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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.
The prevalence of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) strains causing bloodstream infection (BSI) has not been studied in Korea.
We sought to determine the prevalence of CA-MRSA strains among isolates recovered from patients with MRSA BSIs and to explore epidemiological changes in Korea. We also sought to evaluate clinical characteristics relevant to the development of healthcare-associated BSIs.
We prospectively collected consecutive MRSA isolates from patients with BSI at 4 hospitals from July 1 through November 30, 2007, and we also included MRSA isolates recovered from culture of blood samples collected during a previous year (October 1, 2004 through September 30, 2005) at a different hospital. Molecular typing studies were performed, including pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), multilocus sequence typing, Staphylococcus protein A (spa) typing, and staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) typing. We compared the clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with healthcare-associated BSI due to CA-MRSA strains with those of patients with healthcare-associated BSI due to healthcare-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA) strains.
There were 76 cases of MRSA BSI, of which 4 (5.3%) were community-associated and 72 (94.7%) were healthcare-associated. Among the 72 HA-MRSA BSIs, 18 (25%) were community onset, and 54 (75%) were hospital onset. PFGE type D-ST72–spa B-SCCmec type IVA MRSA, the predominant genotype of CA-MRSA in Korea, accounted for 19 (25%) of all 76 MRSA BSIs, including 17 (23.6%) of 72 HA-MRSA BSIs and 11 (20.8%) of 53 hospital-onset HA-MRSA BSIs. Patients with healthcare-associated BSIs due to CA-MRSA strains carrying SCCmec type IVA tended to have fewer healthcare-associated risk factors, compared with patients with healthcare-associated BSIs due to HA-MRSA strains carrying other SCCmec types. The presence of a central venous catheter or other invasive device was the only independent factor differentiating patients infected with hospital-associated genotype strains from patients infected with other strains. Clinical outcomes were similar between both groups.
CA-MRSA strains are emerging as a major cause of BSI in healthcare settings in Korea. This changing epidemiology of MRSA poses a challenge to public health and infection control in hospital settings.
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