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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.
Early replacement of a new central venous catheter (CVC) may pose a risk of persistent or recurrent infection in patients with a catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI). We evaluated the clinical impact of early CVC reinsertion after catheter removal in patients with CRBSIs.
We conducted a retrospective chart review of adult patients with confirmed CRBSIs in 2 tertiary-care hospitals over a 7-year period.
To treat their infections, 316 patients with CRBSIs underwent CVC removal. Among them, 130 (41.1%) underwent early CVC reinsertion (≤3 days after CVC removal), 39 (12.4%) underwent delayed reinsertion (>3 days), and 147 (46.5%) did not undergo CVC reinsertion. There were no differences in baseline characteristics among the 3 groups, except for nontunneled CVC, presence of septic shock, and reason for CVC reinsertion. The rate of persistent CRBSI in the early CVC reinsertion group (22.3%) was higher than that in the no CVC reinsertion group (7.5%; P = .002) but was similar to that in the delayed CVC reinsertion group (17.9%; P > .99). The other clinical outcomes did not differ among the 3 groups, including rates of 30-day mortality, complicated infection, and recurrence. After controlling for several confounding factors, early CVC reinsertion was not significantly associated with persistent CRBSI (OR, 1.59; P = .35) or 30-day mortality compared with delayed CVC reinsertion (OR, 0.81; P = .68).
Early CVC reinsertion in the setting of CRBSI may be safe. Replacement of a new CVC should not be delayed in patients who still require a CVC for ongoing management.
We report our experience with an emergency room (ER) shutdown related to an accidental exposure to a patient with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who had not been isolated.
A 635-bed, tertiary-care hospital in Daegu, South Korea.
To prevent nosocomial transmission of the disease, we subsequently isolated patients with suspected symptoms, relevant radiographic findings, or epidemiology. Severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assays (RT-PCR) were performed for most patients requiring hospitalization. A universal mask policy and comprehensive use of personal protective equipment (PPE) were implemented. We analyzed effects of these interventions.
From the pre-shutdown period (February 10–25, 2020) to the post-shutdown period (February 28 to March 16, 2020), the mean hourly turnaround time decreased from 23:31 ±6:43 hours to 9:27 ±3:41 hours (P < .001). As a result, the proportion of the patients tested increased from 5.8% (N=1,037) to 64.6% (N=690) (P < .001) and the average number of tests per day increased from 3.8±4.3 to 24.7±5.0 (P < .001). All 23 patients with COVID-19 in the post-shutdown period were isolated in the ER without any problematic accidental exposure or nosocomial transmission. After the shutdown, several metrics increased. The median duration of stay in the ER among hospitalized patients increased from 4:30 hours (interquartile range [IQR], 2:17–9:48) to 14:33 hours (IQR, 6:55–24:50) (P < .001). Rates of intensive care unit admissions increased from 1.4% to 2.9% (P = .023), and mortality increased from 0.9% to 3.0% (P = .001).
Problematic accidental exposure and nosocomial transmission of COVID-19 can be successfully prevented through active isolation and surveillance policies and comprehensive PPE use despite longer ER stays and the presence of more severely ill patients during a severe COVID-19 outbreak.
We recently reported an association between TAAR6 (trace amine associated receptor 6 gene) variations and schizophrenia (SZ). We now report an association of a set of TAAR6 variations and clinical presentation and outcome in a sample of 240 SZ Korean patients. Patients were selected by a Structured Clinical Interview, DSM-IV Axis I disorders – Clinical Version (SCID-CV). Other psychiatric or neurologic disorders, as well as medical diseases, were exclusion criteria. To assess symptom severity, patients were administered the CGI scale and the PANSS at baseline and at the moment of discharge, 1 month later on average. TAAR6 variations rs6903874, rs7452939, rs8192625 and rs4305745 were investigated; rs6903874, rs7452939 and rs8192625 entered the statistical investigation after LD analysis. Rs8192625 G/G homozygosis was found to be significantly associated both with a worse clinical presentation at PANSS total and positive scores and with a shorter period of illness before hospitalization. No haplotype significant findings were found. The present study stands for a role of the TAAR6 in the clinical presentation of SZ. Moreover, our results show that this genetic effect may be counteracted by a correct treatment. Haplotype analysis was not informative in our sample, probably also because of the incomplete SNPs' coverage of the gene we performed. Further studies in this direction are warranted.
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.
To overcome the limited feasibility of various refractory high-entropy alloys (HEAs) due to the presence of (i) very dense elements (W and Ta), (ii) costly elements (Hf and Ta), and (iii) oxidation prone elements (V) in them, AlxCryMozNbTiZr HEAs were prepared via arc-melting. Considering the critical nature of oxidation resistance in high-temperature applications, HEAs were characterized to form a combinatorial library of microstructural and oxidation behavior. AlxCryMozNbTiZr HEAs revealed multiphase microstructures consisting of intermetallic phases along with BCC matrices. Mass loss and porous microstructures were obtained in Mo-rich HEAs after oxidation at 1000 °C for 1 h. The presence of Al enhanced the oxidation resistance and developed a protective oxide layer on the HEAs. Al30Cr10-NTZ exhibited promising potential for use in high temperature applications, as it showed an oxidation time exponent of ∼0.5 and a dense and continuous oxide layer.
Stable carbon isotope ratios were measured on the alpha-cellulose in tree rings of a pine tree (Pinus densiflora) from Yeongwol, Korea. We developed an annual-resolution δ13C series (1835–1905) by correcting the measured data for changes in δ13C of air to minimize non-climatic influences. To investigate the climatic signal in the δ13C series, we performed correlation analysis between δ13C and the Cheugugi climate data. The Cheugugi precipitation data were first recorded by King Sejong (1397–1450) of the Joseon Dynasty. However, the longest set of precipitation data available is the one collected in Seoul (1776–1907). Although many studies support the reliability of the Cheugugi data, no previous studies have investigated the potential of the δ13C signal in tree rings as paleoclimate proxy using the Cheugugi data. Recent precipitation trends in Yeongwol are quite similar to that of Seoul, and we found significant correlations between the Cheugugi data and the δ13C series. We suggest further studies to replicate these results and confirm whether comparing δ13C variations in tree rings and Cheugugi data is a useful method of investigating the potential of the δ13C signal as a paleoclimate proxy in or near the Korean peninsula.
The National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke-Canadian Stroke Network (NINDS-CSN) 5-minute neuropsychology protocol consists of only verbal tasks, and is proposed as a brief screening method for vascular cognitive impairment. We evaluated its feasibility within two weeks after stroke and ability to predict the development of post-stroke dementia (PSD) at 3 months after stroke.
We prospectively enrolled subjects with ischemic stroke within seven days of symptom onset who were consecutively admitted to 12 university hospitals. Neuropsychological assessments using the NINDS-CSN 5-minute and 60-minute neuropsychology protocols were administered within two weeks and at 3 months after stroke onset, respectively. PSD was diagnosed with reference to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association statement, requiring deficits in at least two cognitive domains.
Of 620 patients, 512 (82.6%) were feasible for the NINDS-CSN 5-minute protocol within two weeks after stroke. The incidence of PSD was 16.2% in 308 subjects who had completed follow-up at 3 months after stroke onset. The total score of the NINDS-CSN 5-minute protocol differed significantly between those with and without PSD (4.0 ± 2.7, 7.4 ± 2.7, respectively; p < 0.01). A cut-off value of 6/7 showed reasonable discriminative power (sensitivity 0.82, specificity 0.67, AUC 0.74). The NINDS-CSN 5-minute protocol score was a significant predictor for PSD (adjusted odds ratio 6.32, 95% CI 2.65–15.05).
The NINDS-CSN 5-minute protocol is feasible to evaluate cognitive functions in patients with acute ischemic stroke. It might be a useful screening method for early identification of high-risk groups for PSD.
A total of forty weaned pigs ((Landrace×Yorkshire)×Duroc) were used to evaluate the effects of Lactobacillus acidophilus on inflammatory activity after lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge. Experimental treatments were as follows: (T1) control diet+saline challenge; (T2) control diet with 0·1 % L. acidophilus+saline challenge; (T3) control diet+LPS challenge; and (T4) control diet with 0·1 % L. acidophilus+LPS challenge. On d-14, piglets were challenged with saline (T1 and T2) or LPS (T3 and T4). Blood samples were obtained at 0, 2, 4, 6 and 12 h after being challenged and analysed for immune cell cytokine production and gene expression pattern. The L. acidophilus treatment increased the average daily weight gain (ADWG) and average daily feed intake (ADFI) compared with the control diet. With the control diet, the LPS challenge (T3) increased the number of immune cells and expression of TNF-α and IL-6 compared with the saline challenge (T1). Whereas with the saline challenge L. acidophilus treatment (T2) increased the number of leucocytes and CD4 compared with the control diet (T1), with the LPS challenge L. acidophilus treatment (T4) decreased the number of leucocytes, lymphocytes, CD4+ and CD8+ and expression of TNF-α and IL-6 compared with the control diet (T3). L. acidophilus treatment decreased the expression of TRL4 and NF-κB in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) after LPS challenge, which leads to inhibition of TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-6, IL-8 and IL1B1 and to induction of IL-4 and IL-10. We suggested that L. acidophilus improved ADWG and ADFI and protected against LPS-induced inflammatory responses by regulating TLR4 and NF-κB expression in porcine PBMC.
Feasibility of multiwavelength Raman spectroscopy was studied as a potential
in-line monitoring technique for grain size distribution in channel poly-Si used
in three dimensional stacked NAND (3D NAND) Flash memory devices. Various
channel poly-Si materials in 3D-NAND Flash memory devices, converted from
chemical vapor deposition (CVD) grown a-Si, were characterized using
non-contact, multiwavelength Raman spectroscopy and high resolution
cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy (HRXTEM). The Raman
characterization results were compared with HRXTEM images. The correlation
between the grain size distribution characterized by multiwavelength Raman
spectroscopy and “on current” (ION) of 3D NAND
Flash memory devices was investigated. Good correlation between these techniques
was seen. Multiwavelength Raman spectroscopy is very promising as a
non-destructive in-line monitoring technique for grain size distribution in
channel poly-Si used in 3D NAND Flash memory devices.
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 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.
Octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (Oct4) is a critical molecule for the self-renewal and pluripotency of embryonic stem cells. Recent reports have shown that Oct4 also controls cell-cycle progression and enhances the proliferation of various types of cells. As the high proliferation of donor fibroblasts is critical to the production of transgenic pigs, using the somatic cell nuclear transfer technique, we analysed the effect of Oct4 overexpression on the proliferation of porcine fibroblasts and embryos. Porcine endogenous Oct4 cDNA was cloned, sequenced and inserted into an expression vector. The vector was transfected into porcine fibroblasts, and a stable Oct4-overexpressed cell line was established by antibiotic selection. Oct4 expression was validated by the immunostaining of Oct4. Cell morphology was changed to sharp, and both proliferation and migration abilities were enhanced in Oct4-overexpressed cells. Real-time RT-PCR results showed that p16, Bcl2 and Myc were upregulated in Oct4-overexpressed cells. Somatic cell nuclear transfer was performed using Oct4-overexpressed cells, and the development of Oct4 embryos was compared with that of wild-type cloned embryos. The cleavage and blastocyst formation rates were improved in the Oct4 embryos. Interestingly, blastocyst formation of the Oct4 embryos was observed as early as day 5 in culture, while blastocysts were observed from day 6 in wild-type cloned embryos. In conclusion, the overexpression of Oct4 enhanced the proliferation of both porcine fibroblasts and embryos.
A compact subthreshold characteristics model for short channel fully-depleted double-gate (DG) junctionless field effect transistors (JL FETs) which is based on an approximated solution of 2 dimensional Poisson’s equation has been proposed. The derivation details are introduced and the model’s accuracy has been verified by comparison with both previous models and the TCAD simulations’ results which proves that the subthreshold characteristics such as channel potential distribution, subthrethold drain-to-source current, subthreshold slope, drain-induced-barrier-lowering and threshold voltage can be accurately predicted by our proposed compact model.
To investigate whether low vitamin D status was related to insulin resistance (IR) or impaired fasting glucose (IFG) in Korean adolescents, after adjusting for total body fat mass (FM).
A cross-sectional study.
Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNAHNES) 2009–2010.
In total, 1466 participants (769 males) aged 10–19 years were assessed for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels, for FM by whole-body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and for IR by homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR) after an 8 h fast.
Age-, sex-, season- and physical-activity-adjusted regression models showed that serum 25(OH)D levels were significantly related to markers of adiposity (P = 0·016 for FM (g), P = 0·023 for FM (%) and P = 0·035 for fat mass index). When the participants were stratified into three 25(OH)D categories (<37·5 nmol/l (n 553), 37·5 to < 50 nmol/l (n 543) and ≥ 50 nmol/l (n 370)), significantly decreasing trends were observed for fasting insulin (all P < 0·001), HOMA-IR (all P < 0·001) and the odds ratios for IFG (all P for trend < 0·05) from the lowest to the highest 25(OH)D category, after adjustments for age, sex, physical activity and all markers of adiposity. In the multivariate logistic regression analysis, the likelihood of participants in the lowest serum 25(OH)D category having IFG was 2·96–3·15 compared with those in the highest 25(OH)D category (all P < 0·05).
There was a significant inverse relationship between vitamin D status and IR and the risk of IFG, independent of adiposity, in Korean adolescents.
Distribution of wax in laser printer toner was observed using an ultra-high-voltage (UHV) and a medium-voltage transmission electron microscope (TEM). As the radius of the wax spans a hundred to greater than a thousand nanometers, its three-dimensional recognition via TEM requires large depth of focus (DOF) for a volumetric specimen. A tomogram with a series of the captured images would allow the determination of their spatial distribution. In this study, bright-field (BF) images acquired with UHV-TEM at a high tilt angle prevented the construction of the tomogram. Conversely, the Z-contrast images acquired by the medium-voltage TEM produced a successful tomogram. The spatial resolution for both is discussed, illustrating that the image degradation was primarily caused by beam divergence of the Z-contrast image and the combination of DOF and chromatic aberration of the BF image from the UHV-TEM.
The microstructural analysis of the dehydrogenation products of the Ca(BH4)2–MgH2 composite was performed using transmission electron microscopy. It was found that nanocrystalline CaB6 crystallites formed as a dehydrogenation product throughout the areas where the signals of Ca and Mg were simultaneously detected, in addition to relatively coarse Mg crystallites. The uniform distribution of the nanocrystalline CaB6 crystallites appears to play a key role in the rehydrogenation of the dehydrogenation products, which implies that microstructure is a crucial factor determining the reversibility of reactive hydride composites.