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1.  Learning curve for hand-assisted laparoscopic D2 radical gastrectomy 
AIM: To describe the learning curves of hand-assisted laparoscopic D2 radical gastrectomy (HALG) for the treatment of gastric cancer.
METHODS: The HALG surgical procedure consists of three stages: surgery under direct vision via the port for hand assistance, hand-assisted laparoscopic surgery, and gastrointestinal tract reconstruction. According to the order of the date of surgery, patients were divided into 6 groups (A-F) with 20 cases in each group. All surgeries were performed by the same group of surgeons. We performed a comprehensive and in-depth retrospective comparative analysis of the clinical data of all patients, with the clinical data including general patient information and intraoperative and postoperative observation indicators.
RESULTS: There were no differences in the basic information among the patient groups (P > 0.05). The operative time of the hand-assisted surgery stage in group A was 8-10 min longer than the other groups, with the difference being statistically significant (P = 0.01). There were no differences in total operative time between the groups (P = 0.30). Postoperative intestinal function recovery time in group A was longer than that of other groups (P = 0.02). Lengths of hospital stay and surgical quality indicators (such as intraoperative blood loss, numbers of detected lymph nodes, intraoperative side injury, postoperative complications, reoperation rate, and readmission rate 30 d after surgery) were not significantly different among the groups.
CONCLUSION: HALG is a surgical procedure that can be easily mastered, with a learning curve closely related to the operative time of the hand-assisted laparoscopic surgery stage.
PMCID: PMC4316103  PMID: 25663780
Learning curve; Gastric cancer; Hand-assisted laparoscopic D2 radical gastrectomy; Operative time; Surgical quality indicators
2.  Community-based interventions in hypertensive patients: a comparison of three health education strategies 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:33.
Community-based health education programs may be helpful in improving health outcomes in patients with chronic illnesses. This study aimed to evaluate community-based health education strategies in the management of hypertensive patients with low socioeconomic status in Dongguan City, China.
This was a randomized, non-blinded trial involving 360 hypertensive patients enrolled in the community health service centre of Liaobu Town, Dongguan City, China. Participants were randomized to receive one of the three community-based health education programs over 2 years: self-learning reading (Group 1), monthly regular didactic lecture (Group 2), monthly interactive education workshop (Group 3). Outcomes included the changes in the proportion of subjects with normalized blood pressure (BP), hypertension-related knowledge score, adherence to antihypertensive treatment, lifestyle, body mass index and serum lipids.
After the 2-y intervention, the proportion of subjects with normalized BP increased significantly in Group 2 (from 41.2% to 63.2%, p<0.001), and increased more substantially in Group 3 (from 40.2% to 86.3%, p<0.001), but did not change significantly in Group 1. Improvements in hypertension-related knowledge score, adherence to regular use of medications, appropriate salt intake and regular physical activity were progressively greater from group 1 to group 2 to group 3. Group 3 had the largest reductions in body mass index and serum LDL cholesterol levels.
Interactive education workshops may be the most effective strategy in community-based health promotion education programs for hypertensive patients in improving patients’ knowledge on hypertension and alleviating clinical risk factors for preventing hypertension-related complications.
PMCID: PMC4314804  PMID: 25631224
Community-based intervention; Health education; Hypertension; Blood pressure; Serum lipids
3.  A study of suicidal ideation in acute ischemic stroke patients 
Increasing evidences indicate that stroke confers a substantial risk for suicidal ideation. The aim of this study was to identify risk factors of suicidal ideation in acute ischemic stroke patients.
A total of 271 consecutive patients with acute ischemic stroke were recruited in Huai-He hospital or the First People’s Hospital, Kaifeng City, China. Demographic and clinical variables were collected and evaluated. Suicidal ideation was assessed using the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation (BSI). Multivariate logistic regression was applied to determine the risk factors of suicidal ideation.
Suicidal ideation was identified in 29 patients (10.7%). It was more frequent in patients who lived in rural region, with pre-/post-stroke depression or diabetes, had a higher NIHSS score, had no confidence in disease treatment, or had a poor coping style. Living in rural region (OR 2.59, 95% CI 1.02-6.58), the presence of pre-stroke depression (OR 11.74, 95% CI 4.45-31.01), stroke severity (OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.08-1.33), having no confidence in disease treatment (OR 14.70, 95% CI 2.60-83.15), and post-stroke depression (OR 16.22, 95% CI 6.40-41.10) were independent risk factors of suicidal ideation.
Several factors may be associated with an increased risk of suicidal ideation in acute ischemic stroke patients, including pre-/post-stroke depression, more severe stroke, having no confidence in treatment, as well as living in rural region. Our findings may have implication in risk assessment and intervention for acute ischemic stroke patients in reducing the burdens of suicidal ideation.
PMCID: PMC4308882  PMID: 25613218
Ischemic stroke; Suicidal ideation; Depression; Risk factor
4.  Function of a novel plakophilin-2 mutation in the abnormal expression of connexin43 in a patient with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy 
Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a desmosomal disease. Desmosomes and gap junctions are important structural components of cardiac intercalated discs. The proteins plakophilin-2 (PKP-2) and connexin43 (Cx43) are components of desmosomes and gap junctions, respectively. This study was conducted to determine whether Cx43 expression is affected by the mutation of the PKP-2 gene in patients with ARVC. A novel mutation was detected in a typical patient with ARVC. The mutated gene was transfected into rat mesenchymal stem cells expressing Cx43 through a pReversied-M-29 plasmid. Cx43 expression was detected using quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis. Cx43 expression was significantly decreased in the mutant PKP-2 group compared with that in the wild-type PKP-2 group. In conclusion, PKP-2 affected Cx43 expression at the gene transcription level in the patient with ARVC.
PMCID: PMC4316957  PMID: 25667661
arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy; desmosome; connexin43; gap junction; plakophilin-2 gene
5.  A clinical study of lung cancer dose calculation accuracy with Monte Carlo simulation 
The accuracy of dose calculation is crucial to the quality of treatment planning and, consequently, to the dose delivered to patients undergoing radiation therapy. Current general calculation algorithms such as Pencil Beam Convolution (PBC) and Collapsed Cone Convolution (CCC) have shortcomings in regard to severe inhomogeneities, particularly in those regions where charged particle equilibrium does not hold. The aim of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of the PBC and CCC algorithms in lung cancer radiotherapy using Monte Carlo (MC) technology.
Methods and materials
Four treatment plans were designed using Oncentra Masterplan TPS for each patient. Two intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) plans were developed using the PBC and CCC algorithms, and two three-dimensional conformal therapy (3DCRT) plans were developed using the PBC and CCC algorithms. The DICOM-RT files of the treatment plans were exported to the Monte Carlo system to recalculate. The dose distributions of GTV, PTV and ipsilateral lung calculated by the TPS and MC were compared.
For 3DCRT and IMRT plans, the mean dose differences for GTV between the CCC and MC increased with decreasing of the GTV volume. For IMRT, the mean dose differences were found to be higher than that of 3DCRT. The CCC algorithm overestimated the GTV mean dose by approximately 3% for IMRT. For 3DCRT plans, when the volume of the GTV was greater than 100 cm3, the mean doses calculated by CCC and MC almost have no difference. PBC shows large deviations from the MC algorithm. For the dose to the ipsilateral lung, the CCC algorithm overestimated the dose to the entire lung, and the PBC algorithm overestimated V20 but underestimated V5; the difference in V10 was not statistically significant.
PBC substantially overestimates the dose to the tumour, but the CCC is similar to the MC simulation. It is recommended that the treatment plans for lung cancer be developed using an advanced dose calculation algorithm other than PBC. MC can accurately calculate the dose distribution in lung cancer and can provide a notably effective tool for benchmarking the performance of other dose calculation algorithms within patients.
PMCID: PMC4276018  PMID: 25511623
3-Dimensional conformal radiation therapy; Collapsed cone convolution; Pencil beam convolution; Lung cancer; Monte Carlo; Intensity-modulated radiation therapy
6.  Temperature-Dependent Variations in Sulfate-Reducing Communities Associated with a Terrestrial Hydrocarbon Seep 
Microbes and Environments  2014;29(4):377-387.
Terrestrial hydrocarbon seeps are an important source of naturally emitted methane over geological time. The exact community compositions responsible for carbon cycling beneath these surface features remain obscure. As sulfate reduction represents an essential process for anoxic organic mineralization, this study collected muddy fluids from a high-temperature hydrocarbon seep in Taiwan and analyzed community structures of sulfate-supplemented sediment slurries incubated anoxically at elevated temperatures. The results obtained demonstrated that sulfate consumption occurred between 40°C and 80°C. Dominant potential sulfate reducers included Desulfovibrio spp., Desulfonatronum spp., Desulforhabdus spp., and Desulfotomaculum spp. at 40°C, Thermodesulfovibrio spp. at 50°C, Thermodesulfovibrio spp. and Thermacetogenium spp. at 60°C, Thermacetogenium spp. and Archaeoglobus spp. at 70°C, and Archaeoglobus spp. at 80°C. None of these potential sulfate reducers exceeded 7% of the community in the untreated sample. Since no exogenous electron donor was provided during incubation, these sulfate reducers appeared to rely on the degradation of organic matter inherited from porewater and sediments. Aqueous chemistry indicated that fluids discharged in the region represented a mixture of saline formation water and low-salinity surface water; therefore, these lines of evidence suggest that deeply-sourced, thermophilic and surface-input, mesophilic sulfate-reducing populations entrapped along the subsurface fluid transport could respond rapidly once the ambient temperature is adjusted to a range close to their individual optima.
PMCID: PMC4262361
sulfate reduction; thermophile; organic mineralization; hydrocarbon seep
7.  Post-Injury Treatment with 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone, a TrkB Receptor Agonist, Protects against Experimental Traumatic Brain Injury via PI3K/Akt Signaling 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113397.
Tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) signaling is critical for promoting neuronal survival following brain damage. The present study investigated the effects and underlying mechanisms of TrkB activation by the TrkB agonist 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF) on traumatic brain injury (TBI). Mice subjected to controlled cortical impact received intraperitoneal 7,8-DHF or vehicle injection 10 min post-injury and subsequently daily for 3 days. Behavioral studies, histology analysis and brain water content assessment were performed. Levels of TrkB signaling-related molecules and apoptosis-related proteins were analyzed. The protective effect of 7,8-DHF was also investigated in primary neurons subjected to stretch injury. Treatment with 20 mg/kg 7,8-DHF attenuated functional deficits and brain damage up to post-injury day 28. 7,8-DHF also reduced brain edema, neuronal death, and apoptosis at day 4. These changes were accompanied by a significant decrease in cleaved caspase-3 and increase in Bcl-2/Bax ratio. 7,8-DHF enhanced phosphorylation of TrkB, Akt (Ser473/Thr308), and Bad at day 4, but had no effect on Erk 1/2 phosphorylation. Moreover, 7,8-DHF increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels and promoted cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) activation. This beneficial effect was attenuated by inhibition of TrkB or PI3K/Akt. 7,8-DHF also promoted survival and reduced apoptosis in cortical neurons subjected to stretch injury. Remarkably, delayed administration of 7,8-DHF at 3 h post-injury reduced brain tissue damage. Our study demonstrates that activation of TrkB signaling by 7,8-DHF protects against TBI via the PI3K/Akt but not Erk pathway, and this protective effect may be amplified via the PI3K/Akt-CREB cascades.
PMCID: PMC4240709  PMID: 25415296
8.  Endoscopic variceal ligation caused massive bleeding due to laceration of an esophageal varicose vein with tissue glue emboli 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(42):15937-15940.
Endoscopic variceal obturation of gastric varices with tissue glue is considered the first choice for management of gastric varices, and is usually safe and effective. However, there is still a low incidence of complications and some are even fatal. Here, we present a case in which endoscopic variceal ligation caused laceration of the esophageal varicose vein with tissue glue emboli and massive bleeding after 3 mo. Cessation of bleeding was achieved via variceal sclerotherapy using a cap-fitted gastroscope. Methods of recognizing an esophageal varicose vein with tissue glue plug are discussed.
PMCID: PMC4229563  PMID: 25400482
Gastroesophageal varices; Variceal bleeding; Laceration; Varices ligation; Tissue glue injection
9.  Stabilization of collagen nanofibers with l-lysine improves the ability of carbodiimide cross-linked amniotic membranes to preserve limbal epithelial progenitor cells 
To overcome the drawbacks associated with limited cross-linking efficiency of carbodiimide modified amniotic membrane, this study investigated the use of l-lysine as an additional amino acid bridge to enhance the stability of a nanofibrous tissue matrix for a limbal epithelial cell culture platform. Results of ninhydrin assays and zeta potential measurements showed that the amount of positively charged amino acid residues incorporated into the tissue collagen chains is highly correlated with the l-lysine-pretreated concentration. The cross-linked structure and hydrophilicity of amniotic membrane scaffolding materials affected by the lysine molecular bridging effects were determined. With an increase in the l-lysine-pretreated concentration from 1 to 30 mM, the cross-linking density was significantly increased and water content was markedly decreased. The variations in resistance to thermal denaturation and enzymatic degradation were in accordance with the number of cross-links per unit mass of amniotic membrane, indicating l-lysine-modulated stabilization of collagen molecules. It was also noteworthy that the carbodiimide cross-linked tissue samples prepared using a relatively high l-lysine-pretreated concentration (ie, 30 mM) appeared to have decreased light transmittance and biocompatibility, probably due to the influence of a large nanofiber size and a high charge density. The rise in stemness gene and protein expression levels was dependent on improved cross-link formation, suggesting the crucial role of amino acid bridges in constructing suitable scaffolds to preserve limbal progenitor cells. It is concluded that mild to moderate pretreatment conditions (ie, 3–10 mM l-lysine) can provide a useful strategy to assist in the development of carbodiimide cross-linked amniotic membrane as a stable stem cell niche for corneal epithelial tissue engineering.
PMCID: PMC4227622  PMID: 25395849
amniotic membrane; l-lysine-pretreated concentration; collagen nanofiber stabilization; limbal progenitor cell preservation; corneal epithelial tissue engineering
10.  The mitochondrial genome of the land snail Camaena cicatricosa (Müller, 1774) (Stylommatophora, Camaenidae): the first complete sequence in the family Camaenidae 
ZooKeys  2014;33-48.
The complete mitochondrial (mt) genome of the snail Camaena cicatricosa (Müller, 1774) has been sequenced and annotated in this study. The entire circular genome is 13,843 bp in size and represents the first camaenid mt genome, with content of 31.9%A, 37.9%T, 13.5%C and 16.7%G. Gene content, codon usage and base organization show similarity to a great extent to the sequenced mt genome from Stylommatophora, whereas, gene order is different from them, especially the positions of tRNACys, tRNAPhe, COII, tRNAAsp, tRNAGly, tRNAHis and tRNATrp. All protein coding genes use standard initiation codons ATN except for COII with GTG as start signal. Conventional stop codons TAA and TAG have been assigned to all protein coding genes. All tRNA genes possess the typical clover leaf structure, but the TψC arm of tRNAAsp and dihydrouridine arm of tRNASer(AGN) only form a simple loop. Shorter intergenic spacers have been found in this mt genome. Phylogenetic study based on protein coding genes shows close relationship of Camaenidae and Bradybaenidae. The presented phylogeny is consistent with the monophyly of Stylommatophora.
PMCID: PMC4258619  PMID: 25493046
Camaena cicatricosa; Camaenidae; Stylommatophora; mitochondrial genome; secondary structure
11.  The Feasibility of Using CT-Guided ROI for Semiquantifying Striatal Dopamine Transporter Availability in a Hybrid SPECT/CT System 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:879497.
A hybrid SPECT/CT system provides accurate coregistration of functional and morphological images. CT-guided region of interest (ROI) for semiquantifying striatal dopamine transporter (DAT) availability may be a feasible method. We therefore assessed the intra- and interobserver reproducibility of manual SPECT and CT-guided ROI methods and compared their semiquantitative data with data from MRI-guided ROIs. We enrolled twenty-eight patients who underwent Tc-99m TRODAT-1 brain SPECT/CT and brain MRI. ROIs of the striatal, caudate, putamen, and occipital cortex were manually delineated on the SPECT, CT, and MRI. ROIs from CT and MRI were transferred to the coregistered SPECT for semiquantification. The striatal, caudate, and putamen nondisplaceable binding potential (BPND) were calculated. Using CT-guided ROIs had higher intra- and interobserver concordance correlation coefficients, closer Bland-Altman biases to zero, and narrower limits of agreement than using manual SPECT ROIs. The correlation coefficients of striatal, caudate, and putamen BPND were good between manual SPECT and MRI-guided ROI methods and even better between CT-guided and MRI-guided ROI methods. Conclusively, CT-guided ROI delineation for semiquantifying striatal DAT availability in a hybrid SPECT/CT system is highly reproducible, and the semiquantitative data correlate well with data from MRI-guided ROIs.
PMCID: PMC4233671  PMID: 25531005
12.  Epidemiology of multimorbidity in China and implications for the healthcare system: cross-sectional survey among 162,464 community household residents in southern China 
BMC Medicine  2014;12(1):188.
China, like other countries, is facing a growing burden of chronic disease but the prevalence of multimorbidity and implications for the healthcare system have been little researched. We examined the epidemiology of multimorbidity in southern China in a large representative sample. The effects of multimorbidity and other factors on usual source of healthcare were also examined.
We conducted a large cross-sectional survey among approximately 5% (N = 162,464) of the resident population in three prefectures in Guangdong province, southern China in 2011. A multistage, stratified random sampling was adopted. The study population had many similar characteristics to the national census population. Interviewer-administered questionnaires were used to collect self-report data on demographics, socio-economics, lifestyles, healthcare use, and health characteristics from paper-based medical reports.
More than one in ten of the total study population (11.1%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 10.6 to 11.6) had two or more chronic conditions from a selection of 40 morbidities. The prevalence of multimorbidity increased with age (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.36, 95% CI 1.35 to 1.38 per five years). Female gender (aOR = 1.70, 95% CI 1.64 to 1.76), low education (aOR = 1.26, 95% CI 1.23 to 1.29), lack of medical insurance (aOR = 1.79, 95% CI 1.71 to 1.89), and unhealthy lifestyle behaviours were independent predictors of multimorbidity. Multimorbidity was associated with the regular use of secondary outpatient care in preference to primary care.
Multimorbidity is now common in China. The reported preferential use of secondary care over primary care by patients with multimorbidity has many major implications. There is an urgent need to further develop a strong and equitable primary care system.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12916-014-0188-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4212117  PMID: 25338506
Multimorbidity; Epidemiology; Community medicine; Population household survey; Healthcare
13.  Nucleotide synthesis is regulated by cytoophidium formation during neurodevelopment and adaptive metabolism 
Biology Open  2014;3(11):1045-1056.
The essential metabolic enzyme CTP synthase (CTPsyn) can be compartmentalised to form an evolutionarily-conserved intracellular structure termed the cytoophidium. Recently, it has been demonstrated that the enzymatic activity of CTPsyn is attenuated by incorporation into cytoophidia in bacteria and yeast cells. Here we demonstrate that CTPsyn is regulated in a similar manner in Drosophila tissues in vivo. We show that cytoophidium formation occurs during nutrient deprivation in cultured cells, as well as in quiescent and starved neuroblasts of the Drosophila larval central nervous system. We also show that cytoophidia formation is reversible during neurogenesis, indicating that filament formation regulates pyrimidine synthesis in a normal developmental context. Furthermore, our global metabolic profiling demonstrates that CTPsyn overexpression does not significantly alter CTPsyn-related enzymatic activity, suggesting that cytoophidium formation facilitates metabolic stabilisation. In addition, we show that overexpression of CTPsyn only results in moderate increase of CTP pool in human stable cell lines. Together, our study provides experimental evidence, and a mathematical model, for the hypothesis that inactive CTPsyn is incorporated into cytoophidia.
PMCID: PMC4232762  PMID: 25326513
CTP synthase; cytoophidium; intracellular compartmentation; CTP; Drosophila; neurogenesis
14.  Determinants of Fatigue after First-Ever Ischemic Stroke during Acute Phase 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110037.
Background and Purpose
Fatigue after stroke is common and has a negative impact on rehabilitation and survival. However, its pathogenesis and contributing factors remain unclear. The purpose of this study was to identify factors influencing the occurrence of fatigue after first-ever ischemic stroke in acute phase.
We examined 265 consecutive patients with first-ever ischemic stroke during acute phase (within 2 weeks) in two tertiary stroke care hospitals in Henan, China. We documented patients’ demographic and clinical characteristics through face-to-face interviews using structured questionnaires and reviews of medical records. Post-stroke fatigue was defined as a score of ≥4 using the Fatigue Severity Scale. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine post-stroke fatigue in relation to socio-demographic, lifestyle, clinical characteristics and family function.
About 40% first-ever ischemic stroke patients experienced post-stroke fatigue in acute phase. Post-stroke fatigue was associated with lack of exercise before stroke (adjusted odds ratio 4.01, 95% CI 1.95–8.24), family dysfunction (2.63, 1.20–5.80), depression (2.39, 1.02–5.58), the presence of pre-stroke fatigue (4.89, 2.13–11.21), use of sedative medications (4.14, 1.58–10.88), coronary heart disease (3.38, 1.46–7.79) and more severe Modified Rankin Scale (2.55, 1.65–3.95).
The causes of post-stroke fatigue are multifaceted. More physical exercise, improving family function, reducing depression and appropriate use of sedative medications may be helpful in preventing post-stroke fatigue.
PMCID: PMC4193856  PMID: 25302807
15.  The electronic structure and optical properties of Mn and B, C, N co-doped MoS2 monolayers 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2014;9(1):554.
The electronic structure and optical properties of Mn and B, C, N co-doped molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) monolayers have been investigated through first-principles calculations. It is shown that the MoS2 monolayer reflects magnetism with a magnetic moment of 0.87 μB when co-doped with Mn-C. However, the systems co-doped with Mn-B and Mn-N atoms exhibit semiconducting behavior and their energy bandgaps are 1.03 and 0.81 eV, respectively. The bandgaps of the co-doped systems are smaller than those of the corresponding pristine forms, due to effective charge compensation between Mn and B (N) atoms. The optical properties of Mn-B (C, N) co-doped systems all reflect the redshift phenomenon. The absorption edge of the pure molybdenum disulfide monolayer is 0.8 eV, while the absorption edges of the Mn-B, Mn-C, and Mn-N co-doped systems become 0.45, 0.5, and 0 eV, respectively. As a potential material, MoS2 is widely used in many fields such as the production of optoelectronic devices, military devices, and civil devices.
PMCID: PMC4194453  PMID: 25317103
MoS2 monolayer; Mn-B co-doped; Mn-C co-doped; Mn-N co-doped; Electronic structure; Optical properties
16.  Craniocerebral injury promotes the repair of peripheral nerve injury 
Neural Regeneration Research  2014;9(18):1703-1708.
The increase in neurotrophic factors after craniocerebral injury has been shown to promote fracture healing. Moreover, neurotrophic factors play a key role in the regeneration and repair of peripheral nerve. However, whether craniocerebral injury alters the repair of peripheral nerve injuries remains poorly understood. Rat injury models were established by transecting the left sciatic nerve and using a free-fall device to induce craniocerebral injury. Compared with sciatic nerve injury alone after 6–12 weeks, rats with combined sciatic and craniocerebral injuries showed decreased sciatic functional index, increased recovery of gastrocnemius muscle wet weight, recovery of sciatic nerve ganglia and corresponding spinal cord segment neuron morphologies, and increased numbers of horseradish peroxidase-labeled cells. These results indicate that craniocerebral injury promotes the repair of peripheral nerve injury.
PMCID: PMC4211192  PMID: 25374593
nerve regeneration; craniocerebral injury; peripheral nerve; sciatic nerve; sciatic nerve injury; nerve repair; horseradish peroxidase tracer technique; neural regeneration
17.  Identification of Important Nodes in Directed Biological Networks: A Network Motif Approach 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e106132.
Identification of important nodes in complex networks has attracted an increasing attention over the last decade. Various measures have been proposed to characterize the importance of nodes in complex networks, such as the degree, betweenness and PageRank. Different measures consider different aspects of complex networks. Although there are numerous results reported on undirected complex networks, few results have been reported on directed biological networks. Based on network motifs and principal component analysis (PCA), this paper aims at introducing a new measure to characterize node importance in directed biological networks. Investigations on five real-world biological networks indicate that the proposed method can robustly identify actually important nodes in different networks, such as finding command interneurons, global regulators and non-hub but evolutionary conserved actually important nodes in biological networks. Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curves for the five networks indicate remarkable prediction accuracy of the proposed measure. The proposed index provides an alternative complex network metric. Potential implications of the related investigations include identifying network control and regulation targets, biological networks modeling and analysis, as well as networked medicine.
PMCID: PMC4149525  PMID: 25170616
18.  Three-step hand-assisted laparoscopic surgery for radical distal gastrectomy: an effective surgical approach 
Objective: Three-step hand-assisted laparoscopic D2 radical gastrectomy (HALG) is a modified surgical technique based on hand-assisted laparoscopic surgery (HALS) for the treatment of gastric cancer. This surgical approach is particularly easy and convenient for radical distal gastrectomy. In order to thoroughly understand the advantages of applying “three-step HALG” in distal gastrectomy, our center conducted a retrospective study to analyze data from patients who underwent HALG and laparoscopic-assisted D2 radical gastrectomy (LAG) during the corresponding time period. Methods: The HALG procedure is performed in three steps, namely the operation performed through an auxiliary incision under direct vision, hand-assisted laparoscopic operation, and gastrointestinal tract reconstruction through the auxiliary incision under direct vision. This study performed comprehensive, in-depth comparative analyses on the clinical data of two groups of patients who underwent HALG and LAG. Results: The auxiliary incision under the xiphoid was maximally utilized in the HALG procedure. The rate of conversion to open surgery in HALG group patients was significantly lower than in the LAG group (P = 0.03), and the operating time was significantly shorter in the HALG group than in the LAG group (P = 0.00). There was no significant difference in the pain rate score on postoperative day 2 and on the day of discharge between the HALG and LAG groups (P > 0.05). No statistically significant difference was found in the time to recovery of bowel function, postoperative hospital stay, or postoperative complications (P > 0.05), although the values were all lower in the HALG group than in the LAG group. Conclusion: “Three-step HALG” is a highly feasible surgical approach for radical distal gastrectomy.
PMCID: PMC4161561  PMID: 25232401
Hand-assisted laparoscopic surgery; three-step hand-assisted laparoscopic D2 radical gastrectomy; laparoscopic-assisted D2 radical gastrectomy; distal gastrectomy
19.  Transvaginal early fistula debridement and repair plus continuous vacuum aspiration via anal tube for rectovaginal fistula following rectal cancer surgery: report of four cases 
Objective: To investigate the feasibility and superiority of transvaginal early fistula debridement and repair plus continuous vacuum aspiration via anal tube for rectovaginal fistula following rectal cancer surgery. Methods: The clinical data of four cases of rectovaginal fistula following rectal cancer surgery were retrospectively analyzed in our center. After adequate preoperative preparation, the patients underwent transvaginal fistula debridement and repair plus continuous vacuum aspiration via anal tube under continuous epidural anesthesia. After surgery and before discharge, anti-infection and nutritional support was administered for 2 d, and fluid diet and anal tube vacuum aspiration continued for 7 d. Results: All the four cases healed. Three of them healed after one operation, and the other patient had obvious shrinkage of the fistular orifice after the first operation and underwent the same operation for a second time before complete healing. The duration of postoperative follow-up was 2, 7, 8 and 9 months respectively. No recurrence or abnormal sex life was reported. Conclusions: Early transvaginal fistula debridement and repair plus continuous vacuum aspiration via anal tube are feasible for rectovaginal fistula following rectal cancer surgery. This operation has many advantages, such as minimal invasiveness, short durations of operation, short treatment cycles, and easy acceptance by the patient. In addition, it does not necessitate colostomy for feces shunt and a secondary colostomy and reduction.
PMCID: PMC4161576  PMID: 25232416
Fistula; debridement and repair; anal tube; continuous vacuum aspiration; after rectal cancer surgery; rectovaginal fistula
20.  Influence of health-related quality of life on health service utilization in Chinese rural-to-urban female migrant workers 
Rural-to-urban migrant workers have been increasing rapidly in China over recent decades. Health related quality of life (HRQOL) may affect health service utilization. There is a lack of data on HRQOL in relation to health service utilization in Chinese rural-to-urban migrant workers. This study was aimed to explore the influence of HRQOL on health service utilization in Chinese rural-to-urban female migrant workers.
This was a cross-sectional survey of 1,438 female rural-to-urban migrant workers in Shenzhen-Dongguan economic zone, China in 2013. HRQOL was assessed by the 36-items Health Survey Short Form (SF-36). Health service utilization was measured by any physician visit over the recent two weeks and any hospitalization over the last 1-year (annual hospitalization). Clustered logistic regression was used to analyze the influence of HRQOL on health service utilization.
Lower scores in three HRQOL domains (bodily pain, general health, role physical) were associated with more frequent health service utilization in female rural-to-urban migrant workers. Bodily pain and general health were associated with an independent influence of 15.6% on the risk of recent two-week physician visit, while role physical and general health were associated with an independent influence of 21.2% on the risk of annual hospitalization. The independent influence of HRQOL on health service utilization was smaller than that of socio-demographic and health-related variables.
HRQOL may have a modest influence on health service utilization in Chinese rural-to-urban female migrant workers - an underprivileged population in urban China.
PMCID: PMC4168158  PMID: 25123983
Health-related quality of life; Health service utilization; Female migrant worker; Chinese
21.  Opposite Effects of Neuropeptide FF on Central Antinociception Induced by Endomorphin-1 and Endomorphin-2 in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e103773.
Neuropeptide FF (NPFF) is known to be an endogenous opioid-modulating peptide. Nevertheless, very few researches focused on the interaction between NPFF and endogenous opioid peptides. In the present study, we have investigated the effects of NPFF system on the supraspinal antinociceptive effects induced by the endogenous µ-opioid receptor agonists, endomorphin-1 (EM-1) and endomorphin-2 (EM-2). In the mouse tail-flick assay, intracerebroventricular injection of EM-1 induced antinociception via µ-opioid receptor while the antinociception of intracerebroventricular injected EM-2 was mediated by both µ- and κ-opioid receptors. In addition, central administration of NPFF significantly reduced EM-1-induced central antinociception, but enhanced EM-2-induced central antinociception. The results using the selective NPFF1 and NPFF2 receptor agonists indicated that the EM-1-modulating action of NPFF was mainly mediated by NPFF2 receptor, while NPFF potentiated EM-2-induecd antinociception via both NPFF1 and NPFF2 receptors. To further investigate the roles of µ- and κ-opioid systems in the opposite effects of NPFF on central antinociception of endomprphins, the µ- and κ-opioid receptors selective agonists DAMGO and U69593, respectively, were used. Our results showed that NPFF could reduce the central antinociception of DAMGO via NPFF2 receptor and enhance the central antinociception of U69593 via both NPFF1 and NPFF2 receptors. Taken together, our data demonstrate that NPFF exerts opposite effects on central antinociception of endomorphins and provide the first evidence that NPFF potentiate antinociception of EM-2, which might result from the interaction between NPFF and κ-opioid systems.
PMCID: PMC4121275  PMID: 25090615
22.  Demonstrating the feasibility of large-scale development of standardized assays to quantify human proteins 
Nature methods  2013;11(2):149-155.
The successful application of MRM in biological specimens raises the exciting possibility that assays can be configured to measure all human proteins, resulting in an assay resource that would promote advances in biomedical research. We report the results of a pilot study designed to test the feasibility of a large-scale, international effort in MRM assay generation. We have configured, validated across three laboratories, and made publicly available as a resource to the community 645 novel MRM assays representing 319 proteins expressed in human breast cancer. Assays were multiplexed in groups of >150 peptides and deployed to quantify endogenous analyte in a panel of breast cancer-related cell lines. Median assay precision was 5.4%, with high inter-laboratory correlation (R2 >0.96). Peptide measurements in breast cancer cell lines were able to discriminate amongst molecular subtypes and identify genome-driven changes in the cancer proteome. These results establish the feasibility of a scaled, international effort.
PMCID: PMC3922286  PMID: 24317253
24.  Comparative Mitogenomics of Plant Bugs (Hemiptera: Miridae): Identifying the AGG Codon Reassignments between Serine and Lysine 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101375.
Insect mitochondrial genomes are very important to understand the molecular evolution as well as for phylogenetic and phylogeographic studies of the insects. The Miridae are the largest family of Heteroptera encompassing more than 11,000 described species and of great economic importance. For better understanding the diversity and the evolution of plant bugs, we sequence five new mitochondrial genomes and present the first comparative analysis of nine mitochondrial genomes of mirids available to date. Our result showed that gene content, gene arrangement, base composition and sequences of mitochondrial transcription termination factor were conserved in plant bugs. Intra-genus species shared more conserved genomic characteristics, such as nucleotide and amino acid composition of protein-coding genes, secondary structure and anticodon mutations of tRNAs, and non-coding sequences. Control region possessed several distinct characteristics, including: variable size, abundant tandem repetitions, and intra-genus conservation; and was useful in evolutionary and population genetic studies. The AGG codon reassignments were investigated between serine and lysine in the genera Adelphocoris and other cimicomorphans. Our analysis revealed correlated evolution between reassignments of the AGG codon and specific point mutations at the antidocons of tRNALys and tRNASer(AGN). Phylogenetic analysis indicated that mitochondrial genome sequences were useful in resolving family level relationship of Cimicomorpha. Comparative evolutionary analysis of plant bug mitochondrial genomes allowed the identification of previously neglected coding genes or non-coding regions as potential molecular markers. The finding of the AGG codon reassignments between serine and lysine indicated the parallel evolution of the genetic code in Hemiptera mitochondrial genomes.
PMCID: PMC4079613  PMID: 24988409
25.  A Nationwide Survey of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia, Including Very Mild Dementia, in Taiwan 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100303.
An increasing population of dementia patients produces substantial societal impacts. We assessed the prevalence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and all-cause dementia, including very mild dementia (VMD), in Taiwan. In a nationwide population-based cross-sectional survey, participants were selected by computerized random sampling from all 19 Taiwan counties and were enrolled between December 2011 and March 2013. Cases were identified through in-person interviews based on the National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer’s Association clinical criteria. Demographic data and histories involving mental status and function in daily living were collected. The principal objective assessments were the Taiwanese Mental Status Examination and Clinical Dementia Rating. In all, 10,432 people aged 65 years or older (mean age 76.2±6.7, 52.3% women) were interviewed. The age-adjusted prevalence of all-cause dementia was 8.04% (95% CI 7.47–8.61), including a 3.25% (95% CI 2.89–3.61) prevalence of VMD; that of MCI was 18.76% (95% CI 17.91–19.61). Women had a higher prevalence than men of both all-cause dementia (9.71% vs. 6.36%) and MCI (21.63% vs. 15.57%). MCI affects a considerable portion of the population aged 65 and above in Taiwan. The inclusion of VMD yields dementia prevalence rates higher than those previously reported from Taiwan. Old age, female gender, and a low educational level are significant associated factors.
PMCID: PMC4062510  PMID: 24940604

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