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The risk factors of environmental contamination by SARS-CoV-2 are largely unknown. We analyzed 1,320 environmental samples obtained from COVID-19 patients over 1 year. The risk factors for contamination of COVID-19 patients’ surrounding environment were higher viral load in the respiratory tract and shorter duration from symptom onset to sample collection.
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.
Clonorchis sinensis (C. sinensis), a trematode parasite that invades the hypoxic hepatobiliary tract of vertebrate hosts requires a considerable amount of oxygen for its sexual reproduction and energy metabolism. However, little is known regarding the molecular mechanism of C. sinensis involved in the adaptation to the hypoxic environments. In this study, we investigated the molecular structures and induction patterns of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and other basic helix–loop–helix and Per–Arnt–Sim (bHLH–PAS) domain-containing proteins such as HIF-1β, single-minded protein and aryl hydrocarbon receptor, which might prompt adaptive response to hypoxia, in C. sinensis. These proteins possessed various bHLH–PAS family-specific domains. Expression of C. sinensis HIF-1α (CsHIF-1α) was highly induced in worms which were either exposed to a hypoxic condition or co-incubated with human cholangiocytes. In addition to oxygen, nitric oxide and nitrite affected the CsHIF-1α expression depending on the surrounding oxygen concentration. Treatment using a prolyl hydroxylase-domain protein inhibitor under 20%-oxygen condition resulted in an increase in the CsHIF-1α level. Conversely, the other bHLH–PAS genes were less responsive to these exogenous stimuli. We suggest that nitrite and nitric oxide, as well as oxygen, coordinately involve in the regulation of HIF-1α expression to adapt to the hypoxic host environments in C. sinensis.
Depressive symptoms are common in bereaved caregivers; however, there have been few prospective studies using a structured interview. This study investigated the prevalence and preloss predictors of major depressive disorder (MDD) in bereaved caregivers of patients in a palliative care unit.
This prospective cohort study collected caregiver sociodemographic and psychological data before the death of a palliative care unit patient, including MDD, care-burden, coping style, and hopeful attitude. Postloss MDD was assessed 6 and 13 months after death, and a multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify its predictors.
Of 305 caregivers contacted, 92 participated in this study. The prevalence of preloss MDD was 21.8%; the prevalences of postloss MDD were 34.8% and 24.7% at 6 and 13 months, respectively. Preloss MDD predicted postloss MDD at 6 months (odds ratio [OR] = 5.38, 95% confidence interval [CI95%] = 1.29, 22.43); preloss nonhopeful attitude and unemployment status of caregivers predicted postloss MDD at 13 months (OR = 8.77, CI95% = 1.87, 41.13 and OR = 7.10, CI95% = 1.28, 39.36, respectively).
Significance of results
Approximately 35% of caregivers suffered from MDD at 6 months postloss, but the prevalence of MDD decreased to about 25% at 13 months. Preloss MDD significantly predicted postloss MDD at 6 months, whereas hopeful attitude and unemployment at baseline were significantly associated with postloss MDD at 13 months.
A growing number of studies are emphasizing the importance of positive and negative appraisals of caregiving and the utilization of social resources to buffer the negative effects of caring for persons with dementia. By assessing the roles of unmet needs and formal support, this study tested a hypothesized model for Korean family caregivers’ satisfaction and burden in providing care for persons with dementia.
The stress process model and a two-factor model were used as the conceptual framework for this study. Data for 320 family caregivers from a large cross-sectional survey, the Seoul Dementia Management study, were analyzed using structural equation modeling. In the hypothesized model, the exogenous variables were patient symptoms, including cognitive impairment, behavioral problems, and dependency on others to help with activities of daily living and with instrumental activities of daily living. The endogenous variables were the caregiver's perception of the unmet needs of the patient, formal support, caregiving satisfaction, and caregiving burden.
The adjusted model explained the mediating effect of unmet needs on the relationship between patient symptoms or formal support and caregiving satisfaction. Formal support also had a mediating effect on the relationship between patient symptoms and unmet needs. Patient symptoms and caregiving satisfaction had a significant direct effect on caregiving burden.
The level of unmet needs of persons with dementia and their family caregivers must be considered in the development of support programs focused on improving caregiving satisfaction.
Tyrosinase provides an essential activity during egg production in diverse platyhelminths by mediating sclerotization of eggshells. In this study, we investigated the genomic and evolutionary features of tyrosinases in parasitic platyhelminths whose genomic information is available. A pair of paralogous tyrosinases was detected in most trematodes, whereas they were lost in cyclophyllidean cestodes. A pseudophyllidean cestode displaying egg biology similar to that of trematodes possessed an orthologous gene. Interestingly, one of the paralogous tyrosinases appeared to have been multiplied into three copies in Clonorchis sinensis and Opisthorchis viverrini. In addition, a fifth tyrosinase gene that was minimally transcribed through all developmental stages was further detected in these opisthorchiid genomes. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that the tyrosinase gene has undergone duplication at least three times in platyhelminths. The additional opisthorchiid gene arose from the first duplication. A paralogous copy generated from these gene duplications, except for the last one, seemed to be lost in the major neodermatans lineages. In C. sinensis, tyrosinase gene expressions were initiated following sexual maturation and the levels were significantly enhanced by the presence of O2 and bile. Taken together, our data suggest that tyrosinase has evolved lineage-specifically across platyhelminths related to its copy number and induction mechanism.
Late Pleistocene carbon isotope (δ13C) records from a paleolithic sedimentary sequence collected from Baeki, Hongcheon, central Korea, show long-term changes with superimposed short-term isotopic excursions. The δ13C value of the sedimentary organic matter, a proxy for past vegetation change, varied from − 26‰ to − 23‰ for the period between 30 and 90 ka, with a long-term variation similar to insolation changes. High-amplitude (− 1‰ to approximately − 1.5‰) fluctuations superimposed on the long-term changes in the δ13C values decreased during stronger summer monsoon intervals but increased during the weakened summer monsoon. This millennial-scale pattern is generally similar to Greenland Dansgaard–Oeschger (D–O) cycles. The possible connection between the Hongcheon area, Korea and high latitudes may be explained by atmospheric circulation changing in response to the D–O oscillations in the Northern Hemisphere.
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.
The diagnostic relevance of subjective memory complaints (SMCs) in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) remains to be unresolved. The aim of this study is to determine clinical correlates of SMCs in MCI. Furthermore, we examined whether there are the differences due to different aspects of complaints (i.e. prospective memory (PM) versus retrospective memory (RM) complaints).
We examined the cross-sectional associations between SMCs and depressive symptoms, instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), and cognitive measures in sixty-six individuals with MCI (mean age: 65.7 ± 8.01 years). The criteria for MCI included SMCs, objective cognitive impairment, normal general cognitive function, largely intact functional activities, and absence of dementia. SMCs were assessed using the Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire (PRMQ), which contains 16 items describing everyday memory failure of both PM and RM.
SMC severity (i.e. PRMQ total score) was associated with stronger depressive symptoms and worse IADL performance. SMCs were not related to cognitive measures. For PM and RM subscores, both depressive symptoms and IADL were related to the PRMQ-PM and -RM scores. The main contributors to these PM and RM scores were depressive symptoms and IADL impairment, respectively.
This study suggests that SMCs are more associated with depressive symptoms and IADL problems than with cognitive performance in individuals with MCI. Furthermore, while PM and RM complaints are related to both depressive symptoms and IADL, the differences between these main contributors suggest that RM complaints based on IADL could be more associated with the organically driven pathological features of MCI.
Several factors associated with referral time to hospice and/or palliative care services have been identified, but there is no literature on the association between these services and the emotional status of the family caregivers (FCs). This article is intended to address that issue.
A semistructured interview was employed to collect data for a retrospective cohort study. The primary FCs of terminally ill cancer patients were interviewed at the time of the patient's referral to the palliative care unit. Interview data were combined with patients' medical record data for our analysis. The emotional status of the FCs was categorized into one of three groups according to their responses to the anticipated death of their family member: acceptance, anxious/depressed, and denial/angry. A Cox proportional hazard model was used to examine and identify the factors related to the length of stay (LOS) in the palliative care unit.
A total of 198 patient–FC pairs were identified. The median LOS was 18 days. A multivariate analysis with adjustment for potential variables revealed significant differences in LOS according to cancer type and time since cancer diagnosis. The denial/angry FC category was independently associated with a shorter LOS (vs. acceptance, adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 2.11; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.11–4.03).
Significance of Results:
We found that terminally ill cancer patients who were referred late had FCs who were in denial or were angry about the anticipated death of their loved one. The emotional status of FCs should be considered when patients with terminal cancer are referred to palliative care.
Despite recent reports regarding the biology of cytosine methylation in Schistosoma mansoni, the impact of the regulatory machinery remains unclear in diverse platyhelminthes. This ambiguity is reinforced by discoveries of DNA methyltransferase 2 (DNMT2)-only organisms and the substrate specificity of DNMT2 preferential to RNA molecules. Here, we characterized a novel DNA methyltransferase, named CsDNMT2, in a liver fluke Clonorchis sinensis. The protein exhibited structural properties conserved in other members of the DNMT2 family. The native and recombinant CsDNMT2 exhibited considerable enzymatic activity on DNA. The spatiotemporal expression of CsDNMT2 mirrored that of 5-methylcytosine (5 mC), both of which were elevated in the C. sinensis eggs. However, CsDNMT2 and 5 mC were marginally detected in other histological regions of C. sinensis adults including ovaries and seminal receptacle. The methylation site seemed not related to genomic loci occupied by progenies of an active long-terminal-repeat retrotransposon. Taken together, our data strongly suggest that C. sinensis has preserved the functional DNA methylation machinery and that DNMT2 acts as a genuine alternative to DNMT1/DNMT3 to methylate DNA in the DNMT2-only organism. The epigenetic regulation would target functional genes primarily involved in the formation and/or maturation of eggs, rather than retrotransposons.
To determine the influence of caregiver personality and other factors on the burden of family caregivers of terminally ill cancer patients.
We investigated a wide range of factors related to the patient–family caregiver dyad in a palliative care setting using a cross-sectional design. Caregiver burden was assessed using the seven-item short version of the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI–7). Caregiver personality was assessed using the 10-item short version of the Big Five Inventory (BFI–10), which measures the following five personality dimensions: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness. Patient- and caregiver-related sociodemographic and psychological factors were included in the analysis because of their potential association with caregiver burden. Clinical patient data were obtained from medical charts or by using other measures. Multivariate linear regression analysis was performed to identify the independent factors associated with caregiver burden.
We analyzed 227 patient–family caregiver dyads. The multivariate analysis revealed that caregiver extroversion was protective against caregiver burden, whereas depressive symptoms in caregivers were related to increased burden. Neuroticism was positively correlated with caregiver burden, but this relationship was nonsignificant following adjustment for depressive symptoms. Patient-related factors were not significantly associated with caregiver burden.
Significance of Results:
Evaluating caregiver personality traits could facilitate identification of individuals at greater risk of high burden. Furthermore, depression screening and treatment programs for caregivers in palliative care settings are required to decrease caregiver burden.
In this study, the transcriptome of Vitis flexuosa leaves inoculated with Elsinoe ampelina was analysed to identify useful genes and elucidate their function and differential expression patterns through assembly and annotation gene ontology of data from sequencing short reads on the Illumina platform. We assembled ~121 million high-quality trimmed reads using Velvet and Oases with optimal parameters into a non-redundant set of 70,899 transcripts ( ≥ 200 bp in length). The transcripts exhibited an average length of 1138 bp and a N50 length of 1695 bp, with the largest contig length being 9623 bp. Functional categorization revealed the conservation of genes involved in various molecular functions, including protein binding (21.1%) and oxidoreductase activity (11.7%), in V. flexuosa. The V. flexuosa transcript set generated in this study will serve as a resource for gene discovery and development of functional molecular markers.
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.
The effects of polymer substrates on the interfacial structure and the thermal stability of Ga-doped ZnO (GZO) thin films were investigated. The GZO thin films were deposited on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) substrates by rf-magnetron sputtering at room temperature, and thermal stability tests of the GZO thin films on the polymer substrates were performed at 150°C up to 8 h in air. Electrical and structural characterizations of the GZO thin films on the PET and the PEN substrates were carried out, and the origins of the stable interfacial structure and the improved thermal stability of the GZO thin film on the PEN substrate were discussed.
To compare the characteristics and risk factors for surgical site infections (SSIs) after total hip arthroplasty (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA) in a nationwide survey, using shared case detection and recording systems.
Retrospective cohort study.
Twenty-six hospitals participating in the Korean Nosocomial Infections Surveillance System (KONIS).
From 2006 to 2009, all patients undergoing THA and TKA in KONIS were enrolled.
SSI occurred in 161 (2.35%) of 6,848 cases (3,422 THAs and 3,426 TKAs). Pooled mean SSI rates were 1.69% and 2.82% for THA and TKA, respectively. Of the cases we examined, 42 (26%) were superficial-incisional SSIs and 119 (74%) were “severe” SSIs; of the latter, 24 (15%) were deep-incisional SSIs and 95 (59%) were organ/space SSIs. In multivariate analysis, a duration of preoperative hospital stay of greater than 3 days was a risk factor for total SSI after both THA and TKA. Diabetes mellitus, revision surgery, prolonged duration of surgery (above the 75th percentile), and the need for surgery due to trauma were independent risk factors for total and severe SSI after THA, while male sex and an operating room without artificial ventilation were independent risk factors for total and severe SSI after TKA. A large volume of surgeries (more than 10 procedures per month) protected against total and severe SSI, but only in patients who underwent TKA.
Risk factors for SSI after arthroplasty differ according to the site of the arthroplasty. Therefore, clinicians should take into account the site of arthroplasty in the analysis of SSI and the development of strategies for reducing SSI.
To evaluate the risk factors for surgical site infection (SSI) after gastric surgery in patients in Korea.
A nationwide prospective multicenter study.
Twenty university-affiliated hospitals in Korea.
The Korean Nosocomial Infections Surveillance System (KONIS), a Web-based system, was developed. Patients in 20 Korean hospitals from 2007 to 2009 were prospectively monitored for SSI for up to 30 days after gastric surgery. Demographic data, hospital characteristics, and potential perioperative risk factors were collected and analyzed, using multivariate logistic regression models.
Of the 4,238 case patients monitored, 64.9% (2,752) were male, and mean age (±SD) was 58.8 (±12.3) years. The SSI rates were 2.92, 6.45, and 10.87 per 100 operations for the National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance system risk index categories of 0, 1, and 2 or 3, respectively. The majority (69.4%) of the SSIs observed were organ or space SSIs. The most frequently isolated microorganisms were Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Male sex (odds ratio [OR], 1.67 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.09–2.58]), increased operation time (1.20 [1.07–1.34] per 1-hour increase), reoperation (7.27 [3.68–14.38]), combined multiple procedures (1.79 [1.13–2.83]), prophylactic administration of the first antibiotic dose after skin incision (3.00 [1.09–8.23]), and prolonged duration (≥7 days) of surgical antibiotic prophylaxis (SAP; 2.70 [1.26–5.64]) were independently associated with increased risk of SSI.
Male sex, inappropriate SAP, and operation-related variables are independent risk factors for SSI after gastric surgery.
Oxidative stress may be affected by lead exposure as well as antioxidants, yet little is known about the interaction between dietary antioxidants and blood lead levels (BLL) on oxidative stress level. We investigated the interaction between dietary antioxidants and BLL on oxidative stress level. As part of the Biomarker Monitoring for Environmental Health conducted in Seoul and Incheon, Korea, between April and December 2005, we analysed data from 683 adults (female = 47·4 %, mean age 51·4 (sd 8·4) years) who had complete measures on BLL, dietary intakes and oxidative stress marker (urinary 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG)). Dietary intakes were assessed by a validated semi-quantitative FFQ, BLL was measured using atomic absorption spectrophotometry, and 8-OHdG by ELISA. Multivariate linear regression analyses were used to evaluate the influence of BLL on the association between dietary antioxidants and 8-OHdG. Geometric means of BLL and 8-OHdG concentrations were 4·1 (sd 1·5) μg/dl and 5·4 (sd 1·9) μg/g creatinine, respectively. Increases of vitamins C and E were significantly associated with the decrease of log10 8-OHdG in the adults from the lowest quartile of the BLL group ( ≤ 3·18 μg/dl, geometric mean = 2·36 μg/dl) than those of the highest quartile BLL group (>5·36 μg/dl, geometric mean = 6·78 μg/dl). Regarding antioxidant-related foods, vegetables excluding kimchi showed a higher inverse relationship with 8-OHdG in the lowest quartile BLL group than the highest group. These findings suggest a rationale for lowering the BLL and increasing the intake of dietary antioxidants in the urban population in Korea.
The effects of tannic acid (TA) supplementation (0·02 %, wt/wt) were compared with the effects of clofibrate (CF) supplementation (0·02 %, wt/wt) in apo E-deficient (apo E− / −) mice fed a AIN-76 semi-synthetic diet (normal diet) over 20 weeks. The mice were monitored for the modulation of hepatic mRNA expression and the activities of lipid-regulating enzymes. Both TA and CF supplementation lowered hepatic 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGR) activity and prevented atherosclerotic lesion formation in comparison with the control group. Hepatic carnitine palmitoyl transferase and β-oxidation activities were significantly higher in the TA and CF groups than in the control group. Both CF and TA supplementation resulted in significant decreases in hepatic HMGR mRNA levels in association with its enzyme activity. However, in contrast to CF supplementation, TA supplementation seemed to decrease the accumulation of hepatic lipids in the apo E− / − mice without increasing liver weight. These results suggest that the overall effect of TA is more desirable than CF for the alleviation of hepatic lipogenesis and atherogenesis in apo E− / − mice.