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Biodemography and Social Biology

Michel Poulain, Anne Herm, Dany Chambre, Gianni Pes
The question of whether mothers' fertility history influences their post-reproductive survival has been addressed frequently in the scientific literature. Using data from Villagrande Strisaili, Sardinia, where longevity is higher than anywhere else in Europe, we analyzed the relationship between the fertility pattern of mothers who survived past age 50 (n = 539) and their post-reproductive lifespan. We find that, after adjustment for potential confounders (mothers' birth cohort, survival of spouse), the mothers who on average delivered their children later displayed a reduced mortality risk (‒2...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
Neal Krause, Gail Ironson, Kenneth I Pargament
Research indicates that praying for others may offset the effects of stress on self-rated health and psychological well-being. The purpose of the current study is to extend this literature by seeing whether praying for others moderates the effects of exposure to lifetime trauma on a key marker of inflammation: C-reactive protein. The data come from a recent nationwide survey of adults of all ages (N = 1,589). Levels of C-reactive protein were obtained from assays of blood spots drawn from a capillary fingerstick...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
Stephen Cranney
While prior literature on the genetics of human fertility outcomes and attitudes has generally yielded significantly positive results in developed-country contexts, the implications of this dynamic for the potential for intergenerational increases in fertility are rarely raised. Here the prior literature on the subject is discussed in light of its implications for future changes due to selection, equations traditionally used in human demography are integrated into an evolutionary biological framework, and speculative calculations on the change in future fertility assuming already published numbers for parities and heritability are conducted...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
Jason E Murasko
Previous work has shown a positive height-obesity association in U.S. children that is more pronounced in those from lower-income families than in those from higher-income families. That work has been limited to cross-sectional analysis. This study evaluates income differentials in the inter-temporal associations between childhood height and obesity in U.S. children ages 6 to 14. Pooled samples of 9,670 female and 10,110 male children from the U.S. Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K) were evaluated in multilevel mixed effects models...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
W Carson Byrd, Latrica E Best
As the social sciences expand their involvement in genetic and genomic research, more information is needed to understand how theoretical concepts are applied to genetic data found in social surveys. Given the layers of complexity of studying race in relation to genetics and genomics, it is important to identify the varying approaches used to discuss and operationalize race and identity by social scientists. The present study explores how social scientists have used race, ethnicity, and ancestry in studies published in four social science journals from 2000 to 2014...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
Geeta Eick, Samuel S Urlacher, Thomas W McDade, Paul Kowal, J Josh Snodgrass
Our objective was to validate a commercially available ELISA to measure antibody titers against Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in dried blood spots (DBS) to replace a previously validated assay for DBS that is no longer available. We evaluated the precision, reliability, and stability of the assay for the measurement of EBV antibodies in matched plasma, fingerprick DBS, and venous blood DBS samples from 208 individuals. Effects of hematocrit and DBS sample matrix on EBV antibody determination were also investigated, and the cutoff for seropositivity in DBS was determined...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
Lydia Feinstein, Sara Ferrando-Martínez, Manuel Leal, Xuan Zhou, Gregory D Sempowski, Derek E Wildman, Monica Uddin, Allison E Aiello
The thymus is critical for mounting an effective immune response and maintaining health. However, epidemiologic studies characterizing thymic function in the population setting are lacking. Using data from 263 adults in the Detroit Neighborhood Health Study, we examined thymic function as measured by the number of signal joint T-cell receptor excision circles (sjTREC) and assessed associations with established indicators of physiological health. Overall, increasing age and male gender were significantly associated with reduced thymic function...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
Viytta N Abdullatif, Andrew Noymer
Enterocolitis due to Clostridium difficile is major emerging cause of death in the U.S. Between 1999 and 2012, C. diff. deaths rose by a staggering almost ten-fold amount, to 7,739 from 793. This article has three goals. First, we present a demographic description of C. diff. mortality in the U.S. since 1999. Second, we test a hypothesis that the increase in C. diff. deaths is due to population aging. We find that the emergence of this cause of death follows a proportional hazard pattern above age 40. Thus, population aging is not the only factor responsible for the increase in C...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
Thomas W McDade, Kharah M Ross, Ruby L Fried, Jesusa M G Arevalo, Jeffrey Ma, Gregory E Miller, Steve W Cole
Genome-wide transcriptional profiling has emerged as a powerful tool for analyzing biological mechanisms underlying social gradients in health, but utilization in population-based studies has been hampered by logistical constraints and costs associated with venipuncture blood sampling. Dried blood spots (DBS) provide a minimally invasive, low-cost alternative to venipuncture, and in this article we evaluate how closely the substantive results from DBS transcriptional profiling correspond to those derived from parallel analyses of gold-standard venous blood samples (PAXgene whole blood and peripheral blood mononuclear cells [PBMC])...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
Saskia Hin, Bartosz Ogórek, Finn Hedefalk
This study analyzes the intergenerational effects of late childbearing on offspring's adult longevity in a population in Utah (United States) that does not display evidence of parity-specific birth control-a so-called natural fertility population. Studies have found that for women who experience late menopause and prolonged reproduction, aging is postponed and longevity is increased. This is believed to indicate female "robustness" and the impact of biological or genetic factors. If indeed there is a genetic component involved, one would expect to also find evidence for the intergenerational transmission of longevity benefits...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
Yan Yu
The association between body mass index (BMI) categories and mortality remains uncertain. Using three National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys covering the 1971-2006 period for cohorts born between 1896 and 1968, this study estimates separately for men and women models for year-of-birth (cohort) and year-of-observation (period) trends in how age-specific mortality rates differ across BMI categories. Among women, relative to the normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m(2)), there are increasing trends in mortality rates for the overweight (BMI 25-29...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
David H Rehkopf, Benjamin W Domingue, Mark R Cullen
There is an association between chronic disease and geography, and there is evidence that the environment plays a critical role in this relationship. Yet at the same time, there is known to be substantial geographic variation by ancestry across the United States. Resulting geographic genetic variation-that is, the extent to which single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) related to chronic disease vary spatially-could thus drive some part of the association between geography and disease. We describe the variation in chronic disease genetic risk by state of birth by taking risk SNPs from genome-wide association study meta-analyses for coronary artery disease, diabetes, and ischemic stroke and creating polygenic risk scores...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
Michael S Hollingshaus, Hilary Coon, Sheila E Crowell, Douglas D Gray, Heidi A Hanson, Richard Pimentel, Ken R Smith
Only a portion of those individuals exposed to parental death in early life (PDE) develop behavioral health disorders. We utilized demographic pedigree data from the Utah Population Database to test for differential vulnerability to PDE by creating a risk score of familial susceptibility to suicide (FS) at the population level. Using logistic panel regression models, we tested for multiplicative interactions between PDE and FS on the risks of major depressive disorder (MDD) and substance abuse (SA), measured using Medicare claims, after age 65...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
Katherine E King, Jennifer B Kane, Peter Scarbrough, Cathrine Hoyo, Susan K Murphy
Childhood stressors including physical abuse predict adult cancer risk. Prior research portrays this finding as an indirect mechanism that operates through coping behaviors, including adult smoking, or through increased toxic exposures during childhood. Little is known about potential direct causal mechanisms between early-life stressors and adult cancer. Because prenatal conditions can affect gene expression by altering DNA methylation, with implications for adult health, we hypothesize that maternal stress may program methylation of cancer-linked genes during gametogenesis...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
Jessica D Faul, Colter M Mitchell, Jennifer A Smith, Wei Zhao
Telomere length (TL) is a widely used marker of biological aging and is associated with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Recently, there has been evidence for an association between TL and socioeconomic status (SES), particularly for measures of education and childhood SES. Individual differences in TL are also influenced by genetic factors, with heritability estimates from twin and sibling studies ranging from 34 to 82 percent. Yet the additive heritability of TL as a result of measured genetic variations and the extent to which heritability is modified by SES is still unknown...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
Blanca Z González-Sobrino, Ana P Pintado-Cortina, Leticia Sebastián-Medina, Fabiola Morales-Mandujano, Alejandra V Contreras, Yasnaya E Aguilar, Juan Chávez-Benavides, Aurelio Carrillo-Rodríguez, Irma Silva-Zolezzi, Luis Medrano-González
Aside from the admixture between indigenous people and people from overseas, populations in Mexico changed drastically after the Spanish conquest of the sixteenth century, forming an intricate history that has been underutilized in understanding the genetic population structure of Mexicans. To infer historical processes of isolation, dispersal, and assimilation, we examined the phylogeography of mitochondrial (mt) DNA and Y-chromosome lineages in 3,026 individuals from 10 urban and nine indigenous populations by identifying single nucleotide polymorphisms...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
Jeffrey S Napierala, Timothy Gage
A small but growing body of literature examines the relationship between genetics and human migration. These studies suggest that some DRD4 alleles, particularly 7R+, are related to migration. This is surprising from a sociological perspective, which views migration largely as a product of social and economic forces. However, social relationships with migrants, which have been theorized to influence migration by providing access to migration-specific information and resources, can also be viewed as proxies for genetic relatedness within households...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
Jessica R Marden, Stefan Walter, Jay S Kaufman, M Maria Glymour
The biomedical literature contains much speculation about possible genetic explanations for the large and persistent black-white disparities in hypertension, but profound social inequalities are also hypothesized to contribute to this outcome. Our goal is to evaluate whether socioeconomic status (SES) differences provide a plausible mechanism for associations between African ancestry and hypertension in a U.S. cohort of older non-Hispanic blacks. We included only non-Hispanic black participants (N = 998) from the Health and Retirement Study who provided genetic data...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
Benjamin W Domingue, Robbee Wedow, Dalton Conley, Matt McQueen, Thomas J Hoffmann, Jason D Boardman
An increasing number of studies that are widely used in the demographic research community have collected genome-wide data from their respondents. It is therefore important that demographers have a proper understanding of some of the methodological tools needed to analyze such data. This article details the underlying methodology behind one of the most common techniques for analyzing genome-wide data, genome-wide complex trait analysis (GCTA). GCTA models provide heritability estimates for health, health behaviors, or indicators of attainment using data from unrelated persons...
2016: Biodemography and Social Biology
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2015: Biodemography and Social Biology
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