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White Guinea yam (Dioscorea rotundata Poir.) is indigenous to West Africa, a region that harbours the crop's tremendous landrace diversity. The knowledge and understanding of local cultivars’ genetic diversity are essential for properly managing genetic resources, conservation, sustainable use and their improvement through breeding. This study aimed to dissect phenotypic and molecular diversity of white yam cultivars from Benin using agro-morphological and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers. Eighty-eight Beninese white Guinea yam cultivars collected through a countrywide ethnobotanical survey were phenotyped with 53 traits and genotyped with 9725 DArT-SNP. Multivariate analysis using phenotypic traits revealed 30 traits as most discriminative and explained up to 80.78% of cultivars’ phenotypic variation. Assessment of diversity indices such as Shannon–Wiener (H′), inverse Shannon (H.B.), Simpson's (λ) index and Pilou evenness (J) based molecular and phenotypic data depicted a moderate genetic diversity in Beninese white Guinea yam cultivars. Genetic differentiation of cultivars among country production zones was low due to the high exchange of planting materials among farmers of different regions. However, there was high genetic diversity within regions. Hierarchical clusters (HCs) on phenotypic data revealed the presence of two groups while HCs based on the SNP markers and the combined analysis identified three genetic groups. Our result provided valuable insights into the Beninese white Guinea yam diversity for its proper conservation and improvement through breeding.
A history of childhood adversity is associated with psychotic disorder, with an increase in risk according to the number of exposures. However, it is not known why only some exposed individuals go on to develop psychosis. One possibility is pre-existing polygenic vulnerability. Here, we investigated, in the largest sample of first-episode psychosis (FEP) cases to date, whether childhood adversity and high polygenic risk scores for schizophrenia (SZ-PRS) combine synergistically to increase the risk of psychosis, over and above the effect of each alone.
We assigned a schizophrenia-polygenic risk score (SZ-PRS), calculated from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC2), to all participants in a sample of 384 FEP patients and 690 controls from the case–control component of the EU-GEI study. Only participants of European ancestry were included in the study. A history of childhood adversity was collected using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ). Synergistic effects were estimated using the interaction contrast ratio (ICR) [odds ratio (OR)exposure and PRS − ORexposure − ORPRS + 1] with adjustment for potential confounders.
There was some evidence that the combined effect of childhood adversities and polygenic risk was greater than the sum of each alone, as indicated by an ICR greater than zero [i.e. ICR 1.28, 95% confidence interval (CI) −1.29 to 3.85]. Examining subtypes of childhood adversities, the strongest synergetic effect was observed for physical abuse (ICR 6.25, 95% CI −6.25 to 20.88).
Our findings suggest possible synergistic effects of genetic liability and childhood adversity experiences in the onset of FEP, but larger samples are needed to increase precision of estimates.
This manuscript details the strategy employed for categorising food items based on their processing levels into the four NOVA groups. Semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaires (FFQs) from the Nurses’ Health Studies (NHS) I and II, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) and the Growing Up Today Studies (GUTS) I and II cohorts were used. The four-stage approach included: (i) the creation of a complete food list from the FFQs; (ii) assignment of food items to a NOVA group by three researchers; (iii) checking for consensus in categorisation and shortlisting discordant food items; (iv) discussions with experts and use of additional resources (research dieticians, cohort-specific documents, online grocery store scans) to guide the final categorisation of the short-listed items. At stage 1, 205 and 315 food items were compiled from the NHS and HPFS, and the GUTS FFQs, respectively. Over 70 % of food items from all cohorts were assigned to a NOVA group after stage 2. The remainder were shortlisted for further discussion (stage 3). After two rounds of reviews at stage 4, 95⋅6 % of food items (NHS + HPFS) and 90⋅7 % items (GUTS) were categorised. The remaining products were assigned to a non-ultra-processed food group (primary categorisation) and flagged for sensitivity analyses at which point they would be categorised as ultra-processed. Of all items in the food lists, 36⋅1 % in the NHS and HPFS cohorts and 43⋅5 % in the GUTS cohorts were identified as ultra-processed. Future work is needed to validate this approach. Documentation and discussions of alternative approaches for categorisation are encouraged.
Disease-related malnutrition is prevalent among older adults; therefore, identifying the modifiable risk factors in the diet is essential for the prevention and management of disease-related malnutrition. The present study examined the cross-sectional association between dietary patterns and malnutrition in Chinese community-dwelling older adults aged ≥65 years in Hong Kong. Dietary patterns, including Diet Quality Index International (DQI-I), Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), the Mediterranean Diet Score, ‘vegetable–fruit’ pattern, ‘snack–drink–milk product’ pattern and ‘meat–fish’ pattern, were estimated and generated from a validated food frequency questionnaire. Malnutrition was classified according to the modified Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition (GLIM) criteria based on two phenotypic components (low body mass index and reduced muscle mass) and one aetiologic component (inflammation/disease burden). The association between the tertile or level of adherence of each dietary pattern and modified GLIM criteria was analysed using adjusted binary logistic regression models. Data of 3694 participants were available (49 % men). Malnutrition was present in 397 participants (10⋅7 %). In men, a higher DQI-I score, a higher ‘vegetable–fruit’ pattern score and a lower ‘meat–fish’ pattern score were associated with a lower risk of malnutrition. In women, higher adherence to the DASH diet was associated with a lower risk of malnutrition. After the Bonferroni correction, the association remained statistically significant only in men for the DQI-I score. To conclude, a higher DQI-I score was associated with a lower risk of malnutrition in Chinese older men. Nutritional strategies for the prevention and management of malnutrition could potentially be targeted on dietary quality.
Studying phenotypic and genetic characteristics of age at onset (AAO) and polarity at onset (PAO) in bipolar disorder can provide new insights into disease pathology and facilitate the development of screening tools.
To examine the genetic architecture of AAO and PAO and their association with bipolar disorder disease characteristics.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) and polygenic score (PGS) analyses of AAO (n = 12 977) and PAO (n = 6773) were conducted in patients with bipolar disorder from 34 cohorts and a replication sample (n = 2237). The association of onset with disease characteristics was investigated in two of these cohorts.
Earlier AAO was associated with a higher probability of psychotic symptoms, suicidality, lower educational attainment, not living together and fewer episodes. Depressive onset correlated with suicidality and manic onset correlated with delusions and manic episodes. Systematic differences in AAO between cohorts and continents of origin were observed. This was also reflected in single-nucleotide variant-based heritability estimates, with higher heritabilities for stricter onset definitions. Increased PGS for autism spectrum disorder (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), major depression (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), schizophrenia (β = −0.39 years, s.e. = 0.08), and educational attainment (β = −0.31 years, s.e. = 0.08) were associated with an earlier AAO. The AAO GWAS identified one significant locus, but this finding did not replicate. Neither GWAS nor PGS analyses yielded significant associations with PAO.
AAO and PAO are associated with indicators of bipolar disorder severity. Individuals with an earlier onset show an increased polygenic liability for a broad spectrum of psychiatric traits. Systematic differences in AAO across cohorts, continents and phenotype definitions introduce significant heterogeneity, affecting analyses.
Low birth weight is associated with adult mental health, cognitive, and socioeconomic problems. However, the causal nature of these associations remains difficult to establish due to confounding. We aimed to estimate the contribution of birth weight to adult mental health, cognitive, and socioeconomic outcomes using two-sample Mendelian randomisation, an instrumental variable approach strengthening causal inference.
We used 48 independent single-nucleotide polymorphisms as genetic instruments for birth weight (N of the genome-wide association study, 264 498), and considered mental health (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], autism spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], schizophrenia, suicide attempt), cognitive (intelligence), and socioeconomic (educational attainment, income, social deprivation) outcomes. We performed a two-sample Mendelian randomisation using the random-effect Inverse Variance Weighing method as primary analysis, supplemented by a wide range of sensitivity analyses, including Egger regression, weighted median, and Pleiotropy Residual Sum and Outlier. Results were considered statistically significant after accounting for multiple testing using False Discovery Rate (q = 0.05).
After correction for multiple testing, we found evidence for a contribution of birth weight to ADHD (OR for 1 SD-unit decrease [~464 grams] in birth weight, 1.29; CI, 1.03–1.62), PTSD (OR = 1.69; CI = 1.06–2.71), and suicide attempt (OR = 1.39; CI = 1.05–1.84), as well as for intelligence (β= –0.07; CI= –0.13; –0.02), and socioeconomic outcomes, ie, educational attainment (β=−0.05; CI= –0.09; –0.01), income (β=−0.08; CI= –0.15; –0.02), and social deprivation (β=0.08; CI = 0.03; 0.13). However, no evidence was found for a contribution of birth weight to the other examined mental health outcomes. Results were consistent across main and sensitivity analyses.
These findings support that birthweight could be an important element on the causal pathway to mental health, cognitive and socioeconomic outcomes. Early interventions targeting birth weight may therefore have a positive impact on promoting mental health and improving socioeconomic outcomes.
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 793396
Every internet search query made out of curiosity by anyone who observed something in nature, as well as every photo uploaded to the internet, constitutes a data point of potential use to scientists. Researchers have now begun to exploit the vast online data accumulated through passive crowdsourcing for studies in ecology and epidemiology. Here, we demonstrate the usefulness of iParasitology, i.e. the use of internet data for tests of parasitological hypotheses, using hairworms (phylum Nematomorpha) as examples. These large worms are easily noticeable by people in general, and thus likely to generate interest on the internet. First, we show that internet search queries (collated with Google Trends) and photos uploaded to the internet (specifically, to the iNaturalist platform) point to parts of North America with many sightings of hairworms by the public, but few to no records in the scientific literature. Second, we demonstrate that internet searches predict seasonal peaks in hairworm abundance that accurately match scientific data. Finally, photos uploaded to the internet by non-scientists can provide reliable data on the host taxa that hairworms most frequently parasitize, and also identify hosts that appear to have been neglected by scientific studies. Our findings suggest that for any parasite group likely to be noticeable by non-scientists, information accumulating through internet search activity, photo uploads, social media or any other format available online, represents a valuable source of data that can complement traditional scientific data sources in parasitology.
Despite evidence showing that the intake of ultra-processed food has a negative impact on health, diet quality and dietary vitamin E, its impact on vitamin E nutritional status and breast milk remains unknown. This study aimed to assess the influence of the consumption of ultra-processed foods on vitamin E biomarkers of lactating women. A cross-sectional study was performed with 294 lactating women. Food consumption was obtained by 24-h dietary recall, and foods were grouped according to the NOVA classification. Levels of α-tocopherol were analysed by HPLC. Breast milk vitamin E (BMVE) adequacy was based on the quantity of the vitamin in the estimated intake volume. The Kruskal–Wallis test was used to compare the tertiles and linear regression to association between ultra-processed food consumption and biomarkers. Ultra-processed foods accounted for 16 % of energy intake and vitamin E intakes by all women were considered low. Serum α-tocopherol was 26·55 (sd 7·98) µmol/l, 5 % (n 11) showed inadequate vitamin E (< 12 µmol/l) and 78 % had an inadequate BMVE content (< 4 mg/780 ml). The regression showed that a higher dietary share of ultra-processed foods was associated with lower concentrations of serum α-tocopherol (β = –0·168, 95 % CI –0·047, 0·010, P = 0·003) and inadequate BMVE content (β = –0·144, 95 % CI = –0·505, 0·063, P = 0·012) (adjustment for income and maternal age). Thus, higher dietary shares of ultra-processed foods had an impact on vitamin E biomarkers, suggesting that inadequate dietary intake practices during lactation may reduce the supply of vitamin E to women and breast milk.
Dietary intake and tissue levels of carotenoids have been associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity, brain-related diseases and some types of cancer. However, intervention trials with isolated carotenoid supplements have mostly failed to confirm the postulated health benefits. It has thereby been speculated that dosing, matrix and synergistic effects, as well as underlying health and the individual nutritional status plus genetic background do play a role. It appears that our knowledge on carotenoid-mediated health benefits may still be incomplete, as the underlying mechanisms of action are poorly understood in relation to human relevance. Antioxidant mechanisms – direct or via transcription factors such as NRF2 and NF-κB – and activation of nuclear hormone receptor pathways such as of RAR, RXR or also PPARs, via carotenoid metabolites, are the basic principles which we try to connect with carotenoid-transmitted health benefits as exemplified with described common diseases including obesity/diabetes and cancer. Depending on the targeted diseases, single or multiple mechanisms of actions may play a role. In this review and position paper, we try to highlight our present knowledge on carotenoid metabolism and mechanisms translatable into health benefits related to several chronic diseases.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), underscoring the urgent need for simple, efficient, and inexpensive methods to decontaminate masks and respirators exposed to severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We hypothesized that methylene blue (MB) photochemical treatment, which has various clinical applications, could decontaminate PPE contaminated with coronavirus.
The 2 arms of the study included (1) PPE inoculation with coronaviruses followed by MB with light (MBL) decontamination treatment and (2) PPE treatment with MBL for 5 cycles of decontamination to determine maintenance of PPE performance.
MBL treatment was used to inactivate coronaviruses on 3 N95 filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) and 2 medical mask models. We inoculated FFR and medical mask materials with 3 coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, and we treated them with 10 µM MB and exposed them to 50,000 lux of white light or 12,500 lux of red light for 30 minutes. In parallel, integrity was assessed after 5 cycles of decontamination using multiple US and international test methods, and the process was compared with the FDA-authorized vaporized hydrogen peroxide plus ozone (VHP+O3) decontamination method.
Overall, MBL robustly and consistently inactivated all 3 coronaviruses with 99.8% to >99.9% virus inactivation across all FFRs and medical masks tested. FFR and medical mask integrity was maintained after 5 cycles of MBL treatment, whereas 1 FFR model failed after 5 cycles of VHP+O3.
MBL treatment decontaminated respirators and masks by inactivating 3 tested coronaviruses without compromising integrity through 5 cycles of decontamination. MBL decontamination is effective, is low cost, and does not require specialized equipment, making it applicable in low- to high-resource settings.
We investigated the associations between dietary patterns and chronic disease mortality in Switzerland using an ecological design and explored their spatial dependence, i.e. the tendency of near locations to present more similar and distant locations to present more different values than randomly expected. Data of the National Nutrition Survey menuCH (n 2057) were used to compute hypothesis- (Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI)) and data-driven dietary patterns. District-level standardised mortality ratios (SMR) were calculated using the Swiss Federal Statistical Office mortality data and linked to dietary data geographically. Quasipoisson regression models were fitted to investigate the associations between dietary patterns and chronic disease mortality; Moran’s I statistics were used to explore spatial dependence. Compared with the first, the fifth AHEI quintile (highest diet quality) was associated with district-level SMR of 0·95 (95 % CI 0·93, 0·97) for CVD, 0·91 (95 % CI 0·88, 0·95) for ischaemic heart disease (IHD), 0·97 (95 % CI 0·95, 0·99) for stroke, 0·99 (95 % CI 0·98, 1·00) for all-cancer, 0·98 (95 % CI 0·96, 0·99) for colorectal cancer and 0·93 (95 % CI 0·89, 0·96) for diabetes. The Swiss traditional and Western-like patterns were associated with significantly higher district-level SMR for CVD, IHD, stroke and diabetes (ranging from 1·02 to 1·08) compared with the Prudent pattern. Significant global and local spatial dependence was identified, with similar results across hypothesis- and data-driven dietary patterns. Our study suggests that dietary patterns partly contribute to the explanation of geographic disparities in chronic disease mortality in Switzerland. Further analyses including spatial components in regression models would allow identifying regions where nutritional interventions are particularly needed.
Moving across genres and centuries, Gender in American Literature and Culture demonstrates how gender has structured American literary history and how rigid inscriptions of gender have perpetuated a legacy of violence and exclusion in the United States. The chapters in this collection move beyond inflexible categories of masculinity and femininity that often have reinforced restrictive assumptions about public and private spaces, work and domesticity, individualism and community, to offer more nuanced readings of literary conventions and genres from early American writings to the present. By challenging established models of authorship and gender, contributors to this volume begin to account for the many, shifting facets of gendered identities and their textual representations. Gender in American Literature and Culture thinks about gender intersectionally, as a category best understood in relation to racial, ethnic, class, and other identity markers such as religion, ability, age, and sexual orientation, and contributors explore nonbinary gender identifications as well as a broad range of normative models for girls and women, boys and men.