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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.
Background: The purpose of this study was to find out the relationship between appropriateness of antibiotic prescription and clinical outcomes in patients with community-acquired acute pyelonephritis (CA-APN). Methods: A multicenter prospective cohort study was performed in 8 Korean hospitals from September 2017 to August 2018. All hospitalized patients aged ≥19 years diagnosed with CA-APN at admission were recruited. Pregnant women and patients with insufficient data were excluded. In addition, patients with prolonged hospitalization due to medical problems that were not associated with APN treatment were excluded. The appropriateness of empirical and definitive antibiotics was divided into “optimal,” “suboptimal,” and “inappropriate,” and optimal and suboptimal were regarded as appropriate antibiotic use. The standard for the classification of empirical antibiotics was defined reflecting the Korean national guideline for the antibiotic use in urinary tract infection 2018. The standards for the classification of definitive antibiotics were defined according to the result of in vitro susceptibility tests of causative organisms. Clinical outcomes including clinical failure (mortality or recurrence) rate, hospitalization days, and medical costs were compared between patients who were prescribed antibiotics appropriately and those who were prescribed them inappropriately. Results: In total, 397 and 318 patients were eligible for the analysis of the appropriateness of empirical and definitive antibiotics, respectively. Of these, 10 (2.5%) and 18 (5.7%) were inappropriately prescribed empirical and definitive antibiotics, respectively, and 28 (8.8%) were prescribed either empirical or definitive antibiotics inappropriately. Patients who were prescribed empirical antibiotics appropriately showed a lower mortality rate (0 vs 10%; P = .025), shorter hospitalization days (9 vs 12.5 days; P = .014), and lower medical costs (US$2,333 vs US$4,531; P = .007) compared to those who were prescribed empirical antibiotics “inappropriately.” In comparison, we detected no significant differences in clinical outcomes between patients who were prescribed definitive antibiotics appropriately and those who were prescribed definitive antibiotics inappropriately. Patients who were prescribed both empirical and definitive antibiotics appropriately showed a lower clinical failure rate (0.3 vs 7.1%; P = .021) and shorter hospitalization days (9 vs 10.5 days; P = .041) compared to those who were prescribed either empirical or definitive antibiotics inappropriately. Conclusions: Appropriate use of antibiotics leads patients with CA-APN to better clinical outcomes including fewer hospitalization days and lower medical costs.
Background: Mumps, a contagious disease, is transmissible by respiratory droplet particles and is preventable by vaccination. In South Korea, mandatory vaccination against mumps has markedly reduced its incidence. However, both the incidence and the number of reported cases of mumps have persistently increased in South Korea since 2007. Despite high vaccination rates, mumps outbreaks continue to occur, and many studies have been conducted on mumps seroprevalence in children and adolescents. In comparison, few reports have been published regarding mumps seroprevalence in healthcare workers (HCWs) in South Korea. Objective: We investigated the seroprevalence of HCWs in South Korea. Methods: This study was conducted at Asan Medical Center, a 2,705-bed tertiary-care hospital in Seoul, South Korea, with 8,329 HCWs. In 2018, we performed mumps antibody testing for HCWs. We administered MMR vaccination to all HCWs whose antibody test yielded equivocal or negative results. However, we did not repeat mumps antibody testing after MMR vaccination. Results: In total, 6,055 HCWs (73%) underwent mumps antibody testing. The overall mumps seropositivity rate was 87% (95% CI, 86%–87%). Seropositivity rates of all birth cohorts ranged from 72% to 92%. Mumps seropositivity rates were 88% in HCWs born before 1970, 87% in those born between 1970 and 1989, and 88% in those born between 1990 and 1995 (P = .59). Mumps seropositivity rates for both women and men HCWs were 87% (3,770 of 4,311 women and 1,517 of 1,744 men); the difference was not statistically significant (P = .62). The overall mumps seropositivity rate was 87%, which was above the herd immunity threshold of 75%–86%. Conclusions: Our results revealed that the overall mumps seropositivity rate in South Korean HCWs was above the herd immunity threshold. On the basis of this finding, we recommend that MMR vaccination after serologic testing may be a more reasonable approach than universal MMR vaccination alone in Korea.
Background: Measles is a highly contagious disease that is transmissible by airborne particles but is preventable by vaccination. South Korea has maintained a highly immunized adult population; however, small local outbreaks of measles continued to occur, and there have been some reports of pockets of underimmunity among the young adult population. It is important to know the seroepidemiology of healthcare workers (HCWs) for policy-making process, but data on the seroprevalence of measles in HCWs in South Korea are limited. Methods: We investigated the seroprevalence of HCWs at Asan Medical Center, a 2,705-bed tertiary-care hospital in Seoul, South Korea, with 8,329 HCWs. In 2014, after an outbreak of measles occurred in a university in Seoul, Asan Medical Center required measles IgG tests for all HCWs born in and after 1967 for point-prevalence surveillance. In addition, we have routinely performed measles antibody test for new HCWs since 2014. In 2018, antibody tests were administered to HCWs who were born before 1967 or who had taken a leave of absence in 2014. We provided MMR vaccination to all HCWs whose antibody tests yielded negative results. Results: In total, 7,411 HCWs (89%) underwent measles antibody tests from 2014 to 2018. The overall seropositivity was 73% (95% CI, 72%–74%); seroprevalence was 73% in HCWs born in of after 1967, whereas the seroprevalence in HCWs born before 1967 was 98%. The seroprevalence sharply decreased from 85% in the 1986 birth cohort to 42% in the 1995 birth cohort. Conclusions: In conclusion, the proportion of measles-susceptible individuals was substantially high in HCWs, especially in young adults. Because the impact of measles outbreak in healthcare facilities would be critical, a policy regarding routine serologic screening followed by measles vaccination or routine measles vaccination in healthcare facilities should be considered, especially for young Korean HCWs.
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.
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.
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.
A 45-year-old man with dyspnoea and palpitations exhibited a unique systemic-to-pulmonary veno-venous connection on preoperative CT images. A window of 31.5-mm diameter was evident between the superior caval vein and the middle pulmonary vein, which was normally connected to the left atrium via a 30-mm-diameter orifice. The atrial septum was intact.
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.
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.
Although late-life anxiety occurs frequently and is associated with higher morbidity, few longitudinal studies have been concerned with the evaluation thereof. We investigated the prevalence, incidence, and persistence of anxiety and related factors over a two-year period in community-dwelling Korean elderly individuals.
A total of 1,204 Korean elderly individuals were evaluated at baseline, and 909 were followed up two years later. The community version of the Geriatric Mental State Schedule was used to estimate anxiety at both baseline and follow-up interviews. We defined “prevalence” as the rate of anxiety symptoms (for both anxiety cases and sub-threshold anxiety) at baseline; “incidence” as the rate of anxiety symptoms at follow-up in those without baseline anxiety symptoms; and “persistence” as the rate of anxiety symptoms at follow-up in those with baseline anxiety symptoms. Associations between various covariates and anxiety status were examined using multivariate logistic regression models.
The prevalence, incidence, and persistence of anxiety symptoms were 38.1%, 29.3%, and 41.1%, respectively. Prevalent anxiety symptoms were associated independently with female, rented housing, more stressful life event and medical illness, physical inactivity, depression, insomnia, and lower cognitive function. Incident anxiety symptoms were predicted by older age, female gender, depression, and insomnia; persistent anxiety symptoms were predicted by older age, more medical illness, and baseline depression.
Since depression was associated with prevalent, incident, and persistent anxiety symptoms, effective detection and management thereof is important in older adults to reduce anxiety. Furthermore, preventive collaborative care should be considered, particularly for older, female, insomniac patients.
During the past decade, carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) has emerged and spread across the world.1 The major carbapenemase enzymes currently being reported are KPC, NDM-1, VIM, IMP, and OXA.2 Because carbapenemase can be effectively transmitted via mobile genetic elements, and current therapeutic options for CPE infections are extremely limited, CPE may be one of the most serious contemporary threats to public health. However, very little is known about the characteristics of CPE carriage during hospitalization. The aims of this study were to investigate the clearance rate of CPE carriage and determine the number of consecutive negative cultures required to confirm CPE clearance. We also examined CPE transmission among hospitalized patients.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(11):1361–1362
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.
During the past decades, a rapid nutritional transition has been observed along with economic growth in the Republic of Korea. Since this dramatic change in diet has been frequently associated with cancer and other non-communicable diseases, dietary monitoring is essential to understand the association. Benefiting from pre-existing standardised dietary methodologies, the present study aimed to evaluate the feasibility and describe the development of a Korean version of the international computerised 24 h dietary recall method (GloboDiet software) and its complementary tools, developed at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), WHO. Following established international Standard Operating Procedures and guidelines, about seventy common and country-specific databases on foods, recipes, dietary supplements, quantification methods and coefficients were customised and translated. The main results of the present study highlight the specific adaptations made to adapt the GloboDiet software for research and dietary surveillance in Korea. New (sub-) subgroups were added into the existing common food classification, and new descriptors were added to the facets to classify and describe specific Korean foods. Quantification methods were critically evaluated and adapted considering the foods and food packages available in the Korean market. Furthermore, a picture book of foods/dishes was prepared including new pictures and food portion sizes relevant to Korean diet. The development of the Korean version of GloboDiet demonstrated that it was possible to adapt the IARC-WHO international dietary tool to an Asian context without compromising its concept of standardisation and software structure. It, thus, confirms that this international dietary methodology, used so far only in Europe, is flexible and robust enough to be customised for other regions worldwide.
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.
Epidemiological studies have reported that higher education (HE) is associated with a reduced risk of incident Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, after the clinical onset of AD, patients with HE levels show more rapid cognitive decline than patients with lower education (LE) levels. Although education level and cognition have been linked, there have been few longitudinal studies investigating the relationship between education level and cortical decline in patients with AD. The aim of this study was to compare the topography of cortical atrophy longitudinally between AD patients with HE (HE-AD) and AD patients with LE (LE-AD).
We prospectively recruited 36 patients with early-stage AD and 14 normal controls. The patients were classified into two groups according to educational level, 23 HE-AD (>9 years) and 13 LE-AD (≤9 years).
As AD progressed over the 5-year longitudinal follow-ups, the HE-AD showed a significant group-by-time interaction in the right dorsolateral frontal and precuneus, and the left parahippocampal regions compared to the LE-AD.
Our study reveals that the preliminary longitudinal effect of HE accelerates cortical atrophy in AD patients over time, which underlines the importance of education level for predicting prognosis.
Induction of mutations using chemical mutagens has proved to be a useful tool in crop improvement and has advantages over transgenic approaches in view of legislative restrictions and intellectual property. Among the chemical mutagens, ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) has been widely used to generate novel traits. In this study, we constructed an EMS mutant population consisting of 3945 M2 mutant lines using a Korean landrace of Capsicum annuum ‘Yuwol-cho’. In total, 1480 M2 mutant lines were evaluated for novel traits. The mutant lines showed phenotypic variations such as plant growth (small size and dwarfism), development of leaves (variegation, colour and morphological changes), flowers (inflorescence, morphological and organ colour changes), and fruits (morphological and colour changes). Most of these mutant phenotypes were inherited recessively. Many of the mutant phenotypes were unique in pepper, while some were similar to those of known mutants in other plant species. These mutant lines will be useful for the study of gene function in C. annuum.