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1.  Quantified Facial Soft-tissue Strain in Animation Measured by Real-time Dynamic 3-Dimensional Imaging 
Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.
The aim of this study is to evaluate and quantify dynamic soft-tissue strain in the human face using real-time 3-dimensional imaging technology.
Thirteen subjects (8 women, 5 men) between the ages of 18 and 70 were imaged using a dual-camera system and 3-dimensional optical analysis (ARAMIS, Trilion Quality Systems, Pa.). Each subject was imaged at rest and with the following facial expressions: (1) smile, (2) laughter, (3) surprise, (4) anger, (5) grimace, and (6) pursed lips. The facial strains defining stretch and compression were computed for each subject and compared.
The areas of greatest strain were localized to the midface and lower face for all expressions. Subjects over the age of 40 had a statistically significant increase in stretch in the perioral region while lip pursing compared with subjects under the age of 40 (58.4% vs 33.8%, P = 0.015). When specific components of lip pursing were analyzed, there was a significantly greater degree of stretch in the nasolabial fold region in subjects over 40 compared with those under 40 (61.6% vs 32.9%, P = 0.007). Furthermore, we observed a greater degree of asymmetry of strain in the nasolabial fold region in the older age group (18.4% vs 5.4%, P = 0.03).
This pilot study illustrates that the face can be objectively and quantitatively evaluated using dynamic major strain analysis. The technology of 3-dimensional optical imaging can be used to advance our understanding of facial soft-tissue dynamics and the effects of animation on facial strain over time.
PMCID: PMC4229270  PMID: 25426394
2.  Heavy prenatal alcohol exposure and risk of stillbirth and preterm delivery 
We prospectively identified 96 women consuming at least 4 drinks/day during pregnancy by screening 9628 pregnant women. In these women with heavy prenatal alcohol use, there were three stillbirths and one preterm delivery; 98 matched nondrinking women had no stillbirths and two preterm births. Preterm rates did not differ significantly. The stillbirth rate was higher in the exposed group (p = 0.06). Additional investigation showed the stillbirth rate in the exposed population (3.1%) was significantly higher (p = 0.019) than the reported Chilean population rate (0.45%). Our data suggest that heavy alcohol consumption may increase the risk for stillbirth but not preterm delivery.
PMCID: PMC4148070  PMID: 21728738
alcohol; pregnancy; stillbirth; preterm delivery; binge drinking
3.  Evaluation of common genetic variants in 82 candidate genes as risk factors for neural tube defects 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:62.
Neural tube defects (NTDs) are common birth defects (~1 in 1000 pregnancies in the US and Europe) that have complex origins, including environmental and genetic factors. A low level of maternal folate is one well-established risk factor, with maternal periconceptional folic acid supplementation reducing the occurrence of NTD pregnancies by 50-70%. Gene variants in the folate metabolic pathway (e.g., MTHFR rs1801133 (677 C > T) and MTHFD1 rs2236225 (R653Q)) have been found to increase NTD risk. We hypothesized that variants in additional folate/B12 pathway genes contribute to NTD risk.
A tagSNP approach was used to screen common variation in 82 candidate genes selected from the folate/B12 pathway and NTD mouse models. We initially genotyped polymorphisms in 320 Irish triads (NTD cases and their parents), including 301 cases and 341 Irish controls to perform case–control and family based association tests. Significantly associated polymorphisms were genotyped in a secondary set of 250 families that included 229 cases and 658 controls. The combined results for 1441 SNPs were used in a joint analysis to test for case and maternal effects.
Nearly 70 SNPs in 30 genes were found to be associated with NTDs at the p < 0.01 level. The ten strongest association signals (p-value range: 0.0003–0.0023) were found in nine genes (MFTC, CDKN2A, ADA, PEMT, CUBN, GART, DNMT3A, MTHFD1 and T (Brachyury)) and included the known NTD risk factor MTHFD1 R653Q (rs2236225). The single strongest signal was observed in a new candidate, MFTC rs17803441 (OR = 1.61 [1.23-2.08], p = 0.0003 for the minor allele). Though nominally significant, these associations did not remain significant after correction for multiple hypothesis testing.
To our knowledge, with respect to sample size and scope of evaluation of candidate polymorphisms, this is the largest NTD genetic association study reported to date. The scale of the study and the stringency of correction are likely to have contributed to real associations failing to survive correction. We have produced a ranked list of variants with the strongest association signals. Variants in the highest rank of associations are likely to include true associations and should be high priority candidates for further study of NTD risk.
PMCID: PMC3458983  PMID: 22856873
Neural tube defects; Spina bifida; Folic acid; One-carbon metabolism; Candidate gene
4.  Routine Opt-Out HIV Testing Strategies in a Female Jail Setting: A Prospective Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(11):e7648.
Ten million Americans enter jails annually. The objective was to evaluate new CDC guidelines for routine opt-out HIV testing and examine the optimal time to implement routine opt-out HIV testing among newly incarcerated jail detainees.
This prospective, controlled trial of routine opt-out HIV testing was conducted among 323 newly incarcerated female inmates in Connecticut's only women's jail. 323 sequential entrants to the women's jail over a five week period in August and September 2007 were assigned to be offered routine opt-out HIV testing at one of three points after incarceration: immediate (same day, n = 108), early (next day, n = 108), or delayed (7 days, n = 107). The primary outcome was the proportion of women in each group consenting to testing.
Routine opt-out HIV testing was significantly highest (73%) among the early testing group compared to 55% for immediate and 50% for 7 days post-entry groups. Other factors significantly (p = 0.01) associated with being HIV tested were younger age and low likelihood of early release from jail based on bond value or type of charge for which women were arrested.
In this correctional facility, routine opt-out HIV testing in a jail setting was feasible, with highest rates of testing if performed the day after incarceration. Lower testing rates were seen with immediate testing, where there is a high prevalence of inability or unwillingness to test, and with delayed testing, where attrition from jail increases with each passing day.
Trial Registration NCT00624247
PMCID: PMC2777332  PMID: 19946370
5.  In vivo construction of recombinant molecules within the Caenorhabditis elegans germ line using short regions of terminal homology 
Nucleic Acids Research  2007;35(19):e133.
Homologous recombination provides a means for the in vivo construction of recombinant DNA molecules that may be problematic to assemble in vitro. We have investigated the efficiency of recombination within the Caenorhabditis elegans germ line as a function of the length of homology between recombining molecules. Our findings indicate that recombination can occur between molecules that share only 10 bp of terminal homology, and that 25 bp is sufficient to mediate relatively high levels of recombination. Recombination occurs with lower efficiency when the location of the homologous segment is subterminal or internal. As in yeast, recombination can also be mediated by either single- or double-stranded bridging oligonucleotides. We find that ligation between cohesive ends is highly efficient and does not require that the ends be phosphorylated; furthermore, precise intermolecular ligation between injected molecules that have blunt ends can also occur within the germ line.
PMCID: PMC2095804  PMID: 17933760

Results 1-5 (5)