Although animal studies have indicated that general anesthetics may result in widespread apoptotic neurodegeneration and neurocognitive impairment in the developing brain, results from human studies are scarce. We investigated the association between exposure to surgery and anesthesia for inguinal hernia repair in infancy and subsequent academic performance.
Using Danish birth cohorts from 1986-1990, we compared the academic performance of all children who had undergone inguinal hernia repair in infancy to a randomly selected, age-matched 5% population sample. Primary analysis compared average test scores at ninth grade adjusting for sex, birth weight, and paternal and maternal age and education. Secondary analysis compared the proportions of children not attaining test scores between the two groups.
From 1986-1990 in Denmark, 2,689 children underwent inguinal hernia repair in infancy. A randomly selected, age-matched 5% population sample consists of 14,575 individuals. Although the exposure group performed worse than the control group (average score 0.26 lower; 95% CI, 0.21-0.31), after adjusting for known confounders, no statistically significant difference (-0.04; 95% CI, -0.09 to 0.01) between the exposure and control groups could be demonstrated. However, the odds ratio for test score nonattainment associated with inguinal hernia repair was 1.18 (95% CI, 1.04-1.35). Excluding from analyses children with other congenital malformations, the difference in mean test scores remained nearly unchanged (0.05; 95% CI, 0.00-0.11). In addition, the increased proportion of test score nonattainment within the exposure group was attenuated (odds ratio = 1.13; 95% CI, 0.98-1.31).
In the ethnically and socioeconomically homogeneous Danish population, we found no evidence that a single, relatively brief anesthetic exposure in connection with hernia repair in infancy reduced academic performance at age 15 or 16 yr after adjusting for known confounding factors. However, the higher test score nonattainment rate among the hernia group could suggest that a subgroup of these children are developmentally disadvantaged compared with the background population.
Testosterone is an important hormone in the sexual differentiation of the brain, contributing to differences in cognitive abilities between males and females. For instance, studies in clinical populations such as females with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) who are exposed to high levels of androgens in utero support arguments for prenatal testosterone effects on characteristics such as visuospatial cognition and behaviour. The comparison of opposite-sex (OS) and same-sex (SS) twin pairs can be used to help establish the role of prenatal testosterone. However, although some twin studies confirm a masculinizing effect of a male co-twin regarding for instance perception and cognition it remains unclear whether intra-uterine hormone transfer exists in humans. Our aim was to test the potential influences of testosterone on academic performance in OS twins. We compared ninth-grade test scores and teacher ratings of OS (n=1812) and SS (n=4054) twins as well as of twins and singletons (n=13,900) in mathematics, physics/chemistry, Danish, and English. We found that males had significantly higher test scores in mathematics than females (.06-.15 SD), whereas females performed better in Danish (.33-.49 SD), English (.20 SD), and neatness (.45-.64 SD). However, we did not find that OS females performed better in mathematics than SS and singleton females, nor did they perform worse either in Danish or English. Scores for OS and SS males were similar in all topics. In conclusion, this study did not provide evidence for a masculinization of female twins with male co-twins with regard to academic performance in adolescence.
Cites: Behav Genet. 1993 Jul;23(4):323-98240211
Cites: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Dec 15;90(24):11900-48265645
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The level of physical functioning (PF) late in life has, in recent years, been shown to be influenced by genetic factors. One of the most extensively studied genetic variants associated with PF and trainability is insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism in the gene encoding Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE). However, ACE studies have mainly been conducted among younger persons in excellent physical shape. In this study, we examine whether the level of PF, trainability, or rate-of-change are associated with the ACE genotype among the elderly. METHODS: We used data from 4 randomized training studies of elderly Danes (N = 203). The measures of PF were self-report, maximal oxygen uptake, muscle strength, walking speed, and body composition. RESULTS: Overall, a favorable change in the measures of PF was observed in training groups compared with control groups. However, within groups, neither pre- or post-training/control period levels of PF nor differences in pre- and post-levels were associated with the ACE genotype. CONCLUSIONS: On the basis of our randomized studies, we could not detect any association between the ACE genotype and the level of PF or change, regardless of whether response to physical training or spontaneous changes was studied.
Genetic-evolutionary theories of aging predict that the genetic variance for fitness traits increases with age, while epidemiological-gerontological theories predict an increase in the environmental variance for most traits. In this study we examine the age trajectories of the genetic and environmental variance in physical functioning in a sample of 4731 Danish twins aged 70+ who are being followed longitudinally every second year with up to four assessments completed. A biometric growth model (Neale and McArdle, 2000) was applied to a validated physical ability score. The model included an overall level effect, a rate of linear change effect, and residual effects. The best-fitting model was a sex-specific model including additive genetic and nonshared environmental factors affecting level and rate of change and only nonshared environmental factors affecting the wave-specific levels. For both sexes there is an approximate doubling of both the total variance and the genetic variance in the physical ability score over the four waves and, hence, a rather stable heritability. However, the heritability is approximately.10 for males and.30 for females in all four waves. The heritability of level and slope showed a similar pattern:.11-14 in males and.35-.39 in females. The increase in both additive genetic variance and environmental variance is in agreement with genetic-evolutionary and epidemiological-gerontological theories of aging, respectively. The present study suggests that overall level of strength may be a better phenotype for future molecular genetic studies on physical functioning in the elderly than rate of change, because rate of change is vulnerable to sample attrition due to mortality and dropout and because four waves were needed to be able to detect a heritability for rate of change of the same magnitude as the heritability for level of physical functioning.
In addition to APOE and FOXO3, AKT1 has recently been suggested as a third consistent longevity gene, with variants in AKT1 found to be associated with human lifespan in two previous studies. Here, we evaluated AKT1 as a longevity-associated gene across populations by attempting to replicate the previously identified variant rs3803304 as well as by analyzing six additional AKT1 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, thus capturing more of the common variation in the gene. The study population was 2996 long-lived individuals (nonagenarians and centenarians) and 1840 younger controls of Danish and German ancestry. None of the seven SNPs tested were significantly associated with longevity in either a case-control or a longitudinal setting, although a supportive nominal indication of a disadvantageous effect of rs3803304 was found in a restricted group of Danish centenarian men. Overall, our results do not support AKT1 as a universal longevity-associated gene.
Cites: Nature. 2010 Mar 25;464(7288):504-1220336132
The analysis of age-specific genetic effects on human survival over extreme ages is confronted with a deceleration pattern in mortality that deviates from traditional survival models and sparse genetic data available. As human late life is a distinct phase of life history, exploring the genetic effects on extreme age survival can be of special interest to evolutionary biology and health science. We introduce a non-parametric survival analysis approach that combines population survival information with individual genotype data in assessing the genetic effects in cohort-based longitudinal studies. Our approach is characterized by non-parametric analysis of late age survival to capture the observed pattern of mortality deceleration and frailty modeling to account for individual heterogeneity in unobserved frailty. The method is applied to ApoE genotype data in the Danish 1905 birth cohort to estimate effect of the e4 allele. Our results revealed an age-specific relative risk of the allele that increases nonlinearly with age and non-proportional patterns in hazard of death for carriers and non-carriers of the allele, suggesting that the e4 mutation preserves its deleterious effect that progressively affect human survival even at extreme ages.
Cites: Ann Hum Genet. 1999 Jul;63(Pt 4):301-1010738542
Cites: Ageing Res Rev. 2006 Feb;5(1):14-3216085467
Cites: Am Stat. 1985 Aug;39(3):176-8512267300
Cites: Ann Hum Genet. 2003 Nov;67(Pt 6):598-60714641247
Cites: Eur J Epidemiol. 2004;19(7):651-615461196
Cites: Demography. 1979 Aug;16(3):439-54510638
Cites: Stat Med. 1989 Aug;8(8):907-252678347
Cites: Genet Epidemiol. 1992;9(3):155-671381696
Cites: Hypertension. 1993 Nov;22(5):789-958225539
Cites: Science. 1998 May 8;280(5365):855-609599158
Although the ApoE gene has been intensively studied in aging research, most of the studies conducted so far have been based on the traditional case-control design with subjects consisting of young controls and long-lived cases. The genotype frequency pattern in and between the two age-groups has been rarely investigated due to limitations in either research design or data analytical method. In this study, we genotyped 748 individuals (including both twin pairs and unrelated individuals) aged from 73 to 95 with aim at examining the genotype frequency trajectory of ApoE gene at high ages. Binomial and multinomial logistic regression models have been applied to model the gene frequency as a function of age and to investigate the modes of gene function (dominant, recessive, additive). The generalized estimation equations (GEEs) are introduced to account for the intra-pair genotype correlation in the twin pairs included in the data. Both the observed and the fitted frequencies show a constantly declining pattern of ApoE epsilon4 allele as age advances indicating a significant and steadily deleterious effect of the dominant allele that increases the hazard of death at high ages.
To isolate the effect of education from the influence of potential underlying factors, we investigated the association of education with the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and ischemic heart disease (IHD) using twin data to adjust for familial factors shared within twins, including genetic make-up and childhood environment. The study was based on data from the Danish Twin Registry linked to administrative and heath registers in Statistics Denmark. A total of 11,968 monozygotic and 20,464 dizygotic same sexed twins were followed from 1980 to 2009, including more than 8000 events of CVD. Unpaired and intra-pair analyses were compared. In the unpaired analyses, an inverse educational gradient in CVD- and IHD risk was observed. This association was not replicated in the intra-pair analyses that control for shared familial factors exploiting that twins share their intrauterine- and childhood environment and are matched partly or fully on genetic setup. The attenuation of association of education with CVD and IHD in the intra-pair analyses suggests that shared familial factors account for a substantial part of the observed association of education with CVD and IHD in Denmark.
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.
We have studied the possible association between the -110A > C polymorphism in the promoter region of one of the heat shock protein genes HSP70-1 with human longevity in a cohort of aged Danish twins. This cohort includes individuals aged between 70 and 91 years (mean = 75.6 years), who are categorized according to the presence or absence of various diseases and according to the various, age-related parameters for which a genetic component has already been defined. Four hundred DNA samples from the cohort were genotyped using real-time PCR. Aging phenotypes (diseases, physical and cognitive functioning) were compared with regard to genotype. Of all the aging phenotypes studied, self-rated health and relative self-rated health, which represent an individual's overall sense of physical well-being and which have been shown to be both predictors of survival at older ages and better indicators of future survival than objectively measured health status, were associated with the polymorphism. An association was found between low self-rated health and heterozygosity for -110A > C polymorphism in the promoter region of HSP70-1 in aged Danish twins.