Both genetic and environmental factors are involved in the etiology of obesity and the associated lipid disturbances. We determined whether acquired obesity is associated with changes in global serum lipid profiles independent of genetic factors in young adult monozygotic (MZ) twins. 14 healthy MZ pairs discordant for obesity (10 to 25 kg weight difference) and ten weight concordant control pairs aged 24-27 years were identified from a large population-based study. Insulin sensitivity was assessed by the euglycemic clamp technique, and body composition by DEXA (% body fat) and by MRI (subcutaneous and intra-abdominal fat). Global characterization of lipid molecular species in serum was performed by a lipidomics strategy using liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Obesity, independent of genetic influences, was primarily related to increases in lysophosphatidylcholines, lipids found in proinflammatory and proatherogenic conditions and to decreases in ether phospholipids, which are known to have antioxidant properties. These lipid changes were associated with insulin resistance, a pathogonomic characteristic of acquired obesity in these young adult twins. Our results show that obesity, already in its early stages and independent of genetic influences, is associated with deleterious alterations in the lipid metabolism known to facilitate atherogenesis, inflammation and insulin resistance.
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An inverse association between height and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) is well demonstrated, but it is not known whether this association is because of genetic factors, socioeconomic background, or other environmental factors. Four population-based twin cohorts with register-based follow-up data on CHD mortality from Denmark (1966-1996), Finland (1975-2001), and Sweden (1963-2001 and 1972-2001) were used to investigate this question; response rates varied between 65% and 86%. Together, the cohorts included 74,704 twin individuals (35,042 complete twin pairs) with 5,943 CHD deaths during 1.99 million person-years of follow-up. Cox and conditional logistic regression models were used. Per 1-standard deviation decrease in height, height was inversely associated with CHD mortality in men (hazard ratio = 1.08, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04, 1.12) and in women (hazard ratio = 1.06, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.10). A twin who had died from CHD was on average shorter than the co-twin within monozygotic pairs (odds ratio = 1.27, 95% CI: 1.12, 1.44, with no sex difference), whereas a weaker association was found within dizygotic pairs in men (odds ratio = 1.01, 95% CI: 0.91, 1.13) and in women (odds ratio = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.28). The inverse association between height and CHD mortality found within monozygotic discordant twin pairs suggests that this association is because of environmental factors that directly affect height and CHD risk.
It has been suggested that certain health behaviours, such as smoking, may operate as mediators of the well-established inverse association between IQ and mortality risk. Previous research may be afflicted by unadjusted confounding by socioeconomic or psychosocial factors. Twin designs offer a unique possibility to take genetic and shared environmental factors into account. The aim of the present national twin study was to determine the interrelations between IQ at age 18, childhood and attained social factors and smoking status in young adulthood and mid-life. We studied the association between IQ at age 18 and smoking in later life in a population of 11 589 male Swedish twins. IQ was measured at military conscription, and data on smoking and zygosity was obtained from the Swedish Twin Register. Information on social factors was extracted from censuses. Data on smoking was self-reported by the twins at the age of 22-47 years. Logistic regression models estimated with generalised estimating equations were used to explore possible associations between IQ and smoking among the twins as individuals as well as between-and within twin-pairs. A strong inverse association between IQ and smoking status emerged in unmatched analyses over the entire range of IQ distribution. In within-pair and between-pair analyses it transpired that shared environmental factors explained most of the inverse IQ-smoking relationship. In addition, these analyses indicated that non-shared and genetic factors contributed only slightly (and non-significantly) to the IQ-smoking association. Analysis of twin pairs discordant for IQ and smoking status displayed no evidence that non-shared factors contribute substantially to the association. The question of which shared environmental factors might explain the IQ-smoking association is an intriguing one for future research.
Ambient air pollution has been suggested as a risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, there is a lack of longitudinal studies to support this assertion.
To investigate the associations of long-term exposure to elevated traffic-related air pollution and woodsmoke pollution with the risk of COPD hospitalization and mortality.
This population-based cohort study included a 5-year exposure period and a 4-year follow-up period. All residents aged 45-85 years who resided in Metropolitan Vancouver, Canada, during the exposure period and did not have known COPD at baseline were included in this study (n = 467,994). Residential exposures to traffic-related air pollutants (black carbon, particulate matter
Assortative mating by body height and weight is well established in various populations, but its causal mechanisms remain poorly understood. We analyzed the effect of phenotypic assortment and social homogamy on spousal correlations for body height and body mass index (BMI, kg/m(2)). Our data derived from a questionnaire administered to the adult Finnish Twin Cohort in 1990 (response rate 77%) yielding results from 922 monozygotic and 1697 dizygotic adult twin pairs who reported information about their body height and weight and that of their spouses. Assortative mating was evident for body height and BMI. For body height, the effects of social homogamy (0.24 in men and 0.29 in women) and phenotypic assortment (0.27 and 0.28, respectively) were about the same. For BMI, the effect of social homogamy was stronger (0.31 in men and 0.28 in women) than the effect of phenotypic assortment (0.13 in both men and women). When assortative mating was taken into account, shared environmental factors had no effect on phenotypic variation in body height or BMI. Our results show that assortative mating needs to be considered in population genetic studies of body height and weight.
Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5000, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland; Respiratory Medicine Unit, Department of Medicine, Oulu University Hospital, FI-90029 Oulu, Finland; Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
The occurrence of cold temperature-related symptoms has not been investigated previously in young adults, although cold weather may provoke severe symptoms leading to activity limitations, and those with pre-existing respiratory conditions may form a susceptible group. We tested the hypothesis that young adults with asthma and allergic rhinitis experience cold-related respiratory symptoms more commonly than young adults in general.
A population-based study of 1623 subjects 20-27 years old was conducted with a questionnaire inquiring about cold weather-related respiratory symptoms, doctor-diagnosed asthma and rhinitis, and lifestyle and environmental exposures.
Current asthma increased the risk of all cold weather-related symptoms (shortness of breath adjusted PR 4.53, 95% confidence interval 2.93-6.99, wheezing 10.70, 5.38-21.29, phlegm production 2.51, 1.37-4.62, cough 3.41, 1.97-5.87 and chest pain 2.53, 0.82-7.79). Allergic rhinitis had additional effect especially on shortness of breath (7.16, 5.30-9.67) and wheezing (13.05, 7.75-22.00), some on phlegm production (3.69, 2.49-5.47), but marginal effect on cough and chest pain.
Our study shows that already in young adulthood those with asthma, and especially those with coexisting allergic rhinitis, experience substantially more cold temperature-related respiratory symptoms than healthy young adults. Hence, young adults with a respiratory disease form a susceptible group that needs special care and guidance for coping with cold weather.
We explored correlates of the Eating Disorder Inventory subscales Body Dissatisfaction (BD) and Drive for Thinness (DT) and genetic and environmental influences on these traits.
In a population-based sample of 4,667 Finnish twins aged 22-27 years, we conducted twin modeling to explore genetic and environmental contributions to body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness. Logistic regression was used for the correlational analysis.
Various eating and body size-related factors and psychosomatic symptoms were significantly associated with high body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness in both genders. In women, early puberty onset, early initiation of sexual activity, and multiple sex partners were statistically significant risk factors of body dissatisfaction. In gender-specific univariate twin models, additive genes accounted for 59.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 53.2-64.7%) of the variance in body dissatisfaction and for 51.0% (95% CI = 43.7-57.5%) of the variance in drive for thinness among females, but for none of the variance among males.
There are very distinct gender differences in the heritability patterns of body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness in young adults.
In older adults, mobility limitations often coexist with overweight or obesity, suggesting that similar factors may underlie both traits. This study examined the extent to which genetic and environmental influences explain the association between adiposity and mobility in older women. Body fat percentage (bioimpedance test), walking speed over 10 m, and distance walked in a 6-min test were evaluated in 92 monozygotic (MZ) and 104 dizygotic (DZ) pairs of twin sisters reared together, aged 63-76 years. Genetic and environmental influences on each trait were estimated using age-adjusted multivariate genetic modeling. The analyses showed that the means (and s.d.) for body fat percentage, walking speed, and walking endurance were 33.2+/-7.3%, 1.7+/-0.3 m/s and 529.7+/-75.4 m, respectively. The phenotypic correlation between adiposity and walking speed was -0.32 and between adiposity and endurance it was -0.33. Genetic influences explained 80% of the association between adiposity and speed, and 65% of adiposity and walking endurance. Cross-trait genetic influences accounted for 12% of the variability in adiposity, 56% in walking speed, and 34% in endurance. Trait-specific genetic influences were also detected for adiposity (54%) and walking endurance (13%), but not speed. In conclusion, among community-living older women, an inverse association was found between adiposity and mobility that was mostly due to the effect of shared genes. This result suggests that the identification of genetic variants for body fat metabolism may also provide understanding of the development of mobility limitations in older women.
The joint effects of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and body composition on metabolic health are not well known.
To examine the associations of CRF, fat-free mass index (FFMI), and fat mass index (FMI) with metabolic health in individual twins and controlling for genetic and shared environmental effects by studying monozygotic intrapair differences.
Two cross-sectional samples of healthy adult monozygotic and dizygotic twins were drawn from population-based Danish and Finnish national twin registries (n = 996 and n = 309).
CRF was defined as VO2max divided by fat-free mass. Insulin sensitivity and acute insulin response indices were derived from an oral glucose tolerance test. A continuous metabolic syndrome score was calculated. Visceral and liver fat were measured in the Finnish sample. Associations were analyzed separately in both cohorts with multivariate linear regression and aggregated with meta-analytic methods.
Insulin sensitivity, acute insulin response, metabolic syndrome score, visceral, and liver fat amount had strong and statistically significant associations with FMI (
0.53 to 0.79), whereas their associations with CRF and FFMI were at most weak (
0.02 to 0.15). The results of the monozygotic intrapair differences analysis showed the same pattern.
Although FMI is strongly associated with worsening of metabolic health traits, even after controlling for genetic and shared environmental factors, there was little evidence for the effects of CRF or FFMI on metabolic health. This suggests that changing FMI rather than CRF or FFMI may affect metabolic health irrespective of genetic or early environmental determinants.
Residential proximity to road traffic is associated with increased coronary heart disease (CHD) morbidity and mortality. It is unknown, however, whether changes in residential proximity to traffic could alter the risk of CHD mortality.
We used a population-based cohort study with a 5-year exposure period and a 4-year follow-up period to explore the association between changes in residential proximity to road traffic and the risk of CHD mortality. The cohort comprised all residents aged 45-85 years who resided in metropolitan Vancouver during the exposure period and without known CHD at baseline (n = 450,283). Residential proximity to traffic was estimated using a geographic information system. CHD deaths during the follow-up period were identified using provincial death registration database. The data were analyzed using logistic regression.
Compared with the subjects consistently living away from road traffic (>150 m from a highway or >50 m from a major road) during the 9-year study period, those consistently living close to traffic (
In contrast to many phenotypes that have been studied using twin designs, substance use shows considerable evidence of environmental influence. Accordingly, specifying the relevant environments and understanding the nature of their effects is an important research priority. Twin studies also have demonstrated that the importance of genetic and environmental influences varies across development for a variety of behavioral outcomes, including substance use. Here, we report analyses exploring moderating effects associated with parenting and peer characteristics on adolescent smoking and drinking, measured at ages 14 and 17. We find significant evidence of moderating effects associated with two dimensions of parenting (parental monitoring and time spent in activities with parents) on adolescent smoking, measured at two time points across development, but no moderating effects on adolescent drinking. Genetic influences on smoking increased, and common environmental effects decreased, as adolescents reported less parental monitoring and spending more time with their parents. Conversely, we find evidence that adolescent drinking is more strongly influenced by peer characteristics. The importance of genetic predispositions was increased among adolescents who reported more friends who used alcohol. These analyses illustrate the importance of incorporating measured aspects of the environment into genetically informative twin models to begin to understand how specific environments are related to various outcomes. Furthermore, they illustrate the importance of using a developmental perspective to understand how specific influences may vary across different ages, and across different phenotypes.
Recent evidence suggests that chronic exposure to high levels of ambient particulate matter (PM) is associated with decreased pulmonary function and the development of chronic airflow obstruction. To investigate the possible role of PM-induced abnormalities in the small airways in these functional changes, we examined histologic sections from the lungs of 20 women from Mexico City, a high PM locale. All subjects were lifelong residents of Mexico City, were never-smokers, never had occupational dust exposure, and never used biomass fuel for cooking. Twenty never-smoking, non-dust-exposed subjects from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, a low PM region, were used as a control. By light microscopy, abnormal small airways with fibrotic walls and excess muscle, many containing visible dust, were present in the Mexico City lungs. Formal grading analysis confirmed the presence of significantly greater amounts of fibrous tissue and muscle in the walls of the airways in the Mexico City compared with the Vancouver lungs. Electron microscopic particle burden measurements on four cases from Mexico City showed that carbonaceous aggregates of ultrafine particles, aggregates likely to be combustion products, were present in the airway mucosa. We conclude that PM penetrates into and is retained in the walls of small airways, and that, even in nonsmokers, long-term exposure to high levels of ambient particulate pollutants is associated with small airway remodeling. This process may produce chronic airflow obstruction.
Cites: Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1998 Jul;158(1):289-989655742
Cites: Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2002 Jun;26(6):685-9312034567
Cites: Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1999 Feb;159(2):373-829927346
Cites: Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1999 May;20(5):1067-7210226078
Cites: Environ Health Perspect. 2000 Aug;108 Suppl 4:713-2310931790
Evidence suggests that air pollution exposure adversely affects pregnancy outcomes. Few studies have examined individual-level intraurban exposure contrasts.
We evaluated the impacts of air pollution on small for gestational age (SGA) birth weight, low full-term birth weight (LBW), and preterm birth using spatiotemporal exposure metrics.
With linked administrative data, we identified 70,249 singleton births (1999-2002) with complete covariate data (sex, ethnicity, parity, birth month and year, income, education) and maternal residential history in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We estimated residential exposures by month of pregnancy using nearest and inverse-distance weighting (IDW) of study area monitors [carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter
Cites: Occup Environ Med. 2008 Sep;65(9):579-8618070798
Cites: J Expo Anal Environ Epidemiol. 2005 Mar;15(2):185-20415292906
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is the leading cause of death. The current paradigm in SCD requires the presence of an abnormal myocardial substrate and an internal or external transient factor that triggers cardiac arrest. Based on prior mechanistic evidence, we hypothesized that an unusually cold weather event (a cold spell) could act as an external factor triggering SCD. We tested potential effect modification of prior diagnoses and select pharmacological agents disrupting pathological pathways between cold exposure and death. The home coordinates of 2572 autopsy-verified cases of ischaemic SCD aged =35 in the Province of Oulu, Finland, were linked to 51 years of home-specific weather data. Based on conditional logistic regression, an increased risk of ischaemic SCD associated with a cold spell preceding death (OR 1.49; 95% CI: 1.06-2.09). Cases without a prior diagnosis of ischaemic heart disease seemed more susceptible to the effects of cold spells (OR 1.70; 95% CI: 1.13-2.56) than cases who had been diagnosed during lifetime (OR 1.14; 95% CI: 0.61-2.10). The use of aspirin, ß-blockers, and/or nitrates, independently and in combinations decreased the risk of ischaemic SCD during cold spells. The findings open up new lines of research in mitigating the adverse health effects of weather.
Cites: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1984 Nov 24;289(6456):1405-8 PMID 6437575
Cites: Am J Hypertens. 2014 May;27(5):656-64 PMID 23964061
Cites: J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006 Jul 18;48(2):287-92 PMID 16843177
Cites: Eur Heart J. 2001 Aug;22(16):1374-450 PMID 11482917
Here we compare PM(2.5) (particles with aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 microm) mass and filter absorbance measurements with elemental carbon (EC) concentrations measured in parallel at the same site as well as collocated PM(2.5) and PM(10) (particles with aerodynamic diameter less than 10 microm) mass and absorbance measurements. The data were collected within the Traffic-Related Air Pollution on Childhood Asthma (TRAPCA) study in Germany, The Netherlands and Sweden. The study was designed to assess the health impact of spatial contrasts in long-term average concentrations. The measurement sites were distributed between background and traffic locations. Annual EC and PM(2.5) absorbance measurements were at traffic sites on average 43-84% and 26-76% higher, respectively, compared to urban background sites. The contrast for PM(2.5) mass measurements was lower (8-35%). The smaller contrast observed for PM(2.5) mass in comparison with PM(2.5) absorbance and EC documents that PM(2.5) mass underestimates exposure contrasts related to motorized traffic emissions. The correlation between PM(10) and PM(2.5) was high, documenting that most of the spatial variation of PM(10) was because of PM(2.5). The measurement of PM(2.5) absorbance was highly correlated with EC measurements and suggests that absorbance can be used as a simple, inexpensive and non-destructive method to estimate motorized traffic-related particulate air pollution. The EC/absorbance relation differed between countries and site type (background/traffic), supporting the need for site-specific calibrations of the simple absorbance method. While the ratio between PM(2.5) and PM(10) mass ranged from 0.54 to 0.68, the ratio of PM(2.5) absorbance and PM(10) absorbance was 0.96-0.97, indicating that PM(2.5) absorbance captures nearly all of the particle absorbance.
To test the a priori hypothesis that the association between cold spells and ischaemic sudden cardiac death (SCD) is modified by the severity of coronary stenosis.
The home coordinates of 2572 autopsy-verified cases of ischaemic SCD aged =35 in the Province of Oulu, Finland, were linked to 51 years of weather data. Cold spell was statistically defined for each home address as unusually cold weather pertinent to the location and time of year. We estimated the occurrence of cold spells during the hazard period (7 days preceding death) and reference periods (the same calendar days over 51 years) in a case-crossover setting applying conditional logistic regression, controlling for temporal trends and stratifying by severity of coronary stenosis.
The association between cold spells and ischaemic SCD was stronger among patients with 75%-95% stenosis (OR 2.03; 95%?CI 1.31 to 3.17), and weaker to non-existent among patients with
Cites: J Am Coll Cardiol. 2005 Oct 18;46(8):1425-33 PMID 16226165
Cites: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1984 Nov 24;289(6456):1405-8 PMID 6437575
Cites: Am J Hypertens. 2014 May;27(5):656-64 PMID 23964061
The role of co-twin dependence (twins' closeness or reliance on the co-twin) was examined as a moderator of genetic and environmental influences on alcohol use in adolescence and early adulthood in a large longitudinal population-based study of Finnish twins (FinnTwin16). The associations between co-twin dependence and alcohol use were studied first at an individual level in adolescence (n = 3362) and early adulthood (n = 2912). Then, maximum likelihood models were fit to the two waves of data from same-sex twin pairs to assess the differences and changes in genetic and environmental influences on alcohol use (abstinence, drinking frequency, intoxication frequency); N = 1342 pairs in adolescence, and N = 1078 pairs in early adulthood. Overall, no significant associations were found between co-twin dependence and individual alcohol use. However, co-twin dependence importantly modulated genetic effects on drinking habits, especially in adolescence, but also in early adulthood. Co-twin-dependent twins reported greater similarity in their alcohol-related behavior across all alcohol-use measures at both time points, and the role of genes and environments varied according to co-twin dependence. Shared environmental factors explained most of the variation in drinking among co-twin-dependent twins in adolescence and contributed to drinking to intoxication during early adulthood. In contrast, among co-twin-independent twin pairs, genetic variance contributed significantly to all alcohol-use measures at both time-points. An interdependent sibling relationship is an important modifier of drinking habits, and it appears to reduce the impact of inherited liabilities on alcohol-related behavior especially in adolescence.
The goal was to investigate the epidemiological features of incident bronchiolitis by using a population-based infant cohort.
Outpatient and inpatient health records were used to identify incident bronchiolitis cases among 93,058 singleton infants born in the Georgia Air Basin between 1999 and 2002. Additional health-related databases were linked to provide data on sociodemographic variables, maternal characteristics, and birth outcome measures.
From 1999 to 2002, bronchiolitis accounted for 12,474 incident health care encounters (inpatient or outpatient contacts) during the first year of life (134.2 cases per 1000 person-years). A total of 1588 hospitalized bronchiolitis cases were identified (17.1 cases per 1000 person-years). Adjusted Cox proportional-hazard analyses for both case definitions indicated an increased risk of incident bronchiolitis in the first year of life (follow-up period: 2-12 months) for boys, infants of First Nations status, infants with older siblings, and infants living in neighborhoods with smaller proportions of maternal postsecondary education. The risk also was elevated for infants born to young mothers (
We conducted a population-based study to assess whether work as a nurse during pregnancy increases the risk of low birth weight, preterm delivery, and small-for-gestational-age.
The study population was selected from The Finnish Prenatal Environment and Health Study of 2568 newborns (response 94%) and included 128 (5.0%) newborns of nurses and 559 newborns of office workers (21.8%) as a reference group.
The risk of low birth weight (adjusted odds ratio = 1.02; 95% confidence interval = 0.32-3.22) and preterm delivery (0.81; 0.32-2.05) did not differ between newborns of nurses and office workers, but the risk of small-for-gestational-age was substantially higher among newborns of nurses (1.99; 1.10-3.59). This corresponds to a population attributable fraction of 2.5%.
The results indicate that working as a nurse during pregnancy could reduce fetal growth.
Early maturation, indexed by pubertal development (PD), has been associated with earlier initiation and greater frequency of adolescent substance use, but this relationship may be biased by confounding factors and effects that change across development. Using a population-based Finnish twin sample (N = 3,632 individuals), we conducted twin modeling and multilevel structural equation modeling of the relationship between PD and substance use at ages 12-22. Shared environmental factors contributed to early PD and heavier substance use for females. Biological father absence was associated with early PD for boys but not girls, and did not account for the relationship between PD and substance use. The association between early PD and heavier substance use was partially due to between-family confounds, although early PD appeared to qualitatively alter long-term trajectories for some substances (nicotine), but not others (alcohol). Mediation by peer and parental factors did not explain this relationship within families. However, higher peer substance use and lower parental monitoring were themselves associated with heavier substance use, strengthening the existing evidence for these factors as targets for prevention/intervention efforts. Early maturation was not supported as a robust determinant of alcohol use trajectories in adolescence and young adulthood, but may require longer term follow-up. Subtle effects of early PD on nicotine and illicit drug use trajectories throughout adolescence and adulthood merit further investigation.