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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.
Theranostics was proposed as a combined process of therapeutics and diagnostics methodology for increasing treatment efficacy and safety with simultaneous monitoring of the response to treatment. In the past two decades, nanotechnology has been the focus of developing strategies for drug delivery and imaging functions, and it has expanded to the design of multifunctional nanoparticles and the creation of “nanotheranostics” (i.e., theranostic nanomedicines). Nanotheranostics also shows potential in gene therapy; however, nanoparticle-mediated delivery of genes still faces major obstacles related to (1) the uptake by the reticuloendothelial system, (2) the ability to get across the target cell membranes through endocytosis, and (3) the ability to accumulate in organs with permeable vasculature. Here, we review the development and application of nanotheranostics, highlighting their relevance to gene therapy as well as molecular imaging.
This study aimed to assess the prevalence, incidence, and persistence of suicidal ideation (SI), and to investigate the psychosocial factors associated with these.
A total of 1,204 community dwelling elderly adults aged 65 years or older were evaluated at baseline, 909 (75%) of whom were followed two years later. The presence of SI was identified using the questions from the community version of the Geriatric Mental State (GMS) diagnostic schedule (GMS B3) at both baseline and follow-up interviews. Baseline measures included demographic status, years of education, rural/urban residence, accommodation, past and current occupation, monthly income, marital status, stressful life events, social support deficits, number of physical illnesses, severity of pain, physical activity, disability, depressive symptoms, anxiety, insomnia, cognitive function, alcohol consumption, and smoking.
Baseline SI prevalence, follow-up incidence (SI rate at follow-up of 805 elderly subjects who did not have SI at baseline), and persistence (SI rate at follow-up of 104 elderly subjects who had SI at baseline) were 11.5%, 9.6%, and 36.5%, respectively. Baseline SI was independently associated with no current employment, lower monthly income, stressful life events, more severe pain, presence of disability, depressive symptoms, and smoking. Incident SI was independently predicted by baseline unmarried status, social support deficit, severe pain, presence of depressive symptoms, and smoking. Persistent SI was independently predicted by baseline stressful life events and depressive symptoms.
Depressive symptoms were independently associated with prevalent, incident, and persistent SI, but other predictors varied according to incidence and persistence outcomes.
Visual hallucination (VH) is a common psychotic symptom in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and may be a significant predictor of cognitive impairment (CI) in such patients.
This study aimed to investigate the pattern of glucose metabolism of VH and the relationship between VH and CI in PD.
We studied 28 PD patients, including 15 with VH (PD-VH) and 13 without VH (PD-NVH). Of the 15 PD-VH patients, 8 patients had cognitive impairment (PD-VHCI) whereas 7 did not (PD-VHNCI). All patients underwent [18F] fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography ([18F] FDG PET) followed by statistical parametric mapping (SPM) analyses.
Compared to the patients with PDNVH, PD-VHNCI patients showed glucose hypometabolism in the inferior and middle temporal cortices, fusiform gyri, and frontal areas, suggesting the involvement of the ventral visual pathway. Compared to the patients with PDNVH, PD-VHCI patients showed glucose hypometabolism in the temporoparietal association cortices with scattered frontal areas.
Dysfunction of ventral visual pathway involving the temporal lobe may play a key role in VH development in PD patients. The evolving distribution from the ventral visual pathway to more extensive posterior cortices in PD-VHCI patients suggests that VH may be a prodromal symptom occurring prior to CI in PD patients.