Smoking is a major public health problem. As smokers age and die prematurely, the tobacco industry must continue to recruit new, young smokers. Survey data indicate that currently in the UK around 207 000 children aged 11-15 start smoking every year. We used local data on adult smoking rates to apportion national data on child smoking uptake to specific areas. The presentation of data for individual local authorities, which now have responsibility for public health, can be used to focus attention locally. For example, this analysis demonstrates that each day, 67 children, more than two classrooms full, start smoking in London.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published almost 8 years ago
Recent reports show that fewer adolescents believe that regular cannabis use is harmful to health. Concomitantly, adolescents are initiating cannabis use at younger ages, and more adolescents are using cannabis on a daily basis. The purpose of the present study was to test the association between persistent cannabis use and neuropsychological decline and determine whether decline is concentrated among adolescent-onset cannabis users. Participants were members of the Dunedin Study, a prospective study of a birth cohort of 1,037 individuals followed from birth (1972/1973) to age 38 y. Cannabis use was ascertained in interviews at ages 18, 21, 26, 32, and 38 y. Neuropsychological testing was conducted at age 13 y, before initiation of cannabis use, and again at age 38 y, after a pattern of persistent cannabis use had developed. Persistent cannabis use was associated with neuropsychological decline broadly across domains of functioning, even after controlling for years of education. Informants also reported noticing more cognitive problems for persistent cannabis users. Impairment was concentrated among adolescent-onset cannabis users, with more persistent use associated with greater decline. Further, cessation of cannabis use did not fully restore neuropsychological functioning among adolescent-onset cannabis users. Findings are suggestive of a neurotoxic effect of cannabis on the adolescent brain and highlight the importance of prevention and policy efforts targeting adolescents.
The aim of this longitudinal study was to compare the prevalence of malocclusion at ages 3 and 7 years in a sample of children, exploring the hypothesis that prevalence of malocclusion is higher at 3 than at 7 years of age and may be influenced by sucking habits. The study sample comprised 386 children (199 girls and 187 boys), aged 3 years at study start, sourced from three Public Dental Service clinics in Sweden. Malocclusion was diagnosed by clinical examination, using a specific protocol. Data on allergy, traumatic injuries, sucking habits, and breathing pattern including nocturnal breathing disturbances were obtained by means of a questionnaire answered by child and parent in conjunction with the initial and final clinical examination. The overall prevalence of malocclusion decreased significantly, from 70 to 58% (P < 0.0001): predominantly anterior open bite, excessive overjet, and Class III malocclusion. Although high rates of spontaneous correction were also noted for deep bite, Class II malocclusion and posterior and anterior crossbites, new cases developed at almost the same rate; thus, the prevalence was unchanged at the end of the observation period. Anterior open bite and posterior crossbite were the only conditions showing significant associations with sucking habits. The results confirm the hypothesis of higher prevalence of malocclusion at 3 years of age and clearly support the strategy of deferring orthodontic correction of malocclusion until the mixed dentition stage.
The most common form of heart failure occurs with normal systolic function and often involves cardiac hypertrophy in the elderly. To clarify the biological mechanisms that drive cardiac hypertrophy in aging, we tested the influence of circulating factors using heterochronic parabiosis, a surgical technique in which joining of animals of different ages leads to a shared circulation. After 4 weeks of exposure to the circulation of young mice, cardiac hypertrophy in old mice dramatically regressed, accompanied by reduced cardiomyocyte size and molecular remodeling. Reversal of age-related hypertrophy was not attributable to hemodynamic or behavioral effects of parabiosis, implicating a blood-borne factor. Using modified aptamer-based proteomics, we identified the TGF-β superfamily member GDF11 as a circulating factor in young mice that declines with age. Treatment of old mice to restore GDF11 to youthful levels recapitulated the effects of parabiosis and reversed age-related hypertrophy, revealing a therapeutic opportunity for cardiac aging. PAPERFLICK:
Gastroschisis is a serious congenital defect in which the intestines protrude through an opening in the abdominal wall. Gastroschisis requires surgical repair soon after birth and is associated with an increased risk for medical complications and mortality during infancy. Reports from multiple surveillance systems worldwide have documented increasing prevalence of gastroschisis since the 1980s, particularly among younger mothers (1,2); however, since publication of a multistate U.S. report that included data through 2005 (1), it is not known whether prevalence has continued to increase. Data on gastroschisis from 14 population-based state surveillance programs were pooled and analyzed to assess the average annual percent change (AAPC) in prevalence and to compare the prevalence during 2006-2012 with that during 1995-2005, stratified by maternal age and race/ethnicity. The pooled data included approximately 29% of U.S. births for the period 1995-2012. During 1995-2012, gastroschisis prevalence increased in every category of maternal age and race/ethnicity, and the AAPC ranged from 3.1% in non-Hispanic white (white) mothers aged <20 years to 7.9% in non-Hispanic black (black) mothers aged <20 years. These corresponded to overall percentage increases during 1995-2012 that ranged from 68% in white mothers aged <20 years to 263% in black mothers aged <20 years. Gastroschisis prevalence increased 30% between the two periods, from 3.6 per 10,000 births during 1995-2005 to 4.9 per 10,000 births during 2006-2012 (prevalence ratio = 1.3, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.3-1.4), with the largest increase among black mothers aged <20 years (prevalence ratio = 2.0, 95% CI: 1.6-2.5). Public health research is urgently needed to identify factors contributing to this increase.
In contrast to the effects of preterm birth, the extent to which shorter gestational age affects the cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) levels of individuals who were born at term (ie, between 37 and 42 weeks) is largely unknown. The aim of this study was to examine whether life-course CRF levels varied across different gestational ages within the at-term range.
This study examined the associations among maternal depression, mothers' emotional and material investment in their child, and children’s cognitive functioning. Middle-class Chilean mothers and children (N = 875; 52% males) were studied when children were 1, 5, 10, and 16 years (1991-2007). Results indicated that highly depressed mothers provided less emotional and material support to their child across all ages, which related to children’s lower IQ. Children with lower mental abilities at age 1 received less learning-material support at age 5, which led to mothers' higher depression at child age 10. Mothers' low support was more strongly linked to maternal depression as children got older. Findings elucidate the dynamic and enduring effects of depression on mothers' parenting and children’s development.
The ages of puberty, first sexual intercourse and first birth signify the onset of reproductive ability, behavior and success, respectively. In a genome-wide association study of 125,667 UK Biobank participants, we identify 38 loci associated (P < 5 × 10(-8)) with age at first sexual intercourse. These findings were taken forward in 241,910 men and women from Iceland and 20,187 women from the Women's Genome Health Study. Several of the identified loci also exhibit associations (P < 5 × 10(-8)) with other reproductive and behavioral traits, including age at first birth (variants in or near ESR1 and RBM6-SEMA3F), number of children (CADM2 and ESR1), irritable temperament (MSRA) and risk-taking propensity (CADM2). Mendelian randomization analyses infer causal influences of earlier puberty timing on earlier first sexual intercourse, earlier first birth and lower educational attainment. In turn, likely causal consequences of earlier first sexual intercourse include reproductive, educational, psychiatric and cardiometabolic outcomes.
Handgrip strength is an important biomarker of healthy ageing and a powerful predictor of future morbidity and mortality both in younger and older populations. Therefore, the measurement of handgrip strength is increasingly used as a simple but efficient screening tool for health vulnerability. This study presents normative reference values for handgrip strength in Germany for use in research and clinical practice. It is the first study to provide normative data across the life course that is stratified by sex, age, and body height. The study used a nationally representative sample of test participants ages 17-90. It was based on pooled data from five waves of the German Socio-Economic Panel (2006-2014) and involved a total of 11,790 persons living in Germany (providing 25,285 observations). Handgrip strength was measured with a Smedley dynamometer. Results showed that peak mean values of handgrip strength are reached in men’s and women’s 30s and 40s after which handgrip strength declines in linear fashion with age. Following published recommendations, the study used a cut-off at 2 SD below the sex-specific peak mean value across the life course to define a ‘weak grip’. Less than 10% of women and men aged 65-69 were classified as weak according to this definition, shares increasing to about half of the population aged 80-90. Based on survival analysis that linked handgrip strength to a relevant outcome, however, a ‘critically weak grip’ that warrants further examination was estimated to commence already at 1 SD below the group-specific mean value.
Epigenetic change is a hallmark of ageing but its link to ageing mechanisms in humans remains poorly understood. While DNA methylation at many CpG sites closely tracks chronological age, DNA methylation changes relevant to biological age are expected to gradually dissociate from chronological age, mirroring the increased heterogeneity in health status at older ages.