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Toddlers’ aggression linked to genetic factors

A new study has found that the development of physical aggression in toddlers is strongly associated genetic factors and to a lesser degree with the environment.
Eric Lacourse of the University of Montreal worked with the parents of identical and non-identical twins to evaluate and compare their behavior, environment and genetics.
“The gene-environment analyses revealed that early genetic factors were pervasive in accounting for developmental trends, explaining most of the stability and change in physical aggression,” Lacourse said.

“However, it should be emphasized that these genetic associations do not imply that the early trajectories of physical aggression are set and unchangeable. Genetic factors can always interact with other factors from the environment in the causal chain explaining any behavior,” the researcher said. Lacourse and his colleagues posited and tested three general patterns regarding the developmental roles of genetic and environmental factors in physical aggression.

First, the most consensual and general point of view is that both sources of influence are ubiquitous and involved in the stability of physical aggression. Second, a “genetic set point” model suggested a single set of genetic factors could account for the level of physical aggression across time.

A third pattern labeled ‘genetic maturation’ postulates new sources of genetic and environmental influences with age.

The researcher said that according to the genetic maturation hypothesis, new environmental contributions to physical aggression could be of short duration in contrast to genetic factors.

MS patients experience decrease in life expectancy

A large scale study in the US on the mortality of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) has provided us with new info about the life expectancy of people with the disease.
David Kaufman, ScD, of the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, is the lead author. The work is the result of a collaboration between the investigators at BU and their colleagues at University of California San Francisco, the University of Alabama, Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf, Care-Safe LLC, a consulting firm and the sponsor of the research, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals.

The investigators used health insurance claims data to identify a series of patients with MS and a comparison group of individuals from the same health plans who did not have MS.

A total of 30,402 MS patients and 89,818 non-MS subjects who were in the OptumInsight Research (OIR) database from 1996-2009 were included in the study.
The median lifespan was 6 years less among the MS patients than among the non-MS group.

Elevated BP at home indicate increased heart attack risk

Researchers have found that patients with masked hypertension, or normal BP in clinic but elevated BP when measured at home, had an increased risk of death and cardiovascular events compared with those who had normal BP in both clinic and at home.

The analysis included 5008 participants. While self-measured home BP was lower on average than clinic BP (mean home systolic BP 7.0 mm Hg and diastolic BP 3.0 mm Hg lower than the conventional blood pressure), 67 (5.0 per cent) of those with optimal clinic BP (less than 120/80 mm Hg), 187 (18.4 per cent) of those with normal clinic BP (120/80 mm Hg), and 315 (30.4 per cent) of those with high-normal clinic BP (130/85 mm Hg) had masked hypertension, or BP greater than 130/85 when BP was measured at home.

During a median of 8.3 years (total of 46,593 person-years) of follow-up, 522 participants died and 414 had a fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular event.

Compared with patients with optimal blood pressure without masked hypertension, multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios for total mortality for those with optimal clinic BP but masked hypertension were 2.21 (CI, 1.27.85); for those with normal clinic BP but masked hypertension, 1.57 (CI, 1.02.41); and for those with high-normal clinic BP but masked hypertension, 1.54 (CI, 1.07.23).

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