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1.  The UK Adult Twin Registry (TwinsUK Resource) 
TwinsUK is a nation-wide registry of volunteer twins in the UK, with about 12,000 registered twins (83% female, equal number of monozygotic and dizygotic twins, predominantly middle-aged and older). Over the last 20 years, questionnaire and blood/urine/tissue samples have been collected on over 7,000 subjects, as well as three comprehensive phenotyping assessments in the clinical facilities of the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London. The primary focus of study has been the genetic basis of healthy ageing process and complex diseases including cardiovascular, metabolic, musculoskeletal, and ophthalmologic disorders. Alongside the detailed clinical, biochemical, behavioural, and socio-economic characterisation of the study population, the major strength of TwinsUK is availability of several ‘omics’ technologies for the participants. These include genome-wide scans of single nucleotide variants, next-generation sequencing, exome sequencing, epigenetic markers (MeDIP sequencing), gene expression arrays and RNA sequencing, telomere length measures, metabolomic profiles, and gut flora microbiomics. The scientific community now can freely access parts of the phenotype data from the ‘TwinsUK Resource’ and interested researchers are encouraged to contact us via our website (www.twinsuk.ac.uk) for future collaborations.
doi:10.1017/thg.2012.89
PMCID: PMC3927054  PMID: 23088889
2.  Cohort Profile: TwinsUK and Healthy Ageing Twin Study 
The UK's largest registry of adult twins, or TwinsUK Registry, started in 1992 and encompasses about 12 000 volunteer twins from all over the United Kingdom. More than 70% of the registered twins have filled at least one detailed health questionnaire and about half of them undergone a baseline comprehensive assessment and two follow-up clinical evaluations. The most recent follow-up visit, known as Healthy Ageing Twin Study (HATS), involved 3125 female twins aged >40 years with at least one previous clinical assessment to enable inspection of longitudinal changes in ageing traits and their genetic and environmental components. The study benefits from several state-of-the-art OMICs studies including genome-wide association, next-generation genome and transcriptome sequencing, and epigenetic and metabolomic profiles. This makes our cohort as one of the most deeply phenotyped and genotyped in the world. Several collaborative projects in the field of epidemiology of complex disorders are ongoing in our cohort and interested researchers are encouraged to get in contact for future collaborations.
doi:10.1093/ije/dyr207
PMCID: PMC3600616  PMID: 22253318
3.  Genome-wide meta-analysis identifies 56 bone mineral density loci and reveals 14 loci associated with risk of fracture 
Estrada, Karol | Styrkarsdottir, Unnur | Evangelou, Evangelos | Hsu, Yi-Hsiang | Duncan, Emma L | Ntzani, Evangelia E | Oei, Ling | Albagha, Omar M E | Amin, Najaf | Kemp, John P | Koller, Daniel L | Li, Guo | Liu, Ching-Ti | Minster, Ryan L | Moayyeri, Alireza | Vandenput, Liesbeth | Willner, Dana | Xiao, Su-Mei | Yerges-Armstrong, Laura M | Zheng, Hou-Feng | Alonso, Nerea | Eriksson, Joel | Kammerer, Candace M | Kaptoge, Stephen K | Leo, Paul J | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Wilson, Scott G | Wilson, James F | Aalto, Ville | Alen, Markku | Aragaki, Aaron K | Aspelund, Thor | Center, Jacqueline R | Dailiana, Zoe | Duggan, David J | Garcia, Melissa | Garcia-Giralt, Natàlia | Giroux, Sylvie | Hallmans, Göran | Hocking, Lynne J | Husted, Lise Bjerre | Jameson, Karen A | Khusainova, Rita | Kim, Ghi Su | Kooperberg, Charles | Koromila, Theodora | Kruk, Marcin | Laaksonen, Marika | Lacroix, Andrea Z | Lee, Seung Hun | Leung, Ping C | Lewis, Joshua R | Masi, Laura | Mencej-Bedrac, Simona | Nguyen, Tuan V | Nogues, Xavier | Patel, Millan S | Prezelj, Janez | Rose, Lynda M | Scollen, Serena | Siggeirsdottir, Kristin | Smith, Albert V | Svensson, Olle | Trompet, Stella | Trummer, Olivia | van Schoor, Natasja M | Woo, Jean | Zhu, Kun | Balcells, Susana | Brandi, Maria Luisa | Buckley, Brendan M | Cheng, Sulin | Christiansen, Claus | Cooper, Cyrus | Dedoussis, George | Ford, Ian | Frost, Morten | Goltzman, David | González-Macías, Jesús | Kähönen, Mika | Karlsson, Magnus | Khusnutdinova, Elza | Koh, Jung-Min | Kollia, Panagoula | Langdahl, Bente Lomholt | Leslie, William D | Lips, Paul | Ljunggren, Östen | Lorenc, Roman S | Marc, Janja | Mellström, Dan | Obermayer-Pietsch, Barbara | Olmos, José M | Pettersson-Kymmer, Ulrika | Reid, David M | Riancho, José A | Ridker, Paul M | Rousseau, François | Slagboom, P Eline | Tang, Nelson LS | Urreizti, Roser | Van Hul, Wim | Viikari, Jorma | Zarrabeitia, María T | Aulchenko, Yurii S | Castano-Betancourt, Martha | Grundberg, Elin | Herrera, Lizbeth | Ingvarsson, Thorvaldur | Johannsdottir, Hrefna | Kwan, Tony | Li, Rui | Luben, Robert | Medina-Gómez, Carolina | Palsson, Stefan Th | Reppe, Sjur | Rotter, Jerome I | Sigurdsson, Gunnar | van Meurs, Joyce B J | Verlaan, Dominique | Williams, Frances MK | Wood, Andrew R | Zhou, Yanhua | Gautvik, Kaare M | Pastinen, Tomi | Raychaudhuri, Soumya | Cauley, Jane A | Chasman, Daniel I | Clark, Graeme R | Cummings, Steven R | Danoy, Patrick | Dennison, Elaine M | Eastell, Richard | Eisman, John A | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Hofman, Albert | Jackson, Rebecca D | Jones, Graeme | Jukema, J Wouter | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Lehtimäki, Terho | Liu, Yongmei | Lorentzon, Mattias | McCloskey, Eugene | Mitchell, Braxton D | Nandakumar, Kannabiran | Nicholson, Geoffrey C | Oostra, Ben A | Peacock, Munro | Pols, Huibert A P | Prince, Richard L | Raitakari, Olli | Reid, Ian R | Robbins, John | Sambrook, Philip N | Sham, Pak Chung | Shuldiner, Alan R | Tylavsky, Frances A | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Wareham, Nick J | Cupples, L Adrienne | Econs, Michael J | Evans, David M | Harris, Tamara B | Kung, Annie Wai Chee | Psaty, Bruce M | Reeve, Jonathan | Spector, Timothy D | Streeten, Elizabeth A | Zillikens, M Carola | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Ohlsson, Claes | Karasik, David | Richards, J Brent | Brown, Matthew A | Stefansson, Kari | Uitterlinden, André G | Ralston, Stuart H | Ioannidis, John P A | Kiel, Douglas P | Rivadeneira, Fernando
Nature genetics  2012;44(5):491-501.
Bone mineral density (BMD) is the most important predictor of fracture risk. We performed the largest meta-analysis to date on lumbar spine and femoral neck BMD, including 17 genome-wide association studies and 32,961 individuals of European and East Asian ancestry. We tested the top-associated BMD markers for replication in 50,933 independent subjects and for risk of low-trauma fracture in 31,016 cases and 102,444 controls. We identified 56 loci (32 novel)associated with BMD atgenome-wide significant level (P<5×10−8). Several of these factors cluster within the RANK-RANKL-OPG, mesenchymal-stem-cell differentiation, endochondral ossification and the Wnt signalling pathways. However, we also discovered loci containing genes not known to play a role in bone biology. Fourteen BMD loci were also associated with fracture risk (P<5×10−4, Bonferroni corrected), of which six reached P<5×10−8 including: 18p11.21 (C18orf19), 7q21.3 (SLC25A13), 11q13.2 (LRP5), 4q22.1 (MEPE), 2p16.2 (SPTBN1) and 10q21.1 (DKK1). These findings shed light on the genetic architecture and pathophysiological mechanisms underlying BMD variation and fracture susceptibility.
doi:10.1038/ng.2249
PMCID: PMC3338864  PMID: 22504420
4.  Evidence-based history taking under “time constraint” 
Physicians all through the world visit patients under time limitations. The most important troubled clinical skill under “time constraint” is the diagnostic approach. In this situation, clinicians need some diagnostic approaches to reduce both diagnostic time and errors. It seems that highly experienced physicians utilize some special tactics in this regard. Evidence-based medicine (EBM) as a relatively new paradigm for clinical practice stresses on using research evidences in diagnostic evaluations. The authors aimed to evaluate experts’ strategies and assess what EBM can add to these tactics. They reviewed diagnostic strategies of some veteran internists in their busy outpatient clinics and proposed an evidence-based diagnostic model engaging clinical experience and research evidence. It appears that every clinician utilizes a set of “key pointer” questions for decision-making. In addition to use of evidence-based resources for making differential diagnosis and estimating utility of various diseases, clinicians should use “key pointers” with significant likelihood ratios and from independent systems to reduce time and errors of history taking. Clinical trainees can improve their practice by constructing their own set of pointers from valid research evidences. Using this diagnostic model, EBM can help physicians to struggle against their “time constraint”.
PMCID: PMC3214363  PMID: 22091274
Clinical Competence; Diagnosis; Evidence-Based Medicine; Outpatient Clinics; Hospital; Time Management
5.  Discordance in diagnosis of osteoporosis using spine and hip bone densitometry 
Background
Diagnostic discordance for osteoporosis is the observation that the T-score of an individual patient varies from one key measurement site to another, falling into two different diagnostic categories identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) classification system. This study was conducted to evaluate the presence and risk factors for this phenomenon in a large sample of Iranian population.
Methods
Demographic data, anthropometric measurements, and risk factors for osteoporosis were derived from a database on 4229 patients referred to a community-based outpatient osteoporosis testing center from 2000 to 2003. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was performed on L1–L4 lumbar spine and total hip for all cases. Minor discordance was defined as present when the difference between two sites was no more than one WHO diagnostic class. Major discordance was present when one site is osteoporotic and the other is normal. Subjects with incomplete data were excluded.
Results
In 4188 participants (3848 female, mean age 53.4 ± 11.8 years), major discordance, minor discordance, and concordance of T-scores were seen in 2.7%, 38.9% and 58.3%, respectively. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, older age, menopause, obesity, and belated menopause were recognized as risk factors and hormone replacement therapy as a protective factor against T-score discordance.
Conclusion
The high prevalence of T-score discordance may lead to problems in interpretation of the densitometry results for some patients. This phenomenon should be regarded as a real and prevalent finding and physicians should develop a particular strategy approaching to these patients.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-5-3
PMCID: PMC555556  PMID: 15762986
7.  Frequency of myasthenic crisis in relation to thymectomy in generalized myasthenia gravis: A 17-year experience 
BMC Neurology  2004;4:12.
Background
Myasthenic crisis is the most serious life-threatening event in generalized myasthenia gravis (MG) patients. The objective of this study was to assess the long-term impact of thymectomy on rate and severity of these attacks in Iranian patients.
Methods
We reviewed the clinical records from 272 myasthenic patients diagnosed and treated in our neurology clinic during 1985 to 2002. Fifty-three patients were excluded because of unconfirmed diagnosis, ocular form of MG, contraindication to surgery, concomitant diseases and loss to follow-up. The Osserman classification was used to assess the initial severity of the disease. Frequency and severity of the attacks were compared between two groups with appropriate statistical tests according to the nature of variables. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to assess the predictors of myasthenic crisis in the group of patients without thymoma.
Results
110 patients were in thymectomy group and the other 109 patients were on medical therapy. These two groups had no significant differences with respect to age at onset, gender, Osserman score in baseline and follow up period. 62 patients (28.3% of all 219 patients) had reported 89 attacks of myasthenic crisis. 20 patients of 62 (32%) were in thymectomy group and 42 (68%) were in the other group. There was significant difference between the two groups in number of patients with crisis (P = 0.001; odds ratio = 2.8 with 95% CI of 1.5 to 5.2). In addition, these attacks were more severe in group of non-thymectomized patients as the duration of ICU admission was longer and they needed more ventilatory support during their attacks. Regression model showed thymectomy and lower age at onset as two predictors of decrement in myasthenic crisis rate in non-thymomatous MG patients.
Conclusions
It is suggested that frequency and severity of myasthenic attacks as important endpoints in evaluation of MG patients. Thymectomy seems to have a preventive role on rate and severity of these attacks.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-4-12
PMCID: PMC518967  PMID: 15361260
8.  Association of FTO gene variants with body composition in UK twins 
Annals of Human Genetics  2012;76(5):333-341.
Summary
The association of FTO gene variants with body mass index (BMI) and other obesity characteristics is well established. However, uncertainties remain whether the association is present only in young populations and whether it is attributable to body fat mass specifically. We aimed to clarify these two questions in a large sample (N= 4,523 individuals) of middle-aged and older (range 40–80 years) British female twins. The women were assessed for BMI, waist and hip circumference, total lean (LBM) and fat (FBM) body mass. Since the majority of FTO association signals have been reported in a haploblock bordering 52,355–52,408 kb (on chromosome 16q12.2), we examined five genotyped and 43 imputed SNPs mapped to this block. Canonical correlation and other association analyses showed significant and consistent association between the selected SNP and studied body composition phenotypes, with p-values reaching p= 0.000004. Of particular interest, in addition to the expected significant associations between FTO variants and FBM, we also identified significant associations with LBM. These results suggest that the association between FTO variants and body composition phenotypes is present across a wide range of ages, and that FTO appears primarily to affect the amount of body soft tissue, influencing both fat and lean mass.
doi:10.1111/j.1469-1809.2012.00720.x
PMCID: PMC3532623  PMID: 22817777
BMI; lean and fat body mass; waist and hip circumference; SNP; association analysis

Results 1-8 (8)