Physical inactivity in children is an important risk factor for the development of various morbidities and mortality in adulthood, physical activity already has preventive effects during childhood. The objective of this study is to estimate the association between physical activity, healthcare utilization and costs in children.
Cross-sectional data of 3356 children aged 9 to 12 years were taken from the 10-year follow-up of the birth cohort studies GINIplus and LISAplus, including information on healthcare utilization and physical activity given by parents via self-administered questionnaires. Using a bottom-up approach, direct costs due to healthcare utilization and indirect costs resulting from parental work absence were estimated for the base year 2007. A two-step regression model compared effects on healthcare utilization and costs for a higher (≥7 h/week) versus a lower (<7 h/week) level of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) adjusted for age, gender, BMI, education and income of parents, single parenthood and study region. Recycled predictions estimated adjusted mean costs per child and activity group.
The analyses for the association between physical activity, healthcare utilization and costs showed no statistically significant results. Different directions of estimates were noticeable throughout cost components in the first step as well as the second step of the regression model. For higher MVPA (≥7 h/week) compared with lower MVPA (<7 h/week) total direct costs accounted for 392 EUR (95% CI: 342–449 EUR) versus 398 EUR (95% CI: 309–480 EUR) and indirect costs accounted for 138 EUR (95% CI: 124–153 EUR) versus 127 EUR (95% CI: 111–146 EUR).
The results indicate that childhood might be too early in life, to detect significant preventive effects of physical activity on healthcare utilization and costs, as diseases attributable to lacking physical activity might first occur later in life. This underpins the importance of clarifying the long-term effects of physical activity as it may strengthen the promotion of physical activity in children from a health economic perspective.
Physical activity; Healthcare utilization; Healthcare costs; Direct costs; Indirect costs; Children; Cross-sectional study
Depressive and anxiety disorders are highly prevalent, but only a small percentage (approximately 50%) of patients receive appropriate treatment. Relevant barriers include communication and coordination gaps between different providers that result from the lack of integration between different care-giving systems. Aftercare following inpatient treatment represents one of these gaps because systematic follow-up care does not exist. Case management-based aftercare coordination by phone might be a promising approach to overcoming this gap and improving long-term treatment outcomes. Case management is a patient-centered and situation-based approach comprising systematic tracking and support of patients by a case manager.
The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of aftercare coordination by phone for patients with depressive and anxiety disorders.
The effectiveness of aftercare coordination will be investigated in a prospective randomized controlled trial in four psychotherapeutic inpatient routine care units (St. Franziska-Stift Bad Kreuznach, MediClin Seepark Klinik Bad Bodenteich, Segeberger Kliniken Gruppe Bad Segeberg and Luisenklinik Bad Dürrheim). The patients receiving aftercare coordination (intervention group; IG) will be compared with those who receive treatment as usual (TAU control group; CG). Eligible patients will be required to have a diagnosis of an anxiety and/or depressive disorder and a recommendation for follow-up outpatient psychotherapy.
The aftercare coordination consists of six phone contacts at intervals of two weeks that are performed by therapists in the inpatient units. The patients will complete questionnaires at discharge (t1), 3 months after discharge (i.e., at the end of the intervention (t2)) and 9 months after discharge (t3). The primary outcome will be change in symptom severity from t1 to t3, the secondary outcomes will be health-related quality of life and the proportion of patients who manage to begin outpatient psychotherapy by t3.
This study will determine whether case management-based aftercare coordination by phone is an adequate approach for overcoming treatment barriers in the clinical pathways of patients with depressive and anxiety disorders. If proven effective, an accessible supplementary treatment approach that will help to maintain and even improve long-term treatment outcomes will be made available for patients following inpatient treatment.
Randomized controlled trial; Aftercare; Case management; Phone-based; Depression; Anxiety; Evaluation; Effectiveness
Forced vital capacity (FVC), a spirometric measure of pulmonary function, reflects lung volume and is used to diagnose and monitor lung diseases. We performed genome-wide association study meta-analysis of FVC in 52,253 individuals from 26 studies and followed up the top associations in 32,917 additional individuals of European ancestry. We found six new regions associated at genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8) with FVC in or near EFEMP1, BMP6, MIR-129-2/HSD17B12, PRDM11, WWOX, and KCNJ2. Two (GSTCD and PTCH1) loci previously associated with spirometric measures were related to FVC. Newly implicated regions were followed-up in samples of African American, Korean, Chinese, and Hispanic individuals. We detected transcripts for all six newly implicated genes in human lung tissue. The new loci may inform mechanisms involved in lung development and pathogenesis of restrictive lung disease.
Accelerometry is an important method for extending our knowledge about intensity, duration, frequency and patterns of physical activity needed to promote health. This study has used accelerometry to detect associations between intensity levels and related activity patterns with multimorbidity and disability. Moreover, the proportion of people meeting the physical activity recommendations for older people was assessed.
Physical activity was measured in 168 subjects (78 males; 65–89 years of age), using triaxial GT3X accelerometers for ten consecutive days. The associations between physical activity parameters and multimorbidity or disability was examined using multiple logistic regression models, which were adjusted for gender, age, education, smoking, alcohol consumption, lung function, nutrition and multimorbidity or disability.
35.7% of the participants met the physical activity recommendations of at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week. Only 11.9% reached these 150 minutes, when only bouts of at least 10 minutes were counted. Differences in moderate to vigorous activity between people with and without multimorbidity or disability were more obvious when shorter bouts instead of only longer bouts were included. Univariate analyses showed an inverse relationship between physical activity and multimorbidity or disability for light and moderate to vigorous physical activity. A higher proportion of long activity bouts spent sedentarily was associated with higher risk for multimorbidity, whereas a high proportion of long bouts in light activity seemed to prevent disability. After adjustment for covariates, there were no significant associations, anymore.
The accumulated time in moderate to vigorous physical activity seems to have a stronger relationship with health and functioning when shorter activity bouts and not only longer bouts were counted. We could not detect an association of the intensity levels or activity patterns with multimorbidity or disability in elderly people after adjustment for covariates.
Studies provide compelling evidences for particulate matter (PM) associated cardiovascular health effects. Elderly individuals, particularly those with preexisting conditions like hypertension are regarded to be vulnerable. Experimental data are warranted to reveal the molecular pathomechanism of PM related cardiovascular impairments among aged/predisposed individuals. Thus we investigated the cardiovascular effects of ultrafine carbon particles (UfCP) on aged (12–13 months) spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs) and compared the findings with our pervious study on adult SHRs (6–7 months) to identify age related predisposition events in cardiovascular compromised elderly individuals.
Aged SHRs were inhalation exposed to UfCP for 24 h (~180 μg/m3) followed by radio-telemetric assessment for blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR). Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid cell differentials, interleukin 6 (IL-6) and other proinflammatory cytokines; serum C-reactive protein (CRP) and haptoglobin (HPT); and plasma fibrinogen were measured. Transcript levels of hemeoxygenase 1 (HO-1), endothelin 1 (ET1), endothelin receptors A, B (ETA, ETB), tissue factor (TF), and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) were measured in the lung and heart to assess oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction and coagulation cascade.
UfCP exposed aged SHRs exhibited increased BP (4.4%) and HR (6.3%) on 1st recovery day paralleled by a 58% increase of neutrophils and 25% increase of IL-6 in the BAL fluid. Simultaneously higher CRP, HPT and fibrinogen levels in exposed SHRs indicate systemic inflammation. HO-1, ET1, ET-A, ET-B, TF and PAI-1 were induced by 1.5-2.0 folds in lungs of aged SHRs on 1st recovery day. However, in UfCP exposed adult SHRs these markers were up-regulated (2.5-6 fold) on 3rd recovery day in lung without detectable pulmonary/systemic inflammation.
The UfCP induced pulmonary and systemic inflammation in aged SHRs is associated with oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction and disturbed coagulatory hemostasis. UfCP exposure increased BP and HR in aged SHRs rats which was associated with lung inflammation, and increased expression of inflammatory, vasoconstriction and coagulation markers as well as systemic changes in biomarkers of thrombosis in aged SHRs. Our study provides further evidence for potential molecular mechanisms explaining the increased risk of particle mediated cardiac health effects in cardiovascular compromised elderly individuals.
Inflammation; Lung; Heart; Dust; Particle exposure; Cardiovascular risk individuals
Epidemiological and experimental studies suggest that exposure to ultrafine particles (UFP) might aggravate the allergic inflammation of the lung in asthmatics.
We exposed 12 allergic asthmatics in two subgroups in a double-blinded randomized cross-over design, first to freshly generated ultrafine carbon particles (64 μg/m3; 6.1 ± 0.4 × 105 particles/cm3 for 2 h) and then to filtered air or vice versa with a 28-day recovery period in-between. Eighteen hours after each exposure, grass pollen was instilled into a lung lobe via bronchoscopy. Another 24 hours later, inflammatory cells were collected by means of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). (Trial registration: NCT00527462)
For the entire study group, inhalation of UFP by itself had no significant effect on the allergen induced inflammatory response measured with total cell count as compared to exposure with filtered air (p = 0.188). However, the subgroup of subjects, which inhaled UFP during the first exposure, exhibited a significant increase in total BAL cells (p = 0.021), eosinophils (p = 0.031) and monocytes (p = 0.013) after filtered air exposure and subsequent allergen challenge 28 days later. Additionally, the potential of BAL cells to generate oxidant radicals was significantly elevated at that time point. The subgroup that was exposed first to filtered air and 28 days later to UFP did not reveal differences between sessions.
Our data demonstrate that pre-allergen exposure to UFP had no acute effect on the allergic inflammation. However, the subgroup analysis lead to the speculation that inhaled UFP particles might have a long-term effect on the inflammatory course in asthmatic patients. This should be reconfirmed in further studies with an appropriate study design and sufficient number of subjects.
Ultrafine particles; Asthma; Pulmonary inflammation; Aerosol exposure; Aeroallergen
Depression is a widespread and serious disease often accompanied by a high degree of suffering and burden of disease. The lack of integration between different care providers impedes guideline-based treatment. This constitutes substantial challenges for the health care system and also causes considerable direct and indirect costs. To face these challenges, the aim of this project is the implementation and evaluation of a guideline-based stepped care model for depressed patients with six treatment options of varying intensity and setting, including low-intensity treatments using innovative technologies.
The study is a randomized controlled intervention trial of a consecutive sample of depressive patients from primary care assessed with a prospective survey at four time-standardized measurement points within one year. A cluster randomization at the level of participating primary care units divides the general practitioners into two groups. In the intervention group patients (n = 660) are treated within the stepped care approach in a multiprofessional network consisting of general practitioners, psychotherapists, psychiatrists and inpatient care facilities, whereas patients in the control condition (n = 200) receive routine care. The main research question concerns the effectiveness of the stepped-care model from baseline to t3 (12 months). Primary outcome is the change in depressive symptoms measured by the PHQ-9; secondary outcomes include response, remission and relapse, functional quality of life (SF-12 and EQ-5D-3 L), other clinical and psychosocial variables, direct and indirect costs, and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio. Furthermore feasibility and acceptance of the overall model as well as of the separate treatment components are assessed.
This stepped care model integrates all primary and secondary health care providers involved in the treatment of depression; it elaborates innovative and evidence-based treatment elements, follows a stratified approach and is implemented in routine care as opposed to standardized conditions. In case of positive results, its sustainable implementation as a collaborative care model may significantly improve the health care situation of depressive patients as well as the interaction and care delivery of different care providers on various levels.
This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01731717 (date of registration: 24 June 2013).
Depression; Stepped care; Collaborative care; Complex intervention; Primary care; Secondary care; Low intensity treatments; e-Mental health
It is widely recognized that health-related quality of life (HRQL) is impaired in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), but there is a lack of research on longitudinal associations of COPD and HRQL. This study examined the effects of COPD in early stages of disease on HRQL over ten years in a working-age general population setting in Southern Germany while considering the influence of common comorbidities.
In the population-based KORA F4 study (2006–08) 1,321 participants aged 41–61 years performed spirometry and reported information on HRQL (measured by the generic SF-12) and comorbidities. For the same participants, HRQL information was available seven years before and three years after the lung function test from the previous S4 (1999–2001) and the F4L follow-up study (2010). Using linear mixed models, the physical and mental component summary scores (PCS-12 / MCS-12) of the SF-12 were compared over time between COPD groups.
7.8% of participants were classified as having COPD (according to the LLN definition and the Global Lungs Initiative), 59.4% of them in grade 1. Regression models showed a negative cross-sectional association of COPD grade 2+ with PCS-12 which persisted when comorbidities were considered. Adjusted mean PCS-12 scores for the COPD grade 2+ group were reduced (−3.5 (p = 0.008) in F4, −3.3 (p = 0.014) in S4 and −4.7 (p = 0.003) in F4L) compared to the group without airflow limitation. The size of the COPD effect in grade 2+ was similar to the effect of myocardial infarction and cancer. Over ten years, a small decline in PCS-12 was observed in all groups. This decline was larger in participants with COPD grade 2+, but insignificant. Regarding MCS-12, no significant cross-sectional or longitudinal associations with COPD were found.
Despite small HRQL differences between COPD patients in early disease stages and controls and small changes over ten years, our results indicate that it is important to prevent subjects with airflow limitation from progression to higher grades. Awareness of HRQL impairments in early stages is important for offering early interventions in order to maintain high HRQL in COPD patients.
COPD; Health-related quality of life; SF-12; Comorbidities; General population study; Longitudinal
Type I Bartter syndrome is a recessive human nephropathy caused by loss-of-function mutations in the SLC12A1 gene coding for the Na+-K+-2Cl− cotransporter NKCC2. We recently established the mutant mouse line Slc12a1I299F exhibiting kidney defects highly similar to the late-onset manifestation of this hereditary human disease. Besides the kidney defects, low blood pressure and osteopenia were revealed in the homozygous mutant mice which were also described in humans. Beside its strong expression in the kidney, NKCC2 has been also shown to be expressed in other tissues in rodents i.e. the gastrointestinal tract, pancreatic beta cells, and specific compartments of the ear, nasal tissue and eye.
To examine if, besides kidney defects, further organ systems and/or metabolic pathways are affected by the Slc12a1I299F mutation as primary or secondary effects, we describe a standardized, systemic phenotypic analysis of the mutant mouse line Slc12a1I299F in the German Mouse Clinic. Slc12a1I299F homozygous mutant mice and Slc12a1I299F heterozygous mutant littermates as controls were tested at the age of 4–6 months. Beside the already published changes in blood pressure and bone metabolism, a significantly lower body weight and fat content were found as new phenotypes for Slc12a1I299F homozygous mutant mice. Small additional effects included a mild erythropenic anemia in homozygous mutant males as well as a slight hyperalgesia in homozygous mutant females. For other functions, such as immunology, lung function and neurology, no distinct alterations were observed.
In this systemic analysis no clear primary effects of the Slc12a1I299F mutation appeared for the organs other than the kidneys where Slc12a1 expression has been described. On the other hand, long-term effects additional and/or secondary to the kidney lesions might also appear in humans harboring SLC12A1 mutations.
Animal model; NKCC2; Systematic phenotype analysis
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified numerous loci influencing cross-sectional lung function, but less is known about genes influencing longitudinal change in lung function.
We performed GWAS of the rate of change in forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) in 14 longitudinal, population-based cohort studies comprising 27,249 adults of European ancestry using linear mixed effects model and combined cohort-specific results using fixed effect meta-analysis to identify novel genetic loci associated with longitudinal change in lung function. Gene expression analyses were subsequently performed for identified genetic loci. As a secondary aim, we estimated the mean rate of decline in FEV1 by smoking pattern, irrespective of genotypes, across these 14 studies using meta-analysis.
The overall meta-analysis produced suggestive evidence for association at the novel IL16/STARD5/TMC3 locus on chromosome 15 (P = 5.71 × 10-7). In addition, meta-analysis using the five cohorts with ≥3 FEV1 measurements per participant identified the novel ME3 locus on chromosome 11 (P = 2.18 × 10-8) at genome-wide significance. Neither locus was associated with FEV1 decline in two additional cohort studies. We confirmed gene expression of IL16, STARD5, and ME3 in multiple lung tissues. Publicly available microarray data confirmed differential expression of all three genes in lung samples from COPD patients compared with controls. Irrespective of genotypes, the combined estimate for FEV1 decline was 26.9, 29.2 and 35.7 mL/year in never, former, and persistent smokers, respectively.
In this large-scale GWAS, we identified two novel genetic loci in association with the rate of change in FEV1 that harbor candidate genes with biologically plausible functional links to lung function.
Persons with cystic fibrosis (CF) are at-risk for health effects from ambient air pollution but little is known about the interaction of nanoparticles (NP) with CF lungs. Here we study the distribution of inhaled NP in a murine CF model and aim to reveal mechanisms contributing to adverse effects of inhaled particles in susceptible populations.
Chloride channel defective CftrTgH (neoim) Hgu mice were used to analyze lung function, lung distribution and whole body biokinetics of inhaled NP, and inflammatory responses after intratracheal administration of NP. Distribution of 20-nm titanium dioxide NP in lungs was assessed on ultrathin sections immediately and 24 h after a one-hour NP inhalation. NP biokinetics was deduced from total and regional lung deposition and from whole body translocation of inhaled 30-nm iridium NP within 24 h after aerosol inhalation. Inflammatory responses were assessed within 7 days after carbon NP instillation.
Cftr mutant females had moderately reduced lung compliance and slightly increased airway resistance compared to wild type mice. We found no genotype dependent differences in total, regional and head deposition or in secondary-organ translocation of inhaled iridium NP. Titanium dioxide inhalation resulted in higher NP uptake by alveolar epithelial cells in Cftr mutants. Instillation of carbon NP induced a comparable acute and transient inflammatory response in both genotypes. The twofold increase of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) neutrophils in Cftr mutant compared to wild type mice at day 3 but not at days 1 and 7, indicated an impaired capacity in inflammation resolution in Cftr mutants. Concomitant to the delayed decline of neutrophils, BAL granulocyte-colony stimulating factor was augmented in Cftr mutant mice. Anti-inflammatory 15-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid was generally significantly lower in BAL of Cftr mutant than in wild type mice.
Despite lacking alterations in lung deposition and biokinetics of inhaled NP, and absence of significant differences in lung function, higher uptake of NP by alveolar epithelial cells and prolonged, acute inflammatory responses to NP exposure indicate a moderately increased susceptibility of lungs to adverse effects of inhaled NP in Cftr mutant mice and provides potential mechanisms for the increased susceptibility of CF patients to air pollution.
Aerosol; Biokinetics; Cystic fibrosis; Energy filtering transmission electron microscopy; Inflammation; Inhalation; Iridium; Lung function; Nanoparticles; Titanium dioxide; Ultrafine particles
Elderly people obtain significant health benefits from physical activity (PA), but the role of activity patterns has scarcely been researched. The present study aims to describe the patterns of PA among different intensities of activity in elderly people. We assess how patterns differ between more and less active groups (‘rare’, ‘average’, and ‘frequent’), and explore whether and how various PA parameters are associated with functional exercise capacity (FEC).
PA was measured in 168 subjects (78 males; 65–89 years of age), using a triaxial GT3X accelerometer for ten consecutive days. Subjects were divided into three groups by activity and the groups were compared. A multiple linear regression model was used to predict FEC.
Participants greater than or equal to 80 years are most prone to being sedentary for long periods, while women and the obese are the groups most likely to spend insufficient time in moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA). Rarely active elderly people had a decreased proportion of long bouts of MVPA and light PA and of short bouts in sedentary behavior than frequently active subjects did (p < 0.001). As predictors of FEC, younger age, lower BMI, male sex, better lung function, absence of multimorbidity, longer times and longer bouts of MVPA emerged as significant parameters (r2 = 0.54). Patterns of MVPA explained most of the variance.
PA patterns provide information beyond reports of activity alone. MVPA in elderly people may be increased by increasing the proportion of long bouts, in order to increase FEC as well as average PA. However, health conditions may limit PA. In rarely active people (often with reduced FEC, worse lung function, and diagnosis of multimorbidity or disability), longer periods of time in light PA may be sufficient to increase the overall level of activity.
Elderly; Aged; Older; Physical activity; Exercise; Pattern; Intensity; Movement; Ambulation
Huntington’s disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by the expansion of a CAG trinucleotide repeat in the HTT gene encoding huntingtin. The disease has an insidious course, typically progressing over 10-15 years until death. Currently there is no effective disease-modifying therapy. To better understand the HD pathogenic process we have developed genetic HTT CAG knock-in mouse models that accurately recapitulate the HD mutation in man. Here, we describe results of a broad, standardized phenotypic screen in 10-46 week old heterozygous HdhQ111 knock-in mice, probing a wide range of physiological systems. The results of this screen revealed a number of behavioral abnormalities in HdhQ111/+ mice that include hypoactivity, decreased anxiety, motor learning and coordination deficits, and impaired olfactory discrimination. The screen also provided evidence supporting subtle cardiovascular, lung, and plasma metabolite alterations. Importantly, our results reveal that a single mutant HTT allele in the mouse is sufficient to elicit multiple phenotypic abnormalities, consistent with a dominant disease process in patients. These data provide a starting point for further investigation of several organ systems in HD, for the dissection of underlying pathogenic mechanisms and for the identification of reliable phenotypic endpoints for therapeutic testing.
Uromodulin-associated kidney disease (UAKD) summarizes different clinical features of an autosomal dominant heritable disease syndrome in humans with a proven uromodulin (UMOD) mutation involved. It is often characterized by hyperuricemia, gout, alteration of urine concentrating ability, as well as a variable rate of disease progression inconstantly leading to renal failure and histological alterations of the kidneys. We recently established the two Umod mutant mouse lines UmodC93F and UmodA227T on the C3H inbred genetic background both showing kidney defects analogous to those found in human UAKD patients. In addition, disease symptoms were revealed that were not yet described in other published mouse models of UAKD. To examine if further organ systems and/or metabolic pathways are affected by Umod mutations as primary or secondary effects, we describe a standardized, systemic phenotypic analysis of the two mutant mouse lines UmodA227T and UmodC93F in the German Mouse Clinic. Different genotypes as well as different ages were tested. Beside the already published changes in body weight, body composition and bone metabolism, the influence of the Umod mutation on energy metabolism was confirmed. Hematological analysis revealed a moderate microcytic and erythropenic anemia in older Umod mutant mice. Data of the other analyses in 7-10 month-old mutant mice showed single small additional effects.
Several infrequent genetic polymorphisms in the SERPINA1 gene are known to substantially reduce concentration of alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT) in the blood. Since low AAT serum levels fail to protect pulmonary tissue from enzymatic degradation, these polymorphisms also increase the risk for early onset chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The role of more common SERPINA1 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in respiratory health remains poorly understood.
We present here an agnostic investigation of genetic determinants of circulating AAT levels in a general population sample by performing a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 1392 individuals of the SAPALDIA cohort.
Five common SNPs, defined by showing minor allele frequencies (MAFs) >5%, reached genome-wide significance, all located in the SERPINA gene cluster at 14q32.13. The top-ranking genotyped SNP rs4905179 was associated with an estimated effect of β = −0.068 g/L per minor allele (P = 1.20*10−12). But denser SERPINA1 locus genotyping in 5569 participants with subsequent stepwise conditional analysis, as well as exon-sequencing in a subsample (N = 410), suggested that AAT serum level is causally determined at this locus by rare (MAF<1%) and low-frequent (MAF 1–5%) variants only, in particular by the well-documented protein inhibitor S and Z (PI S, PI Z) variants. Replication of the association of rs4905179 with AAT serum levels in the Copenhagen City Heart Study (N = 8273) was successful (P<0.0001), as was the replication of its synthetic nature (the effect disappeared after adjusting for PI S and Z, P = 0.57). Extending the analysis to lung function revealed a more complex situation. Only in individuals with severely compromised pulmonary health (N = 397), associations of common SNPs at this locus with lung function were driven by rarer PI S or Z variants. Overall, our meta-analysis of lung function in ever-smokers does not support a functional role of common SNPs in the SERPINA gene cluster in the general population.
Low levels of alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT) in the blood are a well-established risk factor for accelerated loss in lung function and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. While a few infrequent genetic polymorphisms are known to influence the serum levels of this enzyme, the role of common genetic variants has not been examined so far. The present genome-wide scan for associated variants in approximately 1400 Swiss inhabitants revealed a chromosomal locus containing the functionally established variants of AAT deficiency and variants previously associated with lung function and emphysema. We used dense genotyping of this genetic region in more than 5500 individuals and subsequent conditional analyses to unravel which of these associated variants contribute independently to the phenotype's variability. All associations of common variants could be attributed to the rarer functionally established variants, a result which was then replicated in an independent population-based Danish cohort. Hence, this locus represents a textbook example of how a large part of a trait's heritability can be hidden in infrequent genetic polymorphisms. The attempt to transfer these results to lung function furthermore suggests that effects of common variants in this genetic region in ever-smokers may also be explained by rarer variants, but only in individuals with hampered pulmonary health.
Background Human ageing is a complex, multifactorial process and early developmental factors affect health outcomes in old age.
Methods Metabolomic profiling on fasting blood was carried out in 6055 individuals from the UK. Stepwise regression was performed to identify a panel of independent metabolites which could be used as a surrogate for age. We also investigated the association with birthweight overall and within identical discordant twins and with genome-wide methylation levels.
Results We identified a panel of 22 metabolites which combined are strongly correlated with age (R2 = 59%) and with age-related clinical traits independently of age. One particular metabolite, C-glycosyl tryptophan (C-glyTrp), correlated strongly with age (beta = 0.03, SE = 0.001, P = 7.0 × 10−157) and lung function (FEV1 beta = −0.04, SE = 0.008, P = 1.8 × 10−8 adjusted for age and confounders) and was replicated in an independent population (n = 887). C-glyTrp was also associated with bone mineral density (beta = −0.01, SE = 0.002, P = 1.9 × 10−6) and birthweight (beta = −0.06, SE = 0.01, P = 2.5 × 10−9). The difference in C-glyTrp levels explained 9.4% of the variance in the difference in birthweight between monozygotic twins. An epigenome-wide association study in 172 individuals identified three CpG-sites, associated with levels of C-glyTrp (P < 2 × 10−6). We replicated one CpG site in the promoter of the WDR85 gene in an independent sample of 350 individuals (beta = −0.20, SE = 0.04, P = 2.9 × 10−8). WDR85 is a regulator of translation elongation factor 2, essential for protein synthesis in eukaryotes.
Conclusions Our data illustrate how metabolomic profiling linked with epigenetic studies can identify some key molecular mechanisms potentially determined in early development that produce long-term physiological changes influencing human health and ageing.
Ageing; metabolomics; epigenetics; twin studies; developmental origins of health and disease; birthweight
Surveillance of physical activity (PA) is increasingly based on accelerometry. However, data management guidelines are lacking. We propose an approach for combining accelerometry and diary based PA information for assessment of PA in adolescents and provide an example of this approach using data from German adolescents.
The 15-year-old participants comprised a subsample the GINIplus birth cohort (n = 328, 42.4% male). Data on PA was obtained from hip-worn accelerometers (ActiGraph GT3X) for seven consecutive days, combined with a prospective activity diary. Major aspects of data management were validity of wear time, handling of non-wear time and diary comments. After data cleaning, PA and percentage of adolescents meeting the recommendations for moderate-to-vigorous activity (MVPA) per day were determined.
From the 2224 recorded days 493 days (25%) were invalid, mainly due to uncertainties relating to non-wear time (322 days). Ultimately, 269 of 328 subjects (82%) with valid data for at least three weekdays and one weekend day were included in the analysis. Mean MVPA per day was 39.1 minutes (SD ±25.0), with boys being more active than girls (41.8±21.5 minutes vs. 37.1±27.8 minutes, p<0.001). Accordingly, 24.7% of boys and 17.2% of girls (p<0.01) met the WHO recommendations for PA. School sport accounted for only 6% of weekly MVPA. In fact, most MVPA was performed during leisure time, with the majority of adolescents engaging in ball sports (25.4%) and endurance sports (19.7%). Girls also frequently reported dancing and gymnastics (23%).
For assessment of PA in adolescents, collecting both accelerometry and diary-based information is recommended. The diary is vital for the identification of invalid data and non-compliant participants. Preliminary results suggest that four out of five German adolescents do not meet WHO recommendations for PA and that school sport contributes only little to MVPA.
Impulse oscillometry (IOS) is a non-demanding lung function test. Its diagnostic use may be particularly useful in patients of advanced age with physical or mental limitations unable to perform spirometry. Only few reference equations are available for Caucasians, none of them covering the old age. Here, we provide reference equations up to advanced age and compare them with currently available equations.
IOS was performed in a population-based sample of 1990 subjects, aged 45–91 years, from KORA cohorts (Augsburg, Germany). From those, 397 never-smoking, lung healthy subjects with normal spirometry were identified and sex-specific quantile regression models with age, height and body weight as predictors for respiratory system impedance, resistance, reactance, and other parameters of IOS applied.
Women (n = 243) showed higher resistance values than men (n = 154), while reactance at low frequencies (up to 20 Hz) was lower (p<0.05). A significant age dependency was observed for the difference between resistance values at 5 Hz and 20 Hz (R5–R20), the integrated area of low-frequency reactance (AX), and resonant frequency (Fres) in both sexes whereas reactance at 5 Hz (X5) was age dependent only in females. In the healthy subjects (n = 397), mean differences between observed values and predictions for resistance (5 Hz and 20 Hz) and reactance (5 Hz) ranged between −1% and 5% when using the present model. In contrast, differences based on the currently applied equations (Vogel & Smidt 1994) ranged between −34% and 76%. Regarding our equations the indices were beyond the limits of normal in 8.1% to 18.6% of the entire KORA cohort (n = 1990), and in 0.7% to 9.4% with the currently applied equations.
Our study provides up-to-date reference equations for IOS in Caucasians aged 45 to 85 years. We suggest the use of the present equations particularly in advanced age in order to detect airway dysfunction.
Physical inactivity among children is an increasing problem that adversely affects children’s health. A better understanding of factors which affect physical activity (PA) will help create effective interventions aimed at raising the activity levels of children. This cross-sectional study examined the associations of PA with individual (biological, social, behavioral, psychological) and environmental (East vs. West Germany, rural vs. urban regions) characteristics in children.
Information on PA and potential correlates was collected from 1843 girls and 1997 boys using questionnaires during the 10-year follow-up of two prospective birth cohort studies (GINIplus and LISAplus). Study regions represent urban and rural sites as well as East and West of Germany. Logistic regression modeling was applied to examine cross-sectional associations between individual as well as environmental factors and PA levels.
Five of fourteen variables were significantly associated with PA. Among children aged 10, girls tended to be less active than boys, especially with respect to vigorous PA (OR = 0.72 for summer). Children who were not a member of a sports club showed a substantially reduced amount of PA in winter (OR = 0.15). Rural environments promote moderate PA, particularly in winter (OR = 1.88), whereas an increased time outdoors primarily promotes moderate PA in summer (OR = 12.41). Children with abnormal emotional symptoms exhibited reduced physical activity, particularly in winter (OR = 0.60). BMI, puberty, parental BMI, parental education, household income, siblings, TV/PC consumption, and method of arriving school, were not associated with PA.
When considering correlates of PA from several domains simultaneously, only few factors (sex, sports club membership, physical environment, time outdoors, and emotional symptoms) appear to be relevant. Although the causality needs to be ascertained in longitudinal studies, variables which cannot be modified should be used to identify risk groups while modifiable variables, such as sports club activities, may be addressed in intervention programs.
Activity; Children; Correlates; Exercise; Inactivity; Determinants; Associations; Behavior; Environment; Social
Despite the widespread application of Symptom Checklist 90-R (SCL-90-R), its psychometric weaknesses have repeatedly been noted. This study aimed to comparatively assess the psychometric properties of the SCL-90-R scales and the scales of its short versions Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), Symptom Checklist-27 (SCL-27), Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18), Symptom Checklist-14 (SCL-14), and Symptom Checklist short version-9 (SCL-K-9) in patients with affective disorders.
The data of 2,727 patients within the main treatment group of affective disorders were assessed according to the DSM-IV. Patients completed the SCL-90-R and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).
There were no significant differences regarding the internal consistency of the SCL-90-R scales and the scales of the short versions. The dimensional structure was only supported for the short versions BSI-18, SCL-14 and SCL-K-9. The assessment of convergent validity revealed high correlations. With regard to the discriminant validity, there were medium correlations. With regard to the sensitivity of change, no significant differences between the scales were found.
In summary, the scales of the short versions show mostly satisfactory psychometric properties in comparison to the scales of the SCL-90-R. The results support the application of the short versions as screening instruments, especially the BSI-18, and more economic variants of the SCL-90-R covering a wide range of psychopathological symptoms.
SCL-90-R; Short versions; Psychometric; Affective disorder; Symptom severity
The EU currently lacks reliable data on the prevalence and incidence of mental disorders in older people. Despite the availability of several national and international epidemiological studies, the size and burden of mental disorders in the elderly remain unclear due to various reasons. Therefore, the aims of the MentDis_ICF65+ study are (1) to adapt existing assessment instruments, and (2) to collect data on the prevalence, the incidence, and the natural course and prognosis of mental disorders in the elderly.
Using a cross-sectional and prospective longitudinal design, this multi-centre study from six European countries and associated states (Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland) is based on age-stratified, random samples of elderly people living in the community. The study program consists of three phases: (1) a methodological phase devoted primarily to the adaptation of age- and gender-specific assessment tools for older people (e.g., the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, CIDI) as well as psychometric evaluations including translation, back translation; (2) a baseline community study in all participating countries to assess the lifetime, 12 month and 1 month prevalence and comorbidity of mental disorders, including prior course, quality of life, health care utilization and helpseeking, impairments and participation and, (3) a 12 month follow-up of all baseline participants to monitor course and outcome as well as examine predictors.
The study is an essential step forward towards the further development and improvement of harmonised instruments for the assessment of mental disorders as well as the evaluation of activity impairment and participation in older adults. This study will also facilitate the comparison of cross-cultural results. These results will have bearing on mental health care in the EU and will offer a starting point for necessary structural changes to be initiated for mental health care policy at the level of mental health care politics.
Mental health; Mental disorders; Elderly; Prevalence; Incidence; Health care use; ICF; Epidemiology
Under the label of the German Mouse Clinic (GMC), a concept has been developed and implemented that allows the better understanding of human diseases on the pathophysiological and molecular level. This includes better understanding of the crosstalk between different organs, pleiotropy of genes, and the systemic impact of envirotypes and drugs. In the GMC, experts from various fields of mouse genetics and physiology, in close collaboration with clinicians, work side by side under one roof. The GMC is an open-access platform for the scientific community by providing phenotypic analysis in bilateral collaborations (“bottom-up projects”) and as a partner and driver in international large-scale biology projects (“top-down projects”). Furthermore, technology development is a major topic in the GMC. Innovative techniques for primary and secondary screens are developed and implemented into the phenotyping pipelines (e.g., detection of volatile organic compounds, VOCs).
Empirical studies investigating the prevalence of mental disorders and psychological distress in cancer patients have gained increasing importance during recent years, particularly with the objective to develop and implement psychosocial interventions within the cancer care system. Primary purpose of this epidemiological cross-sectional multi-center study is to detect the 4-week-, 12-month-, and lifetime prevalence rates of comorbid mental disorders and to further assess psychological distress and psychosocial support needs in cancer patients across all major tumor entities within the in- and outpatient oncological health care and rehabilitation settings in Germany.
In this multicenter, epidemiological cross-sectional study, cancer patients across all major tumor entities will be enrolled from acute care hospitals, outpatient cancer care facilities, and rehabilitation centers in five major study centers in Germany: Freiburg, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Leipzig and Würzburg. A proportional stratified random sample based on the nationwide incidence of all cancer diagnoses in Germany is used. Patients are consecutively recruited in all centers. On the basis of a depression screener (PHQ-9) 50% of the participants that score below the cutoff point of 9 and all patients scoring above are assessed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview for Oncology (CIDI-O). In addition, all patients complete validated questionnaires measuring emotional distress, information and psychosocial support needs as well as quality of life.
Epidemiological data on the prevalence of mental disorders and distress provide detailed and valid information for the estimation of the demands for the type and extent of psychosocial support interventions. The data will provide information about specific demographic, functional, cancer- and treatment-related risk factors for mental comorbidity and psychosocial distress, specific supportive care needs and use of psychosocial support offers.
Aging and neurodegeneration are often accompanied by a functionally impaired ubiquitin–proteasome system (UPS). In tauopathies and polyglutamine diseases, a mutant form of ubiquitin B (UBB+1) accumulates in disease-specific aggregates. UBB+1 mRNA is generated at low levels in vivo during transcription from the ubiquitin B locus by molecular misreading. The resulting mutant protein has been shown to inhibit proteasome function. To elucidate causative effects and neuropathological consequences of UBB+1 accumulation, we used a UBB+1 expressing transgenic mouse line that models UPS inhibition in neurons and exhibits behavioral phenotypes reminiscent of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In order to reveal affected organs and functions, young and aged UBB+1 transgenic mice were comprehensively phenotyped for more than 240 parameters. This revealed unexpected changes in spontaneous breathing patterns and an altered response to hypoxic conditions. Our findings point to a central dysfunction of respiratory regulation in transgenic mice in comparison to wild-type littermate mice. Accordingly, UBB+1 was strongly expressed in brainstem regions of transgenic mice controlling respiration. These regions included, e.g., the medial part of the nucleus of the tractus solitarius and the lateral subdivisions of the parabrachial nucleus. In addition, UBB+1 was also strongly expressed in these anatomical structures of AD patients (Braak stage #6) and was not expressed in non-demented controls. We conclude that long-term UPS inhibition due to UBB+1 expression causes central breathing dysfunction in a transgenic mouse model of AD. The UBB+1 expression pattern in humans is consistent with the contribution of bronchopneumonia as a cause of death in AD patients.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00401-012-1003-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD); Mouse model; Ubiquitin B (UBB+1); Ubiquitin–proteasome system (UPS); Hypoxic response; Central breathing control