Book chapters will be unavailable on Saturday 24th August between 8am-12pm BST. This is for essential maintenance which will provide improved performance going forwards. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.
To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
In order to improve research planning it is critical to understand how decision makers have used previous health technology assessment (HTA) results, and what expectations policy makers and health professionals have in HTA programs. In this study, we aimed to examine how HTA results have been used by decision makers, and explore complex relationships between the National Evidence-based Healthcare Collaborating Agency (NECA) and various decision-making bodies in Korea.
Three areas of healthcare decision in which NECA has been extensively involved were selected: prevention programs, single technology reimbursement, and clinical guidelines. We conducted in-depth interviews with two or three key informants from decision making bodies in each selected area. The interview participants included clinicians and government officials. We also conducted interviews with the researchers who participated in the related research to better capture the context. The interviews were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.
Eight interviews with decision makers and five interviews with researchers were conducted and analyzed. Three main themes were revealed in the data. Firstly, it was revealed that NECA was primarily expected to be an intermediary between clinicians and government. Both government and clinicians had referred to NECA's HTA results, which are expected to be scientific and impartial, when they need to reach one another on controversial topics. Secondly, there was a high need for deliberative process to resolve the conflicting interests regarding HTA results. Lastly, they wanted the HTA process to be more responsive to fast changing healthcare environments by introducing a form of rapid review.
Lack of effective communication channels between government and healthcare providers in Korea has made a room for HTA to be a common language for both sides. It is time to give up the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to conducting HTA research and tailor the research process to various needs of decision makers.
Since established in 2009, the National Evidence-based healthcare Collaborating Agency (NECA) has been the sole government-funded Health Technology Assessment (HTA) institution in Korea, yet little effort has been made to systematically evaluate the influence of its products. In this study, we aimed to measure the impact of the HTA products of NECA on clinical and policy decisions by introducing a systematic framework.
We included HTA reports published from 2009 to 2015. Among the 141 research reports published during this period, there were 67 HTA reports. We gathered data on the influence by literature and news article search, review of administrative documents and directly listening to the decision makers. The influence was categorized into three decision types: changes in clinical guidelines, administrative decision on investment/disinvestment and healthcare policy making. Whether a research report was used directly in decision making, or followed by subsequent researches or round-table conference, was recorded to examine the knowledge transfer process.
In total, 67.2 percent of the included HTA reports were used to support clinical and policy decisions. Twenty-seven reports had influenced administrative decisions on investment/disinvestment. Ten provided evidence for new health policies or legislation. Eight were reflected in clinical guidelines. The impact of HTA reports published by NECA was more evident when the research was directly requested by decision-making bodies such as government institutions. Although most HTA reports were conducted in collaboration with clinicians, the use of results by clinicians was limited. Definitive results were more likely to be used, but reports with competing interests had fewer impacts.
HTA by NECA had impacts on the rational use of healthcare resources in Korea, and NECA has established its role as an intermediary between governmental decision-making bodies and clinicians. However, more continuous approaches rather than one-time HTA research are needed for HTA on controversial topics to have impacts on decision making.
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.
Objectives: Rotator cuff tear is the leading cause of the decline in quality of life for older adults, but comparative evidence on treatment effectiveness is lacking. This study systematically reviewed the effects of various rotator cuff tear treatments through a Bayesian meta-analysis of the related randomized clinical trials (RCTs).
Methods: We searched nine electronic databases for RCTs evaluating rotator cuff tear treatments from their inception through June 2017. A systematic review was performed following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence-Decision Support Unit guidelines (Supplementary Table 1). Outcomes included functional improvement, pain one year after surgical treatment, and tendon structural integrity. The Bayesian network meta-analysis was applied for functional improvement and pain, based on an assumption of consistency and similarity. Tendon integrity was reported descriptively.
Results: Fifteen RCTs were selected. Patients undergoing physiotherapy after open surgery showed statistically significant functional improvements compared with those undergoing physiotherapy only (mean differences, 9.1 [credible interval, 0.9–17.4]). Open surgery with physiotherapy was associated with a decrease in pain 1 year after treatment compared with when physiotherapy was combined with arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery, mini open surgery, platelet-rich plasma therapy, or physiotherapy alone (absolute value of mean difference 1.2 to 1.4). The tendon integrity results were inconsistent.
Conclusions: Some surgical treatments were associated with significant improvement in function and pain, but evidence regarding their comparative effectiveness is still lacking. A well-designed RCT discussing functional and structural treatment outcomes is needed in future.
Allicin (AL) regulates the cellular redox, proliferation, viability, and cell cycle of different cells against extracellular-derived stress. This study investigated the effects of allicin treatment on porcine oocyte maturation and developmental competence. Porcine oocytes were cultured in medium supplemented with 0 (control), 0.01, 0.1, 1, 10 or 100 μM AL, respectively, during in vitro maturation (IVM). The rate of polar body emission was higher in the 0.1 AL-treated group (74.5% ± 2.3%) than in the control (68.0% ± 2.6%) (P < 0.1). After parthenogenetic activation, the rates of cleavage and blastocyst formation were significantly higher in the 0.1 AL-treated group than in the control (P < 0.05). The reactive oxygen species level at metaphase II did not significantly differ among all groups. In matured oocytes, the expression of both BAK and CASP3, and BIRC5 was significantly lower and higher, respectively, in the 0.1 AL-treated group than in the control. Similarly, the expression of BMP15 and CCNB1, and the activity of phospho-p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), significantly increased. These results indicate that supplementation of oocyte maturation medium with allicin during IVM improves the maturation of oocytes and the subsequent developmental competence of porcine oocytes.
Echinochloa species are among the most troublesome weeds in rice cultivation, and grow in a broad habitat range in Korea. Although various ecotypes of Echinochloa have been collected as germplasm for future studies, it has been difficult to classify them due to their high level of morphological similarity. This study was thus conducted to develop and investigate the phylogenetic relationships between 77 Echinochloa accessions with the use of 23 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers and 24 morphological traits. Of 77 Echinochloa accessions, including 57 accessions from Korea and 5 reference species, late watergrass was clearly clustered as a distinctive group from barnyardgrass and other Echinochloa species. In this analysis, we also identified core genetic and morphological markers that can be used for the future identification and classification of Echinochloa species. Five out of 23 SSR makers produced distinctive bands that discriminate late watergrass from barnyardgrass and other Echinochloa species. Four morphological traits of the reproductive organs were the most influential contributors for classifying Echinochloa species. Although there was no clear consensus generated in this study between SSR markers and morphological trait analyses, our results support the potential use of the selected SSR markers and morphological traits in future studies of Echinochloa.
Many transgenic domestic animals have been developed to produce therapeutic proteins in the mammary gland, and this approach is one of the most important methods for agricultural and biomedical applications. However, expression and secretion of a protein varies because transgenes are integrated at random sites in the genome. In addition, distal enhancers are very important for transcriptional gene regulation and tissue-specific gene expression. Development of a vector system regulated accurately in the genome is needed to improve production of therapeutic proteins. The objective of this study was to develop a knock-in system for expression of human fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) in the bovine β-casein gene locus. The F2A sequence was fused to the human FGF2 gene and inserted into exon 3 of the β-casein gene. We detected expression of human FGF2 mRNA in the HC11 mouse mammary epithelial cells by RT-PCR and human FGF2 protein in the culture media using western blot analysis when the knock-in vector was introduced. We transfected the knock-in vector into bovine ear fibroblasts and produced knock-in fibroblasts using the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 system. Moreover, the CRISPR/Cas9 system was more efficient than conventional methods. In addition, we produced knock-in blastocysts by somatic cell nuclear transfer using the knock-in fibroblasts. Our knock-in fibroblasts may help to create cloned embryos for development of transgenic dairy cattle expressing human FGF2 protein in the mammary gland via the expression system of the bovine β-casein gene.
Decreased hemoglobin levels increase the risk of developing dementia among the elderly. However, the underlying mechanisms that link decreased hemoglobin levels to incident dementia still remain unclear, possibly due to the fact that few studies have reported on the relationship between low hemoglobin levels and neuroimaging markers. We, therefore, investigated the relationships between decreased hemoglobin levels, cerebral small-vessel disease (CSVD), and cortical atrophy in cognitively healthy women and men.
Cognitively normal women (n = 1,022) and men (n = 1,018) who underwent medical check-ups and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were enrolled at a health promotion center. We measured hemoglobin levels, white matter hyperintensities (WMH) scales, lacunes, and microbleeds. Cortical thickness was automatically measured using surface based methods. Multivariate regression analyses were performed after controlling for possible confounders.
Decreased hemoglobin levels were not associated with the presence of WMH, lacunes, or microbleeds in women and men. Among women, decreased hemoglobin levels were associated with decreased cortical thickness in the frontal (Estimates, 95% confidence interval, −0.007, (−0.013, −0.001)), temporal (−0.010, (−0.018, −0.002)), parietal (−0.009, (−0.015, −0.003)), and occipital regions (−0.011, (−0.019, −0.003)). Among men, however, no associations were observed between hemoglobin levels and cortical thickness.
Our findings suggested that decreased hemoglobin levels affected cortical atrophy, but not increased CSVD, among women, although the association is modest. Given the paucity of modifiable risk factors for age-related cognitive decline, our results have important public health implications.
This study aimed to investigate the influences of age, education, and gender on the two total scores (TS-I and TS-II) of the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease Neuropsychological assessment battery (CERAD-NP) and to provide normative information based on an analysis for a large number of elderly persons with a wide range of educational levels.
In the study, 1,987 community-dwelling healthy volunteers (620 males and 1,367 females; 50–90 years of age; and zero to 25 years of education) were included. People with serious neurological, medical, and psychiatric disorders (including dementia) were excluded. All participants underwent the CERAD-NP assessment. TS-I was generated by summing raw scores from the CERAD-NP subtests, excluding Mini-Mental State Examination and Constructional Praxis (CP) recall subtests. TS-II was calculated by adding CP recall score to TS-I.
Both TS-I and TS-II were significantly influenced by demographic variables. Education accounted for the greatest proportion of score variance. Interaction effect between age and gender was found. Based on the results obtained, normative data of the CERAD-NP total scores were stratified by age (six overlapping tables), education (four strata), and gender.
The normative information will be very useful for better interpretation of the CERAD-NP total scores in various clinical and research settings and for comparing individuals’ performance of the battery across countries.
Liposomal drug delivery products have been already commercialized in tumor therapeutics, which can realize passive tumor targeting via enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect resulting from the leaky tumor vasculature. To control drug release out of the liposomes, thermo-sensitive liposomes (TSLs) have been developed so that an abrupt exposure of highly concentrated drugs to tumor tissues was enabled by locally treated thermal stimuli. As interests upon TSL have increased along with ongoing clinical trials, some types of TSLs with different physical properties in pharmacokinetics and the mechanism of drug release have been formulated. However, there are few protocols established with a desirable heat source to maximize the efficacy of different TSLs as treating tumors. In this study, we examined different protocols for the most effective application of different TSLs to tumor therapy. First, we examined if enhancing the accumulation of TSLs within tumor tissues prior to bursting drugs out of TSLs could lead to increasing anti-tumor efficacy. Second, we compared the efficiency of two different heat sources on the use of TSL, a warm water bath (42°C) and high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). Our study suggests that the specified protocol be setup for TSLs with different physical properties to optimally function in tumor therapies.
A new method for determining the vitrification rate of pottery depending on the firing temperature was devised using secondary electron images (SEI) of scanning electron microscope (SEM). Several tests were performed to establish the appropriate operating conditions of SEM and reproducibility as well as to examine the applicability of the method. The grayscale values converted from each pixel of SEI were used to determine the vitrification rate of pottery, which in our study were artificially fired specimens composed of three types of clay. A comparison between the vitrification rate value and appearance temperature of minerals shows that mullite formation starts at 1,100°C, during which the vitrification rate rapidly increases by over 10%. In consequence, the result presented here demonstrates that the new method can be applied to estimate the firing temperature of pottery.
Sources of variation in nutrient intake have been examined for Western diets, but little is known about the sources of variation and their differences by age and sex among Koreans. We examined sources of variation in nutrient intake and calculated the number of days needed to estimate usual intake using 12 d of dietary records (DR). To this end, four 3 d DR including two weekdays and one weekend day were collected throughout four seasons of 1 year from 178 male and 236 female adults aged 20–65 years residing in Seoul, Korea. The sources of variation were estimated using the random-effects model, and the variation ratio (within-individual:between-individual) was calculated to determine a desirable number of days. Variations attributable to the day of the week, recording sequence and seasonality were generally small, although the degree of variation differed by sex and age (20–45 years and 46–65 years). The correlation coefficient between the true intake and the observed intake (r) increased with additional DR days, reaching 0·7 at 3–4 d and 0·8 at 6–7 d. However, the degree of increase became attenuated with additional days: r increased by 13·0–26·9 % from 2 to 4 d, by 6·5–16·4 % from 4 to 7 d and by 4·0–11·6 % from 7 to 12 d for energy and fifteen nutrients. In conclusion, the present study suggests that the day of the week, recording sequence and seasonality minimally contribute to the variation in nutrient intake. To measure Korean usual dietary intake using open-ended dietary instruments, 3–4 d may be needed to achieve modest precision (r>0·7) and 6–7 d for high precision (r>0·8).
Vitamin D insufficiency is known to be related to cardiometabolic disorders; however, the associations among serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration and metabolic syndrome and cardiometabolic risk factors in children and adolescents have not yet been clearly delineated. For this reason, we investigated the relationship among serum 25(OH)D concentration and metabolic syndrome and cardiometabolic risk factors among Korean adolescents.
We performed a cross-sectional analysis and used hierarchical multivariate logistic regression analysis models to adjust for confounding variables.
We used the data gathered during the 2008–2009 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES).
Our subjects included 1504 Korean adolescents aged 12–18 years who participated in the KNHANES.
Vitamin D insufficiency, defined as 25(OH)D concentration <50 nmol/l, was found in 75·3 % of Korean adolescents and was associated with an increased risk of the prevalence of metabolic syndrome. Waist circumference and BMI were the most closely correlated cardiometabolic components of metabolic syndrome according to serum 25(OH)D status, but no significant relationship was found between serum 25(OH)D concentration and insulin resistance or for the risks for high blood pressure, hyperglycaemia, reduced HDL-cholesterol or hypertriacylglycerolaemia, with or without adjustment for confounding variables.
Low serum 25(OH)D concentration appears to be associated with several cardiometabolic risk factors and an increased risk of the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in Korean adolescents.
Oxidative stress may be affected by lead exposure as well as antioxidants, yet little is known about the interaction between dietary antioxidants and blood lead levels (BLL) on oxidative stress level. We investigated the interaction between dietary antioxidants and BLL on oxidative stress level. As part of the Biomarker Monitoring for Environmental Health conducted in Seoul and Incheon, Korea, between April and December 2005, we analysed data from 683 adults (female = 47·4 %, mean age 51·4 (sd 8·4) years) who had complete measures on BLL, dietary intakes and oxidative stress marker (urinary 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG)). Dietary intakes were assessed by a validated semi-quantitative FFQ, BLL was measured using atomic absorption spectrophotometry, and 8-OHdG by ELISA. Multivariate linear regression analyses were used to evaluate the influence of BLL on the association between dietary antioxidants and 8-OHdG. Geometric means of BLL and 8-OHdG concentrations were 4·1 (sd 1·5) μg/dl and 5·4 (sd 1·9) μg/g creatinine, respectively. Increases of vitamins C and E were significantly associated with the decrease of log10 8-OHdG in the adults from the lowest quartile of the BLL group ( ≤ 3·18 μg/dl, geometric mean = 2·36 μg/dl) than those of the highest quartile BLL group (>5·36 μg/dl, geometric mean = 6·78 μg/dl). Regarding antioxidant-related foods, vegetables excluding kimchi showed a higher inverse relationship with 8-OHdG in the lowest quartile BLL group than the highest group. These findings suggest a rationale for lowering the BLL and increasing the intake of dietary antioxidants in the urban population in Korea.
The diatoms are an ecologically important group of algae that have been extensively studied by ecologists and taxonomists. However, the large-scale patterns of diatom distribution and the factors underlying this distribution are largely unknown. The aims of this study were to identify the large-scale spatial patterns of benthic diatom assemblages in Korean streams and rivers, and to assess the importance of numerous environmental factors on diatom distribution. We classified 720 study sites based on diatom flora. Benthic diatoms, water chemistry, altitude, and riparian land cover and use were characterized by multivariate analyses, Monte Carlo permutation tests, and indicator species analysis. In total, we identified 531 diatom taxa. Diatom assemblages were mostly dominated by species of the genera Achnanthes, Navicula, Nitzschia, Cocconeis, Fragilaria (Synedra included), Cymbella, Gomphonema, and Melosira. Cluster analysis partitioned all 720 sites into eight groups based on diatom species composition. Canonical correspondence analysis indicated that altitude, land cover and use, current velocity, electrical conductivity, and nutrient levels explained a significant amount of the variation in the composition of assemblages of benthic diatoms. At the national scale, a downstream ecological gradient was apparent, from fast-flowing, mostly oligotrophic highland streams to slow-flowing, mostly eutrophic lowland rivers. Our data suggest that spatial factors explain some of the variation in diatom distribution. The present investigation of the spatial patterns of benthic diatoms, the ecological determinants of diatom occurrence, and the identification of diatom indicator species contributes to development of a program for assessing the biological integrity of lotic ecosystems in Korea.
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.
A direct synthesis of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) on substrates by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is one of highly probable routes to reach their application to field emission displays. Several stringent requirements are prerequisite for this purpose, including low temperature growth below 600°C to engage glass substrates and large area deposition for practical use. This study carried out synthesis of CNTs by thermal CVD on glass substrates at temperatures as low as 500~550°C. CNTs were grown by thermal decomposition of CO and H2 gases at an atmospheric pressure for different thickness of Invar (an Fe-Ni-Co alloy ) catalytic layers. The growth of CNTs was strongly correlated with preparation of catalytic layers. The diameters and heights of as-grown CNTs increased as the catalytic layers became thicker from 2nm to 30nm. Measurements of the field emission properties of CNTs showed that the threshold electric fields were lowered with increasing thickness of catalytic layers. A uniform electron emission was observed over a large area of 150 × 150mm2, with high emission currents and high brightness.
Assessment of frontal lobe impairment in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a matter of great importance, since it often causes ALS patients to decrease medication and nursing compliance, thus shortening their survival time.
The frontal assessment battery (FAB) is a short and rapid method for assessing frontal executive functions. We investigated the applicability of the FAB as a screening method for assessing cognitive impairments in 61 ALS patients. Depending on the results of the FAB, we classified patients into two subgroups: FAB-normal and FAB-abnormal. We then performed additional evaluations of cognitive function using the Korean version of the mini-mental state examination (K-MMSE), a verbal fluency test (COWAT), and a neuropsychiatric inventory (NPI). Results of these tests were compared between the two groups using Mann-Whitney U-tests, and Spearman correlation analyses were used to investigate the relationships between FAB score and disease duration and severity.
Of the 61 sporadic ALS patients included in this study, 14 were classified as FAB-abnormal and 47 were classified as FAB-normal. The FAB-normal and FAB-abnormal patients performed significantly differently in all domains of the COWAT. There was no difference in behavioral disturbance, as assessed by the NPI, between the two groups. The FAB scores were found to significantly correlate with both disease duration and severity.
The FAB shows promise as a method of screening for frontal lobe dysfunction in ALS, as it is not only quick and easy, but also reliable. Additional studies should examine how FAB performance changes as ALS progresses.
Both the wafer fusion and the heteroepitaxy technology were used successfully to obtain high quality GaAs layer on the InP substrate where the lattice mismatch was 3.7 %. The enhancement of the lateral growth rate was a crucial factor for the formation of high quality QWR in the patterned fusion layer. This technique can provide a way of overcoming the limitation of heteroepitaxy caused by misfit problems and its subsequent quality degradation. It is expected that the overgrowth technique on the patterned fusion layer can be applicable to the photonic device fabrication on the other substrate such as Si.