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.
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.
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.
The aim of this study was to examine the effects of genetic and environment influences and sex on injury involvement using two sets of Finnish twin data. The younger participants were 955 twins born between 1983 and 1987, aged 20 to 24 years. The older participants were 12,428 twins born between 1930 and 1957, aged 33 to 60 years. Within-twin correlations in monozygotic and dizygotic twins suggested that genetic effects play no role in injury involvement among young twins, but do have some effect at older ages. The results indicated that environmental factors have greater importance in injury involvement than genetic factors in the younger twin data set (FT12), whereas in a middle-aged (33-60 years) twin data set, genetic effects explained about quarter of the variance in injury involvement. Sex was a strong contributing factor, with males being generally more prone to injuries than females.
Spouse similarity research has been largely descriptive yet is of theoretical and empirical importance to understanding individual differences in substance use. The present study considers phenotypic assortment versus social homogamy processes for alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine consumption traits using an extended twin-spouse design. Whereas both assortment processes were supported for quantity of alcohol consumed, phenotypic assortment was supported for quantity of tobacco and caffeine consumed, and social homogamy for tobacco use status. Moderate heritable influences were found for all traits though no shared environmental influences were found beyond those due to social background influences, i.e. those pertaining to social homogamy. Swedish government policies in effect at the time of marriage selection may explain the presence of social homogamy for quantity of alcohol versus quantity of tobacco and caffeine consumed. Social homogamy may be more important for some substance use traits such as alcohol consumption and tobacco use status but not others.
Depression and anxiety are highly comorbid due to shared genetic risk factors, but less is known about whether burnout shares these risk factors. We aimed to examine whether the covariation between major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and burnout is explained by common genetic and/or environmental factors. This cross-sectional study included 25,378 Swedish twins responding to a survey in 2005-2006. Structural equation models were used to analyze whether the trait variances and covariances were due to additive genetics, non-additive genetics, shared environment, and unique environment. Univariate analyses tested sex limitation models and multivariate analysis tested Cholesky, independent pathway, and common pathway models. The phenotypic correlations were 0.71 (0.69-0.74) between MDD and GAD, 0.58 (0.56-0.60) between MDD and burnout, and 0.53 (0.50-0.56) between GAD and burnout. Heritabilities were 45% for MDD, 49% for GAD, and 38% for burnout; no statistically significant sex differences were found. A common pathway model was chosen as the final model. The common factor was influenced by genetics (58%) and unique environment (42%), and explained 77% of the variation in MDD, 69% in GAD, and 44% in burnout. GAD and burnout had additive genetic factors unique to the phenotypes (11% each), while MDD did not. Unique environment explained 23% of the variability in MDD, 20% in GAD, and 45% in burnout. In conclusion, the covariation was explained by an underlying common factor, largely influenced by genetics. Burnout was to a large degree influenced by unique environmental factors not shared with MDD and GAD.
BACKGROUND: Obesity is linked to asthma in a yet poorly understood manner. We examined the relationship between obesity and asthma in a population-based sample of twins. METHODS: From the cohorts born between 1953 and 1982, who were enrolled in The Danish Twin Registry, a total of 29 183 twin individuals participated in a nationwide questionnaire study, where data on height, weight and asthma were collected. Latent factor models of genetic and environmental effects were fitted using maximum likelihood methods. RESULTS: The age-adjusted risk of asthma was increased both in obese females, OR = 1.96 (1.45-2.64), P
BACKGROUND: Atopic dermatitis is a common multifactorial disease that seems to be increasing in frequency. OBJECTIVE: Our purpose was to evaluate and expand previous findings on the incidence of atopic dermatitis and its concordance rates in twins. METHODS: A mailed questionnaire study was conducted. It involved 812 twin pairs living in Fyn County, Denmark, as of Jan. 1, 1987 and born between 1965 and 1979. Zygosity was determined by the similarity method. RESULTS: The response rate was 92%. The cumulative incidence rate (up to 7 years) of atopic dermatitis increased significantly from 0.06 for the birth cohort 1965-1969 to 0.12 for the birth cohort 1975-1979. The pairwise concordance rate was 0.72 in monozygotic and 0.23 in dizygotic twin pairs. CONCLUSION: The frequency of atopic dermatitis is still increasing but not as rapidly as in the 1960s. The magnitude of the concordance rates indicates that genetic factors are decisive in the development of atopic dermatitis. It is suggested that widespread environmental factors are operating in genetically susceptible persons.
Evidence from twin and molecular genetic studies is accumulating that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) shares substantial etiological factors with other disorders. This is mirrored in clinical practice where ASD without coexisting disorders is rare. The present study aims to examine the range of coexisting disorders in ASD in a genetically informative cohort.
Parents of all Swedish 9-year-old twins born between 1992 and 2001 (n = 19,130) underwent a telephone interview designed to screen for child psychiatric disorders, including ASD. To ensure full coverage of child psychiatric disorders, data were also retrieved from population-based health registers. We investigated the coexistence of eight psychiatric disorders known to coexist with ASDs in probands and their co-twins.
Half of the individuals with ASDs (50.3%) had four or more coexisting disorders and only 4% did not have any concomitant disorder. The 'healthy co-twin' in ASD discordant monozygotic twin pairs was very often (79% of boys and 50% of girls) affected by at least one non-ASD disorder. The corresponding figures for ASD discordant dizygotic twin pairs were significantly lower (46% of males and 30% of females).
Detailed phenotypic descriptions including symptoms of problems associated with a wide range of child psychiatric disorders may aid in unraveling the genetic architecture of ASD and should guide the development of intervention strategies addressing each problem type specifically.