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This study aimed to explore perceptions of the meaning of life among Korean patients living with advanced cancer.
The study employed a mixed-methods design, and 16 participants were included in the analysis. Qualitative data gathered from in-depth interviews were analyzed using Colaizzi's phenomenological method. Quantitative survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, the Mann–Whitney U test, the Kruskal–Wallis test, and Spearman's ρ correlation.
Participants experienced both the existence of meaning and the will to find meaning in terms of four categories: “interpersonal relationships based on attachment and cohesion” (three themes — family as the core meaning of one's life, supportive and dependent interconnectedness with significant others, and existential responsibility embedded in familism), “therapeutic relationships based on trust” (one theme — communication and trust between the patient and medical staff), “optimism” (two themes — positivity embodied through past experiences and a positive attitude toward the current situation), and “a sense of purpose with advanced cancer” (two themes — the will to survive and expectations for the near future). The meaning in life questionnaire (MLQ) and the purpose in life scale (PIL) showed a significant positive correlation tendency with the functional assessment of chronic illness therapy-spiritual well-being scale (FACIT-Sp). The patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9) showed significant negative correlation tendency with both the MLQ-presence of meaning (MLQ-PM) and PIL-Initiative (PIL-I) questionnaires.
Significance of results
Finding meaning in life helps advanced cancer patients realize their will to live. It also acts as a coping mechanism that palliates negative experiences in the fight against the disease. In particular, among advanced cancer patients in the Korean culture, the dynamics of relationships with family and medical staff was a key axis that instilled optimism and will to live. These results suggest that considering the meaning of life in advanced cancer patients by reflecting Korean culture in the treatment process improves the quality of care.
Mental illness among survivors of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019) during the post-illness period is an emerging and important health issue.
We aimed to investigate the prevalence of mental illness and the associated factors for its development among COVID-2019 survivors.
From 1 January to 4 June 2020, data were extracted from the National Health Insurance Service COVID-19 database in South Korea. Patients with COVID-19 were defined as those whose test results indicated that they had contracted the infection, regardless of disease severity. COVID-19 survivors were defined as those who recovered from the infection. The primary end-point was the development of mental illness, which was evaluated between 1 January and 1 December 2020.
A total 260 883 individuals were included in this study, and 2.36% (6148) were COVID-19 survivors. The COVID-19 survivors showed higher prevalence of mental illness than the control group (12.0% in the COVID-19 survivors v. 7.7% in the control group; odds ratio (OR) = 2.40, 95% CI 2.21–2.61, P < 0.001). Additionally, compared with the control group, the no specific treatment for COVID-19 group (OR = 2.23, 95% CI 2.03–2.45, P < 0.001) and specific treatment for COVID-19 group (OR = 3.27, 95% CI 2.77–3.87, P < 0.001) showed higher prevalence of mental illness among survivors.
In South Korea, COVID-19 survivors had a higher risk of developing mental illness compared with the rest of the populations. Moreover, this trend was more evident in COVID-19 survivors who experienced specific treatment in the hospital.
Due to the lack of an effective prophylactic intervention and diagnosis, human liver fluke Clonorchis sinensis continues to afflict a large human population, causing a chronic inflammatory bile duct disease. With an aim to identify target antigens for sensitive serodiagnosis, adenylate kinase 3 of C. sinensis (CsAK3) was successfully expressed in soluble form in Escherichia coli by fusion to an RNA-interacting domain derived from human Lys-tRNA synthetase and purified by Ni2+-affinity chromatography. Anti-CsAK3 serum was raised by immunization of mice, and Western blotting confirmed that CsAK3 was expressed in adult-stage C. sinensis. Histochemical analysis showed that CsAK3 was localized to the subtegumental tissue of C. sinensis and was excreted into the bile duct of the host. When tested against sera from various parasite-infected patients by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, the recombinant CsAK3 elicited a specific response to C. sinensis-infected sera. The results suggest that CsAK3, either alone or in combination with other antigens, could be used for improving the clinical diagnosis of clonorchiasis.
Personality may predispose family caregivers to experience caregiving differently in similar situations and influence the outcomes of caregiving. A limited body of research has examined the role of some personality traits for health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among family caregivers of persons with dementia (PWD) in relation to burden and depression.
Data from a large clinic-based national study in South Korea, the Caregivers of Alzheimer's Disease Research (CARE), were analyzed (N = 476). Path analysis was performed to explore the association between family caregivers’ personality traits and HRQoL. With depression and burden as mediating factors, direct and indirect associations between five personality traits and HRQoL of family caregivers were examined.
Results demonstrated the mediating role of caregiver burden and depression in linking two personality traits (neuroticism and extraversion) and HRQoL. Neuroticism and extraversion directly and indirectly influenced the mental HRQoL of caregivers. Neuroticism and extraversion only indirectly influenced their physical HRQoL. Neuroticism increased the caregiver's depression, whereas extraversion decreased it. Neuroticism only was mediated by burden to influence depression and mental and physical HRQoL.
Personality traits can influence caregiving outcomes and be viewed as an individual resource of the caregiver. A family caregiver's personality characteristics need to be assessed for tailoring support programs to get the optimal benefits from caregiver interventions.
This study evaluated the impacts of earlier traumatic events on the mental health of older adults, in terms of mental disorders and mental well-being, according to sociodemographic variables, trauma-related characteristics, and personality traits in a nationally representative sample of older Koreans.
A total of 1,621 subjects aged 60 to 74 years from a Korean national epidemiological survey of mental disorders responded face-to-face interviews. The Korean Composite International Diagnostic Interview was used to investigate lifetime trauma exposure (LTE) and psychiatric diagnoses. The EuroQol health classification system and life satisfaction scale were used to assess quality of life (QoL), and the Big Five Inventory-10 (BFI-10) to measure personality traits.
Five-hundred and seventy-seven subjects (35.6%) reported a history of LTE (mean age at trauma, 30.8 years old). Current mental disorders were more prevalent in elderly people with LTE, while better current QoL was more frequent in those without LTE. Among older people with LTE, lower extraversion and higher neuroticism increased the risk of current mood or anxiety disorders, whereas higher extraversion increased the probability of experiencing mental well-being after adjusting for sociodemographic and trauma-related variables.
Personality traits, especially extraversion, and neuroticism, may be useful for predicting the mental health outcomes of LTE in older adults. Further longitudinal studies investigating the relationship between traumatic events and mental health outcomes are needed.
The present study was performed to investigate whether breast-feeding is associated with early pubertal development among children 7–9 years old in Korea.
Children were divided into those who did and did not receive breast-feeding for 6 months or longer in accordance with the recommendations of the WHO. Pubertal status was determined by clinical examination using Tanner staging.
Prospective observational study.
We conducted a follow-up study of children aged 7–9 years in 2011 who had taken part in the Ewha Birth & Growth Cohort study.
Fifty (22·8 %) of the total of 219 children were in early puberty, with the proportion being slightly higher for girls (24·1 %) than boys (21·4 %). Children who had entered early puberty were taller, weighed more and had a higher concentration of insulin-like growth factor 1. Moreover, the change in weight Z-score from birth to follow-up was significantly lower in children who were breast-fed than in those who were not (weight Z-score change: 0·32 (sd 1·59) v. 0·77 (sd 1·61), respectively, P=0·04). Comparison of breast-feeding by puberty status indicated a preventive association with early puberty in children who were breast-fed for 6 months or longer (OR=0·37; 95 % CI 0·18, 0·74). This association remained significant after adjustment for relevant covariates.
These results demonstrate a beneficial association between breast-feeding and early pubertal development, especially in those breast-fed for 6 months or longer. The study suggests that interventions would need to start early in life to prevent early pubertal development.
Based on the sequences of Brassica rapa ssp. pekinensis, we carried out a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) study for genes controlling disease resistance (clubroot, turnip mosaic virus and soft rot) and leaf traits in B. rapa leafy genotypes ‘VC40’ and ‘SR5’. In total, 7645 SNP markers were obtained based on the annotation of a B. rapa database for disease resistance. Among these 7645 SNP markers, 141 were related to 125 genes linked to leaf traits. From these 141 SNP markers, 63 were screened and High Resolution Melt (HRM) primers were designed for genomic studies. A total of 20 polymorphic SNP primers were finally obtained. Eventually, these markers will be further used for the detection of quantitative trait loci and mapping studies.
Next-generation sequencing technique has been known as a useful tool for de novo transcriptome assembly, functional annotation of genes and identification of molecular markers. This study was carried out to mine molecular markers from de novo assembled transcriptomes of four chilli pepper varieties, the highly pungent ‘Saengryeg 211’ and non-pungent ‘Saengryeg 213’ and variably pigmented ‘Mandarin’ and ‘Blackcluster’. Pyrosequencing of the complementary DNA library resulted in 361,671, 274,269, 279,221, and 316,357 raw reads, which were assembled in 23,607, 19,894, 18,340 and 20,357 contigs, for the four varieties, respectively. Detailed sequence variant analysis identified numerous potential single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and simple sequence repeats (SSRs) for all the varieties for which the primers were designed. The transcriptome information and SNP/SSR markers generated in this study provide valuable resources for high-density molecular genetic mapping in chilli pepper and Quantitative trait loci analysis related to fruit qualities. These markers for pepper will be highly valuable for marker-assisted breeding and other genetic studies.
The crystallization of amorphous silicon thin films by electron beam exposure was studied. Amorphous silicon and silicon dioxide layers were deposited on glass substrate by PECVD at 360 °C. The optimization to crystallize 300 nm thick amorphous silicon film was carried out at a RF power of 300 W, DC voltage of 1500 V, Argon gas flow rate of 3 sccm and a distance between electron beam mesh and sample of 40 mm. High quality nano-crystalline silicon films with an activation energy of 0.47 eV from conductivity, a grain size of 15–45 nm from SEM and Raman crystalline volume fraction of 93.1% were fabricated. We expect that e-beam exposure will be applied to crystallization of amorphous silicon films.
Background: Highly educated participants with normal cognition show lower incidence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) than poorly educated participants, whereas longitudinal studies involving AD have reported that higher education is associated with more rapid cognitive decline. We aimed to evaluate whether highly educated amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) participants show more rapid cognitive decline than those with lower levels of education.
Methods: A total of 249 aMCI patients enrolled from 31 memory clinics using the standard assessment and diagnostic processes were followed with neuropsychological evaluation (duration 17.2 ± 8.8 months). According to baseline performances on memory tests, participants were divided into early-stage aMCI (−1.5 to −1.0 standard deviation (SD)) and late-stage aMCI (below −1.5 SD) groups. Risk of AD conversion and changes in neuropsychological performances according to the level of education were evaluated.
Results: Sixty-two patients converted to AD over a mean follow-up of 1.43 years. The risk of AD conversion was higher in late-stage aMCI than early-stage aMCI. Cox proportional hazard models showed that aMCI participants, and late-stage aMCI participants in particular, with higher levels of education had a higher risk of AD conversion than those with lower levels of education. Late-stage aMCI participants with higher education showed faster cognitive decline in language, memory, and Clinical Dementia Rating Sum of Boxes (CDR-SOB) scores. On the contrary, early-stage aMCI participants with higher education showed slower cognitive decline in MMSE and CDR-SOB scores.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the protective effects of education against cognitive decline remain in early-stage aMCI and disappear in late-stage aMCI.
The effects of tannic acid (TA) supplementation (0·02 %, wt/wt) were compared with the effects of clofibrate (CF) supplementation (0·02 %, wt/wt) in apo E-deficient (apo E− / −) mice fed a AIN-76 semi-synthetic diet (normal diet) over 20 weeks. The mice were monitored for the modulation of hepatic mRNA expression and the activities of lipid-regulating enzymes. Both TA and CF supplementation lowered hepatic 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGR) activity and prevented atherosclerotic lesion formation in comparison with the control group. Hepatic carnitine palmitoyl transferase and β-oxidation activities were significantly higher in the TA and CF groups than in the control group. Both CF and TA supplementation resulted in significant decreases in hepatic HMGR mRNA levels in association with its enzyme activity. However, in contrast to CF supplementation, TA supplementation seemed to decrease the accumulation of hepatic lipids in the apo E− / − mice without increasing liver weight. These results suggest that the overall effect of TA is more desirable than CF for the alleviation of hepatic lipogenesis and atherogenesis in apo E− / − mice.
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid with antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. The pharmacokinetics of astaxanthin after its intravenous (5, 10, and 20 mg/kg) and oral (100 and 200 mg/kg) administration and its first-pass extraction ratios after its intravenous, intraportal or intragastric (20 mg/kg) administration were evaluated in rats. The pharmacokinetic parameters of astaxanthin were dose dependent after its intravenous administration, due to the saturable hepatic metabolism of astaxanthin, but dose independent after oral administration. The gastrointestinal absorption of astaxanthin followed the flip-flop model. The hepatic and gastrointestinal first-pass extraction ratios of astaxanthin were approximately 0·490 and 0·901, respectively. Astaxanthin was metabolised primarily by hepatic cytochrome P-450 1A1/2 in rats. Astaxanthin was unstable up to 4 h incubation in four rat gastric juices and up to 24 h incubation in various buffer solutions having a pH of 1–13. The tissue/plasma ratios of astaxanthin at 8 and 24 h after its oral administration (100 mg/kg) were greater than unity for all tissues studied, except in the heart, at 8 h, indicating that the rat tissues studied had high affinity for astaxanthin.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the diffusion patterns of new medical technologies in Korean hospitals. We also sought to identify critical factors leading to the decision to acquire capital-intensive medical technology. The rationale and timing of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) acquisitions were retrospectively evaluated according to a “whether, when, and why” paradigm.
Methods: We analyzed data pertaining to 232 hospitals with active medical residency programs. Of these, 185 hospitals owned or leased an MRI unit, and 47 had not acquired units as of June 2004. Data were collected from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Korean National Statistical Office, and Korean Hospital Association databases, and variables were identified and classified as predisposing, enabling, or reinforcing factors.
Results: The MRI diffusion rate curve was linear for two types of hospital but was S-shaped for tertiary hospitals, which were early adopters of MRI. Significant predictors for MRI adoption included the per capita number of regional physicians (+), total number of existing regional MRI units (−), percentage of the regional population over 65 years of age (+), private ownership of the hospital, presence of a radiology residency program, number of beds (+), and regional per capita taxable income (+).
Conclusions: Diffusion of MRI technology is occurring rapidly across Korean hospitals. The factors affecting MRI adoption in Korea are similar to the factors documented in other countries, namely regional population over age 65, regional income per capita, large hospitals, and teaching hospitals. This study provides baseline information for predicting diffusion patterns of other new and/or expensive medical technologies.
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