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The mechanism through which developmental programming of offspring overweight/obesity following in utero exposure to maternal overweight/obesity operates is unknown but may operate through biologic pathways involving offspring anthropometry at birth. Thus, we sought to examine to what extent the association between in utero exposure to maternal overweight/obesity and childhood overweight/obesity is mediated by birth anthropometry. Analyses were conducted on a retrospective cohort with data obtained from one hospital system. A natural effects model framework was used to estimate the natural direct effect and natural indirect effect of birth anthropometry (weight, length, head circumference, ponderal index, and small-for-gestational age [SGA] or large-for-gestational age [LGA]) for the association between pre-pregnancy maternal body mass index (BMI) category (overweight/obese vs normal weight) and offspring overweight/obesity in childhood. Models were adjusted for maternal and child socio-demographics. Three thousand nine hundred and fifty mother–child dyads were included in analyses (1467 [57.8%] of mothers and 913 [34.4%] of children were overweight/obese). Results suggest that a small percentage of the effect of maternal pre-pregnancy BMI overweight/obesity on offspring overweight/obesity operated through offspring anthropometry at birth (weight: 15.5%, length: 5.2%, head circumference: 8.5%, ponderal index: 2.2%, SGA: 2.9%, and LGA: 4.2%). There was a small increase in the percentage mediated when gestational diabetes or hypertensive disorders were added to the models. Our study suggests that some measures of birth anthropometry mediate the association between maternal pre-pregnancy overweight/obesity and offspring overweight/obesity in childhood and that the size of this mediated effect is small.
Transient electronic systems represent an emerging class of technology defined by an ability to physically dissolve, sublime, chemically degrade, disintegrate, or transform in a controlled manner, either spontaneously or through a trigger event. Bioresorbable (or, equivalently, bioabsorbable) electronic devices, as a subset of transient technologies, are designed to undergo complete dissolution when immersed in biofluids. Applications include temporary implants and other medical devices that serve important purposes in diagnostics and therapies, but with finite lifetimes matched to those of natural biological processes such as wound healing. Here, transience by bioresorption eliminates the devices without a trace, thereby bypassing the costs, complications, and risks associated with secondary surgical procedures for device retrieval. Such systems demand complete sets of bioresorbable electronic materials, including semiconductors, dielectrics, and conductors, as the fundamental building blocks for functional components. The considerations are not only in electronic performance, but in degradation chemistry and biocompatibility of both the materials and the products of their reactions with biofluids. This article highlights recent progress in this area of materials science and describes some of the most sophisticated bioresorbable electronic systems that combine these materials with bioresorbable polymers, the biomedical applications of these devices, and some directions for future work.
A consensus workshop on low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) was held in November 2018 where seventeen experts (the panel) discussed three themes identified as key to the science and policy of LCS: (1) weight management and glucose control; (2) consumption, safety and perception; (3) nutrition policy. The aims were to identify the reliable facts on LCS, suggest research gaps and propose future actions. The panel agreed that the safety of LCS is demonstrated by a substantial body of evidence reviewed by regulatory experts and current levels of consumption, even for high users, are within agreed safety margins. However, better risk communication is needed. More emphasis is required on the role of LCS in helping individuals reduce their sugar and energy intake, which is a public health priority. Based on reviews of clinical evidence to date, the panel concluded that LCS can be beneficial for weight management when they are used to replace sugar in products consumed in the diet (without energy substitution). The available evidence suggests no grounds for concerns about adverse effects of LCS on sweet preference, appetite or glucose control; indeed, LCS may improve diabetic control and dietary compliance. Regarding effects on the human gut microbiota, data are limited and do not provide adequate evidence that LCS affect gut health at doses relevant to human use. The panel identified research priorities, including collation of the totality of evidence on LCS and body weight control, monitoring and modelling of LCS intakes, impacts on sugar reduction and diet quality and developing effective communication strategies to foster informed choice. There is also a need to reconcile policy discrepancies between organisations and reduce regulatory hurdles that impede low-energy product development and reformulation.
To validate digitally displayed photographic portion-size estimation aids (PSEA) against a weighed meal record and compare findings with an atlas of printed photographic PSEA and actual prepared-food PSEA in a low-income country.
Participants served themselves water and five prepared foods, which were weighed separately before the meal and again after the meal to measure any leftovers. Participants returned the following day and completed a meal recall. They estimated the quantities of foods consumed three times using the different PSEA in a randomized order.
Two urban and two rural communities in southern Malawi.
Women (n 300) aged 18–45 years, equally divided by urban/rural residence and years of education (≤4 years and ≥5 years).
Responses for digital and printed PSEA were highly correlated (>91 % agreement for all foods, Cohen’s κw = 0·78–0·93). Overall, at the individual level, digital and actual-food PSEA had a similar level of agreement with the weighed meal record. At the group level, the proportion of participants who estimated within 20 % of the weighed grams of food consumed ranged by type of food from 30 to 45 % for digital PSEA and 40–56 % for actual-food PSEA. Digital PSEA consistently underestimated grams and nutrients across foods, whereas actual-food PSEA provided a mix of under- and overestimates that balanced each other to produce accurate mean energy and nutrient intake estimates. Results did not differ by urban and rural location or participant education level.
Digital PSEA require further testing in low-income settings to improve accuracy of estimations.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in smokers with mental health conditions (MHC) is not well understood.
This study aims to compare e-cigarette users and non-users among veteran smokers with MHC to characterize differences in smoking behavior, motivation to quit, psychological distress, primary psychiatric diagnosis, and other factors.
Baseline survey data were used from a randomized smoking cessation trial enrolling smokers with MHC from four Veterans Health Administration hospitals. Participants were categorized as current, former (having ever tried an e-cigarette), or never e-cigarette users. Pearson's χ2 and ANOVA Type-3 F-tests were used to test the bivariate associations between e-cigarette use and variables measured.
Among 1,836 participants, mean age was 58 years (STD ± 12.5), 87% were male, 15% were current e-cigarette users (n = 275), and 27% were former users (n = 503). Sixty-five percent of e-cigarette users reported ‘wanting to quit smoking’ as a primary reason. Mean readiness to quit smoking (1–10) was 7.2, 6.8, and 6.4 for current, former, and never e-cigarette users, respectively (P = 0.0002). Sixty-three percent of current and former users and 55% of never-users reported some mental distress on Kessler-6 scale (P = 0.0003, OR = 1.4, 95% CI 1.1–1.7). A primary psychiatric diagnosis of alcohol or substance use disorder was recorded for 50% of current or former users and 60% of never-users (P = 0.0003, OR = 0.69, 95% CI 0.56–0.84).
E-cigarette users were more ready to quit and most often reported using e-cigarettes to assist with quitting. E-cigarette users had more psychological distress and were less likely to have substance use disorders as their primary psychiatric diagnosis.
To investigate preferences for and ease-of-use perceptions of different aspects of printed and digitally displayed photographic portion-size estimation aids (PSEA) in a low-resource setting and to document accuracy of portion-size selections using PSEA with different visual characteristics.
A convergent mixed-methods design and stepwise approach were used to assess characteristics of interest in isolation. Participants served themselves food and water, which were weighed before and after consumption to measure leftovers and quantity consumed. Thirty minutes later, data collectors administered a meal recall using a PSEA and then a semi-structured interview.
Blantyre and Chikwawa Districts in the southern region of Malawi.
Ninety-six women, aged 18–45 years.
Preferences and ease-of-use perceptions favoured photographs rather than drawings of shapes, three and five portion-size options rather than three with four virtual portion-size options, a 45° rather than a 90° photograph angle, and simultaneous rather than sequential presentation of portion-size options. Approximately half to three-quarters of participants found the portion-size options represented appropriate amounts of foods or water consumed. Photographs with three portion sizes resulted in more accurate portion-size selections (closest to measured consumption) than other format and number of portion-size option combinations. A 45° angle and simultaneous presentation were more accurate than a 90° angle and sequential presentation of images.
Results from testing PSEA visual characteristics separately can be used to generate optimal PSEA, which can improve participants’ experiences during meal recalls.
This study explored the efficacy of aerobic training (AT) in mitigating white matter hyperintensity (WMH) progression and whether these changes are sex dependent. This was an exploratory analysis of a randomized controlled trial assessing the effect of AT on cognition in people with vascular cognitive impairment. Participants were randomized to a 6 month AT or usual care (control [CON]) group. A subset completed magnetic resonance imaging to quantify WMH volume. Using an analysis of covariance model, we found a significant sex × group interaction (p = .03). Over the 6 month study, AT females demonstrated greater WMH progression than CON females (p = .05). Among males, there was no significant between-group difference (p = .31). Within the AT group, males demonstrated significantly less WMH progression than females (p = .01) at 6 months. Therefore, the effects of AT on WMH progression may vary by sex; that is, AT may curtail WMH progression in males but not females.
This article provides an overview of emerging directions in the materials science of biointegrated electronic and microfluidic systems, as defined by technologies that are capable of supporting long-term, intimate, physical interfaces to living organisms. Here, deterministic hard/soft composite structures, including those that leverage concepts in fractal mathematics, serve as the materials foundations for diverse devices of this type. Examples of “epidermal” or skin-like electronic systems for biophysical tracking of patient conditions that range from stroke to hydrocephalus illustrate the engineering maturity and operational sophistication that is now possible. Recent ideas in soft, skin-mounted, microfluidic lab-on-a-chip systems extend the capabilities of such platforms to include biochemical assessments of physiological status via capture, storage, manipulation, and in situ detection of biomarkers in microliter volumes of sweat, collected as it emerges from the surface of the skin. The article concludes with a description of mechanically guided assembly schemes that provide access to three-dimensional, open-mesh constructs, as a frontier area of materials development in this broader area of biointegrated systems.
Given the frequency of natural hazards in Haiti, disaster risk reduction is crucial. However, evidence suggests that many people exposed to prior disasters do not engage in disaster preparedness, even when they receive training and have adequate resources. This may be partially explained by a link between mental health symptoms and preparedness; however, these components are typically not integrated in intervention.
The current study assesses effectiveness of an integrated mental health and disaster preparedness intervention. This group-based model was tested in three earthquake-exposed and flood-prone communities (N = 480), across three time points, using a randomized controlled trial design. The 3-day community-based intervention was culturally-adapted, facilitated by trained Haitian lay mental health workers, and focused on enhancing disaster preparedness, reducing mental health symptoms, and fostering community cohesion.
Consistent with hypotheses, the intervention increased disaster preparedness, reduced symptoms associated with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and functional impairment, and increased peer-based help-giving and help-seeking. Mediation models indicated support for the underlying theoretical model, such that the effect of the intervention on preparedness was mediated by mental health, and that effects on mental health were likewise mediated by preparedness.
The community-based mental health-integrated disaster preparedness intervention is effective in improving mental health and preparedness among community members in Haiti vulnerable to natural hazards. This brief intervention has the potential to be scaled up for use with other communities vulnerable to earthquakes, seasonal flooding, and other natural hazards.
During the past two decades, it has been amply documented that neuropsychiatric disorders (NPDs) disproportionately account for burden of illness attributable to chronic non-communicable medical disorders globally. It is also likely that human capital costs attributable to NPDs will disproportionately increase as a consequence of population aging and beneficial risk factor modification of other common and chronic medical disorders (e.g., cardiovascular disease). Notwithstanding the availability of multiple modalities of antidepressant treatment, relatively few studies in psychiatry have primarily sought to determine whether improving cognitive function in MDD improves patient reported outcomes (PROs) and/or is cost effective. The mediational relevance of cognition in MDD potentially extrapolates to all NPDs, indicating that screening for, measuring, preventing, and treating cognitive deficits in psychiatry is not only a primary therapeutic target, but also should be conceptualized as a transdiagnostic domain to be considered regardless of patient age and/or differential diagnosis.
Bastin et al. propose a dual-process model to understand memory deficits. However, results from state-trace analysis have suggested a single underlying variable in behavioral and neural data. We advocate the usage of unidimensional models that are supported by data and have been successful in understanding memory deficits and in linking to neural data.
Sintered tape-cast yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) was evaluated for its elemental composition, crystal structure, and imaged with atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Human bone marrow stem cells (hBMSC) were cultured on the ceramic and differentiated into the osteoblast lineage; alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity was tracked as a differentiation marker. The YSZ was composed of purely tetragonal grains with a median equivalent circular diameter of 283 nm. Zirconium, yttrium, oxygen, and adventitious carbon was detected on the substrate with no other elements in significant quantities detected. YSZ samples had an RMS roughness value of 27 nm, elastic modulus of 206 ± 14 GPa, and hardness of 14 ± 2 GPa. hBMSC were observed to attach and proliferate on the YSZ surfaces and had significantly increased ALP versus the undifferentiated control cultured on glass. This method for producing a YSZ ceramic yields a typical material of this type and supports attachment and differentiation of hBMSC; thus, making it useful as a bone implant material.
The extent to which exposure to childhood sexual and physical abuse increases the risk of psychotic experiences in adulthood is currently unclear.
To examine the relationship between childhood sexual and physical abuse and psychotic experiences in adulthood taking into account potential confounding and time-dynamic covariate factors.
Data were from a cohort of 1265 participants studied from birth to 35 years. At ages 18 and 21, cohort members were questioned about childhood sexual and physical abuse. At ages 30 and 35, they were questioned about psychotic experiences (symptoms of abnormal thought and perception). Generalised estimating equation models investigated covariation of the association between abuse exposure and psychotic experiences including potential confounding factors in childhood (socioeconomic disadvantage, adverse family functioning) and time-dynamic covariate factors (mental health, substance use and life stress).
Data were available for 962 participants; 6.3% had been exposed to severe sexual abuse and 6.4% to severe physical abuse in childhood. After adjustment for confounding and time-dynamic covariate factors, those exposed to severe sexual abuse had rates of abnormal thought and abnormal perception symptoms that were 2.25 and 4.08 times higher, respectively than the ‘no exposure’ group. There were no significant associations between exposure to severe physical abuse and psychotic experiences.
Findings indicate that exposure to severe childhood sexual (but not physical) abuse is independently associated with an increased risk of psychotic experiences in adulthood (particularly symptoms of abnormal perception) and this association could not be fully accounted for by confounding or time-dynamic covariate factors.
Rumination and impaired inhibition are considered core characteristics of depression. However, the neurocognitive mechanisms that contribute to these atypical cognitive processes remain unclear. To address this question, we apply a computational network control theory approach to structural brain imaging data acquired via diffusion tensor imaging in a large sample of participants, to examine how network control theory relates to individual differences in subclinical depression. Recent application of this theory at the neural level is built on a model of brain dynamics, which mathematically models patterns of inter-region activity propagated along the structure of an underlying network. The strength of this approach is its ability to characterize the potential role of each brain region in regulating whole-brain network function based on its anatomical fingerprint and a simplified model of node dynamics. We find that subclinical depression is negatively related to higher integration abilities in the right anterior insula, replicating and extending previous studies implicating atypical switching between the default mode and Executive Control Networks in depression. We also find that subclinical depression is related to the ability to “drive” the brain system into easy to reach neural states in several brain regions, including the bilateral lingual gyrus and lateral occipital gyrus. These findings highlight brain regions less known in their role in depression, and clarify their roles in driving the brain into different neural states related to depression symptoms.
The low yield of pearl millet largely due to the low adoption of improved varieties substantiates the application of client-oriented plant breeding for pearl millet. Hence to enhance adoption, new varieties must correspond to farmers’ preferences and respond to the constraints prevailing in the production environments, participatory rural appraisals were conducted in two agro-ecological zones (Sahel and North-Sudan) to determine farmers’ preferences in the choice of varieties and to identify constraints to pearl millet production. The study revealed that the major production constraints are hierarchically drought, Striga, head miner, bird and downy mildew. Compact panicle, large grain size and non-bristle panicle were the most preferred traits in pearl millet across agro-ecological zones. Very long panicle and early maturity crop cycle were more preferred in the Sahel zone whereas, in the North-Sudan zone medium panicle length and medium maturity cycle were more preferred by farmers. Traits largely rejected by farmers were small grain size, narrow, loose and bristled panicle. Very few investigations were done to understand the raison of the low adoption of improved technologies in pearl millet. This study identified the major criteria of new pearl millet variety adoption by farmers. It is expected that breeding program must integrate these criteria in new pearl millet variety profiling to enhance adoption.