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Understanding differences in social-emotional behavior can help identify atypical development. This study examined the differences in social-emotional development in children at increased risk of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis (infant siblings of children diagnosed with the disorder). Parents completed the Brief Infant-Toddler Social-Emotional Assessment (BITSEA) to determine its ability to flag children with later-diagnosed ASD in a high-risk (HR) sibling population. Parents of HR (n = 311) and low-risk (LR; no family history of ASD; n = 127) children completed the BITSEA when their children were 18 months old and all children underwent a diagnostic assessment for ASD at age 3 years. All six subscales of the BITSEA (Problems, Competence, ASD Problems, ASD Competence, Total ASD Score, and Red Flags) distinguished between those in the HR group who were diagnosed with ASD (n = 84) compared to non-ASD-diagnosed children (both HR-N and LR). One subscale (BITSEA Competence) differentiated between the HR children not diagnosed with ASD and the LR group. The results suggest that tracking early social-emotional development may have implications for all HR children, as they are at increased risk of ASD but also other developmental or mental health conditions.
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have increased susceptibility to anxiety disorders. Variation in a common ASD symptom, insistence on sameness behaviour, may predict future anxiety symptoms.
To describe the joint heterogeneous longitudinal trajectories of insistence on sameness and anxiety in children with ASD and to characterise subgroups at higher risk for anxiety.
In a longitudinal ASD cohort (n = 421), insistence on sameness behaviour was measured using the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised at approximately ages 3, 6 and 11 years. Anxiety was quantified at 8 time points between ages 3 and 11 years using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) (parent report). Clusters of participants following similar trajectories were identified using group-based and joint trajectory modelling.
Three insistence on sameness trajectories were identified: (a) ‘low-stable’ (41.7% of participants), (b) ‘moderate-increasing’ (52.0%) and (c) ‘high-peaking’ (i.e. increasing then stabilising/decreasing behaviour) (6.3%). Four anxiety trajectories were identified: (a) ‘low-increasing’ (51.0%), (b) ‘moderate-decreasing’ (16.2%), (c) ‘moderate-increasing’ (19.6%) and (d) ‘high-stable’ (13.1%). Of those assigned to the ‘high-peaking’ insistence on sameness trajectory, 95% jointly followed an anxiety trajectory that surpassed the threshold for clinical concern (T-score >65) by middle childhood (anxiety trajectories 3 or 4). Insistence on sameness and anxiety trajectories were similar in severity and direction for 64% of the sample; for 36%, incongruous patterns were seen (e.g. decreasing anxiety and increasing insistence on sameness).
The concurrent assessment of insistence on sameness behaviour and anxiety in ASD may help in understanding current symptom profiles and anticipating future trajectories. High preschool insistence on sameness in particular may be associated with elevated current or future anxiety symptoms.
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a devastating rare disease that affects individuals regardless of ethnicity, gender, and age. The first-approved disease-modifying therapy for SMA, nusinursen, was approved by Health Canada, as well as by American and European regulatory agencies following positive clinical trial outcomes. The trials were conducted in a narrow pediatric population defined by age, severity, and genotype. Broad approval of therapy necessitates close follow-up of potential rare adverse events and effectiveness in the larger real-world population.
The Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR) undertook an iterative multi-stakeholder process to expand the existing SMA dataset to capture items relevant to patient outcomes in a post-marketing environment. The CNDR SMA expanded registry is a longitudinal, prospective, observational study of patients with SMA in Canada designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of novel therapies and provide practical information unattainable in trials.
The consensus expanded dataset includes items that address therapy effectiveness and safety and is collected in a multicenter, prospective, observational study, including SMA patients regardless of therapeutic status. The expanded dataset is aligned with global datasets to facilitate collaboration. Additionally, consensus dataset development aimed to standardize appropriate outcome measures across the network and broader Canadian community. Prospective outcome studies, data use, and analyses are independent of the funding partner.
Prospective outcome data collected will provide results on safety and effectiveness in a post-therapy approval era. These data are essential to inform improvements in care and access to therapy for all SMA patients.
To examine associations of tree nut snack (TNS) consumption with diet quality and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in UK adults from National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) 2008–2014.
Cross-sectional analysis using data from 4-d food diaries, blood samples and physical measurements for CVD risk markers. To estimate diet quality, modified Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) and modified Healthy Diet Score (HDS) were applied. Associations of TNS consumption with diet quality and markers of CVD risk were investigated using survey-adjusted multivariable linear regression adjusted for sex, age, ethnicity, socio-economic and smoking status, region of residency and total energy and alcohol intake.
UK free-living population.
4738 adults (≥19 years).
TNS consumers had higher modified MDS and HDS relative to non-consumers. TNS consumers also had lower BMI, WC, SBP and DBP and higher HDL compared to non-consumers, although a dose-related fully adjusted significant association between increasing nut intake (g per 4184 kJ/1000 kcal energy intake) and lower marker of CVD risk was only observed for SBP. TNS consumption was also associated with higher intake of total fat, mono-, n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, fibre, vitamin A, thiamin, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium and iron; and lower intake of saturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, total carbohydrate, starch, free sugar, sodium and chloride.
TNS consumers report better dietary quality and consumption was associated with lower CVD risk factors. Encouraging replacement of less healthy snacks with TNS should be encouraged as part of general dietary guidelines.
Endothelial dysfunction is a predictor for cardiovascular disease risk and is a key feature of atherosclerosis. Poor diet quality, including consumption of saturated fat-rich, high-refined carbohydrate snack foods, may have adverse effects on endothelial function. Thus, snack foods, which contribute an average of 20% of energy intake in the UK adult population, present an easily identifiable target to improve vascular health. Almonds are nutrient-dense foods that are rich in unsaturated fats, fibre, minerals and non-nutrient bioactives (NNB), and may have health benefits by displacing snacks high in refined carbohydrates, enriching the diet with micronutrients and NNB, and/or low lipid bioaccessibility. Human clinical trials have demonstrated LDL cholesterol-lowering effects of daily almond consumption, yet the effects on endothelial function are unclear. This study aimed to investigate whether replacing habitual snacks (20% estimated daily energy requirements) with almonds had any impact on endothelium-dependent vasodilation, measured by flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) using ultrasound imaging of the brachial artery following reactive hyperaemia. A randomised, controlled, parallel trial in adult regular snack consumers aged 30–70 y at moderate risk of cardiovascular disease was conducted, including a 2-week run-in period with control snacks and a 6-week intervention period. Control sweet and savoury mini muffin snacks were developed to replicate the average UK snack nutrient profile, which was calculated from snack foods identified in the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) database (55% energy from carbohydrate, 36% total fat (14% saturated fat), and 10% protein). One hundred and nine volunteers (77 females and 32 males; mean age 56 y) were enrolled in the study and 107 were randomised to isocaloric treatments, 1) control muffins, or 2) dry roasted whole almonds; 105 participants completed the study. Almonds significantly increased FMD relative to control (mean difference 3.6%, 95% CI 1.7, 5.5; P < 0.001), indicating improved endothelial function, and LDL-cholesterol (mean difference -0.25 mmol/L, 95% CI -0.47, -0.03; P = 0.030) significantly decreased adjusted with sex, age and baseline BMI and baseline dependent outcome values. Snacking on whole almonds as a replacement for snacks high in refined starch and sugar, and low in fibre and unsaturated fatty acids, improves endothelial function. The results of this study provide further evidence for the importance of nuts in dietary strategies to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.
On October 7, 2016, Hurricane Matthew traveled along the coasts of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina causing flooding and power outages. The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) developed the Web-based Responder Safety, Tracking, and Resilience (R-STaR) system to monitor the health and safety of public health responders and to inform disaster response planning for Hurricane Matthew. Using R-STaR, responders (n = 126) were e-mailed a daily survey while deployed to document injuries or harmful exposures and a post-deployment survey on their post-deployment health and satisfaction with using R-STaR. DPH epidemiologists contacted responders reporting injuries or exposures to determine the need for medical care. Frequencies were tabulated for quantitative survey responses, and qualitative data were summarized into key themes. Five percent (6/126) of responders reported injuries, and 81% (43/53) found R-STaR easy to use. Suggestions for R-STaR improvement included improving accessibility using mobile platforms and conducting pre-event training of responders on R-STaR. Lessons learned from R-STaR development and evaluation can inform the development and improvement of responder health surveillance systems at other local and state health departments and disaster and emergency response agencies. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:74–81).
Early-onset conduct problems (CP) are a key predictor of adult criminality and poor mental health. While previous studies suggest that both genetic and environmental risks play an important role in the development of early-onset CP, little is known about potential biological processes underlying these associations. In this study, we examined prospective associations between DNA methylation (cord blood at birth) and trajectories of CP (4–13 years), using data drawn from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Methylomic variation at seven loci across the genome (false discovery rate < 0.05) differentiated children who go on to develop early-onset (n = 174) versus low (n = 86) CP, including sites in the vicinity of the monoglyceride lipase (MGLL) gene (involved in endocannabinoid signaling and pain perception). Subthreshold associations in the vicinity of three candidate genes for CP (monoamine oxidase A [MAOA], brain-derived neurotrophic factor [BDNF], and FK506 binding protein 5 [FKBP5]) were also identified. Within the early-onset CP group, methylation levels of the identified sites did not distinguish children who will go on to persist versus desist in CP behavior over time. Overall, we found that several of the identified sites correlated with prenatal exposures, and none were linked to known genetic methylation quantitative trait loci. Findings contribute to a better understanding of epigenetic patterns associated with early-onset CP.
The co-occurring development of internalizing and externalizing problems were examined in an inception cohort of 392 children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 3 who were assessed on four occasions. Results indicated that internalizing and externalizing problems were stable over time and highly comorbid. Joint trajectory analysis suggested that 13% of the sample followed a dual high-risk trajectory. High risk was not found to be associated with intellectual ability or autism spectrum disorder symptom severity but was linked to lower income and gender: more girls than boys were found in the high/stable internalizing problems trajectory. The results suggest that 1 in 4 preschoolers followed a trajectory of internalizing or externalizing problems (or a combination of the two) that could be characterized as clinically elevated.
We previously reported an association between 5HTTLPR genotype and
outcome following cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) in child anxiety
(Cohort 1). Children homozygous for the low-expression short-allele
showed more positive outcomes. Other similar studies have produced mixed
results, with most reporting no association between genotype and CBT
To replicate the association between 5HTTLPR and CBT outcome in child
anxiety from the Genes for Treatment study (GxT Cohort 2,
n = 829).
Logistic and linear mixed effects models were used to examine the
relationship between 5HTTLPR and CBT outcomes. Mega-analyses using both
cohorts were performed.
There was no significant effect of 5HTTLPR on CBT outcomes in Cohort 2.
Mega-analyses identified a significant association between 5HTTLPR and
remission from all anxiety disorders at follow-up (odds ratio 0.45,
P = 0.014), but not primary anxiety disorder
The association between 5HTTLPR genotype and CBT outcome did not
replicate. Short-allele homozygotes showed more positive treatment
outcomes, but with small, non-significant effects. Future studies would
benefit from utilising whole genome approaches and large, homogenous
The effects of acute aerobic exercise on cognitive functions in humans have been the subject of much investigation; however, these studies are limited by several factors, including a lack of randomized controlled designs, focus on only a single cognitive function, and testing during or shortly after exercise. Using a randomized controlled design, the present study asked how a single bout of aerobic exercise affects a range of frontal- and medial temporal lobe-dependent cognitive functions and how long these effects last. We randomly assigned 85 subjects to either a vigorous intensity acute aerobic exercise group or a video watching control group. All subjects completed a battery of cognitive tasks both before and 30, 60, 90, or 120 min after the intervention. This battery included the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised, the Modified Benton Visual Retention Test, the Stroop Color and Word Test, the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, the Digit Span Test, the Trail Making Test, and the Controlled Oral Word Association Test. Based on these measures, composite scores were formed to independently assess prefrontal cortex- and hippocampal-dependent cognition. A three-way mixed Analysis of Variance was used to determine whether differences existed between groups in the change in cognitive function from pre- to post-intervention testing. Acute exercise improved prefrontal cortex- but not hippocampal-dependent functioning, with no differences found between delay groups. Vigorous acute aerobic exercise has beneficial effects on prefrontal cortex-dependent cognition and these effects can last for up to 2 hr after exercise. (JINS, 2015, 21, 791–801)
Despite tremendous growth in the consumption of gluten-free (GF) foods, there is a lack of evaluation of their nutritional profile and how they compare with non-GF foods. The present study evaluated the nutritional quality of GF and non-GF foods in core food groups, and a wide range of discretionary products in Australian supermarkets. Nutritional information on the Nutrition Information Panel was systematically obtained from all packaged foods at four large supermarkets in Sydney, Australia in 2013. Food products were classified as GF if a GF declaration appeared anywhere on the product packaging, or non-GF if they contained gluten, wheat, rye, triticale, barley, oats or spelt. The primary outcome was the ‘Health Star Rating’ (HSR: lowest score 0·5; optimal score 5), a nutrient profiling scheme endorsed by the Australian Government. Differences in the content of individual nutrients were explored in secondary analyses. A total of 3213 food products across ten food categories were included. On average, GF plain dry pasta scored nearly 0·5 stars less (P< 0·001) compared with non-GF products; however, there were no significant differences in the mean HSR for breads or ready-to-eat breakfast cereals (P≥ 0·42 for both). Relative to non-GF foods, GF products had consistently lower average protein content across all the three core food groups, in particular for pasta and breads (52 and 32 % less, P< 0·001 for both). A substantial proportion of foods in discretionary categories carried GF labels (e.g. 87 % of processed meats), and the average HSR of GF discretionary foods were not systematically superior to those of non-GF products. The consumption of GF products is unlikely to confer health benefits, unless there is clear evidence of gluten intolerance.
Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, is a chronic, progressive neurodegenerative disease that manifests clinically as a slow global decline in cognitive function, including deterioration of memory, reasoning, abstraction, language and emotional stability, culminating in a patient with end-stage disease, totally dependent on custodial care. With a global ageing population, it is predicted that there will be a marked increase in the number of people diagnosed with AD in the coming decades, making this a significant challenge to socio-economic policy and aged care. Global estimates put a direct cost for treating and caring for people with dementia at $US604 billion, an estimate that is expected to increase markedly. According to recent global statistics, there are 35·6 million dementia sufferers, the number of which is predicted to double every 20 years, unless strategies are implemented to reduce this burden. Currently, there is no cure for AD; while current therapies may temporarily ameliorate symptoms, death usually occurs approximately 8 years after diagnosis. A greater understanding of AD pathophysiology is paramount, and attention is now being directed to the discovery of biomarkers that may not only facilitate pre-symptomatic diagnosis, but also provide an insight into aberrant biochemical pathways that may reveal potential therapeutic targets, including nutritional ones. AD pathogenesis develops over many years before clinical symptoms appear, providing the opportunity to develop therapy that could slow or stop disease progression well before any clinical manifestation develops.
Patient registries represent an important method of organizing “real world” patient information for clinical and research purposes. Registries can facilitate clinical trial planning and recruitment and are particularly useful in this regard for uncommon and rare diseases. Neuromuscular diseases (NMDs) are individually rare but in aggregate have a significant prevalence. In Canada, information on NMDs is lacking. Barriers to performing Canadian multicentre NMD research exist which can be overcome by a comprehensive and collaborative NMD registry.
We describe the objectives, design, feasibility and initial recruitment results for the Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR).
The CNDR is a clinic-based registry which launched nationally in June 2011, incorporates paediatric and adult neuromuscular clinics in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and, as of December 2012, has recruited 1161 patients from 12 provinces and territories. Complete medical datasets have been captured on 460 “index disease” patients. Another 618 “non-index” patients have been recruited with capture of physician-confirmed diagnosis and contact information. We have demonstrated the feasibility of blended clinic and central office-based recruitment. “Index disease” patients recruited at the time of writing include 253 with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy, 161 with myotonic dystrophy, and 71 with ALS.
The CNDR is a new nationwide registry of patients with NMDs that represents an important advance in Canadian neuromuscular disease research capacity. It provides an innovative platform for organizing patient information to facilitate clinical research and to expedite translation of recent laboratory findings into human studies.
In a world filled with poverty, environmental degradation, and moral injustice, social enterprises offer a ray of hope. These organizations seek to achieve social missions through business ventures. Yet social missions and business ventures are associated with divergent goals, values, norms, and identities. Attending to them simultaneously creates tensions, competing demands, and ethical dilemmas. Effectively understanding social enterprises therefore depends on insight into the nature and management of these tensions. While existing research recognizes tensions between social missions and business ventures, we lack any systematic analysis. Our paper addresses this issue. We first categorize the types of tensions that arise between social missions and business ventures, emphasizing their prevalence and variety. We then explore how four different organizational theories offer insight into these tensions, and we develop an agenda for future research. We end by arguing that a focus on social-business tensions not only expands insight into social enterprises, but also provides an opportunity for research on social enterprises to inform traditional organizational theories. Taken together, our analysis of tensions in social enterprises integrates and seeks to energize research on this expanding phenomenon.
Improving teacher quality is a national need in mathematics education and one many universities and K–12 schools across the country are working in partnership to try to address. This article describes a graduate professional development program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) for certified teachers that leads to a master's degree that is aimed at improving mathematics teaching and learning in the middle grades. An overview of the institutional context for middle level mathematics teacher education in which this professional development program is situated is presented (i.e., state requirements for teachers, university policies, district partnerships). We describe the Math in the Middle (M2)Institute  and conclude with advice for mathematicians and educators to work in collaboration as they create their program for middle level teachers.
The Institutional Context
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a land grant Research I institution, offers undergraduate majors for future K–12 teachers that lead to a degree from the College of Education and Human Sciences. Students can obtain elementary certification in all subject areas (K–6) or secondary certification in a single subject area (7–12). Certification programs require multiple field experiences, a semester-long student teaching experience, and passing the Praxis Series I: Pre-Professional Skills Test . Elementary teachers must pass the 0011 Elementary Education: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment (EECIA) test, a Praxis II series assessment, in order to be considered highly qualified for No Child Left Behind.
This article describes three challenging yet accessible mathematics courses designed for middle school teachers and offered by the Department of Mathematics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Their descriptions are based on the courses as we have taught them as part of the Math in the Middle (M2) Institute Partnership, a National Science Foundation Math Science Partnership (MSP) program that works with practicing teachers. As a grant funded MSP, we take seriously the responsibility to share information about our program and the courses we have created. Readers are directed to our website  for information about our program and specifically to our course materials  for a link to additional information about the courses described in this article as well as other courses that we offer.
The aim of the M2 Institute, and the university—public-school partnership that created it, is to develop intellectual leaders in middle level mathematics (grades 5–8). A core strategy that guides Math in the Middle is to offer teachers content rich mathematics courses that are accessible and useful. Practicing teachers who are admitted to the M2 Institute earn 36 graduate credit hours over several years, resulting in a Master's Degree. More information on the M2 Institute is in the companion article  in this volume.
We describe three Math in the Middle courses: Mathematics as a Second Language (MSL), Experimentation, Conjecture and Reasoning (ECR), and Number Theory and Cryptology for Middle Level Teachers (NT&C).