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1.  Preserving Differential Privacy for Similarity Measurement in Smart Environments 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:581426.
Advances in both sensor technologies and network infrastructures have encouraged the development of smart environments to enhance people's life and living styles. However, collecting and storing user's data in the smart environments pose severe privacy concerns because these data may contain sensitive information about the subject. Hence, privacy protection is now an emerging issue that we need to consider especially when data sharing is essential for analysis purpose. In this paper, we consider the case where two agents in the smart environment want to measure the similarity of their collected or stored data. We use similarity coefficient function (FSC) as the measurement metric for the comparison with differential privacy model. Unlike the existing solutions, our protocol can facilitate more than one request to compute FSC without modifying the protocol. Our solution ensures privacy protection for both the inputs and the computed FSC results.
PMCID: PMC4123612  PMID: 25221785
2.  Blockade of Retinol Metabolism Protects T Cell-Induced Hepatitis by Increasing Migration of Regulatory T Cells 
Molecules and Cells  2015;38(11):998-1006.
Retinols are metabolized into retinoic acids by alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and retinaldehyde dehydrogenase (Raldh). However, their roles have yet to be clarified in hepatitis despite enriched retinols in hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). Therefore, we investigated the effects of retinols on Concanavalin A (Con A)-mediated hepatitis.
Con A was injected into wild type (WT), Raldh1 knock-out (Raldh1−/−), CCL2−/− and CCR2−/− mice. For migration study of regulatory T cells (Tregs), we used in vivo and ex vivo adoptive transfer systems. Blockade of retinol metabolism in mice given 4-methylpyrazole, an inhibitor of ADH, and ablated Raldh1 gene manifested increased migration of Tregs, eventually protected against Con A-mediated hepatitis by decreasing interferon-γ in T cells. Moreover, interferon-γ treatment increased the expression of ADH3 and Raldh1, but it suppressed that of CCL2 and IL-6 in HSCs. However, the expression of CCL2 and IL-6 was inversely increased upon the pharmacologic or genetic ablation of ADH3 and Raldh1 in HSCs. Indeed, IL-6 treatment increased CCR2 expression of Tregs. In migration assay, ablated CCR2 in Tregs showed reduced migration to HSCs. In adoptive transfer of Tregs in vivo and ex vivo, Raldh1-deficient mice showed more increased migration of Tregs than WT mice. Furthermore, inhibited retinol metabolism increased survival rate (75%) compared with that of the controls (25%) in Con A-induced hepatitis.
These results suggest that blockade of retinol metabolism protects against acute liver injury by increased Treg migration, and it may represent a novel therapeutic strategy to control T cell-mediated acute hepatitis.
PMCID: PMC4673415  PMID: 26537191
4-methylpyrazole; concanavalin A; Hepatic stellate cells; interferon-gamma
3.  A Prospective Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Bone Union Rate Following Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion Using a Polyetheretherketone Cage: Hydroxyapatite/B-Tricalcium Phosphate Mixture versus Hydroxyapatite/Demineralized Bone Matrix Mixture 
Asian Spine Journal  2015;9(1):30-38.
Study Design
Prospective randomized noninferiority trial.
To evaluate whether the union rate of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) using a polyetheretherketone (PEEK) cage filled with a mixture of hydroxyapatite (HA) and demineralized bone matrix (DBM) is inferior to that of a mixture of β-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP) and HA.
Overview of Literature
There have been no clinical trials investigating the outcomes of a mixture of HA and DBM in a PEEK cage in ACDF.
Eighty-five eligible patients were randomly assigned to group B (n=43), in which a PEEK cage with a mixture of HA and DBM was used, or group C (n=42), in which a PEEK cage with a mixture of HA and β-TCP was used. The primary study endpoint was the fusion rate, which was assessed with dynamic radiographs and computed tomography (CT) scans. Secondary endpoints included pain intensity using a visual analogue scale, functional outcome using a neck disability index score, laboratory tests of inflammatory profiles, and the infection rate.
Seventy-seven patients (38 in group B and 39 in group C) were included in the final analysis. One year postoperatively, bone fusion was achieved in 87% of group B patients and 87% of group C patients on dynamic radiographs, and 87% of group B patients and 72% of group C patients on CT scans (p=1.00 and 0.16, respectively). There were also no between-groups differences with respect to the secondary endpoints.
A HA/DBM mixture inside a PEEK cage can provide noninferior outcomes compared to a HA/TCP mixture in ACDF.
PMCID: PMC4330216  PMID: 25705332
Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion; Polyetheretherketone cage; Hydroxyapatites; Demineralized bone matrix; Beta-tricalcium phosphate
4.  Risk Factors of New Compression Fractures in Adjacent Vertebrae after Percutaneous Vertebroplasty 
Asian Spine Journal  2011;5(3):180-187.
Study Design
Retrospective study.
To evaluate risk factors related to the development of new fractures in adjacent vertebrae after percutaneous vertebroplasty.
Overview of Literature
Recent reports indicate that undue numbers of new fractures in adjacent vertebral bodies occur after percutaneous vertebroplasty.
One hundred four of 369 patients who underwent percutaneous vertebroplasty were followed for over 1 year. Fifty-four patients (51.9%) subsequently suffered from adjacent vertebral fractures. Age, lumbar lordotic angle, sacral slope, pelvic tilt, pelvic incidence, bone mineral density, amounts of cement injected, the restoration of vertebral height, kyphotic angle differences preexisting fracture, and intradiscal cement leakage were noted.
Average bone mineral density was -3.52 in the fracture group and -2.91 in the fracture-free group; the risk of adjacent vertebral fracture increased as bone mineral density decreased (p < 0.05). Intradiscal cement leakage occurred in 18 patients (33.3%) in the fracture group, indicating that the risk of adjacent vertebral fracture increased with intradiscal cement leakage. In addition, 36 patients (66.7%) in the fracture group had a pre-existing fracture; thus, the presence of a preexisting fracture was found to be significantly associated with an increased risk of an adjacent vertebral fracture (p < 0.05). Higher restoration rates are associated with a greater likelihood of developing adjacent vertebral fractures (p < 0.05).
The factors found to contribute significantly to new fractures in adjacent vertebral bodies after percutaneous vertebroplasty were a lower bone mineral density, a greater restoration rate of vertebral height, a pre-existing fracture, and intradiscal cement leakage.
PMCID: PMC3159067  PMID: 21892391
Adjacent vertebral fractures; Percutaneous vertebroplasty; Risk factors
5.  The Quantitative Analysis of Back Muscle Degeneration after Posterior Lumbar Fusion: Comparison of Minimally Invasive and Conventional Open Surgery 
Asian Spine Journal  2009;3(2):89-95.
Study Design
Prospective controlled study.
The results of conventional open surgery was compared with those from minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF) for lumbar fusion to determine which approach resulted in less postoperative paraspinal muscle degeneration.
Overview of Literature
MI TLIF is new surgical technique that appears to minimize iatrogenic injury. However, there aren't any reports yet that have quantitatively analyzed and proved whether there's difference in back muscle injury and degeneration between the minimally invasive surgery and conventional open surgery in more than 1 year follow-up after surgery.
This study examined a consecutive series of 48 patients who underwent lumbar fusion in our hospital during the period, March 2006 to March 2008, with a 1-year follow-up evaluation using MRI. There were 17 cases of conventional open surgery and 31 cases of MI-TLIF (31 cases of single segment fusion and 17 cases of multi-segment fusion). The digital images of the paravertebral back muscles were analyzed and compared using the T2-weighted axial images. The point of interest was the paraspinal muscle of the intervertebral disc level from L1 to L5. Picture archiving and communication system viewing software was used for quantitative analysis of the change in fat infiltration percentage and the change in cross-sectional area of the paraspinal muscle, before and after surgery.
A comparison of the traditional posterior fusion method with MI-TLIF revealed single segment fusion to result in an average increase in fat infiltration in the paraspinal muscle of 4.30% and 1.37% and a decrease in cross-sectional area of 0.10 and 0.07 before and after surgery, respectively. Multi-segment fusion showed an average 7.90% and 2.79% increase in fat infiltration and a 0.16 and 0.10 decrease in cross-sectional area, respectively. Both single and multi segment fusion showed less change in the fat infiltration percentage and cross-sectional area, particularly in multi segment fusion. There was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of the radiologic results.
A comparison of conventional open surgery with MI-TLIF upon degeneration of the paraspinal muscle with a 1 year follow-up evaluation revealed that both single and multi segment fusion showed less change in fat infiltration percentage and cross-sectional area in the MI-TLIF but there was no significant difference between the two groups. This suggests that as time passes after surgery, there is no significant difference in the level of degeneration of the paraspinal muscle between surgical techniques.
PMCID: PMC2852079  PMID: 20404953
Paraspainal muscle; Fat degeneration; MRI; Posterior fusion
6.  A small-scale survey on the status of intestinal parasite infections in rural villages in Nepal 
The status of intestinal parasite infections was investigated in two rural villages (Chitrasar, Jerona) in Chitwan District, Nepal in 1999. Stool examination was performed with a total of 300 specimens from schoolchildren by formalin-ether sedimentation technique. The prevalence rate of intestinal parasite infections in the surveyed areas was 44.0%. The prevalence rate in Jerona was slightly higher than that in Chitrasar. The prevalence rate of intestinal parasite infections in female was slighly higher than that in male without statistically significant difference. Entamoeba coli was the most commonly found protozoan parasite (21.0%) followed by Giardia lamblia (13.7%) and others (5.3%). Hookworm was the most prevalent intestinal helminth (13.0%) followed by Trichuris trichiura (3.0%) and others (5.0%). Forty-three specimens (14.3%) showed mixed infections. It is necessary to implement large-scale treatment with anthelminthics, health education and sanitary improvement for intestinal parasite control in the surveyed areas.
PMCID: PMC2721210  PMID: 11138322
Nepal; intestinal parasites; formalin-ether sedimentation technique

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