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Alcohol use is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. We examined the interactive effects between genome-wide polygenic risk scores for alcohol use (alc-PRS) and social support in relation to alcohol use among European American (EA) and African American (AA) adults across sex and developmental stages (emerging adulthood, young adulthood, and middle adulthood). Data were drawn from 4,011 EA and 1,274 AA adults from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism who were between ages 18–65 and had ever used alcohol. Participants completed the Semi-Structured Assessment for the Genetics of Alcoholism and provided saliva or blood samples for genotyping. Results indicated that social support from friends, but not family, moderated the association between alc-PRS and alcohol use among EAs and AAs (only in middle adulthood for AAs); alc-PRS was associated with higher levels of alcohol use when friend support was low, but not when friend support was high. Associations were similar across sex but differed across developmental stages. Findings support the important role of social support from friends in buffering genetic risk for alcohol use among EA and AA adults and highlight the need to consider developmental changes in the role of social support in relation to alcohol use.
Researchers have identified genetic and neural risk factors for externalizing behaviors. However, it has not yet been determined if genetic liability is conferred in part through associations with more proximal neurophysiological risk markers.
Participants from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism, a large, family-based study of alcohol use disorders were genotyped and polygenic scores for externalizing (EXT PGS) were calculated. Associations with target P3 amplitude from a visual oddball task (P3) and broad endorsement of externalizing behaviors (indexed via self-report of alcohol and cannabis use, and antisocial behavior) were assessed in participants of European (EA; N = 2851) and African ancestry (AA; N = 1402). Analyses were also stratified by age (adolescents, age 12–17 and young adults, age 18–32).
The EXT PGS was significantly associated with higher levels of externalizing behaviors among EA adolescents and young adults as well as AA young adults. P3 was inversely associated with externalizing behaviors among EA young adults. EXT PGS was not significantly associated with P3 amplitude and therefore, there was no evidence that P3 amplitude indirectly accounted for the association between EXT PGS and externalizing behaviors.
Both the EXT PGS and P3 amplitude were significantly associated with externalizing behaviors among EA young adults. However, these associations with externalizing behaviors appear to be independent of each other, suggesting that they may index different facets of externalizing.
Patients with cancer often have unmet needs (e.g., physical, psychosocial, and emotional) during their cancer journey, putting them at risk for distress. This study aimed to identify factors associated with distress and to investigate the association between distress and acute health-care services utilization in a cohort of breast and gynecological cancer patients across different survivorship stages.
This was a retrospective cohort study of patients who visited National Cancer Centre Singapore between September 2019 and July 2020. Distress was evaluated using the self-reported Distress Thermometer and Problem List, with a distress thermometer score ≥4 signifying high distress. Data were extracted from electronic medical records. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify demographic or clinical variables associated with distress and estimate the odds of emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations within 30 days of distress screening, adjusted for covariates.
Of the 1386 patients included in the analysis, 510 (36.8%) reported high distress on their first distress screening. Variables associated with high distress included younger age, presence of psychiatric diagnosis, poorer Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status, and shorter duration from cancer diagnosis to distress screening. Patients with high distress were associated with higher odds of ED visits (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 2.25, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.14–4.43) and hospitalizations (adjusted OR = 2.11, 95% CI: 1.27–3.50) within 30 days of distress screening.
Significance of results
Self-reported high distress was associated with higher odds of increased acute health-care services utilization (ED visits and hospitalizations) in patients with breast and gynecological cancer. Identifying the subgroups at risk of high distress could trigger early interventions that reduce unplanned health-care services utilization and possibly health-care costs.
The purpose of this study was to examine possible pathways by which genetic risk associated with externalizing is transmitted in families. We used molecular data to disentangle the genetic and environmental pathways contributing to adolescent externalizing behavior in a sample of 1,111 adolescents (50% female; 719 European and 392 African ancestry) and their parents from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism. We found evidence for genetic nurture such that parental externalizing polygenic scores were associated with adolescent externalizing behavior, over and above the effect of adolescents’ own externalizing polygenic scores. Mediation analysis indicated that parental externalizing psychopathology partly explained the effect of parental genotype on children’s externalizing behavior. We also found evidence for evocative gene-environment correlation, whereby adolescent externalizing polygenic scores were associated with lower parent–child communication, less parent–child closeness, and lower parental knowledge, controlling for parental genotype. These effects were observed among participants of European ancestry but not African ancestry, likely due to the limited predictive power of polygenic scores across ancestral background. These results demonstrate that in addition to genetic transmission, genes influence offspring behavior through the influence of parental genotypes on their children’s environmental experiences, and the role of children’s genotypes in shaping parent–child relationships.
This study examined: (1) school-based avoidance among students with problematic anxiety, (2) teachers’ levels of accommodation of avoidant behaviour, and (3) the relation between teacher accommodation and student avoidance and anxiety. Participants included 31 elementary school students with problematic anxiety (mean age = 7.7 years; range 5–11; 58% female; 71% White) and their teachers (mean age = 41.1 years; 100% female; 100% White). Children completed interviews about their anxiety, and teachers reported on students’ avoided situations and completed a questionnaire about their own use of accommodation. Results indicated that the most commonly avoided situations involved individual and group academic performance (e.g., reading aloud in front of class). All teachers engaged in some form of accommodating behaviour more than one day a week (e.g., assisted a student in avoiding things that might make him/her more anxious), and teachers who reported engaging in more accommodating behaviours had students with higher avoidance and anxiety. Findings suggest that additional training and research on teachers’ behaviours that maintain and/or reduce anxiety via reducing accommodating behaviours appears warranted.
The current study examined elementary (or primary) school teachers’ knowledge of student anxiety and evidence-based anxiety reduction strategies, whether this knowledge was associated with their use of evidence-based anxiety reduction strategies in the classroom, and correlates of teacher knowledge and use of anxiety reduction strategies in the classroom. Fifty-one volunteer elementary teachers (98% female; 98% White) participated and completed questionnaires about: themselves and work-related factors (e.g., years of teaching experience, self-efficacy), knowledge of student anxiety and anxiety treatment (e.g., core manifestations of anxiety such as physiological arousal, behavioural avoidance, and anxious thoughts), and use of anxiety reduction strategies in the classroom (e.g., relaxation strategies, encouraging the use of coping self-talk, and gradual exposure to feared situations). Results indicated that the average score on the knowledge assessment was 57% and knowledge levels were unrelated to self-reported use of anxiety reduction strategies. The most robust correlate of knowledge of anxiety and use of anxiety reduction strategies was teachers’ perceived personal accomplishment. Findings suggest additional teacher training to increase knowledge about student anxiety and use of evidence-based anxiety reduction strategies in the classroom is warranted.
Hong Kong is an intermediate tuberculosis (TB) burden city in Asia Pacific with slow decline of case notification in the last decade. By 24-loci mycobacterial interspersed repetitive units – variable number of tandem repeats genotyping, we examined 534 Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates collected from culture-positive hospitalised TB patients in a 1.7 million population geographic region in the city. Overall, 286 (75%) were classified as Beijing genotype, of which 216 (76%) and 59 (21%) belonged to modern and ancient sub-lineage, respectively. Only two cases were genetically clustered while spatial clustering was absent. Male gender, permanent residency in Hong Kong and born in Hong Kong or Mainland China were associated with Beijing genotype. The high prevalence of Beijing modern lineage was similar to that in East Asia, which reflected the pattern resulting from population migration. The paucity of clustering suggested that reactivation accounted for most of the TB disease cases, which was and echoed by observation that half were 60 years old or above, and the presence of co-morbid medical conditions. The predominance of reactivation TB cases in intermediate burden localities implies that the detection and control of latent TB infection would be the major challenge in achieving TB elimination.
Many studies demonstrate that marriage protects against risky alcohol use and moderates genetic influences on alcohol outcomes; however, previous work has not considered these effects from a developmental perspective or in high-risk individuals. These represent important gaps, as it cannot be assumed that marriage has uniform effects across development or in high-risk samples. We took a longitudinal developmental approach to examine whether marital status was associated with heavy episodic drinking (HED), and whether marital status moderated polygenic influences on HED. Our sample included 937 individuals (53.25% female) from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism who reported their HED and marital status biennially between the ages of 21 and 25. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were derived from a genome-wide association study of alcohol consumption. Marital status was not associated with HED; however, we observed pathogenic gene-by-environment effects that changed across young adulthood. Among those who married young (age 21), individuals with higher PRS reported more HED; however, these effects decayed over time. The same pattern was found in supplementary analyses using parental history of alcohol use disorder as the index of genetic liability. Our findings indicate that early marriage may exacerbate risk for those with higher polygenic load.
Studies suggest that alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders have distinct genetic backgrounds.
We examined whether polygenic risk scores (PRS) for consumption and problem subscales of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C, AUDIT-P) in the UK Biobank (UKB; N = 121 630) correlate with alcohol outcomes in four independent samples: an ascertained cohort, the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA; N = 6850), and population-based cohorts: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC; N = 5911), Generation Scotland (GS; N = 17 461), and an independent subset of UKB (N = 245 947). Regression models and survival analyses tested whether the PRS were associated with the alcohol-related outcomes.
In COGA, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with alcohol dependence, AUD symptom count, maximum drinks (R2 = 0.47–0.68%, p = 2.0 × 10−8–1.0 × 10−10), and increased likelihood of onset of alcohol dependence (hazard ratio = 1.15, p = 4.7 × 10−8); AUDIT-C PRS was not an independent predictor of any phenotype. In ALSPAC, the AUDIT-C PRS was associated with alcohol dependence (R2 = 0.96%, p = 4.8 × 10−6). In GS, AUDIT-C PRS was a better predictor of weekly alcohol use (R2 = 0.27%, p = 5.5 × 10−11), while AUDIT-P PRS was more associated with problem drinking (R2 = 0.40%, p = 9.0 × 10−7). Lastly, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with ICD-based alcohol-related disorders in the UKB subset (R2 = 0.18%, p < 2.0 × 10−16).
AUDIT-P PRS was associated with a range of alcohol-related phenotypes across population-based and ascertained cohorts, while AUDIT-C PRS showed less utility in the ascertained cohort. We show that AUDIT-P is genetically correlated with both use and misuse and demonstrate the influence of ascertainment schemes on PRS analyses.
Prematurity, stillbirth and other adverse birth outcomes remain major concerns in resource-limited settings. Poor dietary intake of micronutrients during pregnancy has been associated with increased risk of adverse outcomes. We determined the relationships between dietary Fe and Ca intakes during pregnancy and risks of adverse birth outcomes among HIV-negative women.
Women’s diet was assessed through repeated 24 h diet recalls in pregnancy. Mean intakes of total Fe, Fe from animal sources and Ca during pregnancy were examined in relation to adverse birth outcomes and neonatal mortality. Women were prescribed daily Fe supplements as per standard perinatal care.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
A cohort of 7634 pregnant women.
Median (interquartile range) daily dietary intake of total Fe, animal Fe and Ca was 11·9 (9·3–14·7), 0·5 (0–1·1) and 383·9 (187·4–741·2) mg, respectively. Total Fe intake was significantly associated with reduced risk of stillbirth (trend over quartiles, P=0·010). Animal Fe intake was significantly associated with reduced risk of preterm birth and extreme preterm birth. Animal Fe intake was inversely related to neonatal mortality risk; compared with women in the lowest intake quartile, those in the top quartile were 0·51 times as likely to have neonatal death (95 % CI 0·33, 0·77). Higher Ca intake was associated with reduced risk of preterm birth (relative risk; 95 % CI: 0·76; 0·65, 0·88) and extreme preterm birth (0·63; 0·47, 0·86). Women in the highest Ca intake quartile had reduced risk of neonatal mortality (0·59; 0·37, 0·92).
Daily dietary Fe and Ca intakes among pregnant women are very low. Improvement of women’s diet quality during gestation is likely to improve the risks of adverse birth outcomes.
Background: This study evaluates which cognitive measure is best for predicting incident dementia in a population-based random sample of Chinese older adults without dementia over a five-year period.
Methods: A total of 787 community-dwelling Chinese older adults without dementia in Hong Kong were assessed at baseline (T0), at two years (T1), and at five years (T2).
Results: The annual conversion rate to dementia was 1.6% and 6.3% for baseline normal participants and baseline mild cognitive impairment (MCI) participants, respectively. The Cantonese version of Mini-mental State Examination (CMMSE) scores declined significantly over time. In participants who progressed to dementia, Category Verbal Fluency Test (CVFT) scores dropped significantly from T0 to T1. A 1-SD drop of either CMMSE or CVFT in two years predicted dementia at five years with 91.5% sensitivity and 62.0% specificity. A stable CMMSE and CVFT at two years predicted a 91% chance of not progressing to clinical dementia at five years.
Conclusion: In this community sample of Chinese older adults, a decline in cognitive screening tests in short term (two years) offered useful information in predicting dementia conversion over a longer period.
Background: Growing evidence suggests that participation in late-life leisure activity may have beneficial effects on cognitive function. The objective of the study was to evaluate the association between leisure activity participation and cognitive function in an elderly population of community-dwelling Hong Kong Chinese.
Methods: 512 participants were assessed in the follow-up study of a population-based community survey of the prevalence of cognitive impairment among Hong Kong Chinese aged 60 years and over. Leisure activities were classified into four categories (physical, intellectual, social and recreational). Information regarding leisure activity participation, cognitive function and other variables was collected. Multivariate linear regression analyses were performed to examine the association between leisure activity participation and cognitive function.
Results: A higher level of late-life leisure activity participation, particularly in intellectual activities, was significantly associated with better cognitive function in the elderly, as reflected by the results of the Cantonese Mini-mental State Examination (p = 0.007, 0.029 and 0.005), the Category Verbal Fluency Test (p = 0.027, 0.003 and 0.005) and digit backward span (p = 0.031, 0.002 and 0.009), as measured by the total frequency, total hours per week and total number of subtypes, respectively; the Chinese Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale (p = 0.045) and word list learning (p = 0.003), as measured by the total number of subtypes; and digit forward span (p = 0.007 and 0.015), as measured by the total hours per week and total number of subtypes, respectively.
Conclusion: Late-life intellectual activity participation was associated with better cognitive function among community-dwelling Hong Kong elderly Chinese.
The objective of the present paper is to provide glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL) values for a variety of foods that are commonly consumed in Hong Kong and expand on the international GI table of Chinese foods. Fasted healthy subjects were given 50 g of available carbohydrate servings of a glucose reference, which was tested twice, and test foods of various brands of noodles (n 5), instant cereals (n 3) and breads (n 2), which were tested once, on separate occasions. For each test food, tests were repeated in ten healthy subjects. Capillary blood glucose was measured via finger-prick samples in fasting subjects ( − 5, 0 min) and at 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120 min after the consumption of each test food. The GI of each test food was calculated geometrically by expressing the incremental area under the blood glucose response curve (IAUC) of each test food as a percentage of each subject's average IAUC for the reference food. GL was calculated as the product of the test food's GI and the amount of available carbohydrate in a reference serving size. The majority of GI values of foods tested were medium (a GI value of 56–69) to high (a GI value of 70 or more) and compared well with previously published values. More importantly, our dataset provides GI values of ten foods previously untested and presents values for foods commonly consumed in Hong Kong.
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