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Nowadays, a growing number of firms utilize corporate lobbying to advocate for more environmentally friendly policies and regulations, deviating from the traditional lobbying mainly used to minimize regulatory burdens. In this study, we investigate what motivates firms to engage in such an unusual type of lobbying—environmental lobbying. Focusing on the product strategy of firms, we suggest that firms with greater green product intensity are more likely to engage in environmental lobbying. When environmental lobbying raises environmental hurdles in the market, firms with an intensive focus on green products can bear adjustment costs with little effort, leaving other “less green” firms relatively disadvantaged under the newly regulated market conditions. Moreover, those firms can address demand-side issues more easily by lobbying the government to provide greater incentives for purchasing green products or to request subsidies that can be used to improve their cost structure. Our analyses based on the US light vehicle market indicate that, indeed, the more electric vehicles automakers sell relative to their total sale volumes, the more they will engage in environmental lobbying. We also find that this relationship becomes more salient when a firm has greater market share or originally comes from a foreign country with more stringent environmental regulations than the United States.
Birds in flight are prone to collide with various transparent or reflective structures. While bird–window collision has been recognised as a critical conservation issue, collision with other transparent structures has been less understood. Noise barriers made of transparent materials are considered critical hazards for birds; however, little is known about the bird mortality they cause. We conducted the first nationwide-scale estimates of bird-collision mortality caused by transparent noise barriers (TNBs) along roads in the Republic of Korea. The total length of existing roadside transparent noise barriers was estimated at 1,416 km nationwide (as of 2018), and it had been increasing exponentially. Based on carcass surveys at 25 sites, daily mortality at the observed barriers was 0.335 ± 1.132 birds/km on average, and no difference in observed mortality was detected between both sides of a single barrier and between road types (i.e. local roads and motorways). Finally, we estimated that approximately 186,000 birds (95% confidence interval: 162,465–204,812 birds) are killed annually by collisions with roadside TNBs. As privately installed barriers were not considered in this study, the actual mortality is likely be higher than our estimates. Thus, collision with TNBs could become an emerging threat to avian conservation, especially in developing and urbanising regions around the world. As such structures are not formally recognised as conservation issues of importance, more systematic surveys aided by citizen science, both for the status of TNBs and bird-collision mortality, are needed in addition to management and mitigation policies.
This study investigated the effect of the flavonoid-based compound isorhamnetin (ISO) on maturation and developmental competence in oxidative stress-exposed porcine oocytes in vitro. Treatment with 2 μM ISO (2 ISO) increases the developmental rate of oxidative stress-exposed porcine oocytes during in vitro maturation (IVM). The glutathione level and mRNA expression of antioxidant-related genes (NFE2L2 and SOD2) were increased in the 2 ISO-treated group, whereas the reactive oxygen species level was decreased. Treatment with 2 ISO increased mRNA expression of a cumulus cell expansion-related gene (SHAS2) and improved chromosomal alignment. mRNA expression of maternal genes (CCNB1, MOS, BMP15 and GDF9) and mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity were increased in the 2 ISO-treated group. The total cell number per blastocyst and percentage of apoptotic cells were increased and decreased in the 2 ISO-treated group, respectively. Treatment with 2 ISO increased mRNA expression of development-related genes (SOX2, NANOG, and POU5F1) and anti-apoptotic genes (BCL2L1 and BIRC5) and decreased that of pro-apoptotic genes (CASP3 and FAS). These results demonstrate that 2 ISO improves the quality of porcine oocytes by protecting them against oxidative stress during IVM and enhances subsequent embryo development in vitro. Therefore, we propose that ISO is a useful supplement for IVM of porcine oocytes.
Identification of geographical areas with high burden of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission in schools using spatial analyses has become an important tool to guide targeted interventions in educational setting. In this study, we aimed to explore the spatial distribution and determinants of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among students aged 3–18 years in South Korea. We analysed the nationwide epidemiological data on laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in schools and in the communities between January 2020 and October 2021 in South Korea. To explore the spatial distribution, the global Moran's I and Getis-Ord's G using incidence rates among the districts of aged 3–18 years and 30–59 years. Spatial regression analysis was performed to find sociodemographic predictors of the COVID-19 attack rate in schools and in the communities. The global spatial correlation estimated by Moran's I was 0.647 for the community population and 0.350 for the student population, suggesting that the students were spatially less correlated than the community-level outbreak of SARS-CoV-2. In schools, attack rate of adults aged 30–59 years in the community was associated with increased risk of transmission (P < 0.0001). Number of students per class (in kindergartens, primary schools, middle schools and high schools) did not show significant association with the school transmission of SARS-CoV-2. In South Korea, COVID-19 in students had spatial variations across the country. Statistically significant high hotspots of SARS-CoV-2 transmission among students were found in the capital area, with dense population level and high COVID-19 burden among adults aged 30–59 years. Our finding suggests that controlling community-level burden of COVID-19 can help in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection in school-aged children.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses a major threat to mental health and is associated with an increased risk of suicide. An understanding of suicidal behaviours during the pandemic is necessary for establishing policies to prevent suicides in such social conditions.
We aimed to investigate vulnerable individuals and the characteristics of changes in suicidal behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients with suicide attempts who visited the emergency department from February 2019 to January 2021. We analysed the demographic and clinical characteristics, risk factors and rescue factors of patients, and compared the findings between the pre-pandemic and pandemic periods.
In total, 519 patients were included. During the pre-pandemic and pandemic periods, 303 and 270 patients visited the emergency department after a suicide attempt, respectively. The proportion of suicide attempts by women (60.1% v. 69.3%, P = 0.035) and patients with a previous psychiatric illness (63.4% v. 72.9%, P = 0.006) increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, patients’ rescue scores during the pandemic were lower than those during the pre-pandemic period (12 (interquartile range: 11–13) v. 13 (interquartile range: 12–14), P < 0.001).
Women and people with previous psychiatric illnesses were more vulnerable to suicide attempts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Suicide prevention policies, such as continuous monitoring and staying in touch with vulnerable individuals, are necessary to cope with suicide risk.
Our previous studies have already revealed that β-cryptoxanthin (BCX), hesperetin (HES), and icariin (ICA) antioxidants are effective for in vitro maturation (IVM) of porcine oocytes. In this study, we investigated which of BCX, HES, or ICA was more effective for IVM of porcine oocytes. The antioxidant properties were assessed with aged porcine oocytes and embryos by comparing 2,2-diphenyl-1-(2,4,6-trinitrophenyl)hydrazyl (DPPH), reducing power, and H2O2 scavenging activity assays. The chemical assay results demonstrated that BCX had a greater DPPH scavenging activity and reducing power than HES and ICA, compared with controls. However, the H2O2 scavenging activity of the antioxidants was similar when tested at the optimal concentrations of 1 μM BCX (BCX-1), 100 μM HES (HES-100), and 5 μM ICA (ICA-5). The biological assay results showed that BCX-1 treatment was more effective in inducing a significant reduction in reactive oxygen species (ROS), improving glutathione levels, and increasing the expression of antioxidant genes. In addition, BCX-1 inhibited apoptosis by increasing the expression of anti-apoptotic genes and decreasing pro-apoptotic genes in porcine parthenogenetic blastocysts. BCX-1 also significantly increased the blastocyst formation rate compared with the ageing control group, HES-100 and ICA-5. This study demonstrates that damage from ROS produced during oocyte ageing can be prevented by supplementing antioxidants into the IVM medium, and BCX may be a potential candidate to improve assisted reproductive technologies.
Firefighters are frequently exposed to stressful situations and are at high risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Hyperresponsiveness to threatening and emotional stimuli and diminishment of executive control have been suggested as manifestations of PTSD.
To examine brain activation in firefighters with PTSD by conducting an executive control-related behavioural task with trauma-related interferences.
Twelve firefighters with PTSD and 14 healthy firefighters underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while performing a Stroop match-to-sample task using trauma-related photographic stimuli. Seed-based functional connectivity analysis was conducted using regions identified in fMRI contrast analysis.
Compared with the controls, the participants with PTSD had longer reaction times when the trauma-related interferences were presented. They showed significantly stronger brain activation to interfering trauma-related stimuli in the left insula, and had weaker insular functional connectivity in the supplementary motor area and the anterior cingulate cortex than the controls. They also showed a significant correlation between left insula–supplementary motor area connectivity strength and the hyperarousal subscale of the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale.
Our findings indicate that trauma-related stimuli elicit excessive brain activation in the left insula among firefighters with PTSD. Firefighters with PTSD also appear to have weak left insular functional connectivity with executive control-related brain regions. This aberrant insular activation and functional connectivity could be related to the development and maintenance of PTSD symptoms in firefighters.
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.
Background: After the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus outbreak in Korea in 2015, the government newly established the additional reimbursement for infection prevention to encourage infection control activities in the hospitals. The new policy was announced in December 2015 and was implemented in September 2016. We evaluated how infection control activities improved in hospitals after the change of government policy in Korea. Methods: Three cross-sectional surveys using the WHO Hand Hygiene Self-Assessment Framework (HHSAF) were conducted in 2013, 2015, and 2017. Using multivariable linear regression model including hospital characteristics, we analyzed the changes in total HHSAF scores according to the survey time. Results: In total, 32 hospitals participated in the survey in 2013, 52 in 2015, and 101 in 2017. The number of inpatient beds per infection control professionals decreased from 324 in 2013 to 303 in 2015 and 179 in 2017. Most hospitals were at intermediate or advanced levels of progress (90.6% in 2013, 86.6% in 2015, and 94.1% in 2017). In a multivariable linear regression model, the total HHSAF scores were significantly associated with hospital teaching status (β coefficient of major teaching hospital, 52.6; 95% CI, 8.9–96.4; P = .018), bed size (β coefficient of 100-bed increase, 5.1; 95% CI, 0.3–9.8; P = .038), and survey time (β coefficient of 2017 survey, 45.1; 95% CI, 19.3–70.9; P = .001). Conclusions: After the national policy implementation, the number of infection control professionals increased, and the promotion of hand hygiene activities was strengthened in Korean hospitals.
Background: Recently, healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in long-term care hospitals (LTCHs) have markedly increased, but no infection control policy has been established in South Korea. We investigated the current HAI surveillance system and executed a point-prevalence pilot study in LTCHs. Methods: HAIs were defined by newly established surveillance manual based on McGeer criteria revised in 2012. Three LTCHs in Seoul and Gyeonggi province were voluntarily recruited, and data were collected from up to 50 patients who were hospitalized on August 1. The medical records from September to November 2018 were retrospectively reviewed by a charge nurse for infection control per each hospitals after 1 day of training specific for LTCH surveillance. All data were reviewed by a senior researcher visiting onsite. Results: The participating hospitals had 272.33 ± 111.01 beds. Only 1 hospital had an onsite microbiological laboratory. In total, 156 patients were enrolled and 5 HAIs were detected, for a prevalence rate of 3.2%. The average patient age was 79.04 ± 9.92 years. The HAIs included 2 urinary tract infections, skin and soft-tissue infection, low respiratory infection, and conjunctivitis. Conclusions: This is the first survey of HAI in LTCHs in South Korea. The 3.2% prevalence rate is lower than those from previous reports from the European Union or the United States. This study supports the development of a national HAI surveillance and infection control system in LTCHs, although implementation may be limited due to the lack of laboratory support and infection control infrastructure in Korea.
Early replacement of a new central venous catheter (CVC) may pose a risk of persistent or recurrent infection in patients with a catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI). We evaluated the clinical impact of early CVC reinsertion after catheter removal in patients with CRBSIs.
We conducted a retrospective chart review of adult patients with confirmed CRBSIs in 2 tertiary-care hospitals over a 7-year period.
To treat their infections, 316 patients with CRBSIs underwent CVC removal. Among them, 130 (41.1%) underwent early CVC reinsertion (≤3 days after CVC removal), 39 (12.4%) underwent delayed reinsertion (>3 days), and 147 (46.5%) did not undergo CVC reinsertion. There were no differences in baseline characteristics among the 3 groups, except for nontunneled CVC, presence of septic shock, and reason for CVC reinsertion. The rate of persistent CRBSI in the early CVC reinsertion group (22.3%) was higher than that in the no CVC reinsertion group (7.5%; P = .002) but was similar to that in the delayed CVC reinsertion group (17.9%; P > .99). The other clinical outcomes did not differ among the 3 groups, including rates of 30-day mortality, complicated infection, and recurrence. After controlling for several confounding factors, early CVC reinsertion was not significantly associated with persistent CRBSI (OR, 1.59; P = .35) or 30-day mortality compared with delayed CVC reinsertion (OR, 0.81; P = .68).
Early CVC reinsertion in the setting of CRBSI may be safe. Replacement of a new CVC should not be delayed in patients who still require a CVC for ongoing management.
We report our experience with an emergency room (ER) shutdown related to an accidental exposure to a patient with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who had not been isolated.
A 635-bed, tertiary-care hospital in Daegu, South Korea.
To prevent nosocomial transmission of the disease, we subsequently isolated patients with suspected symptoms, relevant radiographic findings, or epidemiology. Severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assays (RT-PCR) were performed for most patients requiring hospitalization. A universal mask policy and comprehensive use of personal protective equipment (PPE) were implemented. We analyzed effects of these interventions.
From the pre-shutdown period (February 10–25, 2020) to the post-shutdown period (February 28 to March 16, 2020), the mean hourly turnaround time decreased from 23:31 ±6:43 hours to 9:27 ±3:41 hours (P < .001). As a result, the proportion of the patients tested increased from 5.8% (N=1,037) to 64.6% (N=690) (P < .001) and the average number of tests per day increased from 3.8±4.3 to 24.7±5.0 (P < .001). All 23 patients with COVID-19 in the post-shutdown period were isolated in the ER without any problematic accidental exposure or nosocomial transmission. After the shutdown, several metrics increased. The median duration of stay in the ER among hospitalized patients increased from 4:30 hours (interquartile range [IQR], 2:17–9:48) to 14:33 hours (IQR, 6:55–24:50) (P < .001). Rates of intensive care unit admissions increased from 1.4% to 2.9% (P = .023), and mortality increased from 0.9% to 3.0% (P = .001).
Problematic accidental exposure and nosocomial transmission of COVID-19 can be successfully prevented through active isolation and surveillance policies and comprehensive PPE use despite longer ER stays and the presence of more severely ill patients during a severe COVID-19 outbreak.
We obtain several norm and eigenvalue inequalities for positive matrices partitioned into four blocks. The results involve the numerical range $W(X)$ of the off-diagonal block $X$, especially the distance $d$ from $0$ to $W(X)$. A special consequence is an estimate,
To propose a new anthropometric index that can be employed to better predict percent body fat (PBF) among young adults and to compare with current anthropometric indices.
All measurements were taken in a controlled laboratory setting in Seoul (South Korea), between 1 December 2015 and 30 June 2016.
Eighty-seven young adults (18–35 years) who underwent dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) were used for analysis. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to develop a body fat index (BFI) using simple demographic and anthropometric information. Correlations of DXA measured PBF (DXA_PBF) with previously developed anthropometric indices and the BFI were analysed. Receiver operating characteristic curve analyses were conducted to compare the ability of anthropometric indices to identify obese individuals.
BFI showed a strong correlation with DXA_PBF (r = 0·84), which was higher than the correlations of DXA_PBF with the traditional (waist circumference, r = 0·49; waist to height ratio, r = 0·68; BMI, r = 0·36) and alternate anthropometric indices (a body shape index, r = 0·47; body roundness index, r = 0·68; body adiposity index, r = 0·70). Moreover, the BFI showed higher accuracy at identifying obese individuals (area under the curve (AUC) = 0·91), compared with the other anthropometric indices (AUC = 0·71–0·86).
The BFI can accurately predict DXA_PBF in young adults, using simple demographic and anthropometric information that are commonly available in research and clinical settings. However, larger representative studies are required to build on our findings.
Body weight is a major risk determinant of frailty, but the effect of obesity on frailty is controversial. The present study aimed to confirm the hypothesis that the risk of frailty is positively associated with obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2), but the association is mediated by the waist:height ratio (WHtR) in older women and men. A total of 2862 community-dwelling older individuals aged 70–84 years were assessed for frailty using the Korean version of Fatigue, Resistance, Ambulation, Illnesses, and Loss of weight index. Obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) was associated with a higher risk of frailty compared with BMI 18·5–<23 kg/m2 in all the older individuals (OR 1·88; 95 % CI 1·11, 3·17; P = 0·018) and in older women (OR 1·86; 95 % CI 1·01, 3·42; P = 0·047) before adjusting for WHtR but was not associated with BMI after adjusting for WHtR. Additionally, obesity was not significantly associated with the risk of frailty before and after adjusting for WHtR in older men. Mediation analysis revealed that the association between BMI and frailty score was mediated by WHtR. Moreover, the mediating effect of WHtR on frailty score was positive in both women and men, but the frailty score was associated with BMI positively in women and negatively in men. The present study suggests that the risk of frailty is higher in obese women, which is mediated by WHtR, but not in obese men.
Firefighters are routinely exposed to various traumatic events and often experience a range of trauma-related symptoms. Although these repeated traumatic exposures rarely progress to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, firefighters are still considered to be a vulnerable population with regard to trauma.
To investigate how the human brain responds to or compensates for the repeated experience of traumatic stress.
We included 98 healthy firefighters with repeated traumatic experiences but without any diagnosis of mental illness and 98 non-firefighter healthy individuals without any history of trauma. Functional connectivity within the fear circuitry, which consists of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, insula, amygdala, hippocampus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), was examined using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Trauma-related symptoms were evaluated using the Impact of Event Scale – Revised.
The firefighter group had greater functional connectivity between the insula and several regions of the fear circuitry including the bilateral amygdalae, bilateral hippocampi and vmPFC as compared with healthy individuals. In the firefighter group, stronger insula–amygdala connectivity was associated with greater severity of trauma-related symptoms (β = 0.36, P = 0.005), whereas higher insula–vmPFC connectivity was related to milder symptoms in response to repeated trauma (β = −0.28, P = 0.01).
The current findings suggest an active involvement of insular functional connectivity in response to repeated traumatic stress. Functional connectivity of the insula in relation to the amygdala and vmPFC may be potential pathways that underlie the risk for and resilience to repeated traumatic stress, respectively.
Raman scattered O VI features at 6825 Å and 7082 Å found in symbiotic stars are important spectroscopic tools to probe the mass transfer process. Adopting a Monte Carlo approach, we perform a profile analysis of Raman O VI features of the yellow SySt AG Draconis and make a comparison with the spectrum obtained with CFHT. It is assumed that the accretion flow is convergent on the entering side with enhanced O VI emission and the flux ratio F(1032)/F(1038)∼1, whereas on the opposite side the flow is divergent with low O VI emission and F(1032/F(1038)∼2. Our best fit to the spectrum is obtained from our model with a mass-loss rate of the giant ∼4 × 10−7 M⊙ yr−1. A slight red wing excess in the spectrum suggests the presence of bipolar neutral components receding in the directions perpendicular to the binary orbital plane with a speed ∼70km s−1
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.