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1.  No association of ZNF804A rs1344706 with white matter integrity in schizophrenia: A tract-based spatial statistics study 
Neuroscience letters  2012;532:64-69.
Altered brain connectivity has been widely considered as a genetic risk mechanism for schizophrenia. Of the many susceptibility genes identified so far, ZNF804A (rs1344706) is the first common genetic variant associated with schizophrenia on a genome-wide level. Previous fMRI studies have found that carriers of rs1344706 exhibit altered functional connectivity. However, the relationship between ZNF804A and white matter structural connectivity in patients of schizophrenia remains unknown. In this study, 100 patients with schizophrenia and 69 healthy controls were genotyped at the single nucleotide polymorphism rs1344706. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was conducted and analyzed with tract-based spatial statistics. Systematic statistical analysis was conducted on multiple diffusion indices, including fractional anisotropy, axial diffusivity, radial diffusivity, and mean diffusivity. Unpaired two-sample t-test revealed significant differences in fractional anisotropy and diffusivity between schizophrenia and control groups. A two-way ANOVA analysis was conducted to assess the main effects of and the interaction between schizophrenia and ZNF804A. Although significant main effects of the diagnosis of schizophrenia were found on radial diffusivity, no association between the ZNF804A (rs1344706) and white matter connectivity was found in the entire group of subjects or in a selected subgroup of age-matched subjects (n = 72).
PMCID: PMC4154480  PMID: 23147122
ZNF804A; Schizophrenia; White matter; Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI); Tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS)
2.  Smoking and Major Depressive Disorder in Chinese Women 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106287.
To investigate the risk factors that contribute to smoking in female patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and the clinical features in depressed smokers.
We examined the smoking status and clinical features in 6120 Han Chinese women with MDD (DSM-IV) between 30 and 60 years of age across China. Logistic regression was used to determine the association between clinical features of MDD and smoking status and between risk factors for MDD and smoking status.
Among the recurrent MDD patients there were 216(3.6%) current smokers, 117 (2.0%) former smokers and 333(5.6%) lifetime smokers. Lifetime smokers had a slightly more severe illness, characterized by more episodes, longer duration, more comorbid illness (panic and phobias), with more DSM-IV A criteria and reported more symptoms of fatigue and suicidal ideation or attempts than never smokers. Some known risk factors for MDD were also differentially represented among smokers compared to non-smokers. Smokers reported more stressful life events, were more likely to report childhood sexual abuse, had higher levels of neuroticism and an increased rate of familial MDD. Only neuroticism was significantly related to nicotine dependence.
Although depressed women smokers experience more severe illness, smoking rates remain low in MDD patients. Family history of MDD and environmental factors contribute to lifetime smoking in Chinese women, consistent with the hypothesis that the association of smoking and depression may be caused by common underlying factors.
PMCID: PMC4152240  PMID: 25180682
3.  Associations of Educational Attainment, Occupation, Social Class and Major Depressive Disorder among Han Chinese Women 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86674.
The prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD) is higher in those with low levels of educational attainment, the unemployed and those with low social status. However the extent to which these factors cause MDD is unclear. Most of the available data comes from studies in developed countries, and these findings may not extrapolate to developing countries. Examining the relationship between MDD and socio economic status in China is likely to add to the debate because of the radical economic and social changes occurring in China over the last 30 years.
Principal findings
We report results from 3,639 Chinese women with recurrent MDD and 3,800 controls. Highly significant odds ratios (ORs) were observed between MDD and full time employment (OR = 0.36, 95% CI = 0.25–0.46, logP = 78), social status (OR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.77–0.87, logP = 13.3) and education attainment (OR = 0.90, 95% CI = 0.86–0.90, logP = 6.8). We found a monotonic relationship between increasing age and increasing levels of educational attainment. Those with only primary school education have significantly more episodes of MDD (mean 6.5, P-value = 0.009) and have a clinically more severe disorder, while those with higher educational attainment are likely to manifest more comorbid anxiety disorders.
In China lower socioeconomic position is associated with increased rates of MDD, as it is elsewhere in the world. Significantly more episodes of MDD occur among those with lower educational attainment (rather than longer episodes of disease), consistent with the hypothesis that the lower socioeconomic position increases the likelihood of developing MDD. The phenomenology of MDD varies according to the degree of educational attainment: higher educational attainment not only appears to protect against MDD but alters its presentation, to a more anxious phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3909008  PMID: 24497966
4.  Childhood Sexual Abuse and the Development of Recurrent Major Depression in Chinese Women 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e87569.
Our prior study in Han Chinese women has shown that women with a history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) are at increased risk for developing major depression (MD). Would this relationship be found in our whole data set?
Three levels of CSA (non-genital, genital, and intercourse) were assessed by self-report in two groups of Han Chinese women: 6017 clinically ascertained with recurrent MD and 5983 matched controls. Diagnostic and other risk factor information was assessed at personal interview. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by logistic regression.
We confirmed earlier results by replicating prior analyses in 3,950 new recurrent MD cases. There were no significant differences between the two data sets. Any form of CSA was significantly associated with recurrent MD (OR 4.06, 95% confidence interval (CI) [3.19–5.24]). This association strengthened with increasing CSA severity: non-genital (OR 2.21, 95% CI 1.58–3.15), genital (OR 5.24, 95% CI 3.52–8.15) and intercourse (OR 10.65, 95% CI 5.56–23.71). Among the depressed women, those with CSA had an earlier age of onset, longer depressive episodes. Recurrent MD patients those with CSA had an increased risk for dysthymia (OR 1.60, 95%CI 1.11–2.27) and phobia (OR 1.41, 95%CI 1.09–1.80). Any form of CSA was significantly associated with suicidal ideation or attempt (OR 1.50, 95% CI 1.20–1.89) and feelings of worthlessness or guilt (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.02–2.02). Intercourse (OR 3.47, 95%CI 1.66–8.22), use of force and threats (OR 1.95, 95%CI 1.05–3.82) and how strongly the victims were affected at the time (OR 1.39, 95%CI 1.20–1.64) were significantly associated with recurrent MD.
In Chinese women CSA is strongly associated with recurrent MD and this association increases with greater severity of CSA. Depressed women with CSA have some specific clinical traits. Some features of CSA were associated with greater likelihood of developing recurrent MD.
PMCID: PMC3906190  PMID: 24489940
5.  Clinical Features of Patients with Dysthymia in a Large Cohort of Han Chinese Women with Recurrent Major Depression 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83490.
Dysthymia is a form of chronic mild depression that has a complex relationship with major depressive disorder (MDD). Here we investigate the role of environmental risk factors, including stressful life events and parenting style, in patients with both MDD and dysthymia. We ask whether these risk factors act in the same way in MDD with and without dysthymia.
We examined the clinical features in 5,950 Han Chinese women with MDD between 30–60 years of age across China. We confirmed earlier results by replicating prior analyses in 3,950 new MDD cases. There were no significant differences between the two data sets. We identified sixteen stressful life events that significantly increase the risk of dysthymia, given the presence of MDD. Low parental warmth, from either mother or father, increases the risk of dysthymia. Highly threatening but short-lived threats (such as rape) are more specific for MDD than dysthymia. While for MDD more severe life events show the largest odds ratio versus controls, this was not seen for cases of MDD with or without dysthymia.
There are increased rates of stressful life events in MDD with dysthymia, but the impact of life events on susceptibility to dysthymia with MDD differs from that seen for MDD alone. The pattern does not fit a simple dose-response relationship, suggesting that there are moderating factors involved in the relationship between environmental precipitants and the onset of dysthymia. It is possible that severe life events in childhood events index a general susceptibility to chronic depression, rather than acting specifically as risk factors for dysthymia.
PMCID: PMC3873934  PMID: 24386213
6.  Suicidal Risk Factors of Recurrent Major Depression in Han Chinese Women 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80030.
The relationship between suicidality and major depression is complex. Socio- demography, clinical features, comorbidity, clinical symptoms, and stressful life events are important factors influencing suicide in major depression, but these are not well defined. Thus, the aim of the present study was to assess the associations between the above-mentioned factors and suicide ideation, suicide plan, and suicide attempt in 6008 Han Chinese women with recurrent major depression (MD). Patients with any suicidality had significantly more MD symptoms, a significantly greater number of stressful life events, a positive family history of MD, a greater number of episodes, a significant experience of melancholia, and earlier age of onset. Comorbidity with dysthymia, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social phobia, and animal phobia was seen in suicidal patients. The present findings indicate that specific factors act to increase the likelihood of suicide in MD. Our results may help improve the clinical assessment of suicide risk in depressed patients, especially for women.
PMCID: PMC3842272  PMID: 24312196
7.  The impact of educational status on the clinical features of major depressive disorder among Chinese women 
Journal of Affective Disorders  2012;136(3):988-992.
Years of education are inversely related to the prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD), but the relationship between the clinical features of MDD and educational status is poorly understood. We investigated this in 1970 Chinese women with recurrent MDD identified in a clinical setting.
Clinical and demographic features were obtained from 1970 Han Chinese women with DSM-IV major depression between 30 and 60 years of age across China. Analysis of linear, logistic and multiple logistic regression models were used to determine the association between educational level and clinical features of MDD.
Subjects with more years of education are more likely to have MDD, with an odds ratio of 1.14 for those with more than ten years. Low educational status is not associated with an increase in the number of episodes, nor with increased rates of co-morbidity with anxiety disorders. Education impacts differentially on the symptoms of depression: lower educational attainment is associated with more biological symptoms and increased suicidal ideation and plans to commit suicide.
Findings may not generalize to males or to other patient populations. Since the threshold for treatment seeking differs as a function of education there may an ascertainment bias in the sample.
The relationship between symptoms of MDD and educational status in Chinese women is unexpectedly complex. Our findings are inconsistent with the simple hypothesis from European and US reports that low levels of educational attainment increase the risk and severity of MDD.
PMCID: PMC3314924  PMID: 21824664
Major depressive disorder; Education; Socio-economic status; Symptom
8.  Validation of the Chinese version of the "Mood Disorder Questionnaire" for screening bipolar disorder among patients with a current depressive episode 
BMC Psychiatry  2012;12:8.
The Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) is a well-recognized screening tool for bipolar disorder, but its Chinese version needs further validation. This study aims to measure the accuracy of the Chinese version of the MDQ as a screening instrument for bipolar disorder (BPD) in a group of patients with a current major depressive episode.
142 consecutive patients with an initial DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of a major depressive episode were screened for BPD using the Chinese translation of the MDQ and followed up for one year. The final diagnosis, determined by a special committee consisting of three trained senior psychiatrists, was used as a 'gold standard' and ROC was plotted to evaluate the performance of the MDQ. The optimal cut-off was chosen by maximizing the Younden's index.
Of the 142 patients, 122 (85.9%) finished the one year follow-up. On the basis of a semi-structured clinical interview 48.4% (59/122) received a diagnosis of unipolar depression (UPD), 36.9% (45/122) BPDII and 14.8% (18/122) BPDI. At the end of the one year follow-up,9 moved from UPD to BPD, 2 from BPDII to UPD, 1 from BPDII to BPDI, the overall rate of initial misdiagnosis was 16.4%. MDQ showed a good accuracy for BPD: the optimal cut-off was 4, with a sensitivity of 0.72 and a specificity of 0.73. When BPDII and BPDI were calculated independently, the optimal cut-off for BPDII was 4, with a sensitivity of 0.70 and a specificity of 0.73; while the optimal cut-off for BPDI was 5, with a sensitivity of 0.67 and a specificity of 0.86.
Our results show that the Chinese version of MDQ is a valid tool for screening BPD in a group of patients with current depressive episode on the Chinese mainland.
PMCID: PMC3299660  PMID: 22293033
9.  Resemblance of Symptoms for Major Depression Assessed at Interview versus from Hospital Record Review 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e28734.
Diagnostic information for psychiatric research often depends on both clinical interviews and medical records. Although discrepancies between these two sources are well known, there have been few studies into the degree and origins of inconsistencies.
Principal findings
We compared data from structured interviews and medical records on 1,970 Han Chinese women with recurrent DSM-IV major depression (MD). Correlations were high for age at onset of MD (0.93) and number of episodes (0.70), intermediate for family history (+0.62) and duration of longest episode (+0.43) and variable but generally more modest for individual depressive symptoms (mean kappa = 0.32). Four factors were identified for twelve symptoms from medical records and the same four factors emerged from analysis of structured interviews. Factor congruencies were high but the correlation of factors between interviews and records were modest (i.e. +0.2 to +0.4).
Structured interviews and medical records are highly concordant for age of onset, and the number and length of episodes, but agree more modestly for individual symptoms and symptom factors. The modesty of these correlations probably arises from multiple factors including i) inconsistency in the definition of the worst episode, ii) inaccuracies in self-report and iii) difficulties in coding medical records where symptoms were recorded solely for clinical purposes.
PMCID: PMC3256142  PMID: 22247760
10.  The relationship between neuroticism, major depressive disorder and comorbid disorders in Chinese women 
Journal of Affective Disorders  2011;135(1-3):100-105.
The personality trait of neuroticism is a risk factor for major depressive disorder (MDD), but this relationship has not been demonstrated in clinical samples from Asia.
We examined a large-scale clinical study of Chinese Han women with recurrent major depression and community-acquired controls.
Elevated levels of neuroticism increased the risk for lifetime MDD (with an odds ratio of 1.37 per SD), contributed to the comorbidity of MDD with anxiety disorders, and predicted the onset and severity of MDD. Our findings largely replicate those obtained in clinical populations in Europe and US but differ in two ways: we did not find a relationship between melancholia and neuroticism; we found lower mean scores for neuroticism (3.6 in our community control sample).
Our findings do not apply to MDD in community-acquired samples and may be limited to Han Chinese women. It is not possible to determine whether the association between neuroticism and MDD reflects a causal relationship.
Neuroticism acts as a risk factor for MDD in Chinese women, as it does in the West and may particularly predispose to comorbidity with anxiety disorders. Cultural factors may have an important effect on its measurement.
PMCID: PMC3220767  PMID: 21824661
Major depressive disorder; Anxiety disorders; Neuroticism
11.  A comparison of the clinical characteristics of Chinese patients with recurrent major depressive disorder with and without dysthymia☆ 
Journal of Affective Disorders  2011;135(1-3):106-110.
The relationship between major depressive disorder (MDD) and dysthymia, a form of chronic depression, is complex. The two conditions are highly comorbid and it is unclear whether they are two separate disease entities. We investigated the extent to which patients with dysthymia superimposed on major depression can be distinguished from those with recurrent MDD.
We examined the clinical features in 1970 Han Chinese women with MDD (DSM-IV) between 30 and 60 years of age across China. Logistic regression was used to determine the association between clinical features of MDD and dysthymia and between dysthymia and disorders comorbid with major depression.
The 354 cases with dysthymia had more severe MDD than those without, with more episodes of MDD and greater co-morbidity for anxiety disorders. Patients with dysthymia had higher neuroticism scores and were more likely to have a family history of MDD. They were also more likely to have suffered serious life events.
Results were obtained in a clinically ascertained sample of Chinese women and may not generalize to community-acquired samples or to other populations. It is not possible to determine whether the associations represent causal relationships.
The additional diagnosis of dysthymia in Chinese women with recurrent MDD defines a meaningful and potentially important subtype. We conclude that in some circumstances it is possible to distinguish double depression from recurrent MDD.
PMCID: PMC3221043  PMID: 21824660
Major depressive disorder; Dysthymia; Symptom; Comorbidity

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