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1.  A Positive Babinski Reflex Predicts Delayed Neuropsychiatric Sequelae in Chinese Patients with Carbon Monoxide Poisoning 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:814736.
As the human population increased in China, the carbon monoxide is a serious environmental toxin in public health. However, predicting the delayed neuropsychiatric sequelae (DNS) of carbon monoxide poisoning (COP) has not been well studied. We investigated the independent predictors of DNS in patients with COP. This study was conducted at four hospitals in China. Data were retrospectively collected from 258 patients with COP between November 1990 and October 2011. DNS was the primary endpoint. A positive Babinski reflex was the independent predictor for DNS: sensitivity = 53.8% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 26.1–79.6), specificity = 88.6% (95% CI: 83.7–92.1), positive predictive value (PPV) = 20.0% (95% CI: 9.1–37.5), and negative predictive value (NPV) = 97.3% (95% CI: 94.0–98.9). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve = 0.712 (95% CI: 0.544–0.880). A positive Babinski reflex was very memorable, immediately available, and applicable in clinical practice. Even when the sensitivity and PPV of a positive Babinski reflex were unsatisfactory, it had a good specificity and NPV for excluding the risk of DNS. In patients without a positive Babinski reflex, the risk for DNS was only 2.7%. This finding may help physicians make decisions about dispositions for patients with COP.
doi:10.1155/2014/814736
PMCID: PMC4053277  PMID: 24959589
2.  Use of Staged Molecular Analysis to Determine Causes of Unexplained Central Nervous System Infections 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2013;19(9):1470-1477.
No agent is implicated in most central nervous system (CNS) infections. To investigate cerebrospinal fluid samples from patients with CNS infections of unknown cause in 1 hospital in Taiwan, we used a staged molecular approach, incorporating techniques including multiplex MassTag PCR, 16S rRNA PCR, DNA microarray, and high-throughput pyrosequencing. We determined the infectious agent for 31 (24%) of 131 previously negative samples. Candidate pathogens were identified for 25 (27%) of 94 unexplained meningitis cases and 6 (16%) of 37 unexplained encephalitis cases. Epstein-Barr virus (18 infections) accounted for most of the identified agents in unexplained meningitis cases, followed by Escherichia coli (5), enterovirus (2), human herpesvirus 2 (1), and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Herpesviruses were identified in samples from patients with unexplained encephalitis cases, including varicella-zoster virus (3 infections), human herpesvirus 1 (2), and cytomegalovirus (1). Our study confirms the power of multiplex MassTag PCR as a rapid diagnostic tool for identifying pathogens causing unexplained CNS infections.
doi:10.3201/eid1909.130474
PMCID: PMC3810931  PMID: 23965845
CNS infections; meningitis; encephalitis; MassTag PCR; 16S rRNA PCR; microarray; pyrosequencing; viruses; bacteria
3.  Effects of Metformin on the Cerebral Metabolic Changes in Type 2 Diabetic Patients 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:694326.
Metformin, a widely used antidiabetic drug, has numerous effects on human metabolism. Based on emerging cellular, animal, and epidemiological studies, we hypothesized that metformin leads to cerebral metabolic changes in diabetic patients. To explore metabolism-influenced foci of brain, we used 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-D-glucose (FDG) positron emission tomography for type 2 diabetic patients taking metformin (MET, n = 18), withdrawing from metformin (wdMET, n = 13), and not taking metformin (noMET, n = 9). Compared with the noMET group, statistical parametric mapping showed that the MET group had clusters with significantly higher metabolism in right temporal, right frontal, and left occipital lobe white matter and lower metabolism in the left parahippocampal gyrus, left fusiform gyrus, and ventromedial prefrontal cortex. In volume of interest (VOI-) based group comparisons, the normalized FDG uptake values of both hypermetabolic and hypometabolic clusters were significantly different between groups. The VOI-based correlation analysis across the MET and wdMET groups showed a significant negative correlation between normalized FDG uptake values of hypermetabolic clusters and metformin withdrawal durations and a positive but nonsignificant correlation in the turn of hypometabolic clusters. Conclusively, metformin affects cerebral metabolism in some white matter and semantic memory related sites in patients with type 2 diabetes.
doi:10.1155/2014/694326
PMCID: PMC3982461  PMID: 24782665
4.  Review Analysis of the Association between the Prevalence of Activated Brown Adipose Tissue and Outdoor Temperature 
The Scientific World Journal  2012;2012:793039.
Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is important for regulating body weight. Environmental temperature influences BAT activation. Activated BAT is identifiable using 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (18F-FDG PET/CT). 18F-FDG PET/CT scans done between June 2005 and May 2009 in our institution in tropical southern Taiwan and BAT studies from PubMed (2002–2011) were reviewed, and the average outdoor temperatures during the study periods were obtained. A simple linear regression was used to analyze the association between the prevalence of activated BAT (P) and the average outdoor temperature (T). The review analysis for 9 BAT studies (n = 16, 765) showed a significant negative correlation (r = −0.741, P = 0.022) between the prevalence of activated BAT and the average outdoor temperature. The equation of the regression line is P(%) = 6.99 − 0.20 × T  (°C). The prevalence of activated BAT decreased by 1% for each 5°C increase in average outdoor temperature. In a neutral ambient temperature, the prevalence of activated BAT is low and especially rare in the tropics. There is a significant linear negative correlation between the prevalence of activated BAT and the average outdoor temperature.
doi:10.1100/2012/793039
PMCID: PMC3349155  PMID: 22593707
5.  The Relationship between Brown Adipose Tissue Activity and Neoplastic Status: an 18F-FDG PET/CT Study in the Tropics 
Background
Brown adipose tissue (BAT) has thermogenic potential. For its activation, cold exposure is considered a critical factor though other determinants have also been reported. The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between neoplastic status and BAT activity by 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-D-glucose (18F-FDG) positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) in people living in the tropics, where the influence of outdoor temperature was low.
Methods
18F-FDG PET/CT scans were reviewed and the total metabolic activity (TMA) of identified activated BAT quantified. The distribution and TMA of activated BAT were compared between patients with and without a cancer history. The neoplastic status of patients was scored according to their cancer history and 18F-FDG PET/CT findings. We evaluated the relationships between the TMA of BAT and neoplastic status along with other factors: age, body mass index, fasting blood sugar, gender, and outdoor temperature.
Results
Thirty of 1740 patients had activated BAT. Those with a cancer history had wider BAT distribution (p = 0.043) and a higher TMA (p = 0.028) than those without. A higher neoplastic status score was associated with a higher average TMA. Multivariate analyses showed that neoplastic status was the only factor significantly associated with the TMA of activated BAT (p = 0.016).
Conclusions
Neoplastic status is a critical determinant of BAT activity in patients living in the tropics. More active neoplastic status was associated with more vigorous TMA of BAT.
doi:10.1186/1476-511X-10-238
PMCID: PMC3267802  PMID: 22182284
Neoplastic status; BAT; 18F-FDG PET

Results 1-5 (5)