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Studies have reported mixed findings regarding the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on pregnant women and birth outcomes. This study used a quasi-experimental design to account for potential confounding by sociodemographic characteristics.
Data were drawn from 16 prenatal cohorts participating in the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program. Women exposed to the pandemic (delivered between 12 March 2020 and 30 May 2021) (n = 501) were propensity-score matched on maternal age, race and ethnicity, and child assigned sex at birth with 501 women who delivered before 11 March 2020. Participants reported on perceived stress, depressive symptoms, sedentary behavior, and emotional support during pregnancy. Infant gestational age (GA) at birth and birthweight were gathered from medical record abstraction or maternal report.
After adjusting for propensity matching and covariates (maternal education, public assistance, employment status, prepregnancy body mass index), results showed a small effect of pandemic exposure on shorter GA at birth, but no effect on birthweight adjusted for GA. Women who were pregnant during the pandemic reported higher levels of prenatal stress and depressive symptoms, but neither mediated the association between pandemic exposure and GA. Sedentary behavior and emotional support were each associated with prenatal stress and depressive symptoms in opposite directions, but no moderation effects were revealed.
There was no strong evidence for an association between pandemic exposure and adverse birth outcomes. Furthermore, results highlight the importance of reducing maternal sedentary behavior and encouraging emotional support for optimizing maternal health regardless of pandemic conditions.
Life course research embraces the complexity of health and disease development, tackling the extensive interactions between genetics and environment. This interdisciplinary blueprint, or theoretical framework, offers a structure for research ideas and specifies relationships between related factors. Traditionally, methodological approaches attempt to reduce the complexity of these dynamic interactions and decompose health into component parts, ignoring the complex reciprocal interaction of factors that shape health over time. New methods that match the epistemological foundation of the life course framework are needed to fully explore adaptive, multilevel, and reciprocal interactions between individuals and their environment. The focus of this article is to (1) delineate the differences between lifespan and life course research, (2) articulate the importance of complex systems science as a methodological framework in the life course research toolbox to guide our research questions, (3) raise key questions that can be asked within the clinical and translational science domain utilizing this framework, and (4) provide recommendations for life course research implementation, charting the way forward. Recent advances in computational analytics, computer science, and data collection could be used to approximate, measure, and analyze the intertwining and dynamic nature of genetic and environmental factors involved in health development.
At present, analysis of diet and bladder cancer (BC) is mostly based on the intake of individual foods. The examination of food combinations provides a scope to deal with the complexity and unpredictability of the diet and aims to overcome the limitations of the study of nutrients and foods in isolation. This article aims to demonstrate the usability of supervised data mining methods to extract the food groups related to BC. In order to derive key food groups associated with BC risk, we applied the data mining technique C5.0 with 10-fold cross-validation in the BLadder cancer Epidemiology and Nutritional Determinants study, including data from eighteen case–control and one nested case–cohort study, compromising 8320 BC cases out of 31 551 participants. Dietary data, on the eleven main food groups of the Eurocode 2 Core classification codebook, and relevant non-diet data (i.e. sex, age and smoking status) were available. Primarily, five key food groups were extracted; in order of importance, beverages (non-milk); grains and grain products; vegetables and vegetable products; fats, oils and their products; meats and meat products were associated with BC risk. Since these food groups are corresponded with previously proposed BC-related dietary factors, data mining seems to be a promising technique in the field of nutritional epidemiology and deserves further examination.
Early life exposures affect health and disease across the life course and potentially across multiple generations. The Clinical and Translational Research Institutes (CTSIs) offer an opportunity to utilize and link existing databases to conduct lifespan research.
A survey with Lifespan Domain Taskforce expert input was created and distributed to lead lifespan researchers at each of the 64 CTSIs. The survey requested information regarding institutional databases related to early life exposure, child-maternal health, or lifespan research.
Of 64 CTSI, 88% provided information on a total of 130 databases. Approximately 59% (n=76/130) had an associated biorepository. Longitudinal data were available for 72% (n=93/130) of reported databases. Many of the biorepositories (n=44/76; 68%) have standard operating procedures that can be shared with other researchers.
The majority of CTSI databases and biorepositories focusing on child-maternal health and lifespan research could be leveraged for lifespan research, increased generalizability and enhanced multi-institutional research in the United States.
The role of dietary fat in bladder cancer aetiology is currently unclear due to few studies, equivocal findings and a lack of information on important dietary fatty acids. The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between the intake of major dietary fats and fatty acids and the risk of bladder cancer. A case–control study was conducted in New Hampshire, USA. Dietary data were collected from 322 cases and 239 controls, and OR and 95 % CI were calculated using unconditional logistic regression. Adjustment was made for potential confounders: sex, age, smoking status, pack-years smoked, cholesterol and energy intake. Statistically significant reduced odds of bladder cancer were observed for high intakes (highest quartile v. lowest quartile) of α-linolenic acid (ALA) (OR 0·26, 95 % CI 0·10, 0·65; P for trend = 0·01) and vegetable fat (OR 0·39, 95 % CI 0·18, 0·86; P for trend = 0·03). Borderline statistically significant reduced odds were detected for polyunsaturated fat (OR 0·43, 95 % CI 0·19, 0·98; P for trend = 0·07) and linoleic acid (OR 0·43, 95 % CI 0·19, 0·96; P for trend = 0·06). These fats and fatty acids were highly correlated and following adjustment for each other, the only potential inverse association to remain was for ALA. The present findings suggest that ALA may have a protective role against developing bladder cancer; however, further investigation and replication in other epidemiological studies are required. Future research should focus on the type, source and quantities of different dietary fatty acids consumed.
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