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Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
Background: The link between asthma and exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) is not completely understood. The aim of this study was to estimate the association between FENO and asthma, taking genetics, sensitization, and inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) into account. Methods: A total of 681 twins (53% monozygotic [MZ] and 47% dizygotic [DZ]) from the population-based STOPPA study (mean age 12.6 years) were recruited and information on FENO (parts per billion), parental report of current asthma, sensitization to airborne allergens (Phadiatop; IgE ≥0.35 kUA/l), and ICS-treatment was collected. We estimated the association between FENO and asthma, sensitization, and ICS in all twins and within pairs (DZ and MZ) to address shared genetic and environmental factors. Linear regression of log-transformed FENO was used and results presented as exponentiated regression coefficients (exp[β]), with 95% confidence interval (CI). Results: We found an association between asthma and FENO in all twins, exp(β) 1.31 [1.11, 1.54]. In within-pairs analysis, the association was stronger within DZ pairs discordant for FENO, exp(β) 1.50 [1.19, 1.89], compared to MZ pairs, exp(β) 1.07 [0.84, 1.37], p = .049. There was no difference in FENO in non-sensitized children with asthma, compared to children with neither asthma nor sensitization, exp(β) 0.89 [0.77, 1.03]. However, increased FENO was associated with sensitization, exp(β) 1.48 [1.30, 1.69], and with sensitization together with asthma, exp(β) 1.98 [1.57, 2.51], in all twins and within DZ pairs discordant for FENO, but not in MZ pairs. The FENO asthma association remained in DZ pairs without regular ICS-treatment. Conclusions: The association between FENO and asthma is explained by genetics and sensitization.
Asthma is a common childhood disease and several risk factors have been identified; however, the impact of genes and environment is not fully understood. The aim of the Swedish Twin study On Prediction and Prevention of Asthma (STOPPA) is to identify environmental (birth characteristics and early life) and genetic (including epigenetic) factors as determinants for asthmatic disease. Based on the Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden (CATSS) (parental interview at 9 or 12 years, N ~23,900) and an asthma and/or wheezing algorithm, we identified a sample of monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) same-sexed twin pairs. The twin pairs were classified as asthma concordant (ACC), asthma discordant (ADC) and healthy concordant (HCC). A sample of 9- to 14-year-old twins and their parents were invited to participate in a clinical examination. Background characteristics were collected in questionnaires and obtained from the National Health Registers. A clinical examination was performed to test lung function and capacity (spirometry with reversibility test and exhaled nitric oxide) and collect blood (serology and DNA), urine (metabolites), feces (microbiota), and saliva (cortisol). In total, 376 twin pairs (752 individual twins) completed the study, response rate 52%. All participating twins answered the questionnaire and >90% participated in lung function testing, blood-, and saliva sampling. This article describes the design, recruitment, data collection, measures, and background characteristics, as well as ongoing and planned analyses in STOPPA. Potential gains of the study include the identification of biomarkers, the emergence of candidates for drug development, and new leads for prevention of asthma and allergic disease.
Introduction: Non-random selection into a study population due to differences between consenters and non-consenters may introduce participation bias. Past investigations of factors predicting consent to collection of medical health records for research imply that age, sex, health status, and education are of importance for participation, but disagree on the direction of effects. Very little is known about influences on consent from adolescents.
Methods: Two cohorts of Swedish 15-year-old twins (total n = 4,611) previously invited to the Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden (CATSS) responded to a questionnaire with information on sex, individual's health, height, weight, and parental factors. The questionnaire included a question for consent to collection of medical health records. Predictors for consent were analyzed using logistic regression. Additionally, regional differences in the collection of health records of consenters were evaluated.
Results: Males were significantly less likely to consent compared to females (OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.64–0.85). The twin siblings’ decision to consent was strongly associated with consent (OR 10.9, 95% CI 8.76–13.5), and individuals whose parents had responded to the original CATSS study were more likely to consent to record collection at age 15 (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.81–2.75). Results of the subsequent collection of consenters’ medical health records varied between geographical regions of Sweden.
Conclusion: We identified several predictors for adolescents’ consent to collection of their medical health records. Further selection was introduced through the subsequent record collection. Whether this will induce participation bias in future studies depends on the research questions’ relationship to the identified predictors.
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