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Research Outline      2017-12-04 21:50:15

Dr. Yang’s research focuses on the occupational environmental epidemiology. Research themes include:


2005—2010  The Health Risk of Chinese herbalists Processed Herbs Containing Aristolochic Acids

In 1993, many young women took the Chinese herb which contains aristolochic acids and developed renal failure and urothelial carcinoma. Many traditional Chinese herbal drugs contained aristolochic acids. Dr. Yang’s research have demonstrated that processing and taking of aristolochic acid-containing herbs increased the risk of renal failure and urological cancer in Chinese herbalists. These findings have convinced the Taiwanese government to place a ban on aristolochic acid-containing herbs in 2013.


2011—2015  The Health Risk of Processing Nephrite

Asbestos is an important issue in public health. Asbestos is a general term to describe a group of minerals that have fibrous appearance. However, many asbestos minerals exist in compacted masses, such as nephrite. The health risk of the non-asbestiform asbestos mineral is unknown. Dr. Yang’s first investigation has provided detailed analyses of common stone samples in Hualien, Taiwan. He described the dimensional and chemical contents, and conducted air sampling in stone workplaces. Dr. Yang found that crushing nephrite generates both asbestiform and non-asbestiform elongated mineral particles. Dr. Yang conducted consecutive epidemiological studies in Hualien and found that processing nephrite increased the risk of pulmonary fibrosis, respiratory and digestive tract cancers. Additionally, systemic review and meta-analysis have showed that non-asbestiform talc might still increase the risk of lung cancer. Dr. Yang suggests the health risk of workers exposed all kinds of particles should be carefully evaluated.


2016—2017  Development of Breath Test for Occupational Lung Diseases

The diagnosis of occupational lung disease is difficult and obstacles to early screening remain unresolved. Dr. Yang’s most recent research used sensor array and machine learning technique to analyze volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in exhaled breath of stone workers. The results showed that breath tests can be applied in the diagnosis of pneumoconiosis with good accuracy. Breath profiling could he applied in the screening of pneumoconiosis, but also the exploration of pathogenesis of diseases. Lipid peroxidation plays an important role in the pathogenesis of pneumoconiosis. By analyzing the breath using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS), Dr. Yang found that lipid peroxidation induced pentane and C5-C7 methylated alkanes that constituted a specific fingerprint in the breath of persons with pneumoconiosis. Dr, Yang’s ongoing research applies the breath profiling method in developing novel screening tool for cancers and environmental lung diseases, and occupational environmental epidemiological researches.