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  • Raekallio, Marja; Saario-Paunio, Elise; Rajamäki, Minna Marjaana; Sankari, Satu Marja; Siven, Mia Susanna; Palviainen, Mari; Peltoniemi, Marikki; Leinonen, Mari-Erika; Honkavaara, Matti Juhana; Vainio, Outi (2010)
  • Tiira, Katriina; Lohi, Hannes (PUBLIC LIBRARY OF SCIENCE, 2015)
    Personality and anxiety disorders across species are affected by genetic and environmental factors. Shyness-boldness personality continuum exists across species, including the domestic dog, with a large within-and across-breed variation. Domestic dogs are also diagnosed for several anxiety-related behavioral conditions, such as generalized anxiety disorders, phobias, and separation anxiety. Genetic and environmental factors contributing to personality and anxiety are largely unknown. We collected questionnaire data from a Finnish family dog population (N = 3264) in order to study the associating environmental factors for canine fearfulness, noise sensitivity, and separation anxiety. Early life experiences and exercise were found to associate with anxiety prevalence. We found that fearful dogs had less socialization experiences (p = 0.002) and lower quality of maternal care (p <0.0001) during puppyhood. Surprisingly, the largest environmental factor associating with noise sensitivity (p <0.0001) and separation anxiety (p = 0.007) was the amount of daily exercise; dogs with noise sensitivity and separation anxiety had less daily exercise. Our findings suggest that dogs share many of the same environmental factors that contribute to anxiety in other species as well, such as humans and rodents. Our study highlights the importance of early life experiences, especially the quality of maternal care and daily exercise for the welfare and management of the dogs, and reveals important confounding factors to be considered in the genetic characterization of canine anxiety.
  • Räikkönen, Katri; Kajantie, Eero; Pesonen, Anu-Katriina; Heinonen, Kati; Alastalo, Hanna; Leskinen, Jukka T.; Nyman, Kai; Henriksson, Markus; Lahti, Jari; Lahti, Marius; Pyhälä, Riikka; Tuovinen, Soile; Osmond, Clive; Barker, David; Eriksson, Johan G. (PUBLIC LIBRARY OF SCIENCE, 2013)
    OBJECTIVES: To examine whether the adverse effects of slow prenatal and postnatal growth on cognitive function persist to old age and predict age related cognitive decline. DESIGN AND SETTING: A longitudinal birth cohort study of men born in Helsinki, Finland 1934-44. PARTICIPANTS: Nine-hundred-thirty-one men of the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study, with detailed data on growth from birth to adulthood, aged 20.1 (SD = 1.4) at the first and 67.9 (SD = 2.5) years at the second cognitive testing. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The Finnish Defense Forces Basic Intellectual Ability Test assessed twice over nearly five decades apart. RESULTS: Lower weight, length and head circumference at birth were associated with lower cognitive ability at 67.9 years (1.04-1.55 points lower ability per each standard deviation [SD] unit decrease in body size, 95% Confidence Interval [95%CI]: 0.05 to 2.72) and with cognitive decline after 20.1 years (0.07-0.11 SD decline over time per each SD decrease in body size, 95%CI:0.00 to 0.19). Men who were born larger were more likely to perform better in the cognitive ability test over time (1.22-1.43 increase in odds to remain in the top relative to the lower two thirds in ability over time per each SD increase in body size, 95%CI:1.04 to 1.79) and were more resilient to cognitive decline after 20.1 years (0.69 to 0.76 decrease in odds to decline from than remain in the top third of ability over time per each SD increase in body size, 95%CI:0.49 to 0.99). Slower growth between birth and two years in weight, height and body mass index was associated with lower cognitive ability at 67.9 years, but not with cognitive decline. CONCLUSIONS: Poorer lifetime cognitive ability is predicted by slower growth before and after birth. In predicting resilience to age related cognitive decline, the period before birth seems to be more critical.
  • von Bondorff, Mikaela B.; Tormakangas, Timo; Salonen, Minna; von Bonsdorff, Monika E.; Osmond, Clive; Kajantie, Eero; Eriksson, Johan G. (PUBLIC LIBRARY OF SCIENCE, 2015)
    Background There is some evidence linking sub-optimal prenatal development to an increased risk of disability pension (DP). Our aim was to investigate whether body size at birth was associated with transitioning into all-cause and cause-specific DP during the adult work career. Methods 10 682 people born in 1934-44 belonging to the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study had data on birth weight extracted from birth records, and on time, type and reason of retirement between 1971 and 2011 extracted from the Finnish Centre for Pensions. Results Altogether 21.3% transitioned into DP during the 40-year follow-up, mainly due to mental disorders, musculoskeletal disorders and cardiovascular disease. Average age of transitioning into DP was 51.3 (SD 8.4) for men and 52.2 (SD 7.6) for women. Cohort members who did not transition into DP retired 10 years later on average. Among men, higher birth weight was associated with a lower hazard of transitioning into DP, adjusted hazard ratio (HR) being 0.94 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.88-0.99 for 1 SD increase in birth weight). For DP due to mental disorders the adjusted HR was 0.90, 95% CI 0.81, 0.99. A similar but non-significant trend was found for DP due to cardiovascular disease. Among women there were no associations between body size at birth and all-cause DP (p for interaction gender*birth weight on DP p = 0.007). Conclusions Among men disability pension, particularly due to mental disorders, may have its origins in prenatal development. Given that those who retire due to mental health problems are relatively young, the loss to the workforce is substantial.
  • Marjonen, Heidi; Sierra, Alejandra; Nyman, Anna; Rogojin, Vladimir; Grohn, Olli; Linden, Anni-Maija; Hautaniemi, Sampsa; Kaminen-Ahola, Nina (PUBLIC LIBRARY OF SCIENCE, 2015)
    The adverse effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy are known, but the molecular events that lead to the phenotypic characteristics are unclear. To unravel the molecular mechanisms, we have used a mouse model of gestational ethanol exposure, which is based on maternal ad libitum ingestion of 10% (v/v) ethanol for the first 8 days of gestation (GD 0.5-8.5). Early neurulation takes place by the end of this period, which is equivalent to the developmental stage early in the fourth week post-fertilization in human. During this exposure period, dynamic epigenetic reprogramming takes place and the embryo is vulnerable to the effects of environmental factors. Thus, we hypothesize that early ethanol exposure disrupts the epigenetic reprogramming of the embryo, which leads to alterations in gene regulation and life-long changes in brain structure and function. Genome-wide analysis of gene expression in the mouse hippocampus revealed altered expression of 23 genes and three miRNAs in ethanol-exposed, adolescent offspring at postnatal day (P) 28. We confirmed this result by using two other tissues, where three candidate genes are known to express actively. Interestingly, we found a similar trend of upregulated gene expression in bone marrow and main olfactory epithelium. In addition, we observed altered DNA methylation in the CpG islands upstream of the candidate genes in the hippocampus. Our MRI study revealed asymmetry of brain structures in ethanol-exposed adult offspring (P60): we detected ethanol-induced enlargement of the left hippocampus and decreased volume of the left olfactory bulb. Our study indicates that ethanol exposure in early gestation can cause changes in DNA methylation, gene expression, and brain structure of offspring. Furthermore, the results support our hypothesis of early epigenetic origin of alcohol-induced disorders: changes in gene regulation may have already taken place in embryonic stem cells and therefore can be seen in different tissue types later in life.
  • Jokinen, Hanna; Goncalves, Nicolau; Vigario, Ricardo; Lipsanen, Jari; Fazekas, Franz; Schmidt, Reinhold; Barkhof, Frederik; Madureira, Sofia; Verdelho, Ana; Inzitari, Domenico; Pantoni, Leonardo; Erkinjuntti, Timo; LADIS Study Grp (Frontiers Research Foundation, 2015)
    White matter lesions (WML) are the main brain imaging surrogate of cerebral small-vessel disease. A new MRI tissue segmentation method, based on a discriminative clustering approach without explicit model based added prior, detects partial WML volumes, likely representing very early-stage changes in normal-appearing brain tissue. This study investigated how the different stages of WML, from a "pre-visible" stage to fully developed lesions, predict future cognitive decline. MRI scans of 78 subjects, aged 65-84 years, from the Leukoaraiosis and Disability (LADIS) study were analyzed using a self supervised multispectral segmentation algorithm to identify tissue types and partial VVML volumes. Each lesion voxel was classified as having a small (33%), intermediate (66%), or high (100%) proportion of lesion tissue. The subjects were evaluated with detailed clinical and neuropsychological assessments at baseline and at three annual follow-up visits. We found that voxels with small partial WML predicted lower executive function compound scores at baseline, and steeper decline of executive scores in follow-up, independently of the demographics and the conventionally estimated hyperintensity volume on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery images. The intermediate and fully developed lesions were related to impairments in multiple cognitive domains including executive functions, processing speed, memory, and global cognitive function. In conclusion, early-stage partial WML, still too faint to be clearly detectable on conventional MRI, already predict executive dysfunction and progressive cognitive decline regardless of the conventionally evaluated WML load. These findings advance early recognition of small vessel disease and incipient vascular cognitive impairment.
  • Jauhiainen, Sinikka; Laiho, Raija; Vasander, Harri (2002)
    The vegetation of two boreal mires drained for forestry was studied prior to and after restoration (removal of tree stand and filling in of ditches). The restoration induced a rapid rise in the water table level and caused relatively rapid changes in plant species composition and cover. On the minerotrophic fen site, the number of forest species declined and the cover of Eriophorum vaginatum increased five-fold, reaching over 50% cover in three years. On the ombrotrophic bog site, the terrestrial lichens disappeared, while the cover of Empetrum nigrum, Calluna vulgaris, E. vaginatum, and Sphagnum balticum increased. Changes in water table level and vegetation indicate a change towards a functional mire ecosystem.
  • Tack, Ayco J. M.; Laine, Anna-Liisa (WILEY-BLACKWELL PUBLISHING LTD, 2014)
    •While recent studies have elucidated many of the factors driving parasite dynamics during the growing season, the ecological and evolutionary dynamics during the off-season (i.e. the period between growing seasons) remain largely unexplored. •We combine large-scale surveys and detailed experiments to investigate the overwintering success of the specialist plant pathogen Podosphaera plantaginis on its patchily distributed host plant Plantago lanceolata on the Åland Islands. •Twelve years of epidemiological data establish the off-season as a crucial stage in pathogen metapopulation dynamics, with approximately forty percent of the populations going extinct during the off-season. At the end of the growing season, we observed environmentally-mediated variation in the production of resting structures, with major consequences for spring infection at spatial scales ranging from single individuals to populations within a metapopulation. Reciprocal transplant experiments further demonstrated that pathogen population of origin and overwintering site jointly shaped infection intensity in spring, with a weak signal of parasite adaptation to the local off-season environment. •We conclude that environmentally-mediated changes in the distribution and evolution of parasites during the off-season are crucial for our understanding of host-parasite dynamics, with applied implications for combating parasites and diseases in agriculture, wildlife and human disease systems.
  • Niemelä, J. (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1999)
    Urban areas harbour diverse nature ranging from semi-natural habitats to wastelands, parks and other highly human-in¯uenced biotopes with their associated species assemblages. Maintenance of this urban biodiversity for the residents and for its intrinsic value in the face of increasing population and expanding cities requires that ecological knowledge should be better integrated into urban planning. To achieve this goal understanding of ecological patterns and processes in urban ecosystems is needed. The ®rst step in the necessary urban ecological research is to ®nd out what kind of nature exists in cities. Second, knowledge about ecological processes important in urban nature is required. Although ecological processes in cities are the same as in rural areas, some of them, such as invasion by alien species, are more prevalent in urban than in rural conditions. Third, based on ecological knowledge, management schemes maintaining the diversity of urban nature should be designed. These procedures should also include protection of urban nature, e.g. in urban national parks. Finally, as ecology alone cannot provide the complex information about human in¯uence on urban ecosystems, interdisciplinary research involving natural and social sciences is imperative for a holistic approach to integrating ecology into the process of urban planning.
  • Elomäki, Anna (SAGE, 2015)
    Scholarship on gender and the European Union (EU) has consistently pointed out that EU gender equality policies have always been embedded in the logic of the market and that the economic framing has had negative impacts on the content and concepts of these policies. This article provides novel insights into this discussion by combining a discursive approach focused on framings with insights of feminist economists and examining how the relationship between gender equality and the economy has been conceptualized in EU policy documents from the 1980s up until the present day. The article identifies the key actors and processes behind the escalation of economic arguments for gender equality and makes visible the economic assumptions that underpin EU gender equality policy. It argues that in recent years the European institutions have intentionally developed and propagated a market-oriented gender equality discourse, the economic case for gender equality, which highlights the macroeconomic benefits of gender equality. The economic case reaffirms the gender-biased assumptions of neoclassical economic theory and legitimizes the EU’s current economic priorities and policies, many of which are detrimental to gender equality. The European Commission represents the argument that gender equality contributes to economic growth as an innovative way to promote gender equality. However, the economic case represents a risk for gender equality advocates, because it may tame the emerging feminist criticism of the EU’s economic policies and governance.
  • Mäki, Uskali (Edinburgh University Press, 2005)
    The cultural and epistemic status of science is under attack. Social and cultural studies of science are widely perceived to offer evidence and arguments in support of an anti-science campaign. They portray science as a mundane social endeavour, akin to religion and politics, with no privileged access to truthful information about the (socially unconstructed) real world. Science is under threat and needs defence. Old philosophical legitimations have lost their bite. Alarm bells ring, new troops have to be mobilised. Call economics, the good old friend of the status quo depicting it as a generally beneficial social order while accommodating a rather mundane picture of human behaviour. In contrast to constructivist and relativist sociology of scientific knowledge, economic accounts of science seek to provide a rigorous defence of the cultural and epistemic legitimacy of science by accommodating plausible elements in the sociological accounts and by embedding them in invisible-hand arguments about the functioning of some market-like structure within science. Viewed through economic spectacles, science re-emerges from the ashes as stronger and more beautiful than ever. A spectator raises an innocent question: is economics itself strong and beautiful enough to offer such alleviating services? In order to examine the emerging issue of disciplinary credibility, we need to look at economics itself more closely, and we need to address traditional issues in the philosophy of science as well as less traditional issues of reflexivity. We will see that the above caricature concerning the role of economics in the science wars calls for heavy qualifications if not wholesale rejection (no comment here on the caricatured role of the SSK).
  • Economics 
    Mäki, Uskali (Routledge, 2008)
    Routledge philosophy companions
  • Setälä, Heikki (EASAC Secretariat, The Royal Society, 2009)
    EASAC policy report
  • Pihkala, Panu (2015)
    Environmental theology (or, ecotheology) developed slowly during the first half of the twentieth century and has become a major field of study since the late 1960s. While many of the issues discussed in ecotheological works have included consequences for food production and eating habits, these themes were often not explicitly discussed. The reasons for this are interesting and complex. Issues related to food have been culturally very sensitive and have manifold connections to religiosity. In regard to the discussion about the rights and value of animals, controversies have been seen to arise between ecotheology and ‘animal theology’. Recently, a new interest has arisen in the themes of food, eating, and Christian theology, which has resulted in a new field of literature which could be called the ‘theology of eating’. This article gives an overview of the relations between these fields, with an emphasis on both early ecotheology and new literature about the theology of eating.
  • Nordbo, Annika; Järvi, Leena; Vesala, Timo (2010)
  • Editorial 
    Hurri, Samuli Juha (Samuli Hurri, 2011)
  • Editorial 
    University of Helsinki, Department of Computer Science; University of Helsinki, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT; Roos, Teemu; Myllymäki, Petri; Jaakkola, Tommi; ; ; (Elsevier Scientific Publ. Co, 2012)
  • Editorial 
    Green, Sarah Francesca; Laviolette, Patrick (WILEY-BLACKWELL PUBLISHING LTD, 2015)
    Discussion of first issue co-edited by myself and Patrick Laviolette
  • Editorial 
    Mäkinen, Veli (MDPI, 2014)