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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.
Partially hydrolysed guar gum (PHGG), a soluble dietary fibre, has been shown to provide many health benefits. Previous studies had suggested that the combination of PHGG with protein provided a significant satiation effect on visual analogue scales (VAS). What was lacking was only the effect of administration of small doses of PHGG on post-meal satiation and subsequent energy intake. The objectives of the present investigations were to find the subjective perception of post-meal satiety with acute and long term administration of small amounts of PHGG alone with food, its effects on subsequent energy intake and the comparative effects among different types of soluble fibres. The following three separate studies were conducted: in study 1, healthy subjects (n 12) consumed PHGG along with breakfast, lunch and an evening snack; in study 2, healthy subjects (n 24) consumed 2 g of PHGG or dextrin along with yogurt as breakfast for 2 weeks; in study 3, healthy subjects (n 6) took 6 g each of either PHGG or indigestible dextrin or inulin along with lunch. In all the studies, various satiety parameters were measured on VAS before and after consumption of PHGG. The addition of PHGG showed significant (P< 0·05) acute (studies 1 and 3) and long-term (studies 1 and 2) satiety effects compared to the control and/or an equal amount of carbohydrate or other types of soluble fibre. Study 2 also indicated that the prolonged consumption of PHGG may significantly (P< 0·05) reduce energy intake from whole-day snacking. PHGG could be an ideal natural soluble fibre for delivering acute and long term satiety effects for comfortable appetite control.
This study investigated the relationship between twin language, twins’ close ties, and social competence in a prospective longitudinal study. We hypothesized that twins whose tie is close would be more likely to develop a twin language, and these twins would be less likely to develop social competence. In addition, we hypothesize that some environmental factors, such as having an older sibling, preschool attendance, zygosity, and sex are also related to twin language, twins’ close ties, and social competence. At baseline in 1999 a mailed questionnaire survey was conducted, and a follow-up questionnaire was distributed in 2004 among 958 mothers. As a result, 516 respondents returned the questionnaire (53.9%). In this study, we used 261 twin pairs aged from 6 to 12 years (school-age children) for analysis, excluding those with missing values. In the present study, we found that zygosity and sex were associated with twins’ close ties. Having an older sibling and preschool attendance did not affect the twins’ close tie, twin language, or social competence. One of the most important findings was that social competence was not affected directly by twins’ close tie, but was affected when a twin language was found.
The infant mortality rate (IMR) among single and twin births from 1999 to 2008 was analyzed using Japanese Vital Statistics. The IMR was 5.3-fold higher in twins than in singletons in 1999 and decreased to 3.9-fold in 2008. The reduced risk of infant mortality in twins relative to singletons may be related, partially, to survival rates, which improved after fetoscopic laser photocoagulation for twin — twin transfusion syndrome. The proportion of neonatal deaths among total infant deaths was 54% for singletons and 74% for twins. Thus, intensive care of single and twin births may be very important during the first month of life to reduce the IMR. The IMR decreased as gestational age (GA) rose in singletons, whereas the IMR in twins decreased as GA rose until 37 weeks and increased thereafter. The IMR was significantly higher in twins than in singletons from the shortest GA (<24 weeks) to 28 weeks as well as ≥38 weeks, whereas the IMR was significantly higher in singletons than in twins from 30 to 36 weeks. As for maternal age, the early neonatal and neonatal mortality rates as well as the IMR in singletons were significantly higher in the youngest maternal age group than in the oldest one, whereas the opposite result was obtained in twins. The lowest IMR in singletons was 1.1 per 1,000 live births for ≥38 weeks of gestation and heaviest birth weight (≥2,000 g), while the lowest IMR in twins was 1.8 at 37 weeks and ≥2,000 g.
Osaka University Center for Twin Research is currently organizing a government-funded, multidisciplinary research project using a large registry of aged twins living in Japan. The purpose of the project is to collect various information as well as biological resources from registered twins, and to establish a biobank and databases for preserving and managing these data and resources. The Center is collecting data from twin pairs, both of whom have agreed to participate in a one-day comprehensive medical examination. The following data are being collected: physical data (e.g., height, body mass, blood pressure, theoretical visceral fat, pulse wave velocity, and bone density), data regarding epidemiology (e.g., medical history, lifestyle, quality of life, mood status, cognitive function, and nutrition), electrocardiogram, ultrasonography (carotid artery and thyroid), dentistry, plastic surgery, positron emission tomography, magnetoencephalogram, and magnetic resonance imaging of brain. These data are then aggregated and systematically stored in specific databases. In addition, peripheral blood is obtained from the participants, and then genomic DNA is purified and sera are stored. A wide variety of studies are ongoing, and more are in the planning stage.
In general, twins have delayed language development early in childhood compared with singletons. The purpose of this study was to clarify the overall linguistic features of twins. A Japanese version of the Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities (ITPA) was administered in 24 twin pairs (aged 3 to 4 years) at their own homes. The overall language abilities of the twins were in the normal range (based on ITPA normative data: mean scale score 36.0 ± 6.0 points), and for the ITPA subtests only, Auditory Reception fell within the range of language disorder (mean scale score 24.9 ± 5.1 points). The findings suggest that in 3- to 4-year-old Japanese twins, overall language abilities are not delayed. However, there may be specific difficulties with auditory reception skills.
The Osaka University Aged Twin Registry (OUATR) is the largest adult twin registry in Japan. Since its establishment in 1974, the OUATR has conducted a number of studies with particular focus on the environmental contribution to physical–cognitive–mental aging, longevity and aging-dependent diseases in later adulthood. The registry consists of 12,000 pairs of Japanese twins born between 1900 and 1935. Two hundred and fifty pairs of twins have undergone comprehensive medical examination to date. Follow-up questionnaires have been mailed out on a regular basis, for the purpose of checking current vital statuses, health conditions, and so forth. The main objective of this longitudinal twin study is to contribute to the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases and the promotion of successful aging.
The definition and nature of twin language has been a focus of recent studies concerned with the phenomenon. There has been a call for a tighter definition and understanding of the meaning of twin language (Thorpe et al., 2001). This article sought to identify social factors associated with the parent report of twin language and thus provide further understanding of the phenomenon. Data from 583 mothers of twins aged 25 to 59 months were analyzed using multiple logistic regression. Factors included in the modeling of parent-report twin language included social experience factors such as presence of siblings, attendance at preschool education and reports of nonverbal play. It was found that twin pairs who didn't have an older sibling, who showed frequent nonverbal play and who didn't attend preschool were more likely to have a twin language. Moreover, in the group not having an older sibling, the influence of whether twins attended preschool or not was strong and the odds ratio was 0.589 (95% confidence intervals 0.360–0.963). The findings suggest that social experience factors are important predictors of the parent reporting of twin language.
More than 100 pairs of adult twins, reared apart and growing old separately, have participated in the Japanese Study of Adult Twins Reared Apart and Growing Old Separately since it began in 1974. The subjects are 161 pairs of adult twins born between 1910 and 1945 in Japan. The main focus of this study is to investigate the influences of environmental factors and life history on life satisfaction and psychological well-being in later adulthood. A mail survey has been conducted on these twins each year since 1974. To date, the Wechsler Adult Intelligent Scale, Maudsley Personality Inventory, Newgarten Life Satisfaction Index, comprehensive medical examinations and personal interviews have been conducted for 12 twin pairs residing in various areas of Japan.
We describe subject recruitment and research results from the Osaka University Aged Twin Registry (OUATR). The research focus of OUATR is the genetic and environmental contributions to physical-cognitive-mental aging which we examined in Japanese twins in later adulthood. Within this large-scale registry (12,000 pairs) of oriental twins born between 1900 and 1935, approximately 10% of participants are MZ twins reared apart from early childhood. Two hundred and fifty pairs have had comprehensive medical examinations, including various blood chemical panels, lymphocyte subtests, WAIS (Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale), and urine analysis. The future foci of this study are primarily on longevity, decline of cognitive functions with aging, bio-physiological functions, lifestyle and behavior genetics, and psycho-spiritual functions.
A total of 543 like-sex pairs of twins (407 MZ, 136 DZ) were sent mailed questionnaires on cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking and health conditions. The observed concordance rate for alcohol drinking was significantly higher than expected in both MZ and DZ pairs. The observed concordance rate for cigarette smoking was significantly higher than expected in the MZ, but not the DZ pairs. The observed rate of intrapair concordance for drinking was significantly higher than expected even in MZ pairs reared apart from infancy or very early childhood. Higher life satisfaction was observed more often in the higher alcohol consumers than in the lower consumers among MZ pairs discordant for alcohol drinking, while earlier onset of presbyopia was observed more often in the lower consumers. Physical symptoms, especially pains in the upper extremities, were reported more often by higher alcohol consumers than by lower consumers in the MZ pairs discordant for drinking.
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