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1.  The reporting quality, scientific rigor, and ethics of randomized placebo-controlled trials of traditional Chinese medicine compound formulations and the differences between Chinese and non-Chinese trials 
Background: An increasing number of randomized placebo-controlled trials involving traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) compound formulations have been implemented worldwide.
Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the reporting quality, scientific rigor, and ethics of randomized placebo-controlled trials of TCM compound formulations and compare these differences between Chinese and non-Chinese trials.
Methods: English-language databases included the following: PubMed, OVID, EMBASE, and Science Citation Index Expanded. Chinese-language databases included the following: Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, Wanfang Database, Chinese Scientific and Technological Periodical Database, and the China National Knowledge Infrastructure. All were searched from respective inception to March 2009 to identify randomized placebo-controlled trials involving TCM compound prescriptions. Two reviewers independently assessed the retrieved trials via a modified Consolidated Standard of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) checklist and some evaluation indices that embodied the TCM characteristics or the scientific rigor and ethics of placebo-controlled trials. Trial publishing time was divided into 3 intervals: phase 1 (≤1999); phase 2 (2000–2004); and phase 3 (2005–2009). The number and percentage of trials reporting each item and the corresponding differences between Chinese (mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) and non-Chinese (eg, Japan, United States, Australia, Korea, and United Kingdom) trials were calculated. Moreover, the influence of trial publishing time on the reporting of CONSORT items and the differences in the number of items reported for each time interval between Chinese and non-Chinese trials were assessed.
Results: A total of 324 trials from China and 51 trials from other countries were included. A mean of 39.7% of the CONSORT items across all Chinese trials and 50.2% of the items across all non-Chinese trials were reported. The number of the reported CONSORT items all increased over time in both groups and the gap between Chinese articles and non-Chinese articles gradually decreased. Additionally, of the 324 Chinese articles, 137 (42.28%) reported TCM syndrome type, 113 (34.88%) reported the diagnostic criteria of diseases for TCM, and 69 (21.30%) reported efficacy evaluation indices of TCM. Of the non-Chinese articles, 3 (5.88%) reported TCM syndrome type and 1 (1.96%) reported the diagnostic criteria of diseases and evaluation indices of efficacy for TCM. It was found that 45.37% and 6.17% of Chinese articles reported the standard intervention for the diseases being treated and the emergency plan, respectively, compared with 23.53% and 9.80% for the non-Chinese articles; 33.02% and 10.49% of Chinese articles reported informed consent and ethics committee approval, respectively, compared with 92.16% and 82.35% for the non-Chinese articles. With regard to placebo ethics, 38.89% of the Chinese trials and 23.53% of the non-Chinese trials found it would not be ethically acceptable to use placebo alone in the control group.
Conclusions: The data indicate that the reporting quality of the included trials on TCM compounds has improved over time, but still remains poor regardless of Chinese or non-Chinese trials. Across all trials, particularly Chinese trials, the reporting of the CONSORT items was inadequate (39.7%). The difference in the mean number of the reported CONSORT items between Chinese trials and non-Chinese trials narrowed from phase 1 (10.0 vs 13.8) to phase 3 (14.4 vs 17.4). Moreover, a large number of trials, especially non-Chinese trials (94.1%), were lacking syndrome differentiation of TCM. More importantly, in many placebo-controlled trials, especially Chinese trials, the use of placebo was not justified and was ethically contradictory.
PMCID: PMC3967323  PMID: 24683249
reporting quality; scientific rigor; ethics; traditional Chinese medicine compound formulation; placebo; randomized controlled trial; CONSORT statement
2.  Efficacy and effectiveness of 20 child health interventions in China: Systematic review of Chinese literature 
Journal of Global Health  2011;1(1):87-95.
The research production of the Chinese academics for the past few decades, which is being published in more than nine thousands of Chinese academic periodicals, has recently been digitalized and made available in the public domain. The aim of this study was to systematically identify and assess the evidence from Chinese literature sources on the efficacy and effectiveness of child health interventions in China.
The Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure databases were searched for the studies with primary data on efficacy or effectiveness of child health interventions in China between 1980 and 2011. The searches of PubMed and the ‘Lives Saved Tool (LiST)’ evidence base were also performed to identify the counterpart evidence in the English language.
Of 32 interventions initially identified in the Chinese literature, 20 interventions sustained the primary information addressing efficacy or effectiveness. Among preventive interventions (14 interventions), most studies were dedicated to complementary feeding (7 studies), kangaroo mother care (7 studies) and syphilis detection and treatment (4 studies). Among treatment interventions (6 interventions), the most frequently studied were zinc for treatment of diarrhoea (11 studies) and newborn resuscitation (9 studies). The evidence on efficacy or effectiveness of the 32 interventions conducted in Chinese children in the Chinese literature was either of comparable quality, or more informative than the available reports on China in the English literature, which rarely contained studies on child health intervention effectiveness exclusively in Chinese population. The included studies reported positive results unanimously, implying a likely publication bias.
The evidence on the efficacy and effectiveness of child health interventions in China is typically modest in quantity and quality, and implies a notable urban-rural discrepancy in applied health systems research to improve child health interventions and programmes. However, it is clear that considerable research interests and initiatives from both inside and outside the country have been concentrating on implementation, long-term operation, evaluation and further development of child health interventions, especially preventive interventions in China.
PMCID: PMC3484750  PMID: 23198106
3.  Burden of diabetes in the adult Chinese population: A systematic literature review and future projections 
The diabetes epidemic in China imposes an increasing burden on the health care system and the economy. We derived prospective diabetes prevalence rates in China until 2016 from a systematic review of the published literature in the period 1987–2007. The results could help to guide resources of the Chinese health care system in order to address the diabetes epidemic.
We selected articles published in the English/Chinese languages from MEDLINE and the China Wanfang Digital Database using the keywords “China”, “diabetes mellitus”, “prevalence”, and “epidemiology” in order to estimate the current diabetes prevalence in China. For projecting future prevalence rates, we considered the population growth, and assumed that China’s diabetes prevalence in first tier cities in 2016 would equal Hong Kong’s diabetes prevalence in 2007.
The number of Chinese adults with diabetes is projected to rise from 53.1 million in 2009 to 76.1 million in 2016. The estimated diabetes prevalence rate in China in 2009 was 3.9% (urban 5.2%, rural 2.9%) and is projected to increase to 5.4% (urban 6.9%, rural 3.8%) in 2016, corresponding to an annual consolidated aggregate growth rate of 4.6%.
We estimate a considerably higher diabetes prevalence in the adult Chinese population than that reported in previous studies. The diabetes prevalence will continue to rise in the future, which points to the importance of increasing awareness and better diagnosis of diabetes in China.
PMCID: PMC2915528  PMID: 20689690
diabetes; prevalence; epidemic; China; Chinese; systematic review
4.  Evidence for the aetiology of human papillomavirus in oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma in the Chinese population: a meta-analysis 
BMJ Open  2013;3(11):e003604.
We aimed to conduct a meta-analysis of human papillomavirus (HPV) as a risk factor for oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) in China, using all eligible studies published in the English and Chinese language literature.
The random effect model was used to analyse the pooled OR. The I2 and Q tests were included in the subgroup analyses.
Literature searches of databases including MEDLINE, PUBMED, EMBASE and Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) and other available resources were performed to retrieve studies investigating OSCC tissue from Chinese participants for the presence of HPV DNA.
Primary outcome measure
A collective analysis of OSCC cases and control specimens was carried out from 15 case–control studies (6 in the English language and 9 in the Chinese language) for HPV prevalence.
Of a total of 1177 OSCC and 1648 oesophageal control samples, 55% (642/1177) of cancer specimens and 27% (445/1648) of control samples were positive for HPV DNA. A positive strong association between HPV DNA and OSCC was observed among the included studies, with a pooled OR of 3.69 (95% CI 2.74 to 4.96). Heterogeneity and publication bias were not observed in the analysis. Subgroup analyses of the included studies also supported the measure of association of causal links between HPV and OSCC.
This meta-analysis provides the strongest evidence until now of an association between HPV and OSCC in the Chinese population. China has a high burden of OSCC, making this an important research finding. A strength and new contribution of this study is combining data from the English and Chinese language literature to analyse all studies conducted in China. These findings may inform the population level use of prophylactic HPV vaccination to reduce the burden of OSCC in China.
PMCID: PMC3831092  PMID: 24240141
5.  Harnessing the wealth of Chinese scientific literature: schistosomiasis research and control in China 
The economy of China continues to boom and so have its biomedical research and related publishing activities. Several so-called neglected tropical diseases that are most common in the developing world are still rampant or even emerging in some parts of China. The purpose of this article is to document the significant research potential from the Chinese biomedical bibliographic databases. The research contributions from China in the epidemiology and control of schistosomiasis provide an excellent illustration. We searched two widely used databases, namely China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) and VIP Information (VIP). Employing the keyword "Schistosoma" () and covering the period 1990–2006, we obtained 10,244 hits in the CNKI database and 5,975 in VIP. We examined 10 Chinese biomedical journals that published the highest number of original research articles on schistosomiasis for issues including languages and open access. Although most of the journals are published in Chinese, English abstracts are usually available. Open access to full articles was available in China Tropical Medicine in 2005/2006 and is granted by the Chinese Journal of Parasitology and Parasitic Diseases since 2003; none of the other journals examined offered open access. We reviewed (i) the discovery and development of antischistosomal drugs, (ii) the progress made with molluscicides and (iii) environmental management for schistosomiasis control in China over the past 20 years. In conclusion, significant research is published in the Chinese literature, which is relevant for local control measures and global scientific knowledge. Open access should be encouraged and language barriers removed so the wealth of Chinese research can be more fully appreciated by the scientific community.
PMCID: PMC2576166  PMID: 18826598
6.  Local Literature Bias in Genetic Epidemiology: An Empirical Evaluation of the Chinese Literature 
PLoS Medicine  2005;2(12):e334.
Postulated epidemiological associations are subject to several biases. We evaluated whether the Chinese literature on human genome epidemiology may offer insights on the operation of selective reporting and language biases.
Methods and Findings
We targeted 13 gene-disease associations, each already assessed by meta-analyses, including at least 15 non-Chinese studies. We searched the Chinese Journal Full-Text Database for additional Chinese studies on the same topics. We identified 161 Chinese studies on 12 of these gene-disease associations; only 20 were PubMed-indexed (seven English full-text). Many studies (14–35 per topic) were available for six topics, covering diseases common in China. With one exception, the first Chinese study appeared with a time lag (2–21 y) after the first non-Chinese study on the topic. Chinese studies showed significantly more prominent genetic effects than non-Chinese studies, and 48% were statistically significant per se, despite their smaller sample size (median sample size 146 versus 268, p < 0.001). The largest genetic effects were often seen in PubMed-indexed Chinese studies (65% statistically significant per se). Non-Chinese studies of Asian-descent populations (27% significant per se) also tended to show somewhat more prominent genetic effects than studies of non-Asian descent (17% significant per se).
Our data provide evidence for the interplay of selective reporting and language biases in human genome epidemiology. These biases may not be limited to the Chinese literature and point to the need for a global, transparent, comprehensive outlook in molecular population genetics and epidemiologic studies in general.
Using the chinese literature as an example, John Ioannidis and colleagues show that selective reporting and language biases occur frequently in human genome epidemiology
PMCID: PMC1285066  PMID: 16285839
7.  Chinese journals: a guide for epidemiologists 
Chinese journals in epidemiology, preventive medicine and public health contain much that is of potential international interest. However, few non-Chinese speakers are acquainted with this literature. This article therefore provides an overview of the contemporary scene in Chinese biomedical journal publication, Chinese bibliographic databases and Chinese journals in epidemiology, preventive medicine and public health. The challenge of switching to English as the medium of publication, the development of publishing bibliometric data from Chinese databases, the prospect of an Open Access publication model in China, the issue of language bias in literature reviews and the quality of Chinese journals are discussed. Epidemiologists are encouraged to search the Chinese bibliographic databases for Chinese journal articles.
PMCID: PMC2648956  PMID: 18826604
8.  Characterization of Regional Influenza Seasonality Patterns in China and Implications for Vaccination Strategies: Spatio-Temporal Modeling of Surveillance Data 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(11):e1001552.
Cécile Viboud and colleagues describe epidemiological patterns of influenza incidence across China to support the design of a national vaccination program.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
The complexity of influenza seasonal patterns in the inter-tropical zone impedes the establishment of effective routine immunization programs. China is a climatologically and economically diverse country, which has yet to establish a national influenza vaccination program. Here we characterize the diversity of influenza seasonality in China and make recommendations to guide future vaccination programs.
Methods and Findings
We compiled weekly reports of laboratory-confirmed influenza A and B infections from sentinel hospitals in cities representing 30 Chinese provinces, 2005–2011, and data on population demographics, mobility patterns, socio-economic, and climate factors. We applied linear regression models with harmonic terms to estimate influenza seasonal characteristics, including the amplitude of annual and semi-annual periodicities, their ratio, and peak timing. Hierarchical Bayesian modeling and hierarchical clustering were used to identify predictors of influenza seasonal characteristics and define epidemiologically-relevant regions. The annual periodicity of influenza A epidemics increased with latitude (mean amplitude of annual cycle standardized by mean incidence, 140% [95% CI 128%–151%] in the north versus 37% [95% CI 27%–47%] in the south, p<0.0001). Epidemics peaked in January–February in Northern China (latitude ≥33°N) and April–June in southernmost regions (latitude <27°N). Provinces at intermediate latitudes experienced dominant semi-annual influenza A periodicity with peaks in January–February and June–August (periodicity ratio >0.6 in provinces located within 27.4°N–31.3°N, slope of latitudinal gradient with latitude −0.016 [95% CI −0.025 to −0.008], p<0.001). In contrast, influenza B activity predominated in colder months throughout most of China. Climate factors were the strongest predictors of influenza seasonality, including minimum temperature, hours of sunshine, and maximum rainfall. Our main study limitations include a short surveillance period and sparse influenza sampling in some of the southern provinces.
Regional-specific influenza vaccination strategies would be optimal in China; in particular, annual campaigns should be initiated 4–6 months apart in Northern and Southern China. Influenza surveillance should be strengthened in mid-latitude provinces, given the complexity of seasonal patterns in this region. More broadly, our findings are consistent with the role of climatic factors on influenza transmission dynamics.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Every year, millions of people worldwide catch influenza, a viral disease of the airways. Most infected individuals recover quickly but seasonal influenza outbreaks (epidemics) kill about half a million people annually. These epidemics occur because antigenic drift—frequent small changes in the viral proteins to which the immune system responds—means that an immune response produced one year provides only partial protection against influenza the next year. Annual vaccination with a mixture of killed influenza viruses of the major circulating strains boosts this natural immunity and greatly reduces the risk of catching influenza. Consequently, many countries run seasonal influenza vaccination programs. Because the immune response induced by vaccination decays within 4–8 months of vaccination and because of antigenic drift, it is important that these programs are initiated only a few weeks before the onset of local influenza activity. Thus, vaccination starts in early autumn in temperate zones (regions of the world that have a mild climate, part way between a tropical and a polar climate), because seasonal influenza outbreaks occur in the winter months when low humidity and low temperatures favor the transmission of the influenza virus.
Why Was This Study Done?
Unlike temperate regions, seasonal influenza patterns are very diverse in tropical countries, which lie between latitudes 23.5°N and 23.5°S, and in the subtropical countries slightly north and south of these latitudes. In some of these countries, there is year-round influenza activity, in others influenza epidemics occur annually or semi-annually (twice yearly). This complexity, which is perhaps driven by rainfall fluctuations, complicates the establishment of effective routine immunization programs in tropical and subtropical countries. Take China as an example. Before a national influenza vaccination program can be established in this large, climatologically diverse country, public-health experts need a clear picture of influenza seasonality across the country. Here, the researchers use spatio-temporal modeling of influenza surveillance data to characterize the seasonality of influenza A and B (the two types of influenza that usually cause epidemics) in China, to assess the role of putative drivers of seasonality, and to identify broad epidemiological regions (areas with specific patterns of disease) that could be used as a basis to optimize the timing of future Chinese vaccination programs.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers collected together the weekly reports of laboratory-confirmed influenza prepared by the Chinese national sentinel hospital-based surveillance network between 2005 and 2011, data on population size and density, mobility patterns, and socio-economic factors, and daily meteorological data for the cities participating in the surveillance network. They then used various statistical modeling approaches to estimate influenza seasonal characteristics, to assess predictors of influenza seasonal characteristics, and to identify epidemiologically relevant regions. These analyses indicate that, over the study period, northern provinces (latitudes greater than 33°N) experienced winter epidemics of influenza A in January–February, southern provinces (latitudes less than 27°N) experienced peak viral activity in the spring (April–June), and provinces at intermediate latitudes experienced semi-annual epidemic cycles with infection peaks in January–February and June–August. By contrast, influenza B activity predominated in the colder months throughout China. The researchers also report that minimum temperatures, hours of sunshine, and maximum rainfall were the strongest predictors of influenza seasonality.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that influenza seasonality in China varies between regions and between influenza virus types and suggest that, as in other settings, some of these variations might be associated with specific climatic factors. The accuracy of these findings is limited by the short surveillance period, by sparse surveillance data from some southern and mid-latitude provinces, and by some aspects of the modeling approach used in the study. Further surveillance studies need to be undertaken to confirm influenza seasonality patterns in China. Overall, these findings suggest that, to optimize routine influenza vaccination in China, it will be necessary to stagger the timing of vaccination over three broad geographical regions. More generally, given that there is growing interest in rolling out national influenza immunization programs in low- and middle-income countries, these findings highlight the importance of ensuring that vaccination strategies are optimized by taking into account local disease patterns.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001552.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Steven Riley
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information for patients about seasonal influenza and about influenza vaccination
The World Health Organization provides information on seasonal influenza (in several languages) and on influenza surveillance and monitoring
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides information for patients and health professionals on all aspects of seasonal influenza, including information about vaccination; its website contains a short video about personal experiences of influenza., a US government website, provides access to information on seasonal influenza and vaccination
Information about the Chinese National Influenza Center, which is part of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention: and which runs influenza surveillance in China, is available (in English and Chinese)
MedlinePlus has links to further information about influenza and about vaccination (in English and Spanish)
A recent PLOS Pathogens Research Article by James D. Tamerius et al. investigates environmental predictors of seasonal influenza epidemics across temperate and tropical climates
A study published in PLOS ONE by Wyller Alencar de Mello et al. indicates that Brazil, like China, requires staggered timing of vaccination from Northern to Southern states to account for different timings of influenza activity.
PMCID: PMC3864611  PMID: 24348203
9.  Comparing short versions of the AUDIT in a community-based survey of young people 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:301.
The 10-item Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-10) is commonly used to monitor harmful alcohol consumption among high-risk groups, including young people. However, time and space constraints have generated interest for shortened versions. Commonly used variations are the AUDIT-C (three questions) and the Fast Alcohol Screening Test (FAST) (four questions), but their utility in screening young people in non-clinical settings has received little attention.
We examined the performance of established and novel shortened versions of the AUDIT in relation to the full AUDIT-10 in a community-based survey of young people (16–29 years) attending a music festival in Melbourne, Australia (January 2010).
Among those reporting drinking alcohol in the previous 12 months, the following statistics were systematically assessed for all possible combinations of three or four AUDIT items and established AUDIT variations: Cronbach’s alpha (internal consistency), variance explained (R2) and Pearson’s correlation coefficient (concurrent validity). For our purposes, novel shortened AUDIT versions considered were required to represent all three AUDIT domains and include item 9 on alcohol-related injury.
We recruited 640 participants (68% female) reporting drinking in the previous 12 months. Median AUDIT-10 score was 10 in males and 9 in females, and 127 (20%) were classified as having at least high-level alcohol problems according to WHO classification.
The FAST scored consistently high across statistical measures; it explained 85.6% of variance in AUDIT-10, correlation with AUDIT-10 was 0.92, and Cronbach’s alpha was 0.66. A number of novel four-item AUDIT variations scored similarly high. Comparatively, the AUDIT-C scored substantially lower on all measures except internal consistency.
Numerous abbreviated variations of the AUDIT may be a suitable alternative to the AUDIT-10 for classifying high-level alcohol problems in a community-based population of young Australians. Four-item AUDIT variations scored more consistently high across all evaluated statistics compared to three-item combinations. Novel AUDIT versions may be more effective than many established shortened versions as an alternative screening tool to the AUDIT-10 to measure hazardous or harmful alcohol consumption in this population.
PMCID: PMC3691761  PMID: 23556543
Alcohol screening; Alcohol use disorders identification test; AUDIT; Alcohol consumption; Young adult; Adolescents
10.  Prevalence of Suicidal Ideation, Attempts, and Completed Suicide Rate in Chinese Aging Populations: A Systematic Review 
As one of the leading causes of death around the world, suicide is a global public health threat. Due to the paucity of systematic studies, there exist vast variations in suicide ideation, attempts and suicide rates between various regions of Chinese aging communities.
Our systematic study aims to 1) identify studies describing the epidemiology of suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and behaviors among global Chinese communities; 2) conduct systematic review of suicide prevalence; 3) provide cross-cultural insights on this public health issue in the diverse Chinese elderly in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Asian societies and Western countries.
Data sources
Using the PRISMA statement, we performed systematic review including studies describing suicidal ideation, attempts, and behavior among Chinese older adults in different communities. Literature searches were conducted by using both medical and social science data bases in English and Chinese.
Forty-nine studies met inclusion criteria. Whereas suicide in Chinese aging population is a multifaceted issue, culturally appropriate and inter-disciplinary approach to improve the quality of life for the Chinese older adults is critical.
Future research is needed to explore the risk and protective factors associated with suicidal thoughts, attempts and behaviors in representative Chinese aging populations.
PMCID: PMC3750072  PMID: 23791030
Suicidal ideation; psychological distress; older adults; Chinese population
11.  Rural-to-urban migrants are at high risk of sexually transmitted and viral hepatitis infections in China: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14(1):490.
Rapid economic development in urban China has led to a mass migration of surplus rural residents into urban areas for better employment opportunities. This study aims to identify prevalence levels and risks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and hepatitis among the rural-to-urban migrant population in China.
Chinese and English literature databases were searched for studies reporting prevalence of HIV, STIs and viral hepatitis among rural-to-urban migrants in China between 1990 and 2013. The estimates were summarised through a systematic review and meta-analysis. The risks of infection were compared between migrants and the general Chinese population.
We identified a total of 411 eligible studies. The prevalence of HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, genital warts and HCV among migrants were 0.23% (0.20-0.27%), 0.69% (0.57-0.84%), 2.18% (1.30-3.64%), 1.54% (0.70-3.36%) and 0.45% (0.31-3.65%), representing 4.0 (3.1-5.2), 1.9 (1.1-3.0), 13.6 (5.8-32.1), 38.5 (15.7-94.5) and 3.8 (1.9-7.3) higher odds of infection than among the general population. Construction workers, long-distance truck drivers and migrant women through marriage were migrant subgroups that were highly susceptible to STIs and hepatitis. HIV prevalence among migrant pregnant women (0.10%, 0.02-0.49%) was significantly higher than that of pregnant women in the general Chinese population (OR = 7.7, 3.4-17.4). However, no significant differences were observed in STIs and hepatitis between overall female sex workers (FSWs), men who have sex with men (MSM) and drug users (DUs), and the corresponding subgroups with a migratory background.
Rural-to-urban migrants have a higher risk of STIs and hepatitis than the general Chinese population, but a migratory background does not increase the infection risks of STIs and hepatitis in FSWs, MSM and DUs.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-490) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4169821  PMID: 25200651
12.  Alcohol Use and Sexual Risk Behaviors and Outcomes in China: A Literature Review 
AIDS and behavior  2010;14(6):1227-1236.
This review systematically examines the empirical evidence regarding the association between alcohol use and sexual risk behaviors and outcomes among the Chinese population in mainland, China. Articles published in English (n = 11) and in Chinese (n = 7) from 1980 to 2008 documented consistent associations between alcohol use and several sexual risk behaviors, sexual coercion, sexual violence, and HIV/STIs across both the general population and high-risk groups, except for men having sex with men. This review suggests that alcohol use is associated with diverse sexual risk behaviors and outcomes across a variety of social groups in China, consistent with the evidence from the Western countries and Sub-Saharan Africa. Alcohol use is an important but under-researched correlate of sexual risk behaviors and outcomes in China. This review indicates the importance of research assessing alcohol use among both genders and with standardized measures, and suggests the importance of integrating alcohol use control in sexual risk reduction and prevention efforts in China.
PMCID: PMC2943541  PMID: 19967440
Alcohol use; Sexual risk behaviors; HIV/STIs; Sexual violence; China
13.  Health and Human Rights Concerns of Drug Users in Detention in Guangxi Province, China 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(12):e234.
Although confinement in drug detoxification (“detox”) and re-education through labor (RTL) centers is the most common form of treatment for drug dependence in China, little has been published about the experience of drug users in such settings. We conducted an assessment of the impact of detention on drug users' access to HIV prevention and treatment services and consequent threats to fundamental human rights protections.
Methods and Findings
Chinese government HIV and anti-narcotics legislation and policy documents were reviewed, and in-depth and key informant interviews were conducted with 19 injection drug users (IDUs) and 20 government and nongovernmental organization officials in Nanning and Baise, Guangxi Province. Significant contradictions were found in HIV and antinarcotics policies, exemplified by the simultaneous expansion of community-based methadone maintenance therapy and the increasing number of drug users detained in detox and RTL center facilities. IDU study participants reported, on average, having used drugs for 14 y (range 8–23 y) and had been confined to detox four times (range one to eight times) and to RTL centers once (range zero to three times). IDUs expressed an intense fear of being recognized by the police and being detained, regardless of current drug use. Key informants and IDUs reported that routine HIV testing, without consent and without disclosure of the result, was the standard policy of detox and RTL center facilities, and that HIV-infected detainees were not routinely provided medical or drug dependency treatment, including antiretroviral therapy. IDUs received little or no information or means of HIV prevention, but reported numerous risk behaviors for HIV transmission while detained.
Legal and policy review, and interviews with recently detained IDUs and key informants in Guangxi Province, China, found evidence of anti-narcotics policies and practices that appear to violate human rights and imperil drug users' health.
Based on their review of Chinese government legislation and policy documents, and using interviews with recently detained injection drug users and officials in Guangxi Province, Elizabeth Cohen and Joseph Amon find evidence of antinarcotics policies and practices that may compromise the health and human rights of drug users.
Editors' Summary
Ever since the AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) epidemic began, needle sharing by injection drug users (IDUs) has been a major transmission route for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the blood-borne virus that causes AIDS. In China, for example, the AIDS epidemic began in earnest in 1989 when 146 HIV-positive IDUs were identified in Southwest Yunnan. By 1998, HIV infections had been reported throughout China, 60%–70% of which were in IDUs. These days, nearly half of new HIV infections in China are associated with injection drug use and 266,000 of the 700,000 HIV-positive people in China are drug users. Faced with these figures, the Chinese government has recently introduced measures to reduce HIV transmission among the estimated 3–4 million IDUs in China. These measures include increased provision of methadone maintenance treatment clinics and needle exchanges and the establishment of HIV prevention programs that target IDUs.
Why Was This Study Done?
Alongside these progressive public-health practices, China has extremely punitive anti-narcotics policies. IDUs are routinely confined without legal review in drug detoxification centers or sent to re-education through labor (RTL) centers, sometimes for many years. In 2005, these centers housed more than 350,000 drug users yet little is known about the conditions in these centers or how the Chinese anti-narcotic policy affects human rights or access to HIV prevention and treatment services. In this study, the researchers investigated these issues by interviewing IDUs and “key informants” (government officials and members of nongovernmental organizations [NGOs] who provide services to IDUs) about their experiences of detoxification centers and RTL centers in two cities in Guangxi Province, China.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited 19 IDUs who had been recently confined in a detoxification center or RTL center and 20 key informants (including a doctor at a detoxification center and a former RTL center guard). In the interviews the researchers used a semi-structured questionnaire to ask the participants about their experiences of detoxification centers and RTL centers. All the IDUs reported that they were repeatedly tested for HIV while in detention but never given their test results even when they asked for them. Key informants confirmed that repeated HIV testing without result disclosure is the current policy in detoxification centers and RTL centers. All the IDUs expressed concerns about inadequate access to health care in detention. In particular, most of the IDUs who were taking antiretroviral drugs before detention were unable to continue their treatment during detention, although two received antiretroviral drugs by negotiating with their guards. The IDUs and key informants also both noted that very little information or means of HIV prevention was provided in the detoxification centers and RTL centers and that HIV-related risk behaviors, including injection drug use and unsafe sex, occurred in both types of center. Finally, the IDUs reported that their fear of being recognized by the police and detained even if not taking drugs prevented them from seeking HIV tests, HIV treatment, and help for their drug addiction.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This study has several limitations in addition to its small size. For example, because the IDUs were self selected—they responded to posters asking if they would be interviewed—their views may not be representative of all IDUs. Similarly, the key informants who were interviewed might have had different opinions from those who chose not to participate. Furthermore, the results reported here cannot be generalized to other areas of China. Nevertheless, the consistent experiences reported by the IDUs and confirmed by the key informants suggest that China's anti-narcotic policies and practices violate the human rights of IDUs and put their health in danger by making it hard for them to access HIV prevention and treatment or adequate treatment for their drug addiction. This situation, if not remedied, is likely to jeopardize China's attempts to control its HIV epidemic.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Steve Koester
Avert, an international AIDS charity, provides information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including HIV and AIDS in China and HIV prevention, harm reduction, and injecting drug use
The UNAIDS 2008 Country Progress Report provides up-to-date details about the AIDS situation in China
HIVInSite provides links to more information about HIV/AIDS in China.
Human Rights Watch works on health and human rights and human rights developments in China
The US National Institute on Drug Abuse provides a booklet entitled Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research Based Guide (in English and Spanish)
UN Office on Drugs and Crime has information on HIV/AIDS in prisons
PMCID: PMC2596857  PMID: 19071954
14.  Exploring the Evidence Base for Acupuncture in the Treatment of Ménière's Syndrome—A Systematic Review 
Ménière's syndrome is a long-term, progressive disease that damages the balance and hearing parts of the inner ear. To address the paucity of information on which evidence-based treatment decisions should be made, a systematic review of acupuncture for Ménière's syndrome was undertaken. The method used was a systematic review of English and Chinese literature, from six databases for randomized, non-randomized and observational studies. All studies were critically appraised and a narrative approach to data synthesis was adopted. Twenty-seven studies were included in this review (9 in English and 18 in Chinese languages): three randomized controlled trials, three non-randomized controlled studies and four pre-test, post-test designs. All but one of the studies was conducted in China. The studies covered body acupuncture, ear acupuncture, scalp acupuncture, fluid acupuncture point injection and moxibustion. The studies were of varying quality. The weight of evidence, across all study types, is of beneficial effect from acupuncture, for those in an acute phase or those who have had Ménière's syndrome for a number of years. The review reinforces the importance of searching for studies from English and Chinese literature. The transferability of the findings from China to a Western context needs confirmation. Further research is also needed to clarify questions around the appropriate frequency and number of treatment/courses of acupuncture. The weight of evidence suggests a potential benefit of acupuncture for persons with Ménière's disease, including those in an acute phase and reinforces the importance of searching for published studies in the Chinese language.
PMCID: PMC3136456  PMID: 19505974
15.  Quality of reporting of trial abstracts needs to be improved: using the CONSORT for abstracts to assess the four leading Chinese medical journals of traditional Chinese medicine 
Trials  2010;11:75.
Due to language limitations, the abstract of journal article may be the only way for people of non-Chinese speaking countries to know about trials in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). However, little is known about the reporting quality of these trial abstracts. Our study is to assess the reporting quality of abstracts of randomized controlled trials (RCT) published in four leading Chinese medical journals of TCM, and to identify any differences in reporting between the Chinese and English version of the same abstract publication.
Two reviewers hand-searched the Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine, the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, the China Journal of Chinese Materia Medica and the Chinese Acupuncture & Moxibustion for all abstracts of RCTs published between 2006 and 2007. Two reviewers independently assessed the reporting quality of the Chinese and English version of all eligible abstracts based on a modified version of the CONSORT for reporting randomised trials in journal and conference abstracts (CONSORT for abstracts).
We identified a total of 345 RCTs of TCM with both a Chinese and English abstract. More than half of Chinese abstracts reported details of the trial participants (68%; 234/345), control group intervention (52%; 179/345), the number of participants randomized (73%; 253/345) and benefits when interpreting the trial results (55%; 190/345). Reporting of methodological quality or key features of trial design and trial results were poor; only 2% (7/345) included details of the trial design, 3% (11/345) defined the primary outcome, 5% (17/345) described the methods of random sequence generation, and only 4% (13/345) reported the number of participants analyzed. No abstracts provided details on allocation concealment and trial registration. The percentage agreement in reporting (between the Chinese and English version of the same abstract) ranged from 84% to 100% across individual checklist item.
The reporting quality of abstracts of RCTs published in these four TCM journals needs to be improved. Since none of the four journals adopted CONSORT for Abstracts, we hope that the introduction and adoption of CONSORT for Abstracts by TCM journals will lead to an improvement in reporting quality.
PMCID: PMC2911423  PMID: 20615225
16.  Systematic review and meta-analysis: prevalence of alcohol use among young people in eastern Africa 
Systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies of alcohol use among young people (age 15–24 years) in eastern Africa to estimate prevalence of alcohol use and determine the extent of use of standardised screening questionnaires in alcohol studies.
Five databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, Global Health, Africa-wide, and PsycINFO) were searched for publications until 30th June 2013. Results were summarised using the guidelines on preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) and on quality assessment using the modified quality assessment tool for systematic reviews of observational studies (QATSO). Heterogeneity was assessed using the I2 statistic (DerSimonian-Laird).
We identified 2785 potentially relevant studies, of which 56 were eligible for inclusion. Only two studies (4%) used the standardised Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) questionnaire, and six studies (13%) used the Cut down, Annoyed, Guilt, Eye opener (CAGE) questionnaire. The reported median prevalence of alcohol use was ever-use 52% [interquartile range (IQR): 20–58%], use in the last month 28% (IQR: 17–37%), use in the last year 26% (IQR: 22–32%), and problem drinking as defined by CAGE or AUDIT 15% (IQR: 3–36%). We observed high heterogeneity between studies, with the highest prevalence of ever use of alcohol among university students (82%; 95%CI: 79–85%) and female sex workers (66%; 95%CI: 58–74%). Current use was most prevalent among male sex workers (69%; 95%CI: 63–75%).
Reported alcohol use and problem drinking were common among diverse groups of young people in eastern Africa, indicating the urgent need for alcohol-focused interventions in this population. Few studies have used standardised alcohol screening questionnaires. Epidemiological research to investigate alcohol-focused interventions in young people should aim to apply such questionnaires that should be validated for use in this population.
PMCID: PMC4065366  PMID: 24479379
alcohol use; systematic review; meta-analysis; eastern Africa; problem drinking; screening questionnaires; young people; AUDIT; CAGE
17.  The prevalence of childhood asthma in China: a systematic review 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:860.
It is well known that the prevalence of asthma has been reported to increase in many places around the world during the last decades. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify and review studies of asthma prevalence among children in China and address time trends and regional variation in asthma.
A systematic literature search was performed using PubMed and China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) databases. Selected articles had to describe an original study that showed the prevalence of asthma among children aged 0−14 years.
A total of 74 articles met the inclusion criteria. The lifetime prevalence of asthma varied between 1.1% in Lhasa (Tibet) and 11.0% in Hong Kong in studies following the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) protocol. The prevalence was 3% or lower in most articles following Chinese diagnostic criteria. One article reported the results from two national surveys and showed that the current average prevalence of asthma for the total study population had increased from 1990 to 2000 (0.9% to 1.5%). The lowest current prevalence was found in Lhasa (0.1% in 1990, 0.5% in 2000).
The prevalence of childhood asthma was generally low, both in studies following the ISAAC and Chinese diagnostic criteria. Assessment of time trends and regional variations in asthma prevalence was difficult due to insufficient data, variation in diagnostic criteria, difference in data collection methods, and uncertainty in prevalence measures. However, the findings from one large study of children from 27 different cities support an increase in current prevalence of childhood asthma from 1990 to 2000. The lowest current prevalence of childhood asthma was found in Tibet.
PMCID: PMC3524042  PMID: 23050953
Asthma; Children; Prevalence; Altitude; Systematic review
18.  The Prevalence of HIV-1 Drug Resistance among Antiretroviral Treatment Naïve Individuals in Mainland China: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110652.
Surveillance of drug resistance in antiretroviral treatment-naïve patients in China is needed to ensure optimal treatment outcomes and control of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic.
A systematic literature search was conducted in English and Chinese through PubMed (English), China National Knowledge Infrastructure (Chinese), Chinese Biomedical Literature Database (Chinese), and Wanfang (Chinese). Random effects models were used to calculate the pooled prevalence of transmitted drug resistance and subgroup analyses examined prevalence estimates across time periods, study locations, and study populations.
Analysis of data from 71 studies (47 in Chinese and 24 in English) yielded a pooled prevalence of transmitted HIV drug resistance to any antiretroviral drug class of 3.64% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.00%–4.32%). Rates were significantly high at initial stage of free ART program from 2003 to 2005 (5.18%, 95%CI: 3.13%–7.63%), and were much lower among studies conducted in 2006–2008 (3.02%, 95%CI: 2.03%–4.16%). A slight increase was observed again in the most recent study period from 2009 to 2012 (3.68%, 95%CI: 2.78%–4.69%). Subgroup analysis revealed highest prevalence levels of transmitted drug resistance in Beijing city, and Henan and Hubei provinces (above 5%), and although differences in prevalence rates among risk groups were negligible, men who have sex with men were unique in their relatively large portion of protease inhibitor resistance, a second-line drug of limited availability in China.
Overall prevalence of transmitted HIV drug resistance in China is classified as “low” by the World Health Organization. However regional and temporal variability suggest a more complex epidemic for which closer HIV drug resistance surveillance is needed. A nationwide HIV drug resistance surveillance system to monitor both treatment-experienced and treatment-naïve patients will be a cornerstone to ensure the effectiveness of treatment scale-up, particularly as China seeks to expand a national policy of antiretroviral treatment as prevention.
PMCID: PMC4208788  PMID: 25343483
19.  Cross-cultural adaptation of the CHO-KLAT for boys with hemophilia in rural and urban china 
Quality of life (QoL) is increasingly recognized as an important outcome measure in clinical trials. The Canadian Hemophilia Outcomes-Kids Life Assessment Tool (CHO-KLAT) shows promise for use in China.
To adapt the CHO-KLAT version 2.0 for use in clinical trials in China.
Forward and back translations of the CHO-KLAT2.0 were completed in 2008. Between October 2009 and June 2010, a series of 3 focus groups were held with 20 boys and 31 parents in rural and urban China to elicit additional concepts, important to their QoL, for the Chinese CHO-KLAT2.0. All of the items identified by boys and parents were reviewed by a group of experts, resulting in a Chinese version of the CHO-KLAT2.0. This version underwent a detailed cognitive debriefing process between October 2010 and June 2011. Thirteen patient-parent pairs participated in this cognitive debriefing process until a stable and clearly understood Chinese version of the CHO-KLAT2.0 was obtained.
The initial back translation of the Chinese CHO-KLAT2.0 was slightly discrepant from the original English version on 12 items. These were all successfully adjudicated. The focus groups identified 9 new items that formed an add-on Socio-Economic Context (SEC) module for China. Linguistic improvements were made after the 2nd, 5th, 7th and 13th cognitive debriefings pairs and affected a total of 18 items. The result was a 35 item CHO-KLAT2.0 and a SEC module in Simplified Chinese, both of which have good content validity.
This detailed process proved to be extremely valuable in ensuring the items were accurately interpreted by Chinese boys with hemophilia ages ≤18 years. The need for the additional SEC module highlighted the different context that currently exists in China with regard to hemophilia care as compared to many Western countries, and will be important in tracking progress within both rural and urban China over time. Changes based on the cognitive debriefings suggest that expert verbatim translation alone is not sufficient. The Chinese version of the CHO-KLAT2.0 is well understood by boys with hemophilia in China. Next steps will be to test its construct validity and reliability in boys with hemophilia in China.
PMCID: PMC3499387  PMID: 22978454
Quality of life; Hemophilia; China; Children; Cross-cultural studies
20.  HIV and Sexually Transmissible Infections among Money Boys in China: A Data Synthesis and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48025.
Commercial sex workers within the population of men who have sex with men (MSM) in China, known as ‘money boys’ (MBs), are perceived to be at higher risk for HIV and other sexually-transmissible infections (STIs).
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analyses from peer-reviewed literature accessed in two English (PubMed and Embase) and three Chinese databases (CNKI, CQVIP, Wanfang data). A data synthesis exercise was carried out to determine the extent and patterns of behaviours and HIV/STI epidemics. Pooled estimates, with 95% confidence intervals, for each study variable were calculated.
Thirty-two eligible articles (9 in English and 23 in Chinese) were identified. Our analysis indicated that Chinese MBs are generally young, currently employed, at low literacy levels and highly mobile. The prevalence of HIV, syphilis and co-infection among MBs were estimated to be 6.0% (4.2–8.5%), 12.4% (9.9–15.3%) and 2.2% (1.1–4.1%) over the period of 2004–2011. Level of condom use among MBs is generally higher than the broader MSM population (69.2% at last act, and 48.5% consistently over the past 6 months). One-third of the Chinese MBs identified themselves as bisexual and 8.7% (5.6–13.5%) are currently married to a female. Further, 40.9% (34.5–47.7%) of MBs participated in group sex in the past 12 months and 14.8% (10.6–20.3%) concurrently use illicit drugs.
HIV/STI epidemics have affected Chinese MBs but the evidence suggests that the extent of infections is not greater than among other MSM in China.
PMCID: PMC3510224  PMID: 23209551
21.  Oral Zinc Supplementation for the Treatment of Acute Diarrhea in Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
Nutrients  2013;5(11):4715-4740.
Evidence supporting the impact of therapeutic zinc supplementation on the duration and severity of diarrhea among children under five is largely derived from studies conducted in South Asia. China experiences a substantial portion of the global burden of diarrhea, but the impact of zinc treatment among children under five has not been well documented by previously published systematic reviews on the topic. We therefore conducted a systematic literature review, which included an exhaustive search of the Chinese literature, in an effort to update previously published estimates of the effect of therapeutic zinc. We conducted systematic literature searches in various databases, including the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), and abstracted relevant data from studies meeting our inclusion and exclusion criteria. We used STATA 12.0 to pool select outcomes and to generate estimates of percentage difference and relative risk comparing outcomes between zinc and control groups. We identified 89 Chinese and 15 non-Chinese studies for the review, including studies in 10 countries from all WHO geographic regions, and analyzed a total of 18,822 diarrhea cases (9469 zinc and 9353 control). None of the included Chinese studies had previously been included in published pooled effect estimates. Chinese and non-Chinese studies reported the effect of therapeutic zinc supplementation on decreased episode duration, stool output, stool frequency, hospitalization duration and proportion of episodes lasting beyond three and seven days. Pooling Chinese and non-Chinese studies yielded an overall 26% (95% CI: 20%−32%) reduction in the estimated relative risk of diarrhea lasting beyond three days among zinc-treated children. Studies conducted in and outside China report reductions in morbidity as a result of oral therapeutic zinc supplementation for acute diarrhea among children under five years of age. The WHO recommendation for zinc treatment of diarrhea episodes should be supported in all low- and middle-income countries.
PMCID: PMC3847757  PMID: 24284615
zinc; children; global health; China
22.  The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT): reliability and validity of the Greek version 
Problems associated with alcohol abuse are recognised by the World Health Organization as a major health issue, which according to most recent estimations is responsible for 1.4% of the total world burden of morbidity and has been proven to increase mortality risk by 50%. Because of the size and severity of the problem, early detection is very important. This requires easy to use and specific tools. One of these is the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT).
This study aims to standardise the questionnaire in a Greek population.
AUDIT was translated and back-translated from its original language by two English-speaking psychiatrists. The tool contains 10 questions. A score ≥ 11 is an indication of serious abuse/dependence. In the study, 218 subjects took part: 128 were males and 90 females. The average age was 40.71 years (± 11.34). From the 218 individuals, 109 (75 male, 34 female) fulfilled the criteria for alcohol dependence according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV), and presented requesting admission; 109 subjects (53 male, 56 female) were healthy controls.
Internal reliability (Cronbach α) was 0.80 for the controls and 0.80 for the alcohol-dependent individuals. Controls had significantly lower average scores (t test P < 0.001) when compared to the alcoholics. The questionnaire's sensitivity for scores >8 was 0.98 and its specificity was 0.94 for the same score. For the alcohol-dependent sample 3% scored as false negatives and from the control group 1.8% scored false positives. In the alcohol-dependent sample there was no difference between males and females in their average scores (t test P > 0.05).
The Greek version of AUDIT has increased internal reliability and validity. It detects 97% of the alcohol-dependent individuals and has a high sensitivity and specificity. AUDIT is easy to use, quick and reliable and can be very useful in detection alcohol problems in sensitive populations.
PMCID: PMC2696447  PMID: 19442281
23.  High prevalence of HIV infection and unprotected anal intercourse among older men who have sex with men in China: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14(1):531.
China has the largest number of the elderly in the world. As the proportion of elderly is rapidly increasing among national reported HIV/AIDS cases, it is a concern about HIV epidemic among older MSM in China. However, studies on HIV prevalence and unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) among Chinese older MSM were relatively few or generally had small sample sizes.
English and Chinese articles published in peer-reviewed journals were identified by systematically searching 5 electronic databases including PubMed and through cross-referencing. Summary prevalence rates of HIV infection and UAI with male sexual partners were calculated, and analyses were performed using the software Comprehensive Meta-Analysis V2.0 and SPSS V17.0. Subgroup analyses were performed separately by sample size, study year, study location, recruitment settings and sampling method.
Twenty eligible cross-sectional studies (3 in English and 17 in Chinese), published between 2005 and 2013, with a total of 2812 older MSM participants, were identified. Our meta-analyses showed that the prevalence of HIV, syphilis and UAI in the last 6 months were 11.6% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 8.0%-16.6%), 23.0% (95% CI: 15.8%-32.3%) and 79.5% (95% CI: 72.7%-84.9%), respectively. HIV prevalence increased over the study period (6.3% in 2003–2007; 8.6% in 2008–2009, and 11.5% in 2010–2011, trend test Chi-square = 7.02, p = 0.008). The pooled prevalence of HIV (11.6% vs. 5.2%, Chi-square value = 36.2, p < 0.001) and UAI (79.5% vs. 52.6%, Chi-square value = 440.04, p < 0.001) among older MSM were both significantly higher than among younger age group (age < 50 years).
Older Chinese MSM have high prevalence of HIV and syphilis. Unprotected anal sex is common and further puts them at high risks of acquiring and transmitting HIV, which was one of reasons for the rapid increasing of national reported older male HIV/AIDS cases. Prevention intervention programs should be specially tailored for this high risk MSM subgroup.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-531) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4287343  PMID: 25287717
HIV; Syphilis; Unprotected anal intercourse (UAI); Men who have sex with men (MSM); Older MSM; China
24.  “Efforts to Reprioritise the Agenda” in China: British American Tobacco's Efforts to Influence Public Policy on Secondhand Smoke in China 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(12):e251.
Each year, 540 million Chinese are exposed to secondhand smoke (SHS), resulting in more than 100,000 deaths. Smoke-free policies have been demonstrated to decrease overall cigarette consumption, encourage smokers to quit, and protect the health of nonsmokers. However, restrictions on smoking in China remain limited and ineffective. Internal tobacco industry documents show that transnational tobacco companies (TTCs) have pursued a multifaceted strategy for undermining the adoption of restrictions on smoking in many countries.
Methods and Findings
To understand company activities in China related to SHS, we analyzed British American Tobacco's (BAT's) internal corporate documents produced in response to litigation against the major cigarette manufacturers to understand company activities in China related to SHS. BAT has carried out an extensive strategy to undermine the health policy agenda on SHS in China by attempting to divert public attention from SHS issues towards liver disease prevention, pushing the so-called “resocialisation of smoking” accommodation principles, and providing “training” for industry, public officials, and the media based on BAT's corporate agenda that SHS is an insignificant contributor to the larger issue of air pollution.
The public health community in China should be aware of the tactics previously used by TTCs, including efforts by the tobacco industry to co-opt prominent Chinese benevolent organizations, when seeking to enact stronger restrictions on smoking in public places.
Monique Muggli and colleagues study British American Tobacco (BAT) internal documents and find that from the mid 1990s BAT pursued a strategy aimed at influencing the public debate on secondhand smoke in China.
Editors' Summary
Each year, about one million people die in China from tobacco-caused diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. Although most of these deaths occur among smokers—300 million people smoke in China, accounting for one-third of the global “consumption” of cigarettes—more than 100,000 deaths from tobacco-related causes occur annually among the 540 million Chinese people who are exposed to secondhand smoke. Tobacco smoke contains 4,000 known chemicals, 69 of which are known or probable carcinogens, and, when it is produced in enclosed spaces, both smokers and nonsmokers are exposed to its harmful effects. The only effective way to reduce tobacco smoke exposure indoors to acceptable levels is to implement 100% smoke-free environments—ventilation, filtration, and the provision of segregated areas for smokers and nonsmokers are insufficient. Importantly, as well as protecting nonsmokers from secondhand smoke, the implementation of smoke-free public places also reduces the number of cigarettes smoked among continuing smokers, increases the likelihood of smokers quitting, and reduces the chances of young people taking up smoking.
Why Was This Study Done?
Article 8 of the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC; an international public-health treaty that seeks to reduce tobacco-caused death and disease) calls on countries party to the treaty to protect their citizens from secondhand smoke exposure. China became a party to the FCTC in 2005 but restrictions on smoking in public places in China remain limited and ineffective. Previous analyses of internal tobacco industry documents have revealed that transnational tobacco companies (TTCs) have used a multifaceted approach to undermine the adoption of restrictions on smoking in many countries. TTCs have been shown to influence media coverage of secondhand smoke issues and to promote ineffective ventilation and separate smoking and nonsmoking areas in restaurants, bars, and hotels (so-called “resocalization of smoking” accommodation principles) with the aim of undermining smoke-free legislation. In addition, TTCs have created organizations interested in non-tobacco-related diseases to draw attention away from the public-health implications of secondhand smoke. In this study, the researchers ask whether TTCs have used a similar approach to undermine the adoption of restrictions on smoking in China, one of the most coveted cigarette markets in the world by the major TTCs.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed internal corporate documents produced by British American Tobacco (BAT; the predominant TTC in China) in response to litigation against major cigarette manufacturers stored in document depositories in Minnesota, USA and Guildford, UK. Among these documents, they found evidence that BAT had attempted to divert attention from secondhand smoke issues toward liver disease prevention by funding the Beijing Liver Foundation (BFL) from its inception in 1997 until at least 2002 (the most recent year that BAT's corporate records are available for public review). The researchers also found evidence that BAT had promoted “resocialization of smoking” accommodation principles as a “route to avoid smoking bans” and pushed ventilation and air filtration in airports and in establishments serving food and drink. Finally, the researchers found evidence that BAT had sought to “present the message that ‘tobacco smoke is just one of the sources of air polution [sic] and a very insignificant one compared with other pollutants'” through presentations given to the Chinese tobacco industry and media seminars aimed at Chinese journalists.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, beginning in the mid 1990s and continuing until at least 2002, BAT has followed an intensive, multi-pronged strategy designed to undermine the health policy agenda on secondhand smoke in China. Given their findings, the researchers suggest that BFL and other charitable organizations in China must be wary of accepting tobacco money and that measures must be taken to improve the transparency and accountability of these and other public organizations. To meet FCTC obligations under Article 5.3 (industry interference), policy makers in China, they suggest, must be made aware of how BAT and other TTCs have repeatedly sought to influence health policy in China by focusing attention toward the adoption of ineffective air filtration and ventilation systems in hospitality venues rather than the implementation of 100% smoke-free environments. Finally, Chinese policy makers and the media need to be better informed about BAT's long-standing attempts to communicate misleading messages to them about the health effects of secondhand smoke.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization's Regional Office for the Western Pacific provides smoking statistics for China and other countries in the region
The World Health Organization provides information on the health problems associated with secondhand smoke, about its Tobacco Free Initiative (available in several languages), and about the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (also available in several languages)
MedlinePlus provides links to information about the dangers of secondhand smoke (available in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Smokefree Web site provides information about the advantages of giving up smoking, how to give up smoking, and the dangers associated with secondhand smoke
British American Tobacco documents stored in the Minnesota and Guildford Depositories, including those analyzed in this study, can be searched through the British American Tobacco Documents Archive
PMCID: PMC2605899  PMID: 19108603
25.  Prevalence of eating disorders in the general population: a systematic review 
Shanghai Archives of Psychiatry  2013;25(4):212-223.
The estimated prevalence of eating disorders reported in community surveys from different parts of the world varies widely but there has been no systematic attempt to identify the reasons for these differences.
Use meta-analysis methods to pool data from community surveys about the prevalence of eating disorders in different locations and to identify the factors that are associated with the reported prevalence of eating disorders.
Based on pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria, studies were identified from the following databases: PubMed/Medline, PsycINFO, ISI web of knowledge, Ovid, Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure, Chongqing VIP database for Chinese Technical Periodicals, WANFANG DATA, and Chinese Biological Literature Service System. Statistical analysis was conducted using R software.
Among the 9315 unduplicated reports reviewed (one-fourth of which were published in Chinese) only 15 – with a pooled sample size of 72,961 individuals – met the inclusion criteria for the analysis. None of the included studies were from China and only one Asian country (South Korea) was included in the analysis. The estimated lifetime prevalence, 12-month prevalence, and 4-week prevalence of any eating disorder was 1.01% (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.54-1.89), 0.37% (CI, 0.22-0.63), and 0.21% (CI, 0.15-0.28), respectively. Estimated lifetime prevalence of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder was 0.21% (CI, 0.11-0.38), 0.81% (CI, 0.59-1.09), and 2.22% (CI, 1.78-2.76), respectively. The estimated female-male ratio for lifetime prevalence of any eating disorder was 4.2. The lifetime prevalence of any eating disorder reported from studies conducted in Western countries was 6.1-fold greater than that reported in a single study from South Korea. Over time there has been a non-significant increase in reported prevalence of any eating disorder and a significant increase in reported prevalence of anorexia nervosa.
Eating disorders are common in the general population, more common in women than men, and more common in Western countries than in Asian countries.The reported prevalence is increasing over time, but this may be due to changes in diagnostic criteria. There are serious limitations in the available epidemiological data, primarily differences in the conditions included among eating disorders and the lack of acceptable epidemiological studies from low- and middle-income countries (including China).
PMCID: PMC4054558  PMID: 24991159

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