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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.
To investigate the impacts of depression screening, diagnosis and treatment on major adverse cardiac events (MACEs) in acute coronary syndrome (ACS).
Prospective cohort study including a nested 24-week randomised clinical trial for treating depression was performed with 5–12 years after the index ACS. A total of 1152 patients recently hospitalised with ACS were recruited from 2006 to 2012, and were divided by depression screening and diagnosis at baseline and 24-week treatment allocation into five groups: 651 screening negative (N), 55 screening positive but no depressive disorder (S), 149 depressive disorder randomised to escitalopram (E), 151 depressive disorder randomised to placebo (P) and 146 depressive disorder receiving medical treatment only (M).
Cumulative MACE incidences over a median 8.4-year follow-up period were 29.6% in N, 43.6% in S, 40.9% in E, 53.6% in P and 59.6% in M. Compared to N, screening positive was associated with higher incidence of MACE [adjusted hazards ratio 2.15 (95% confidence interval 1.63–2.83)]. No differences were found between screening positive with and without a formal depressive disorder diagnosis. Of those screening positive, E was associated with a lower incidence of MACE than P and M. M had the worst outcomes even compared to P, despite significantly milder depressive symptoms at baseline.
Routine depression screening in patients with recent ACS and subsequent appropriate treatment of depression could improve long-term cardiac outcomes.
Genetic and environmental influences on age at menarche (AAM) have rarely been examined in Asian females. This study aimed to investigate the heritability of AAM in South Korean female twins. The AAM data from 1370 female twins (933 monozygotic [MZ] twins, 294 dizygotic [DZ] twins and 160 female members of opposite-sex DZ twins) born between 1988 and 2001 were analyzed. The age of the sample at the time of the assessment ranged from 16 to 28 years with a mean of 19.3 (SD = 2.2) years. The mean AAM in the total sample was 12.49 (SD = 1.41) years. Although the mean AAM decreased with increasing birth years, it levelled off in birth years 2000–2001. Maximum likelihood MZ and DZ twin correlations were 0.72 [95% CI (0.67, 0.76)] and 0.35 [95% CI (0.19, 0.50)], respectively. The results of model-fitting analysis indicated that the additive genetic and individual-specific environmental effects were 72% [95% CI (67%, 76%)] and 28% [95% CI (24%, 33%)], respectively. Neither nonadditive genetic nor shared environmental effects were significant.
Somatization is known to be more prevalent in Asian than in Western populations. Using a South Korean adolescent and young adult twin sample (N = 1754; 367 monozygotic male, 173 dizygotic male, 681 monozygotic female, 274 dizygotic female and 259 opposite-sex dizygotic twins), the present study aimed to estimate heritability of somatization and to determine common genetic and environmental influences on somatization and hwabyung (HB: anger syndrome). Twins completed self-report questionnaires of the HB symptoms scale and the somatization scale via a telephone interview. The results of the general sex-limitation model showed that 43% (95% CI [36, 50]) of the total variance of somatization was attributable to additive genetic factors, with the remaining variance, 57% (95% CI [50, 64]), being due to individual-specific environmental influences, including measurement error. These estimates were not significantly different between the two sexes. The phenotypic correlation between HB and somatization was .53 (p < .001). The bivariate model-fitting analyses revealed that the genetic correlation between the two symptoms was .68 (95% CI [.59, .77]), while the individual-specific environmental correlation, including correlated measurement error, was .41 (95% CI [.34, .48]). Of the additive genetic factors of 43% that influence somatization, approximately half (20%) were associated with those related to HB, with the remainder being due to genes unique to somatization. A substantial part (48%) of individual environmental variance in somatization was unrelated to HB; only 9% of the environmental variance was shared with HB. Our findings suggest that HB and somatization have shared genetic etiology, but environmental factors that precipitate the development of HB and somatization may be largely independent from each other.
Refugees commonly experience difficulties with emotional processing, such as alexithymia, due to stressful or traumatic experiences. However, the functional connectivity of the amygdala, which is central to emotional processing, has yet to be assessed in refugees. Thus, the present study investigated the resting-state functional connectivity of the amygdala and its association with emotional processing in North Korean (NK) refugees.
This study included 45 NK refugees and 40 native South Koreans (SK). All participants were administered the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Clinician-administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), and differences between NK refugees and native SK in terms of resting-state functional connectivity of the amygdala were assessed. Additionally, the association between the strength of amygdala connectivity and the TAS score was examined.
Resting-state connectivity values from the left amygdala to the bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) were higher in NK refugees than in native SK. Additionally, the strength of connectivity between the left amygdala and right dlPFC was positively associated with TAS score after controlling for the number of traumatic experiences and BDI and CAPS scores.
The present study found that NK refugees exhibited heightened frontal–amygdala connectivity, and that this connectivity was correlated with alexithymia. The present results suggest that increased frontal–amygdala connectivity in refugees may represent frontal down-regulation of the amygdala, which in turn may produce alexithymia.
According to the Sasang theory, humans can be categorized into one of the four Sasang constitution (SC) types. The four SC types are Tae-Yang (TY), Tae-Eum (TE), So-Yang (SY), and So-Eum (SE), which are determined mainly on the basis of anthropometric characteristics, personality, and the balance of the physiological functions of the major organ systems. There is a growing recognition in the complementary and alternative medicine area that SC types have the potential to be a useful scientific tool for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases (Cooper, Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Vol. 6 (Suppl. 1), 2009, pp. 1–3). The main purposes of the present study are to estimate genetic and environmental influences on SC types, and to explore genetic and environmental correlations that affect phenotypic associations among the SC types. In total, 1,742 (365 monozygotic male, 173 dizygotic male, 675 monozygotic female, 271 dizygotic female, and 258 opposite-sex dizygotic) twins (mean age = 19.1 ± 3.1 year) completed a Sasang questionnaire. Univariate and multivariate model-fitting analyses were performed. Total (additive and non-additive) genetic influences were 71% for males and 81% for females in TE, 70% for males and 71% for females in SE, and 47% for both sexes in SY. Non-additive genetic effects were substantial, and shared environmental influences were negligible in most SC types. Multivariate model-fitting analysis revealed that non-additive genetic and individual-specific environmental correlations between TE and SE were -0.92 (95% CI [-0.89, -0.93]) and -0.62 (95% CI [-0.57, -0.68]), respectively. The corresponding estimates were -0.55 (95% CI [-0.48, -0.61]) and -0.44 (95% CI [-0.37, -0.51]) between TE and SY and 0.19 (95% CI [0.09, 0.29]) and -0.40 (95% CI [-0.32, -0.47]) between SE and SY. These results suggest that the phenotypic associations among SC types may be mediated by pleiotropic mechanism of genes.
The present study aimed to estimate heritability of Hwabyung (HB) symptoms in adolescent and young adult twins in South Korea. The sample included 1,601 twins consisting of 143 pairs of monozygotic male (MZM), 67 pairs of dizygotic male (DZM), 295 pairs of monozygotic female (MZF), 114 pairs of dizygotic female (DZF), and 117 pairs of opposite-sex dizygotic (OSDZ) twins and 129 twins with non-participating co-twins (mean age = 19.1 ± 3.1 years; range: 12–29 years). An HB symptom questionnaire was given to twins via a telephone interview. Consistent with the literature of HB, the mean level of HB was significantly higher in females than in males. Maximum likelihood twin correlations for HB were 0.31 (95% CI [0.16, 0.45]) for MZM, 0.19 (95% CI [-0.05, 0.41]) for DZM, 0.50 (95% CI [0.41, 0.58]) for MZF, 0.28 (95% CI [0.11, 0.44]) for DZF, and 0.23 (95% CI [0.05, 0.40]) for OSDZ twins. These patterns of twin correlations suggested the presence of additive genetic influences on HB. Model-fitting analysis showed that additive genetic and individual-specific environmental influences on HB were 44% (95% CI [37, 51]) and 56% (95% CI [49, 63]), respectively. Shared environmental influences were not significant. These parameter estimates were not significantly different between two sexes, and did not change significantly with age in the present sample, suggesting that genetic and environmental influences on HB in both sexes are stable across adolescence and young adulthood.
The phenotypic relationships between body mass index (BMI) and cold-heat patterns have been frequently reported, but the etiology of these relationships remains unknown. We previously demonstrated that the cold pattern (CP) and the heat pattern (HP) were heritable traits. In the present study, we explored underlying genetic and environmental structures of the relationships among BMI and the CP and the HP. Twins (N = 1,752) drawn from the South Korean twin registry completed a cold-heat pattern questionnaire via a telephone interview. The phenotypic correlations among the three phenotypes were moderate but significant. Cross-twin, cross-trait correlations among BMI and the CP and the HP were consistently greater in monozygotic than in dizygotic twins, suggesting the presence of genetic effects on the relationships between BMI and the two patterns. A trivariate Cholesky model was applied to the raw data. The results indicated that the phenotypic relationship between the HP and BMI was completely determined by common genetic influences, while the relationship between the CP and BMI was explained by both common genetic and common individual-specific environmental influences. The genetic correlation between the HP and the CP was not significant, suggesting that the two patterns may be genetically independent from each other. Genetic correlations were 0.31 between the HP and BMI, and -0.22 between the CP and BMI. The individual-specific environmental correlation was -0.22 between HP and CP, and between CP and BMI.
In traditional East Asian medicine, cold–heat patterns have been widely used in the diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from various diseases. The present study aimed to estimate the heritability of cold–heat patterns. Trained interviewers administered a cold–heat pattern questionnaire to 1,753 twins (mean age = 19.1 ± 3.1 years) recruited throughout South Korea. Correlations for the cold pattern (CP) were 0.42 (95% CI [0.28, 0.54]) for monozygotic (MZ) males, 0.16 (95% CI [-0.08, 0.39]) for dizygotic (DZ) males, 0.40 (95% CI [0.30, 0.49]) for MZ females, 0.30 (95% CI [0.12, 0.45]) for DZ females, and 0.07 (95% CI [-0.11, 0.25]) for opposite-sex DZ twins. The corresponding twin correlations for the heat pattern (HP) were 0.38 (95% CI [0.24, 0.51]), -0.22 (95% CI [-0.43, 0.02]), 0.34 (95% CI [0.24, 0.43]), 0.21 (95% CI [0.03, 0.37]), and 0.08 (95% CI [-0.10, 0.26]), respectively. These patterns of twin correlations suggested significant genetic effects on the HP and the CP. Model-fitting analysis revealed that heritability estimates in both sexes were 40% (95% CI [38, 42]) for the CP and 33% (95% CI [25, 42]) for the HP, with the remaining variances attributable to unique environmental variances. These estimates did not vary significantly with age during adolescence and young adulthood.
Our objective was to evaluate long-term altered appearance, distress, and body image in posttreatment breast cancer patients and compare them with those of patients undergoing active treatment and with general population controls.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey between May and December of 2010. We studied 138 breast cancer patients undergoing active treatment and 128 posttreatment patients from 23 Korean hospitals and 315 age- and area-matched subjects drawn from the general population. Breast, hair, and skin changes, distress, and body image were assessed using visual analogue scales and the EORTC BR–23. Average levels of distress were compared across groups, and linear regression was utilized to identify the factors associated with body image.
Compared to active-treatment patients, posttreatment patients reported similar breast changes (6.6 vs. 6.2), hair loss (7.7 vs. 6.7), and skin changes (5.8 vs. 5.4), and both groups had significantly more severe changes than those of the general population controls (p < 0.01). For a similar level of altered appearance, however, breast cancer patients experienced significantly higher levels of distress than the general population. In multivariate analysis, patients with high altered appearance distress reported significantly poorer body image (–20.7, CI95% = –28.3 to –13.1) than patients with low distress.
Significance of results:
Posttreatment breast cancer patients experienced similar levels of altered appearance, distress, and body-image disturbance relative to patients undergoing active treatment but significantly higher distress and poorer body image than members of the general population. Healthcare professionals should acknowledge the possible long-term effects of altered appearance among breast cancer survivors and help them to manage the associated distress and psychological consequences.
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.
Some clinical studies have reported reduced peripheral glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) level in elderly patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). We verified whether a reduction in plasma GDNF level was associated with MDD.
Plasma GDNF level was measured in 23 healthy control subjects and 23 MDD patients before and after 6 weeks of treatment.
Plasma GDNF level in MDD patients at baseline did not differ from that in healthy controls. Plasma GDNF in MDD patients did not differ significantly from baseline to the end of treatment. GDNF level was significantly lower in recurrent-episode MDD patients than in first-episode patients before and after treatment.
Our findings revealed significantly lower plasma GDNF level in recurrent-episode MDD patients, although plasma GDNF levels in MDD patients and healthy controls did not differ significantly. The discrepancy between our study and previous studies might arise from differences in the recurrence of depression or the ages of the MDD patients.
Rutile nanoparticles have been synthesized by acid hydrolysis of titanium isopropoxide by low-temperature dissolution-reprecipitation process. High-resolution transmission electron micrographs of the rutile colloidal solution show needle-shaped rutile nanoparticles with the dimensions of 10–30 nm in diameter and 100–150 nm in length. X-ray diffraction (XRD) data show the existence of only the rutile polymorph in TiO2 powder with a crystallite size of 11.3 nm. The dielectric constant of rutile nanoparticles has been found to be 57 at 10 MHz AC frequency and DC conductance as 2.3 × 10−6 S/cm. Transmission electron micrographs and XRD data analysis imply that the rutile crystallites are self-organized in a regular fashion to produce multilayer three-dimensional linear clusters. The clusters have been found to be microporous (average porosity 1.4 nm) with high specific surface area (132.2 m2/g). At higher concentration, the clusters aggregate to produce interconnected network of star- or flower-like structures. This organized crystalline microporous metal-oxide semiconductor might find various practical applications.
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.
The present study was performed to investigate whether breast-feeding is associated with early pubertal development among children 7–9 years old in Korea.
Children were divided into those who did and did not receive breast-feeding for 6 months or longer in accordance with the recommendations of the WHO. Pubertal status was determined by clinical examination using Tanner staging.
Prospective observational study.
We conducted a follow-up study of children aged 7–9 years in 2011 who had taken part in the Ewha Birth & Growth Cohort study.
Fifty (22·8 %) of the total of 219 children were in early puberty, with the proportion being slightly higher for girls (24·1 %) than boys (21·4 %). Children who had entered early puberty were taller, weighed more and had a higher concentration of insulin-like growth factor 1. Moreover, the change in weight Z-score from birth to follow-up was significantly lower in children who were breast-fed than in those who were not (weight Z-score change: 0·32 (sd 1·59) v. 0·77 (sd 1·61), respectively, P=0·04). Comparison of breast-feeding by puberty status indicated a preventive association with early puberty in children who were breast-fed for 6 months or longer (OR=0·37; 95 % CI 0·18, 0·74). This association remained significant after adjustment for relevant covariates.
These results demonstrate a beneficial association between breast-feeding and early pubertal development, especially in those breast-fed for 6 months or longer. The study suggests that interventions would need to start early in life to prevent early pubertal development.
The junction resistance control of conducting networks is a crucial factor for high performance of the network-structured conducting film. Here, we show that silver nanowire (AgNW) networks can be stabilized by using single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) which were functionalized with 2-ureido-4[1H]pyrimidinone (UHP) moieties. UHP-modified SWCNTs allowed us to fabricate AgNW suspension containing SWCNTs without adding additional dispersant molecules. The stabilization of AgNW networks was achieved by minimizing the joule heating at the NW-NW junction assisted by in-situ interconnection with the work function modulated SWCNTs. We propose that the electrical transportation pathway was modulated by the SWCNTs through the SWCNT-AgNW junctions, which results in a relatively lower junction resistance than the NW-NW junction in the network film.
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.
There is increasing evidence of a relationship between underweight or obesity and dementia risk. Several studies have investigated the relationship between body weight and brain atrophy, a pathological change preceding dementia, but their results are inconsistent. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and cortical atrophy among cognitively normal participants.
We recruited cognitively normal participants (n = 1,111) who underwent medical checkups and detailed neurologic screening, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the health screening visits between September 2008 and December 2011. The main outcome was cortical thickness measured using MRI. The number of subjects with five BMI groups in men/women was 9/9, 148/258, 185/128, 149/111, and 64/50 in underweight, normal, overweight, mild obesity, and moderate to severe obesity, respectively. Linear and non-linear relationships between BMI and cortical thickness were examined using multiple linear regression analysis and generalized additive models after adjustment for potential confounders.
Among men, underweight participants showed significant cortical thinning in the frontal and temporal regions compared to normal weight participants, while overweight and mildly obese participants had greater cortical thicknesses in the frontal region and the frontal, temporal, and occipital regions, respectively. However, cortical thickness in each brain region was not significantly different in normal weight and moderate to severe obesity groups. Among women, the association between BMI and cortical thickness was not statistically significant.
Our findings suggested that underweight might be an important risk factor for pathological changes in the brain, while overweight or mild obesity may be inversely associated with cortical atrophy in cognitively normal elderly males.