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Special Issue "Advances in Nutritional Epidemiology"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Pathology, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2016).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Victoria Flood
Website
Guest Editor
University of Sydney and Westmead Hospital, Western Sydney Local Health District, Australia
Interests: epidemiology, eye disease, Mediterranean Diet, dietary assessment method, public health nutrition, carotenoids, vitamin B12, neurological diseases (e.g. MND)
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nutritional epidemiology has developed in recent years to provide insights into the association between food and nutrition and health outcomes. Research in this area has been underpinned by large cohort studies, which have provided longitudinal data about important nutrition factors associated with diseases, ranging from topics related to single nutrients, such as lutein and macular degeneration, to dietary patterns, such as Mediterranean style diets and cognitive function. This observational research is then used as the basis to develop more robust evidence from intervention trials. However, a continual challenge in nutritional epidemiology is developing evidence based on well validated dietary assessment methods and appropriate nutrition biomarkers, which are acceptable to a range of population groups for large cohort studies. Increasingly, there are challenges around collecting high quality data, while simultaneously recruiting a sufficient proportion of the study population to ensure representation and maintain a high response rate. There is also a growing interest to investigate dietary patterns of food intake, rather than single nutrients. Concurrently, there are opportunities to link large datasets, which opens up other variables and health outcomes to investigate, such as links with visits to General Practitioners and hospitalisations. New advances in Nutritional Epidemiology are on the brink of taking advantage of health technology to support efficient dietary assessment methods and biomarkers, along with optimising links to large datasets. This direction will open up the field of Nutritional Epidemiology further, and we expect to see an increasing body of evidence supporting nutrition research into the future.

I invite colleagues to submit their latest research to this Special issue of “Advances in Nutritional Epidemiology”.

Yours sincerely

Professor Victoria Flood
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • epidemiology
  • nutrition biomarkers
  • dietary patterns
  • cohort studies
  • dietary intake
  • nutrition

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
A High Diet Quality Based on Dietary Recommendations Is Not Associated with Lower Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in the Malmö Diet and Cancer Cohort
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(6), 901; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17060901 - 08 Jun 2016
Cited by 9
Abstract
A high diet quality index based on Swedish nutrition recommendations has previously been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in the Malmö Diet and Cancer (MDC) cohort. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether this diet quality [...] Read more.
A high diet quality index based on Swedish nutrition recommendations has previously been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in the Malmö Diet and Cancer (MDC) cohort. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether this diet quality index was associated with the risk for type 2 diabetes. Of 26,868 participants (44–74 years) in the MDC cohort study, 3838 type 2 diabetes cases were identified from registers during 17 years of follow-up. A diet quality index (from a modified diet history method) was constructed based on adherence to the recommended intakes of saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, fish, fiber, fruit and vegetables, and sucrose. After adjusting for potential confounders, we observed no significant association between the diet quality index and type 2 diabetes risk. The HR for the highest vs. lowest index category was 1.06 (95% CI: 0.94, 1.20; p-trend = 0.56). Because of the protective associations shown for cardiovascular disease and mortality, the specific dietary components that were chosen to represent adherence to the recommendations may be less applicable to type 2 diabetes risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nutritional Epidemiology)
Open AccessArticle
A ‘High Risk’ Lifestyle Pattern Is Associated with Metabolic Syndrome among Qatari Women of Reproductive Age: A Cross-Sectional National Study
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(6), 698; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17060698 - 02 Jun 2016
Cited by 7
Abstract
This study investigated the effect of lifestyle patterns, as a combination of diet, physical activity and smoking, on Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) among Qatari women of childbearing age (n = 418), a population group particularly vulnerable to the health sequela of this syndrome. [...] Read more.
This study investigated the effect of lifestyle patterns, as a combination of diet, physical activity and smoking, on Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) among Qatari women of childbearing age (n = 418), a population group particularly vulnerable to the health sequela of this syndrome. Using data from the National WHO STEPwise survey conducted in Qatar in 2012, Principal Component Factor Analysis was performed to derive lifestyle patterns with survey variables related to the frequency of consumption of 13 foods/food groups, physical activity levels, and smoking status. MetS was diagnosed using ATPIII criteria. Three lifestyle patterns were identified: ‘High Risk’ pattern, characterized by intakes of fast foods, sweets and sugar sweetened beverages, in addition to lower levels of physical activity and higher smoking prevalence; ‘Prudent’ pattern, driven mainly by higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains; and ‘Traditional’ pattern which included beans, meat, dairy products, and a low prevalence of smoking. Among these three lifestyle patterns, only the ‘High Risk’ was associated with MetS, whereby subjects belonging to the third tertile of this pattern’s score had 2.5 times the odds of MetS compared to those belonging to the first tertile. The findings of this study demonstrated the synergy among high risk behaviors among Qatari women in increasing the odds of MetS; the latter being a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nutritional Epidemiology)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Dietary Strategies Implicated in the Prevention and Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(11), 1877; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17111877 - 10 Nov 2016
Cited by 47
Abstract
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is established as the combination of central obesity and different metabolic disturbances, such as insulin resistance, hypertension and dyslipidemia. This cluster of factors affects approximately 10%–50% of adults worldwide and the prevalence has been increasing in epidemic proportions over the [...] Read more.
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is established as the combination of central obesity and different metabolic disturbances, such as insulin resistance, hypertension and dyslipidemia. This cluster of factors affects approximately 10%–50% of adults worldwide and the prevalence has been increasing in epidemic proportions over the last years. Thus, dietary strategies to treat this heterogenic disease are under continuous study. In this sense, diets based on negative-energy-balance, the Mediterranean dietary pattern, n-3 fatty acids, total antioxidant capacity and meal frequency have been suggested as effective approaches to treat MetS. Furthermore, the type and percentage of carbohydrates, the glycemic index or glycemic load, and dietary fiber content are some of the most relevant aspects related to insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance, which are important co-morbidities of MetS. Finally, new studies focused on the molecular action of specific nutritional bioactive compounds with positive effects on the MetS are currently an objective of scientific research worldwide. The present review summarizes some of the most relevant dietary approaches and bioactive compounds employed in the treatment of the MetS to date. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nutritional Epidemiology)
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Open AccessReview
Role of n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Ameliorating the Obesity-Induced Metabolic Syndrome in Animal Models and Humans
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(10), 1689; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17101689 - 09 Oct 2016
Cited by 39
Abstract
The incidence of obesity and its comorbidities, such as insulin resistance and type II diabetes, are increasing dramatically, perhaps caused by the change in the fatty acid composition of common human diets. Adipose tissue plays a role as the major energy reservoir in [...] Read more.
The incidence of obesity and its comorbidities, such as insulin resistance and type II diabetes, are increasing dramatically, perhaps caused by the change in the fatty acid composition of common human diets. Adipose tissue plays a role as the major energy reservoir in the body. An excess of adipose mass accumulation caused by chronic positive energy balance results in obesity. The n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) exert numerous beneficial effects to maintain physiological homeostasis. In the current review, the physiology of n-3 PUFA effects in the body is delineated from studies conducted in both human and animal experiments. Although mechanistic studies in human are limited, numerous studies conducted in animals and models in vitro provide potential molecular mechanisms of the effects of these fatty acids. Three aspects of n-3 PUFA in adipocyte regulation are discussed: (1) lipid metabolism, including adipocyte differentiation, lipolysis and lipogenesis; (2) energy expenditure, such as mitochondrial and peroxisomal fatty acid β-oxidation; and (3) inflammation, including adipokines and specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators. Additionally, the mechanisms by which n-3 PUFA regulate gene expression are highlighted. The beneficial effects of n-3 PUFA may help to reduce the incidence of obesity and its comorbidities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nutritional Epidemiology)
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Open AccessReview
Advances in Integrating Traditional and Omic Biomarkers When Analyzing the Effects of the Mediterranean Diet Intervention in Cardiovascular Prevention
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(9), 1469; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17091469 - 02 Sep 2016
Cited by 21
Abstract
Intervention with Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) has provided a high level of evidence in primary prevention of cardiovascular events. Besides enhancing protection from classical risk factors, an improvement has also been described in a number of non-classical ones. Benefits have been reported on biomarkers [...] Read more.
Intervention with Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) has provided a high level of evidence in primary prevention of cardiovascular events. Besides enhancing protection from classical risk factors, an improvement has also been described in a number of non-classical ones. Benefits have been reported on biomarkers of oxidation, inflammation, cellular adhesion, adipokine production, and pro-thrombotic state. Although the benefits of the MedDiet have been attributed to its richness in antioxidants, the mechanisms by which it exercises its beneficial effects are not well known. It is thought that the integration of omics including genomics, transcriptomics, epigenomics, and metabolomics, into studies analyzing nutrition and cardiovascular diseases will provide new clues regarding these mechanisms. However, omics integration is still in its infancy. Currently, some single-omics analyses have provided valuable data, mostly in the field of genomics. Thus, several gene-diet interactions in determining both intermediate (plasma lipids, etc.) and final cardiovascular phenotypes (stroke, myocardial infarction, etc.) have been reported. However, few studies have analyzed changes in gene expression and, moreover very few have focused on epigenomic or metabolomic biomarkers related to the MedDiet. Nevertheless, these preliminary results can help to better understand the inter-individual differences in cardiovascular risk and dietary response for further applications in personalized nutrition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nutritional Epidemiology)
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Open AccessReview
Vitamin C and Heart Health: A Review Based on Findings from Epidemiologic Studies
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(8), 1328; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17081328 - 12 Aug 2016
Cited by 59
Abstract
Vitamin C is a powerful dietary antioxidant that has received considerable attention in the literature related to its possible role in heart health. Although classical vitamin C deficiency, marked by scurvy, is rare in most parts of the world, some research has shown [...] Read more.
Vitamin C is a powerful dietary antioxidant that has received considerable attention in the literature related to its possible role in heart health. Although classical vitamin C deficiency, marked by scurvy, is rare in most parts of the world, some research has shown variable heart disease risks depending on plasma vitamin C concentration, even within the normal range. Furthermore, other studies have suggested possible heart-related benefits to vitamin C taken in doses beyond the minimal amounts required to prevent classically defined deficiency. The objective of this review is to systematically review the findings of existing epidemiologic research on vitamin C and its potential role in cardiovascular disease (CVD). It is well established that vitamin C inhibits oxidation of LDL-protein, thereby reducing atherosclerosis, but the cardiovascular outcomes related to this action and other actions of vitamin C are not fully understood. Randomized controlled trials as well as observational cohort studies have investigated this topic with varying results. Vitamin C has been linked in some work to improvements in lipid profiles, arterial stiffness, and endothelial function. However, other studies have failed to confirm these results, and observational cohort studies are varied in their findings on the vitamin’s effect on CVD risk and mortality. Overall, current research suggests that vitamin C deficiency is associated with a higher risk of mortality from CVD and that vitamin C may slightly improve endothelial function and lipid profiles in some groups, especially those with low plasma vitamin C levels. However, the current literature provides little support for the widespread use of vitamin C supplementation to reduce CVD risk or mortality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nutritional Epidemiology)
Open AccessReview
The Role of Dietary Inflammatory Index in Cardiovascular Disease, Metabolic Syndrome and Mortality
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(8), 1265; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17081265 - 03 Aug 2016
Cited by 51
Abstract
Inflammation is an underlying pathophysiological process in chronic diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. In fact, a number of systematic reviews have shown the association between inflammatory biomarkers, such as CRP, IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, IL-4, or IL-10, and [...] Read more.
Inflammation is an underlying pathophysiological process in chronic diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. In fact, a number of systematic reviews have shown the association between inflammatory biomarkers, such as CRP, IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, IL-4, or IL-10, and cardio-metabolic diseases. Diet is one of the main lifestyle-related factors which modulates the inflammatory process. Different individual foods and dietary patterns can have a beneficial health effect associated with their anti-inflammatory properties. The dietary inflammatory index (DII) was recently developed to estimate the inflammatory potential of overall diet. The aim of this review is to examine the findings of recent papers that have investigated the association between the DII, cardio-metabolic risk factors and cardiovascular disease. The relevance of the DII score in the association between inflammation and cardio-metabolic diseases is critically appraised, as well as its role in the context of healthy dietary patterns. We conclude that the DII score seems to be a useful tool to appraise the inflammatory capacity of the diet and to better understand the relationships between diet, inflammation, and cardio-metabolic diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nutritional Epidemiology)
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Open AccessReview
Diet Quality and Cancer Outcomes in Adults: A Systematic Review of Epidemiological Studies
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 1052; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17071052 - 05 Jul 2016
Cited by 21
Abstract
Dietary patterns influence cancer risk. However, systematic reviews have not evaluated relationships between a priori defined diet quality scores and adult cancer risk and mortality. The aims of this systematic review are to (1) describe diet quality scores used in cohort or cross-sectional [...] Read more.
Dietary patterns influence cancer risk. However, systematic reviews have not evaluated relationships between a priori defined diet quality scores and adult cancer risk and mortality. The aims of this systematic review are to (1) describe diet quality scores used in cohort or cross-sectional research examining cancer outcomes; and (2) describe associations between diet quality scores and cancer risk and mortality. The protocol was registered in Prospero, and a systematic search using six electronic databases was conducted through to December 2014. Records were assessed for inclusion by two independent reviewers, and quality was evaluated using a validated tool. Sixty-four studies met inclusion criteria from which 55 different diet quality scores were identified. Of the 35 studies investigating diet quality and cancer risk, 60% (n = 21) found a positive relationship. Results suggest no relationship between diet quality scores and overall cancer risk. Inverse associations were found for diet quality scores and risk of postmenopausal breast, colorectal, head, and neck cancer. No consistent relationships between diet quality scores and cancer mortality were found. Diet quality appears to be related to site-specific adult cancer risk. The relationship with cancer mortality is less conclusive, suggesting additional factors impact overall cancer survival. Development of a cancer-specific diet quality score for application in prospective epidemiology and in public health is warranted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nutritional Epidemiology)
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Open AccessReview
The Obesity-Breast Cancer Conundrum: An Analysis of the Issues
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(6), 989; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17060989 - 22 Jun 2016
Cited by 24
Abstract
Breast cancer develops over a timeframe of 2–3 decades prior to clinical detection. Given this prolonged latency, it is somewhat unexpected from a biological perspective that obesity has no effect or reduces the risk for breast cancer in premenopausal women yet increases the [...] Read more.
Breast cancer develops over a timeframe of 2–3 decades prior to clinical detection. Given this prolonged latency, it is somewhat unexpected from a biological perspective that obesity has no effect or reduces the risk for breast cancer in premenopausal women yet increases the risk for breast cancer in postmenopausal women. This conundrum is particularly striking in light of the generally negative effects of obesity on breast cancer outcomes, including larger tumor size at diagnosis and poorer prognosis in both pre- and postmenopausal women. This review and analysis identifies factors that may contribute to this apparent conundrum, issues that merit further investigation, and characteristics of preclinical models for breast cancer and obesity that should be considered if animal models are used to deconstruct the conundrum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nutritional Epidemiology)
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Open AccessReview
Potential Benefits of Dietary Fibre Intervention in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(6), 919; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17060919 - 14 Jun 2016
Cited by 32
Abstract
Intestinal dysbiosis is thought to be an important cause of disease progression and the gastrointestinal symptoms experienced in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Inflammation appears to be a major contributor in perpetuating a dysregulated gut microbiota. Although current drug therapies can significantly [...] Read more.
Intestinal dysbiosis is thought to be an important cause of disease progression and the gastrointestinal symptoms experienced in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Inflammation appears to be a major contributor in perpetuating a dysregulated gut microbiota. Although current drug therapies can significantly induce and maintain disease remission, there is no cure for these diseases. Nevertheless, ongoing human studies investigating dietary fibre interventions may potentially prove to exert beneficial outcomes for IBD. Postulated mechanisms include direct interactions with the gut mucosa through immunomodulation, or indirectly through the microbiome. Component species of the microbiome may degrade dietary-fibre polysaccharides and ferment the products to form short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate. Prebiotic dietary fibres may also act more directly by altering the composition of the microbiome. Longer term benefits in reducing the risk of more aggressive disease or colorectal cancer may require other dietary fibre sources such as wheat bran or psyllium. By critically examining clinical trials that have used dietary fibre supplements or dietary patterns containing specific types or amounts of dietary fibres, it may be possible to assess whether varying the intake of specific dietary fibres may offer an efficient treatment for IBD patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nutritional Epidemiology)
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