30 research outputs found

    Chronic disease risk factors, healthy days and medical claims in South African employees presenting for health risk screening

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Non-communicable diseases (NCD) accounts for more than a third (37%) of all deaths in South Africa. However, this burden of disease can be reduced by addressing risk factors. The aim of this study was to determine the health and risk profile of South African employees presenting for health risk assessments and to measure their readiness to change and improve lifestyle behaviour.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>Employees (n = 1954) from 18 companies were invited to take part in a wellness day, which included a health-risk assessment. Self-reported health behaviour and health status was recorded. Clinical measures included cholesterol finger-prick test, blood pressure and Body Mass Index (BMI). Health-related age was calculated using an algorithm incorporating the relative risk for all case mortality associated with smoking, physical activity, fruit and vegetable intake, BMI and cholesterol. Medical claims data were obtained from the health insurer.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>The mean percentage of participation was 26% (n = 1954) and ranged from 4% in transport to 81% in the consulting sector. Health-related age (38.5 ± 12.9 years) was significantly higher than chronological age (34.9 ± 10.3 yrs) (p < 0.001). Both chronological and risk-related age were significantly different between the sectors (P < 0.001), with the manufacturing sector being the oldest and finance having the youngest employees. Health-related age was significantly associated with number of days adversely affected by mental and physical health, days away from work and total annual medical costs (p < 0.001). Employees had higher rates of overweight, smoking among men, and physical inactivity (total sample) when compared the general SA population. Increased health-related expenditure was associated with increased number of risk factors, absenteeism and reduced physical activity.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>SA employees' health and lifestyle habits are placing them at increased risk for NCD's, suggesting that they may develop NCD's earlier than expected. Inter-sectoral differences for health-related age might provide insight into those companies which have the greatest need for interventions, and may also assist in predicting future medical expenditure. This study underscores the importance of determining the health and risk status of employees which could assist in identifying the appropriate interventions to reduce the risk of NCD's among employees.</p

    Genotyping of black grouse MHC class II B using reference Strand-Mediated Conformational Analysis (RSCA)

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>The Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) is a cluster of genes involved in the vertebrate immune system and includes loci with an extraordinary number of alleles. Due to the complex evolution of MHC genes, alleles from different loci within the same MHC class can be very similar and therefore difficult to assign to separate loci. Consequently, single locus amplification of MHC genes is hard to carry out in species with recently duplicated genes in the same MHC class, and multiple MHC loci have to be genotyped simultaneously. Since amplified alleles have the same length, accurate genotyping is difficult. Reference Strand-Mediated Conformational Analysis (RSCA), which is increasingly used in studies of natural populations with multiple MHC genes, is a genotyping method capable to provide high resolution and accuracy in such cases.</p> <p>Findings</p> <p>We adapted the RSCA method to genotype multiple MHC class II B (BLB) genes in black grouse (<it>Tetrao tetrix</it>), a non-model galliform bird species, using a 96-Capillary Array Electrophoresis, the MegaBACE™ 1000 DNA Analysing System (GE Healthcare). In this study we used fluorescently labelled reference strands from both black grouse and hazel grouse and observed good agreement between RSCA and cloning/sequencing since 71 alleles were observed by cloning/sequencing and 76 alleles by RSCA among the 24 individuals included in the comparison. At the individual level however, there was a trend towards more alleles scored with RSCA (1-6 per individual) than cloning/sequencing (1-4 per individual). In 63% of the pair-wise comparison, the identical allele was scored in RSCA as in cloning/sequencing. Nine out of 24 individuals had the same number of alleles in RSCA as in cloning/sequencing. Our RSCA protocol allows a faster RSCA genotyping than presented in many other RSCA studies.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>In this study, we have developed the RSCA typing method further to work on a 96-Capillary Array Electrophoresis (MegaBACE™ 1000). Our RSCA protocol can be applied to fast and reliable screening of MHC class II B diversity of black grouse populations. This will facilitate future large-scale population studies of black grouse and other galliformes species with multiple inseparable MHC loci.</p

    What Happened to Gray Whales during the Pleistocene? The Ecological Impact of Sea-Level Change on Benthic Feeding Areas in the North Pacific Ocean

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    Gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) undertake long migrations, from Baja California to Alaska, to feed on seasonally productive benthos of the Bering and Chukchi seas. The invertebrates that form their primary prey are restricted to shallow water environments, but global sea-level changes during the Pleistocene eliminated or reduced this critical habitat multiple times. Because the fossil record of gray whales is coincident with the onset of Northern Hemisphere glaciation, gray whales survived these massive changes to their feeding habitat, but it is unclear how.We reconstructed gray whale carrying capacity fluctuations during the past 120,000 years by quantifying gray whale feeding habitat availability using bathymetric data for the North Pacific Ocean, constrained by their maximum diving depth. We calculated carrying capacity based on modern estimates of metabolic demand, prey availability, and feeding duration; we also constrained our estimates to reflect current population size and account for glaciated and non-glaciated areas in the North Pacific. Our results show that key feeding areas eliminated by sea-level lowstands were not replaced by commensurate areas. Our reconstructions show that such reductions affected carrying capacity, and harmonic means of these fluctuations do not differ dramatically from genetic estimates of carrying capacity.Assuming current carrying capacity estimates, Pleistocene glacial maxima may have created multiple, weak genetic bottlenecks, although the current temporal resolution of genetic datasets does not test for such signals. Our results do not, however, falsify molecular estimates of pre-whaling population size because those abundances would have been sufficient to survive the loss of major benthic feeding areas (i.e., the majority of the Bering Shelf) during glacial maxima. We propose that gray whales survived the disappearance of their primary feeding ground by employing generalist filter-feeding modes, similar to the resident gray whales found between northern Washington State and Vancouver Island

    ISSN exercise & sport nutrition review: research & recommendations

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    Sports nutrition is a constantly evolving field with hundreds of research papers published annually. For this reason, keeping up to date with the literature is often difficult. This paper is a five year update of the sports nutrition review article published as the lead paper to launch the JISSN in 2004 and presents a well-referenced overview of the current state of the science related to how to optimize training and athletic performance through nutrition. More specifically, this paper provides an overview of: 1.) The definitional category of ergogenic aids and dietary supplements; 2.) How dietary supplements are legally regulated; 3.) How to evaluate the scientific merit of nutritional supplements; 4.) General nutritional strategies to optimize performance and enhance recovery; and, 5.) An overview of our current understanding of the ergogenic value of nutrition and dietary supplementation in regards to weight gain, weight loss, and performance enhancement. Our hope is that ISSN members and individuals interested in sports nutrition find this review useful in their daily practice and consultation with their clients

    Hyponatremia in the intensive care unit: How to avoid a Zugzwang situation?

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