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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.
Introduction: Geriatric patients commonly present to the emergency department (ED) after a fall. Unfortunately, recent evidence suggests that ED physicians are poorly adherent to published ED-specific geriatric falls guidelines. This study applied a theoretical domains framework (TDF)-driven approach to systematically investigate barriers and enablers in the provision of guideline-based care to older patients presenting to the ED with a fall. Methods: From June to September 2017, semi-structured interviews of staff ED physicians practicing in Ontario, Canada were conducted and analyzed. An interview guide based on the TDF was used to capture 14 domains that may influence provision of guideline-based care. Interview transcripts were analyzed, and specific beliefs were generated by grouping similar responses. Relevant domains were identified based on frequencies of beliefs, existence of conflicting beliefs, and evidence of strong beliefs that would influence provision of guideline-based care. Results: Eleven interviews were conducted with practicing ED physicians. Thirty specific belief statements across 13 different TDF domains (all except Optimism) were identified as relevant. Overall, Ontario ED physicians are supportive of providing guideline-based care and believe it would lead to better outcomes for geriatric falls patients. Important barriers include knowledge, skills, time and workload constraints, and inconsistent allied health support. Conclusion: This study identified important barriers and enablers to provision of guideline-based care in geriatric ED falls patients. These results will help guide implementation of guidelines nationally and internationally, with a focus on improved knowledge dissemination, implementation of training interventions, and improvements in allied health coverage and supports.
During the summer of 2016, the Hawaii Department of Health responded to the second-largest domestic foodborne hepatitis A virus (HAV) outbreak in the post-vaccine era. The epidemiological investigation included case finding and investigation, sequencing of RNA positive clinical specimens, product trace-back and virologic testing and sequencing of HAV RNA from the product. Additionally, an online survey open to all Hawaii residents was conducted to estimate baseline commercial food consumption. We identified 292 confirmed HAV cases, of whom 11 (4%) were possible secondary cases. Seventy-four (25%) were hospitalised and there were two deaths. Among all cases, 94% reported eating at Oahu or Kauai Island branches of Restaurant Chain A, with 86% of those cases reporting raw scallop consumption. In contrast, a food consumption survey conducted during the outbreak indicated 25% of Oahu residents patronised Restaurant Chain A in the 7 weeks before the survey. Product trace-back revealed a single distributor that supplied scallops imported from the Philippines to Restaurant Chain A. Recovery, amplification and sequence comparison of HAV recovered from scallops revealed viral sequences matching those from case-patients. Removal of product from implicated restaurants and vaccination of those potentially exposed led to the cessation of the outbreak. This outbreak further highlights the need for improved imported food safety.
Outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) programmes facilitate hospital discharge, but patients remain at risk of complications and consequent healthcare utilisation (HCU). Here we elucidated the incidence of and risk factors associated with HCU in OPAT patients. This was a retrospective, single-centre, case–control study of adult patients discharged on OPAT. Cases (n = 63) and controls (n = 126) were patients that did or did not utilise the healthcare system within 60 days. Characteristics associated with HCU in bivariate analysis (P ≤ 0.2) were included in a multivariable logistic regression model. Variables were retained in the final model if they were independently (P < 0.05) associated with 60-day HCU. Among all study patients, the mean age was 55 ± 16, 65% were men, and wound infection (22%) and cellulitis (14%) were common diagnoses. The cumulative incidence of 60-day unplanned HCU was 27% with a disproportionately higher incidence in the first 30 days (21%). A statin at discharge (adjusted odds ratios (aOR) 0.23, 95% confidence intervals (CIs) 0.09–0.57), number of prior admissions in past 12 months (aOR 1.48, 95% CIs 1.05–2.10), and a sepsis diagnosis (aOR 4.62, 95% CIs 1.23–17.3) were independently associated with HCU. HCU was most commonly due to non-infection related complications (44%) and worsening primary infection (31%). There are multiple risk factors for HCU in OPAT patients, and formal OPAT clinics may help to risk stratify and target the highest risk groups.
This study aimed to identify the effect of lateral neck dissection on voice change in thyroidectomised patients.
Medical records from 264 patients who underwent thyroidectomy with (n = 65) or without (n = 199) lateral neck dissection were reviewed. Clinical and voice evaluation data were compared between the two groups.
Patients who underwent surgery that included lateral neck dissection had lower fundamental frequencies and speaking fundamental frequencies. They also had a higher incidence of asymmetric mucosal wave and vocal fold oedema on videostroboscopy during the first month after surgery, with the incidence of vocal fold oedema remaining significantly higher at three months. Self-assessed voice quality scores were significantly higher in lateral neck dissection patients at both one and three months after surgery.
In thyroidectomised patients, lateral neck dissection lowers the vocal pitch in the initial period after surgery and induces vocal fold oedema that persists for several months. Although most objective parameters improved within a month, subjective symptoms lasted for longer.
This study aimed to examine the association between vitamin B6, folate and vitamin B12 biomarkers and plasma fatty acids in European adolescents. A subsample from the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence study with valid data on B-vitamins and fatty acid blood parameters, and all the other covariates used in the analyses such as BMI, Diet Quality Index, education of the mother and physical activity assessed by a questionnaire, was selected resulting in 674 cases (43 % males). B-vitamin biomarkers were measured by chromatography and immunoassay and fatty acids by enzymatic analyses. Linear mixed models elucidated the association between B-vitamins and fatty acid blood parameters (changes in fatty acid profiles according to change in 10 units of vitamin B biomarkers). DHA, EPA) and n-3 fatty acids showed positive associations with B-vitamin biomarkers, mainly with those corresponding to folate and vitamin B12. Contrarily, negative associations were found with n-6:n-3 ratio, trans-fatty acids and oleic:stearic ratio. With total homocysteine (tHcy), all the associations found with these parameters were opposite (for instance, an increase of 10 nmol/l in red blood cell folate or holotranscobalamin in females produces an increase of 15·85 µmol/l of EPA (P value <0·01), whereas an increase of 10 nmol/l of tHcy in males produces a decrease of 2·06 µmol/l of DHA (P value <0·05). Positive associations between B-vitamins and specific fatty acids might suggest underlying mechanisms between B-vitamins and CVD and it is worth the attention of public health policies.
Extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) production has been very rare in serotype K1 Klebsiella pneumoniae ST23 strains, which are well-known invasive community strains. Among 92 ESBL-producing strains identified in 218 isolates from nine Asian countries, serotype K1 K. pneumoniae strains were screened. Two ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae isolates from Singapore and Indonesia were determined to be serotype K1 and ST23. Their plasmids, which contain CTX-M-15 genes, are transferable rendering the effective transfer of ESBL resistance plasmids to other organisms.
Δ14C values of leaves of deciduous trees provide a means to map the regional-scale fossil fuel ratio in the atmosphere. We collected a batch of ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba Linnaeus, a deciduous tree) leaf samples from across Korea in the month of July in both 2010 and 2011 to obtain the regional distribution of Δ14C. The Δ14C values of the samples were measured using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) at the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM). The average of the Δ14C values from clean air sites in Korea in 2011 measured slightly lower than the average of Δ14C values in 2010. Distribution maps of Δ14C of 2011 and 2010 in Korea were made based on a series of Δ14C values of ginkgo leaf samples from Korea using the Geostatistical and Spatial analyst tools in ESRI's ArcMap software. The distribution maps of Δ14C showed that Δ14C values in the western part of Korea are lower than those in the eastern part of Korea. This is because the western part of Korea is densely populated and contains many industrial complexes, and also because westerly winds from China, containing CO2 from fossil fuel use, blow into Korea. We compared the distribution maps of 2010 and 2011 and tried to find traces of the Fukushima power plant accident in Japan.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic, relapsing mental illness. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors block serotonin transporters (SERTs) and are the mainstay of treatment for OCD. SERT abnormalities are reported in drug-free patients with OCD, but it is not known what happens to SERT levels during treatment. This is important as alterations in SERT levels in patients under treatment could underlie poor response, or relapse during or after treatment. The aim of the present study was first to validate a novel approach to measuring SERT levels in people taking treatment and then to investigate SERT binding potential (BP) using [11C]DASB PET in patients with OCD currently treated with escitalopram in comparison with healthy controls.
Twelve patients and age- and sex-matched healthy controls were enrolled. The patients and healthy controls underwent serial PET scans after administration of escitalopram and blood samples for drug concentrations were collected simultaneously with the scans. Drug-free BPs were obtained by using an inhibitory Emax model we developed previously.
The inhibitory Emax model was able to accurately predict drug-free SERT BP in people taking drug treatment. The drug-free BP in patients with OCD currently treated with escitalopram was significantly different from those in healthy volunteers [Cohen's d = 0.03 (caudate), 1.16 (putamen), 1.46 (thalamus), −5.67 (dorsal raphe nucleus)].
This result extends previous findings showing SERT abnormalities in drug-free patients with OCD by indicating that altered SERT availability is seen in OCD despite treatment. This could account for poor response and the high risk of relapse in OCD.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common, highly heritable psychiatric disorder. Additionally, environmental factors such as perinatal stress and early adversities contribute to the occurrence and severity of ADHD. Recently, DNA methylation has emerged as a mechanism that potentially mediates gene–environmental interaction effects in the aetiology and phenomenology of psychiatric disorders. Here, we investigated whether serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) methylation patterns were associated with clinical characteristics and regional cortical thickness in children with ADHD.
In 102 children with ADHD (age 6–15 years), the methylation status of the SLC6A4 promoter was measured. Brain magnetic resonance imaging was obtained and ADHD symptoms were evaluated.
A higher methylation status of the SLC6A4 promoter was significantly associated with worse clinical presentations (more hyperactive-impulsive symptoms and more commission errors). Additionally, a negative correlation was observed between SLC6A4 methylation levels and cortical thickness values in the right occipito-temproral regions.
Our results suggest that the SLC6A4 methylation status may be associated with certain symptoms of ADHD, such as behavioural disinhibition, and related brain changes. Future studies that use a larger sample size and a control group are required to corroborate these results.
Previous studies have implicated the relationship between environmental phthalate exposure and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms of childhood, but no studies have been conducted in children who have a confirmed diagnosis of ADHD obtained through meticulous diagnostic testing. We aimed to determine whether phthalate metabolites in urine would be higher in children with ADHD than in those without ADHD and would correlate with symptom severity and cortical thickness in ADHD children.
A cross-sectional examination of urine phthalate metabolite concentrations was performed; scores for ADHD symptoms, externalizing problems, and continuous performance tests were obtained from 180 children with ADHD, and brain-imaging data were obtained from 115 participants. For the control group, children without ADHD (N = 438) were recruited. Correlations between phthalate metabolite concentrations and clinical measures and brain cortical thickness were investigated.
Concentrations of phthalate metabolites, particularly the di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) metabolite, were significantly higher in boys with ADHD than in boys without ADHD. Concentrations of the di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP) metabolite were significantly higher in the combined or hyperactive-impulsive subtypes compared to the inattentive subtype, and the metabolite was positively correlated with the severity of externalizing symptoms. Concentrations of the DEHP metabolite were negatively correlated with cortical thickness in the right middle and superior temporal gyri.
The results of this study suggest an association between phthalate concentrations and both the diagnosis and symptom severity of ADHD. Imaging findings suggest a negative impact of phthalates on regional cortical maturation in children with ADHD.
Alcohol consumption is a possible co-factor of high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) persistence, a major step in cervical carcinogenesis, but the association between alcohol and continuous HPV infection remains unclear. This prospective study identified the association between alcohol consumption and HR-HPV persistence. Overall, 9230 women who underwent screening during 2002–2011 at the National Cancer Center, Korea were analysed in multivariate logistic regression. Current drinkers [odds ratio (OR) 2·49, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·32–4·71] and drinkers for ⩾5 years (OR 2·33, 95% CI 1·17–4·63) had a higher risk of 2-year HR-HPV persistence (HPV positivity for 3 consecutive years) than non-drinkers and drinkers for <5 years, respectively (vs. HPV negativity for 3 consecutive years). A high drinking frequency (⩾twice/week) and a high beer intake (⩾3 glasses/occasion) had higher risks of 1-year (OR 1·80, 95% CI 1·01–3·36) HPV positivity for 2 consecutive years) and 2-year HR-HPV persistence (OR 3·62, 95% CI 1·35–9·75) than non-drinkers. Of the HPV-positive subjects enrolled, drinking habit (OR 2·68, 95% CI 1·10–6·51) and high consumption of beer or soju (⩾2 glasses/occasion; OR 2·90, 95% CI 1·06–7·98) increased the risk of 2-year consecutive or alternate HR-HPV positivity (vs. consecutive HPV negativity). These findings suggest that alcohol consumption might increase the risk of cervical HR-HPV persistence in Korean women.
After an outbreak of pandemic influenza A/H1N1 (pH1N1) virus, we had previously reported the emergence of a recombinant canine influenza virus (CIV) between the pH1N1 virus and the classic H3N2 CIV. Our ongoing routine surveillance isolated another reassortant H3N2 CIV carrying the matrix gene of the pH1N1 virus from 2012. The infection dynamics of this H3N2 CIV variant (CIV/H3N2mv) were investigated in dogs and ferrets via experimental infection and transmission. The CIV/H3N2mv-infected dogs and ferrets produced typical symptoms of respiratory disease, virus shedding, seroconversion, and direct-contact transmissions. Although indirect exposure was not presented for ferrets, CIV/H3N2mv presented higher viral replication in MDCK cells and more efficient transmission was observed in ferrets compared to classic CIV H3N2. This study demonstrates the effect of reassortment of the M gene of pH1N1 in CIV H3N2.
An experiment was conducted to examine whether increased CLA in milk of dairy cows fed fresh pasture compared with alfalfa and corn silages was because of ruminal or endogenous synthesis. Eight Holsteins were fed a total mixed ration using alfalfa and corn silages as the forage source in confinement or grazed in a replicated crossover design. The proportion of total fatty acids as CLA (primarily c9, t11-18:2) in g/100 g was 0.44 v. 0.28 in ruminal digesta, 0.89 v. 0.53 in omasal digesta and 0.71 v. 1.06 in milk during confinement feeding and grazing, respectively. Blood plasma CLA was 0.54 v. 1.05 mg/l for the two treatments, respectively. The increased concentration of CLA in milk with grazing likely resulted from increased synthesis through desaturation of t11-18:1 in the mammary gland.
Epidemiological and virological studies indicate that noroviruses-contaminated groundwater was the primary source of four acute gastroenteritis outbreaks in South Korea between 2008 and 2012. Furthermore, cabbage kimchi was first identified as the vehicle of transmission between groundwater and infected patients in an outbreak in 2011. The proper treatment of groundwater sources prior to use for drinking or in food preparation is necessary to prevent further outbreaks.
This paper describes a multidisciplinary robust optimisation framework for UAV conceptual design. An in-house configuration designer system is implemented to generate the full sets of configuration data for a well-developed advanced UAV analysis tool. A fully integrated configuration designer along with the UAV analysis tool ensures that full sets of configuration data are provided simultaneously while the UAV configuration changes during optimisation. The computational strategy for probabilistic analysis is proposed by implementing a central difference method and fitting distribution for a reduced number of Monte Carlo Simulation sampling points. The minimisation of a new robust design objective function helps to enhance the reliability while other UAV performance criteria are satisfied. In addition, the fully integrated process and a probabilistic analysis strategy method demonstrate a reduction in the probability of failure under noise factors without any noticeable increase in design turnaround time. The proposed robust optimisation framework for UAV conceptual design case study yields a more trustworthy prediction of the optimal configuration and is preferable to the traditional deterministic design approach. The high fidelity analysis ANSYS Fluent 13 is performed to demonstrate the accuracy of proposed framework on baseline, deterministic and RDO configuration.