866 research outputs found

    Facial Curvature Detects and Explicates Ethnic Differences in Effects of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

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    Background Our objective is to help clinicians detect the facial effects of prenatal alcohol exposure by developing computer-based tools for screening facial form. Methods All 415 individuals considered were evaluated by expert dysmorphologists and categorized as (i) healthy control (HC), (ii) fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), or (iii) heavily prenatally alcohol exposed (HE) but not clinically diagnosable as FAS; 3D facial photographs were used to build models of facial form to support discrimination studies. Surface curvature-based delineations of facial form were introduced. Results (i) Facial growth in FAS, HE, and control subgroups is similar in both cohorts. (ii) Cohort consistency of agreement between clinical diagnosis and HC-FAS facial form classification is lower for midline facial regions and higher for nonmidline regions. (iii) Specific HC-FAS differences within and between the cohorts include: for HC, a smoother philtrum in Cape Coloured individuals; for FAS, a smoother philtrum in Caucasians; for control-FAS philtrum difference, greater homogeneity in Caucasians; for control-FAS face difference, greater homogeneity in Cape Coloured individuals. (iv) Curvature changes in facial profile induced by prenatal alcohol exposure are more homogeneous and greater in Cape Coloureds than in Caucasians. (v) The Caucasian HE subset divides into clusters with control-like and FAS-like facial dysmorphism. The Cape Coloured HE subset is similarly divided for nonmidline facial regions but not clearly for midline structures. (vi) The Cape Coloured HE subset with control-like facial dysmorphism shows orbital hypertelorism. Conclusions Facial curvature assists the recognition of the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and helps explain why different facial regions result in inconsistent control-FAS discrimination rates in disparate ethnic groups. Heavy prenatal alcohol exposure can give rise to orbital hypertelorism, supporting a long-standing suggestion that prenatal alcohol exposure at a particular time causes increased separation of the brain hemispheres with a concomitant increase in orbital separation

    NGC 4314. IV. Photometry of Star Clusters with Hubble Space Telescope - History of Star Formation in the Vicinity of a Nuclear Ring

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    Using HST WFPC2 images, we have obtained U, B, V, I, and H-alpha photometry for 76 star clusters in the nuclear star-forming ring of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 4314. These clusters are likely associated with an inner Inner Lindblad Resonance, or IILR. The blue colors and H-alpha emission for most of these clusters imply very young ages of 1-15 Myr. Age estimates based on several reddening-free parameters indicate that the present epoch of star formation has lasted at least 30 Myr. By estimating the masses of stars in the clusters and comparing with the H-alpha luminosity, we conclude that a significant fraction of ongoing star formation in the nuclear ring of NGC 4314 occurs in clusters. The cluster masses identify these as young open clusters, not young globular clusters. Further out in the galaxy, just exterior to the ring of young stars, previous ground-based observations revealed two symmetric stellar spiral arms which may be associated with an outer Inner Lindblad Resonance, or OILR. With our HST data, we have revealed part of this structure and its colors in more detail. The spiral arm colors are consistent with stellar ages between 40 and 200 Myr. The age difference between the inner ring of young stars (IILR) and the larger oval-like feature containing the blue arms (OILR) supports an interpretation of the morphology of the nuclear region of NGC 4314 that requires a reservoir of gas that becomes more compact over time. We speculate that as the gas distribution becomes more centrally concentrated, it interacts with these two resonances. Each resonance triggers star formation, resulting in two distinct epochs of star formation.Comment: To appear in The Astronomical Journal, March 2002. For a version with higher quality figures, see http://clyde.as.utexas.edu/pub/galaxy/N4314NEW/AJPAPER/BenedictR7.ps.g

    The Central Region of Barred Galaxies: Molecular Environment, Starbursts, and Secular Evolution

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    Despite compelling evidence that stellar bars drive gas into the inner 1--2 kpc or circumnuclear (CN) region of galaxies, there are few large, high resolution studies of the CN molecular gas and star formation (SF). We study a sample of local barred non-starbursts and starbursts with high-resolution CO, optical, Ha, RC, Br-gamma, and HST data, and find the following. (1) The inner kpc of bars differs markedly the outer disk and hosts molecular gas surface densities Sigma-gas-m of 500-3500 Msun pc-2, gas mass fractions of 10--30 %, and epicyclic frequencies of several 100--1000 km s-1 kpc-1.Consequently, gravitational instabilities can only set in at high gas densities and grow on a short timescale (few Myr). This high density, short timescale, `burst' mode may explain why powerful starbursts tend to be in the CN region of galaxies. (2) We suggest that the variety in CO morphologies is due to different stages of bar-driven inflow. At late stages, most of the CN gas is inside the outer inner Lindblad resonance (OILR), and has predominantly circular motions. Across the sample, we find bar pattern speeds with upper limits of 43 to 115 km s-1 kpc-1 and OILR radii of > 500 pc. (3) Barred starbursts and non-starbursts have CN SFRs of 3--11 and 0.1--2 Msun yr-1, despite similar CN gas mass. Sigma-gas-m in the starbursts is larger (1000--3500 Msun pc-2) and close to the Toomre critical density over a large region. (4) Molecular gas makes up 10%--30% of the CN dynamical mass (6--30 x 10^9 Msun).In the starbursts, it fuels CN SFRs of 3--11 Msun yr-1, building young, massive, high V/sigma components. We present evidence for such a pseudo-bulge in NGC 3351. Implications for secular evolution along the Hubble sequence are discussed.Comment: Accepted by the Astrophysical Journal. Paper length reduced to fit within APJ page limits. Version of paper with high resolution figures is at http://www.as.utexas.edu/~sj/papers/ms-hires-sj05a.ps.g

    Ischemic stroke risk, smoking, and the genetics of inflammation in a biracial population: the stroke prevention in young women study

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Although cigarette smoking is a well-established risk factor for vascular disease, the genetic mechanisms that link cigarette smoking to an increased incidence of stroke are not well understood. Genetic variations within the genes of the inflammatory pathways are thought to partially mediate this risk. Here we evaluate the association of several inflammatory gene single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with ischemic stroke risk among young women, further stratified by current cigarette smoking status.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>A population-based case-control study of stroke among women aged 15–49 identified 224 cases of first ischemic stroke (47.3% African-American) and 211 age-comparable control subjects (43.1% African-American). Several inflammatory candidate gene SNPs chosen through literature review were genotyped in the study population and assessed for association with stroke and interaction with smoking status.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Of the 8 SNPs (across 6 genes) analyzed, only <it>IL6 </it>SNP rs2069832 (allele C, African-American frequency = 92%, Caucasian frequency = 55%) was found to be significantly associated with stroke using an additive model, and this was only among African-Americans (age-adjusted: OR = 2.2, 95% CI = 1.0–5.0, p = 0.049; risk factor adjusted: OR = 2.5, 95% CI = 1.0–6.5, p = 0.05). When stratified by smoking status, two SNPs demonstrated statistically significant gene-environment interactions. First, the T allele (frequency = 5%) of <it>IL6 </it>SNP rs2069830 was found to be protective among non-smokers (OR = 0.30, 95% CI = 0.11–.082, p = 0.02), but not among smokers (OR = 1.63, 95% CI = 0.48–5.58, p = 0.43); genotype by smoking interaction (p = 0.036). Second, the C allele (frequency = 39%) of <it>CD14 </it>SNP rs2569190 was found to increase risk among smokers (OR = 2.05, 95% CI = 1.09–3.86, p = 0.03), but not among non-smokers (OR = 0.93, 95% CI = 0.62–1.39, p = 0.72); genotype by smoking interaction (p = 0.039).</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>This study demonstrates that inflammatory gene SNPs are associated with early-onset ischemic stroke among African-American women (<it>IL6</it>) and that cigarette smoking may modulate stroke risk through a gene-environment interaction (<it>IL6 and CD14</it>). Our finding replicates a prior study showing an interaction with smoking and the C allele of <it>CD14 </it>SNP rs2569190.</p

    Inadequate intake of nutrients essential for neurodevelopment in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD)

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    This study evaluated dietary intake in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Pre-clinical research suggests that nutrient supplementation may attenuate cognitive and behavioral deficits in FASD. Currently, the dietary adequacy of essential nutrients in children with FASD is unknown. Dietary data were collected as part of a randomized, doubleblind controlled trial of choline supplementation in FASD. Participants included 31 children with FASD, ages 2.5 – 4.9 years at enrollment. Dietary intake data was collected three times during the nine month study via interview-administered 24-hour recalls with the Automated Self-Administered 24-hour Recall. Dietary intake of macronutrients and 17 vitamins/minerals from food were averaged across three data collection points. Observed nutrient intakes were compared to national dietary intake data of children ages 2 – 5 years (What we Eat in America, NHANES 2007–2008) and to the Dietary Reference Intakes. Compared to the dietary intakes of children in the NHANES sample, children with FASD had lower intakes of saturated fat, vitamin D, and calcium. The majority (>50%) of children with FASD did not meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) or Adequate Intake (AI) for fiber, n-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, choline, and calcium. This pattern of dietary intake in children with FASD suggests that there may be opportunities to benefit from nutritional intervention. Supplementation with several nutrients including choline, vitamin D, and n-3 fatty acids, has been shown in animal models to attenuate the cognitive deficits of FASD. These results highlight the potential of nutritional clinical trials in FASD

    LSST Science Book, Version 2.0

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    A survey that can cover the sky in optical bands over wide fields to faint magnitudes with a fast cadence will enable many of the exciting science opportunities of the next decade. The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will have an effective aperture of 6.7 meters and an imaging camera with field of view of 9.6 deg^2, and will be devoted to a ten-year imaging survey over 20,000 deg^2 south of +15 deg. Each pointing will be imaged 2000 times with fifteen second exposures in six broad bands from 0.35 to 1.1 microns, to a total point-source depth of r~27.5. The LSST Science Book describes the basic parameters of the LSST hardware, software, and observing plans. The book discusses educational and outreach opportunities, then goes on to describe a broad range of science that LSST will revolutionize: mapping the inner and outer Solar System, stellar populations in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, the structure of the Milky Way disk and halo and other objects in the Local Volume, transient and variable objects both at low and high redshift, and the properties of normal and active galaxies at low and high redshift. It then turns to far-field cosmological topics, exploring properties of supernovae to z~1, strong and weak lensing, the large-scale distribution of galaxies and baryon oscillations, and how these different probes may be combined to constrain cosmological models and the physics of dark energy.Comment: 596 pages. Also available at full resolution at http://www.lsst.org/lsst/sciboo

    Choline supplementation in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

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    Background: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are conditions characterized by physical anomalies, neurodevelopmental abnormalities, and neurocognitive deficits, including intellectual, executive, and memory deficits. There are no specific biological treatments for FASDs, but rodent models have shown that prenatal or postnatal choline supplementation reduces cognitive and behavioral deficits. Potential mechanisms include phospholipid production for axonal growth and myelination, acetylcholine enhancement, and epigenetic effects

    Neuroserpin polymorphisms and stroke risk in a biracial population: the stroke prevention in young women study

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Neuroserpin, primarily localized to CNS neurons, inhibits the adverse effects of tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) on the neurovascular unit and has neuroprotective effects in animal models of ischemic stroke. We sought to evaluate the association of neuroserpin polymorphisms with risk for ischemic stroke among young women.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>A population-based case-control study of stroke among women aged 15–49 identified 224 cases of first ischemic stroke (47.3% African-American) and 211 age-matched control subjects (43.1% African-American). Neuroserpin single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) chosen through HapMap were genotyped in the study population and assessed for association with stroke.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Of the five SNPs analyzed, the A allele (frequency; Caucasian = 0.56, African-American = 0.42) of SNP rs6797312 located in intron 1 was associated with stroke in an age-adjusted dominant model (AA and AT vs. TT) among Caucasians (OR = 2.05, p = 0.023) but not African-Americans (OR = 0.71, p = 0.387). Models adjusting for other risk factors strengthened the association. Race-specific haplotype analyses, inclusive of SNP rs6797312, again demonstrated significant associations with stroke among Caucasians only.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>This study provides the first evidence that neuroserpin is associated with early-onset ischemic stroke among Caucasian women.</p

    Atypical developmental trajectories of white matter microstructure in prenatal alcohol exposure: Preliminary evidence from neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging

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    IntroductionFetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), a life-long condition resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE), is associated with structural brain anomalies and neurobehavioral differences. Evidence from longitudinal neuroimaging suggest trajectories of white matter microstructure maturation are atypical in PAE. We aimed to further characterize longitudinal trajectories of developmental white matter microstructure change in children and adolescents with PAE compared to typically-developing Controls using diffusion-weighted Neurite Orientation Dispersion and Density Imaging (NODDI).Materials and methodsParticipants: Youth with PAE (n = 34) and typically-developing Controls (n = 31) ages 8–17 years at enrollment. Participants underwent formal evaluation of growth and facial dysmorphology. Participants also completed two study visits (17 months apart on average), both of which involved cognitive testing and an MRI scan (data collected on a Siemens Prisma 3 T scanner). Age-related changes in the orientation dispersion index (ODI) and the neurite density index (NDI) were examined across five corpus callosum (CC) regions defined by tractography.ResultsWhile linear trajectories suggested similar overall microstructural integrity in PAE and Controls, analyses of symmetrized percent change (SPC) indicated group differences in the timing and magnitude of age-related increases in ODI (indexing the bending and fanning of axons) in the central region of the CC, with PAE participants demonstrating atypically steep increases in dispersion with age compared to Controls. Participants with PAE also demonstrated greater increases in ODI in the mid posterior CC (trend-level group difference). In addition, SPC in ODI and NDI was differentially correlated with executive function performance for PAE participants and Controls, suggesting an atypical relationship between white matter microstructure maturation and cognitive function in PAE.DiscussionPreliminary findings suggest subtle atypicality in the timing and magnitude of age-related white matter microstructure maturation in PAE compared to typically-developing Controls. These findings add to the existing literature on neurodevelopmental trajectories in PAE and suggest that advanced biophysical diffusion modeling (NODDI) may be sensitive to biologically-meaningful microstructural changes in the CC that are disrupted by PAE. Findings of atypical brain maturation-behavior relationships in PAE highlight the need for further study. Further longitudinal research aimed at characterizing white matter neurodevelopmental trajectories in PAE will be important
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