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1.  Association of candy consumption with body weight measures, other health risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and diet quality in US children and adolescents: NHANES 1999–2004 
Food & Nutrition Research  2011;55:10.3402/fnr.v55i0.5794.
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of total, chocolate, or sugar candy consumption on intakes of total energy, fat, and added sugars; diet quality; weight/adiposity parameters; and risk factors for cardiovascular disease in children 2–13 years of age (n=7,049) and adolescents 14–18 years (n=4,132) participating in the 1999–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Twenty-four hour dietary recalls were used to determine intake. Diet quality was determined using the Healthy Eating Index-2005 (HEI-2005). Covariate-adjusted means, standard errors, and prevalence rates were determined for each candy consumption group. Odds ratios were used to determine the likelihood of associations with weight status and diet quality.
In younger children, total, chocolate, and sugar candy consumption was 11.4 g±1.61, 4.8 g±0.35, and 6.6 g±0.46, respectively. In adolescents, total, chocolate, and sugar candy consumption was 13.0 g±0.87, 7.0 g±0.56, and 5.9 g±0.56, respectively. Total candy consumers had higher intakes of total energy (2248.9 kcals±26.8 vs 1993.1 kcals±15.1, p<0.0001) and added sugars (27.7 g±0.44 vs 23.4 g±0.38, p<0.0001) than non-consumers. Mean HEI-2005 score was not different in total candy and sugar candy consumers as compared to non-consumers, but was significantly lower in chocolate candy consumers (46.7±0.8 vs 48.3±0.4, p=0.0337). Weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, percentiles/z-score for weight-for-age and BMI-for-age were lower for candy consumers as compared to non-consumers. Candy consumers were 22 and 26%, respectively, less likely to be overweight and obese than non-candy consumers. Blood pressure, blood lipid levels, and cardiovascular risk factors were not different between total, chocolate, and sugar candy consumers and non-consumers (except that sugar candy consumers had lower C-reactive protein levels than non-consumers).
This study suggests that candy consumption did not adversely affect health risk markers in children and adolescents.
PMCID: PMC3118036  PMID: 21691462
children; adolescents; candy; chocolate; sugar candy; added sugars; discretionary calories; nutrient intake; dietary adequacy; health risk factors; healthy eating index; NHANES
2.  Consumption of palatable food decreases the anorectic effects of serotonergic, but not dopaminergic drugs in baboons 
Physiology & behavior  2011;103(5):493-500.
We examined the effects of periodic access to a palatable, high sugar content food (candy) in 8 male baboons on the anorectic response to d-amphetamine, which increases dopamine, and dexfenfluramine, which increases serotonin. During candy access, up to 200 candies containing 75% of energy as sugar were available during the morning on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; food pellets (19% of energy as sugar) were available in the afternoon and throughout the remaining days of the week. During candy access, baboons consumed a mean of 177 pieces of candy containing 696 kcal (2.91 MJ) in the morning compared to 44 food pellets and 150 kcal (0.63 MJ) in the morning on non-candy days. Food pellet intake was lower during candy access. Complete dose-response functions for the effects of the drugs on food pellet intake on days that candy was not available were determined before, during, and after the period of access to candy. Dexfenfluramine and amphetamine produced dose-dependent decreases in food pellet intake and increases in latency to eat food pellets before, during, and after candy access. During access to candy, the dose-response function for dexfenfluramine was shifted to the right indicating the development of tolerance, while that for amphetamine was shifted to the left indicating sensitization. Only the dose-response function for dexfenfluramine returned to baseline after candy access suggesting that the difference was specific to concurrent palatable food consumption. We hypothesize that tolerance to the effects of dexfenfluramine reflects a decrease in the satiating effect of serotonin release due to repeatedly eating large amounts of palatable food.
PMCID: PMC3107899  PMID: 21510964
Food Intake; Baboon; Sugar; Satiation; Dexfenfluramine; Amphetamine; Tolerance; Sensitization
3.  The Effects of Context, Meaning Frequency, and Associative Strength on Semantic Selection: Distinct Contributions from each Cerebral Hemisphere 
Brain research  2007;1183:91-108.
The visual half-field procedure was used to examine hemispheric asymmetries in meaning selection. Event-related potentials were recorded as participants decided if a lateralized ambiguous or unambiguous prime was related in meaning to a centrally-presented target. Prime-target pairs were preceded by a related or unrelated centrally-presented context word. To separate the effects of meaning frequency and associative strength, unambiguous words were paired with concordant weakly-related context words and strongly-related targets (e.g., taste-sweet-candy) that were similar in associative strength to discordant subordinate-related context words and dominant-related targets (e.g., river-bank-deposit) in the ambiguous condition. Context words and targets were reversed in a second experiment. In an unrelated (neutral) context, N400 responses were more positive than baseline (facilitated) in all ambiguous conditions except when subordinate targets were presented on left visual field-right hemisphere (LVF-RH) trials. Thus, in the absence of biasing context information, the hemispheres seem to be differentially affected by meaning frequency, with the left maintaining multiple meanings and the right selecting the dominant meaning. In the presence of discordant context information, N400 facilitation was absent in both visual fields, indicating that the contextually-consistent meaning of the ambiguous word had been selected. In contrast, N400 facilitation occurred in all of the unambiguous conditions; however, the left hemisphere (LH) showed less facilitation for the weakly-related target when a strongly-related context was presented. These findings indicate that both hemispheres use context to guide meaning selection, but that the LH is more likely to focus activation on a single, contextually-relevant sense.
PMCID: PMC2211361  PMID: 17936727
Lexical Ambiguity; Cerebral Hemispheres; Context Effects; ERP; N400; LPC
4.  Analysis of user characteristics related to drop-off detection with long cane 
This study examined how user characteristics affect drop-off detection with the long cane. A mixed-measures design with block randomization was used for the study, in which 32 visually impaired adults attempted to detect the drop-offs using different cane techniques. Younger cane users detected drop-offs significantly more reliably (mean +/− standard deviation = 74.2% +/− 11.2% of the time) than older cane users (60.9% +/− 10.8%), p = 0.009. The drop-off detection threshold of the younger participants (5.2 +/− 2.1 cm) was also statistically significantly smaller than that of the older participants (7.9 +/− 2.2 cm), p = 0.007. Those with early-onset visual impairment (78.0% +/− 9.0%) also detected drop-offs significantly more reliably than those with later-onset visual impairment (67.3% +/− 12.4%), p = 0.01. No interaction occurred between examined user characteristics (age and age at onset of visual impairment) and the type of cane technique used in drop-off detection. The findings of the study may help orientation and mobility specialists select appropriate cane techniques in accordance with the cane user’s age and onset of visual impairment.
PMCID: PMC2923647  PMID: 20665349
age; blind; cane user; detection threshold; drop-off detection; long cane technique; older adults; onset of visual impairment; orientation and mobility; visually impaired
5.  Trends in dietary intake among US 2-6 year old children, 1989 2008 
Between 1989 and 2008, obesity increased markedly in children of all ages. We examine changes in the diets of children ages 2-6 in the US between 1989 and 2008. Our study provides new insight into diet changes that may have contributed to the sharp rise in obesity during this period.
Describe changes in diet among 2-6 year olds from 1989 to 2008 related to sharp rises in obesity during this period.
This analysis included 10,647 children ages 2-6 from five nationally representative surveys of dietary intake in the U.S.: Continuing Survey of Food Intake in Individuals (CSFII) 1989-1991; CSFII 1994-1998; and the What We Eat In America, National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (WWEIA, NHANES) 2003-2004, 2005-2006 and 2007-2008. Diet data were categorized into groupings using the UNC-CH approach. Analyses were carried out using a single 24-h dietary recall with appropriate survey weighting. T-tests were used to compare means across survey years with P<.05 considered significant.
Over the 20-year period, there were increases in per capita intake of savory snacks (+51 kcal, P<.01), pizza/calzones (+32 kcal, P<.01), sweet snacks and candy (+25 kcal, P<.01), mixed Mexican dishes (+22 kcal, P<.01) and fruit juice (+18 kcal, P<.01), whereas total daily energy intake increased by 109 kcal (from 1475 to 1584) (P<.05). Fruit intake increased marginally (+24 kcal, P<.01). Six of the 10 greatest absolute changes in per capita intake between sequential survey years occurred between CSFII 1994-1998 and NHANES 2003-2004 (P<.05).
Foods high in added sugars and solid fats such as savory snacks, pizza/calzones, mixed Mexican dishes, sweet snacks and candy, and fruit juice, predominated the top changes in per capita consumption between 1989 and 2008.
PMCID: PMC3531045  PMID: 23260722
energy intake; eating location; food source; food away-from-home
6.  Cultivar Evaluation and Essential Test Locations Identification for Sugarcane Breeding in China 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:302753.
The discrepancies across test sites and years, along with the interaction between cultivar and environment, make it difficult to accurately evaluate the differences of the sugarcane cultivars. Using a genotype main effect plus genotype-environment interaction (GGE) Biplot software, the yield performance data of seven sugarcane cultivars in the 8th Chinese National Sugarcane Regional Tests were analyzed to identify cultivars recommended for commercial release. Fn38 produced a high and stable sugar yield. Gn02-70 had the lowest cane yield with high stability. Yz06-407 was a high cane yield cultivar with poor stability in sugar yield. Yz05-51 and Lc03-1137 had an unstable cane yield but relatively high sugar yield. Fn39 produced stable high sugar yield with low and unstable cane production. Significantly different sugar and cane yields were observed across seasons due to strong cultivar-environment interactions. Three areas, Guangxi Chongzuo, Guangxi Baise, and Guangxi Hechi, showed better representativeness of cane yield and sugar content than the other four areas. On the other hand, the areas Guangxi Chongzuo, Yunnan Lincang, and Yunnan Baoshan showed strong discrimination ability, while the areas Guangxi Hechi and Guangxi Liuzhou showed poor discrimination ability. This study provides a reference for cultivar evaluation and essential test locations identification for sugarcane breeding in China.
PMCID: PMC4055468  PMID: 24982939
7.  Novel word retention in bilingual and monolingual speakers 
Frontiers in Psychology  2014;5:1024.
The goal of this research was to examine word retention in bilinguals and monolinguals. Long-term word retention is an essential part of vocabulary learning. Previous studies have documented that bilinguals outperform monolinguals in terms of retrieving newly-exposed words. Yet, little is known about whether or to what extent bilinguals are different from monolinguals in word retention. Participants were 30 English-speaking monolingual adults and 30 bilingual adults who speak Spanish as a home language and learned English as a second language during childhood. In a previous study (Kan et al., 2014), the participants were exposed to the target novel words in English, Spanish, and Cantonese. In this current study, word retention was measured a week after the fast mapping task. No exposures were given during the one-week interval. Results showed that bilinguals and monolinguals retain a similar number of words. However, participants produced more words in English than in either Spanish or Cantonese. Correlation analyses revealed that language knowledge plays a role in the relationships between fast mapping and word retention. Specifically, within- and across-language relationships between bilinguals' fast mapping and word retention were found in Spanish and English, by contrast, within-language relationships between monolinguals' fast mapping and word retention were found in English and across-language relationships between their fast mapping and word retention performance in English and Cantonese. Similarly, bilinguals differed from monolinguals in the relationships among the word retention scores in three languages. Significant correlations were found among bilinguals' retention scores. However, no such correlations were found among monolinguals' retention scores. The overall findings suggest that bilinguals' language experience and language knowledge most likely contribute to how they learn and retain new words.
PMCID: PMC4179681  PMID: 25324789
bilingualism; bilingual advantage; word learning; word retention; fast mapping
8.  Sweets, sweetened beverages, and risk of pancreatic cancer in a large population-based case–control study 
Cancer Causes & Control   2009;20(6):835-846.
We examined the associations between sweets, sweetened and unsweetened beverages, and sugars and pancreatic cancer risk.
We conducted a population-based case–control study (532 cases, 1,701 controls) and used multivariate logistic regression models to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Because associations were often different by sex, we present results for men and women combined and separately.
Among men, greater intakes of total and specific sweets were associated with pancreatic cancer risk (total sweets: OR = 1.9, 95% CI: 1.0, 3.6; sweet condiments: OR = 1.9, 95% CI: 1.2, 3.1; chocolate candy: OR = 2.4, 95% CI: 1.1, 5.0; other mixed candy bars: OR = 3.3, 95% CI: 1.5, 7.3 for 1 + servings/day versus none/rarely). Sweets were not consistently associated with risk among women. Sweetened beverages were not associated with increased pancreatic cancer risk. In contrast, low-calorie soft drinks were associated with increased risk among men only; while other low-/non-caloric beverages (e.g., coffee, tea, and water) were unassociated with risk. Of the three sugars assessed (lactose, fructose, and sucrose), only the milk sugar lactose was associated with pancreatic cancer risk (OR = 2.0, 95% CI: 1.5, 2.7 comparing extreme quartiles).
These results provide limited support for the hypothesis that sweets or sugars increase pancreatic cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC2694313  PMID: 19277880
Pancreatic cancer; Epidemiology; Sweets; Beverages
9.  Not Enough Fruit and Vegetables or Too Many Cookies, Candies, Salty Snacks, and Soft Drinks? 
Public Health Reports  2010;125(1):88-95.
There are many contributors to obesity, including excess consumption of “discretionary calories” (foods high in sugar and fat and low in essential nutrients), lack of fruit/vegetable consumption, and insufficient physical activity. This study contrasted physical activity, fruit/vegetable consumption, and discretionary calorie consumption from selected foods relative to the 2005 dietary guidelines.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey in 228 urban census tracts in Los Angeles County (LAC) and Southern Louisiana (SL) and estimated calories in the past 24 hours from fruit, vegetables, cookies, candy, salty snacks, sweetened soda, and alcohol among 2,767 participants.
The population-weighted mean daily intake of calories from candy, cookies, salty snacks, soda, and alcohol was 438 in LAC and 617 in SL. Alcohol comprised a small portion of the calories consumed. Reported discretionary calorie consumption from a small set of items exceeded guidelines by more than 60% in LAC and 120% in SL. In contrast, the mean consumption of fruit and vegetables fell 10% short in LAC and 20% in SL. There was significant heterogeneity in consumption of cookies, candy, salty snacks, and soda across income, gender, and race.
The overconsumption of discretionary calories was much greater than the underconsumption of fruit and vegetables. This finding suggests that unless the excessive consumption of salty snacks, cookies, candy, and sugar-sweetened beverages is curtailed, other interventions focusing on increasing physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption will have a limited impact on obesity control. It may be politically more expedient to promote an increase in consumption of healthy items rather than a decrease in consumption of unhealthy items, but it may be far less effective.
PMCID: PMC2789820  PMID: 20402200
10.  Ergonomic Factors Related to Drop-Off Detection With the Long Cane: Effects of Cane Tips and Techniques 
Human factors  2010;52(3):456-465.
This study examined the effect of cane tips and cane techniques on drop-off detection with the long cane.
Blind pedestrians depend on a long cane to detect drop-offs. Missing a drop-off may result in falls or collision with moving vehicles in the street. Although cane tips appear to affect a cane user’s ability to detect drop-offs, few experimental studies have examined such effect.
A repeated-measures design with block randomization was used for the study. Participants were 17 adults who were legally blind and had no other disabilities. Participants attempted to detect the drop-offs of varied depths using different cane tips and cane techniques.
Drop-off detection rates were similar between the marshmallow tip (77.0%) and the marshmallow roller tip (79.4%) when both tips were used with the constant contact technique, p = .294. However, participants detected drop-offs at a significantly higher percentage when they used the constant contact technique with the marshmallow roller tip (79.4%) than when they used the two-point touch technique with the marshmallow tip (63.2%), p < .001.
The constant contact technique used with a marshmallow roller tip (perceived as a less advantageous tip) was more effective than the two-point touch technique used with a marshmallow tip (perceived as a more advantageous tip) in detecting drop-offs.
The findings of the study may help cane users and orientation and mobility specialists select appropriate cane techniques and cane tips in accordance with the cane user’s characteristics and the nature of the travel environment.
PMCID: PMC3013374  PMID: 21077566
blind mobility; two-point touch; constant contact; marshmallow tip; roller tip; visually impaired
11.  Cross-sectional association of dietary patterns with insulin resistance phenotypes among adults without diabetes in the Framingham Offspring Study 
The British journal of nutrition  2009;102(4):576-583.
Cluster analysis is a valuable tool for exploring the health consequences of consuming different dietary patterns. We used this approach to examine the cross-sectional relationship between dietary patterns and insulin resistance phenotypes, including waist circumference, body mass index (BMI), fasting insulin, 2-h post-challenge insulin, insulin sensitivity index (ISI0,120), HDL cholesterol, triacylglycerol and blood pressure, using data from the fifth examination cycle of the Framingham Offspring Study. Among 2,875 participants without diabetes, we identified four dietary patterns based on the predominant sources of energy: “Fruits, Reduced Fat Dairy and Whole Grains”, “Refined Grains and Sweets”, “Beer”, and “Soda”. After adjusting for multiple comparisons and potential confounders, compared with the “Fruits, Reduced Fat Dairy and Whole Grains” pattern, the “Refined Grains and Sweets” pattern had significantly higher mean waist circumference (92.4 versus 90.5 cm, P=0.008) and BMI (27.3 versus 26.6 kg/m2, P=0.02); the “Soda” pattern had significantly higher mean fasting insulin concentration (31.3 versus 28.0 μU/ml, P≤0.001); the “Beer” pattern had significantly higher mean HDL cholesterol concentration (1.46 versus 1.31 mmol/l, P<0.001). No associations were observed between dietary patterns and ISI0,120, triacylglycerol, and systolic or diastolic blood pressure. Our findings suggest that consumption of a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and reduced fat dairy protects against insulin resistance phenotypes and displacing these healthy choices with refined grains, high fat dairy, sweet baked foods, candy and sugar sweetened soda promotes insulin resistant phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC3785063  PMID: 19216828
Dietary patterns; cluster analysis; insulin resistance phenotypes; Framingham Offspring Study
12.  The Role of the Left Inferior Frontal Gyrus in Implicit Semantic Competition and Selection: An Event-Related fMRI Study 
Brain research  2008;1229:167-178.
Recent research suggests that the left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG) plays a role in selecting semantic information from among competing alternatives. A key question remains as to whether the LIFG is engaged by the selection of semantic information only or by increased semantic competition in and of itself, especially when such competition is implicit in nature. Ambiguous words presented in a lexical context provide a means of examining whether the LIFG is recruited under conditions when contextual cues constrain selection to only the meaning appropriate to the context (e.g., coin-mint-money) or under conditions of increased competition when contextual cues do not allow for the resolution to a particular meaning (e.g., candy-mint-money). In this event-related fMRI study, an implicit task was used in which subjects made lexical (i.e., word/nonword) decisions on the third stimulus of auditorily-presented triplets in conditions where the lexical context either promoted resolution toward a particular ambiguous word meaning or enhanced the competition among ambiguous word meanings. LIFG activation was observed when the context allowed for the resolution of competition and hence the selection of one meaning (e.g., coin-mint-money) but failed to emerge when competition between the meanings of an ambiguous word was unresolved by the context (e.g., candy-mint-money). In the latter case, there was a pattern of reduced activation in frontal, temporal and parietal areas. These findings demonstrate that selection or resolution of competition as opposed to increased semantic competition alone engages the LIFG. Moreover, they extend previous work in showing that the LIFG is recruited even in cases where the selection of meaning takes place implicitly.
PMCID: PMC2566953  PMID: 18656462
fMRI; left inferior frontal gyrus; left superior temporal gyrus; semantic ambiguity; semantic competition; semantic selection
13.  Use of the Herb Gymnema sylvestre to Illustrate the Principles of Gustatory Sensation: An Undergraduate Neuroscience Laboratory Exercise 
The Indian herb Gymnema sylvestre has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for 2000 years, most recently for the treatment of diabetes. Loose leaf Gymnema sylvestre can be prepared as a tea and will impair the ability to taste sugar by blocking sweet receptors on the tongue. This report describes a laboratory exercise easily applied to an undergraduate neuroscience course that can be used to illustrate the principles of gustatory sensation. Combined with a preceding lecture on the primary taste sensations, students experience and appreciate how the primary tastes are combined to produce overall taste. In addition, the exercises outlined here expand upon previously published demonstrations employing Gymnema sylvestre to include illustrations of the different sensory transduction mechanisms associated with each of the four or five primary taste modalities. Students compare their qualitative primary taste experiences to salt, sugar, aspartame, chocolate, and sweet-sour candy prior to and following exposure to Gymnema sylvestre. The herb’s impairment of sweet sensation is profound and dramatically alters the perception of sweetness in sugar, chocolate, and candy without altering the perception of the other primary tastes. The exercise has an indelible effect on students because the herb’s intense effect compels students to rely on their unique personal experiences to highlight the principles of gustatory sensation.
PMCID: PMC3592606  PMID: 23493970
gustation; sensory transduction; taste; tongue
14.  Stuttering on function and content words across age groups of German speakers who stutter 
Recent research into stuttering in English has shown that function word disfluency decreases with age whereas content words disfluency increases. Also function words that precede a content word are significantly more likely to be stuttered than those that follow content words (Au-Yeung, Howell and Pilgrim, 1998; Howell, Au-Yeung and Sackin, 1999). These studies have used the concept of the phonological word as a means of investigating these phenomena. Phonological words help to determine the position of function words relative to content words and to establish the origin of the patterns of disfluency with respect to these two word classes. The current investigation analysed German speech for similar patterns. German contains many long compound nouns; on this basis, German content words are more complex than English ones. Thus, the patterns of disfluency within phonological words may differ between German and English. Results indicated three main findings. Function words that occupy an early position in a PW have higher rates of disfluency than those that occur later in a PW, this being most apparent for the youngest speakers. Second, function words that precede the content word in a PW have higher rates of disfluency than those that follow the content word. Third, young speakers exhibit high rates of disfluency on function words, but this drops off with age and, correspondingly, disfluency rate on content words increases. The patterns within phonological words may be general to German and English and can be accounted for by the EXPLAN model, assuming lexical class operates equivalently across these languages or that lexical categories contain some common characteristic that is associated with fluency across the languages.
PMCID: PMC2239212  PMID: 18270544
Stuttering; German; function and content words
15.  Emissions generated by sugarcane burning promote genotoxicity in rural workers: a case study in Barretos, Brazil 
Environmental Health  2013;12:87.
To determine the possible genotoxic effect of exposure to the smoke generated by biomass burning on workers involved in manual sugar cane harvesting.
The frequency of micronuclei in exfoliated buccal cells and peripheral blood lymphocytes was determined in sugarcane workers in the Barretos region of Brazil, during the harvest season and compared to a control population, comprised of administrative employees of Barretos Cancer Hospital.
The frequency of micronuclei was higher in the sugar cane workers. The mean frequency in blood lymphocytes (micronuclei/1000 cells) in the test group was 8.22 versus 1.27 in the control group. The same effect was observed when exfoliated buccal cells were considered (22.75 and 9.70 micronuclei/1000 cells for sugar cane workers and controls, respectively).
Exposure to emissions produced by the burning of sugar cane during harvesting induces genomic instability in workers, indicating the necessity of adopting more advanced techniques of harvesting sugar cane to preserve human health.
PMCID: PMC4126064  PMID: 24112819
Sugar cane workers; Micronuclei; Genomic instability; Human lymphocytes; Exfoliated buccal cells
16.  Chinese and Korean immigrants’ early life deprivation: An important factor for child feeding practices and children’s body weight in the United States 
Social science & medicine (1982)  2011;74(5):744-752.
This paper examines the associations between Chinese and Korean immigrant parents’ early life material and food deprivation and their concern about their child’s diet or weight, preferences for heavier children, and weight-promoting diet and child weight, alongside the moderating role of parents’ acculturation toward American culture. In 2010, Chinese and Korean immigrant parents of children ages 3–8 years in the United States (N = 130) completed interviews which asked about their perceived early life material deprivation and food insecurity, acculturation, child feeding practices, and evaluations of whether their child weighed more or less than the ideal, and child consumption of soda and candy. Independent measures of child and parent BMI were also obtained. Regression analyses revealed that parents’ early life food insecurity was associated with the evaluation that their child should weigh more than they do and greater consumption of soda and sweets by their child, among the least acculturated parents. Parental material deprivation was associated with more laissez-faire child feeding practices: less monitoring, less concern about the child’s weight or diet, and less perceived responsibility for the child’s diet, but only among less acculturated parents. Overall, the results suggest that immigrant parents’ child feeding practices and body size evaluations are shaped by material hardship in childhood, but these influences may fade as acculturation occurs.
PMCID: PMC3423332  PMID: 22265872
U.S.A.; Chinese immigrant children; Korean immigrant children; Early life deprivation; Acculturation; Feeding practices; Child weight
17.  Snacking Habits and Caries in Young Children 
Caries Research  2010;44(5):421-430.
Dental caries is caused by a combination of infection and diet. This disease, if left untreated, may lead to pain, and impair the quality of life, nutritional status and development of young children. The objective was to investigate the association between snacking and caries in a population at high risk of dental caries. American preschool children (n = 1,206) were recruited in the offices of paediatricians. Data on sociodemographic characteristics, oral hygiene, breast-feeding, use of bottle and snacking were collected by questionnaire. Plaque presence, the number of teeth and their caries status (deft) were scored. The children sampled were 61% Black, 27% White and 10% Asian. Of the 1- to 2-, 2- to 3- and 3- to 4-year-old children, 93.8, 82.4 and 77.3% were caries free, and their mean caries scores were 0.16, 0.58 and 0.93, respectively. Multivariate partial least squares (PLS) modelling revealed plaque presence, lowest income, descriptors for tooth exposure time (number of teeth and age) and cariogenic challenge (total intake of sugar-containing snacks and chips/crisps, and chips intake with a sugar-containing drink) to be associated with more caries. These differences were also found in univariate analyses; in addition, children who continued breast-feeding after falling asleep had significantly higher deft values than those who did not. PLS modelling revealed that eating chips clustered with eating many sweet snacks, candies, popcorn and ice cream. We conclude that, in addition to the traditional risk indicators for caries – presence of plaque, sugar intake and socioeconomic status –, consumption of chips was associated with caries in young children.
PMCID: PMC2969163  PMID: 20720422
Breast-feeding; Caries; Children; Snacks
18.  Urban Mexican-American mothers’ beliefs about caries etiology in children 
Caries is a severe condition which disproportionately affects Latino children in the U.S. This study sought contextual understanding of urban, low-income Mexican-American mothers’ beliefs, perceptions, knowledge and behavior surrounding causes of caries.
In urban San José, CA, a qualitative study was conducted with a convenience sample of Mexican-American mothers of young children about their beliefs and knowledge about the causes of caries. Audio-taped in-depth interviews with open-ended questions, primarily in Spanish, were translated to English and then transcribed verbatim. Texts were independently read and thematically analyzed by two researchers.
Even while expressing uncertainty, all 48 mothers mentioned specific causes of caries, most frequently citing candy or juice consumption (85%), poor oral hygiene (65%) and use of the bottle (52%). Mothers rarely recognized cariogenic foods beyond candy, did not know or perform recommended oral hygiene routines, and demonstrated confusion and uncertainty about exactly how baby bottles are detrimental to teeth. Nearly half of these mothers also mentioned secondary cavity causes, such as genetics, lack of calcium, not going to the dentist, or lack of fluoride. Mothers did not mention the role of bacteria. While mothers recognize that oral hygiene can counteract the detrimental effects of candy consumption, they did not recognize its beneficial effects in other contexts. Nor did they know about other preventive activities.
Mothers recognized the three major important factors causing caries: sugar consumption, poor oral hygiene, and bottle use. However, their knowledge is limited in depth and specificity which restricts development of caries prevention behaviors. More comprehensive education is needed, including on caries prevention (oral hygiene) behaviors, which could lead to an increased sense of self-efficacy with respect to their children’s oral health.
PMCID: PMC3600053  PMID: 20156233
Caries; Caries etiology; Mothers’ beliefs and knowledge; Mexican-American children; Qualitative research
19.  Neurophysiological correlates of mismatch in lexical access 
BMC Neuroscience  2005;6:64.
In the present study neurophysiological correlates related to mismatching information in lexical access were investigated with a fragment priming paradigm. Event-related brain potentials were recorded for written words following spoken word onsets that either matched (e.g., kan – Kante [Engl. edge]), partially mismatched (e.g., kan – Konto [Engl. account]), or were unrelated (e.g., kan – Zunge [Engl. tongue]). Previous psycholinguistic research postulated the activation of multiple words in the listeners' mental lexicon which compete for recognition. Accordingly, matching words were assumed to be strongly activated competitors, which inhibit less strongly activated partially mismatching words.
ERPs for matching and unrelated control words differed between 300 and 400 ms. Difference waves (unrelated control words – matching words) replicate a left-hemispheric P350 effect in this time window. Although smaller than for matching words, a P350 effect and behavioural facilitation was also found for partially mismatching words. Minimum norm solutions point to a left hemispheric centro-temporal source of the P350 effect in both conditions. The P350 is interpreted as a neurophysiological index for the activation of matching words in the listeners' mental lexicon. In contrast to the P350 and the behavioural responses, a brain potential ranging between 350 and 500 ms (N400) was found to be equally reduced for matching and partially mismatching words as compared to unrelated control words. This latter effect might be related to strategic mechanisms in the priming situation.
A left-hemispheric neuronal network engaged in lexical access appears to be gradually activated by matching and partially mismatching words. Results suggest that neural processing of matching words does not inhibit processing of partially mismatching words during early stages of lexical identification. Furthermore, the present results indicate that neurophysiological correlates observed in fragment priming reflect different aspects of target processing that are cumulated in behavioural responses. Particularly the left-hemispheric P350 difference potential appears to be closely related to fine-grained activation differences of modality-independent representations in the listeners' mental lexicon. This neurophysiological index might guide future studies aimed at investigating neural aspects of lexical access.
PMCID: PMC1308819  PMID: 16283934
20.  HSI2/VAL1 PHD-like domain promotes H3K27 trimethylation to repress the expression of seed maturation genes and complex transgenes in Arabidopsis seedlings 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14(1):293.
The novel mutant allele hsi2-4 was isolated in a genetic screen to identify Arabidopsis mutants with constitutively elevated expression of a glutathione S-transferase F8::luciferase (GSTF8::LUC) reporter gene in Arabidopsis. The hsi2-4 mutant harbors a point mutation that affects the plant homeodomain (PHD)-like domain in HIGH-LEVEL EXPRESSION OF SUGAR-INDUCIBLE GENE2 (HSI2)/VIVIPAROUS1/ABI3-LIKE1 (VAL1). In hsi2-4 seedlings, expression of this LUC transgene and certain endogenous seed-maturation genes is constitutively enhanced. The parental reporter line (WTLUC) that was used for mutagenesis harbors two independent transgene loci, KanR and KanS. Both loci express luciferase whereas only the KanR locus confers resistance to kanamycin.
Here we show that both transgene loci harbor multiple tandem insertions at single sites. Luciferase expression from these sites is regulated by the HSI2 PHD-like domain, which is required for the deposition of repressive histone methylation marks (H3K27me3) at both KanR and KanS loci. Expression of LUC and Neomycin Phosphotransferase II transgenes is associated with dynamic changes in H3K27me3 levels, and the activation marks H3K4me3 and H3K36me3 but does not appear to involve repressive H3K9me2 marks, DNA methylation or histone deacetylation. However, hsi2-2 and hsi2-4 mutants are partially resistant to growth inhibition associated with exposure to the DNA methylation inhibitor 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine. HSI2 is also required for the repression of a subset of regulatory and structural seed maturation genes in vegetative tissues and H3K27me3 marks associated with most of these genes are also HSI2-dependent.
These data implicate HSI2 PHD-like domain in the regulation of gene expression involving histone modifications and DNA methylation-mediated epigenetic mechanisms.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0293-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4232687  PMID: 25367506
HSI2; VAL1; AGL15; DOG1; Transgene silencing; Seed-maturation; DNA methylation; Histone methylation; H3K27me3; 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine
21.  Diets Based on Sugar Cane Treated with Calcium Oxide for Lambs 
This experiment was conducted to evaluate the intake, nutrient apparent digestibility and the effect of total collection days (two and four days) on apparent digestibility estimates for lambs fed diets containing sugar cane treated with calcium oxide (CaO). Eight Santa Inês castrated male lambs with a 16.6±1.8 kg body weight were used. The lambs were distributed in two 4×4 Latin squares, with four experimental periods of 14 d each. The animals were kept in 1.2 m2 individual pens, and the intake and digestibility evaluations were performed during the last four days of each period. The diets were formulated to be isonitrogenous, containing 14% crude protein (CP), and presenting 70% sugar cane treated with 0, 0.75, 1.5 or 2.25% of CaO (as-fed basis), corrected with 1% urea, and 30% concentrate. The sugar cane with added CaO was chopped, treated, and offered to the animals after 24 h of storage. The sugar cane with CaO increased the DM, OM, CP, NDF, NDFap, TC, NFCap and TDN intake (kg/d), when compared to natural sugar cane, and produced the same intake expressed as a percentage of body weight (% BW). The NFCap digestibility of the CaO-treated sugar cane was inferior to the NFCap digestibility in natural sugar cane. There was a linear increase in the DM intake with the CaO-added sugar cane, but the DM and NDF digestibility and the TDN content decreased linearly. The chemical treatment of sugar cane with CaO increases the intake but does not improve the nutrient digestibility. Two days of total fecal collection were found to be sufficient to estimate the total apparent digestibility in lambs.
PMCID: PMC4093156  PMID: 25049779
Chemical Treatment; Dry Matter; Lime; Roughage
22.  Effects of candy and social reinforcement, instructions, and reinforcement schedule leaning on the modification and maintenance of smiling1 
Two retarded boys exhibited abnormally low rates of smiling. In Exp. I, the frequency of a boy's smiling was first increased with candy reinforcement, but the frequency of the response did not decrease when candy reinforcement was terminated. When the subject wore a sign designed to make social interactions contingent on not-smiling, the frequency of smiling decreased. The sign was then changed to make social interactions contingent on smiling and the rate of smiling increased. In Exp. II, a second boy initially never smiled. Establishment of a contingency for candy reinforcement did not increase this zero response rate. Instructing the child to smile initially increased smiling, but the instructions then became progressively more ineffective. Candy reinforcement increased the rate of smiling to a normal range, but the rate of the response promptly decreased when this reinforcement was discontinued. Continuous candy reinforcement was again employed to increase the response rate and then progressively leaner schedules of variable-ratio candy reinforcement were employed. Consequently, the rate of smiling did not decrease when candy reinforcement was again eliminated. Subsequently, signs were employed to regulate social interactions and the rate of smiling was shown to be controlled by these interactions serving as reinforcers.
PMCID: PMC1310987  PMID: 16795167
23.  Sociobehavioral Factors Associated with Caries Increment: A Longitudinal Study from 24 to 36 Months Old Children in Thailand 
The aim of this study is to investigate sociobehavioral risk factors from the prenatal period until 36 months of age, and the caries increment from 24 to 36 months of the child in Thailand. The data utilized in this study come from the prospective cohort study of Thai children (PCTC) from prenatal to 36 months of the child in Mueang Nan district, Northern Thailand. The total sample size recruited was 783 infants. The sample size with dental caries data was 603 and 597, at 24 months and at 36 months, respectively. The sample size of having two assessment points with a dental examination (at 24 months and at 36 months) was 597. Results indicate that the caries increment was 52.9%, meaning from 365 caries free children at 24 months 193 had developed dental caries at 36 months. The prevalence of dental caries was 34.2% at 24 months (n = 206) and 68.5% at 36 months of age (n = 409). In bivariate analysis, higher education of the mother, lower household income, bottle feeding of the infant, frequent sweet candy consumptions, and using rain or well water as drinking water were associated with dental caries increment, while in multivariate conditional logistic regression analysis lower household income, higher education of the mother, and using rain or well water as drinking water remained associated with dental caries increment. In conclusion, a very significant increase in caries development was observed, and oral health may be influenced by sociobehavioural risk factors.
PMCID: PMC4211009  PMID: 25329535
early childhood caries; sociobehavioural risk indicators; longitudinal study; Thailand
24.  Increasing Coverage and Decreasing Inequity in Insecticide-Treated Bed Net Use among Rural Kenyan Children 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(8):e255.
Inexpensive and efficacious interventions that avert childhood deaths in sub-Saharan Africa have failed to reach effective coverage, especially among the poorest rural sectors. One particular example is insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs). In this study, we present repeat observations of ITN coverage among rural Kenyan homesteads exposed at different times to a range of delivery models, and assess changes in coverage across socioeconomic groups.
Methods and Findings
We undertook a study of annual changes in ITN coverage among a cohort of 3,700 children aged 0–4 y in four districts of Kenya (Bondo, Greater Kisii, Kwale, and Makueni) annually between 2004 and 2006. Cross-sectional surveys of ITN coverage were undertaken coincidentally with the incremental availability of commercial sector nets (2004), the introduction of heavily subsidized nets through clinics (2005), and the introduction of free mass distributed ITNs (2006). The changing prevalence of ITN coverage was examined with special reference to the degree of equity in each delivery approach. ITN coverage was only 7.1% in 2004 when the predominant source of nets was the commercial retail sector. By the end of 2005, following the expansion of heavily subsidized clinic distribution system, ITN coverage rose to 23.5%. In 2006 a large-scale mass distribution of ITNs was mounted providing nets free of charge to children, resulting in a dramatic increase in ITN coverage to 67.3%. With each subsequent survey socioeconomic inequity in net coverage sequentially decreased: 2004 (most poor [2.9%] versus least poor [15.6%]; concentration index 0.281); 2005 (most poor [17.5%] versus least poor [37.9%]; concentration index 0.131), and 2006 with near-perfect equality (most poor [66.3%] versus least poor [66.6%]; concentration index 0.000). The free mass distribution method achieved highest coverage among the poorest children, the highly subsidised clinic nets programme was marginally in favour of the least poor, and the commercial social marketing favoured the least poor.
Rapid scaling up of ITN coverage among Africa's poorest rural children can be achieved through mass distribution campaigns. These efforts must form an important adjunct to regular, routine access to ITNs through clinics, and each complimentary approach should aim to make this intervention free to clients to ensure equitable access among those least able to afford even the cost of a heavily subsidized net.
Noor and colleagues found low levels of use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets when nets were mainly available through the commercial sector. Levels increased when subsidized nets were introduced and rose further when they were made available free.
Editors' Summary
Malaria is one of the world's most important killer diseases. There are over a million deaths from malaria every year, most of those who die are children in Africa. Frequent attacks of the disease have severe consequences for the health of many millions more. The parasite that causes malaria is spread by bites from certain species of mosquito. They mostly bite during the hours of darkness, so sleeping under a mosquito net provides some protection. In some countries where malaria is a problem, bed nets are already used by many people. A very much higher level of protection is obtained, however, by sleeping under a mosquito net that has been impregnated with insecticide. The insecticides used are of extremely low toxicity for humans. As insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) are a relatively new idea, people do need to be persuaded to buy and use them. ITNs must also be re-impregnated regularly, although long-lasting ones that remain effective for 3–5 y (or 21 washes) are now widely distributed. The nets are inexpensive by Western standards but the people who are most at risk of malaria have very little income. Governments and health agencies are keen to increase the use of nets, particularly for children and pregnant women. The main approach used has been that of “social marketing.” In other words, advertising campaigns promote the use of nets, and their local manufacture is encouraged. The nets are then sold on the open market, sometimes with government subsidies. This approach has been very controversial. Many people have argued that ways must be found to make nets available free to all who need them, but others believe that this is not necessary and that high rates of ITN use can be brought about by social marketing alone.
Why Was This Study Done?
It has been known for more than ten years that ITNs are very effective in reducing cases of malaria, but there is still a long way to go before every child at risk sleeps under an ITN. In Kenya, a country where malaria is very common, a program to increase net use began in 2002, using the social marketing approach. In 2004 most of the nets available in Kenya were those on sale commercially. In October 2004 health clinics started to distribute more heavily subsidized ITNs for children and pregnant women and, in 2006, a mass distribution program began of free nets for children. The researchers, based at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), wanted to find whether the number of children sleeping under ITNs changed as a result of these changes in policy. They also wanted to see how the rate of net use varied between families of different socioeconomic levels, as the poorest children are known to be most likely to die from malaria.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
This is a large study involving 3,700 children in four districts of Kenya. The researchers conducted surveys and then calculated the rates of net use in 2004, 2005, and 2006. In the first survey, when nets were available to most people only through the commercial sector, only 7% of children were sleeping under ITNs, with a very big difference between the poorest families (3%) and the least poor (16%). By the end of 2005, the year in which subsidized nets became increasingly available in clinics, the overall rate of use rose to 24%. By the end of 2006, following the free distribution campaign, it was 66%. The 2006 figure was almost exactly the same for the poorest and least poor families.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The rate of net use in the districts in the survey is much higher than expected, even though one-third of children were still not protected by ITNs. The sharp increases—particularly among the poorest children—after heavily subsidized nets were introduced and then after the free mass distribution suggests that this is a very good use of the limited amount of funds available for health care in Kenya and other countries where malaria is common. If fewer Kenyan children have malaria there will be cost savings to the health services. While some might claim that it is obvious that nets will be more widely used if they are free, there has been heated debate as to whether this is really true. Evidence has been needed and this research now provides strong support for free distribution. The study has also identified other factors which will be important in the continuing efforts to increase ITN use.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information on malaria and on insecticide-treated nets (in English and Spanish)
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia contains a page on malaria (in English and Spanish). MedlinePlus brings together authoritative information from the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, and other government agencies and health-related organizations
Information is available from the World Health Organization on malaria (in English, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, and Chinese) and from the Roll Back Malaria Partnership on the use of insecticide-treated nets
For information about the Medical Research Institute see the organization's Web site
The BBC Web site has a “country profile” about Kenya
Malaria data and related publications can be found on the Malaria Atlas Project Web site, which is funded by the Wellcome Trust, UK and is a joint project between the Malaria Public Health & Epidemiology Group, Centre for Geographic Medicine, Kenya and the Spatial Ecology & Epidemiology Group, University of Oxford, UK
The Kenya Ministry of Health, Division of Malaria Control Web site has useful information on malaria epidemiology and policies for Kenya
PMCID: PMC1949846  PMID: 17713981
25.  Preliminary crystallographic analysis of sugar cane phosphoribosylpyrophosphate synthase 
X-ray diffraction data have been collected from crystals of recombinant sugar cane phosphoribosylpyrophosphate synthase (PRS) and analysis has revealed its quaternary structure, localizing this PRS into the class of enzymes forming an hexameric oligomer of 223 kDa.
Phosphoribosylpyrophosphate synthases (PRS; EC are enzymes that are of central importance in several metabolic pathways in all cells. The sugar cane PRS enzyme contains 328 amino acids with a molecular weight of 36.6 kDa and represents the first plant PRS to be crystallized, as well as the first phosphate-independent PRS to be studied in molecular detail. Sugar cane PRS was overexpressed in Escherichia coli, purified and crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. Using X-ray diffraction experiments it was determined that the crystals belong to the orthorhombic system, with space group P21212 and unit-cell parameters a = 213.2, b = 152.6, c = 149.3 Å. The crystals diffract to a maximum resolution of 3.3 Å and a complete data set to 3.5 Å resolution was collected and analysed.
PMCID: PMC1952407  PMID: 16508088
phosphoribosylpyrophosphate; PRPP synthase; sugar cane

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