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Several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) could indirectly, as well directly, influence metabolic parameters related to health effects in response to selenium (Se) supplementation. This study aimed to investigate whether the selenoprotein SNPs were associated with the response of Se status biomarkers to the Brazil nut consumption in patients using statins and if the variation in Se homoeostasis could affect antioxidant protection, lipid profile, muscle homoeostasis and selenoproteins mRNA. The study was performed in the Ribeirão Preto Medical School University Hospital. Thirty-two patients using statins received one unit of Brazil nut daily for 3 months. Body composition, blood Se concentrations, erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase (GPX) activity, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), triacylglycerol (TAG), creatine kinase (CK) activity and gene expression of GPX1 and selenoprotein P (SELENOP) were evaluated before and after Brazil nut consumption. The volunteers were genotyped for SNP in GPX1 (rs1050450) and SELENOP (rs3877899 and rs7579). SNPs in selenoproteins were not associated with plasma and erythrocyte Se, but SNPs in SELENOP influenced the response of erythrocyte GPX activity and CK activity, TAG and LDL after Brazil nut consumption. Also, Brazil nut consumption increased GPX1 mRNA expression only in subjects with rs1050450 CC genotype. SELENOP mRNA expression was significantly lower in subjects with rs7579 GG genotype before and after the intervention. Thus, SNP in SELENOP could be associated with interindividual differences in Se homeostasis after Brazil nut consumption, emphasising the involvement of genetic variability in response to Se consumption towards health maintenance and disease prevention.
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.
Death ideation (thinking about/wishing for one's own death, thinking that one would be better off dead) is linked to an increased mortality risk. However, comparatively little is known about more general thoughts of death (GTOD) where no wish to die or life value is expressed. This study examined whether GTOD predicted mortality in a community-based cohort of older adults.
Data came from the Komo-Ise cohort study in Gunma prefecture, Japan. The analytic sample comprised 8208 individuals (average age 61.3 (range 47–77)) who were asked in wave 2 of the study in 2000 if they had ‘Thought about death more than usual, either your own, someone else's or death in general?’ in the past 2 weeks. Death data were obtained from the municipal resident registration file. Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was used to examine associations.
During the follow-up period (2000–2008), there were 672 deaths. In a model adjusted for baseline covariates, GTOD were significantly associated with all-cause mortality (hazards ratio 1.66, 95% confidence interval 1.20–2.29). Stratified analyses showed an association between GTOD and mortality in men, older subjects (⩾70 years), married individuals and those with higher social support.
GTOD are associated with an increased mortality risk among older citizens in Japan. Research is now needed to determine the factors underlying this association and assess the clinical relevance of screening for GTOD in older individuals.
Previous studies have shown that the renin–angiotensin system (RAS) is affected by adverse maternal nutrition during pregnancy. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a maternal low-protein diet on proinflammatory cytokines, reactive oxygen species and RAS components in kidney samples isolated from adult male offspring. We hypothesized that post-weaning losartan treatment would have beneficial effects on RAS activity and inflammatory and oxidative stress markers in these animals. Pregnant Sprague–Dawley rats were fed with a control (20% casein) or low-protein diet (LP) (6% casein) throughout gestation. After weaning, the LP pups were randomly assigned to LP and LP-losartan groups (AT1 receptor blockade: 10 mg/kg/day until 20 weeks of age). At 20 weeks of age, blood pressure levels were higher and renal RAS was activated in the LP group. We also observed several adverse effects in the kidneys of the LP group, including a higher number of CD3, CD68 and proliferating cell nuclear antigen-positive cells and higher levels of collagen and reactive oxygen species in the kidney. Further, our results revealed that post-weaning losartan treatment completely abolished immune cell infiltration and intrarenal RAS activation in the kidneys of LP rats. The prevention of augmentation of angiotensin (Ang II) concentration abolished inflammatory and fibrotic events, indicating that Ang II via the AT1 receptor is essential for pathological initiation. Our results suggest that the prenatal programming of hypertension is dependent on the up-regulation of local RAS and presence of immune cells in the kidney.
An outbreak of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157 occurred in multiple prefectures of Japan in November 2009. We conducted two case–control studies with trace-back and trace-forward investigations to determine the source. The case definition was met by 21 individuals; 14 (66.7%) were hospitalised, but no haemolytic uraemic syndrome, acute encephalopathy or deaths occurred. Median age was 23 (range 12–48) years and 14 cases were male (66.7%). No significant associations with food were found in a case–control study by local public health centres, but our matched case–control study using Internet surveys found that beef hanging tender (or hanger steak), derived from the diaphragm of the cattle, was significantly associated with illness (odds ratio = 15.77; 95% confidence interval, 2.00–124.11). Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis of isolates from patients and the suspected food showed five different patterns: two in faecal and food samples, and another three in patient faecal samples only, although there were epidemiological links to the meat consumed at the restaurants. Trace-back investigation implicated a common food processing company from outside Japan. Examination of the logistics of the meat processing company suggested that contamination did not occur in Japan. We concluded that the source of the outbreak was imported hanging tender. This investigation revealed that Internet surveys could be useful for outbreak investigations.
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.
This study determined the occurrence of legionellae in private houses for which there were no available data on aquatic environments other than the water supply system. From June 2013 to November 2014, we collected 138 water and 90 swab samples from aquatic environments in 19 houses. Legionella DNA was detected via a loop-mediated isothermal amplification assay in 66 (47·8%) water and 17 (18·9%) swab samples. High Legionella DNA detection rates were observed in water samples from washing machines and aquariums. Legionella spp. was isolated from 9 (6·5%) water and 3 (3·3%) swab samples. Legionella pneumophila SG 1 was detected from the outlet water of a bathtub spout and a bath sponge. Use of amoebic co-culture effectively increased legionellae and Legionella DNA detection rates from all sample types. A logistic regression analysis revealed that the heterotrophic plate count was significantly related to Legionella contamination. Our findings indicate that there is a risk of legionellosis from exposure to Legionella spp. in a variety of aquatic environments in residential houses. Control measures for legionellae in houses should include frequent cleaning and disinfecting to reduce heterotrophic bacteria in water and, where possible, preventing aerosolization from aquatic environments.
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.
Submillimetre observations of externally irradiated low-mass protostellar envelopes show that the gas temperature in the envelopes is dominated by the external irradiation. Detailed studies of the protostar IRS7B in Corona Australis also show that the chemistry is strongly affected by the irradiation, depleting the abundances of complex organic molecules.
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.
The interactive effect of personal factors and social factors upon suicide risk is unclear. We conducted prospective cohort study to investigate whether the impact of the economic crisis in 1997–1998 upon suicide risk differed according to Neuroticism and Psychoticism personality traits.
The Miyagi Cohort Study in Japan with a follow-up for 19 years from 1990 to 2008 has 29 432 subjects aged 40–64 years at baseline who completed a questionnaire about various health habits and the Japanese version of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire – Revised Short Form in 1990.
The suicide mortality rate increased from 4.6 per 100 000 person-years before 1998 to 27.8 after 1998. Although both Neuroticism and Psychoticism were significantly associated with an increased risk of mortality during the whole period from 1990 to 2008, the impact of the economic crisis upon suicide risk differed between the Neuroticism and Psychoticism personality traits. Compared with the lowest category, the hazard ratios (HRs) for the highest Neuroticism increased from 0.66 before 1998 to 2.45 after 1998. On the other hand, the HRs for the highest Psychoticism decreased from 7.85 before 1998 to 2.05 after 1998.
The impact of the 1997–1998 economic crisis upon suicide risk differed according to personality. Suicide risk increased among these with higher Neuroticism after the economic crisis, but this was not the case for other personality subscales.
We analyze photoluminescence (PL) and electroluminescence (EL) using a hyperspectral imager that records spectrally resolved luminescence images of solar cell absorbers. The system is calibrated to yield the luminescence flux in absolute values. This system enables to quantitatively image physical parameters such as the photovoltage with an uncertainty of less than 30mV. The wide field illumination, low power excitation and fast acquisition brings new insights compare to classical setups such as confocal microscope. Several types of absorbers have been analyzed. For instance, we can investigate spatial fluctuations of the Quasi Fermi Levels splitting in CIGS polycristalline absorbers and link those fluctuations to transport properties. The method is general to the point that third generation PV cells absorbers can also be evaluated. We illustrate the great potential of our setup by imaging quasi Fermi levels splitting in Intermediate Band Solar cells. Such techniques, directly evaluating the performance of photovoltaic absorbers and devices are needed for fast, high throughput investigations of combinatorial experiments such as the projects carried out for the material genomics programme.
We demonstrate the three-dimensional arrangement of silica microparticles in body-centered cubic lattice structure using both a relief pattern formed in the film of the azopolymer and silica micro particles dispersed in a nematic liquid crystal. In the method, firstly, the square lattice relief structures with the spacing of 2000 nm and the depth of 400 nm were formed on the azopolymer film by twice exposure to two beam interference patterns with coherent light of 488 nm in wavelength from Ar ion laser. Next, a nematic liquid crystal (5CB) containing 2000 nm diam. silica microparticles, with the surface modified with silane coupling reagent giving rise to homeotropic texture, was dropped on the relief structure on the azopolymer. The two dimensional square lattice structures of the micropaticles were formed spontaneously in an isotropic to nematic phase transition. Finally, the microparticles were three-dimensionally arranged by using optical tweezers. The microparticles were successfully stacked in a four-step pyramid structure with body centered tetragonal lattice structure.
The meeting was opened by Ted Bowell, president, at 11 am. The 2006 Division III meetings were reviewed by Guy Consolmagno, secretary; as the minutes of those meetings have already been published, they were assumed to be approved.