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Childhood trauma and adversity are common across societies and have strong associations with physical and psychiatric morbidity throughout the life-course. One possible mechanism through which childhood trauma may predispose individuals to poor psychiatric outcomes is via associations with brain structure. This study aimed to elucidate the associations between childhood trauma and brain structure across two large, independent community cohorts.
The two samples comprised (i) a subsample of Generation Scotland (n=1,024); and (ii) individuals from UK Biobank (n=27,202). This comprised n=28,226 for mega-analysis. MRI scans were processed using Free Surfer, providing cortical, subcortical, and global brain metrics. Regression models were used to determine associations between childhood trauma measures and brain metrics and psychiatric phenotypes.
Childhood trauma associated with lifetime depression across cohorts (OR 1.06 GS, 1.23 UKB), and related to early onset and recurrent course within both samples. There was evidence for associations between childhood trauma and structural brain metrics. This included reduced global brain volume, and reduced cortical surface area with highest effects in the frontal (β=−0.0385, SE=0.0048, p(FDR)=5.43x10−15) and parietal lobes (β=−0.0387, SE=0.005, p(FDR)=1.56x10−14). At a regional level the ventral diencephalon (VDc) displayed significant associations with childhood trauma measures across both cohorts and at mega-analysis (β=−0.0232, SE=0.0039, p(FDR)=2.91x10−8). There were also associations with reduced hippocampus, thalamus, and nucleus accumbens volumes.
Associations between childhood trauma and reduced global and regional brain volumes were found, across two independent UK cohorts, and at mega-analysis. This provides robust evidence for a lasting effect of childhood adversity on brain structure.
The Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea is a ‘Critically Endangered’ migratory shorebird. The species faces an array of threats in its non-breeding range, making conservation intervention essential. However, conservation efforts are reliant on identifying the species’ key stopover and wintering sites. Using Maximum Entropy models, we predicted Spoon-billed Sandpiper distribution across the non-breeding range, using data from recent field surveys and satellite tracking. Model outputs suggest only a limited number of stopover sites are suitable for migrating birds, with sites in the Yellow Sea and on the Jiangsu coast in China highlighted as particularly important. All the previously known core wintering sites were identified by the model including the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, Nan Thar Island and the Gulf of Mottama. In addition, the model highlighted sites subsequently found to be occupied, and pinpointed potential new sites meriting investigation, notably on Borneo and Sulawesi, and in parts of India and the Philippines. A comparison between the areas identified as most likely to be occupied and protected areas showed that very few locations are covered by conservation designations. Known sites must be managed for conservation as a priority, and potential new sites should be surveyed as soon as is feasible to assess occupancy status. Site protection should take place in concert with conservation interventions including habitat management, discouraging hunting, and fostering alternative livelihoods.
The usefulness of the glycaemic index (GI) of a food for practical advice for individuals with diabetes or the general population depends on its reliability, as estimated by intra-class coefficient (ICC), a measure having values between 0 and 1, with values closer to 1 indicating better reliability. We aimed to estimate the ICC of the postprandial blood glucose response to glucose and white bread, instant mashed potato and chickpeas using the incremental area under the curve (iAUC) and the GI of these foods. The iAUC values were determined in twenty healthy individuals on three and four occasions for white bread and glucose, respectively, and for potato and chickpeas on a single occasion. The ICC of the iAUC for white bread and glucose were 0·50 (95 % CI 0·27, 0·73) and 0·49 (95 % CI 0·22, 0·75), respectively. The mean GI of white bread was 81 (95 % CI 74, 90) with a reliability of 0·27 indicating substantial within-person variability. The GI of mashed potato and chickpeas were 87 (95 % CI 76, 101) and 28 (95 % CI 22, 37) respectively with ICC of 0·02 and 0·40.The ICC of the iAUC were moderate and those of the GI fair or poor, indicating the heterogeneous nature of individuals' responses. The unpredictability of individual responses even if they are the result of day-to-day variation places limitations on the clinical usefulness of GI. If the very different GI of potato and chickpeas are estimates of an individual's every-day response to different foods, then the GI of foods may provide an indication of the GI of a long-term diet.