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Russell E.,University of Western Ontario | Koren G.,University of Western Ontario | Rieder M.,University of Western Ontario | Rieder M.,Childrens Health Research Institute | Van Uum S.,University of Western Ontario
Psychoneuroendocrinology | Year: 2012

The detrimental effects of stress on human health are being increasingly recognized. There is a critical need for the establishment of a biomarker that accurately measures its intensity and course over time. Such a biomarker would allow monitoring of stress, increase understanding of its pathophysiology and may help identify appropriate and successful management strategies. Whereas saliva and urine cortisol capture real-time levels, hair cortisol analysis presents a complementary means of monitoring stress, capturing systemic cortisol exposure over longer periods of time. This novel approach for cortisol quantification is being increasingly used to identify the effects of stress in a variety of pathological situations, from chronic pain to acute myocardial infarctions. Because of its ability to provide a long-term, month-by-month measure of systemic cortisol exposure, hair cortisol analysis is becoming a useful tool, capable of answering clinical questions that could previously not be answered by other tests. In this paper we review the development, current status, limitations and outstanding questions regarding the use of hair cortisol as a biomarker of chronic stress. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Moon P.M.,University of Western Ontario | Beier F.,University of Western Ontario | Beier F.,Childrens Health Research Institute
Current Rheumatology Reports | Year: 2015

Osteoarthritis causes tremendous individual suffering and staggering societal costs, but due to our limited understanding of the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms, our avenues for treating this disease are very restricted. Recent years have seen a drastic increase in the use of genetically modified mice to characterize the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis. Many new players and mechanisms driving osteoarthritis pathogenesis have been elucidated, some of which might be strong candidates as therapeutic targets for the human disease. The current review summarizes key findings (selected subjectively by the authors) from mouse osteoarthritis studies over recent years. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Turnbull K.,University of Western Ontario | Reid G.J.,University of Western Ontario | Reid G.J.,Childrens Health Research Institute | Morton J.B.,University of Western Ontario
Sleep | Year: 2013

Bedtime resistance and night waking are common sleep problems throughout childhood, especially in the early years. These sleep problems may lead to difficulties in neurobehavioral functioning, but most research into childhood sleep problems has not emphasized the importance of the developmental context in which disruptions in neurobehavioral and daytime functioning occur. We review the development of sleep as well as executive functioning (EF) in childhood and suggest that EF may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of these common childhood sleep problems because of its prolonged course of maturation. Behavioral problems associated with common sleep problems suggest poor self-regulation in the context of sleep loss, and developing EF skills play important roles in self-regulation. A research agenda that considers a developmental approach to sleep and sleep problems in the context of childhood EF performance is outlined to promote future research in this area.

Denomme M.M.,University of Western Ontario | Denomme M.M.,Childrens Health Research Institute | Mann M.R.W.,University of Western Ontario | Mann M.R.W.,Childrens Health Research Institute
Reproduction | Year: 2012

Gamete and early embryo development are important stages when genome-scale epigenetic transitions are orchestrated. The apparent lack of remodeling of differential imprinted DNA methylation during preimplantation development has lead to the argument that epigenetic disruption by assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) is restricted to imprinted genes. We contend that aberrant imprinted methylation arising from assisted reproduction or infertility may be an indicator of more global epigenetic instability. Here, we review the current literature on the effects of ARTs, including ovarian stimulation, in vitro oocyte maturation, oocyte cryopreservation, IVF, ICSI, embryo culture, and infertility on genomic imprinting as a model for evaluating epigenetic stability. Undoubtedly, the relationship between impaired fertility, ARTs, and epigenetic stability is unquestionably complex. What is clear is that future studies need to be directed at determining the molecular and cellular mechanisms giving rise to epigenetic errors. © 2012 Society for Reproduction and Fertility.

Macdonald W.A.,University of Western Ontario | Macdonald W.A.,Childrens Health Research Institute | Mann M.R.W.,University of Western Ontario | Mann M.R.W.,Childrens Health Research Institute
Molecular Reproduction and Development | Year: 2014

Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic process that distinguishes parental alleles, resulting in parent-specific expression of a gene or cluster of genes. Imprints are acquired during gametogenesis when genome-wide epigenetic remodeling occurs. These imprints must then be maintained during preimplantation development, when another wave of genome-wide epigenetic remodeling takes place. Thus, for imprints to persist as parent-specific epigenetic marks, coordinated factors and processes must be involved to both recognize an imprint and protect it from genome-wide remodeling. Parent-specific DNA methylation has long been recognized as a primary epigenetic mark demarcating a genomic imprint. Recent work has advanced our understanding of how and when parent-specific DNA methylation is erased and acquired in the germ line as well as maintained during preimplantation development. Epigenetic factors have also been identified that are recruited to imprinted regions to protect them from genome-wide DNA demethylation during preimplantation development. Intriguingly, asynchrony in epigenetic reprogramming appears to be a recurrent theme with asynchronous acquisition between male and female germ lines, between different imprinted genes, and between the two parental alleles of a gene. Here, we review recent advancements and discuss how they impact our current understanding of the epigenetic regulation of genomic imprinting. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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