Since Dr. Fogh-Andersen's legendary 1942 thesis, the Danish facial cleft population has been one of the most extensively studied in terms of epidemiology and genetic-epidemiology. The etiology of cleft lip and/or palate (CLP) is still largely an enigma, and different results concerning environmental and genetic risk factors are obtained in different countries and regions. This may be due to etiological heterogeneity between settings. Therefore, an in-depth studied area with an ethnically homogeneous population, such as Denmark, has provided one of the best opportunities for progress in CLP etiological research. The present review summarizes epidemiological and genetic-epidemiological studies conducted in the 20th century Danish facial cleft population. Furthermore, analyses of sex differences, time trends and seasonality for more than 7000 CLP cases born in Denmark in the period 1936 to 1987 are presented. The review also points toward the excellent opportunities for continued etiological CLP research in Denmark in the 21st century using already established resources and an on-going prospective cohort study of 100,000 pregnant women.
The primary objective of this study was to determine whether disc degeneration, as assessed through magnetic resonance imaging, is greater in smokers than in nonsmokers. To control for the maximum number of potentially confounding variables, pairs of identical twins highly discordant for cigarette smoking were selected as study subjects. Data analyses revealed 18% greater mean disc degeneration scores in the lumbar spines of smokers as compared with nonsmokers. The effect was present across the entire lumbar spine, implicating a mechanism acting systemically. This investigation demonstrates the efficiency of using carefully selected controls in studying conditions of multifactorial etiology, such as disc degeneration.
We evaluated whether the association between low education and greater risk of dementia is explained by genetic influences, using three different types of analyses. The HARMONY study (Swedish for "health" (Hälsa), "genes" (ARv), "environment" (Miljö), "and" (Och), and "new" (NY)) includes members of the Swedish Twin Registry who were aged 65 and older and alive in 1998, and who were screened and clinically assessed for dementia. There were 394 cases with dementia and 7786 unrelated controls. Analyses included co-twin control, tests for association between education and a measured genotype, and bivariate twin modeling. Low education was a significant risk factor for dementia both in case-control analyses (odds ratio=1.77, 95% confidence interval 1.38 to 2.28) and co-twin control analyses with monozygotic twin pairs (odds ratio=3.17, 95% confidence interval 1.26 to 7.93). Apolipoprotein E genotype was not associated with education and did not account for the relationship between education and dementia. Bivariate twin modeling showed that the association between education and dementia was not mediated by genetic influences in common between education and dementia. The association was mediated by shared environmental influences that were related to both dementia and to education. Low education is confirmed as a risk factor for dementia. Findings from three different analytic approaches showed that genetic influences did not explain this association.
Swedish population-based national health registers are widely used data sources in epidemiological research. Register-based diagnoses of Parkinson's disease have not been validated against clinical information.
Parkinson's disease (PD) and other parkinsonian disorder diagnoses were ascertained in two registers, i.e. the National Patient Register (NPR) and the Cause of Death Register (CDR). Diagnoses were validated in terms of accuracy (positive predictive value) and sensitivity against data from a population-based study of PD in 1998-2004 that screened more than 35,000 persons and identified 194 cases of parkinsonian disorders including 132 PD cases (the gold standard for the purposes of this study).
Accuracy for any parkinsonian disorder diagnoses was 88.0% in the NPR and 94.4% in the CDR. Accuracy of PD diagnoses was 70.8% in the NPR and 66.7% in the CDR. Misclassification between differential parkinsonian diagnoses was common. The accuracy of PD diagnoses in the NPR improved to 83.0% by restricting the definition to primary diagnoses only. The sensitivity of PD diagnoses in the NPR and CDR combined was 83.1%, with a mean time to detection of 6.9 years.
Population-based national health registers are valid data sources in epidemiological studies of PD or parkinsonian disorder etiology but are less suitable in studies of incidence or prevalence.
Cites: Arch Neurol. 1999 Jan;56(1):33-99923759
Cites: Clin Auton Res. 1998 Dec;8(6):359-629869555
Questionnaire surveys provide an efficient means of identifying potential seizure cases in large population-based cohorts. Concerns exist, however, with regard to the reliability of self-reported information both with respect to the validity of the results obtained and with regard to the usefulness of this approach in identifying true cases. Information on history of seizures obtained by questionnaire from members of 47,626 twin pairs included in the Mid-Atlantic (MATR), Danish (DTR) and Norwegian (NTR) Twin Registries was verified using medical records and detailed clinical and family interviews. The accuracy of these reports was assessed. Self-reported epilepsy was verified in 81.9% of twins overall (86.1% (DTR), 75.6% (NTR) and 80.7% (MATR)). However, when both pair members reported a history of epilepsy in the affected pair member, epilepsy was verified in >90% of cases. Among MATR twins with a verified history of epilepsy, 21.5% reported other seizures but not epilepsy and 18.5% of verified Norwegian epilepsy cases reported no history of epilepsy themselves and were identified only through their co-twin. The results of this study indicate that the accuracy of self-reported epilepsy and febrile seizures among those who provided information on health history was high across all populations. However, the relatively large percentage of twins with a verified diagnosis who did not acknowledge epilepsy suggests that the frequency of epilepsy may be under-estimated in self-reported samples.
Karolinska Institutet, Department of Woman and Child Health, Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Unit Q3:04, Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital, Karolinska University Hospital Solna, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden. email@example.com
BACKGROUND: Pharmacological and genetic studies suggest the importance of the dopaminergic, serotonergic, and noradrenergic systems in the pathogenesis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Disruptive Behavior Disorder (DBD). We have, in a population-based sample, studied associations between dimensions of the ADHD/DBD phenotype and Monoamine Oxidase B (MAO-B) activity in platelets and polymorphisms in two serotonergic genes: the Monoamine Oxidase A Variable Number of Tandem Repeats (MAO-A VNTR) and the 5-Hydroxytryptamine Transporter gene-Linked Polymorphic Region (5-HTT LPR). METHODS: A population-based sample of twins, with an average age of 16 years, was assessed for ADHD/DBD with a clinical interview; Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children-Present and Lifetime Version (K-SADS-PL). Blood was drawn from 247 subjects and analyzed for platelet MAO-B activity and polymorphisms in the MAO-A and 5-HTT genes. RESULTS: We found an association in girls between low platelet MAO-B activity and symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). In girls, there was also an association between the heterozygote long/short 5-HTT LPR genotype and symptoms of conduct disorder. Furthermore the heterozygote 5-HTT LPR genotype in boys was found to be associated with symptoms of Conduct Disorder (CD). In boys, hemizygosity for the short MAO-A VNTR allele was associated with disruptive behavior. CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that the serotonin system, in addition to the dopamine system, should be further investigated when studying genetic influences on the development of Disruptive Behavior Disorders.
To explore the links between neurodevelopmental disorders - attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) - and personality in a population-based, genetically sensitive study of children.
A population-based sample of 1886 twins aged 9 and 12, enriched for childhood mental health problems, was recruited from the Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden (CATSS). Parents were interviewed over the telephone using the Autism-Tics, AD/HD and other Comorbidities (A-TAC) inventory, and in a second step they rated their children according to the Junior Temperament and Character Inventory (JTCI).
ADHD was strongly correlated with novelty seeking, while ASD was correlated positively with harm avoidance and negatively with reward dependence. The strongest associations between personality traits and neurodevelopmental disorders were negative correlations between the character dimensions of self-directedness and cooperativeness and ADHD and ASD alike. Cross-twin cross-trait correlations between ADHD, ASD, and personality dimensions in monozygotic twins were more than double those in dizygotic twins, indicating a strong genetic effect behind the phenotypic covariation between neurodevelopmental disorders and personality.
Neurodevelopmental disorders are linked specifically to particular temperament profiles and generally to hampered development of the self-governing strategies referred to as "character." Poor self-agency and cooperation may be core functional outcomes in the separation of children with handicapping conditions from those with traits only reminiscent of neurodevelopmental disorders. The associations between neurodevelopmental disorders and personality are at least partly due to genetic effects influencing both conditions. As a consequence, personality must be broadly considered in neuropsychiatry, just as neuropsychiatric disorders and their genetic, neurodevelopmental, and cognitive susceptibilities have to be in personality research and clinical treatment.
Adolescent alcohol abuse is associated with adverse outcomes in early adulthood, but differences in familial status and structure and household and community environments correlate with both adolescent drinking and adverse adult outcomes and may explain their association. We studied drinking-discordant twin pairs to evaluate such confounds to ask: Will between-family associations replicate in within-family comparisons?
With longitudinal data from >3,000 Finnish twins, we associated drinking problems at age 18½ with 13 outcomes assessed at age 25; included were sustained substance abuse, poor health, physical symptoms, early coital debut, multiple sexual partners, life dissatisfaction, truncated education, and financial problems. We assessed associations among twins as individuals with linear regression adjusted for correlated observations; within-family analyses of discordant twin pairs followed, comparing paired means for adult outcomes among co-twins discordant for adolescent problem drinking. Defining discordance by extreme scores on self-reported problem drinking at age 18½ permitted parallel analyses of twins as individuals and discordant twin pairs. Alternate definitions of pair-wise discordance and difference score correlations across the entire twin sample yielded supplementary analyses.
All individual associations were highly significant for all definitions of discordance we employed. Depending on definitions of discordance, 11 to 13 comparisons of all drinking-discordant twin pairs and 3 to 6 comparisons of discordant monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs replicated between-family associations. For most outcomes, effect size attenuated from individual-level analysis to that within discordant MZ twin pairs providing evidence of partial confounding in associations reported in earlier research. The exception was the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ); at age 25, GHQ-12 had equivalent associations with age 18½ Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index across all comparisons.
Our analyses control for shared family background, and, partly or fully, for shared genes, to yield within-family replications and more compelling evidence than previously available that adolescent alcohol abuse disrupts transitions into early adulthood.
The ages of onset in multiple sclerosis cases span more than 7 decades. Data are presented for affected relative pairs from a Canadian population base of 30,000 multiple sclerosis index cases (1993-2008). The effects of genetic sharing, parent of origin, intergenerational versus collinear differences, and gender on the ages of onset were evaluated in the following concordant pairs: monozygotic twins (n = 29), dizygotic twins (n = 10), siblings (n = 614), first cousins (n = 405), half siblings (n = 29), parent/child (n = 285), and aunt/uncle/niece/nephew (avunculars) (n = 289). Fisher's z test assessed intraclass correlation (r) for ages of onset. Correlations for monozygotic twins, dizygotic twins, full siblings, and first cousins were 0.60, 0.54, 0.20, and 0.10, respectively. Dizygotic twins resembled monozygotic twins more than siblings. The age-of-onset correlation for maternal half siblings (r = 0.37) was higher than that for paternal half siblings (r = 0.26), consistent with other observations suggesting an intrauterine environmental effect on multiple sclerosis risk. Intergenerational comparisons are complicated by substantial increases of multiple sclerosis incidence over time. Genetic loading (familial vs. sporadic cases) did not generally influence the age of onset, but correlation of age of onset in multiple sclerosis relative pairs was proportional to genetic sharing. A maternal parent-of-origin effect on the age of onset in collinear generations was suggested.