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A population-based cross-sectional study aimed to examine sex differences in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of older adults, and investigate whether the relation patterns between HRQoL and its correlates differed between sexes. A stratified proportional and representative sample included 802 volunteers, aged 60–79. HRQoL (36-item Short Form Health Survey), functional fitness (Senior Fitness Test), physical activity (PA) (Baecke questionnaire), demographic information and health features (questionnaires) were assessed. Men showed significantly higher HRQoL (P<0.001). Body mass index, body strength, aerobic endurance, PA, depressive symptoms, falls, and living alone were significantly related to HRQoL. With sex as moderator, these relations were not significant, except for PA (β=0.12, P=0.004). A significant interaction of sex with PA on HRQoL (β=0.08, P=0.037) was found, indicating that this relation was higher in men. A similar relation pattern was found for HRQoL physical component. HRQoL and its correlates differed between sexes, demanding a sex specific approach to promote HRQoL.
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.
It remains unclear so far whether the role of cognitive reserve may differ between physically frail compared to less frail individuals. Therefore, the present study set out to investigate the relation of key markers of cognitive reserve to cognitive status in old age and its interplay with physical frailty in a large sample of older adults.
We assessed Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) in 701 older adults. We measured grip strength as indicator of physical frailty and interviewed individuals on their education, past occupation, and cognitive leisure activity.
Greater grip strength, longer education, higher cognitive level of job, and greater engaging in cognitive leisure activity were significantly related to higher MMSE scores. Moderation analyses showed that the relations of education, cognitive level of job, and cognitive leisure activity to MMSE scores were significantly larger in individuals with lower, compared to those with greater grip strength.
Cognitive status in old age may more strongly depend on cognitive reserve accumulated during the life course in physically frail (compared to less frail) older adults. These findings may be explained by cross-domain compensation effects in vulnerable individuals.
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.
Blood examination by microhaematocrit and haemoculture of 459 snakes belonging to 37 species revealed 2·4% trypanosome prevalence in species of Viperidae (Crotalus durissus and Bothrops jararaca) and Colubridae (Pseudoboa nigra). Trypanosome cultures from C. durissus and P. nigra were behaviourally and morphologically indistinguishable. In addition, the growth and morphological features of a trypanosome from the sand fly Viannamyia tuberculata were similar to those of snake isolates. Cross-infection experiments revealed a lack of host restriction, as snakes of 3 species were infected with the trypanosome from C. durissus. Phylogeny based on ribosomal sequences revealed that snake trypanosomes clustered together with the sand fly trypanosome, forming a new phylogenetic lineage within Trypanosoma closest to a clade of lizard trypanosomes transmitted by sand flies†. The clade of trypanosomes from snakes and lizards suggests an association between the evolutionary histories of these trypanosomes and their squamate hosts. Moreover, data strongly indicated that these trypanosomes are transmitted by sand flies. The flaws of the current taxonomy of snake trypanosomes are discussed, and the need for molecular parameters to be adopted is emphasized. To our knowledge, this is the first molecular phylogenetic study of snake trypanosomes.
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