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Peer support interventions for dietary change may offer cost-effective alternatives to interventions led by health professionals. This process evaluation of a trial to encourage the adoption and maintenance of a Mediterranean diet in a Northern European population at high CVD risk (TEAM-MED) aimed to investigate the feasibility of implementing a group-based peer support intervention for dietary change, positive elements of the intervention and aspects that could be improved. Data on training and support for the peer supporters; intervention fidelity and acceptability; acceptability of data collection processes for the trial and reasons for withdrawal from the trial were considered. Data were collected from observations, questionnaires and interviews, with both peer supporters and trial participants. Peer supporters were recruited and trained to result in successful implementation of the intervention; all intended sessions were run, with the majority of elements included. Peer supporters were complimentary of the training, and positive comments from participants centred around the peer supporters, the intervention materials and the supportive nature of the group sessions. Attendance at the group sessions, however, waned over the intervention, with suggested effects on intervention engagement, enthusiasm and group cohesion. Reduced attendance was reportedly a result of meeting (in)frequency and organisational concerns, but increased social activities and group-based activities may also increase engagement, group cohesion and attendance. The peer support intervention was successfully implemented and tested, but improvements can be suggested and may enhance the successful nature of these types of interventions. Some consideration of personal preferences may also improve outcomes.
This article is a clinical guide which discusses the “state-of-the-art” usage of the classic monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) antidepressants (phenelzine, tranylcypromine, and isocarboxazid) in modern psychiatric practice. The guide is for all clinicians, including those who may not be experienced MAOI prescribers. It discusses indications, drug-drug interactions, side-effect management, and the safety of various augmentation strategies. There is a clear and broad consensus (more than 70 international expert endorsers), based on 6 decades of experience, for the recommendations herein exposited. They are based on empirical evidence and expert opinion—this guide is presented as a new specialist-consensus standard. The guide provides practical clinical advice, and is the basis for the rational use of these drugs, particularly because it improves and updates knowledge, and corrects the various misconceptions that have hitherto been prominent in the literature, partly due to insufficient knowledge of pharmacology. The guide suggests that MAOIs should always be considered in cases of treatment-resistant depression (including those melancholic in nature), and prior to electroconvulsive therapy—while taking into account of patient preference. In selected cases, they may be considered earlier in the treatment algorithm than has previously been customary, and should not be regarded as drugs of last resort; they may prove decisively effective when many other treatments have failed. The guide clarifies key points on the concomitant use of incorrectly proscribed drugs such as methylphenidate and some tricyclic antidepressants. It also illustrates the straightforward “bridging” methods that may be used to transition simply and safely from other antidepressants to MAOIs.
Average diet quality is low in the UK and is socioeconomically patterned, contributing to the risk of non-communicable disease and poor health. Achieving meaningful dietary change in the long term is challenging, with intervention required on a number of different levels which reflect the multiple determinants of dietary choice. Dietary patterns have been identified which contribute positively to health outcomes; one of these is the Mediterranean diet (MD) which has been demonstrated to be associated with reduced non-communicable disease risk. Most research exploring the health benefits of the MD has been conducted in Mediterranean regions but, increasingly, research is also being conducted in non-Mediterranean regions. The MD is a dietary pattern that could have positive impacts on both health and environmental outcomes, while being palatable, appetising and acceptable. In this review, we consider the studies that have explored transferability of the MD. To achieve long-term dietary change towards a MD, it is likely that the dietary pattern will have to be culturally adapted, yet preserving the core health-promoting elements and nutritional composition, while considering the food system transition required to support changes at population level. Population-specific barriers need to be identified and ways sought to overcome these barriers, for example, key food availability and cost. This should follow a formal cultural adaptation framework. Such an approach is likely to enhance the extent of adherence in the longer term, thus having an impact on population health.
In May 2021, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) published a risk assessment on lower carbohydrate diets for adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D)(1). The purpose of the report was to review the evidence on ‘low’-carbohydrate diets compared with the current UK government advice on carbohydrate intake for adults with T2D. However, since there is no agreed and widely utilised definition of a ‘low’-carbohydrate diet, comparisons in the report were between lower and higher carbohydrate diets. SACN’s remit is to assess the risks and benefits of nutrients, dietary patterns, food or food components for health by evaluating scientific evidence and to make dietary recommendations for the UK based on its assessment(2). SACN has a public health focus and only considers evidence in healthy populations unless specifically requested to do otherwise. Since the Committee does not usually make recommendations relating to clinical conditions, a joint working group (WG) was established in 2017 to consider this issue. The WG comprised members of SACN and members nominated by Diabetes UK, the British Dietetic Association, Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of General Practitioners. Representatives from NHS England and NHS Health Improvement, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and devolved health departments were also invited to observe the WG. The WG was jointly chaired by SACN and Diabetes UK.
This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of a peer support intervention to encourage adoption and maintenance of a Mediterranean diet (MD) in established community groups where existing social support may assist the behaviour change process. Four established community groups with members at increased Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) risk and homogenous in gender were recruited and randomised to receive either a 12-month Peer Support (PS) intervention (PSG) (n 2) or a Minimal Support intervention (educational materials only) (MSG) (n 2). The feasibility of the intervention was assessed using recruitment and retention rates, assessing the variability of outcome measures (primary outcome: adoption of an MD at 6 months (using a Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS)) and process evaluation measures including qualitative interviews. Recruitment rates for community groups (n 4/8), participants (n 31/51) and peer supporters (n 6/14) were 50 %, 61 % and 43 %, respectively. The recruitment strategy faced several challenges with recruitment and retention of participants, leading to a smaller sample than intended. At 12 months, a 65 % and 76·5 % retention rate for PSG and MSG participants was observed, respectively. A > 2-point increase in MDS was observed in both the PSG and the MSG at 6 months, maintained at 12 months. An increase in MD adherence was evident in both groups during follow-up; however, the challenges faced in recruitment and retention suggest a definitive study of the peer support intervention using current methods is not feasible and refinement based on the current feasibility study should be incorporated. Lessons learned during the implementation of this intervention will help inform future interventions in this area.
Adhering to a Mediterranean diet (MD) is associated with reduced CVD risk. This study aimed to explore methods of increasing MD adoption in a non-Mediterranean population at high risk of CVD, including assessing the feasibility of a developed peer support intervention. The Trial to Encourage Adoption and Maintenance of a MEditerranean Diet was a 12-month pilot parallel group RCT involving individuals aged ≥ 40 year, with low MD adherence, who were overweight, and had an estimated CVD risk ≥ 20 % over ten years. It explored three interventions, a peer support group, a dietician-led support group and a minimal support group to encourage dietary behaviour change and monitored variability in Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) over time and between the intervention groups, alongside measurement of markers of nutritional status and cardiovascular risk. 118 individuals were assessed for eligibility, and 75 (64 %) were eligible. After 12 months, there was a retention rate of 69 % (peer support group 59 %; DSG 88 %; MSG 63 %). For all participants, increases in MDS were observed over 12 months (P < 0·001), both in original MDS data and when imputed data were used. Improvements in BMI, HbA1c levels, systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the population as a whole. This pilot study has demonstrated that a non-Mediterranean adult population at high CVD risk can make dietary behaviour change over a 12-month period towards an MD. The study also highlights the feasibility of a peer support intervention to encourage MD behaviour change amongst this population group and will inform a definitive trial.
Over the past three years, my colleagues and I have embarked on an exciting journey into electric-field control of magnetism, parts of which we describe in this article. What we present to you is something that we believe is extremely exciting from both a fundamental science and applications perspective, and has the potential to revolutionize our world. Needless to say, this will require a lot of new innovations, both in the fundamental science arena as well as translating scientific discoveries into real applications. We hope this article will help spur more research in electric-field control of magnetism within the broad materials community.
Vitamin D deficiency is a common occurrence globally, and particularly so in pregnancy. There is conflicting evidence regarding the role of vitamin D during pregnancy in non-skeletal health outcomes for both the mother and the neonate. The aim of this study was to investigate the associations of maternal total 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25OHD) with neonatal anthropometrics and markers of neonatal glycaemia in the Belfast centre of the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome (HAPO) study. Serological samples (n 1585) were obtained from pregnant women in the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital, Belfast, Northern Ireland, between 24 and 32 weeks’ gestation as part of the HAPO study. 25OHD concentrations were measured by liquid chromatography tandem-MS. Cord blood and neonatal anthropometric measurements were obtained within 72 h of birth. Statistical analysis was performed. After adjustment for confounders, birth weight standard deviation scores (SDS) and birth length SDS were significantly associated with maternal total 25OHD. A doubling of maternal 25OHD at 28 weeks’ gestation was associated with mean birth weight SDS and mean birth length SDS higher by 0·05 and 0·07, respectively (both, P=0·03). There were no significant associations with maternal 25OHD and other measures of neonatal anthropometrics or markers of neonatal glycaemia. In conclusion, maternal total 25OHD during pregnancy was independently associated with several neonatal anthropometric measurements; however, this association was relatively weak.
Fruit and vegetable (FV) intake is associated with reduced risk of a number of non-communicable diseases. Research tends to focus on antioxidants, flavonoids and polyphenols contained in FV as the main beneficial components to health; however, increasing FV may also alter overall diet profile. Extra FV may be substituted for foods thought to be less healthy, therefore altering the overall macronutrient and/or micronutrient content in the diet. This analysis merged dietary data from four intervention studies in participants with varying health conditions and examined the effect of increased FV consumption on diet profile. Dietary intake was assessed by either diet diaries or diet histories used in four FV randomised intervention studies. All food and drink intake recorded was analysed using WISP version 3.0, and FV portions were manually counted using household measures. Regression analysis revealed significant increases in intakes of energy (172 kJ (+41 kcal)), carbohydrate (+3·9 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)), total sugars (+6·0 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)) and fibre (+0·8 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)) and significant decreases in intakes of total fat (−1·4 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)), SFA (−0·6 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)), MUFA (−0·6 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)), PUFA (−0·1 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)) and starch (−2·1 g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)) per one portion increase in FV. Significant percentage increases were also observed in vitamin C (+24 %) and -carotene (+20 %) intake, per one portion increase in FV. In conclusion, pooled analysis of four FV intervention studies, that used similar approaches to achieving dietary change, in participants with varying health conditions, demonstrated an increase in energy, total carbohydrate, sugars and fibre intake, and a decrease in fat intake alongside an expected increase in micronutrient intake.
Dietary pattern (DP) analysis allows examination of the combined effects of nutrients and foods on the markers of CVD. Very few studies have examined these relationships during adolescence or young adulthood. Traditional CVD risk biomarkers were analysed in 12–15-year-olds (n 487; Young Hearts (YH)1) and again in the same individuals at 20–25 years of age (n 487; YH3). Based on 7 d diet histories, in the present study, DP analysis was performed using a posteriori principal component analysis for the YH3 cohort and the a priori Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) was calculated for both YH1 and YH3 cohorts. In the a posteriori DP analysis, YH3 participants adhering most closely to the ‘healthy’ DP were found to have lower pulse wave velocity (PWV) and homocysteine concentrations, the ‘sweet tooth’ DP were found to have increased LDL concentrations, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure and decreased HDL concentrations, the ‘drinker/social’ DP were found to have lower LDL and homocysteine concentrations, but exhibited a trend towards a higher TAG concentration, and finally the ‘Western’ DP were found to have elevated homocysteine and HDL concentrations. In the a priori dietary score analysis, YH3 participants adhering most closely to the Mediterranean diet were found to exhibit a trend towards a lower PWV. MDS did not track between YH1 and YH3, and nor was there a longitudinal relationship between the change in the MDS and the change in CVD risk biomarkers. In conclusion, cross-sectional analysis revealed that some associations between DP and CVD risk biomarkers were already evident in the young adult population, namely the association between the healthy DP (and the MDS) and PWV; however, no longitudinal associations were observed between these relatively short time periods.
The present study assessed whether increased fruit and vegetable (F&V) intake reduced the concentrations of the inflammatory marker serum amyloid A (SAA) in serum, HDL2 and HDL3 and whether the latter reduction influenced any of the functional properties of these HDL subfractions. The present study utilised samples from two previous studies: (1) the FAVRIT (Fruit and Vegetable Randomised Intervention Trial) study – hypertensive subjects (systolic blood pressure (BP) range 140–190 mmHg; diastolic BP range 90–110 mmHg) were randomised to receive a 1-, 3- or 6-portion F&V/d intervention for 8 weeks, and (2) the ADIT (Ageing and Dietary Intervention Trial) study – older subjects (65–85 years) were randomised to receive a 2- or 5-portion F&V/d intervention for 16 weeks. HDL2 and HDL3 were isolated by rapid ultracentrifugation. Measurements included the following: serum high-sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP) by an immunoturbidimetric assay; serum IL-6 and E-selectin and serum-, HDL2- and HDL3-SAA by ELISA procedures; serum-, HDL2- and HDL3-cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP) activity by a fluorometric assay. Although the concentrations of hsCRP, IL-6 and E-selectin were unaffected by increasing F&V intake in both studies (P>0·05 for all comparisons), those of SAA in HDL3 decreased in the FAVRIT cohort (P= 0·049) and those in HDL2 and HDL3 decreased in the ADIT cohort (P= 0·035 and 0·032), which was accompanied by a decrease in the activity of CETP in HDL3 in the FAVRIT cohort (P= 0·010) and in HDL2 in the ADIT cohort (P= 0·030). These results indicate that SAA responds to increased F&V intake, while other inflammatory markers remain unresponsive, and this leads to changes in HDL2 and HDL3, which may influence their antiatherogenic potential. Overall, the present study provides tangible evidence of the effectiveness of increased F&V intake, which may be of use to health policy makers and the general public.
A high intake of fruit and vegetables (FV) has been shown to be associated with reduced risk of a number of chronic diseases, including CVD. This review aims to provide an overview of the evidence that increased FV intake reduces risk of CVD, focusing on studies examining total FV intake. This evidence so far available is largely based on prospective cohort studies, with meta-analyses demonstrating an association between increased FV intake and reduced risk of both CHD and stroke. Controlled intervention trials examining either clinical or cardiovascular risk factor endpoints are scarce. However, such trials have shown that an increase in FV consumption can lower blood pressure and also improve microvascular function, both of which are commensurate with a reduced risk of CVD. The effects of increased FV consumption on plasma lipid levels, risk of diabetes and body weight have yet to be firmly established. In conclusion, evidence that FV consumption reduces the risk of CVD is so far largely confined to observational epidemiology, with further intervention studies required.
A high intake of fruit and vegetables (FV) is associated with reduced risk of chronic disease, although the evidence base is mostly observational. Blood biomarkers offer an objective indicator of FV intake, potentially improving estimates of intakes based on traditional methods. A valid biomarker of overall FV intake would be able to confirm population intakes, more precisely evaluate the association between intakes and health outcomes and confirm compliance in FV interventions. Several substances have been proposed as biomarkers of FV intake: vitamin C, the carotenoids and polyphenols. Certain biomarkers are strong predictors of single FV; however, the proposed single biomarkers of FV consumption are only modestly predictive of overall FV consumption. This is likely to be due to the complexity of the FV food group. While accurately measuring FV intake is important in nutrition research, another critical question is: how best can an increase in FV intake be achieved? Increased FV intake has been achieved in efficacy studies using intensive dietary advice. Alternative, less intensive methods for encouraging FV consumption need to be developed and tested for population level intervention. Systematic reviews suggest peer support to be an effective strategy to promote dietary change. This review will describe the evidence for a link between increased FV intake and good health, outline possible novel biomarkers of FV consumption, present the most recently available data on population intake of FV and examine the usefulness of different approaches to encourage increased consumption of FV.
The aim of the present study was to compare the effect of lutein- and zeaxanthin-rich foods and supplements on macular pigment level (MPL) and serological markers of endothelial activation, inflammation and oxidation in healthy volunteers. We conducted two 8-week intervention studies. Study 1 (n 52) subjects were randomised to receive either carrot juice (a carotene-rich food) or spinach powder (a lutein- and zeaxanthin-rich food) for 8 weeks. Study 2 subjects (n 75) received supplements containing lutein and zeaxanthin, β-carotene, or placebo for 8 weeks in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. MPL, serum concentrations of lipid-soluble antioxidants, inter-cellular adhesion molecule 1, vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, C-reactive protein and F2-isoprostane levels were assessed at baseline and post-intervention in both studies. In these intervention studies, no effects on MPL or markers of endothelial activation, inflammation or oxidation were observed. However, the change in serum lutein and zeaxanthin was associated or tended to be associated with the change in MPL in those receiving lutein- and zeaxanthin-rich foods (lutein r 0·40, P = 0·05; zeaxanthin r 0·30, P = 0·14) or the lutein and zeaxanthin supplement (lutein r 0·43, P = 0·03; zeaxanthin r 0·22, P = 0·28). In both studies, the change in MPL was associated with baseline MPL (food study r − 0·54, P < 0·001; supplement study r − 0·40, P < 0·001). We conclude that this 8-week supplementation with lutein and zeaxanthin, whether as foods or as supplements, had no significant effect on MPL or serological markers of endothelial activation, inflammation and oxidation in healthy volunteers, but may improve MPL in the highest serum responders and in those with initially low MPL.
Studies of individual nutrients or foods have revealed much about dietary influences on bone. Multiple food or nutrient approaches, such as dietary pattern analysis, could offer further insight but research is limited and largely confined to older adults. We examined the relationship between dietary patterns, obtained by a posteriori and a priori methods, and bone mineral status (BMS; collective term for bone mineral content (BMC) and bone mineral density (BMD)) in young adults (20–25 years; n 489). Diet was assessed by 7 d diet history and BMD and BMC were determined at the lumbar spine and femoral neck (FN). A posteriori dietary patterns were derived using principal component analysis (PCA) and three a priori dietary quality scores were applied (dietary diversity score (DDS), nutritional risk score and Mediterranean diet score). For the PCA-derived dietary patterns, women in the top compared to the bottom fifth of the ‘Nuts and Meat’ pattern had greater FN BMD by 0·074 g/cm2 (P = 0·049) and FN BMC by 0·40 g (P = 0·034) after adjustment for confounders. Similarly, men in the top compared to the bottom fifth of the ‘Refined’ pattern had lower FN BMC by 0·41 g (P = 0·049). For the a priori DDS, women in the top compared to the bottom third had lower FN BMD by 0·05 g/cm2 after adjustments (P = 0·052), but no other relationships with BMS were identified. In conclusion, adherence to a ‘Nuts and Meat’ dietary pattern may be associated with greater BMS in young women and a ‘Refined’ dietary pattern may be detrimental for bone health in young men.
The formal commissioning of the IRWG occurred at the 1991 Buenos Aires General Assembly, following a Joint Commission meeting at the IAU GA in Baltimore in 1988 that identified the problems with ground-based infrared photometry. The meeting justification, papers, and conclusions, can be found in Milone (1989). In summary, the challenges involved how to explain the failure to achieve the milli-magnitude precision expected of infrared photometry and an apparent 3% limit on system transformability. The proposed solution was to redefine the broadband Johnson system, the passbands of which had proven so unsatisfactory that over time effectively different systems proliferated, although bearing the same “JHKLMNQ” designations; the new system needed to be better positioned and centered in the spectral windows of the Earth's atmosphere, and the variable water vapour content of the atmosphere needed to be measured in real time to better correct for atmospheric extinction.
The potential to reduce cardiovascular morbidity through dietary modification remains an area of intense clinical and scientific interest. Any putatively beneficial intervention should be tested within a randomised controlled trial which records appropriate endpoints, ideally incident CVD and death. However, the large sample sizes required for these endpoints and associated high costs mean that the majority of dietary intervention research is conducted over short periods among either healthy volunteers or those at only slightly increased risk, with investigators using a diverse range of surrogate measures to estimate arterial health in these studies. The present review identifies commonly employed techniques, discusses the relative merits of each and highlights emerging approaches.
The formal origin of the IRWG occured at the Buenos Aires General Assembly, following a Joint Commission meeting at the IAU GA in Baltimore in 1988 that identified the problems with ground-based infrared photometry. The situation is summarized in Milone (1989). In short, the challenges involved how to explain the failure to achieve the milli-magnitude precision expected of infrared photometry and an apparent 3% limit on system transformability. The proposed solution was to redefine the broadband Johnson system, the passbands of which had proven so unsatisfactory that over time effectively different systems proliferated, although bearing the same JHKLMNQ designations; the new system needed to be better positioned and centered in the atmospheric windows of the Earth's atmosphere, and the variable water vapour content of the atmosphere needed to be measured in real time to better correct for atmospheric extinction.