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1.  Burden of Diabetes and First Evidence for the Utility of HbA1c for Diagnosis and Detection of Diabetes in Urban Black South Africans: The Durban Diabetes Study 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(8):e0161966.
Objective
Glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) is recommended as an additional tool to glucose-based measures (fasting plasma glucose [FPG] and 2-hour plasma glucose [2PG] during oral glucose tolerance test [OGTT]) for the diagnosis of diabetes; however, its use in sub-Saharan African populations is not established. We assessed prevalence estimates and the diagnosis and detection of diabetes based on OGTT, FPG, and HbA1c in an urban black South African population.
Research Design and Methods
We conducted a population-based cross-sectional survey using multistage cluster sampling of adults aged ≥18 years in Durban (eThekwini municipality), KwaZulu-Natal. All participants had a 75-g OGTT and HbA1c measurements. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was used to assess the overall diagnostic accuracy of HbA1c, using OGTT as the reference, and to determine optimal HbA1c cut-offs.
Results
Among 1190 participants (851 women, 92.6% response rate), the age-standardised prevalence of diabetes was 12.9% based on OGTT, 11.9% based on FPG, and 13.1% based on HbA1c. In participants without a previous history of diabetes (n = 1077), using OGTT as the reference, an HbA1c ≥48 mmol/mol (6.5%) detected diabetes with 70.3% sensitivity (95%CI 52.7–87.8) and 98.7% specificity (95%CI 97.9–99.4) (AUC 0.94 [95%CI 0.89–1.00]). Additional analyses suggested the optimal HbA1c cut-off for detection of diabetes in this population was 42 mmol/mol (6.0%) (sensitivity 89.2% [95%CI 78.6–99.8], specificity 92.0% [95%CI: 90.3–93.7]).
Conclusions
In an urban black South African population, we found a high prevalence of diabetes and provide the first evidence for the utility of HbA1c for the diagnosis and detection of diabetes in black Africans in sub-Saharan Africa.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0161966
PMCID: PMC4999239  PMID: 27560687
2.  Low-dose paroxetine exposure causes lifetime declines in male mouse body weight, reproduction and competitive ability as measured by the novel organismal performance assay 
Paroxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is currently available on the market and is suspected of causing congenital malformations in babies born to mothers who take the drug during the first trimester of pregnancy. We utilized organismal performance assays (OPAs), a novel toxicity assessment method, to assess the safety of paroxetine during pregnancy in a rodent model. OPAs utilize genetically diverse wild mice (Mus musculus) to evaluate competitive performance between experimental and control animals as they compete amongst each other for limited resources in semi-natural enclosures. Performance measures included reproductive success, male competitive ability and survivorship. Paroxetine-exposed males weighed 13% less, had 44% fewer offspring, dominated 53% fewer territories and experienced a 2.5-fold increased trend in mortality, when compared with controls. Paroxetine-exposed females had 65% fewer offspring early in the study, but rebounded at later time points. In cages, paroxetine-exposed breeders took 2.3 times longer to produce their first litter and pups of both sexes experienced reduced weight when compared with controls. Low-dose paroxetine-induced health declines detected in this study were undetected in preclinical trials with dose 2.5-8 times higher than human therapeutic doses. These data indicate that OPAs detect phenotypic adversity and provide unique information that could useful towards safety testing during pharmaceutical development.
doi:10.1016/j.ntt.2014.11.002
PMCID: PMC4416947  PMID: 25446017
intraspecific competition; pharmacodynamics; reproductive success; semi-natural enclosures; SSRI; toxicity assessment
3.  Spectral observation of conversion between ionized vs. non-ionized proton-coupled electron transfer interfaces† 
Two-point hydrogen bonding between acid and base functionalities provides a convenient method for the modular assembly of proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) networks, especially when that interface comprises an amidinium and two-point anionic partner; a system is presented that permits the proton configuration within the interface to be determined when pKa values of the conjugate acids are known.
doi:10.1039/b717747j
PMCID: PMC4625797  PMID: 18473057
4.  The African Genome Variation Project shapes medical genetics in Africa 
Nature  2014;517(7534):327-332.
Given the importance of Africa to studies of human origins and disease susceptibility, detailed characterisation of African genetic diversity is needed. The African Genome Variation Project (AGVP) provides a resource to help design, implement and interpret genomic studies in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and worldwide. The AGVP represents dense genotypes from 1,481 and whole genome sequences (WGS) from 320 individuals across SSA. Using this resource, we find novel evidence of complex, regionally distinct hunter-gatherer and Eurasian admixture across SSA. We identify new loci under selection, including for malaria and hypertension. We show that modern imputation panels can identify association signals at highly differentiated loci across populations in SSA. Using WGS, we show further improvement in imputation accuracy supporting efforts for large-scale sequencing of diverse African haplotypes. Finally, we present an efficient genotype array design capturing common genetic variation in Africa, showing for the first time that such designs are feasible.
doi:10.1038/nature13997
PMCID: PMC4297536  PMID: 25470054
5.  Prevalence of Dyslipidaemia and Associated Risk Factors in a Rural Population in South-Western Uganda: A Community Based Survey 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0126166.
Background
The burden of dyslipidaemia is rising in many low income countries. However, there are few data on the prevalence of, or risk factors for, dyslipidaemia in Africa.
Methods
In 2011, we used the WHO Stepwise approach to collect cardiovascular risk data within a general population cohort in rural south-western Uganda. Dyslipidaemia was defined by high total cholesterol (TC) ≥ 5.2mmol/L or low high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) <1 mmol/L in men, and <1.3 mmol/L in women. Logistic regression was used to explore correlates of dyslipidaemia.
Results
Low HDL-C prevalence was 71.3% and high TC was 6.0%. In multivariate analysis, factors independently associated with low HDL-C among both men and women were: decreasing age, tribe (prevalence highest among Rwandese tribe), lower education, alcohol consumption (comparing current drinkers to never drinkers: men adjusted (a)OR=0.44, 95%CI=0.35-0.55; women aOR=0.51, 95%CI=0.41-0.64), consuming <5 servings of fruit/vegetable per day, daily vigorous physical activity (comparing those with none vs those with 5 days a week: men aOR=0.83 95%CI=0.67-1.02; women aOR=0.76, 95%CI=0.55-0.99), blood pressure (comparing those with hypertension to those with normal blood pressure: men aOR=0.57, 95%CI=0.43-0.75; women aOR=0.69, 95%CI=0.52-0.93) and HIV infection (HIV infected without ART vs. HIV negative: men aOR=2.45, 95%CI=1.53-3.94; women aOR=1.88, 95%CI=1.19-2.97). The odds of low HDL-C was also higher among men with high BMI or HbA1c ≤6%, and women who were single or with abdominal obesity. Among both men and women, high TC was independently associated with increasing age, non-Rwandese tribe, high waist circumference (men aOR=5.70, 95%CI=1.97-16.49; women aOR=1.58, 95%CI=1.10-2.28), hypertension (men aOR=3.49, 95%CI=1.74-7.00; women aOR=1.47, 95%CI=0.96-2.23) and HbA1c >6% (men aOR=3.00, 95%CI=1.37-6.59; women aOR=2.74, 95%CI=1.77-4.27). The odds of high TC was also higher among married men, and women with higher education or high BMI.
Conclusion
Low HDL-C prevalence in this relatively young rural population is high whereas high TC prevalence is low. The consequences of dyslipidaemia in African populations remain unclear and prospective follow-up is required.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0126166
PMCID: PMC4431752  PMID: 25974077
6.  Alternative mating tactics in the yellow dung fly: resolving mechanisms of small-male advantage off pasture 
Recent work suggests that the yellow dung fly mating system may include alternative patroller–competitor mating tactics in which large males compete for gravid females on dung, whereas small, non-competitive males search for females at foraging sites. Small males obtain most matings off pasture, yet the behavioural mechanism(s) giving rise to this pattern are unknown. We investigated the male and female behaviours that determine mating success in this environment by conducting field mating experiments and found small males to benefit from several attributes specific to the off-pasture mating environment. First, small males from foraging sites exhibited higher mating propensity, indicating that large males away from dung may be depleted of energy and/or sperm. Second, small males were more discriminating, being significantly less likely to attempt with non-gravid females, which are absent on dung but common off pasture. Third, non-gravid females were generally more likely to actively struggle and reject mating attempts; however, such behaviours occurred disproportionately more often with large males. Female Scathophaga stercoraria thus appear to preferentially mate with small males when off pasture. These findings challenge assumptions about male–female interactions in systems with alternative mating tactics and reveal hidden processes that may influence selection patterns in the field.
doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.2164
PMCID: PMC3843829  PMID: 24225455
Scathophaga stercoraria; sexual selection; alternative mating tactics; female preference; male size
7.  Open-source electronic data capture system offered increased accuracy and cost-effectiveness compared with paper methods in Africa 
Journal of Clinical Epidemiology  2014;67(12):1358-1363.
Objectives
Existing electronic data capture options are often financially unfeasible in resource-poor settings or difficult to support technically in the field. To help facilitate large-scale multicenter studies in sub-Saharan Africa, the African Partnership for Chronic Disease Research (APCDR) has developed an open-source electronic questionnaire (EQ).
Study Design and Setting
To assess its relative validity, we compared the EQ against traditional pen-and-paper methods using 200 randomized interviews conducted in an ongoing type 2 diabetes case–control study in South Africa.
Results
During its 3-month validation, the EQ had a lower frequency of errors (EQ, 0.17 errors per 100 questions; paper, 0.73 errors per 100 questions; P-value ≤0.001), and a lower monetary cost per correctly entered question, compared with the pen-and-paper method. We found no marked difference in the average duration of the interview between methods (EQ, 5.4 minutes; paper, 5.6 minutes).
Conclusion
This validation study suggests that the EQ may offer increased accuracy, similar interview duration, and increased cost-effectiveness compared with paper-based data collection methods. The APCDR EQ software is freely available (https://github.com/apcdr/questionnaire).
doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2014.06.012
PMCID: PMC4271740  PMID: 25135245
Sub-Saharan Africa; Data capture; Electronic questionnaire; Open-source; Epidemiology; Survey
8.  Sociodemographic distribution of non-communicable disease risk factors in rural Uganda: a cross-sectional study 
Background
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are rapidly becoming leading causes of morbidity and mortality in low and middle-income countries, including those in sub-Saharan Africa. By contrast to high-income countries, the sociodemographic distribution, including socioeconomic inequalities, of NCDs and their risk factors is unclear in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly among rural populations.
Methods
We undertook a cross-sectional population-based survey of 7809 residents 13 years or older in the General Population Cohort in south-western rural Uganda. Information on behavioural, physiological, and biochemical risk factors was obtained using standardised methods as recommended by the WHO STEPwise Approach to Surveillance. Socioeconomic status (SES) was determined by principal component analysis including household features, ownership, and occupation and education of the head of household.
Results
SES was found to be associated with NCD risk factors in this rural population. Smoking, alcohol consumption (men only), and low HDL-cholesterol were more common among those of lower SES. For example, the prevalence of smoking decreased fourfold from the lowest to highest SES groups, from 22.0% to 5.7% for men and 2.2% to 0.4% for women. By contrast, overweight, raised blood pressure, raised HbA1c (women only), and raised cholesterol were more common among those of higher SES. For example the prevalence of overweight increased fivefold from 2.1% to 10.1% for men and twofold from 12.0% to 23.4% for women from the lowest to highest SES groups. However, neither low physical activity nor fruit, vegetable, or staples consumption was associated with SES. Furthermore, associations between NCD risk factors and SES were modified by age and sex.
Conclusions
Within this rural population NCD risk factors are common and vary both inversely and positively across the socioeconomic status gradient. A better understanding of the determinants of the sociodemographic distribution of NCDs and their risk factors in rural sub-Saharan African populations will help identify populations at most risk of developing NCDs and help plan interventions to reduce their burden.
doi:10.1093/ije/dyt184
PMCID: PMC4234905  PMID: 24191304
epidemiology; public health; sub-Saharan Africa; Africa; Uganda; sociodemographic; socioeconomic status; non-communicable diseases; NCDs; chronic diseases; risk factors; epidemiological transition
10.  Square Pegs, Round Hole? Ensuring Fit in the AYAO Spectrum for Adolescents and Young Adults with Genetic Risk for Cancer 
This paper presents a case example of a young woman at genetic risk for future cancer. We discuss psychosocial challenges that adolescents and young adults (AYAs) may share with their cancer survivor peers, and describe an example of psychosocial care. A scientific foundation denoting the needs of AYAs at risk for heritable cancers is lacking, and it is unknown if these AYAs receive adequate support services. This is a call to action for practitioners and researchers to engage in initiatives that assure these AYAs have access to valuable support and more clearly mark their place within the spectrum of AYA oncology.
doi:10.1089/jayao.2012.0043
PMCID: PMC3778948  PMID: 24066273
psychosocial; supportive care; BRCA mutation; genetic risk
11.  Urbanicity and Lifestyle Risk Factors for Cardiometabolic Diseases in Rural Uganda: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(7):e1001683.
Johanna Riha and colleagues evaluate the association of lifestyle risk factors with elements of urbanicity, such as having a public telephone, a primary school, or a hospital, among individuals living in rural settings in Uganda.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Urban living is associated with unhealthy lifestyles that can increase the risk of cardiometabolic diseases. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where the majority of people live in rural areas, it is still unclear if there is a corresponding increase in unhealthy lifestyles as rural areas adopt urban characteristics. This study examines the distribution of urban characteristics across rural communities in Uganda and their associations with lifestyle risk factors for chronic diseases.
Methods and Findings
Using data collected in 2011, we examined cross-sectional associations between urbanicity and lifestyle risk factors in rural communities in Uganda, with 7,340 participants aged 13 y and above across 25 villages. Urbanicity was defined according to a multi-component scale, and Poisson regression models were used to examine associations between urbanicity and lifestyle risk factors by quartile of urbanicity. Despite all of the villages not having paved roads and running water, there was marked variation in levels of urbanicity across the villages, largely attributable to differences in economic activity, civil infrastructure, and availability of educational and healthcare services. In regression models, after adjustment for clustering and potential confounders including socioeconomic status, increasing urbanicity was associated with an increase in lifestyle risk factors such as physical inactivity (risk ratio [RR]: 1.19; 95% CI: 1.14, 1.24), low fruit and vegetable consumption (RR: 1.17; 95% CI: 1.10, 1.23), and high body mass index (RR: 1.48; 95% CI: 1.24, 1.77).
Conclusions
This study indicates that even across rural communities in SSA, increasing urbanicity is associated with a higher prevalence of lifestyle risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases. This finding highlights the need to consider the health impact of urbanization in rural areas across SSA.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors’ Summary
Background
Cardiometabolic diseases—cardiovascular diseases that affect the heart and/or the blood vessels and metabolic diseases that affect the cellular chemical reactions needed to sustain life—are a growing global health concern. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the prevalence (the proportion of a population that has a given disease) of adults with diabetes (a life-shortening metabolic disease that affects how the body handles sugars) is currently 3.8%. By 2030, it is estimated that the prevalence of diabetes among adults in this region will have risen to 4.6%. Similarly, in 2004, around 1.2 million deaths in sub-Saharan Africa were attributed to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. By 2030, the number of deaths in this region attributable to cardiovascular disease is expected to double. Globally, cardiovascular disease and diabetes are now responsible for around 17.3 million and 1.3 million annual deaths, respectively, together accounting for about one-third of all deaths.
Why Was This Study Done?
Experts believe that increased consumption of saturated fats, sugar, and salt and reduced physical activity are partly responsible for the increasing global prevalence of cardiometabolic diseases. These lifestyle changes, they suggest, are related to urbanization—urban expansion into the countryside and migration from rural to urban areas. If this is true, the prevalence of unhealthy lifestyles should increase as rural areas adopt urban characteristics. Sub-Saharan Africa is the least urbanized region in the world, with about 60% of the population living in rural areas. However, rural settlements across the subcontinent are increasingly adopting urban characteristics. It is important to know whether urbanization is affecting the health of rural residents in sub-Saharan Africa to improve estimates of the future burden of cardiometabolic diseases in the region and to provide insights into ways to limit this burden. In this cross-sectional study (an investigation that studies participants at a single time point), the researchers examine the distribution of urban characteristics across rural communities in Uganda and the association of these characteristics with lifestyle risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
For their study, the researchers used data collected in 2011 by the General Population Cohort study, a study initiated in 1989 to describe HIV infection trends among people living in 25 villages in rural southwestern Uganda that collects health-related and other information annually from its participants. The researchers quantified the “urbanicity” of the 25 villages using a multi-component scale that included information such as village size and economic activity. They then used statistical models to examine associations between urbanicity and lifestyle risk factors such as body mass index (BMI, a measure of obesity) and self-reported fruit and vegetable consumption for more than 7,000 study participants living in those villages. None of the villages had paved roads or running water. However, urbanicity varied markedly across the villages, largely because of differences in economic activity, civil infrastructure, and the availability of educational and healthcare services. Notably, increasing urbanicity was associated with an increase in lifestyle risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. So, for example, people living in villages with the highest urbanicity scores were nearly 20% more likely to be physically inactive and to eat less fruits and vegetables and nearly 50% more likely to have a high BMI than people living in villages with the lowest urbanicity scores.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, across rural communities in Uganda, even a small increase in urbanicity is associated with a higher prevalence of potentially modifiable lifestyle risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases. These findings suggest, therefore, that simply classifying settlements as either rural or urban may not be adequate to capture the information needed to target strategies for cardiometabolic disease management and control in rural areas as they become more urbanized. Because this study was cross-sectional, it is not possible to say how long a rural population needs to experience a more urban environment before its risk of cardiometabolic diseases increases. Longitudinal studies are needed to obtain this information. Moreover, studies of other countries in sub-Saharan Africa are needed to show that these findings are generalizable across the region. However, based on these findings, and given that more than 553 million people live in rural areas across sub-Saharan Africa, it seems likely that increasing urbanization will have a substantial impact on the future health of populations throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001683.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Fahad Razak and Lisa Berkman
The American Heart Association provides information on all aspects of cardiovascular disease and diabetes; its website includes personal stories about heart attacks, stroke, and diabetes
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on heart disease, stroke, and diabetes (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about cardiovascular disease and diabetes (including some personal stories)
The World Health Organization’s Global Noncommunicable Disease Network (NCDnet) aims to help low- and middle-income countries reduce illness and death caused by cardiometabolic and other non-communicable diseases
The World Heart Federation has recently produced a report entitled “Urbanization and Cardiovascular Disease”
Wikipedia has a page on urbanization (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001683
PMCID: PMC4114555  PMID: 25072243
12.  Alternating layer addition approach to CdSe/CdS core/shell quantum dots with near-unity quantum yield and high on-time fractions 
We report single-particle photoluminescence (PL) intermittency (blinking) with high on-time fractions in colloidal CdSe quantum dots (QD) with conformal CdS shells of 1.4 nm thickness, equivalent to approximately 4 CdS monolayers. All QDs observed displayed on-time fractions > 60% with the majority > 80%. The high-on-time-fraction blinking is accompanied by fluorescence quantum yields (QY) close to unity (up to 98% in an absolute QY measurement) when dispersed in organic solvents and a monoexponential ensemble photoluminescence (PL) decay lifetime. The CdS shell is formed in high synthetic yield using a modified selective ion layer adsorption and reaction (SILAR) technique that employs a silylated sulfur precursor. The CdS shell provides sufficient chemical and electronic passivation of the QD excited state to permit water solubilization with greater than 60% QY via ligand exchange with an imidazole-bearing hydrophilic polymer.
doi:10.1039/C2SC00561A
PMCID: PMC4052982  PMID: 24932403
13.  Discovery and Refinement of Loci Associated with Lipid Levels 
Willer, Cristen J. | Schmidt, Ellen M. | Sengupta, Sebanti | Peloso, Gina M. | Gustafsson, Stefan | Kanoni, Stavroula | Ganna, Andrea | Chen, Jin | Buchkovich, Martin L. | Mora, Samia | Beckmann, Jacques S. | Bragg-Gresham, Jennifer L. | Chang, Hsing-Yi | Demirkan, Ayşe | Den Hertog, Heleen M. | Do, Ron | Donnelly, Louise A. | Ehret, Georg B. | Esko, Tõnu | Feitosa, Mary F. | Ferreira, Teresa | Fischer, Krista | Fontanillas, Pierre | Fraser, Ross M. | Freitag, Daniel F. | Gurdasani, Deepti | Heikkilä, Kauko | Hyppönen, Elina | Isaacs, Aaron | Jackson, Anne U. | Johansson, Åsa | Johnson, Toby | Kaakinen, Marika | Kettunen, Johannes | Kleber, Marcus E. | Li, Xiaohui | Luan, Jian’an | Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka | Magnusson, Patrik K.E. | Mangino, Massimo | Mihailov, Evelin | Montasser, May E. | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Nolte, Ilja M. | O’Connell, Jeffrey R. | Palmer, Cameron D. | Perola, Markus | Petersen, Ann-Kristin | Sanna, Serena | Saxena, Richa | Service, Susan K. | Shah, Sonia | Shungin, Dmitry | Sidore, Carlo | Song, Ci | Strawbridge, Rona J. | Surakka, Ida | Tanaka, Toshiko | Teslovich, Tanya M. | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Van den Herik, Evita G. | Voight, Benjamin F. | Volcik, Kelly A. | Waite, Lindsay L. | Wong, Andrew | Wu, Ying | Zhang, Weihua | Absher, Devin | Asiki, Gershim | Barroso, Inês | Been, Latonya F. | Bolton, Jennifer L. | Bonnycastle, Lori L | Brambilla, Paolo | Burnett, Mary S. | Cesana, Giancarlo | Dimitriou, Maria | Doney, Alex S.F. | Döring, Angela | Elliott, Paul | Epstein, Stephen E. | Ingi Eyjolfsson, Gudmundur | Gigante, Bruna | Goodarzi, Mark O. | Grallert, Harald | Gravito, Martha L. | Groves, Christopher J. | Hallmans, Göran | Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa | Hayward, Caroline | Hernandez, Dena | Hicks, Andrew A. | Holm, Hilma | Hung, Yi-Jen | Illig, Thomas | Jones, Michelle R. | Kaleebu, Pontiano | Kastelein, John J.P. | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Kim, Eric | Klopp, Norman | Komulainen, Pirjo | Kumari, Meena | Langenberg, Claudia | Lehtimäki, Terho | Lin, Shih-Yi | Lindström, Jaana | Loos, Ruth J.F. | Mach, François | McArdle, Wendy L | Meisinger, Christa | Mitchell, Braxton D. | Müller, Gabrielle | Nagaraja, Ramaiah | Narisu, Narisu | Nieminen, Tuomo V.M. | Nsubuga, Rebecca N. | Olafsson, Isleifur | Ong, Ken K. | Palotie, Aarno | Papamarkou, Theodore | Pomilla, Cristina | Pouta, Anneli | Rader, Daniel J. | Reilly, Muredach P. | Ridker, Paul M. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rudan, Igor | Ruokonen, Aimo | Samani, Nilesh | Scharnagl, Hubert | Seeley, Janet | Silander, Kaisa | Stančáková, Alena | Stirrups, Kathleen | Swift, Amy J. | Tiret, Laurence | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | van Pelt, L. Joost | Vedantam, Sailaja | Wainwright, Nicholas | Wijmenga, Cisca | Wild, Sarah H. | Willemsen, Gonneke | Wilsgaard, Tom | Wilson, James F. | Young, Elizabeth H. | Zhao, Jing Hua | Adair, Linda S. | Arveiler, Dominique | Assimes, Themistocles L. | Bandinelli, Stefania | Bennett, Franklyn | Bochud, Murielle | Boehm, Bernhard O. | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Bornstein, Stefan R. | Bovet, Pascal | Burnier, Michel | Campbell, Harry | Chakravarti, Aravinda | Chambers, John C. | Chen, Yii-Der Ida | Collins, Francis S. | Cooper, Richard S. | Danesh, John | Dedoussis, George | de Faire, Ulf | Feranil, Alan B. | Ferrières, Jean | Ferrucci, Luigi | Freimer, Nelson B. | Gieger, Christian | Groop, Leif C. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Gyllensten, Ulf | Hamsten, Anders | Harris, Tamara B. | Hingorani, Aroon | Hirschhorn, Joel N. | Hofman, Albert | Hovingh, G. Kees | Hsiung, Chao Agnes | Humphries, Steve E. | Hunt, Steven C. | Hveem, Kristian | Iribarren, Carlos | Järvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Jula, Antti | Kähönen, Mika | Kaprio, Jaakko | Kesäniemi, Antero | Kivimaki, Mika | Kooner, Jaspal S. | Koudstaal, Peter J. | Krauss, Ronald M. | Kuh, Diana | Kuusisto, Johanna | Kyvik, Kirsten O. | Laakso, Markku | Lakka, Timo A. | Lind, Lars | Lindgren, Cecilia M. | Martin, Nicholas G. | März, Winfried | McCarthy, Mark I. | McKenzie, Colin A. | Meneton, Pierre | Metspalu, Andres | Moilanen, Leena | Morris, Andrew D. | Munroe, Patricia B. | Njølstad, Inger | Pedersen, Nancy L. | Power, Chris | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Price, Jackie F. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Quertermous, Thomas | Rauramaa, Rainer | Saleheen, Danish | Salomaa, Veikko | Sanghera, Dharambir K. | Saramies, Jouko | Schwarz, Peter E.H. | Sheu, Wayne H-H | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Siegbahn, Agneta | Spector, Tim D. | Stefansson, Kari | Strachan, David P. | Tayo, Bamidele O. | Tremoli, Elena | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Uusitupa, Matti | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Vollenweider, Peter | Wallentin, Lars | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Whitfield, John B. | Wolffenbuttel, Bruce H.R. | Ordovas, Jose M. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Palmer, Colin N.A. | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Chasman, Daniel I. | Rotter, Jerome I. | Franks, Paul W. | Ripatti, Samuli | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Sandhu, Manjinder S. | Rich, Stephen S. | Boehnke, Michael | Deloukas, Panos | Kathiresan, Sekar | Mohlke, Karen L. | Ingelsson, Erik | Abecasis, Gonçalo R.
Nature genetics  2013;45(11):1274-1283.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol are heritable, modifiable, risk factors for coronary artery disease. To identify new loci and refine known loci influencing these lipids, we examined 188,578 individuals using genome-wide and custom genotyping arrays. We identify and annotate 157 loci associated with lipid levels at P < 5×10−8, including 62 loci not previously associated with lipid levels in humans. Using dense genotyping in individuals of European, East Asian, South Asian, and African ancestry, we narrow association signals in 12 loci. We find that loci associated with blood lipids are often associated with cardiovascular and metabolic traits including coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, waist-hip ratio, and body mass index. Our results illustrate the value of genetic data from individuals of diverse ancestries and provide insights into biological mechanisms regulating blood lipids to guide future genetic, biological, and therapeutic research.
doi:10.1038/ng.2797
PMCID: PMC3838666  PMID: 24097068
14.  Common variants associated with plasma triglycerides and risk for coronary artery disease 
Do, Ron | Willer, Cristen J. | Schmidt, Ellen M. | Sengupta, Sebanti | Gao, Chi | Peloso, Gina M. | Gustafsson, Stefan | Kanoni, Stavroula | Ganna, Andrea | Chen, Jin | Buchkovich, Martin L. | Mora, Samia | Beckmann, Jacques S. | Bragg-Gresham, Jennifer L. | Chang, Hsing-Yi | Demirkan, Ayşe | Den Hertog, Heleen M. | Donnelly, Louise A. | Ehret, Georg B. | Esko, Tõnu | Feitosa, Mary F. | Ferreira, Teresa | Fischer, Krista | Fontanillas, Pierre | Fraser, Ross M. | Freitag, Daniel F. | Gurdasani, Deepti | Heikkilä, Kauko | Hyppönen, Elina | Isaacs, Aaron | Jackson, Anne U. | Johansson, Åsa | Johnson, Toby | Kaakinen, Marika | Kettunen, Johannes | Kleber, Marcus E. | Li, Xiaohui | Luan, Jian'an | Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka | Magnusson, Patrik K.E. | Mangino, Massimo | Mihailov, Evelin | Montasser, May E. | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Nolte, Ilja M. | O'Connell, Jeffrey R. | Palmer, Cameron D. | Perola, Markus | Petersen, Ann-Kristin | Sanna, Serena | Saxena, Richa | Service, Susan K. | Shah, Sonia | Shungin, Dmitry | Sidore, Carlo | Song, Ci | Strawbridge, Rona J. | Surakka, Ida | Tanaka, Toshiko | Teslovich, Tanya M. | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Van den Herik, Evita G. | Voight, Benjamin F. | Volcik, Kelly A. | Waite, Lindsay L. | Wong, Andrew | Wu, Ying | Zhang, Weihua | Absher, Devin | Asiki, Gershim | Barroso, Inês | Been, Latonya F. | Bolton, Jennifer L. | Bonnycastle, Lori L | Brambilla, Paolo | Burnett, Mary S. | Cesana, Giancarlo | Dimitriou, Maria | Doney, Alex S.F. | Döring, Angela | Elliott, Paul | Epstein, Stephen E. | Eyjolfsson, Gudmundur Ingi | Gigante, Bruna | Goodarzi, Mark O. | Grallert, Harald | Gravito, Martha L. | Groves, Christopher J. | Hallmans, Göran | Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa | Hayward, Caroline | Hernandez, Dena | Hicks, Andrew A. | Holm, Hilma | Hung, Yi-Jen | Illig, Thomas | Jones, Michelle R. | Kaleebu, Pontiano | Kastelein, John J.P. | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Kim, Eric | Klopp, Norman | Komulainen, Pirjo | Kumari, Meena | Langenberg, Claudia | Lehtimäki, Terho | Lin, Shih-Yi | Lindström, Jaana | Loos, Ruth J.F. | Mach, François | McArdle, Wendy L | Meisinger, Christa | Mitchell, Braxton D. | Müller, Gabrielle | Nagaraja, Ramaiah | Narisu, Narisu | Nieminen, Tuomo V.M. | Nsubuga, Rebecca N. | Olafsson, Isleifur | Ong, Ken K. | Palotie, Aarno | Papamarkou, Theodore | Pomilla, Cristina | Pouta, Anneli | Rader, Daniel J. | Reilly, Muredach P. | Ridker, Paul M. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rudan, Igor | Ruokonen, Aimo | Samani, Nilesh | Scharnagl, Hubert | Seeley, Janet | Silander, Kaisa | Stančáková, Alena | Stirrups, Kathleen | Swift, Amy J. | Tiret, Laurence | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | van Pelt, L. Joost | Vedantam, Sailaja | Wainwright, Nicholas | Wijmenga, Cisca | Wild, Sarah H. | Willemsen, Gonneke | Wilsgaard, Tom | Wilson, James F. | Young, Elizabeth H. | Zhao, Jing Hua | Adair, Linda S. | Arveiler, Dominique | Assimes, Themistocles L. | Bandinelli, Stefania | Bennett, Franklyn | Bochud, Murielle | Boehm, Bernhard O. | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Bornstein, Stefan R. | Bovet, Pascal | Burnier, Michel | Campbell, Harry | Chakravarti, Aravinda | Chambers, John C. | Chen, Yii-Der Ida | Collins, Francis S. | Cooper, Richard S. | Danesh, John | Dedoussis, George | de Faire, Ulf | Feranil, Alan B. | Ferrières, Jean | Ferrucci, Luigi | Freimer, Nelson B. | Gieger, Christian | Groop, Leif C. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Gyllensten, Ulf | Hamsten, Anders | Harris, Tamara B. | Hingorani, Aroon | Hirschhorn, Joel N. | Hofman, Albert | Hovingh, G. Kees | Hsiung, Chao Agnes | Humphries, Steve E. | Hunt, Steven C. | Hveem, Kristian | Iribarren, Carlos | Järvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Jula, Antti | Kähönen, Mika | Kaprio, Jaakko | Kesäniemi, Antero | Kivimaki, Mika | Kooner, Jaspal S. | Koudstaal, Peter J. | Krauss, Ronald M. | Kuh, Diana | Kuusisto, Johanna | Kyvik, Kirsten O. | Laakso, Markku | Lakka, Timo A. | Lind, Lars | Lindgren, Cecilia M. | Martin, Nicholas G. | März, Winfried | McCarthy, Mark I. | McKenzie, Colin A. | Meneton, Pierre | Metspalu, Andres | Moilanen, Leena | Morris, Andrew D. | Munroe, Patricia B. | Njølstad, Inger | Pedersen, Nancy L. | Power, Chris | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Price, Jackie F. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Quertermous, Thomas | Rauramaa, Rainer | Saleheen, Danish | Salomaa, Veikko | Sanghera, Dharambir K. | Saramies, Jouko | Schwarz, Peter E.H. | Sheu, Wayne H-H | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Siegbahn, Agneta | Spector, Tim D. | Stefansson, Kari | Strachan, David P. | Tayo, Bamidele O. | Tremoli, Elena | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Uusitupa, Matti | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Vollenweider, Peter | Wallentin, Lars | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Whitfield, John B. | Wolffenbuttel, Bruce H.R. | Altshuler, David | Ordovas, Jose M. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Palmer, Colin N.A. | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Chasman, Daniel I. | Rotter, Jerome I. | Franks, Paul W. | Ripatti, Samuli | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Sandhu, Manjinder S. | Rich, Stephen S. | Boehnke, Michael | Deloukas, Panos | Mohlke, Karen L. | Ingelsson, Erik | Abecasis, Goncalo R. | Daly, Mark J. | Neale, Benjamin M. | Kathiresan, Sekar
Nature genetics  2013;45(11):1345-1352.
Triglycerides are transported in plasma by specific triglyceride-rich lipoproteins; in epidemiologic studies, increased triglyceride levels correlate with higher risk for coronary artery disease (CAD). However, it is unclear whether this association reflects causal processes. We used 185 common variants recently mapped for plasma lipids (P<5×10−8 for each) to examine the role of triglycerides on risk for CAD. First, we highlight loci associated with both low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides, and show that the direction and magnitude of both are factors in determining CAD risk. Second, we consider loci with only a strong magnitude of association with triglycerides and show that these loci are also associated with CAD. Finally, in a model accounting for effects on LDL-C and/or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, a polymorphism's strength of effect on triglycerides is correlated with the magnitude of its effect on CAD risk. These results suggest that triglyceride-rich lipoproteins causally influence risk for CAD.
doi:10.1038/ng.2795
PMCID: PMC3904346  PMID: 24097064
15.  The general population cohort in rural south-western Uganda: a platform for communicable and non-communicable disease studies 
The General Population Cohort (GPC) was set up in 1989 to examine trends in HIV prevalence and incidence, and their determinants in rural south-western Uganda. Recently, the research questions have included the epidemiology and genetics of communicable and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) to address the limited data on the burden and risk factors for NCDs in sub-Saharan Africa. The cohort comprises all residents (52% aged ≥13years, men and women in equal proportions) within one-half of a rural sub-county, residing in scattered houses, and largely farmers of three major ethnic groups. Data collected through annual surveys include; mapping for spatial analysis and participant location; census for individual socio-demographic and household socioeconomic status assessment; and a medical survey for health, lifestyle and biophysical and blood measurements to ascertain disease outcomes and risk factors for selected participants. This cohort offers a rich platform to investigate the interplay between communicable diseases and NCDs. There is robust infrastructure for data management, sample processing and storage, and diverse expertise in epidemiology, social and basic sciences. For any data access enquiries you may contact the director, MRC/UVRI, Uganda Research Unit on AIDS by email to mrc@mrcuganda.org or the corresponding author.
doi:10.1093/ije/dys234
PMCID: PMC3600628  PMID: 23364209
Data resource profile; general population cohort; communicable and non-communicable diseases; Uganda
16.  Genetic variants influencing circulating lipid levels and risk of coronary artery disease 
Objectives
Genetic studies might provide new insights into the biological mechanisms underlying lipid metabolism and risk of CAD. We therefore conducted a genome-wide association study to identify novel genetic determinants of LDL-c, HDL-c and triglycerides.
Methods and results
We combined genome-wide association data from eight studies, comprising up to 17,723 participants with information on circulating lipid concentrations. We did independent replication studies in up to 37,774 participants from eight populations and also in a population of Indian Asian descent. We also assessed the association between SNPs at lipid loci and risk of CAD in up to 9,633 cases and 38,684 controls.
We identified four novel genetic loci that showed reproducible associations with lipids (P values 1.6 × 10−8 to 3.1 × 10−10). These include a potentially functional SNP in the SLC39A8 gene for HDL-c, a SNP near the MYLIP/GMPR and PPP1R3B genes for LDL-c and at the AFF1 gene for triglycerides. SNPs showing strong statistical association with one or more lipid traits at the CELSR2, APOB, APOE-C1-C4-C2 cluster, LPL, ZNF259-APOA5-A4-C3-A1 cluster and TRIB1 loci were also associated with CAD risk (P values 1.1 × 10−3 to 1.2 × 10−9).
Conclusions
We have identified four novel loci associated with circulating lipids. We also show that in addition to those that are largely associated with LDL-c, genetic loci mainly associated with circulating triglycerides and HDL-c are also associated with risk of CAD. These findings potentially provide new insights into the biological mechanisms underlying lipid metabolism and CAD risk.
doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.109.201020
PMCID: PMC3891568  PMID: 20864672
lipids; lipoproteins; genetics; epidemiology
17.  Association of HIV and ART with cardiometabolic traits in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
Background Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has the highest burden of HIV in the world and a rising prevalence of cardiometabolic disease; however, the interrelationship between HIV, antiretroviral therapy (ART) and cardiometabolic traits is not well described in SSA populations.
Methods We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis through MEDLINE and EMBASE (up to January 2012), as well as direct author contact. Eligible studies provided summary or individual-level data on one or more of the following traits in HIV+ and HIV-, or ART+ and ART- subgroups in SSA: body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), triglycerides (TGs) and fasting blood glucose (FBG) or glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c). Information was synthesized under a random-effects model and the primary outcomes were the standardized mean differences (SMD) of the specified traits between subgroups of participants.
Results Data were obtained from 49 published and 3 unpublished studies which reported on 29 755 individuals. HIV infection was associated with higher TGs [SMD, 0.26; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.08 to 0.44] and lower HDL (SMD, −0.59; 95% CI, −0.86 to −0.31), BMI (SMD, −0.32; 95% CI, −0.45 to −0.18), SBP (SMD, −0.40; 95% CI, −0.55 to −0.25) and DBP (SMD, −0.34; 95% CI, −0.51 to −0.17). Among HIV+ individuals, ART use was associated with higher LDL (SMD, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.14 to 0.72) and HDL (SMD, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.11 to 0.66), and lower HbA1c (SMD, −0.34; 95% CI, −0.62 to −0.06). Fully adjusted estimates from analyses of individual participant data were consistent with meta-analysis of summary estimates for most traits.
Conclusions Broadly consistent with results from populations of European descent, these results suggest differences in cardiometabolic traits between HIV-infected and uninfected individuals in SSA, which might be modified by ART use. In a region with the highest burden of HIV, it will be important to clarify these findings to reliably assess the need for monitoring and managing cardiometabolic risk in HIV-infected populations in SSA.
doi:10.1093/ije/dyt198
PMCID: PMC3887568  PMID: 24415610
HIV; ART; cardiometabolic disease; sub-Saharan Africa
18.  Energy transfer mediated by asymmetric hydrogen-bonded interfaces† 
Amidine-appended ferrocene derivatives form a supramolecular assembly with Ru(ii)(bpy-COOH) (L)22+ complexes (bpy-COOH is 4-CO2H-4′-CH3-bpy and L = bpy, 2,2′-bipyridine or btfmbpy, 4,4′-bis (trifluoromethyl)-2,2′-bipyridine). Steady-state, time-resolved spectroscopy and kinetic isotope effects establish that the metal-to-ligand charge transfer excited states of the Ru(ii) complexes are quenched by proton-coupled energy transfer (PCEnT). These results show that proton motion can be effective in mediating not only electron transfer (ET) but energy transfer (EnT) as well.
doi:10.1039/C1SC00596K
PMCID: PMC3868475  PMID: 24363889
19.  The Association of Menopausal Status with Physical Function: The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) 
Menopause (New York, N.Y.)  2012;19(11):1186-1192.
Objective
To determine if post-menopausal status is associated with self-reported limitations in physical function.
Methods
SWAN is a multi-site, multi-ethnic, longitudinal study of midlife women. Women aged 45–57 years (N=2,566) completed the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form Physical Function Scale at visit 4 (2000–2001); scores created a 3-category variable of physical function limitations: none (86–100), moderate (51–85) and substantial (0–50). Menopausal status in SWAN is a 5-category list variable based on menstrual bleeding patterns and gynecological surgery. Pre-and peri-menopausal women using hormones (n=284) or missing physical function scores (n=46) were excluded. Multinomial logistic regression was used to relate physical function and menopausal status adjusting for age, ethnicity, site, education, body mass index (BMI), self-reported diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, depressive symptoms, smoking and hormone use among postmenopausal women.
Results
Of 2,236 women, 8% were pre-, 51% early peri-, 12% late peri-, 24% natural post-, and 5% surgical post-menopausal status. In the full model, substantial limitations in physical function were higher in post-menopausal compared to pre-menopausal women whether it occurred naturally (OR 3.82; 95% CI: 1.46–10.0) or surgically (OR 3.54; 95% CI: 1.15–10.84). These associations were attenuated by higher BMI and depressive symptoms, but remained significant. Moderate limitations in physical function were not significantly related to menopausal status.
Conclusion
Women with surgical or naturally occurring post-menopause reported greater limitations in physical function than pre-menopausal women, independent of age, only partly explained by higher BMI and depressive symptoms. This suggests that physiologic changes of menopause could contribute directly to limitations in physical function.
doi:10.1097/gme.0b013e3182565740
PMCID: PMC3526111  PMID: 22760087
Physical functioning; Functional limitations; Menopause; Menopausal status; SF-36
20.  A qualitative study of predelivery counselling for extreme prematurity 
Paediatrics & Child Health  2012;17(8):432-436.
OBJECTIVE:
To ascertain from parents of neonates born before 27 weeks’ gestational age how to improve predelivery counselling for delivery room resuscitation.
METHODS:
Qualitative ethnographic study using semistructured, face-to-face interviews of 10 families. Data were analyzed using a constant comparative method.
RESULTS:
Parents had no previous knowledge about prematurity. They would have preferred prioritized information during predelivery counselling focused on the immediate risks to their child. Resuscitation wishes were inconsistently sought. Opportunities for repeat discussions involving both parents were often missed. Parents agreed that the opportunity to explicitly state resuscitation wishes should be offered. Additional materials, such as pamphlets or videos, would improve counselling.
CONCLUSIONS:
Information about prematurity should be offered when the pregnancy is deemed high risk, with repeat counselling opportunities for both parents to discuss options. Once the decision is made to resuscitate, parents want the neonatal team to convey a message of hope and compassion.
PMCID: PMC3474383  PMID: 24082803
Counselling; Informed consent; Prematurity; Resuscitation; Qualitative
21.  Inbreeding reveals mode of past selection on male reproductive characters in Drosophila melanogaster 
Ecology and Evolution  2013;3(7):2089-2102.
Directional dominance is a prerequisite of inbreeding depression. Directionality arises when selection drives alleles that increase fitness to fixation and eliminates dominant deleterious alleles, while deleterious recessives are hidden from it and maintained at low frequencies. Traits under directional selection (i.e., fitness traits) are expected to show directional dominance and therefore an increased susceptibility to inbreeding depression. In contrast, traits under stabilizing selection or weakly linked to fitness are predicted to exhibit little-to-no inbreeding depression. Here, we quantify the extent of inbreeding depression in a range of male reproductive characters and then infer the mode of past selection on them. The use of transgenic populations of Drosophila melanogaster with red or green fluorescent-tagged sperm heads permitted in vivo discrimination of sperm from competing males and quantification of characteristics of ejaculate composition, performance, and fate. We found that male attractiveness (mating latency) and competitive fertilization success (P2) both show some inbreeding depression, suggesting they may have been under directional selection, whereas sperm length showed no inbreeding depression suggesting a history of stabilizing selection. However, despite having measured several sperm quality and quantity traits, our data did not allow us to discern the mechanism underlying the lowered competitive fertilization success of inbred (f = 0.50) males.
doi:10.1002/ece3.625
PMCID: PMC3728949  PMID: 23919154
Attractiveness; Drosophila melanogaster; inbreeding depression; past selection; sperm competition; sperm length
22.  Identification and Characterisation of a Nuclear Localisation Signal in the SMN associated protein, Gemin4 
Gemin4 is a ubiquitously expressed multifunctional protein that is involved in U snRNP assembly, apoptosis, nuclear /cytoplasmic transportation, transcription, and RNAi pathways. Gemin4 is one of the core components of the Gemin-complex, which also contains survival motor neuron (SMN), the seven Gemin proteins (Gemin2–8), and Unrip. Mutations in the SMN1 gene cause the autosomal recessive disorder spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Although the functions assigned to Gemin4 predominantly occur in the nucleus, the mechanisms that mediate the nuclear import of Gemin4 remain unclear. Here, using a novel panel of Gemin4 constructs we identify a canonical nuclear import sequence (NLS) in the N-terminus of Gemin4. The Gemin4 NLS is necessary and independently sufficient to mediate nuclear import of Gemin4. This is the first functional NLS identified within the SMN-Gemin complex.
doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.07.113
PMCID: PMC3613997  PMID: 18675250
Gemin4; survival motor neuron; SMN; spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) nuclear localisation signal (NLS); import receptors
23.  Adverse Respiratory Symptoms and Environmental Exposures Among Children and Adolescents Following Hurricane Katrina 
Public Health Reports  2011;126(6):853-860.
Objectives
Children and adolescents are especially vulnerable to environmental exposures and their respiratory effects. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, residents experienced multiple adverse environmental exposures. We characterized the association between upper respiratory symptoms (URS) and lower respiratory symptoms (LRS) and environmental exposures among children and adolescents affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Methods
We conducted a cross-sectional study following the return of the population to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina (October 2005 and February 2006) among a convenience sample of children and adolescents attending New Orleans health facilities. We used uni-, bi-, and multivariable analyses to describe participants, exposures, and associations with URS/LRS.
Results
Of 1,243 participants, 47% were Caucasian, 50% were male, and 72% were younger than 11 years of age. Multiple environmental exposures were identified during and after the storm and at current residences: roof/glass/storm damage (50%), outside mold (22%), dust (18%), and flood damage (15%). Self-reported URS and LRS (76% and 36%, respectively) were higher after the hurricane than before the hurricane (22% and 9%, respectively, p<0.0001). Roof/glass/storm damage at home was associated with URS (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.59, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.15, 2.21) and LRS (AOR=1.35, 95% CI 1.01, 1.80), while mold growth at home was associated with LRS (AOR=1.47, 95% CI 1.02, 2.12).
Conclusions
Children and adolescents affected by Hurricane Katrina experienced environmental exposures associated with increased prevalence of reported URS and LRS. Additional research is needed to investigate the long-term health impacts of Hurricane Katrina.
PMCID: PMC3185321  PMID: 22043101
24.  Education and levels of salivary cortisol over the day in U.S. adults 
Background
Dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is hypothesized to be an important pathway linking socioeconomic position and chronic disease.
Purpose
This paper tests the association between education and the diurnal rhythm of salivary cortisol.
Methods
Up to 8 measures of cortisol (mean of 5.38 per respondent) over two days were obtained from 311 respondents, aged 18–70, drawn from the 2001–2002 Chicago Community Adult Health Study. Multi-level models with linear splines were used to estimate waking level, rates of cortisol decline, and area-under-the-curve over the day, by categories of education.
Results
Lower education (0–11 years) was associated with lower waking levels of cortisol, but not the rate of decline of cortisol, resulting in a higher area-under-the-curve for more educated respondents throughout the day.
Conclusions
This study found evidence of lower cortisol exposure among individuals with less education and thus does not support the hypothesis that less education is associated with chronic over-exposure to cortisol.
doi:10.1007/s12160-010-9224-2
PMCID: PMC3486742  PMID: 20812036
25.  Environmental Factors Influencing Gene Transfer Agent (GTA) Mediated Transduction in the Subtropical Ocean 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43506.
Microbial genomic sequence analyses have indicated widespread horizontal gene transfer (HGT). However, an adequate mechanism accounting for the ubiquity of HGT has been lacking. Recently, high frequencies of interspecific gene transfer have been documented, catalyzed by Gene Transfer Agents (GTAs) of marine α-Proteobacteria. It has been proposed that the presence of bacterial genes in highly purified viral metagenomes may be due to GTAs. However, factors influencing GTA-mediated gene transfer in the environment have not yet been determined. Several genomically sequenced strains containing complete GTA sequences similar to Rhodobacter capsulatus (RcGTA, type strain) were screened to ascertain if they produced putative GTAs, and at what abundance. Five of nine marine strains screened to date spontaneously produced virus-like particles (VLP's) in stationary phase. Three of these strains have demonstrated gene transfer activity, two of which were documented by this lab. These two strains Roseovarius nubinhibens ISM and Nitratireductor 44B9s, were utilized to produce GTAs designated RnGTA and NrGTA and gene transfer activity was verified in culture. Cell-free preparations of purified RnGTA and NrGTA particles from marked donor strains were incubated with natural microbial assemblages to determine the level of GTA-mediated gene transfer. In conjunction, several ambient environmental parameters were measured including lysogeny indicated by prophage induction. GTA production in culture systems indicated that approximately half of the strains produced GTA-like particles and maximal GTA counts ranged from 10–30% of host abundance. Modeling of GTA-mediated gene transfer frequencies in natural samples, along with other measured environmental variables, indicated a strong relationship between GTA mediated gene transfer and the combined factors of salinity, multiplicity of infection (MOI) and ambient bacterial abundance. These results indicate that GTA-mediated HGT in the marine environment with the strains examined is favored during times of elevated bacterial and GTA abundance as well as in areas of higher salinity.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043506
PMCID: PMC3419701  PMID: 22905268

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