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Depressive symptoms are common in bereaved caregivers; however, there have been few prospective studies using a structured interview. This study investigated the prevalence and preloss predictors of major depressive disorder (MDD) in bereaved caregivers of patients in a palliative care unit.
This prospective cohort study collected caregiver sociodemographic and psychological data before the death of a palliative care unit patient, including MDD, care-burden, coping style, and hopeful attitude. Postloss MDD was assessed 6 and 13 months after death, and a multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify its predictors.
Of 305 caregivers contacted, 92 participated in this study. The prevalence of preloss MDD was 21.8%; the prevalences of postloss MDD were 34.8% and 24.7% at 6 and 13 months, respectively. Preloss MDD predicted postloss MDD at 6 months (odds ratio [OR] = 5.38, 95% confidence interval [CI95%] = 1.29, 22.43); preloss nonhopeful attitude and unemployment status of caregivers predicted postloss MDD at 13 months (OR = 8.77, CI95% = 1.87, 41.13 and OR = 7.10, CI95% = 1.28, 39.36, respectively).
Significance of results
Approximately 35% of caregivers suffered from MDD at 6 months postloss, but the prevalence of MDD decreased to about 25% at 13 months. Preloss MDD significantly predicted postloss MDD at 6 months, whereas hopeful attitude and unemployment at baseline were significantly associated with postloss MDD at 13 months.
Spirituality is what gives people meaning and purpose in life, and it has been recognized as a critical factor in patients’ well-being, particularly at the ends of their lives. Studies have demonstrated relationships between spirituality and patient-reported outcomes such as quality of life and mental health. Although a number of studies have suggested that spiritual belief can be associated with mortality, the results are inconsistent. We aimed to determine whether spirituality was related to survival in advanced cancer inpatients in Korea.
For this multicenter study, we recruited adult advanced cancer inpatients who had been admitted to seven palliative care units with estimated survival of <3 months. We measured spirituality at admission using the Korean version of the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual Well-Being (FACIT-sp), which comprises two subscales: meaning/peace and faith. We calculated a Kaplan-Meier curve for spirituality, dichotomized at the predefined cutoffs and medians for the total scale and each of the two subscales, and performed univariate regression with a Cox proportional hazard model.
We enrolled a total of 204 adults (mean age: 64.5 ± 13.0; 48.5% female) in the study. The most common primary cancer diagnoses were lung (21.6%), colorectal (18.6%), and liver/biliary tract (13.0%). Median survival was 19.5 days (95% confidence interval [CI95%]: 23.5, 30.6). Total FACIT-sp score was not related to survival time (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.981, CI95% = 0.957, 1.007), and neither were the scores for its two subscales, meaning/peace (HR = 0.969, CI95% = 0.932, 1.008) and faith (HR = 0.981, CI95% = 0.938, 1.026).
Significance of results
Spirituality was not related to survival in advanced cancer inpatients in Korea. Plausible mechanisms merit further investigation.
Despite their importance in the formation and evolution of stellar clusters and galaxies, the formation of high-mass stars remains poorly understood. We recently started a systematic observational study of the 22 GHz water and 44 GHz class I methanol masers in high-mass star-forming regions as a four-year KaVA large program. Our sample consists of 87 high-mass young stellar objects (HM-YSOs) in various evolutionary phases, many of which are associated with two or more different maser species. The primary scientific goals are to measure the spatial distributions and 3-dimensional velocity fields of multiple maser species, and understand the dynamical evolution of HM-YSOs and their circumstellar structures, in conjunction with follow-up observations with JVN/EAVN (6.7 GHz class II methanol masers), VERA, and ALMA. In this paper we present details of our KaVA large program, including the first-year results and observing/data analysis plans for the second year and beyond.
Following ovulation, oocytes undergo a time-dependent deterioration in quality referred to as post-ovulatory ageing. Although various factors influence the post-ovulatory ageing of oocytes, oxidative stress is a key factor involved in deterioration of oocyte quality. Artemisia asiatica Nakai ex Pamp. has been widely used in East Asia as a food ingredient and traditional medicine for the treatment of inflammation, cancer, and microbial infections. Recent studies have shown that A. asiatica exhibits antioxidative effects. In this study, we investigated whether A. asiatica has the potential to attenuate deterioration in oocyte quality during post-ovulatory ageing. Freshly ovulated mouse oocytes were cultured with 0, 50, 100 or 200 μg/ml ethanol extracts of A. asiatica Nakai ex Pamp. After culture for up to 24 h, various ageing-induced oocyte abnormalities, including morphological changes, reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation, apoptosis, chromosome and spindle defects, and mitochondrial aggregation were determined. Treatment of oocytes with A. asiatica extracts reduced ageing-induced morphological changes. Moreover, A. asiatica extracts decreased ROS generation and the onset of apoptosis by preventing elevation of the Bax/Bcl-2 expression ratio during post-ovulatory ageing. Furthermore, A. asiatica extracts attenuated the ageing-induced abnormalities including spindle defects, chromosome misalignment and mitochondrial aggregation. Our results demonstrate that A. asiatica can relieve deterioration in oocyte quality and delay the onset of apoptosis during post-ovulatory ageing.
Hyperlipidaemia is a major cause of atherosclerosis and related CVD and can be prevented with natural substances. Previously, we reported that a novel Bacillus-fermented green tea (FGT) exerts anti-obesity and hypolipidaemic effects. This study further investigated the hypotriglyceridaemic and anti-obesogenic effects of FGT and its underlying mechanisms. FGT effectively inhibited pancreatic lipase activity in vitro (IC50, 0·48 mg/ml) and ameliorated postprandial lipaemia in rats (26 % reduction with 500 mg/kg FGT). In hypertriglyceridaemic hamsters, FGT administration significantly reduced plasma TAG levels. In mice, FGT administration (500 mg/kg) for 2 weeks augmented energy expenditure by 22 % through the induction of plasma serotonin, a neurotransmitter that modulates energy expenditure and mRNA expressions of lipid metabolism genes in peripheral tissues. Analysis of the gut microbiota showed that FGT reduced the proportion of the phylum Firmicutes in hamsters, which could further contribute to its anti-obesity effects. Collectively, these data demonstrate that FGT decreases plasma TAG levels via multiple mechanisms including inhibition of pancreatic lipase, augmentation of energy expenditure, induction of serotonin secretion and alteration of gut microbiota. These results suggest that FGT may be a useful natural agent for preventing hypertriglyceridaemia and obesity.
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.
Devastating disasters around the world directly contribute to significant increases in human mortality and economic costs. The objective of this study was to examine the current state of the Korea Disaster Relief Team that participated in an international training module.
The whole training period was videotaped in order to observe and evaluate the respondents. The survey was carried out after completion of the 3-day training, and the scores were reported by use of a 5-point Likert scale.
A total of 43 respondents were interviewed for the survey, and the results showed that the overall preparedness score for international disasters was 3.4±1.6 (mean±SD). The awareness of the Incident Command System for international disasters was shown to be low (3.5±1.1). Higher scores were given to personnel who took on leadership roles in the team and who answered “I knew my duty” (4.4±0.6) in the survey, as well as to the training participants who answered “I clearly knew my duty” (4.5±0.5).
The preparedness level of the Korea Disaster Relief Team was shown to be insufficient, whereas understanding of the roles of leaders and training participants in the rescue team was found to be high. It is assumed that the preparedness level for disaster relief must be improved through continued training. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;1–5)
We report a simple and scalable process to synthesize the core–shell
nanostructure of MoS2@N-doped carbon nanosheets (MoS2@C),
in which polydopamine is coated on the MoS2 surface and then
carbonized. Transmission electron microscopy reveals that the as-synthesized
MoS2@C possesses a nanoscopic and ultrathin layer of
MoS2 sheets with a thin and conformal coating of carbon layers
(∼5 nm). The MoS2@C demonstrates a superior
electrochemical performance as an anode material for lithium ion batteries
compared to exfoliated MoS2 sample. This unique core–shell
structure is capable of excellent delivery of Li+ ion in
charging–discharging process: a specific capacity as high as 1239 mA
h g−1, a high rate of charging-discharging capability even
at a high current rate of 10 A g−1 while retaining 597 mA
h g−1, and a good cycle stability over 70 cycles at a high
current rate of 2 A g−1.
Cerebral white matter hyperintensities (WMH) are prevalent incident findings on brain MRI scans among elderly people and have been consistently implicated in cognitive dysfunction. However, differential roles of WMH by region in cognitive function are still unclear. The aim of this study was to ascertain the differential role of regional WMH in predicting progression from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to different subtypes of dementia.
Participants were recruited from the Clinical Research Center for Dementia of South Korea (CREDOS) study. A total of 622 participants with MCI diagnoses at baseline and follow-up evaluations were included for the analysis. Initial MRI scans were rated for WMH on a visual rating scale developed for the CREDOS. Differential effects of regional WMH in predicting incident dementia were evaluated using the Cox proportional hazards model.
Of the 622 participants with MCI at baseline, 139 patients (22.3%) converted to all-cause dementia over a median of 14.3 (range 6.0–36.5) months. Severe periventricular WMH (PWMH) predicted incident all-cause dementia (Hazard ratio (HR) 2.22; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.43–3.43) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) (HR 1.86; 95% CI 1.12–3.07). Subcortical vascular dementia (SVD) was predicted by both PWMH (HR 16.14; 95% CI 1.97–132.06) and DWMH (HR 8.77; 95% CI 1.77–43.49) in more severe form (≥ 10 mm).
WMH differentially predict dementia by region and severity. Our findings suggest that PWMH may play an independent role in the pathogenesis of dementia, especially in AD.
Despite recent reports regarding the biology of cytosine methylation in Schistosoma mansoni, the impact of the regulatory machinery remains unclear in diverse platyhelminthes. This ambiguity is reinforced by discoveries of DNA methyltransferase 2 (DNMT2)-only organisms and the substrate specificity of DNMT2 preferential to RNA molecules. Here, we characterized a novel DNA methyltransferase, named CsDNMT2, in a liver fluke Clonorchis sinensis. The protein exhibited structural properties conserved in other members of the DNMT2 family. The native and recombinant CsDNMT2 exhibited considerable enzymatic activity on DNA. The spatiotemporal expression of CsDNMT2 mirrored that of 5-methylcytosine (5 mC), both of which were elevated in the C. sinensis eggs. However, CsDNMT2 and 5 mC were marginally detected in other histological regions of C. sinensis adults including ovaries and seminal receptacle. The methylation site seemed not related to genomic loci occupied by progenies of an active long-terminal-repeat retrotransposon. Taken together, our data strongly suggest that C. sinensis has preserved the functional DNA methylation machinery and that DNMT2 acts as a genuine alternative to DNMT1/DNMT3 to methylate DNA in the DNMT2-only organism. The epigenetic regulation would target functional genes primarily involved in the formation and/or maturation of eggs, rather than retrotransposons.
We investigated the effects of varying the multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) contents, as well as the additional use of drawing and poling on the polymorphic behavior and electroactive (piezoelectric) properties of the cast poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF)/MWCNT membranes. Dramatic changes occurred in the polar β-phase crystal contents with the MWCNT loading. An optimum concentration of MWCNT exists for PVDF film polarization. On the other hand, films prepared by electrospinning process exhibited almost constant amount of β-phase with the MWCNT concentration. In this process, polymer fibers with diameters down to the nanometer range, or nanofibers, are formed by subjecting a fluid jet to a high electric field. The remanent polarization and piezoelectric response increased with the β-phase crystals. Cell adhesion and proliferation measured with MTT (Methylthiazolyl diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide) assay coincidentally responded to the polarized PVDF films (β-phase amount).
We report on the formation of highly flexible and transparent TiO2/Ag/ITO multilayer films deposited on polyethylene terephthalate substrates. The optical and electrical properties of the multilayer films were investigated as a function of oxide thickness. The transmission window gradually shifted toward lower energies with increasing oxide thickness. The TiO2 (40 nm)/Ag (18 nm)/ITO (40 nm) films gave the transmittance of 93.1% at 560 nm. The relationship between transmittance and oxide thickness was simulated using the scattering matrix method to understand high transmittance. As the oxide thickness increased from 20 to 50 nm, the carrier concentration gradually decreased from 1.08 × 1022 to 6.66 × 1021 cm−3, while the sheet resistance varied from 5.8 to 6.1 Ω/sq. Haacke's figure of merit reached a maximum at 40 nm and then decreased with increasing oxide thickness. The change in resistance for the 60 nm-thick ITO single film rapidly increased with increasing bending cycles, while that of the TiO2/Ag/ITO (40 nm/18 nm/40 nm) film remained virtually unchanged during the bending test.
To determine the influence of caregiver personality and other factors on the burden of family caregivers of terminally ill cancer patients.
We investigated a wide range of factors related to the patient–family caregiver dyad in a palliative care setting using a cross-sectional design. Caregiver burden was assessed using the seven-item short version of the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI–7). Caregiver personality was assessed using the 10-item short version of the Big Five Inventory (BFI–10), which measures the following five personality dimensions: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness. Patient- and caregiver-related sociodemographic and psychological factors were included in the analysis because of their potential association with caregiver burden. Clinical patient data were obtained from medical charts or by using other measures. Multivariate linear regression analysis was performed to identify the independent factors associated with caregiver burden.
We analyzed 227 patient–family caregiver dyads. The multivariate analysis revealed that caregiver extroversion was protective against caregiver burden, whereas depressive symptoms in caregivers were related to increased burden. Neuroticism was positively correlated with caregiver burden, but this relationship was nonsignificant following adjustment for depressive symptoms. Patient-related factors were not significantly associated with caregiver burden.
Significance of Results:
Evaluating caregiver personality traits could facilitate identification of individuals at greater risk of high burden. Furthermore, depression screening and treatment programs for caregivers in palliative care settings are required to decrease caregiver burden.
To determine the influence of early pain relief for patients with suspected appendicitis on the diagnostic performance of surgical residents.
A prospective randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted for patients with suspected appendicitis. The patients were randomized to receive placebo (normal saline intravenous [IV]) infusions over 5 minutes or the study drug (morphine 5 mg IV). All of the clinical evaluations by surgical residents were performed 30 minutes after administration of the study drug or placebo. After obtaining the clinical probability of appendicitis, as determined by the surgical residents, abdominal computed tomography was performed. The primary objective was to compare the influence of IV morphine on the ability of surgical residents to diagnose appendicitis.
A total of 213 patients with suspected appendicitis were enrolled. Of these patients, 107 patients received morphine, and 106 patients received placebo saline. The negative appendectomy percentages in each group were similar (3.8% in the placebo group and 3.2% in the pain control group, p=0.62). The perforation rates in each group were also similar (18.9% in the placebo group and 14.3% in the pain control group, p=0.75). Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed that the overall diagnostic accuracy in each group was similar (the area under the curve of the placebo group and the pain control group was 0.63 v. 0.61, respectively, p=0.81).
Early pain control in patients with suspected appendicitis does not affect the diagnostic performance of surgical residents.
This study examined changes in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and quality of care (QoC) as perceived by terminally ill cancer patients and a stratified set of HRQoL or QoC factors that are most likely to influence survival at the end of life (EoL).
We administered questionnaires to 619 consecutive patients immediately after they were diagnosed with terminal cancer by physicians at 11 university hospitals and at the National Cancer Center in Korea. Subjects were followed up over 161.2 person-years until their deaths. We measured HRQoL using the core 30-item European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire, and QoC using the Quality Care Questionnaire–End of Life (QCQ–EoL). We evaluated changes in HRQoL and QoC issues during the first three months after enrollment, performing sensitivity analysis by using data generated via four methods (complete case analysis, available case analysis, the last observation carried forward, and multiple imputation).
Emotional and cognitive functioning decreased significantly over time, while dyspnea, constipation, and pain increased significantly. Dignity-conserving care, care by healthcare professionals, family relationships, and QCQ–EoL total score decreased significantly. Global QoL, appetite loss, and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status (ECOG–PS) scores were significantly associated with survival.
Significance of results:
Future standardization of palliative care should be focused on assessment of these deteriorated types of quality. Accurate estimates of the length of life remaining for terminally ill cancer patients by such EoL-enhancing factors as global QoL, appetite loss, and ECOG–PS are needed to help patients experience a dignified and comfortable death.
Whether an association exists between cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) and functional recovery after ischemic stroke is unclear. We aimed to evaluate the association between CMBs and functional outcome after acute ischemic stroke.
Consecutive patients with acute stroke were enrolled, and all patients were stratified into good and poor functional outcome groups at discharge and 6 months after ischemic stroke by using a modified Rankin Scale score. Cardiovascular risk factors, CMBs, and white matter hyperintensities were compared between these two outcome groups. Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the risk of poor functional outcomes.
A total of 225 patients were enrolled, 121 of whom were classified as having a good functional outcome at discharge and 142 as having a good 6-month functional outcome. The presence of CMBs was associated with a poor functional outcome at discharge [CMBs (+) patients in poor vs. good functional group; 48.1% vs. 30.6%; p=0.007] and 6 months [53.0% vs. 30.3%; p=0.001]. After adjustment for confounding factors, only the presence of infratentorial CMBs was associated with a poor functional outcome at discharge and 6 months. The poor functional outcome group had more CMBs than the good outcome group at 6 months.
Infratentorial cerebral microbleeds were significantly associated with worse functional outcomes not only in the early phase of ischemic stroke but also in the chronic phase. These findings suggest that the presence of infratentorial CMBs can predict poor functional outcome after acute ischemic stroke.
Genetic variation in wild soybean (Glycine soja Sieb. and Zucc.) is a valuable resource for crop improvement efforts. Soybean is believed to have originated from China, Korea, and Japan, but little is known about the diversity or evolution of Korean wild soybean. Therefore, in this study, we evaluated the genetic diversity and population structure of 733 G. soja accessions collected in Korea using 21 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. The SSR loci produced 539 alleles (25.7 per locus) with a mean genetic diversity of 0.882 in these accessions. Rare alleles, those with a frequency of less than 5%, represented 75% of the total number. This collection was divided into two populations based on the principal coordinate analysis. Accessions from population 1 were distributed throughout the country, whereas most of the accessions from population 2 were distributed on the western side of the Taebaek and Sobaek mountains. The Korean G. soja collection evaluated in this study should provide useful background information for allele mining approach and breeding programmes to introgress alleles into the cultivated soybean (G. max (L). Merr.) from wild soybean.
Resistance degradation of zirconium (Zr)-doped barium titanate (BaTiO3) was investigated. A series of Ba(Ti1−yZry)O3 powders and coarse-grained ceramics ranging y from 0 to 0.1 were prepared. The increase of Zr concentration systematically increased the time to as well as electric field to degradation. Such behaviors directly corresponded to those of ionic conduction contribution as evaluated by the Warburg impedance. The magnitude of Warburg impedance decreased with the increase of Zr concentration, which demonstrates that the Zr incorporation inhibits the ionic conduction caused by oxygen vacancies. The prototype multilayer ceramic capacitor (MLCC) samples were also prepared by applying these Ba(Ti1−yZry)O3 base powders and formulated X5R additives of commercial application. In this case, however, such distinct difference in degradation behavior with the variation of Zr concentration did not appear. It is supposed that the influence of additives far outweighs the effect of relative difference in the ionic conduction of Ba(Ti1−yZry)O3 under the MLCC test condition where the applied electric field strength is much higher than those for the coarse-grained bulk ceramics. Resistance degradation of MLCC under such high field might not be explained by only oxygen vacancy-related behavior alone.