STUDY DESIGN: Prospective cohort study of twins. OBJECTIVES: To investigate associations between physical activity, physical function, and incident low back pain (LBP) in an elderly population. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: The relationship between an active lifestyle and LBP in seniors is unknown. METHODS: Participants in the population-based Longitudinal Study of Aging Danish Twins free from LBP at baseline (no LBP during the past month) were included, and interview data on physical activity, overall physical function, and LBP at baseline and follow-up were obtained. Associations between levels of physical activity and LBP were estimated using logistic regression for the entire cohort, and using a matched case-control design for twin pairs discordant for physical activity. Absolute risk and relative risks for incident LBP in relation to physical activity were calculated for participants with higher or lower than average physical function at baseline. Absolute risk for LBP was also calculated for participants based on whether they remained active or inactive between baseline and follow-up or changed activity level. RESULTS: A total of 1387 persons aged 70-100 at baseline were included in the analyses, including 86 twin pairs discordant for physical activity at baseline. In the total sample, 83% were engaged in light physical activity, and 42% of men and 35% of women were engaged in strenuous physical activity at least weekly. Being engaged in strenuous physical activity at baseline was strongly protective in relation to both having had any LBP (odds ratio 0.21, 95% confidence interval 0.12-0.37 for intra-pair analysis) and having had LBP lasting more than 30 days altogether during the past year at follow-up (odds ratio 0.08, 95% confidence interval 0.03-0.18 for intra-pair analysis). Statistically significant dose-response associations between increasing frequency of strenuous physical activity and magnitude of this protective effect were found. Participants with poor initial physical function experienced the strongest protective effect of strenuous physical activity. Finally, LBP does not appear to be an important factor affecting whether participants remained engaged in strenuous physical activity at baseline and follow-up or vice versa. CONCLUSIONS: Strenuous physical activity at least once a week is protective for incident LBP in seniors.
This is a follow up study of twins within the Stockholm area, including 32 families and their twins attending grade nine. The twins have been followed from birth to 16 years of age. The main purpose of this study from its inception was to assess mental and cognitive development at different ages. Another aim was to see how the twins who were born prematurely are developing during the school ages. A third aim has been to gain a deeper insight into the relationship between co-twins and the development of their identities, which is the focus of this paper. Several ability tests have been used, as well as questionnaires about interests, attitudes toward school, and leisure activities. At the 16-year follow-up, a psychological method, the Wartegg drawing test, designed to examine identity, ego strength, dependency, ambition, anxiety, willpower, creativity, empathy and coping strategies has been used. The results indicate that it is difficult for twins to develop independence and a positive identity, as they have to emancipate themselves both from their parents and from their co-twins. Some differences in identity, anxiety and ambition were observed between female and male twins, MZ and DZ twins, preterm and fullterm twins. Prematurity, sex and zygosity no longer had any relation to cognitive development at 16 years of age.
To examine the epidemiology of anorexia nervosa in men, we screened Finnish male twins born in 1975-79.
Men (N = 2122) from FinnTwin16 birth cohorts were screened for lifetime eating disorders by a questionnaire. The screen positives (N = 18), their male co-twins (N = 10) and those with lifetime minimum BMI
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AIMS AND METHODS: The primary purpose was to characterize mean and individual-level patterns of change in physical functional performance over eight years (2 year intervals) in a community dwelling sample of Swedish twins (579 men and women aged 79-96 years at baseline). RESULTS: Mixed linear models revealed linear rates of decline for handgrip strength (grip) and time to complete five chair stands, and accelerating decline for peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) for both sexes. Significant random effects were found for intercept and time for grip and PEFR tests, indicating differences between participants initially and over time. Individual differences in chair-stand performance were significant for initial status only. Age at baseline was predictive of initial status in grip, PEFR and chair performance (women only), but not rate of change. Measures of body size at baseline were predictive of individual variation in initial grip (height), PEFR (weight in men, height in women), and chair performance (height), but had less consistent associations with changes in test performance over time. In the deceased sub-sample (85% of participants), having been further from death was related to less steep declines in grip, but not PEFR or chair performance. Twins from the same pair were related in initial status (twin level variance ~30-70%), but they were not generally related in rate of change. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that changes in physical functional performance in an elderly, community-dwelling population vary across individuals in a testand sex-dependent manner. Constitutional variables (age, sex, body size) are predictive of baseline performance, but explain little variance in change over time. Initial status and rate of change in grip strength had the strongest association with proximity from death, indicating that while PEFR and repeated chair stand time are useful tests to assess function, grip strength appears to be a particularly useful biomarker in the oldest-old.
Stillbirth rates among single and multiple births show markedly decreasing temporal trends. In addition, several studies have demonstrated that the stillbirth rates are dependent on maternal age, in general, showing a U- or J-shaped association with maternal age. In this study, the temporal trends in and the effect of maternal age on the stillbirth rate were considered simultaneously. Our goal was to split the variation into temporal trends and maternal age effects. We applied two-dimensional analysis of variance because no linear association between maternal age and stillbirth rate can be assumed. The temporal trends of stillbirth rates also were not clearly linear. However, the possibility of applying regression analyses based on linear time trends was also considered. Our study is mainly based on official data from England and Wales for the period between 1927 and 2004. These results were compared with registered birth data from Finland between 1937 and 1997. The best fit was obtained when the models were built for the logarithm of the stillbirth rate. Our interpretation of this result is that an association exists between the effects of the factors and the mean stillbirth rate, and consequently, a multiplicative model was applied. Relatively high stillbirth rates were observed among twin births of young mothers and among all births of older mothers.
Part of the association between physical activity and low blood pressure (BP) may be a consequence of genetic selection. We investigated the association of genetic factors and physical activity in adolescence and adulthood with BP. BP was measured with a Finapres device in 71 monozygotic and 104 dizygotic male twin pairs using no antihypertensive medication. Subjects' mean age was 50.4 yr (range 40-72 yr). Subjects were interviewed about their lifetime exercise and other health habits. Exercise was classified as aerobic, power, or other, and these were further divided into adolescence (12-20 yr of age), the previous year, and lifetime. Genetic modeling was conducted to estimate genetic and environmental components of variance of systolic and diastolic BP. Aerobic exercise in adolescence and high-intensity aerobic exercise throughout the lifetime were associated with low diastolic BP in adulthood. Of the variance in diastolic BP, genetic factors accounted for 35% and aerobic exercise in adolescence for 5%. For systolic BP, genetic factors accounted for 39% of the variance. In turn, genetic factors accounted for 44% of the variance in aerobic exercise in adolescence. The genetic factors in part accounting for the variance in diastolic BP and those in part accounting for variance in aerobic exercise in adolescence were correlated. The association between aerobic exercise in adolescence and low diastolic BP in adulthood is a new finding, as is the observation that the factors partly share the same genes.
The main aim of this paper was to resolve the correlation between intelligence test scores and standing height into genetic and environmental components. Data on 1181 identical and 1412 fraternal twin pairs (all males) were retrieved by matching files from the Norwegian Army with twin registries. The data were analyzed by means of a structural equation model comprising latent genetic, shared environmental and nonshared environmental factors and correlations between them. A major part of the height--intelligence correlation was due to correlated shared environments (59% of the phenotypic height--intelligence correlation), but statistically significant effects of correlated genes and nonshared environments were also found (respectively 35% and 6% of the phenotypic correlation).
This study examined the relative contribution of genetic and environmental effects on maximal leg extensor power and also investigated whether leg extensor power and maximum voluntary isometric knee extensor strength share a genetic component.
Muscle functions were measured as part of the Finnish Twin Study on Aging in 101 monozygotic (MZ) and 116 dizygotic (DZ) female twin pairs aged 63-76 yr. Leg extensor power was measured using the Nottingham Leg Extensor Power Rig and maximum voluntary isometric knee extensor strength using an adjustable dynamometer chair. The analyses were carried out using the maximum likelihood method in Mx-program on the raw data set.
A bivariate Cholesky decomposition model showed that leg extensor power and isometric knee extensor strength shared a genetic component in common, which accounted for 32% of the total variance in leg extensor power and 48% in isometric knee extensor strength. In addition, power and strength had a nonshared environmental effect in common accounting for four percent of the variance in power and 52% in strength. Remaining variance for leg extensor power was due to trait-specific shared and nonshared environmental effects.
Observed genetic effect in common for leg extensor power and maximum voluntary isometric knee extensor strength indicated that these two traits are regulated by the same genes. However, also environmental effects have a significant role in explaining the variability in power and strength.
Male twin gestations exhibit higher incidence of fetal morbidity and mortality than singleton gestations. From an evolutionary perspective, the relatively high rates of infant and child mortality among male twins born into threatening environments reduce the fitness of these gestations, making them more vulnerable to fetal loss. Women do not perceive choosing to spontaneously abort gestations although the outcome may result from estimates, made without awareness, of the risks of continuing a pregnancy. Here, we examine whether the non-conscious decisional biology of gestation can be linked to conscious risk aversion. We test this speculation by measuring the association between household surveys in Sweden that gauge financial risk aversion in the population and the frequency of twins among live male births. We used time-series regression methods to estimate our suspected associations and Box-Jenkins modeling to ensure that autocorrelation did not confound the estimation or reduce its efficiency. We found, consistent with theory, that financial risk aversion in the population correlates inversely with the odds of a twin among Swedish males born two months later. The odds of a twin among males fell by approximately 3.5% two months after unexpectedly great risk aversion in the population. This work implies that shocks that affect population risk aversion carry implications for fetal loss in vulnerable twin pregnancies.