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1.  Pre- and Postnatal Risk Factors in Relation to Allergic Rhinitis in School-Aged Children in China 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0114022.
Objective
The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between prenatal and postnatal risk factors and the prevalence of allergic rhinitis (AR) in Chinese children of specific ages.
Study Design
This study was a cross-sectional survey. Students from 8 metropolitan cities in China were studied in November and December, 2005. There were 20,803 elementary-school Chinese children (49.6% boys, mean age, 9.19 years) enrolled. Questions from the standard questionnaire of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Children were completed to enable us to examine the pattern of current AR. The potential confounders and pre-and postnatal risk factors were analyzed using logistic regression.
Results
The overall prevalence of AR was found in this study to be 9.8%. After adjusting for several likely confounders, there was a higher likelihood of AR in school-aged children who were not exclusively breastfed in the first 4 months of their lives (odds ratio [OR]: 1.28; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.16–1.41), children who were born post-term (OR: 1.34; 95% CI: 1.12–1.60), children delivered by cesarean section (OR: 1.07; 95% CI: 1.00–1.19), or children born to mothers who experienced depressive symptoms during the pre- and postnatal periods (OR: 1.28; 95% CI: 1.15–1.42).
Conclusions
AR in school-aged children was found to be associated with pre- and postnatal events. These findings indicate that strategies to reduce exposure to risk factors during pre- and postnatal periods for childhood allergies might be warranted.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0114022
PMCID: PMC4315592  PMID: 25647669
2.  Effects of pediatric first aid training on preschool teachers: a longitudinal cohort study in China 
BMC Pediatrics  2014;14:209.
Background
Unintentional injuries are a major cause of death among children. Data suggest that the retention of knowledge and skills about first aid declined over time. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of pediatric first aid training among teachers.
Methods
A stratified random sampling method was used to select 1,067 teachers. The selected trainees received pediatric first aid training. Follow-up assessments were conducted 6 months, 9 months and 4 years following the training. A standardized collection of demographics was performed, and participants were given a questionnaire to indicate knowledge of and emotions about first aid.
Results
In the pretest, 1067 people responded with a mean of 21.0 correct answers to 37 questions, whereas in the post-test period, the mean score increased to 32.2 correct answers of 37 questions (P <0.001). There was a decrease in scores from post-test to 6 months, 9 months and 4 years after the training. However, the mean at the 6-month, 9-month and 4-year marks were higher than the pretest mean (P < 0.001). A total of 82.8% of the participants achieved a pass mark of 80% or above; 42.8% of participants achieved the pass mark at 6 months, 41.7% at 9 months and 11.7% at 4 years (compared with pre-test, P < 0.001). The mean score of the subjects’ emotions in the post-test period increased to 81 (P < 0.001). The mean scores of emotions at 9 months or 4 years were higher than the pretest mean (P < 0.001). At the 4-year mark, the majority of preschool staff (>70%) had administered correct first aid for injuries.
Conclusions
This study demonstrated that the acquisition of knowledge, both short and long term, significantly improves. Despite appreciable decreases in knowledge long term, knowledge retention was modest but stable.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-14-209
PMCID: PMC4236654  PMID: 25152013
Preschool teachers; Knowledge retention; Pediatric first aid; Training
3.  Frequent nocturnal awakening in children: prevalence, risk factors, and associations with subjective sleep perception and daytime sleepiness 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14(1):204.
Background
Nocturnal awakening is the most frequent insomnia complaint in the general population. In contrast to a growing knowledge based on adults, little is known about its prevalence, correlated factors, and associations with subjective sleep perception and daytime sleepiness in children. This study was designed to assess the prevalence and the correlate factors of frequent nocturnal awakening (FNA) among Chinese school-aged children. Furthermore, the associations of FNA with subjective sleep perception and daytime sleepiness were examined.
Methods
A random sample of 20,505 children aged 5.00 to 11.92 years old (boys: 49.5% vs. girls: 50.5%) participated in a cross-sectional survey, which was conducted in eight cities of China. Parent-administered questionnaires were used to collect information on children’s sleep behaviors, sleep perception, and potential influential factors of FNA from six domains. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were performed.
Results
The prevalence of FNA was 9.8% (10.0% for boys vs. 8.9% for girls) in our sampled children. The prominent FNA-related factors inclued biological health problems, such as overweight/obesity (OR = 1.70), chronic pain during night (OR = 2.47), and chronic respiratory condition (OR = 1.23), poor psychosocial condition, such as poor mental and emotional functioning (OR = 1.34), poor sleep hygiene, such as frequently doing exciting activities before bedtime (OR = 1.24) and bedtime resistance (OR = 1.42), and parents’ history of insomnia (OR = 1.31). FNA was associated with subjective poor sleep quality (OR = 1.24), subjective insufficient sleep (OR = 1.21), and daytime sleepiness (OR = 1.35).
Conclusion
FNA was associated with poor sleep and daytime sleepiness. Compared to sleep environment and family susceptibility, chronic health problems, poor psychosocial condition, and poor sleep hygiene had greater impact on FNA, indicating childhood FNA could be partly prevented by health promotion, by psychological intervention, and by improving sleep hygiene routine.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-244X-14-204) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-14-204
PMCID: PMC4261897  PMID: 25079476
Children; Nocturnal awakening; Prevalence; Predisposing factors; Daytime sleepiness
4.  Design Multilayer Antireflection Coatings for Terrestrial Solar Cells 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:265351.
In order to analyze the influence of methods to design antireflection coatings (ARCs) on reflectivity of broadband solar cells, we provide detailed analyses about the ARC coupled with a window layer and the refractive index dispersion effect of each layer. By multidimensional matrix data simulation, two methods were employed to measure the composite reflection of a SiO2/ZnS double-layer ARC within the spectral ranges of 300–870 nm (dual junction) and 300–1850 nm (triple junction) under AM1.5 solar radiation. A comparison study, between the results obtained from the commonly used weighted average reflectance method (WAR) and that from the introduced effective average reflectance method (EAR), shows that the optimization of ARC by EAR method is convenient and feasible.
doi:10.1155/2014/265351
PMCID: PMC3926372  PMID: 24592155
5.  Sleep, School Performance, and a School-Based Intervention among School-Aged Children: A Sleep Series Study in China 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67928.
Background
Sufficient sleep during childhood is essential to ensure a transition into a healthy adulthood. However, chronic sleep loss continues to increase worldwide. In this context, it is imperative to make sleep a high-priority and take action to promote sleep health among children. The present series of studies aimed to shed light on sleep patterns, on the longitudinal association of sleep with school performance, and on practical intervention strategy for Chinese school-aged children.
Methods and Findings
A serial sleep researches, including a national cross-sectional survey, a prospective cohort study, and a school-based sleep intervention, were conducted in China from November 2005 through December 2009. The national cross-sectional survey was conducted in 8 cities and a random sample of 20,778 children aged 9.0±1.61 years participated in the survey. The five-year prospective cohort study included 612 children aged 6.8±0.31 years. The comparative cross-sectional study (baseline: n = 525, aged 10.80±0.41; post-intervention follow-up: n = 553, aged 10.81±0.33) was undertaken in 6 primary schools in Shanghai. A battery of parent and teacher reported questionnaires were used to collect information on children’s sleep behaviors, school performance, and sociodemographic characteristics. The mean sleep duration was 9.35±0.77 hours. The prevalence of daytime sleepiness was 64.4% (sometimes: 37.50%; frequently: 26.94%). Daytime sleepiness was significantly associated with impaired attention, learning motivation, and particularly, academic achievement. By contrast, short sleep duration only related to impaired academic achievement. After delaying school start time 30 minutes and 60 minutes, respectively, sleep duration correspondingly increased by 15.6 minutes and 22.8 minutes, respectively. Moreover, intervention significantly improved the sleep duration and daytime sleepiness.
Conclusions
Insufficient sleep and daytime sleepiness commonly existed and positively associated with the impairment of school performance, especially academic achievement, among Chinese school-aged children. The effectiveness of delaying school staring time emphasized the benefits of optimal school schedule regulation to children’s sleep health.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067928
PMCID: PMC3707878  PMID: 23874468
6.  Important steps to improve translation from medical research to health policy 
Translational medicine entails not only “from-bench-to-bedside” but also preventive medicine. The present article proposes a conceptual framework of translational research from scientific research to health care policy and public health policy. We highlight the importance of translational medicine to bridge between research and policy and share our experience of translating medical research to public health policy in China as well as obstacles and challenges we are facing in the translation process.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-11-33
PMCID: PMC3575282  PMID: 23394474
7.  Blood Lead Levels and Associated Socio-demographic Factors among Preschool Children in the South Eastern region of China 
Summary
Children are especially vulnerable to lead toxicity, and exposure to lead has been linked to poor school performance and delinquency in children and adolescents. Even low-level lead exposure (blood lead level [BLL] lower than 10 µg/dL) can cause intelligence deficit. In China, BLLs in children decreased slightly after the phase-out of lead in gasoline, but few studies have examined the socio-demographic factors associated with BLL above 10 µg/dL. In thus study, we sought to examine the hypothesis that socio-demographic factors predict BLLs. We measured BLLs of 1,344 preschool children (3–5 years old) from the China Jintan Child Cohort Study. Children’s socio-demographics and health statuses, as well as parental socio-demographics, were collected through questionnaire. Multiple regression models were used to explore the association between socio-demographic factors and log-transformed BLLs as well as the relationship between socio-demographic factors and the risk of BLL above 10 µg/dL. We found the median BLL to be 6.2 µg/dL (range: 1.8–32.0 µg/dL), and 8% of children had BLLs above 10 µg/dL. Boys had a higher median BLL (6.4 µg/dL) than girls and were more likely to have BLL above 10 µg/dL (OR=1.77, 95% CI 1.14 –2.74). BLLs increased as children aged, with a median BLL of 6.6 µg/dL among 5-year old children. Children with sibling(s) had higher average BLL and prevalence of BLL above 10 µg/dL than those without sibling(s). Living in a crowded neighborhood was also associated with increased BLLs. Mother’s lower education, father’s occupation (as professional worker), and parental smoking at home were associated with increased BLLs. This study shows that children in this area still have relatively high BLLs after the phase-out of leaded gasoline. Both children’s and parental factors and community condition are associated with increased BLLs. Future efforts are needed to identify other exposure sources and develop targeted prevention strategies.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-3016.2011.01234.x
PMCID: PMC3241210  PMID: 22150709
Blood lead level; Children; Socio-demographic factors
8.  NMDA Receptors in Dopaminergic Neurons are Crucial for Habit Learning 
Neuron  2011;72(6):1055-1066.
Summary
Dopamine is crucial for habit learning. Activities of midbrain dopaminergic neurons are regulated by the cortical and subcortical signals among which glutamatergic afferents provide excitatory inputs. Cognitive implications of glutamatergic afferents in regulating and engaging dopamine signals during habit learning however remain unclear. Here we show that mice with dopaminergic neuron-specific NMDAR1 deletion are impaired in a variety of habit learning tasks while normal in some other dopamine-modulated functions such as locomotor activities, goal directed learning, and spatial reference memories. In vivo neural recording revealed that DA neurons in these mutant mice could still develop the cue-reward association responses, but their conditioned response robustness was drastically blunted. Our results suggest that integration of glutamatergic inputs to DA neurons by NMDA receptors, likely by regulating associative activity patterns, is a crucial part of the cellular mechanism underpinning habit learning.
doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2011.10.019
PMCID: PMC3246213  PMID: 22196339
9.  Pediatric first aid knowledge and attitudes among staff in the preschools of Shanghai, China 
BMC Pediatrics  2012;12:121.
Background
Unintentional injury remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children worldwide. The aims of this study were to assess a baseline level of first aid knowledge and overall attitudes regarding first aid among staff members in Shanghai preschools.
Methods
A cross-sectional study was carried out among the staff members at selected preschools. A stratified random sampling method was first used to identify suitable subjects. Data were obtained using a multiple-choice questionnaire. A standardized collection of demographics was performed and participants were given the aforementioned questionnaire to indicate knowledge of and attitudes toward first aid.
Results
1067 subjects completed the questionnaire. None of the surveyed employees answered all questions correctly; only 39 individuals (3.7%) achieved passing scores. The relative number of correct answers to specific questions ranged from 16.5% to 90.2%. In particular, subjects lacked knowledge regarding first aid for convulsive seizures (only 16.5% answered correctly), chemical injuries to the eye (23%), inhaled poison (27.6%), and choking and coughing (30.1%). A multiple linear regression analysis showed scores were significantly higher among staff members with more education, those who had received first aid training before or were already healthcare providers, younger employees, and staff members from rural districts. Most employees agreed that giving first aid was helpful; the vast majority felt that it was important and useful for them to learn pediatric first aid.
Conclusions
The level of first-aid knowledge among preschool staffs in Shanghai was low. There is an urgent need to educate staff members regarding first aid practices and the various risk factors relating to specific injuries.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-12-121
PMCID: PMC3447658  PMID: 22891706
First aid; Preschool staff; Knowledge
10.  The Association between Cold Spells and Pediatric Outpatient Visits for Asthma in Shanghai, China 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e42232.
Background
Asthma is a serious global health problem. However, few studies have investigated the relationship between cold spells and pediatric outpatient visits for asthma.
Objective
To examine the association between cold spells and pediatric outpatient visits for asthma in Shanghai, China.
Methods
We collected daily data on pediatric outpatient visits for asthma, mean temperature, relative humidity, and ozone from Shanghai between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2009. We defined cold spells as four or more consecutive days with temperature below the 5th percentile of temperature during 2007–2009. We used a Poisson regression model to examine the impact of temperature on pediatric outpatient visits for asthma in cold seasons during 2007 and 2009. We examined the effect of cold spells on asthma compared with non-cold spell days.
Results
There was a significant relationship between cold temperatures and pediatric outpatient visits for asthma. The cold effects on children's asthma were observed at different lags. The lower the temperatures, the higher the risk for asthma attacks among children.
Conclusion
Cold temperatures, particularly cold spells, significantly increase the risk of pediatric outpatient visits for asthma. The findings suggest that asthma children need to be better protected from cold effects in winter.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042232
PMCID: PMC3404967  PMID: 22848748
11.  Changes in the Brain Microstructure of Children with Primary Monosymptomatic Nocturnal Enuresis: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31023.
Background
Primary monosymptomatic nocturnal enuresis (PMNE) is a common disorder in school-aged children. Previous studies have suggested that a developmental delay might play a role in the pathology of children with PMNE. However, microstructural abnormalities in the brains of these children have not been thoroughly investigated.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In this work, we evaluated structural changes in the brains of children with PMNE using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Two groups consisting of 26 children with PMNE and 26 healthy controls were scanned using magnetic resonance DTI. The diffusion parameters of fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) were subjected to whole-brain, voxel-wise group comparisons using statistical parametric mapping (SPM). When compared to healthy subjects, children with PMNE showed both a decrease in FA and an increase in MD in the thalamus. MD also increased in the frontal lobe, the anterior cingulate cortex and the insula; these areas are all involved in controlling micturition. The significant changes seen in the thalamus could affect both urine storage and arousal from sleep.
Conclusions/Significance
The microstructure abnormalities were observed in the thalamus, the medial frontal gyrus, the anterior cingulate cortex and the insula, which are involved in micturition control network. This indicates developmental delay in these areas may be the cause of PMNE.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031023
PMCID: PMC3281897  PMID: 22363538
12.  Identification of Anti-Malarial Compounds as Novel Antagonists to Chemokine Receptor CXCR4 in Pancreatic Cancer Cells 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31004.
Despite recent advances in targeted therapies, patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma continue to have poor survival highlighting the urgency to identify novel therapeutic targets. Our previous investigations have implicated chemokine receptor CXCR4 and its selective ligand CXCL12 in the pathogenesis and progression of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia and invasive pancreatic cancer; hence, CXCR4 is a promising target for suppression of pancreatic cancer growth. Here, we combined in silico structural modeling of CXCR4 to screen for candidate anti-CXCR4 compounds with in vitro cell line assays and identified NSC56612 from the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Open Chemical Repository Collection as an inhibitor of activated CXCR4. Next, we identified that NSC56612 is structurally similar to the established anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. We evaluated these compounds in pancreatic cancer cells in vitro and observed specific antagonism of CXCR4-mediated signaling and cell proliferation. Recent in vivo therapeutic applications of chloroquine in pancreatic cancer mouse models have demonstrated decreased tumor growth and improved survival. Our results thus provide a molecular target and basis for further evaluation of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in pancreatic cancer. Historically safe in humans, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine appear to be promising agents to safely and effectively target CXCR4 in patients with pancreatic cancer.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031004
PMCID: PMC3272047  PMID: 22319600
13.  Prevalence and risk factors of childhood allergic diseases in eight metropolitan cities in China: A multicenter study 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:437.
Background
Several studies conducted during the past two decades suggested increasing trend of childhood allergic diseases in China. However, few studies have provided detailed description of geographic variation and explored risk factors of these diseases. This study investigated the pattern and risk factors of asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema in eight metropolitan cities in China.
Methods
We conducted a cross-sectional survey during November-December 2005 in eight metropolitan cities in China. A total of 23791 children aged 6-13 years participated in this survey. Questions from the standard questionnaire of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Children (ISAAC) were used to examine the pattern of current asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema. Logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the risk factors for childhood allergies.
Results
The average prevalence of childhood asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema across the eight cities was 3∙3% (95% Confidence interval (CI): 3∙1%, 3∙6%), 9∙8% (95% CI: 9∙4%, 10∙2%) and 5∙5% (95% CI: 5∙2%, 5∙8%), respectively. Factors related to lifestyle, mental health and socio-economic status were found to be associated with the prevalence of childhood allergies. These risk factors were unevenly distributed across cities and disproportionately affected the local prevalence.
Conclusions
There was apparent geographic variation of childhood allergies in China. Socio-environmental factors had strong impacts on the prevalence of childhood allergies; but these impacts differed across regions. Thus public health policies should specifically target at the local risk factors for each individual area.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-437
PMCID: PMC3148998  PMID: 21645361
14.  Regular Breakfast and Blood Lead Levels among Preschool Children 
Environmental Health  2011;10:28.
Background
Previous studies have shown that fasting increases lead absorption in the gastrointestinal tract of adults. Regular meals/snacks are recommended as a nutritional intervention for lead poisoning in children, but epidemiological evidence of links between fasting and blood lead levels (B-Pb) is rare. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between eating a regular breakfast and B-Pb among children using data from the China Jintan Child Cohort Study.
Methods
Parents completed a questionnaire regarding children's breakfast-eating habit (regular or not), demographics, and food frequency. Whole blood samples were collected from 1,344 children for the measurements of B-Pb and micronutrients (iron, copper, zinc, calcium, and magnesium). B-Pb and other measures were compared between children with and without regular breakfast. Linear regression modeling was used to evaluate the association between regular breakfast and log-transformed B-Pb. The association between regular breakfast and risk of lead poisoning (B-Pb≥10 μg/dL) was examined using logistic regression modeling.
Results
Median B-Pb among children who ate breakfast regularly and those who did not eat breakfast regularly were 6.1 μg/dL and 7.2 μg/dL, respectively. Eating breakfast was also associated with greater zinc blood levels. Adjusting for other relevant factors, the linear regression model revealed that eating breakfast regularly was significantly associated with lower B-Pb (beta = -0.10 units of log-transformed B-Pb compared with children who did not eat breakfast regularly, p = 0.02).
Conclusion
The present study provides some initial human data supporting the notion that eating a regular breakfast might reduce B-Pb in young children. To our knowledge, this is the first human study exploring the association between breakfast frequency and B-Pb in young children.
doi:10.1186/1476-069X-10-28
PMCID: PMC3079601  PMID: 21457535
lead exposure lead poisoning nutrition diet nutrients breakfast
15.  Balanced Dopamine Is Critical for Pattern Completion during Associative Memory Recall 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e15401.
Pattern completion, the ability to retrieve complete memories initiated by partial cues, is a critical feature of the memory process. However, little is known regarding the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying this process. To study the role of dopamine in memory recall, we have analyzed dopamine transporter heterozygous knockout mice (DAT+/−), and found that while these mice possess normal learning, consolidation, and memory recall under full cue conditions, they exhibit specific deficits in pattern completion under partial cue condition. This form of memory recall deficit in the dopamine transporter heterozygous knockout mice can be reversed by a low dose of the dopamine antagonist haloperidol, further confirming that the inability to retrieve memory patterns is a result of dopamine imbalance. Therefore, our results reveal that a delicate control of the brain's dopamine level is critical for pattern completion during associative memory recall.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015401
PMCID: PMC2965183  PMID: 21060884
16.  Habitual Snoring in school-aged children: environmental and biological predictors 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):144.
Background
Habitual snoring, a prominent symptom of sleep-disordered breathing, is an important indicator for a number of health problems in children. Compared to adults, large epidemiological studies on childhood habitual snoring and associated predisposing factors are extremely scarce. The present study aimed to assess the prevalence and associated factors of habitual snoring among Chinese school-aged children.
Methods
A random sample of 20,152 children aged 5.08 to 11.99 years old participated in a cross-sectional survey, which was conducted in eight cities of China. Parent-administrated questionnaires were used to collect information on children's snoring frequency and the possible correlates.
Results
The prevalence of habitual snoring was 12.0% (14.5% for boys vs. 9.5% for girls) in our sampled children. Following factors were associated with an increased risk for habitual snoring: lower family income (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.46), lower father's education (OR = 1.38 and 1.14 for middle school or under and high school of educational level, respectively), breastfeeding duration < 6 months (OR = 1.17), pregnancy maternal smoking (OR = 1.51), obesity (OR = 1.50), overweight (OR = 1.35), several respiratory problems associated with atopy and infection, such as chronic/allergic rhinitis (OR = 1.94), asthma (OR = 1.43), adenotonsillar hypertrophy (OR = 2.17), and chronic otitis media (OR = 1.31), and family history of habitual snoring (OR = 1.70).
Conclusion
The prevalence of habitual snoring in Chinese children was similar to that observed in other countries. The potential predisposing factors covered socioeconomic characteristics, environmental exposures, chronic health problems, and family susceptibility. Compared to socioeconomic status and family susceptibility, environmental exposures and chronic health problems had greater impact, indicating childhood habitual snoring could be partly prevented by health promotion and environmental intervention.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-11-144
PMCID: PMC2967531  PMID: 20955625
17.  Conditional Knockout of NMDA Receptors in Dopamine Neurons Prevents Nicotine-Conditioned Place Preference 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(1):e8616.
Nicotine from smoking tobacco produces one of the most common forms of addictive behavior and has major societal and health consequences. It is known that nicotine triggers tobacco addiction by activating nicotine acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in the midbrain dopaminergic reward system, primarily via the ventral tegmental area. Heterogeneity of cell populations in the region has made it difficult for pharmacology-based analyses to precisely assess the functional significance of glutamatergic inputs to dopamine neurons in nicotine addiction. By generating dopamine neuron-specific NR1 knockout mice using cre/loxP-mediated method, we demonstrate that genetic inactivation of the NMDA receptors in ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons selectively prevents nicotine-conditioned place preference. Interestingly, the mutant mice exhibit normal performances in the conditioned place aversion induced by aversive air puffs. Therefore, this selective effect on addictive drug-induced reinforcement behavior suggests that NMDA receptors in the dopamine neurons are critical for the development of nicotine addiction.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008616
PMCID: PMC2797636  PMID: 20062537
18.  Forepaw Sensorimotor Deprivation in Early Life Leads to the Impairments on Spatial Memory and Synaptic Plasticity in Rats 
To investigate the influence of forepaw sensorimotor deprivation on memory and synaptic plasticity, Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into two groups: a sham-operated group and a group deprived of forepaw sensorimotor function by microsurgical operation at postnatal day 13 (PN13). Behavioral and electrophysiological studies were performed at PN25, PN35, PN45, and PN60. Open field test was used to assess the spontaneous locomotor activity. Morris water maze was used to evaluate spatial reference learning and memory. The long-term potentiation (LTP) in the medial perforant path—dentate gyrus (MPP-DG) pathway was examined with hippocampal slices. We found that forepaw sensorimotor deprivation did not affect spontaneous activity of the rats. However, spatial reference learning and memory were significantly impaired in their early life (PN25, PN35, and PN45). In accordance with the behavior results, LTP in MPP-DG pathway was significantly suppressed in their early life. These data demonstrated that forepaw sensorimotor deprivation led to the impairments on spatial memory via inducing pronounced deficits in the MPP-DG pathway to exhibit LTP, one of the major cellular mechanisms underlying learning and memory.
doi:10.1155/2009/919276
PMCID: PMC2804797  PMID: 20069062
19.  Missense Mutations in the MEFV Gene Are Associated with Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Correlate with Elevated IL-1β Plasma Levels 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(12):e8480.
Background
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), a common, chronic, widespread musculoskeletal pain disorder found in 2% of the general population and with a preponderance of 85% in females, has both genetic and environmental contributions. Patients and their parents have high plasma levels of the chemokines MCP-1 and eotaxin, providing evidence for both a genetic and an immunological/inflammatory origin for the syndrome (Zhang et al., 2008, Exp. Biol. Med. 233: 1171–1180).
Methods and Findings
In a search for a candidate gene affecting inflammatory pathways, among five screened in our patient samples (100 probands with FMS and their parents), we found 10 rare and one common alleles for MEFV, a gene in which various compound heterozygous mutations lead to Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF). A total of 2.63 megabases of genomic sequence of the MEFV gene were scanned by direct sequencing. The collection of rare missense mutations (all heterozygotes and tested in the aggregate) had a significant elevated frequency of transmission to affecteds (p = 0.0085, one-sided, exact binomial test). Our data provide evidence that rare missense variants of the MEFV gene are, collectively, associated with risk of FMS and are present in a subset of 15% of FMS patients. This subset had, on average, high levels of plasma IL-1β (p = 0.019) compared to FMS patients without rare variants, unaffected family members with or without rare variants, and unrelated controls of unknown genotype. IL-1β is a cytokine associated with the function of the MEFV gene and thought to be responsible for its symptoms of fever and muscle aches.
Conclusions
Since misregulation of IL-1β expression has been predicted for patients with mutations in the MEFV gene, we conclude that patients heterozygous for rare missense variants of this gene may be predisposed to FMS, possibly triggered by environmental factors.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008480
PMCID: PMC2794536  PMID: 20041150
20.  Characteristics and determinants of sexual behavior among adolescents of migrant workers in Shangai (China) 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:195.
Background
China is facing a critical challenge of rapid and widespread human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) increase. Rural-to-urban migration plays a crucial role in shifting the HIV/sexual transmitted infection (STI) epidemic. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of sexual behaviors and the correlates among the early adolescents of migrant workers in China.
Methods
A cross-sectional study was conducted in 10 junior high schools from April to June of 2008. A total of 2821 adolescents aged 14.06 ± 0.93 years (8.9% of migrant workers vs. 91.1% of general residents) participated in the survey. A self-administrated questionnaire was used to collect information on knowledge, attitude, and behaviors associated with increased risk for HIV/STI.
Results
The percentage of adolescents who ever had sexual intercourse or had sexual intercourse in last three months was 7.2% and 4.3% in adolescents of migrant workers, respectively; in contrast, 4.5% and 1.8% in their peers of general residents, respectively. 47.3% adolescents of migrant workers and 34.3% of those adolescents of general residents reported no condom use in sexual intercourse during last three months. Multivariate logistic regression analyses found that migration was a independent risk factor for sexual intercourse in last three months in our sampled adolescents (odds ratio [OR] = 1.23, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.01–1.72). In adolescents of migrant workers, factors such as lower family income (OR: 2.22, CI: 1.09–3.05 for low level; OR:1.25, CI: 1.04–1.59 for medium level), younger age at first sexual intercourse (OR: 1.24, CI: 1.09–1.57), lower knowledge on HIV/AIDS (OR: 0.93, CI: 0.90–0.97), and fewer communication on HIV/AIDS related issues (OR: 0.79, CI: 0.90–0.97) were related to sexual intercourse in last three months.
Conclusion
Based on these results, we advocated that heightened concerns targeting the adolescents of migrant workers be particularly necessary, given their higher level of sexual experience, lower socioeconomic status, restricted reproductive health information, and vulnerability to HIV/STI.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-195
PMCID: PMC2706248  PMID: 19538756

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