Publications by authors named "Huey-Jen Su"

82 Publications

Residential green space structures are associated with a lower risk of bipolar disorder: A nationwide population-based study in Taiwan.

Environ Pollut 2020 Oct 15;283:115864. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, 70101, Taiwan. Electronic address:

Although many researchers have identified the potential psychological benefits offered by greenness, the association between green space structures and mental disorders is not well understood. The purpose of this study was to identify associations between green space structures and the incidence of bipolar disorder. To this end, we investigated 1,907,776 individuals collected from Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database. After a follow-up investigation from 2005 to 2016, among those with no history of bipolar disorder, 20,548 individuals were further found to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. A geographic information system and landscape index were used to quantify three indices of green space structures: mean patch area (area and edge), mean fractal dimension index (shape), and mean proximity index (proximity). Additionally, greenness indices, the normalized difference vegetation index, and the enhanced vegetation index were used to confirm the association between greenness and incidence of bipolar disorder. These five indices were used to represent the individual's exposure according to the township of the hospital that they most frequently visited with symptoms of the common cold. Spearman's correlation analysis was performed to select variables by considering their collinearity. Subsequently, the frailty model for each index was used to examine the specific associations between those respective indices and the incidence of bipolar disorder by adjusting for related risk factors, such as socioeconomic status, metabolic syndrome, and air pollution. A negative association was identified between the mean patch area and the mean proximity index, and the incidence of bipolar disorder. In contrast, a positive association was found between the mean fractal dimension index and the incidence of bipolar disorder. We observed similar results in sensitivity testing and subgroup analysis. Exposure to green spaces with a larger area, greater proximity, lower complexity, and greener area may reduce the risk of bipolar disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.115864DOI Listing
October 2020

Associations among phthalate exposure, DNA methylation of TSLP, and childhood allergy.

Clin Epigenetics 2021 Apr 9;13(1):76. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Cheng-Hsing Campus, No. 1, University Road, Tainan City, Taiwan.

Background: Dysregulation of thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) expressions is linked to asthma and allergic disease. Exposure to phthalate esters, a widely used plasticizer, is associated with respiratory and allergic morbidity. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) causes TSLP upregulation in the skin. In addition, phthalate exposure is associated with changes in environmentally induced DNA methylation, which might cause phenotypic heterogeneity. This study examined the DNA methylation of the TSLP gene to determine the potential mechanism between phthalate exposure and allergic diseases.

Results: Among all evaluated, only benzyl butyl phthalate (BBzP) in the settled dusts were negatively correlated with the methylation levels of TSLP and positively associated with children's respiratory symptoms. The results revealed that every unit increase in BBzP concentration in the settled dust was associated with a 1.75% decrease in the methylation level on upstream 775 bp from the transcription start site (TSS) of TSLP (β =  - 1.75, p = 0.015) after adjustment for child's sex, age, BMI, parents' smoking status, allergic history, and education levels, PM, formaldehyde, temperature; and relative humidity. Moreover, every percentage increase in the methylation level was associated with a 20% decrease in the risk of morning respiratory symptoms in the children (OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.65-0.99).

Conclusions: Exposure to BBzP in settled dust might increase children's respiratory symptoms in the morning through decreasing TSLP methylation. Therefore, the exposure to BBzP should be reduced especially for the children already having allergic diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13148-021-01061-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8035749PMC
April 2021

Using a land use regression model with machine learning to estimate ground level PM.

Environ Pollut 2021 May 1;277:116846. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli, Taiwan; Department of Geomatics, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan. Electronic address:

Ambient fine particulate matter (PM) has been ranked as the sixth leading risk factor globally for death and disability. Modelling methods based on having access to a limited number of monitor stations are required for capturing PM spatial and temporal continuous variations with a sufficient resolution. This study utilized a land use regression (LUR) model with machine learning to assess the spatial-temporal variability of PM. Daily average PM data was collected from 73 fixed air quality monitoring stations that belonged to the Taiwan EPA on the main island of Taiwan. Nearly 280,000 observations from 2006 to 2016 were used for the analysis. Several datasets were collected to determine spatial predictor variables, including the EPA environmental resources dataset, a meteorological dataset, a land-use inventory, a landmark dataset, a digital road network map, a digital terrain model, MODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) database, and a power plant distribution dataset. First, conventional LUR and Hybrid Kriging-LUR were utilized to identify the important predictor variables. Then, deep neural network, random forest, and XGBoost algorithms were used to fit the prediction model based on the variables selected by the LUR models. Data splitting, 10-fold cross validation, external data verification, and seasonal-based and county-based validation methods were used to verify the robustness of the developed models. The results demonstrated that the proposed conventional LUR and Hybrid Kriging-LUR models captured 58% and 89% of PM variations, respectively. When XGBoost algorithm was incorporated, the explanatory power of the models increased to 73% and 94%, respectively. The Hybrid Kriging-LUR with XGBoost algorithm outperformed the other integrated methods. This study demonstrates the value of combining Hybrid Kriging-LUR model and an XGBoost algorithm for estimating the spatial-temporal variability of PM exposures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2021.116846DOI Listing
May 2021

Spatial patterns of lower respiratory tract infections and their association with fine particulate matter.

Sci Rep 2021 Mar 1;11(1):4866. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, 02115, USA.

This study aimed to identify the spatial patterns of lower respiratory tract infections (LRIs) and their association with fine particulate matter (PM). The disability-adjusted life year (DALY) database was used to represent the burden each country experiences as a result of LRIs. PM data obtained from the Atmosphere Composition Analysis Group was assessed as the source for main exposure. Global Moran's I and Getis-Ord Gi* were applied to identify the spatial patterns and for hotspots analysis of LRIs. A generalized linear mixed model was coupled with a sensitivity test after controlling for covariates to estimate the association between LRIs and PM. Subgroup analyses were performed to determine whether LRIs and PM are correlated for various ages and geographic regions. A significant spatial auto-correlated pattern was identified for global LRIs with Moran's Index 0.79, and the hotspots of LRIs were clustered in 35 African and 4 Eastern Mediterranean countries. A consistent significant positive association between LRIs and PM with a coefficient of 0.21 (95% CI 0.06-0.36) was identified. Furthermore, subgroup analysis revealed a significant effect of PM on LRI for children (0-14 years) and the elderly (≥ 70 years), and this effect was confirmed to be significant in all regions except for those comprised of Eastern Mediterranean countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-84435-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7921673PMC
March 2021

The Effect of Surrounding Greenness on Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Nationwide Population-Based Cohort in Taiwan.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 12 31;18(1). Epub 2020 Dec 31.

Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

This study determines whether surrounding greenness is associated with the incidence of type 2 diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) in Taiwan. A retrospective cohort study determines the relationship between surrounding greenness and the incidence of T2DM during the study period of 2001-2012 using data from the National Health Insurance Research Database. The satellite-derived normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) from the global MODIS database in the NASA Earth Observing System is used to assess greenness. Cox proportional hazard models are used to determine the relationship between exposure to surrounding greenness and the incidence of T2DM, with adjustment for potential confounders. A total of 429,504 subjects, including 40,479 subjects who developed T2DM, were identified during the study period. There is an inverse relationship between exposure to surrounding greenness and the incidence of T2DM after adjustment for individual-level covariates, comorbidities, and the region-level covariates (adjusted HR = 0.81, 95% CI: 0.79-0.82). For the general population of Taiwan, greater exposure to surrounding greenness is associated with a lower incidence of T2DM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010267DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7795104PMC
December 2020

Ambient viral and bacterial distribution during long-range transport in Northern Taiwan.

Environ Pollut 2021 Feb 11;270:116231. Epub 2020 Dec 11.

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan. Electronic address:

Long-range transport (LRT) reportedly carries air pollutants and microorganisms to downwind areas. LRT can be of various types, such as dust storm (DS) and frontal pollution (FP); however, studies comparing their effects on bioaerosols are lacking. This study evaluated the effect of LRT on viral and bacterial concentrations in Northern Taiwan. When LRT occurred and possibly affected Taiwan from August 2013 to April 2014, air samples (before, during, and after LRT) were collected in Cape Fugui (CF, Taiwan's northernmost point) and National Taiwan University (NTU). Reverse-transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) was applied to quantify influenza A virus. qPCR and qPCR coupled with propidium monoazide were, respectively, used to quantify total and viable bacteria. Types and occurrence of LRT were confirmed according to the changing patterns of meteorological factors and air pollution, air mass sources (HYSPLIT model), and satellite images. Two Asian DS and three FP cases were included in this study. Influenza A virus was detected only on days before and during FP occurred on January 3-5, 2014, with concentrations of 0.87 and 10.19 copies/m, respectively. For bacteria, the increase in concentrations of total and viable cells during Asian DSs (17-19 and 25-29 November 2013) was found at CF only (from 3.13 to 3.40 and from 2.62 to 2.85 log copies/m, respectively). However, bacterial levels at NTU and CF both increased during FP and lasted for 2 days after FP. In conclusion, LRT increased the levels of influenza A virus and bacteria in the ambient air of Northern Taiwan, particularly at CF. During and 2 days (at least) after LRT, people should avoid outdoor activities, especially in case of FP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.116231DOI Listing
February 2021

Comparison of Spatial Modelling Approaches on PM and NO Concentration Variations: A Case Study in Surabaya City, Indonesia.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 11 29;17(23). Epub 2020 Nov 29.

Department of Geomatics, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan City 70101, Taiwan.

Because of fast-paced industrialization, urbanization, and population growth in Indonesia, there are serious health issues in the country resulting from air pollution. This study uses geospatial modelling technologies, namely land-use regression (LUR), geographically weighted regression (GWR), and geographic and temporal weighted regression (GTWR) models, to assess variations in particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO) concentrations in Surabaya City, Indonesia. This is the first study to implement spatiotemporal variability of air pollution concentrations in Surabaya City, Indonesia. To develop the prediction models, air pollution data collected from seven monitoring stations from 2010 to 2018 were used as dependent variables, while land-use/land cover allocations within a 250 m to 5000 m circular buffer range surrounding the monitoring stations were collected as independent variables. A supervised stepwise variable selection procedure was applied to identify the important predictor variables for developing the LUR, GWR, and GTWR models. The developed models of LUR, GWR, and GTWR accounted for 49%, 50%, and 51% of PM variations and 46%, 47%, and 48% of NO variations, respectively. The GTWR model performed better (R = 0.51 for PM and 0.48 for NO) than the other two models (R = 0.49-0.50 for PM and 0.46-0.47 for NO), LUR and GWR. In the PM model four predictor variables, public facility, industry and warehousing, paddy field, and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), were selected during the variable selection procedure. Meanwhile, paddy field, residential area, rainfall, and temperature played important roles in explaining NO variations. Because of biomass burning issues in South Asia, the paddy field, which has a positive correlation with PM and NO, was selected as a predictor. By using long-term monitoring data to establish prediction models, this model may better depict PM and NO concentration variations within areas across Asia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17238883DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7730102PMC
November 2020

Chemical and stable isotopic characteristics of PM emitted from Chinese cooking.

Environ Pollut 2020 Dec 8;267:115577. Epub 2020 Sep 8.

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan City, Taiwan.

This study investigated the characteristics of air pollutants generated from preparing Chinese cuisine and analyzed the isotopic compositions of carbon and nitrogen in particulate matter with a diameter <2.5 μm (PM) to source apportionment study. The CO and CO concentrations and temperatures were measured using suitable instruments in real time during cooking, including stir-fry, fry, deep-fry, hot-pot, and mixed cooking, and periods with non-cooking. Personal environmental monitoring instruments were used to collect PM for carbon and nitrogen elements and isotopes analysis. Our data indicated that the concentrations of CO and CO and the temperature were higher during periods of cooking, especially for the fry and stir-fry methods, than during periods with non-cooking. The concentrations of PM, total carbon, and total nitrogen were also higher during cooking; the maximum concentrations were measured during fry. The values of δC were considerably lower during the periods of cooking (mean: -28.15‰) than during non-cooking (-27.18‰). The average values of δN were 8.63‰ and 11.74‰ during deep-fry and hot-pot cooking, respectively. The δC values can be used to distinguish between cooking and other non-cooking sources and further assess the effect of different cooking activities on PM. The δN only can be used to investigate the effect of deep-fry on PM. Moreover, the δC signature suggested that fry emits higher products of incomplete combustion than do other cooking activities. These findings can assist in pollution source identification of PM, emission control, and the study of combustion characteristics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.115577DOI Listing
December 2020

Development of Hourly Indoor PM Concentration Prediction Model: The Role of Outdoor Air, Ventilation, Building Characteristic, and Human Activity.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 08 14;17(16). Epub 2020 Aug 14.

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, 138 Sheng-Li Road, Tainan 70403, Taiwan.

Exposure to indoor particulate matter less than 2.5 µm in diameter (PM) is a critical health risk factor. Therefore, measuring indoor PM concentrations is important for assessing their health risks and further investigating the sources and influential factors. However, installing monitoring instruments to collect indoor PM data is difficult and expensive. Therefore, several indoor PM concentration prediction models have been developed. However, these prediction models only assess the daily average PM concentrations in cold or temperate regions. The factors that influence PM concentration differ according to climatic conditions. In this study, we developed a prediction model for hourly indoor PM concentrations in Taiwan (tropical and subtropical region) by using a multiple linear regression model and investigated the impact factor. The sample comprised 93 study cases (1979 measurements) and 25 potential predictor variables. Cross-validation was performed to assess performance. The prediction model explained 74% of the variation, and outdoor PM concentrations, the difference between indoor and outdoor CO levels, building type, building floor level, bed sheet cleaning, bed sheet replacement, and mosquito coil burning were included in the prediction model. Cross-validation explained 75% of variation on average. The results also confirm that the prediction model can be used to estimate indoor PM concentrations across seasons and areas. In summary, we developed a prediction model of hourly indoor PM concentrations and suggested that outdoor PM concentrations, ventilation, building characteristics, and human activities should be considered. Moreover, it is important to consider outdoor air quality while occupants open or close windows or doors for regulating ventilation rate and human activities changing also can reduce indoor PM concentrations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165906DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7460507PMC
August 2020

Association between Surrounding Greenness and Mortality: An Ecological Study in Taiwan.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 06 23;17(12). Epub 2020 Jun 23.

Institute of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei 112, Taiwan.

Exposure to surrounding greenness is associated with reduced mortality in Caucasian populations. Little is known however about the relationship between green vegetation and the risk of death in Asian populations. Therefore, we opted to evaluate the association of greenness with mortality in Taiwan. Death information was retrieved from the Taiwan Death Certificate database between 2006 to 2014 (3287 days). Exposure to green vegetation was based on the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) collected by the Moderate Resolution Imagine Spectroradiometer (MODIS). A generalized additive mixed model was utilized to assess the association between NDVI exposure and mortality. A total of 1,173,773 deaths were identified from 2006 to 2014. We found one unit increment on NDVI was associated with a reduced mortality due to all-cause (risk ratio [RR] = 0.901; 95% confidence interval = 0.862-0.941), cardiovascular diseases (RR = 0.892; 95% CI = 0.817-0.975), respiratory diseases (RR = 0.721; 95% CI = 0.632-0.824), and lung cancer (RR = 0.871; 95% CI = 0.735-1.032). Using the green land cover as the alternative green index showed the protective relationship on all-cause mortality. Exposure to surrounding greenness was negatively associated with mortality in Taiwan. Further research is needed to uncover the underlying mechanism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124525DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7344743PMC
June 2020

Cumulative effect of indoor temperature on cardiovascular disease-related emergency department visits among older adults in Taiwan.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Aug 28;731:138958. Epub 2020 Apr 28.

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan City, Taiwan. Electronic address:

Studies have demonstrated that exposure to extreme outdoor temperatures increases cardiovascular disease mortality and morbidity. However, people spend 80%-90% of their time indoors, and the cumulative effects of exposure to high or low temperature on the risk of cardiovascular diseases had not been considered. This study investigated the cumulative effects of high or low indoor temperature exposure on the risk of cardiovascular diseases. We estimated indoor temperatures by using a prediction model of indoor temperature from a previous study and further calculated the cumulative degree hours at different indoor temperature ranges. Samples of emergency department visits due to cardiovascular diseases were collected from the Longitudinal Health Insurance Database (LHID) from 2000 to 2014 in Taiwan. We used a distributed lag nonlinear model to analyze the data. Our data demonstrated a significant risk of emergency department visits due to cardiovascular diseases at 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31 °C when cooling cumulative degree hours exceeded 62, 43, 16, 1, and 1 during the hot season (May to October), respectively, and at 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23 °C when heating cumulative degree hours exceeded 1, 1, 1, 11, and 33 during the cold season (November to April), respectively. Cumulative degree hours were different according to gender and age groups. Policymakers should further consider the cumulative effects to prevent hot- or cold-related cardiovascular diseases for populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138958DOI Listing
August 2020

A hybrid kriging/land-use regression model with Asian culture-specific sources to assess NO spatial-temporal variations.

Environ Pollut 2020 Apr 27;259:113875. Epub 2019 Dec 27.

Department of Geomatics, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan; National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli, Taiwan. Electronic address:

Kriging interpolation and land use regression (LUR) have characterized the spatial variability of long-term nitrogen dioxide (NO), but there has been little research on combining these two methods to capture small-scale spatial variation. Furthermore, studies predicting NO exposure are almost exclusively based on traffic-related variables, which may not be transferable to Taiwan, a typical Asian country with diverse local emission sources, where densely distributed temples and restaurants may be important for NO levels. To advance the exposure estimates in Taiwan, a hybrid kriging/LUR model incorporates culture-specific sources as potential predictors. Based on 14-year NO observations from 73 monitoring stations across Taiwan, a set of interpolated NO values were generated through a leave-one-out ordinary kriging algorithm, and this was included as an explanatory variable in the stepwise LUR procedures. Kriging interpolated NO and culture-specific predictors were entered in the final models, which captured 90% and 87% of NO variation in annual and monthly resolution, respectively. Results from 10-fold cross-validation and external data verification demonstrate robust performance of the developed models. This study demonstrates the value of incorporating the kriging-interpolated estimates and culture-specific emission sources into the traditional LUR model structure for predicting NO, which can be particularly useful for Asian countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2019.113875DOI Listing
April 2020

Application of a stable carbon isotope for identifying Broussonetia papyrifera pollen.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2019 Sep 19;26(26):27353-27361. Epub 2019 Jul 19.

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, National Cheng-Kung University, No.1, University Road, Tainan City, 701, Taiwan.

The objective of this study was to investigate whether δC values can be used to identify pollen specie in the atmosphere. A Burkard 7-day recording volumetric spore trap was used to collected pollens in the atmosphere in Tainan City, Taiwan, from January 2 to December 28, 2006, and a light microscope was used to identify the pollen species and concentrations. A Burkard cyclone sampler was used to collect particulate matter and an elemental analyzer with an isotope ratio mass spectrometer was used to analyze the δC values. Our data showed that the predominate pollen specie in the atmosphere was Broussonetia papyrifera pollen and that the annual average concentration was 27 grains/m (pollen season, 36; nonpollen season, 9 grains/m). The average δC value was - 26.19‰ for particulate matter in the atmosphere (pollen season, - 26.00‰; nonpollen season, - 26.28‰). No significant association was observed between δC values and Broussonetia papyrifera pollen concentrations. However, the δC value in the atmosphere was associated with the levels of Broussonetia papyrifera pollen among the samples with a diameter of particulate matter smaller than 10 μm at a level lower than 40 μg/m. In addition, the relative contribution of Broussonetia papyrifera pollen to the carbon in the atmosphere using a two end-member mixing models was found to be associated with the Broussonetia papyrifera pollen concentration. In summary, our study suggested that δC values can be applied in the assessment of Broussonetia papyrifera pollen specie under specific conditions in the atmosphere.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-05952-yDOI Listing
September 2019

Association Between Long-term Exposure to PM2.5 and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in Taiwan: A National Retrospective Cohort Study.

Epidemiology 2019 07;30 Suppl 1:S67-S75

From the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.

Background: Long-term exposure to fine particulate matter (PM with an aerodynamic diameter ≤2.5 µm; PM2.5) contributes to an elevated incidence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in North America and Europe, but there is limited empirical evidence for Asian countries. This study determined the association between and the exposure-response relationship for PM2.5 and the incidence of T2D in Taiwan.

Methods: This retrospective cohort study was conducted for the years 2001-2012. Health information, including age, sex, health insurance premium, type of occupation, medication, and disease status, was retrieved from the Longitudinal Health Insurance Database 2000. Monitoring data for PM2.5 came from the Environmental Protection Administration of Taiwan, and Land-use Regression modeling was used to approximate participants' long-term exposure to PM2.5. Cox proportional hazards models with a generalized estimating equation to account for the correlation within the locations of the medical facilities were used to estimate the association between exposure to PM2.5 and the incidence of T2D, adjusting for the potential confounders. We also examined effect modification of sex, age, hyperlipidemia, and National Health Insurance premium for the association.

Results: Forty-eight thousand six hundred eleven new cases of diabetes were identified among 505,151 eligible participants, with the median follow-up of 12 years. Positive associations were identified between long-term exposure to PM2.5 exposure and the incidence of T2D. An increase of 10 μg/m PM2.5 was associated with an 11.0% increase in the risk of contracting diabetes (95% confidence interval = 8.0%, 13.0%). The results show that there is an almost linear relationship between exposure to PM2.5 and the incidence of T2D. Sex, age, hyperlipidemia, and National Health Insurance premium acted as effect modifiers of the association between diabetes incidence and levels of PM2.5 exposure in Taiwan.

Conclusions: In the population in Taiwan, long-term exposure to PM2.5 increases the risk of incidence of T2D by 11%. This effect is more pronounced in elderly male patients who exhibit hyperlipidemia and in individuals who have a lower insurance health insurance premium.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/EDE.0000000000001035DOI Listing
July 2019

Association Between Surrounding Greenness and Schizophrenia: A Taiwanese Cohort Study.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2019 04 19;16(8). Epub 2019 Apr 19.

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 70101, Taiwan.

This study aims to investigate the association between surrounding greenness and schizophrenia incidence in Taiwan. Data of 869,484 individuals without a history of schizophrenia were included from the Longitudinal Health Insurance Database from 2000 through 2010 for analysis. The diagnoses of schizophrenia were based on ICD-9 codes. Greenness exposure was assessed using the satellite-based normalized difference vegetation index, assuming individuals lived near the hospital they most often visited for common cold during the study period. Cox proportional hazards models were applied to assess the association between greenness exposure and schizophrenia incidence after adjustments were made for the potential confounders. A total of 5,069 schizophrenia cases were newly diagnosed during the study period. A negative significant (P < 0.05) association found using 2,000-m buffer distances (distance of a moderately paced 20-min walk) in the whole Taiwan island, cities, and metropolitan areas. The results of the stratified analysis based on sex and health insurance rate suggested surrounding greenness has approximately equal effects of reducing the risk of schizophrenia, regardless of sex or financial status. In conclusion, our findings suggest that more surrounding greenness may reduce the risk of schizophrenia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16081415DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6517986PMC
April 2019

Pollen of Broussonetia papyrifera: An emerging aeroallergen associated with allergic illness in Taiwan.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Mar 22;657:804-810. Epub 2018 Nov 22.

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan, ROC.

Pollen has long been recognized as a major allergen, having diverse patterns of allergenicity caused by differences in climate, geography, and vegetation. Our research aimed to explore the role of a regionally dominant pollen in Taiwan, Broussonetia papyrifera, on clinical sensitization and daily 5collected and extracted for a skin prick test on 30 volunteers recruited from a medical college. Daily atmospheric pollen levels were measured using a Burkard 7-day volumetric trap. The association between daily atmospheric pollen levels and clinic visits for allergic illness was examined using a generalized additive model with a normal assumption. After excluding four participants with a positive response to a negative control, 10 participants (38.4%) were determined to be sensitive to B. papyrifera pollen extract. The three-day lagged concentration of B. papyrifera pollen exhibited the highest risk of daily asthma visits (relative risk [RR] = 1.166, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.014-1.341) and allergic rhinitis visits (RR = 1.119, 95% CI: 0.916-1.367) when the pollen increased equally in magnitude to its mean. Our study is the first to provide evidence indicating that the most dominant airborne pollen in Taiwan, B. papyrifera, plays a major role in sensitization and clinic visits for asthma and allergic rhinitis, thus highlighting the need to integrate aeroallergen monitoring with clinical diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.11.324DOI Listing
March 2019

Hepatocellular carcinoma-related cyclin D1 is selectively regulated by autophagy degradation system.

Hepatology 2018 07 23;68(1):141-154. Epub 2018 Mar 23.

Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.

Dysfunction of degradation machineries causes cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Overexpression of cyclin D1 in HCC has been reported. We previously reported that autophagy preferentially recruits and degrades the oncogenic microRNA (miR)-224 to prevent HCC. Therefore, in the present study, we attempted to clarify whether cyclin D1 is another oncogenic factor selectively regulated by autophagy in HCC tumorigenesis. Initially, we found an inverse correlation between low autophagic activity and high cyclin D1 expression in tumors of 147 HCC patients and three murine models, and these results taken together revealed a correlation with poor overall survival of HCC patients, indicating the importance of these two events in HCC development. We found that increased autophagic activity leads to cyclin D1 ubiquitination and selective recruitment to the autophagosome (AP) mediated by a specific receptor, sequestosome 1 (SQSTM1), followed by fusion with lysosome and degradation. Autophagy-selective degradation of ubiquitinated cyclin D1 through SQSTM1 was confirmed using cyclin D1/ubiquitin binding site (K R) and phosphorylation site (T286A) mutants, lentivirus-mediated silencing autophagy-related 5 (ATG5), autophagy-related 7 (ATG7), and Sqstm1 knockout cells. Functional studies revealed that autophagy-selective degradation of cyclin D1 plays suppressive roles in cell proliferation, colony, and liver tumor formation. Notably, an increase of autophagic activity by pharmacological inducers (amiodarone and rapamycin) significantly suppressed tumor growth in both the orthotopic liver tumor and subcutaneous tumor xenograft models. Our findings provide evidence of the underlying mechanism involved in the regulation of cyclin D1 by selective autophagy to prevent tumor formation.

Conclusion: Taken together, our data demonstrate that autophagic degradation machinery and the cell-cycle regulator, cyclin D1, are linked to HCC tumorigenesis. We believe these findings may be of value in the development of alternative therapeutics for HCC patients. (Hepatology 2018;68:141-154).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.29781DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6055810PMC
July 2018

Development of an efficient viral aerosol collector for higher sampling flow rate.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2018 Feb 25;25(4):3884-3893. Epub 2017 Nov 25.

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, No. 1 University Road, Tainan, Taiwan.

Viral aerosol infection through cough generates large amounts of viral aerosol and can result in many adverse health effects such as influenza flu and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). To characterize the coughed viral aerosol, the sampler needs to sample at higher flow rate and possess high physical collection efficiency as well as high viral preservation. However, most current inertia-based high flow bioaerosol samplers are not suited for viral aerosol sampling since the viability will be lost doing the sampling process. Current condensation growth methods only have good physical collection efficiency and viral preservation at low flow rate (< 10 LPM). In this study, we developed a viral aerosol sampling system using a cooler and steam-jet aerosol collector (SJAC) for bioaerosol collection for the first time. The system is based on mixing condensation growth method and has high viral preservation at a higher flow rate (12.5 LPM). We control the inlet aerosol flow temperature and the SJAC mixing reservoir temperature to improve the physical collection efficiency and viability preservation of the viral aerosol. Results indicate that the physical collection efficiency is 70-99% for aerosol 30-100 nm when the aerosol flow and mixing reservoir temperature was 19 and 50 °C, respectively. In addition, the system was 7 and 22 times more efficient for viability preservation of MS2 bacteriophage than the commonly used All Glass Impinger 30 (AGI-30) and BioSampler®, respectively. Finally, the system can be applied to sample at a lower concentration (10 PFU/m), and results shows the system was 4.7 times more efficient for viability preservation than using AGI-30 alone. The developed viral collection system will improve our understanding of the characteristics of coughed aerosol and can be used for future evaluation of respiratory protective equipment and environmental sampling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-0754-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7089394PMC
February 2018

Higher moisture content is associated with greater emissions of DEHP from PVC wallpaper.

Environ Res 2017 Jan 11;152:1-6. Epub 2016 Oct 11.

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan. Electronic address:

Water damage and moisture in buildings may become more prevalent due to the increasing frequency of extreme precipitation and flooding events resulting from climate change. However, the effects of moisture levels on phthalate emissions from building materials are still underreported. This study aims to evaluate the effect of moisture content (MC) on the level of di-(2ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) emitted from plastic wallpaper (0.22wt% DEHP) within 15 days in a closed chamber. A scenario of short-term exposure to DEHP in buildings suffering from water damage was simulated. Experiments, controlled at 100% relative humidity (RH) of air and 28°C, were conducted under the following three conditions: (I) without wallpaper (control chamber), (II) dry wallpaper (MC at 3.57%) and (III) damp wallpaper (MC at 52.31%). Air and dust samples were collected at the elapsed time of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13 and 15 days, and the wipe sample was collected on the last day. Higher DEHP concentrations were found to be emitted into the air and adsorbed on the dust for wallpapers with higher MC%. DEHP levels in the air exhibited an increasing trend with the length of the experiment. Overall, it was found that approximately 35.31% more total DEHP mass was released into the air, dust and wipe samples from damp wallpapers compared to dry wallpapers. It is concluded that DEHP emissions from plastic materials are affected by the inner moisture percentage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2016.09.027DOI Listing
January 2017

A Norsesterterpene Peroxide from a Marine Sponge Hippospongia sp.

Nat Prod Commun 2016 Apr;11(4):445-6

One new norsesterterpene peroxide, rhopaloic acid H (1), along with two known related metabolites 2 and 3, were isolated from a marine sponge Hippospongia sp. The structures of compounds were elucidated by means of IR, MS, and NMR techniques and comparison of the NMR data with those of known analogues. Evaluation of the cytotoxicities revealed that compound 2 exhibited significant cytotoxicity against DLD-1, Molt 4, T47D and K-562 cell lines, with IC50 values of 3.18, 0.69, 2.22 and 1.06 µg/mL, respectively. Moreover, compound 3 also showed significant K562 inhibitory activity, with IC50 value of 3.65 µg/mL.
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April 2016

Long-term allergen exposure induces adipose tissue inflammation and circulatory system injury.

Cell Immunol 2016 May 8;303:34-42. Epub 2016 Mar 8.

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Out-Patient Building, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, 138 Sheng-Li Road, Tainan 70403, Taiwan. Electronic address:

The purpose of this study was to study whether allergen exposure can induce inflammation and lower the anti-inflammation levels in serum and in adipose tissues, and further develop cardiovascular injury. Our data showed that heart rate was significantly higher in the OVA-challenged mice compared to control mice. Moreover, there were higher expressions of pro-inflammation genes in the OVA-challenged mice in adipose tissues, and the expressions of anti-inflammation genes were lower. The levels of inflammation mediators were associated in serum and adipose tissues. The level of circulatory injury lactate dehydrogenase was significantly associated with the levels of E-selectin, resistin and adiponectin in the serum. The hematoxylin and eosin and immunohistochemistry stains indicated the OVA-challenged mice had higher levels of inflammation. In summary, the current study demonstrated allergen exposure can cause cardiovascular injury, and inflammatory mediators in adipose tissues play an important role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular injury.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cellimm.2016.03.002DOI Listing
May 2016

Abdominal Obesity and Insulin Resistance in People Exposed to Moderate-to-High Levels of Dioxin.

PLoS One 2016 11;11(1):e0145818. Epub 2016 Jan 11.

Research Center for Environmental Trace Toxic Substances, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.

Obesity, a risk factor for developing metabolic complications, is a major public health problem. Abdominal obesity is strongly accompanied by a cluster of metabolic abnormalities characterized by insulin resistance. The link between persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and insulin resistance has been investigated in animal and epidemiological studies. We aimed to examine whether insulin resistance is greater in people with abdominal obesity (AO) and concomitant exposure to serum dioxins (PCDD/Fs). We conducted a cross-sectional descriptive study of 2876 participants living near a PCDD/Fs contaminated area. Seventeen 2,3,7,8-substituted PCDD/Fs congeners were measured, and then the associations between the main predictor variable, serum TEQDF-1998, abdominal obesity (AO), dependent variables, and insulin resistance were examined. Twelve of the 17 congeners, widely distributed among PCDDs, and PCDFs, had trends for associations with abdominal adiposity. In men, the highest quintiles of 1,2,3,7,8-PeCDF; 1,2,3,7,8-PeCDD; 2,3,7,8-TCDD; 2,3,7,8-TCDF; and 2,3,4,7,8-PeCDF had the top five adjusted odds ratios (AORs) + 95% confidence intervals (CIs):[4.2; 2.7-6.4], [3.6; 2.3-5.7], [3.2; 2.1-5.0], [3.0; 2.0-4.5], and [2.9; 1.9-4.7], respectively. In women, the highest quintiles of 1,2,3,4,7,8,9-HpCDF; 1,2,3,6,7,8-HxCDF; and 1,2,3,4,6,7,8-HpCDF had the top three AORs + 95% CIs:[3.0; 1.9-4.7], [2.0; 1.3-3.1], and [1.9; 1.3-2.9], respectively. After confounding factors had been adjusted for, men, but not women, with higher serum TEQDF-1998 levels or abdominal obesity had a significantly (Ptrend < 0.001) greater risk for abnormal insulin resistance. The groups with the highest joint serum TEQDF-1998 and abdominal obesity levels were associated with elevated insulin resistance at 5.0 times the odds of the groups with the lowest joint levels (AOR 5.23; 95% CI: 3.53-7.77). We hypothesize that serum TEQDF-1998 and abdominal obesity affect the association with insulin resistance in general populations.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0145818PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4713838PMC
June 2016

Fine Particle Pollution, Alanine Transaminase, and Liver Cancer: A Taiwanese Prospective Cohort Study (REVEAL-HBV).

J Natl Cancer Inst 2016 Mar 11;108(3). Epub 2015 Nov 11.

Affiliations of authors: Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, National Cheng Kung University , Tainan , Taiwan (WCP, MJC, HJS); Department of Epidemiology (WCP, YTH) and Department of Biostatistics (YTH), Brown University , Providence, RI ; Institute of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (WCP) and Institute of Clinical Medicine (HIY), National Yang-Ming University , Taipei , Taiwan ; Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, National Chiayi University , Chiayi , Taiwan (CDW); Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health , Boston, MA (CDW); National Environmental Health Research Center, National Health Research Institutes , Miaoli , Taiwan (MJC); Genomics Research Center, Academia Sinica , Taipei , Taiwan (CJC, HIY); Graduate Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, National Taiwan University , Taipei , Taiwan (CJC).

Background: Exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) may promote hepatic tumorgenesis through low-grade inflammation. Therefore, we assessed the association of long-term exposure levels of PM2.5 and subsequent risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and investigated the mediation effect of inflammation as represented by alanine aminotransferase (ALT) on this association.

Methods: Between 1991 and 1992, we recruited 23 820 participants in Taiwan with no history of HCC. Case patients of HCC were ascertained through computerized data linkage with the National Cancer Registry and death certification systems. Participants' exposures to PM2.5 were based on a four-year average retrieved from stationary monitoring sites. Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess the association between PM2.5 exposure and HCC incidence. Mediation effects of ALT on PM2.5-associated HCC incidence were estimated.

Results: A total of 464 HCC cases were newly diagnosed with a median follow-up of 16.9 years. Statistically significantly increasing trends between PM2.5 exposures and ALT were observed on the Main Island and Penghu Islets. The adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for HCC on the Penghu Islets was 1.22 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.02 to 1.47) per PM2.5 interquartile range (IQR) increment (0.73 µg/m(3)) exposure. We also found a positive association between PM2.5 exposure (per IQR increment, 13.1 µg/m(3)) and HCC incidence on the Main Island. Furthermore, ALT had a statistically significant mediation effect on PM2.5-associated HCC incidence (HR = 1.17, 95% CI = 1.02 to1.52 on the Main Island; HR = 1.04, 95% CI = 1.03 to 1.07 on the Penghu Islets) per PM2.5 IQR increment.

Conclusions: Long-term PM2.5 exposure increased the risk for liver cancer, and chronic inflammation of the liver may underlie the pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djv341DOI Listing
March 2016

Association between indoor air pollutant exposure and blood pressure and heart rate in subjects according to body mass index.

Sci Total Environ 2016 Jan 10;539:271-276. Epub 2015 Sep 10.

Dept. of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan City, Taiwan.

This study investigates the effects of high body mass index (BMI) of subjects on individual who exhibited high cardiovascular disease indexes with blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) when exposed to high levels of indoor air pollutants. We collected 115 office workers, and measured their systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and HR at the end of the workday. The subjects were divided into three groups according to BMI: 18-24 (normal weight), 24-27 (overweight) and >27 (obese). This study also measured the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5μm (PM2.5), as well as the bacteria and fungi in the subjects' work-places. The pollutant effects were divided by median. Two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyze the health effects of indoor air pollution exposure according to BMI. Our study showed that higher levels of SBP, DBP and HR occurred in subjects who were overweight or obese as compared to those with normal weight. Moreover, there was higher level of SBP in subjects who were overweight or obese when they were exposed to higher levels of TVOC and fungi (p<0.05). We also found higher value for DBP and HR with increasing BMI to be associated with exposure to higher TVOC levels. This study suggests that individuals with higher BMI have higher cardiovascular disease risk when they are exposed to poor indoor air quality (IAQ), and specifically in terms of TVOC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.08.158DOI Listing
January 2016

The association between the incidence of mumps and meteorological parameters in Taiwan.

Hum Vaccin Immunother 2015 ;11(6):1406-12

a Department of Cosmetic Applications and Management/Holistic Education Center; Cardinal Tien Junior College of Healthcare and Management ; Taipei , Taiwan.

Mumps is caused by a paramyxovirus. It is an acute, but mild infectious disease. However, approximately 10% of patients with mumps can develop severe meningoencephalitis, disability, and death. Seasonal patterns in mumps vary across countries, but the reasons for this phenomenon remain unclear. The aim of this study was to assess the role of meteorological factors on mumps infection. We investigated the relationships between weather variability and the incidence of mumps in Taiwan using a Poisson regression analysis and case-crossover methodology. Between 2006 and 2011, 6,612 cases of mumps were reported to the Centers for Disease Control, Taiwan (Taiwan CDC). The incidence of mumps showed a significant seasonality in summertime (for oscillation, P < 0.001). The number of mumps started to increase at temperatures of 20°C (r(2) = 0.73, P < 0.001), and the case count of mumps began to decline when the temperatures were higher than approximately 25°C (r(2) = 0.24, p = 0.04), producing an inverted V-shaped relationship. Similarly, the number of mumps began to increase at a vapor pressure of 5-9 hPa (r(2) = 0.87, P < 0.005) and decreased at a vapor pressure higher than 25-29 hPa (r(2) = 0.21, p = 0.05). The number of mumps cases was positively associated with temperature and vapor pressure in the preceding period of the infection. In conclusion, this study showed that the occurrence of mumps is significantly associated with increasing temperature and vapor pressure in Taiwan. Therefore, these factors could be regarded as warning signals indicating the need to implement preventive measures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21645515.2015.1029687DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4514338PMC
March 2016

Precipitation increases the occurrence of sporadic legionnaires' disease in Taiwan.

PLoS One 2014 4;9(12):e114337. Epub 2014 Dec 4.

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.

Legionnaires' disease (LD) is an acute form of pneumonia, and changing weather is considered a plausible risk factor. Yet, the relationship between weather and LD has rarely been investigated, especially using long-term daily data. In this study, daily data was used to evaluate the impacts of precipitation, temperature, and relative humidity on LD occurrence in Taiwan from 1995-2011. A time-stratified 2:1 matched-period case-crossover design was used to compare each case with self-controlled data using a conditional logistic regression analysis, and odds ratios (ORs) for LD occurrence was estimated. The city, gender and age were defined as a stratum for each matched set to modify the effects. For lag day- 0 to 15, the precipitation at lag day-11 significantly affected LD occurrence (p<0.05), and a 2.5% (95% CIs = 0.3-4.7%) increased risk of LD occurrence was associated with every 5-mm increase in precipitation. In addition, stratified analyses further showed that positive associations of precipitation with LD incidence were only significant in male and elderly groups and during the warm season ORs = 1.023-1.029). However, such an effect was not completely linear. Only precipitations at 21-40 (OR = 1.643 (95% CIs = 1.074-2.513)) and 61-80 mm (OR = 2.572 (1.106-5.978)) significantly increased the risk of LD occurrence. Moreover, a negative correlation between mean temperature at an 11-day lag and LD occurrence was also found (OR = 0.975 (0.953-0.996)). No significant association between relative humidity and LD occurrence was identified (p>0.05). In conclusion, in warm, humid regions, an increase of daily precipitation is likely to be a critical weather factor triggering LD occurrence where the risk is found particularly significant at an 11-day lag. Additionally, precipitation at 21-40 and 61-80 mm might make LD occurrence more likely.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0114337PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4256405PMC
December 2015

When are we most vulnerable to temperature variations in a day?

PLoS One 2014 2;9(12):e113195. Epub 2014 Dec 2.

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.

Daily temperature measures are commonly used when examining the association between temperature and mortality. In fact, temperature measures are available 24 hours a day and more detailed records may provide a better prediction of mortality compared to daily statistics. In this article, monthly stratified analysis modeling for mortality is conducted for the total population as well as the stratified elderly and younger subgroups. We identified the most significant time during the day that is associated with daily mortality. Surprisingly, the estimates of relative risk and magnitude of associations derived from the hourly temperature measures are similar or even stronger compared to those modeled by the daily statistics. This phenomenon remains true for lagged hourly temperature measures and the changing patterns of associations from January through December are revealed. In summary, people are the most vulnerable to temperature variations in the early morning around 5 am and the night time around 8 pm.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0113195PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4251982PMC
July 2015

Multiple resistance-activating substances produced by Humicola phialophoroides isolated from soil for control of Phytophthora blight of pepper.

Bot Stud 2014 Dec 11;55(1):40. Epub 2014 Sep 11.

Department of Plant Pathology, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan.

Background: Microorganisms capable of utilizing vegetable tissues for multiplication in soil were isolated, cultivated in liquid medium prepared from the same vegetable tissues, and tested for ability to activate resistance in pepper leaves against Phytophthora blight caused by Phytophthora capsici.

Results: Among the 121 microorganisms isolated, a fungus Humicola phialophoroides showed distinct ability to produce substances capable of activating resistance. The resistance-activating substances produced by H. phialophoroides were mostly retained in the mycelium, and were readily extracted from the mycelium powder with polar solvents. The extract was not inhibitory to zoospore germination or germ tube growth of P. capsici. In pepper leaves, the extract took only about 12 h to activate resistance against P. capsici. After activation, washing treated leaf surface with water did not have much effect on the resistance expression. In addition to being able to move from the upper leaf surface to lower leaf surface, the resistance-activating substances were capable of moving 5 mm acropetally and 10 mm basipetally in pepper leaves, Chromatography of the extract on silica gel column suggests that there are probably more than three components in the extract with resistance-activating ability. The resistance-activating activity of the mycelium extract was not affected by treatment with either cation or anion exchange resins, indicating that none of the active components have positive or negative charges on their molecules.

Conclusion: Results show that H. phialophoroides is capable of producing multiple resistance-activating substances which are mostly retained in the mycelium. The study also indicates that none of the active components have positive or negative charges on their molecules.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1999-3110-55-40DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5432772PMC
December 2014

Linking student performance in Massachusetts elementary schools with the "greenness" of school surroundings using remote sensing.

PLoS One 2014 13;9(10):e108548. Epub 2014 Oct 13.

Exposure, Epidemiology and Risk Program, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States of America.

Various studies have reported the physical and mental health benefits from exposure to "green" neighborhoods, such as proximity to neighborhoods with trees and vegetation. However, no studies have explicitly assessed the association between exposure to "green" surroundings and cognitive function in terms of student academic performance. This study investigated the association between the "greenness" of the area surrounding a Massachusetts public elementary school and the academic achievement of the school's student body based on standardized tests with an ecological setting. Researchers used the composite school-based performance scores generated by the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) to measure the percentage of 3rd-grade students (the first year of standardized testing for 8-9 years-old children in public school), who scored "Above Proficient" (AP) in English and Mathematics tests (Note: Individual student scores are not publically available). The MCAS results are comparable year to year thanks to an equating process. Researchers included test results from 2006 through 2012 in 905 public schools and adjusted for differences between schools in the final analysis according to race, gender, English as a second language (proxy for ethnicity and language facility), parent income, student-teacher ratio, and school attendance. Surrounding greenness of each school was measured using satellite images converted into the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) in March, July and October of each year according to a 250-meter, 500-meter, 1,000-meter, and 2000-meter circular buffer around each school. Spatial Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMMs) estimated the impacts of surrounding greenness on school-based performance. Overall the study results supported a relationship between the "greenness" of the school area and the school-wide academic performance. Interestingly, the results showed a consistently positive significant association between the greenness of the school in the Spring (when most Massachusetts students take the MCAS tests) and school-wide performance on both English and Math tests, even after adjustment for socio-economic factors and urban residency.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0108548PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4195655PMC
June 2015

Allergen exposure induces adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance.

Int Immunopharmacol 2014 Nov 26;23(1):104-12. Epub 2014 Aug 26.

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Out-Patient Building, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, 138 Sheng-Li Road, Tainan 70403, Taiwan. Electronic address:

This study investigates whether exposure to allergen elicits insulin resistance as a result of adipose tissue inflammation. Male C57BL/6 mice were challenged with ovalbumin (OVA) allergen for 12 weeks, and blood and adipose tissue samples were collected at 24h after the last challenge. Levels of adhesion molecules, fasting insulin, fasting glucose, and adipokines in the blood were analyzed, and fasting homeostasis model assessment was applied to determine insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). The expression of pro- and anti-inflammatory genes in dissected adipose tissues was analyzed by real-time RT-PCR. Our results showed that OVA exposure increased insulin resistance as well as resistin and E-selectin, but reduced adiponectin in the serum. Resistin level was significantly correlated with HOMA-IR. Moreover, in adipose tissues of OVA-challenged mice, the pro-inflammatory M1 genes were more abundant while the anti-inflammatory M2 genes were less than those of PBS-treated mice. The expressional changes of both M1 and M2 genes were significantly associated with serum levels of adiponectin, resistin, and E-selectin. Hematoxylin and eosin (HE) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) stain also showed that there was more obvious inflammation in OVA-challenged mice. In conclusion, the current study suggests the relationship between allergen-elicited adipose tissue inflammation and circulating inflammatory molecules, which are possible mediators for the development of insulin resistance. Therefore, we propose that allergen exposure might be one risk factor for insulin resistance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.intimp.2014.07.033DOI Listing
November 2014