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Birthweight has implications for physical and mental health in later life. Using data from Caucasian twins collected in Australia, the Netherlands and the United States, and from East Asian twins collected in Japan and South Korea, we compared the total phenotypic, genetic and environmental variances of birthweight between Caucasians and East Asians. Model-fitting analyses yielded four major findings. First, for both males and females, the total phenotypic variances of birthweight were about 45% larger in Caucasians than in East Asians. The larger phenotypic variances were mainly attributable to a greater shared environmental variance of birth- weight in Caucasians (ranging from 62% to 67% of variance) than Asians (48% to 53%). Second, the genetic variance of birthweight was equal in Caucasians and East Asians for both males and females, explaining a maximum of 17% of variance. Third, small variations in total phenotypic variances of birthweight within Caucasians and within East Asians were mainly due to differences in nonshared environmental variances. We speculate that maternal effects (both genetic and environmental) explain the large shared environmental variance in birthweight and may account for the differences in phenotypic variance in birthweight between Caucasians and East Asians. Recent molecular findings and specific environmental factors that are subsumed by maternal effects are discussed.
The South Korean Twin Registry (SKTR), previously called the Seoul Twin Family Study, is a nationwide volunteer registry of South Korean twins and their families. Since 2002, the SKTR has been updated in 4 important ways. First, continued sampling led to an increase in the number of twins. Second, the target area, Seoul, was enlarged to include other cities and rural areas in the country. Third, the target population was extended from school-aged twins to preschool and adult twins. Fourth, the research focus was expanded to include psychiatric and physical disease phenotypes. The present article describes a brief history of the SKTR, goals and current research highlights, recent major accomplishments, and future directions.
We aimed to investigate the factors associated with a positive intake of folic acid (FA) during the periconceptional period among Korean women.
In a cross-sectional study of demographic, obstetric and socio-economic data, history of periconceptional intake of FA and awareness of the benefits of FA supplementation in pregnancy were obtained and analysed using the χ2 test, followed by multiple logistic regression analysis.
The Maternity School, Cheil General Hospital and Women’s Healthcare Center, Seoul, South Korea, between October 2005 and March 2006.
In total 1313 pregnant women participating in a two-day training course available every month.
After excluding subjects with incomplete or inconsistent data, there were 1277 women included in the analysis. Participants were aged 29·4 (sd 2·9) years and had a mean gestational age of 27·9 (sd 7·1) weeks. Only 131 (10·3 %) women took FA during the periconceptional period. According to multiple logistic regression analyses, the adjusted OR for FA supplementation was 1·79 (95 % CI 1·10, 2·91) in women who had previous spontaneous abortions, 4·10 (95 % CI 2·43, 6·78) in women who planned their pregnancy and 6·63 (95 % CI 2·08, 21·12) in those who were aware of the protective effects of FA.
Periconceptional intake of FA was more likely among Korean women with a history of previous spontaneous abortion, who planned their pregnancy or who were aware of the protective effects of FA during pregnancy. However, the proportion of women who took FA in the periconceptional period was low.
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