AB, investigated unique links with theoretically-relevant outcomes, and replicated findings in an independent sample.
The brief CU traits measure demonstrated strong psychometric properties and evidence of measurement invariance across sex, race, and age. On average, boys endorsed higher levels of CU traits than girls and CU traits were related to, yet distinguishable from other indicators of AB. The CU traits construct also exhibited expected associations with theoretically important outcomes. Study findings were also replicated across an independent sample of youth.
In a large, multi-site study, a brief measure of CU traits can be measured distinctly from other dimensions of AB. This measure provides the scientific community with a method to assess CU traits in the ABCD sample, as well as in other studies that may benefit from a brief assessment of CU.
More than sixty years ago, Sylvester (13) proposed the following problem: Let n given points have the property that the straight line joining any two of them passes through a third point of the set. Must the n points all lie on one line?
An alleged solution (not by Sylvester) advanced at the time proved to be fallacious and the problem remained unsolved until about 1933 when it was revived by Erdös (7) and others.
To evaluate whole-genome sequencing (WGS) as a molecular typing tool for MRSA outbreak investigation.
Investigation of MRSA colonization/infection in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) over 3 years (2014–2017).
Single-center level IV NICU.
NICU infants and healthcare workers (HCWs).
Infants were screened for MRSA using a swab of the anterior nares, axilla, and groin, initially by targeted (ring) screening, and later by universal weekly screening. Clinical cultures were collected as indicated. HCWs were screened once using swabs of the anterior nares. MRSA isolates were typed using WGS with core-genome multilocus sequence typing (cgMLST) analysis and by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Colonized and infected infants and HCWs were decolonized. Control strategies included reinforcement of hand hygiene, use of contact precautions, cohorting, enhanced environmental cleaning, and remodeling of the NICU.
We identified 64 MRSA-positive infants: 53 (83%) by screening and 11 (17%) by clinical cultures. Of 85 screened HCWs, 5 (6%) were MRSA positive. WGS of MRSA isolates identified 2 large clusters (WGS groups 1 and 2), 1 small cluster (WGS group 3), and 8 unrelated isolates. PFGE failed to distinguish WGS group 2 and 3 isolates. WGS groups 1 and 2 were codistributed over time. HCW MRSA isolates were primarily in WGS group 1. New infant MRSA cases declined after implementation of the control interventions.
We identified 2 contemporaneous MRSA outbreaks alongside sporadic cases in a NICU. WGS was used to determine strain relatedness at a higher resolution than PFGE and was useful in guiding efforts to control MRSA transmission.
Individuals with schizophrenia have deficits in social cognition that are associated with poor functional outcome. Unfortunately, current treatments result in only modest improvement in social cognition. Oxytocin, a neuropeptide with pro-social effects, has significant benefits for social cognition in the general population. However, studies examining the efficacy of oxytocin in schizophrenia have yielded inconsistent results. One reason for inconsistency may be that oxytocin has typically not been combined with psychosocial interventions. It may be necessary for individuals with schizophrenia to receive concurrent psychosocial treatment while taking oxytocin to have the context needed to make gains in social cognitive skills.
The current study tested this hypothesis in a 24-week (48 session) double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that combined oxytocin and Cognitive-Behavioral Social Skills Training (CBSST), which included elements from Social Cognition and Interaction Training (SCIT). Participants included 62 outpatients diagnosed with schizophrenia (placebo n = 31; oxytocin n = 31) who received 36 IU BID, with supervised administration 45 min prior to sessions on CBSST group therapy days. Participants completed a battery of measures administered at 0, 12, and 24 weeks that assessed social cognition.
CBSST generally failed to enhance social cognition from baseline to end of study, and there was no additive benefit of oxytocin beyond the effects of CBSST alone.
Findings suggest that combined CBSST and oxytocin had minimal benefit for social cognition, adding to the growing literature indicating null effects of oxytocin in multi-dose trials. Methodological and biological factors may contribute to inconsistent results across studies.
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.
To investigate the subsurface hydrological characteristics of an overdeepened cirque glacier, nine boreholes were drilled to the bed of West Washmawapta Glacier, British Columbia, Canada, in summer 2007. All holes were surveyed with a video camera, and four were subsequently instrumented with a combination of pressure transducers, thermistors and conductivity sensors. Diurnal pressure and temperature records indicate the presence of a hydraulically connected subglacial drainage system towards the northern glacier margin. Hydraulic jacking in the overdeepening, controlled by changing water volume in the marginal zone, potentially impacts basal ice flow and erosion. The presence of a sediment layer underlying the glacier also likely impacts hydrology and ice dynamics. Influx of warm groundwater into the basal system raises subglacial water temperatures above the pressure-melting point (pmp) and induces diurnal water temperature fluctuations of as much as 0.8°C; water temperatures above the pmp could affect basal melt rates and the development of subglacial drainage systems. These observations suggest that the characteristics of the subglacial drainage system substantially affect patterns of flow and erosion by this small cirque glacier.
Our understanding of the complex relationship between schizophrenia symptomatology and etiological factors can be improved by studying brain-based correlates of schizophrenia. Research showed that impairments in value processing and executive functioning, which have been associated with prefrontal brain areas [particularly the medial orbitofrontal cortex (MOFC)], are linked to negative symptoms. Here we tested the hypothesis that MOFC thickness is associated with negative symptom severity.
This study included 1985 individuals with schizophrenia from 17 research groups around the world contributing to the ENIGMA Schizophrenia Working Group. Cortical thickness values were obtained from T1-weighted structural brain scans using FreeSurfer. A meta-analysis across sites was conducted over effect sizes from a model predicting cortical thickness by negative symptom score (harmonized Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms or Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale scores).
Meta-analytical results showed that left, but not right, MOFC thickness was significantly associated with negative symptom severity (βstd = −0.075; p = 0.019) after accounting for age, gender, and site. This effect remained significant (p = 0.036) in a model including overall illness severity. Covarying for duration of illness, age of onset, antipsychotic medication or handedness weakened the association of negative symptoms with left MOFC thickness. As part of a secondary analysis including 10 other prefrontal regions further associations in the left lateral orbitofrontal gyrus and pars opercularis emerged.
Using an unusually large cohort and a meta-analytical approach, our findings point towards a link between prefrontal thinning and negative symptom severity in schizophrenia. This finding provides further insight into the relationship between structural brain abnormalities and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.
Cobalt (Co) is essential for rumen microbial metabolism to synthesize methane, acetate and methionine. It also serves as a structural component of vitamin B12 (cobalamin), which functions as a coenzyme in energy metabolism. A study was conducted to determine if Co form (carbonate v. glucoheptonate) supplemented above the National Research Council requirements would improve digestibility of a low-quality forage diet and change serum cobalamin concentrations. Nineteen ruminally cannulated cows (577 ± 13 kg) were fed individually in a completely randomized experimental design. Cows were fed a grass hay diet that contained (79·2 g/kg crude protein, 565 g/kg total digestible nutrients, 633·2 g/kg neutral detergent fibre (NDF), 874·2 g/kg dry matter) at a rate of 0·02% of body weight on a as fed basis for a 62-day study, which consisted of three periods; acclimation (AC), treatment (TR) and residual (RE). Measurements taken in the AC period were used as covariates for analysis in the TR and RE periods. Cows were stratified by age (5 ± 0·4 years) and lactational history, and assigned to receive 12·5 mg supplemental Co in one of two forms: (1) 27·2 mg of Co carbonate (CC, n = 11 cows) or (2) 50 mg of Co glucoheptonate (CGH, n = 8 cows). Supplement was administered daily via a gelatin capsule placed directly into the rumen 2 h after feeding. During the last 96 h of each period, forage digestibility was measured using an in situ nylon bag technique. Blood samples were collected 4 and 6 h following feeding, and 24 h before the end of each period. A treatment × period interaction was detected for in situ organic matter (OM) disappearance at 96 h; (TR period: 684 and 708 ± 81 g/kg; RE period: 676 and 668 ± 75 g/kg, for CC and CGH, respectively). Once inclusion of Co in the CGH group was removed, OM disappearance was reduced by 4·01% compared with 0·82% in the CC cows. The NDF disappearance (OM basis) was less for the TR compared with the RE at 48 h (629 and 652 ± 39 g/kg, respectively). However, by 96 h NDF disappearance was greater for TR than the RE (704 and 689 ± 44 g/kg; respectively). No differences were detected for cobalamin serum concentrations or rate of fibre fermentation. The outcomes of the current research signify that there may be a slight residual effect of Co supplementation on fermentation; there was also an indication that Co source may enhance the overall extent of fermentation.
Spatial studies of the emission line regions in planetary nebulae (PN) can provide insight into the physical and chemical environments across the nebulae. In a collaborative effort by the coauthors, a K-band Fabry-Perot etalon has been coupled with an advanced 256 × 256 InSb focal plane array at the Wyoming Infrared Observatory 2.3m telescope. This system permits us to obtain spatially resolved, 0.24″/pixel, moderate spectral resolution (R ≈ 800), flux-density IR emission line images of astronomical sources. We obtained continuum-subtracted images of Br γ, HeI 2.06 μm, the 2-μm UIR features, and the 3.3 μm PAH dust feature in the PN NGC 6572, NGC 7027, and NGC 7662. One objective was to determine the spatial morphology of two unidentified emission lines, UIR1−2.199 μm, and UIR2−2.287 μm (Geballe et al. 1991). These UIR lines appear in the spectra of many PN (Hora et al. 1997) and in the Orion Nebula (Luhman & Rieke 1996). Geballe et al. suggested that the UIR lines are most likely forbidden transitions and showed that the parent ion ionization potential is ≈ 30–40 eV, while the ionization potential for the ions themselves is 40–60 eV. Here we directly compare the distribution of the UIR emitters to that of the gas (H+,He+) and dust (PAHs).
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.
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.
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.