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1.  Foetal Exposure to Maternal Passive Smoking Is Associated with Childhood Asthma, Allergic Rhinitis, and Eczema 
The Scientific World Journal  2012;2012:542983.
Objective. We examined the hypothesis that foetal exposure to maternal passive smoking is associated with childhood asthma, allergic rhinitis, and eczema. Methods. The study was a population-based cross-sectional survey of Hong Kong Chinese children aged ≤14 years carried out in 2005 to 2006. Results. Foetal exposure to maternal passive smoking was significantly associated with wheeze ever (OR 2.05; 95% CI 1.58–2.67), current wheeze (OR 2.06; 95% CI 1.48–2.86), allergic rhinitis ever (OR 1.22; 95% CI 1.09–1.37), and eczema ever (OR 1.61; 95% CI 1.38–1.87). Foetal exposure to maternal active smoking was significantly associated with asthma ever (OR 2.10; 95% CI 1.14–3.84), wheeze ever (OR 2.46; 95% CI 1.27–4.78), and current wheeze (OR 2.74; 95% CI 1.24–6.01) but not with allergic rhinitis ever (OR 1.01; 95% CI 0.70–1.46) or eczema ever (OR 1.38; 95% CI 0.87–2.18). The dose response relationship between wheeze ever and current wheeze with increasing exposure, from no exposure to maternal passive smoking and then to maternal active smoking, further supports causality. Conclusion. There is significant association between foetal exposure to maternal passive smoking and maternal active smoking with childhood asthma and related atopic illnesses. Further studies are warranted to explore the potential causal relationship.
PMCID: PMC3425811  PMID: 22927783
2.  Cortical reorganization following anterior temporal lobectomy in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy 
Neurology  2009;73(7):518-525.
Functional MRI was used to study the impact of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL) on the cortical language network in patients with medically refractory TLE.
Nineteen patients with medically refractory TLE and 11 healthy control subjects were enrolled in this study. Ten patients underwent left ATL (mean age 35.2 ± 3.8 years), and 9 underwent right ATL (mean age 35.9 ± 2.6 years). The subjects silently generated verbs in response to a series of visually presented nouns inside the scanner. Correlation analysis was performed between the subjects' performance on the clinical language tests and their neural response in the a priori cortical regions.
Preoperative data revealed that the patients with TLE showed increased neural activity in the right inferior frontal gyri (IFG) and middle frontal gyri (MFG). The right TLE patients demonstrated strong correlation between their language performance and the level of cortical activation within the typical language areas. However, such a correlation was absent in the left TLE patients. After the ATL surgery, the left TLE patients showed reduced activation in the left MFG and right IFG, whereas no difference was observed in the right TLE patients. In the right TLE patients, the correlation between language performance and neural response shifted from the typical language areas to the anterior cingulate cortex.
This study demonstrates that the cortical language network is affected differently by the left and right temporal lobe epilepsy and is reorganized after anterior temporal lobectomy.
= anterior cingulate cortex;
= anterior temporal lobectomy;
= Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination;
= Boston Naming Test;
= blood oxygenation level–dependent;
= functional MRI;
= field of view;
= inferior frontal gyrus;
= London Health Sciences Centre;
= Language Quotient;
= middle frontal gyrus;
= Montreal Neurological Institute;
= region of interest;
= superior frontal gyrus;
= echo time;
= temporal lobe epilepsy;
= repetition time;
= Western Aphasia Battery.
PMCID: PMC2730795  PMID: 19687453
3.  Association of BANK1 and TNFSF4 with systemic lupus erythematosus in Hong Kong Chinese 
Genes and Immunity  2009;10(5):414-420.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a prototypic autoimmune disease with complex genetic inheritance. Recently, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in BANK1 and TNFSF4 have been shown to be associated with SLE in Caucasian populations, but it is not known whether they are also involved in the disease in other ethnic groups. Recent data from our genome-wide association study (GWAS) for 314 SLE cases and 920 controls collected in Hong Kong identified SNPs in and around BANK1 and TNFSF4 to be associated with SLE risk. On the basis of the results of the reported studies and our GWAS, SNPs were selected for further genotyping in 949 SLE patients (overlapping with the 314 cases in our GWAS) and non-overlapping 1042 healthy controls. We confirmed the associations of BANK1 and TNFSF4 with SLE in Chinese (BANK1, rs3733197, odds ratio (OR)=0.84, P=0.021; BANK1, rs17266594, OR=0.61, P=4.67 × 10−9; TNFSF4, rs844648, OR=1.22, P=2.47 × 10−3; TNFSF4, rs2205960, OR=1.30, P=2.41 × 10−4). Another SNP located in intron 1 of BANK1, rs4522865, was separately replicated by Sequenom in 360 cases and 360 controls and was also confirmed to be associated with SLE (OR=0.725, P=2.93 × 10−3). Logistic regression analysis showed that rs3733197 (A383T in ankyrin domain) and rs17266594 (a branch point-site SNP) from BANK1 had independent contributions towards the disease association (P=0.037 and 6.63 × 10−8, respectively). In TNFSF4, rs2205960 was associated with SLE independently from the effect of rs844648 (P=6.26 × 10−3), but not vice versa (P=0.55). These findings suggest that multiple independent genetic variants may be present within the gene locus, which exert their effects on SLE pathogenesis through different mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC2834352  PMID: 19357697
SLE; BANK1; TNFSF4; Chinese; genetic association
4.  Association between air pollution and asthma admission among children in Hong Kong 
Clinical and Experimental Allergy   2006;36(9):1138-1146.
To examine the association of air pollutants with hospital admission for childhood asthma in Hong Kong.
Data on hospital admissions for asthma, influenza and total hospital admissions in children aged ≤18 years at all Hospital Authority hospitals during 1997–2002 were obtained. Data on daily mean concentrations of particles with aerodynamic diameter <10 μm (i. e. PM10) and <2.5 μm (i. e. PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and ozone (O3) and data on meteorological variables were associated with asthma hospital admissions using Poisson's regression with generalized additive models for correction of yearly trend, temperature, humidity, day-of-week effect, holiday, influenza admissions and total hospital admission. The possibility of a lag effect of each pollutant and the interaction of different pollutants were also examined.
The association between asthma admission with change of NO2, PM10, PM2.5 and O3 levels remained significant after adjustment for multi-pollutants effect and confounding variables, with increase in asthma admission rate of 5.64% (3.21–8.14) at lag 3 for NO2, 3.67% (1.52–5.86) at lag 4 for PM10, 3.24% (0.93–5.60) at lag 4 for PM2.5 and 2.63% (0.64–4.67) at lag 2 for O3. Effect of SO2 was lost after adjustment.
Ambient levels of PM10, PM2.5, NO2 and O3 are associated with childhood asthma hospital admission in Hong Kong.
PMCID: PMC1618810  PMID: 16961713
air pollution; asthma; children; Hong Kong; hospital admission

Results 1-4 (4)