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We experienced an emergency room (ER) shutdown related to an accidental exposure to a patient with COVID-19 who had not been isolated. To prevent in-hospital transmission of the disease, we subsequently isolated patients with suspected symptoms, relevant radiographic findings, or epidemiology. The SARS-CoV-2 reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction was performed in most patients requiring hospitalization. Universal mask policy and comprehensive use of personal protective equipment (PPE) were implemented.
Materials and Methods:
The effect of the interventions was analyzed in a 635-bed, tertiary-care hospital in Daegu, South Korea.
From the pre-shutdown (February 10 to 25) to the post-shutdown (February 28 to March 16, 2020) period, the mean hourly turnaround time (23:31±6:43 versus 9:27±3:41, P<0.001) was shortened, which increased the proportions of the patients tested (5.8% [N=1,037] versus 64.6% [N=690], P<0.001) and the average number of tests per day (3.8±4.3 versus 24.7±5.0, P<0.001). All 23 patients with COVID-19 in the post-shutdown period were isolated in the ER without any problematic accidental exposure or in-hospital transmission. From the pre- to the post-shutdown period, the median duration of stay in the ER among hospitalized patients (4:30 hr [2:17-9:48] versus 14:33 hr (6:55-24:50), P<0.001), rates of intensive care unit admissions (1.4% versus 2.9%, P=0.023), and mortality (0.9% versus 3.0%, P=0.001) increased.
Problematic accidental exposure and in-hospital transmission of COVID-19 can be successfully prevented through active isolation and surveillance policy and comprehensive PPE use despite longer ER stays and the presence of more severely ill patients during an explosive COVID-19 outbreak.
Predicting the isotopic modification of ice by melting processes is important for improving the accuracy in paleoclimate reconstruction. To this end, we present results from cold room laboratory observations of changes in the isotopic ratio (D/H and 18O/16O) of ice cubes by isotopic exchange between liquid water and ice in nearly isothermal conditions. A 1-D model was fit to the isotopic results by adjusting the values of two parameters, the isotopic exchange rate constant (kr) and the fraction of ice participating in the exchange (f). We found that the rate constant for hydrogen isotopic exchange between liquid water and ice may be greater (up to 40%) than that for the oxygen isotopic exchange. The range of the rate constant obtained from four melt experiments is from 0.21 to 0.82 h–1. The model results also suggest that f decreases with the increasing wetness of the ice. This is because with increasing water saturation in ice, water may be present only in the small pores or some of the water that was exchanged with ice may be bypassed, decreasing the effective surface area over which the isotopic exchange can occur. The relationship between the two water isotopes (δ18O vs δD) was observed and modeled and the slope was <8, which is significantly different from the slope of the meteoric waterline. We note that these slopes were obtained without considering the sublimation process.
In the Republic of Korea, despite the introduction of one-dose universal varicella vaccination in 2005 and achieving a high coverage rate of 98.9% in 2012, the incidence rate has been increased sevenfold. This study aimed to investigate time trends of varicella incidence rate, assessing the age, period and birth cohort effects. We used national data on the annual number of reported cases from 2006 to 2017. A log-linear Poisson regression model was used to estimate age–period–cohort effects on varicella incidence rate. From 2006 to 2017, the incidence of varicella increased from 22.5 cases to more than 154.8 cases per 100 000. Peak incidence has shifted from 4 to 6 years old. The estimated period and cohort effects showed significant upward patterns, with a linear increasing trend by net drift. There has been an increase in the incidence among the Korean population regarding period and cohort despite the universal vaccination of varicella vaccine. Our data suggest the need for additional studies to address the current gap in herd immunity.
Treatment of liver fibrosis is very limited as there is currently no effective anti-fibrotic therapy. Spirulina platensis (SP) is a blue-green alga that is widely supplemented in healthy foods. The objective of this study was to determine whether SP supplementation can prevent obesity-induced liver fibrosis in vivo. Male C57BL/6J mice were randomly assigned to a low-fat or a high-fat (HF)/high-sucrose/high-cholesterol diet or an HF diet supplemented with 2·5 % SP (w/w) (HF/SP) for 16 or 20 weeks. There were no significant differences in body weight, activity, energy expenditure, serum lipids or glucose tolerance between mice on HF and HF/SP diets. However, plasma alanine aminotransferase level was significantly reduced by SP at 16 weeks. Expression of fibrotic markers and trichrome stains showed no differences between HF and HF/SP. Splenocytes isolated from HF/SP fed mice had lower inflammatory gene expression and cytokine secretion compared with splenocytes from HF-fed mice. SP supplementation did not attenuate HF-induced liver fibrosis. However, the expression and secretion of inflammatory genes in splenocytes were significantly reduced by SP supplementation, demonstrating the anti-inflammatory effects of SP in vivo. Although SP did not show appreciable effect on the prevention of liver fibrosis in this mouse model, it may be beneficial for other inflammatory conditions.
Given its diverse disease courses and symptom presentations, multiple phenotype dimensions with different biological underpinnings are expected with bipolar disorders (BPs). In this study, we aimed to identify lifetime BP psychopathology dimensions. We also explored the differing associations with bipolar I (BP-I) and bipolar II (BP-II) disorders.
We included a total of 307 subjects with BPs in the analysis. For the factor analysis, we chose six variables related to clinical courses, 29 indicators covering lifetime symptoms of mood episodes, and 6 specific comorbid conditions. To determine the relationships among the identified phenotypic dimensions and their effects on differentiating BP subtypes, we applied structural equation modeling.
We selected a six-factor solution through scree plot, Velicer's minimum average partial test, and face validity evaluations; the six factors were cyclicity, depression, atypical vegetative symptoms, elation, psychotic/irritable mania, and comorbidity. In the path analysis, five factors excluding atypical vegetative symptoms were associated with one another. Cyclicity, depression, and comorbidity had positive associations, and they correlated negatively with psychotic/irritable mania; elation showed positive correlations with cyclicity and psychotic/irritable mania. Depression, cyclicity, and comorbidity were stronger in BP-II than in BP-I, and they contributed significantly to the distinction between the two disorders.
We identified six phenotype dimensions; in addition to symptom features of manic and depressive episodes, various comorbidities and high cyclicity constructed separate dimensions. Except for atypical vegetative symptoms, all factors showed a complex interdependency and played roles in discriminating BP-II from BP-I.
The submarine channel-fill system of the Cambrian Spurs Formation exhibits unique metre-scale cycles of breccia and diamictite. The studied sections, Eureka Spurs, are located at the Mariner Glacier in the central-eastern part of northern Victoria Land, Antarctica. A facies analysis of the channel-fill deposit has led to the recognition of four main lithofacies: breccia, diamictite, thin-bedded sandstone and mudstone. The channel-fill deposit consists of two architectural elements: hollow-fill (HF) and sheet-like (SL) elements. The SL has wide convex-up geometry and consists solely of a very thick bed of diamictite, and is interpreted as a submarine channel lobe. The HF has a concave-up erosional base and flat upper surface. The HF consists of nine cyclic alternations of underlying breccia (cohesionless debris flow) and overlying diamictite (cohesive debris flow). The deposition of breccia is interpreted to have been controlled by repeated allogenic processes such as earthquakes. In contrast, the abrupt vertical transition from breccia to diamictite in each cycle is interpreted to have resulted from an autogenic, slope instability-related process. The interaction of the allogenic and autogenic factors recorded in the metre-scale unique cyclic deposits provides new criteria to interpret cycles of submarine debris flow.
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.
To evaluate the appropriateness of the screening strategy for healthcare personnel (HCP) during a hospital-associated Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak, we performed a serologic investigation in 189 rRT-PCR–negative HCP exposed and assigned to MERS patients. Although 20%–25% of HCP experienced MERS-like symptoms, none of them showed seroconversion by plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT).
To examine the hypothesis that the association between vitamin D deficiency and depressive symptoms is dependent upon total cholesterol level in a representative national sample of the South Korean population.
This was a population-based cross-sectional study.
The Fifth Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES V, 2010–2012).
We included 7198 adults aged 20–88 years.
The incidence of depressive symptoms in individuals with vitamin D deficiency (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D<20 ng/ml) was 1·54-fold (95 % CI 1·20, 1·98) greater than in individuals without vitamin D deficiency (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D ≥20 ng/ml). The relationship was stronger in individuals with normal-to-borderline serum total cholesterol (serum total cholesterol<240 mg/dl; OR=1·60; 95 % CI 1·23, 2·08) and non-significant in individuals with high serum total cholesterol (OR=0·97; 95 % CI 0·52, 1·81) after adjustment for confounding variables (age, sex, BMI, alcohol consumption, smoking status, regular exercise, income level, education level, marital status, changes in body weight, perceived body shape, season of examination date and cholesterol profiles).
The association between vitamin D deficiency and depressive symptoms was weakened by high serum total cholesterol status. These findings suggest that both vitamin D and total cholesterol are important targets for the prevention and treatment of depression.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are common dietary exposures that cross the human placenta and are classified as a probable human carcinogen. The aim of the present study was to investigate the potential impact of exposure to PAH-containing meat consumed during pregnancy on birth outcomes.
Prospective birth cohort study. Only non-smoking women with singleton pregnancies, who were free from chronic disease such as diabetes and hypertension, were included in the study. Maternal consumption of PAH-rich meat was estimated through FFQ. Multiple linear regression was used to assess factors related to higher intake and the association between dietary PAH and birth outcomes.
Republic of Korea, 2006–2011.
Pregnant women (n 778) at 12–28 weeks of gestation enrolled in the Mothers and Children’s Environmental Health (MOCEH) study.
The multivariable regression model showed a significant reduction in birth weight associated with higher consumption level of foods rich in PAH, such as grilled or roasted meat, during pregnancy (β=−17·48 g, P<0·05 for every 1 point higher in meat score). Further adjusting for biomarkers of airborne PAH did not alter this association. There was no evidence that higher consumption level of PAH-rich meat shortens the duration of gestation (P=0·561). Regression models performed for birth length and head circumference produced negative effects that were not statistically significant.
Consumption of higher levels of barbecued, fried, roasted and smoked meats during pregnancy was associated with reduced birth weight. Dietary risk of PAH exposure in Korean women is of concern.
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.
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.
Obesity is associated with an increased risk of metabolic abnormalities, such as hyperlipidaemia and hyperglycaemia. We investigated whether polyphenol-rich blackcurrant extract (BCE) can prevent high fat/high cholesterol (HF/HC) diet-induced metabolic disturbances in mice. Male C57BL/6J mice were fed a modified AIN-93M diet containing HF/HC (16 % fat, 0·25 % cholesterol, w/w) or the same diet supplemented with 0·1 % BCE (w/w) for 12 weeks. There were no differences in total body weight and liver weight between groups. Plasma total cholesterol (TC) and glucose levels were significantly lower in BCE group than in controls, while plasma TAG levels were not significantly different. There was a decreasing trend in hepatic TAG levels, and histological evaluation of steatosis grade was markedly lower in the livers of mice fed BCE. Although the mRNA levels of major regulators of hepatic cholesterol metabolism, i.e. 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGR) and LDL receptor (LDLR), were not significantly altered by BCE supplementation, protein expression of mature sterol-regulatory element-binding protein and LDLR was significantly increased with no change in HMGR protein. The expression of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 that facilitates LDLR protein degradation, as well as one of its transcriptional regulators, i.e. hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α, was significantly decreased in the livers of mice fed BCE. Taken together, BCE supplementation decreased plasma TC and glucose, and inhibited liver steatosis, suggesting that this berry may be consumed to prevent metabolic dysfunctions induced by diets high in fat and cholesterol.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to predict the potential impact of the introduction of implantation of polyurethane scaffold for the treatment of partial meniscal lesions in the South Korean healthcare system.
Methods: The horizon scanning process was used to select a target technology and assess its potential impacts on patients and the Korean healthcare system. We identified and filtered research-phase health technologies that are not listed yet in Korean, but appear promising. After a process of prioritization, we chose the implantation of polyurethane scaffolds as a target technology. Then, through the procedures of assessment and peer review, we analyzed current evidence and its predicted potential impacts.
Results: There were eight studies included in the review: one prospective cohort and seven case-series studies. Six revealed significant improvements in function and pain relief. Of the six studies, which reported safety endpoints, four stated no major postoperative complications related to scaffold, and two reported adverse events and serious adverse events such as pain, joint swelling, et cetera. We also included the potential impact of this technology based on the experts’ consultation. They all agreed that it would satisfy the diverse needs of patients and fulfill clinical needs. However, the majority of related clinical studies were based on short-term follow-up observations without any validation process involving comparison with control groups.
Conclusions: Through a horizon scanning activity, we found that the implantation of polyurethane scaffolds is a promising technology to resolve articular cartilage defects; however, long-term evidence with comparison groups for safety and effectiveness is required.
The thickness dependence of the electrical stability under monotonic and cyclic tensile loading is investigated for Cu films on polymer substrates. As for monotonic tensile deformation, thicker films show better stability than thinner films due to their higher ductility and the larger capability of strain accommodation. For the fatigue resistance, however, a more complex behavior was observed depending on the amount of the applied strain. For low strain amplitude in the high cycle fatigue (HCF) regime, thinner films exhibit longer fatigue life because the larger strength of thinner films suppresses dislocation movement and damage nucleation. However, for high strain amplitudes in the low cycle fatigue (LCF) regime, the fatigue life for thinner films is drastically reduced compared to thicker films. It is shown that fatigue coefficients in the LCF regime can be obtained when applying the Coffin–Manson relationship.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is significantly associated with hyperlipidaemia and oxidative stress. We have previously reported that astaxanthin (ASTX), a xanthophyll carotenoid, lowers plasma total cholesterol and TAG concentrations in apoE knockout mice. To investigate whether ASTX supplementation can prevent the development of NAFLD in obesity, male C57BL/6J mice (n 8 per group) were fed a high-fat diet (35 %, w/w) supplemented with 0, 0·003, 0·01 or 0·03 % of ASTX (w/w) for 12 weeks. The 0·03 % ASTX-supplemented group, but not the other groups, exhibited a significant decrease in plasma TAG concentrations, suggesting that ASTX at a 0·03 % supplementation dosage exerts a hypotriacylglycerolaemic effect. Although there was an increase in the mRNA expression of fatty acid synthase and diglyceride acyltransferase 2, the mRNA levels of acyl-CoA oxidase 1, a critical enzyme in peroxisomal fatty acid β-oxidation, exhibited an increase in the 0·03 % ASTX-supplemented group. There was a decrease in plasma alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST) concentrations in the 0·03 % ASTX-supplemented group. There was a significant increase in the hepatic mRNA expression of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 and its downstream genes, which are critical for endogenous antioxidant mechanism, in the 0·03 % ASTX-supplemented group. Furthermore, there was a significant decrease in the mRNA abundance of IL-6 in the primary splenocytes isolated from the 0·03 % ASTX-supplemented group upon lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation when compared with that in the splenocytes isolated from the control group. In conclusion, ASTX supplementation lowered the plasma concentrations of TAG, ALT and AST, increased the hepatic expression of endogenous antioxidant genes, and rendered splenocytes less sensitive to LPS stimulation. Therefore, ASTX may prevent obesity-associated metabolic disturbances and inflammation.
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.