Frontiers of Medicine

ISSN 2095-0217

ISSN 2095-0225(Online)

CN 11-5983/R

Postal Subscription Code 80-967

2018 Impact Factor: 1.847

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Individualized medicine, health medicine, and constitutional theory in Chinese medicine
Qi Wang
Front Med. 2012, 6 (1): 1-7.

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The patterns of modern science and changes in the medical model can result in the transformation of the current state of individualized and health medicines into being the primary trend in medical development. Chinese and Western medical systems are dissimilar in terms of value orientations, thinking style, and research directions because of their different historical and cultural backgrounds. Individualized treatment in modern medicine is mainly established based on individual genome information and the differences in mononucleotide polymorphi-sms. However, such treatment method is expensive, creates an uncertain genetic marker, and leads to different result interpretations, among other problems. The Chinese constitutional theory developed in the 1970s expresses the principle behind Chinese health medicine and individual treatment and provides the corresponding methods. The Chinese constitutional theory divides the constitution of the Chinese population into nine categories based on established classification criteria. It promotes the study of the relationship of each constitution to diseases and Chinese medicine preparation toward adjusting the constitution and preventing diseases. The theory also provides methods and tools for individualized treatment. Constitution identification shows the direction and provides the core technology for the evaluation of the health status. By combining the developments in modern biotechnology, new diagnostic techniques and treatment models of constitution-differentiation, disease-differentiation, and syndrome-differentiation can be established for the development of individualized Chinese medicine treatment and health medicine for the international medical community.

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Medical applications of phytoestrogens from the Thai herb Pueraria mirifica
Suchinda Malaivijitnond
Front Med. 2012, 6 (1): 8-21.

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Pueraria mirifica Airy Shaw et Suvatabandhu is a medicinal plant endemic to Thailand. It has been used in Thai folklore medicine for its rejuvenating qualities in aged women and men for nearly one hundred years. Indeed, it has been claimed that P. mirifica contains active phytoestrogens (plant substances with estrogen-like activity). Using high performance liquid chromatography, at least 17 phytoestrogens, mainly isoflavones, have been isolated. Thus, fairly considerable scientific researches, both in vitro in cell lines and in vivo in various species of animals including humans, have been conducted to date to address its estrogenic activity on the reproductive organs, bones, cardiovascular diseases and other climacteric related symptoms. The antioxidative capacity and antiproliferative effect on tumor cell lines have also been assessed. In general, P. mirifica could be applicable for preventing, or as a therapeutic for, the symptoms related to estrogen deficiency in menopausal women as well as in andropausal men. However, the optimal doses for each desirable effect and the balance to avoid undesired side effects need to be calculated before use.

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Stroke prevention: an update
Marie-Germaine Bousser
Front Med. 2012, 6 (1): 22-34.

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Stroke is a personal, familial, and social disaster. It is the third cause of death worldwide, the first cause of acquired disability, the second cause of dementia, and its cost is astronomic. The burden of stroke is likely to increase given the aging of the population and the growing incidence of many vascular risk factors. Prevention of stroke includes—as for all other diseases—a “mass approach” aiming at decreasing the risk at the society level and an individual approach, aiming at reducing the risk in a given subject. The mass approach is primarily based on the identification and treatment of vascular risk factors and, if possible, in the implementation of protective factors. These measures are the basis of primary prevention but most of them have now been shown to be also effective in secondary prevention. The individual approach combines a vascular risk factor modification and various treatments addressing the specific subtypes of stroke, such as antiplatelet drugs for the prevention of cerebral infarction in large and small artery diseases of the brain, carotid endarterectomy or stenting for tight carotid artery stenosis, and oral anticoagulants for the prevention of cardiac emboli. There is a growing awareness of the huge evidence-to-practice gap that exists in stroke prevention largely due to socio-economic factors. Recent approaches include low cost intervention packages to reduce blood pressure and cheap “polypills” combining in a single tablet aspirin and several drugs to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Polypill intake should however not lead to abandon the healthy life-style measures which remain the mainstay of stroke prevention.

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Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor α7 subunit: a novel therapeutic target for cardiovascular diseases
Chong Liu, Dingfeng Su
Front Med. 2012, 6 (1): 35-40.

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Inflammation is important in the pathogenesis and development of cardiovascular diseases. Recent studies show that vagus nerve stimulation inhibits pro-inflammatory cytokine production through “the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway,” more specifically via the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR). In the current study, the role of the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway during septic shock, hypertension, and myocardial infarction is reviewed, and its possible clinical implications in cardiovascular diseases are discussed.

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Umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells: strategies, challenges, and potential for cutaneous regeneration
Siming Yang, Sha Huang, Changjiang Feng, Xiaobing Fu
Front Med. 2012, 6 (1): 41-47.

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Umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a unique, accessible, and non-controversial source of early stem cells that can be readily manipulated. As the most common pluripotent cell, bone marrow-derived MSCs display limitations with the progress of stem cell therapy. By contrast, umbilical cord-derived cells, which have plentiful resources, are more accessible. However, several uncertain aspects, such as the effect of donor selection or culture conditions, long-term therapeutic effects, product consistency, and potential tumorigenicity, are the bottleneck in this clinical therapy. MSCs are predicted to undergo an unprecedented development in clinical treatment when a generally acknowledged criterion emerges. In the current paper, we highlight the application of umbilical cord-derived MSCs in skin therapies based on our previous studies, as well as the achievements of our peers in this field. This paper focuses on the strategies, challenges, and potential of this novel therapy.

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Exploring the cancer genome in the era of next-generation sequencing
Hui Dong, Shengyue Wang
Front Med. 2012, 6 (1): 48-55.

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The emergence of next-generation sequencing technologies has led to dramatic advances in cancer genome studies. The increased efficiency and resolution of next-generation sequencing greatly facilitate the detection of genetic, genomic, and epigenomic alterations, such as single nucleotide mutations, small insertions and deletions, chromosomal rearrangements, copy number variations, and DNA methylation. Comprehensive analysis of cancer genomes through approaches of whole genome, exome, and transcriptome sequencing has significantly improved the understanding of cancer biology, diagnosis, and therapy. The present study briefly reviews the recent pioneering studies on cancer genome sequencing and provides an unprecedented insight into the landscape of genomic alterations in human sporadic cancers.

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Natural killer cell lines in tumor immunotherapy
Min Cheng, Jian Zhang, Wen Jiang, Yongyan Chen, Zhigang Tian
Front Med. 2012, 6 (1): 56-66.

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Natural killer (NK) cells are considered to be critical players in anticancer immunity. However, cancers are able to develop mechanisms to escape NK cell attack or to induce defective NK cells. Current NK cell-based cancer immunotherapy is aimed at overcoming NK cell paralysis through several potential approaches, including activating autologous NK cells, expanding allogeneic NK cells, usage of stable allogeneic NK cell lines and genetically modifying fresh NK cells or NK cell lines. The stable allogeneic NK cell line approach is more practical for quality-control and large-scale production. Additionally, genetically modifying NK cell lines by increasing their expression of cytokines and engineering chimeric tumor antigen receptors could improve their specificity and cytotoxicity. In this review, NK cells in tumor immunotherapy are discussed, and a list of therapeutic NK cell lines currently undergoing preclinical and clinical trials of several kinds of tumors are reviewed.

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Progress in tumor vascular normalization for anticancer therapy: challenges and perspectives
Bingxue Shang, Zhifei Cao, Quansheng Zhou
Front Med. 2012, 6 (1): 67-78.

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Antitumor angiogenic therapy has been shown promising in the treatment of several advanced cancers since the approval of the first antiangiogenic drug Avastin in 2004. Although the current antiangiogenic drugs reduce the density of tumor blood vessels and result in tumor shrinkage at the early stage of treatment, recent studies have shown that antiangiogenic therapy has transient and insufficient efficacy, resulting in tumor recurrence in patients after several months of treatment. Blockage of blood and oxygen supplies creates a hypoxic and acidic microenvironment in the tumor tissues, which fosters tumor cells to become more aggressive and metastatic. In 2001, Jain proposed tumor vascular normalization as an alternative approach to treating cancers based on the pioneering work on tumor blood vessels by several other researchers. At present, normalizing the disorganized tumor vasculature, rather than disrupting or blocking them, has emerged as a new option for anticancer therapy. Preclinical and clinical data have shown that tumor vascular normalization using monoclonal antibodies, proteins, peptides, small molecules, and pericytes resulted in decreased tumor size and reduced metastasis. However, current tumor vascular normalizing drugs display moderate anticancer efficacy. Accumulated data have shown that a variety of vasculogenic/angiogenic tumor cells and genes play important roles in tumor neovascularization, growth, and metastasis. Therefore, multiple-targeting of vasculogenic tumor cells and genes may improve the efficacy of tumor vascular normalization. To this end, the combination of antiangiogenic drugs with tumor vascular normalizing therapeutics, as well as the integration of Western medicine with traditional Chinese medicine, may provide a good opportunity for discovering novel tumor vascular normalizing drugs for an effective anticancer therapy.

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Integration of current identity-based district-varied health insurance schemes in China: implications and challenges
Hai-Qiang Wang, Zhi-Heng Liu, Yong-Zhao Zhang, Zhuo-Jing Luo
Front Med. 2012, 6 (1): 79-84.

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With China’s great efforts to improve public health insurance, clear progress has been achieved toward the ambitious full health insurance coverage strategy for all. The current health insurance schemes in China fall into three categories: urban employee basic health insurance scheme, urban resident scheme, and new rural cooperative medical system. Despite their phasic success, these substantially identity-based, district-varied health insurance schemes have separate operation mechanisms, various administrative institutions, and consequently poor connections. On the other hand, the establishment and implementation of various health insurance schemes provide the preconditioning of more sophisticated social health insurance schemes, the increase in the income of urban and rural people, and the great importance attached by the government. Moreover, the reform of the “Hukou” (household register) system provides economical, official, and institutional bases. Therefore, the establishment of an urban-rural integrated, citizen-based, and nationwide-universal health insurance scheme by the government is critically important to attain equality and national connection. Accordingly, the differences between urban and rural areas should be minimized. In addition, the current schemes, administrative institutions, and networks should be integrated and interconnected. Moreover, more expenditure on health insurance might be essential for the integration despite the settings of global financial crisis. Regardless of the possible challenges in implementation, the proposed new scheme is promising and may be applied in the near future for the benefit of the Chinese people and global health.

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Evaluation of the harmonic scalpel in open surgery for abdominal aortic aneurysm
Zeyu Wu, Zhe Chen, Lin Peng
Front Med. 2012, 6 (1): 85-88.

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The harmonic scalpel is a hemostatic device primarily designed for use in laparoscopic surgery. During the last few years, many surgeons have begun to use the harmonic scalpel in open surgery. Several papers have cited the benefits of the device compared with conventional knot-tying techniques; however, no evidence showing the advantages of using the harmonic scalpel in complicated abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) surgery has been presented. The aim of the present study is to determine the value of the harmonic scalpel in open operation for AAA. A total of 153 patients who underwent open surgery for AAA at the Department of Vascular Surgery of Guangdong General Hospital, China between January 2001 and December 2010, were retrospectively analyzed. Open surgery performed with the harmonic scalpel on 105 patients was compared with open operation using conventional knot-tying techniques on 48 patients. The operative time, intraoperative blood loss, total postoperative drainage fluid volumes, hospital stay, and postoperative complications between the two groups were compared. The harmonic scalpel group was associated with a shorter operation time (113.2±23.6 min vs. 232.1±39.2 min, P<0.01) and lower intraoperative blood loss (126.1±96.6 ml vs. 592.1±207.2 ml, P<0.01). Postoperative drainage fluid volumes were greater in the conventional surgery group than in the harmonic scalpel group (702.1±192.8 ml vs. 198.5±97.4 ml, P<0.01). The hospital stay was shorter for the harmonic scalpel group than for the conventional surgery group (10.7±3.3 d vs. 16.5±4.7 d, P<0.05). No differences between the postoperative complications or hospital mortality of the two groups were found. The harmonic scalpel is a safe and minimally invasive tool in open surgery for AAA and is associated with shorter operative time, shorter hospital stay, and lower intraoperative blood loss and postoperative drainage fluid volumes compared with conventional knot-tying techniques.

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Clinical decision-making by the emergency department resident physicians for critically ill patients
Tengda Xu, Jun Xu, Xuezhong Yu, Sui Ma, Zhong Wang
Front Med. 2012, 6 (1): 89-93.

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The application of main methodologies for clinical decision-making by residents in emergency medical practice was assessed, and issues in this area were investigated. The treatments provided to 2 611 critical patients by the Peking Union Medical College Hospital of were analyzed by independent investigators who evaluated the main clinical decision-making processes applied by the hospital residents. The application of decision-making strategies by PG1 and PG3 groups, which means the residents in first year and the third year, were compared. The patients were treated according to pattern recognition (43.0%), hypothetico-deductive reasoning (23.4%), event-driven models (19.3%), and rule-using algorithms (5.9%). A significant difference was found between PG1 and PG3 groups (χ2=498.01, P<0.001). Pattern recognition and hypothetic-deductive methods were the most common techniques applied by emergency physicians in evaluating critically ill patients. The decision-making processes applied by junior and senior residents were significantly different, although neither group adequately applied rule-using algorithms. Inclusion of clinical decision-making in medical curricula is needed to improve decision-making in critical care.

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Scientific publications on systematic review and meta-analysis from Chinese authors: a 10-year survey of the English literature
Zhiping Yang, Qiong Wu, Kaichun Wu, Daiming Fan
Front Med. 2012, 6 (1): 94-99.

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Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are playing an increasingly important role in clinical research and practice. This study aimed to measure the scientific production of systematic review and meta-analysis from the three major regions of China: the Mainland (ML), Hong Kong (HK), and Taiwan (TW). English articles on systematic review and meta-analysis from ML, HK, and TW from 2001 to 2010 were retrieved from the PubMed database. The total number of articles, impact factors (IF), and articles published in high-impact journals were conducted for quantity and quality comparisons among the three regions. There were 1 587 published articles from ML (1 292), HK (203), and TW (92) during the past ten years. The annual total numbers of articles in the three regions increased significantly from 2001 to 2010 (from 13 to 677). The number of articles from ML has exceeded that from TW since 2001, and surpassed that from HK in 2003. The accumulated IF of articles from ML (3 488.24) was higher than those from HK (493.16) and TW (216.39). HK had the highest average IF of 3.31, followed by ML of 2.90 and TW of 2.85. Researchers from HK published a larger proportion of papers in high-impact journals than those from ML and TW. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews was the most popular journal in China. Chinese authors have been very active to enhance the systematic review and meta-analysis research over the past ten years, especially in ML. The gap between ML and the other two regions has been narrowed. But there is still considerable room for Chinese authors to improve their studies on systematic review and meta-analysis.

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12 articles