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1.  PPL2ab neurons restore sexual responses in aged Drosophila males through dopamine 
Nature Communications  2015;6:7490.
Male sexual desire typically declines with ageing. However, our understanding of the neurobiological basis for this phenomenon is limited by our knowledge of the brain circuitry and neuronal pathways controlling male sexual desire. A number of studies across species suggest that dopamine (DA) affects sexual desire. Here we use genetic tools and behavioural assays to identify a novel subset of DA neurons that regulate age-associated male courtship activity in Drosophila. We find that increasing DA levels in a subset of cells in the PPL2ab neuronal cluster is necessary and sufficient for increased sustained courtship in both young and aged male flies. Our results indicate that preventing the age-related decline in DA levels in PPL2ab neurons alleviates diminished courtship behaviours in male Drosophila. These results may provide the foundation for deciphering the circuitry involved in sexual motivation in the male Drosophila brain.
We currently lack a detailed understanding of the neurobiological basis for the decline of male sexual desire with age. Here the authors demonstrate that restoring impaired dopaminergic signalling in a specific cluster of neurons in the Drosophila brain increases sexual behaviour in ageing male flies.
PMCID: PMC4491191  PMID: 26123524
2.  Robust Volume Assessment of Brain Tissues for 3-Dimensional Fourier Transformation MRI via a Novel Multispectral Technique 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0115527.
A new TRIO algorithm method integrating three different algorithms is proposed to perform brain MRI segmentation in the native coordinate space, with no need of transformation to a standard coordinate space or the probability maps for segmentation. The method is a simple voxel-based algorithm, derived from multispectral remote sensing techniques, and only requires minimal operator input to depict GM, WM, and CSF tissue clusters to complete classification of a 3D high-resolution multislice-multispectral MRI data. Results showed very high accuracy and reproducibility in classification of GM, WM, and CSF in multislice-multispectral synthetic MRI data. The similarity indexes, expressing overlap between classification results and the ground truth, were 0.951, 0.962, and 0.956 for GM, WM, and CSF classifications in the image data with 3% noise level and 0% non-uniformity intensity. The method particularly allows for classification of CSF with 0.994, 0.961 and 0.996 of accuracy, sensitivity and specificity in images data with 3% noise level and 0% non-uniformity intensity, which had seldom performed well in previous studies. As for clinical MRI data, the quantitative data of brain tissue volumes aligned closely with the brain morphometrics in three different study groups of young adults, elderly volunteers, and dementia patients. The results also showed very low rates of the intra- and extra-operator variability in measurements of the absolute volumes and volume fractions of cerebral GM, WM, and CSF in three different study groups. The mean coefficients of variation of GM, WM, and CSF volume measurements were in the range of 0.03% to 0.30% of intra-operator measurements and 0.06% to 0.45% of inter-operator measurements. In conclusion, the TRIO algorithm exhibits a remarkable ability in robust classification of multislice-multispectral brain MR images, which would be potentially applicable for clinical brain volumetric analysis and explicitly promising in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies of different subject groups.
PMCID: PMC4339724  PMID: 25710499
3.  Association of the PPAR-γ Gene with Altered Glucose Levels and Psychosis Profile in Schizophrenia Patients Exposed to Antipsychotics 
Psychiatry Investigation  2014;11(2):179-185.
Metabolic abnormalities, e.g., diabetes, are common among schizophrenia patients. Peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) regulates glucose/lipid metabolisms, and schizophrenia like syndrome may be induced by actions involving retinoid X receptor-α/PPAR-γ heterodimers. We examined a possible role of the PPAR-γ gene in metabolic traits and psychosis profile in schizophrenia patients exposed to antipsychotics.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the PPAR-γ gene and a serial of metabolic traits were determined in 394 schizophrenia patients, among which 372 were rated with Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS).
SNP-10, -12, -18, -19, -20 and -26 were associated with glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) whereas SNP-18, -19, -20 and -26 were associated with fasting plasma glucose (FPG). While SNP-23 was associated with triglycerides, no associations were identified between the other SNPs and lipids. Further haplotype analysis demonstrated an association between the PPAR-γ gene and psychosis profile.
Our study suggests a role of the PPAR-γ gene in altered glucose levels and psychosis profile in schizophrenia patients exposed to antipsychotics. Although the Pro12Ala at exon B has been concerned an essential variant in the development of obesity, the lack of association of the variant with metabolic traits in this study should not be treated as impossibility or a proof of error because other factors, e.g., genes regulated by PPAR-γ, may have complicated the development of metabolic abnormalities. Whether the PPAR-γ gene modifies the risk of metabolic abnormalities or psychosis, or causes metabolic abnormalities that lead to psychosis, remains to be examined.
PMCID: PMC4023093  PMID: 24843374
Schizophrenia; Psychosis; Glucose; PPAR-γ gene
5.  A Hormone Receptor-Based Transactivator Bridges Different Binary Systems to Precisely Control Spatial-Temporal Gene Expression in Drosophila 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e50855.
The GAL4/UAS gene expression system is a precise means of targeted gene expression employed to study biological phenomena in Drosophila. A modified GAL4/UAS system can be conditionally regulated using a temporal and regional gene expression targeting (TARGET) system that responds to heat shock induction. However heat shock-related temperature shifts sometimes cause unexpected physiological responses that confound behavioral analyses. We describe here the construction of a drug-inducible version of this system that takes advantage of tissue-specific GAL4 driver lines to yield either RU486-activated LexA-progesterone receptor chimeras (LexPR) or β-estradiol-activated LexA-estrogen receptor chimeras (XVE). Upon induction, these chimeras bind to a LexA operator (LexAop) and activate transgene expression. Using GFP expression as a marker for induction in fly brain cells, both approaches are capable of tightly and precisely modulating transgene expression in a temporal and dosage-dependent manner. Additionally, tissue-specific GAL4 drivers resulted in target gene expression that was restricted to those specific tissues. Constitutive expression of the active PKA catalytic subunit using these systems altered the sleep pattern of flies, demonstrating that both systems can regulate transgene expression that precisely mimics regulation that was previously engineered using the GeneSwitch/UAS system. Unlike the limited number of GeneSwitch drivers, this approach allows for the usage of the multitudinous, tissue-specific GAL4 lines for studying temporal gene regulation and tissue-specific gene expression. Together, these new inducible systems provide additional, highly valuable tools available to study gene function in Drosophila.
PMCID: PMC3519826  PMID: 23239992
6.  An Emerging Complimentary Medicine-Yolk Oil Made from Heating Method 
Yolk oil is common in Asia. According to the Flora Sinensis, yolk oil is a multipurpose medicine, with specific dermatological and fever indications. Nowadays, it is generally used as a complimentary medicine for heart diseases. Yolk oil can be made from heating or chemical extraction method. It is generally believed that yolk oil made from heating (YOheat) method is more effective as a medicine than that from extraction (YOext). The technical details of the heating method remain an issue of argument, including the degree of char and the threat of carcinogens formed during the heating process. Most yolk oil related studies used YOext as research material. Nevertheless, animal studies have showed that YOheat reduced triglycerides and total cholesterol in rodent liver. It is expected an easy-to-make complimentary medicine like YOheat may become even more common and thus evidence based studies should be conducted to verify its pharmacological effects and safety.
PMCID: PMC3942896  PMID: 24716133
Egg; Yolk oil; Heart diseases; Drug safety
7.  Effects of paliperidone extended release on the symptoms and functioning of schizophrenia 
We aimed to explore relations between symptomatic remission and functionality evaluation in schizophrenia patients treated with paliperidone extended-release (ER), as seen in a normal day-to-day practice, using flexible dosing regimens of paliperidone ER. We explored symptomatic remission rate in patients treated with flexibly dosed paliperidone ER by 8 items of Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) and change of Personal and Social Performance (PSP) scale.
This was a 12-week multicenter, open-label, prospective clinical study conducted in in-patient and out-patient populations. Flexible dosing in the range 3-12 mg/day was used throughout the study. All subjects attended clinic visits on weeks 0, 4, 8, and 12 as usual clinical practice for the 12-week observation period. Data were summarized with respect to demographic and baseline characteristics, efficacy measurement with PANSS scale, PSP, and social functioning score, and safety observations. Descriptive statistics were performed to identify the retention rate at each visit as well as the symptomatic remission rate. Summary statistics of average doses the subjects received were based on all subjects participating in the study.
A total of 480 patients were enrolled. Among them, 426 patients (88.8%) had evaluation at week 4 and 350 (72.9%) completed the 12-week evaluation. Patients with at least moderate severity of schizophrenia were evaluated as "mild" or better on PANSS scale by all 8 items after 12 weeks of treatment with paliperidone ER. There was significant improvement in patients' functionality as measured by PSP improvement and score changes. Concerning the other efficacy parameters, PANSS total scale, PSP total scale, and social functioning total scale at the end of study all indicated statistically significant improvement by comparison with baseline. The safety profile also demonstrated that paliperidone ER was well-tolerated without clinically significant changes after treatment administration.
Although the short-term nature of this study may limit the potential for assessing improvements in function, it is noteworthy that in the present short-term study significant improvements in patient personal and social functioning with paliperidone ER treatment were observed, as assessed by PSP scale.
Trial Registration
Clinical Trials. PAL-TWN-MA3
PMCID: PMC3282633  PMID: 22225965
8.  Socio-demographic and health-related factors associated with cognitive impairment in the elderly in Taiwan 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:22.
Cognitive impairment is an age-related condition as the rate of cognitive decline rapidly increases with aging. It is especially important to better understand factors involving in cognitive decline for the countries where the older population is growing rapidly. The aim of this study was to examine the association between socio-demographic and health-related factors and cognitive impairment in the elderly in Taiwan.
We analysed data from 2119 persons aged 65 years and over who participated in the 2005 National Health Interview Survey. Cognitive impairment was defined as having the score of the Mini Mental State Examination lower than 24. The χ2 test and multiple logistic regression models were used to evaluate the association between cognitive impairment and variables of socio-demography, chronic diseases, geriatric conditions, lifestyle, and dietary factors.
The prevalence of cognitive impairment was 22.2%. Results of multivariate analysis indicated that low education, being single, low social support, lower lipid level, history of stroke, physical inactivity, non-coffee drinking and poor physical function were associated with a higher risk of cognitive impairment.
Most of the characteristics in relation to cognitive impairment identified in our analysis are potentially modifiable. These results suggest that improving lifestyle behaviours such as regular exercise and increased social participation could help prevent or decrease the risk of cognitive impairment. Further investigations using longitudinal data are needed to clarify our findings.
PMCID: PMC3027136  PMID: 21223555
10.  Incidence and Risk Factors of Workplace Violence on Nursing Staffs Caring for Chronic Psychiatric Patients in Taiwan 
This one-year follow-up study determined the incidence and risk factors of workplace violence against nursing staff in a psychiatric hospital. The cohort members had a website to report events whenever they came across violence. A total of 971 events were reported. The incidence rates of physical violence, verbal abuse, bullying/mobbing, sexual harassment, and racial harassment were 1.7, 3.7, 0.2, 0.3, and 0 per staff-year, respectively. Young age, female sex, lower education, shorter duration of employment, and high level of anxiety of staff seemed to be the determinants of violence. Pre-placement education should focus on these staff to reduce workplace violence.
PMCID: PMC2800065  PMID: 20049226
workplace violence; incidence; nursing staff; risk factor; psychiatry
11.  Bone mass in schizophrenia and normal populations across different decades of life 
Chronic schizophrenic patients have been reported as having higher osteoporosis prevalence. Survey the bone mass among schizophrenic patients and compare with that of the local community population and reported data of the same country to figure out the distribution of bone mass among schizophrenic patients.
965 schizophrenic patients aged 20 years and over in Yuli Veterans Hospital and 405 members aged 20 and over of the community living in the same town as the institute received bone mass examination by a heel qualitative ultrasound (QUS) device. Bone mass distribution was stratified to analyzed and compared with community population.
Schizophrenic patients have lower bone mass while they are young. But aging effect on bone mass cannot be seen. Accelerated bone mass loss during menopausal transition was not observed in the female schizophrenic patients as in the subjects of the community female population.
Schizophrenic patients have lower bone mass than community population since they are young. Further study to investigate the pathophysiological process is necessary to delay or avoid the lower bone mass in schizophrenia patients.
PMCID: PMC2642755  PMID: 19118498

Results 1-11 (11)