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Background: Although small- and medium-sized hospitals comprise most healthcare providers in South Korea, data on antibiotic usage is limited in these facilities. We evaluated the pattern of antibiotic usage and its appropriateness in hospitals with <400 beds in South Korea. Methods: A multicenter retrospective study was conducted in 10 hospitals (6 long-term care hospitals, 3 acute-care hospitals, and 1 orthopedic hospital), with <400 beds in South Korea. We analyzed patterns of antibiotic prescription and their appropriateness in the participating hospitals. Data on the monthly antibiotic prescriptions and patient days for hospitalized patients were collected using electronic databases from each hospital. To avoid the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, data were collected from January to December 2019. For the evaluation of the appropriateness of the prescription, 25 patients under antibiotic therapy were randomly selected at each hospital over 2 separate periods. Due to the heterogeneity of their characteristics, the orthopedics hospital was excluded from the analysis. The collected data were reviewed, and the appropriateness of antibiotic prescriptions was evaluated by 5 specialists in infectious diseases (adult and pediatric). Data from 2 hospitals were assigned to each specialist. The appropriateness of antibiotic prescriptions was evaluated from 3 aspects: route of administration, dose, and class. If the 3 aspects were ‘optimal,’ the prescription was considered ‘optimal.’ If only the route was ‘optimal,’ and the dose and/or class was ‘suboptimal,’ but not ‘inappropriate,’ it was considered ‘suboptimal.’ If even 1 aspect was ‘inappropriate,’ it was classified as ‘inappropriate.’ Results: The most commonly prescribed antibiotics in long-term care hospitals was fluoroquinolone, followed by β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitor (antipseudomonal). In acute-care hospitals, these were third-generation cephalosporin, followed by first-generation cephalosporin and second-generation cephalosporin. The major antibiotics that were prescribed in the orthopedics hospital was first-generation cephalosporin. Only 2.3% of the antibiotics were administered inappropriately. In comparison, 15.3% of patients were prescribed an inappropriate dose. The proportion of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions was 30.6% of the total antibiotic prescriptions. Conclusions: The antibiotic usage patterns vary between small- and medium-sized hospitals in South Korea. The proportion of inappropriate prescriptions exceeded 30% of the total antibiotic prescriptions.
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.
The aim of this study is to examine the empirical insulinemic potential consisting of dietary and lifestyle factors and the interactive effect with the common genetic susceptibility locus rs2423279 on the risk of CRC. This case-control study was conducted with 923 CRC patients and 1,846 controls. The empirical measures for assessing the insulinemic potential, namely, the empirical dietary index for hyperinsulinemia (EDIH), for insulin resistance (EDIR), the empirical lifestyle index for hyperinsulinemia (ELIH), and for insulin resistance (ELIR), were calculated based on semiquantitative food frequency and lifestyle questionnaires. A genetic variant of rs2423279 was genotyped. The CRC patients were more likely to score in the highest quartile for the ELIH (OR Q4 vs Q1, 95% CI = 2.90, 2.01 - 4.19, P for trend < 0.001), EDIR (OR Q4 vs Q1, 95% CI = 3.32, 2.32 - 4.74, P < 0.001), and ELIR (OR Q4 vs Q1, 95% CI = 2.79, 1.96 - 3.97, P < 0.001) than were the controls. The significant effect between the ELIR, which assesses dietary and lifestyle patterns related to insulin resistance, and C allele carriers of rs2423279 was stronger than that for homozygous T allele carriers (OR, 95% CI = 2.50, 1.78 - 3.51, P for interaction = 0.034). The empirical insulinemic potential for insulin resistance might have interactive effects with the rs2423279 polymorphism on the risk of CRC. The results of this study suggest the basis of the metabolic impact of the insulin response on colorectal carcinogenesis.
There are growing concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of older adults. We examined the effect of the pandemic on the risk of depression in older adults.
We analyzed data from the prospective cohort study of Korean older adults, which has been followed every 2 years. Among the 2308 participants who completed both the third and the fourth follow-up assessments, 58.4% completed their fourth follow-up before the outbreak of COVID-19 and the rest completed it during the pandemic. We conducted face-to-face diagnostic interviews using Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview and used Geriatric Depression Scale. We performed generalized estimating equations and logistic regression analyses.
The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with increased depressive symptoms in older adults [b (standard error) = 0.42 (0.20), p = 0.040] and a doubling of the risk for incident depressive disorder even in euthymic older adults without a history of depression (odds ratio = 2.44, 95% confidence interval 1.18–5.02, p = 0.016). Less social activities, which was associated with the risk of depressive disorder before the pandemic, was not associated with the risk of depressive disorder during the pandemic. However, less family gatherings, which was not associated with the risk of depressive disorder before the pandemic, was associated with the doubled risk of depressive disorder during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly influences the risk of late-life depression in the community. Older adults with a lack of family gatherings may be particularly vulnerable.
Oxidative stress causes several diseases and dysfunctions in cells, including oocytes. Clearly, oxidative stress influences oocyte quality during in vitro maturation and fertilization. Here we tested the ability of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) to reduce reactive oxygen species (ROS) and improve mouse oocyte quality during in vitro culture. Treatment with 50 μM CoQ10 efficiently reduced ROS levels in oocytes cultured in vitro. The fertilizable form of an oocyte usually contains a cortical granule-free domain (CGFD). CoQ10 enhanced the ratio of CGFD–oocytes from 35% to 45%. However, the hardening of the zona pellucida in oocytes was not affected by CoQ10 treatment. The in vitro maturation capacity of oocytes, which was determined by the first polar body extrusion, was enhanced from 48.9% to 75.7% by the addition of CoQ10 to the culture medium. During the parthenogenesis process, the number of two-cell embryos was increased by CoQ10 from 43.5% to 67.3%. Additionally, treatment with CoQ10 increased the expression of Bcl2 and Sirt1 in cumulus cells. These results suggested that CoQ10 had a positive effect on ROS reduction, maturation rate and two-cell embryo formation in mouse oocyte culture.
Applying the existing domain model in ship domain research in a restricted area can be difficult owing to multiple factors that must be considered. This study presents a new domain model that can be applied in such environments. According to Endsley's theory of situation awareness, people have their own criteria in decision making based on factors such as individual and environmental factors. To investigate these factors, 125 seafarers were interviewed and threshold values based on their awareness were examined. The factors were evaluated as the closest points of approach. Domain modelling was performed based on these seafarer awareness values; then, the existing and awareness domains were compared, revealing that the awareness-based domain of seafarers is more affected by ship manoeuvrability than by ship size and speed, unlike the findings of existing domain research. Therefore, this study presents a new domain model that is both realistic and practical in a confined area, including various factors considered by seafarers based on the awareness values formed.
Network approach has been applied to a wide variety of psychiatric disorders. The aim of the present study was to identify network structures of remitters and non-remitters in patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP) at baseline and the 6-month follow-up.
Participants (n = 252) from the Korean Early Psychosis Study (KEPS) were enrolled. They were classified as remitters or non-remitters using Andreasen's criteria. We estimated network structure with 10 symptoms (three symptoms from the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, one depressive symptom, and six symptoms related to schema and rumination) as nodes using a Gaussian graphical model. Global and local network metrics were compared within and between the networks over time.
Global network metrics did not differ between the remitters and non-remitters at baseline or 6 months. However, the network structure and nodal strengths associated with positive-self and positive-others scores changed significantly in the remitters over time. Unique central symptoms for remitters and non-remitters were cognitive brooding and negative-self, respectively. The correlation stability coefficients for nodal strength were within the acceptable range.
Our findings indicate that network structure and some nodal strengths were more flexible in remitters. Negative-self could be an important target for therapeutic intervention.
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.