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1.  Auricular Acupuncture as a Treatment for Pregnant Women Suffering from Low Back and Posterior Pelvic Pain: A Pilot Study 
The primary aim of this study was to examine whether one week of continuous auricular acupuncture could reduce low back and posterior pelvic pain associated with pregnancy.
Study Design
A randomized controlled trial was conducted on pregnant women suffering from lower back and posterior pelvic pain. These women were randomized into an acupuncture group, a sham acupuncture group, or a waiting list control group. All participants were followed for 2 weeks.
Baseline and Day 7 showed significant group differences in pain [F= 15, P<0.0001] and in the disability rating index score [F=7, p<0.0001]. The participants in the acupuncture group reported a significant reduction of pain and improvement of functional status as compared to those in the sham acupuncture and control groups.
One week of continuous auricular acupuncture decreases the pain and disability experienced by women with pregnancy related low back and posterior pelvic pain.
PMCID: PMC2768290  PMID: 19560110
Auricular acupuncture; pregnancy related low back pain and posterior pelvic pain; pain relief; pregnancy
2.  Is Commercially Available Point Finder Accurate and Reliable in Detecting Active Auricular Acupuncture Points? 
This study was done to determine the specificity and sensitivity of a commercial Pointer Plus (Point finder) in detecting a region of low skin resistance on the ear.
This was a prospective blinded study.
The study was done at the Yale New Haven Hospital, New Haven, CT.
The subjects were men and women who work at Yale New Haven Hospital.
There were no interventions.
Outcome measures
Correlations were made between self-reported musculoskeletal pain and the detection of low skin resistance on the ear.
The positive predictive value for Pointer Plus detecting low skin resistance correlating to the neck region of French auricular map is 0.76 (76%). The positive predictive value for Pointer Plus to detect low skin resistance area correlating to the low back region of French auricular map is 0.25. The positive predictive value for Pointer Plus in detecting any low in skin resistance on the external auricles in patients who complained of more than two musculoskeletal pains is 0.29.
The specificity and sensitivity of a commercial Pointer Plus (point finder) in detecting a region of low skin resistance on the ear being unreliable, depending on the correlating area based on a published auricular map. Additional assessments are needed to support the clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC3429270  PMID: 22834870
3.  miR-149 represses metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma by targeting actin-regulatory proteins PPM1F 
Oncotarget  2015;6(35):37808-37823.
microRNAs have been implicated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) metastasis, which is predominant cause of high mortality in these patients. Although an increasing body of evidence indicates that miR-149 plays an important role in the growth and metastasis of multiple types of cancers, its role in the progression of HCC remains unknown. Here, we demonstrated that miR-149 was significantly down-regulated in HCC, which was correlated with distant metastasis and TNM stage with statistical significance. A survival analysis showed that decreased miR-149 expression was correlated with a poor prognosis of HCC as well. We found that over-expression of miR-149 suppressed migration and invasion of HCC cells in vitro. In addition, we identified PPM1F (protein phosphatase, Mg2+/Mn2+-dependent, 1F) as a direct target of miR-149 whose expression was negatively correlated with the expression of miR-149 in HCC tissues. The re-expression of PPM1F rescued the miR-149-mediated inhibition of cell migration and invasion. miR-149 regulated formation of stress fibers to inhibit migration, and re-expression of PPM1F reverted the miR-149-mediated loss of stress fibers. Moreover, we demonstrated that over-expression of miR-149 reduced pMLC2, a downstream effector of PPM1F, in MHCC-97H cells. In vivo studies confirm inhibition of HCC metastasis by miR-149. Taken together, our findings indicates that miR-149 is a potential prognostic biomarker of HCC and that the miR-149/PPM1F regulatory axis represents a novel therapeutic target for HCC treatment.
PMCID: PMC4741967  PMID: 26498692
hepatocellular carcinoma; miR-149; metastasis; PPM1F; microRNA
4.  Risk of Pneumonia Among Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease in Outpatient and Inpatient Settings 
Medicine  2014;93(27):e174.
Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are more at risk for pneumonia than the general population. Patients with pneumonia are usually treated as outpatients. However, previous studies were conducted on the basis of inpatient pneumonia. This method may underestimate the risk of pneumonia in patients with CKD. Therefore, we investigated the risk of pneumonia among CKD patients in both outpatient and inpatient settings.
A total of 15,562 patients with CKD and 62,109 individuals without CKD (matched for age and gender) were taken as subjects in the Longitudinal Health Insurance Database of Taiwan National Insurance from 1996 to 2010. The incidence density rates of inpatient and outpatient pneumonia were calculated. The risk factors associated with pneumonia were analyzed using Cox proportional hazard models with adjustments for confounders.
The incidence density rate of pneumonia was 65.6 per 1000 person-years in patients with CKD and 28.4 per 1000 person-years in individuals without CKD. The incidence density rate of inpatient pneumonia was 43.3 per 1000 person-years in patients with CKD and 16.6 per 1000 person-years in individuals without CKD. CKD was associated with increased risk of pneumonia (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.97; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.89–2.05; P < 0.001), outpatient pneumonia (aHR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.31–1.49), and inpatient pneumonia (aHR, 2.17; 95% CI, 2.07–2.29, P < 0.001). Patients’ comorbidities, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), were independently associated with increased risk of pneumonia.
CKD is associated with the increased risk of both outpatient and inpatient pneumonia. This association is independent of comorbid diabetes, CVD, asthma, and COPD.
PMCID: PMC4602797  PMID: 25501062
5.  Association of response to hepatitis B vaccination and survival in dialysis patients 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:97.
The status of immunocompromised patients is well recognized in end stage renal disease (ESRD). As described recently, this acquired immune dysfunction in the uremic milieu may be one of the main pathogenic factors for mortality in ESRD. The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between the immune response following a hepatitis B vaccination (HBV vaccination) and the survival of maintenance dialysis patients.
A total of 156 patients (103 on hemodialysis and 53 on continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis) were recruited. After receiving a full dose of the HBV vaccination, all patients were followed up for to 5 years to evaluate the association of patient survival, cause of mortality, and immune response.
The response rate to the hepatitis B vaccination was 70.5%. There was no significant association between the immune response and the 5-year survival rate (p =0.600) or between the post-vaccination anti-HBs titers and the 5-year survival rate (p = 0.201). The logistic prediction model with the coefficient as non-response following HBV vaccination, diabetes mellitus, old age, and low albumin level could significantly predict infection-cause mortality (sensitivity = 0.842, specificity = 0.937).
There was no significant association between the immune response to HBV vaccination and the 5-year survival rate. However, non-response following HBV vaccination might be associated with infection-cause mortality in dialysis patients.
PMCID: PMC3471045  PMID: 22935561
Hepatitis B vaccination; Immune response; Post-vaccination anti-HBs titers

Results 1-7 (7)