Population aging increases the need for knowledge on positive aspects of aging, and contributions of older people to their own wellbeing and that of others. We defined active aging as an individual's striving for elements of wellbeing with activities as per their goals, abilities and opportunities. This study examines associations of health, health behaviors, health literacy and functional abilities, environmental and social support with active aging and wellbeing. We will develop and validate assessment methods for physical activity and physical resilience suitable for research on older people, and examine their associations with active aging and wellbeing. We will examine cohort effects on functional phenotypes underlying active aging and disability.
For this population-based study, we plan to recruit 1000 participants aged 75, 80 or 85 years living in central Finland, by drawing personal details from the population register. Participants are interviewed on active aging, wellbeing, disability, environmental and social support, mobility, health behavior and health literacy. Physical activity and heart rate are monitored for 7 days with wearable sensors. Functional tests include hearing, vision, muscle strength, reaction time, exercise tolerance, mobility, and cognitive performance. Clinical examination by a nurse and physician includes an electrocardiogram, tests of blood pressure, orthostatic regulation, arterial stiffness, and lung function, as well as a review of chronic and acute conditions and prescribed medications. C-reactive protein, small blood count, cholesterol and vitamin D are analyzed from blood samples. Associations of factors potentially underlying active aging and wellbeing will be studied using multivariate methods. Cohort effects will be studied by comparing test results of physical and cognitive functioning with results of a cohort examined in 1989-90.
The current study will renew research on positive gerontology through the novel approach to active aging and by suggesting new biomarkers of resilience and active aging. Therefore, high interdisciplinary impact is expected. This cross-sectional study will not provide knowledge on temporal order of events or causality, but an innovative cross-sectional dataset provides opportunities for emergence of novel creative hypotheses and theories.
OBJECTIVES: Self-rated health has been shown to be a predictor for future health status and mortality. The purpose of this study was to investigate age-group and sex differences in genetic and environmental sources of variation for self-rated health. METHODS: A sample of twins from the Swedish Twin Registry participated in a computer-assisted telephone interview with assessment of self-rated health. Structural equation model analyses on 1,243 complete twin pairs provided estimates of genetic and environmental components of variance. RESULTS: Individual differences primarily reflected individual specific environmental influences at all ages. The increase in total variance across age groups was primarily due to genetic influences in the age groups 45--74 years and greater environmental influences in the oldest age group (>74). No significant sex differences were found in variance components. DISCUSSION: Genetic variance in the two middle age groups (45--74) could reflect genetic susceptibility to age-dependent illnesses not yet expressed in the youngest group. The findings suggest that it might be more fruitful to explore the origins of individual differences for self-rated health in the context of an individual's age and birth cohort rather than in the context of sex.
To profile participants based on reported outdoor physical activity barriers using a data-driven approach, describe the profiles and study their association with unmet physical activity need.
Cross-sectional analyses of 848 community-dwelling men and women aged 75-90 living in Central Finland in 2012. Barriers to outdoor physical activity and unmet physical activity need were enquired with a questionnaire. The latent profiles were identified by profiling participants into latent groups using a mixture modeling technique on the multivariate set of indicators of outdoor physical activity barriers. A path model was used to study the associations of the profiles with unmet physical activity need.
Five barrier profiles were identified. Profile A was characterized with minor barriers, profile B with weather barriers, profile C with health and weather barriers, profile D with barriers concerning insecurity, health and weather; and profile E with mobility and health barriers. The participants in the profiles differed in the proportion of individual and environmental barriers. The risk for unmet physical activity need was highest among people whose severe mobility difficulties restricted their outdoor physical activity.
Outdoor physical activity barriers reflect the imbalance in person-environment fit among older people, manifested as unmet physical activity need.
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.
Concentrations of cadmium and lead in blood (BCd and BPb, respectively) are traditionally used as biomarkers of environmental exposure. We estimated the influence of genetic factors on these markers in a cohort of 61 monozygotic and 103 dizygotic twin pairs (mean age = 68 years, range = 49-86). BCd and BPb were determined by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Variations in both BCd and BPb were influenced by not only environmental but also genetic factors. Interestingly, the genetic influence was considerably greater for nonsmoking women (h(2) = 65% for BCd and 58% for BPb) than for nonsmoking men (13 and 0%, respectively). The shared familial environmental (c(2)) influence for BPb was 37% for men but only 3% for women. The association between BCd and BPb could be attributed entirely to environmental factors of mutual importance for levels of the two metals. Thus, blood metal concentrations in women reflect not only exposure, as previously believed, but to a considerable extent hereditary factors possibly related to uptake and storage. Further steps should focus on identification of these genetic factors and evaluation of whether women are more susceptible to exposure to toxic metals than men.
Cites: Occup Environ Med. 1995 Nov;52(11):764-98535497
Previous research in the Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging (SATSA) has found genetic influences on life events (R. Plomin, P. Lichtenstein, N.L. Pedersen, G.E. McClearn, & J.R. Nesselroade, 1990). The present study extends this finding by examining sex differences in genetic and environmental contributions to life events and by examining personality as a mediator of genetic influences on life events in SATSA. Analyses were based on 320 twin pairs, including identical and fraternal twins reared together and apart (mean age = 58.6 years). Controllable, desirable, and undesirable life events were revealed significant genetic variance for women. There was no significant genetic variance for either sex for uncontrollable events. Multivariate analyses of personality (as indexed by Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Openness to Experience) and life events suggest that all of the genetic variance on controllable, desirable, and undesirable life events for women is common to personality. Thus, in this sample of older adult women, genetic influences on life events appear to be entirely mediated by personality.
Clinicians and researchers have characterized early life experiences as permanent and stable influences on the personality and subsequent life experiences of an individual. Recent conceptualizations have suggested that personal and environmental factors influencing development are not deterministic. Multiple pathways into adulthood are possible. Adoption is one potential early life stressor that may illustrate the usefulness of such conceptualizations for assessing long-term effects in adulthood. Previous studies of adoption have characterized the effects of adoption into adolescence and young adulthood. The purpose of this study was to provide an initial assessment of the long-term impact of adoption. The participants were taken from the Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging. From the original sample, we identified a subsample of 60 pairs of twins who were separated and reared apart, with one member being raised by a biological parent or parents and the other by an adoptive parent or parents with no biological relationship. A series of univariate and multivariate analyses were undertaken to assess the elements associated with being reared in either an adoptive home or the home of biological parent(s). The results suggest few significant effects of adoption on the adult adjustment of adoptees. In particular, the results reflect the important mediating role of childhood socioeconomic status, suggesting that the stress of adoption itself is mediated by the type of rearing environment provided by the adoption process.
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of the present report was to assess whether occupational magnetic field exposure is a risk factor for dementia, in particular for Alzheimer's disease. METHODS: Case-control analyses were applied to 77 dementia cases, 55 of whom had Alzheimer's disease, ascertained from the population-based Swedish twin register. Two reference groups were derived, with 228 and 238 persons, respectively. Occupations were linked to a job-exposure matrix based on magnetic field measurements. Primary occupation, last occupation before reference date, and the occupation with the highest magnetic field exposure during the subject's lifetime were evaluated. RESULTS: For primary occupation, all relative risk estimates were close to unity. For last occupation, at the exposure level > or = 0.2 microT, a relative risk was found for dementia estimated at 3.3 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.3-8.6] and 3.8 (95% CI 1.4-10.2) for reference groups 1 and 2, respectively. The relative risk for Alzheimer's disease was estimated at 2.4 (95% CI 0.8-6.9) and 2.7 (95% CI 0.9-7.8), respectively. For the occupation with the highest magnetic field exposure, the relative risk estimates were close to unity for reference group 1 and slightly elevated for reference group 2. The relative risk estimates were greater for the subjects who were younger at onset (
Exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) during prenatal and postnatal life has been extensively studied in relation to adverse health effects in children.
The aim was to identify determinants of the concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), brominated flame retardants (polybrominated diphenyl ethers, PBDEs; polybrominated biphenyl, PBB), and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in blood samples from pregnant women and children in The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa).
Blood samples were collected from two independent subsamples within MoBa; a group of women (n=96) enrolled in mid-pregnancy during the years 2002-2008 and a group of 3 year old children (n=99) participating during 2010-2011. PCB congeners (74, 99, 138, 153, 180, 170, 194, 209, 105, 114, 118, 156, 157, 167, and 189), brominated flame retardants (PBDE-28, 47, 99, 100, 153, 154, and PBB-153), as well as the OCPs hexachlorobenzene (HCB), oxychlordane, 4,4'dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), and 4,4'dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) were measured in both pregnant women and children.
Age, low parity, and low pre-pregnant BMI were the most important determinants of increased plasma concentrations of POPs in pregnant women. In 3 year old children, prolonged breastfeeding duration was a major determinant of increased POP concentrations. Estimated dietary exposure to PCBs during pregnancy was positively associated with plasma concentrations in 3 year old children, but not in pregnant women. Plasma concentrations were approximately 40% higher in children compared to pregnant women.
Several factors associated with exposure and toxicokinetics, i.e. accumulation, excretion and transfer via breastmilk of POPs were the main predictors of POP levels in pregnant women and children. Diet, which is the main exposure source for these compounds in the general population, was found to predict PCB levels only among children. For the PBDEs, for which non-dietary sources are more important, toxicokinetic factors appeared to have less predictive impact.
Acrylamide has shown developmental and reproductive toxicity in animals, as well as neurotoxic effects in humans with occupational exposures. Because it is widespread in food and can pass through the human placenta, concerns have been raised about potential developmental effects of dietary exposures in humans.
We assessed associations of prenatal exposure to dietary acrylamide with small for gestational age (SGA) and birth weight.
This study included 50,651 women in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). Acrylamide exposure assessment was based on intake estimates obtained from a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), which were compared with hemoglobin (Hb) adduct measurements reflecting acrylamide exposure in a subset of samples (n = 79). Data on infant birth weight and gestational age were obtained from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway. Multivariable regression was used to estimate associations between prenatal acrylamide and birth outcomes.
Acrylamide intake during pregnancy was negatively associated with fetal growth. When women in the highest quartile of acrylamide intake were compared with women in the lowest quartile, the multivariable-adjusted odds ratio (OR) for SGA was 1.11 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.21) and the coefficient for birth weight was -25.7 g (95% CI: -35.9, -15.4). Results were similar after excluding mothers who smoked during pregnancy. Maternal acrylamide- and glycidamide-Hb adduct levels were correlated with estimated dietary acrylamide intakes (Spearman correlations = 0.24; 95% CI: 0.02, 0.44; and 0.48; 95% CI: 0.29, 0.63, respectively).
Lowering dietary acrylamide intake during pregnancy may improve fetal growth.
Cites: Scand J Work Environ Health. 2001 Aug;27(4):219-2611560335
Maternal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) during pregnancy has been associated with reduced fetal growth. However, the role of diet, the main source of PAH exposure among non-smokers, remains uncertain.
To assess associations between maternal exposure to dietary intake of the genotoxic PAH benzo(a)pyrene [B(a)P] during pregnancy and birth weight, exploring potential effect modification by dietary intakes of vitamins C, E and A, hypothesized to influence PAH metabolism.
This study included 50,651 women in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). Dietary B(a)P and nutrient intakes were estimated based on total consumption obtained from a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and estimated based on food composition data. Data on infant birth weight were obtained from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway (MBRN). Multivariate regression was used to assess associations between dietary B(a)P and birth weight, evaluating potential interactions with candidate nutrients.
The multivariate-adjusted coefficient (95%CI) for birth weight associated with maternal energy-adjusted B(a)P intake was -20.5g (-31.1, -10.0) in women in the third compared with the first tertile of B(a)P intake. Results were similar after excluding smokers. Significant interactions were found between elevated intakes of vitamin C (>85mg/day) and dietary B(a)P during pregnancy for birth weight (P
Exposure to dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) during pregnancy and breastfeeding may result in adverse health effects in children. Prenatal exposure is determined by the concentrations of dioxins and PCBs in maternal blood, which reflect the body burden obtained by long term dietary exposure. The aims of this study were (1) to describe dietary exposure and important dietary sources to dioxins and PCBs in a large group of pregnant women and (2) to identify maternal characteristics associated with high dietary exposure to dioxins and PCBs. Dietary exposure to dioxins (sum of toxic equivalents (TEQs) from dioxin-like (dl) compounds) and PCB-153 in 83,524 pregnant women (gestational weeks 17-22) who participated in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) during the years 2002-2009 was calculated based on a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and a database of dioxin and PCB concentrations in Norwegian food. The median (interquartile range, IQR) intake of PCB-153 (marker of ndl-PCBs) was 0.81 (0.77) ng/kg bw/day. For dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs, the median (IQR) intake was 0.56 (0.37) pg TEQ/kg bw/day. Moreover, 2.3% of the participants had intakes exceeding the tolerable weekly intake (TWI) of 14pg TEQ/kg bw/week. Multiple regression analysis showed that dietary exposure was positively associated with maternal age, maternal education, weight gain during pregnancy, being a student, and alcohol consumption during pregnancy and negatively associated with pre-pregnancy BMI and smoking. A high dietary exposure to PCB-153 or dl-compounds (TEQ) was mainly explained by the consumption of seagull eggs and/or pate with fish liver and roe. Women who according to Norwegian recommendations avoid these food items generally do not have dietary exposure above the tolerable intake of dioxins and dl-PCBs.
The aim of this study was to analyze whether the associations between perceived environmental and individual characteristics and perceived walking limitations in older people differ between those with intact and those with poorer lower extremity performance.
Persons aged 75 to 90 ( N = 834) participated in interviews and performance tests in their homes. Standard questionnaires were used to obtain walking difficulties; environmental barriers to and, facilitators of, mobility; and perceived individual hindrances to outdoor mobility. Lower extremity performance was tested using Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB).
Among those with poorer lower extremity performance, the likelihood for advanced walking limitations was, in particular, related to perceived poor safety in the environment, and among those with intact performance to perceived social issues, such as lack of company, as well as to long distances.
The environmental correlates of walking limitations seem to depend on the level of lower extremity performance.
There has been a thrilling development , as well as profound changes, in our understanding of the effect of fetal nutrition on the development and health of the child. The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) is an ongoing nationwide population-based pregnancy cohort study that between 1999 and 2008 recruited 90,723 women with 106,981 pregnancies and 108,487 children. The objective of MoBa is to test specific etiologic hypotheses by estimating the association between exposures and diseases with a special focus on disorders that may originate in early life. An important aspect in this regard is maternal diet and nutritional status during pregnancy. Nutritional factors have long been considered to be important determinants of maternal and fetal health, and dietary information is currently being collected in a number of pregnancy cohorts in Europe and the United States. Thus far, pregnancy complications studied in MoBa are preterm birth, preeclampsia, and fetal growth; and the aim of this article is to report results of recently published studies of dietary factors in relation to these outcomes. Numerous studies are planned using MoBa data, and the aim is to add to the knowledge of the interplay between dietary factors, nonnutrients, and toxic dietary substances and epigenetic modulation on fetal development and health later in life.
BACKGROUND: The relative importance of genetic influences on longevity was studied on data from the population-based Swedish Twin Registry. METHODS: A sample of 3,656 identical and 6,849 like-sexed fraternal twin pairs was studied regarding mortality rates and within-pair similarity for age at death. Genetic and environmental contributions to variation in longevity, expressed by integrated mortality rates, were estimated from a subsample of 1,734 twin pairs reared together and 130 twin pairs reared apart from the cohorts born 1886 to 1900. RESULTS: The intraclass correlation coefficients suggested that the genetic effect was small, and, for males, perhaps absent. Among pairs in which both twins died relatively young and among pairs in which both twins lived until very old age, the variance in age at death seemed to have no genetic component. Model fitting procedures based on twins reared apart and twins reared together indicated that most of the variance in longevity was explained by environmental factors. CONCLUSIONS: Over the total age range examined, a maximum of around one third of the variance in longevity is attributable to genetic factors, and almost all of the remaining variance is due to nonshared, individual specific environmental factors. The evidence that genetic factors play a minor role depending upon age at death merits further examination.
A population-based twin study is a useful design for quantification of the effects of genes and environmental factors in disease etiology. We used data from 10,000 Swedish twin pairs to quantify genetic and environmental contributions to tooth loss and periodontal health. Oral health information was obtained from telephone interviews. Structural equation models measured the relative importance of genetic and environmental factors. Genetic factors contributed to 14% of variation in tooth loss among women, and 39% among men. Non-shared environmental factors accounted for one-quarter of risk; environmental factors shared by twins comprised the remainder. Heritability estimates of periodontal disease were 39% and 33% for women and men, respectively, while non-shared environmental factors accounted for the remaining variation. Heritability for both conditions varied as a function of age and smoking status. Analysis of data from this large, population-based study demonstrates a moderate role of genetic factors in oral diseases, and suggests potential gene-environment interactions.
Environmental barriers are associated with disability-related outcomes in older people but little is known of the effect of environmental barriers on mortality. The aim of this study was to examine whether objectively measured barriers in the outdoor, entrance and indoor environments are associated with mortality among community-dwelling 80- to 89-year-old single-living people.
This longitudinal study is based on a sample of 397 people who were single-living in ordinary housing in Sweden. Participants were interviewed during 2002-2003, and 393 were followed up for mortality until May 15, 2012.Environmental barriers and functional limitations were assessed with the Housing Enabler instrument, which is intended for objective assessments of Person-Environment (P-E) fit problems in housing and the immediate outdoor environment. Mortality data were gathered from the public national register. Cox regression models were used for the analyses.
A total of 264 (67%) participants died during follow-up. Functional limitations increased mortality risk. Among the specific environmental barriers that generate the most P-E fit problems, lack of handrails in stairs at entrances was associated with the highest mortality risk (adjusted RR 1.55, 95% CI 1.14-2.10), whereas the total number of environmental barriers at entrances and outdoors was not associated with mortality. A higher number of environmental barriers indoors showed a slight protective effect against mortality even after adjustment for functional limitations (RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.96-1.00).
Specific environmental problems may increase mortality risk among very-old single-living people. However, the association may be confounded by individuals' health status which is difficult to fully control for. Further studies are called for.
OBJECTIVE: Few biomarkers for dietary intake of various food groups have been established. The aim of the present study was to explore whether selenium (Se), iodine, mercury (Hg) or arsenic may serve as a biomarker for total fish and seafood intake in addition to the traditionally used n-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. DESIGN: Intake of fish and seafood estimated by an FFQ was compared with intake assessed by a 4 d weighed food diary and with biomarkers in blood and urine. SETTING: Validation study in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). SUBJECTS: One hundred and nineteen women. RESULTS: Total fish/seafood intake (median 39 g/d) calculated with the MoBa FFQ was comparable to intake calculated by the food diary (median 30 g/d, rS = 0.37, P
RefSource: Public Health Nutr. 2009 Dec;12(12):2536-7
BACKGROUND: Little is known about the role of genetic and environmental factors in irritable bowel syndrome. Various extra-intestinal manifestations are more prevalent in cases than in controls. Genetic effects may be important in the liability to develop functional bowel disorders. AIMS: To evaluate the associations of irritable bowel syndrome with several disorders co-morbid with the condition, using both a case-control design and a co-twin control design. METHODS: A sample of 850 Swedish twin pairs, aged 18-85 years, was contacted for a telephone interview. Through a diagnostic algorithm, 72 unrelated cases of irritable bowel syndrome and 216 age- and gender-matched controls were identified. Fifty-eight twin pairs discordant for irritable bowel syndrome were evaluated in co-twin analyses. RESULTS: Renal problems (odds ratio (OR)=3.3; confidence interval (CI), 1.3-8.2), obesity (OR=2.6; CI, 1.0-6.4), underweight in the past (OR=2.4; CI, 1.1-6.4), gluten intolerance (OR=9.0; CI, 1.4-60.1), rheumatoid arthritis (OR=3.2; CI, 1.1-9.4) and poor self-rated health (OR=1.8; CI, 1.0-3.2) were significantly associated with irritable bowel syndrome. In the co-twin analyses, the only factors maintaining significance were renal and recurrent urinary tract problems. CONCLUSIONS: The association between irritable bowel syndrome and renal and urinary tract problems does not reflect a genetic or familial mediation. Eating disorders in childhood represent a familial-environmental influence on irritable bowel syndrome, whereas the association with rheumatoid arthritis and perhaps gluten intolerance probably reflects genetic mediation.
To assess the role of genetic and environmental factors in female alcoholism using a large population-based twin sample, taking into account possible differences between early and late onset disease subtype.
Twins aged 20-47 years from the Swedish Twin Registry (n=24 119) answered questions to establish lifetime alcohol use disorders. Subjects with alcoholism were classified for subtype. Structural equation modeling was used to quantify the proportion of phenotypic variance due to genetic and environmental factors and test whether heritability in women differed from that in men. The association between childhood trauma and alcoholism was then examined in females, controlling for background familial factors.
Lifetime prevalence of alcohol dependence was 4.9% in women and 8.6% in men. Overall, heritability for alcohol dependence was 55%, and did not differ significantly between men and women, although women had a significantly greater heritability for late onset (type I). Childhood physical trauma and sexual abuse had a stronger association with early onset compared to late onset alcoholism [odds ratio (OR) 2.54, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.53-3.88 and OR 2.29, 95% CI 1.38-3.79 respectively]. Co-twin analysis indicated that familial factors largely accounted for the influence of physical trauma whereas the association with childhood sexual abuse reflected both familial and specific effects.
Heritability of alcoholism in women is similar to that in men. Early onset alcoholism is strongly association with childhood trauma, which seems to be both a marker of familial background factors and a specific individual risk factor per se.