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Verbascum blattaria L., commonly known as moth mullein, naturalized in the USA that produces white or yellow flowers could be considered as a potential ornamental plant. However, genetic characterization using molecular markers and leaf morphology, colourimetric analysis and flowering of V. blattaria influenced by low temperature treatments was not investigated to evaluate as a potential horticultural and landscape plant use. The basal leaves developed during the rosette-growth stage were oblanceolate with an obtuse leaf apex and incisions at the margin. Leaves produced on the stem during the reproductive development were ovate or lanceolate with an obtuse or acute leaf apex. Regardless of the colour of the petiole and leaf blade during the rosette-growth stage, there were no differences in the sequences of nuclear ribosomal ITS and chloroplast interspacer. All plants produced creamy white flowers with a purplish base corolla. All leaves formed during the vegetative and reproductive development were glabrous. Numerous stalked glandular trichomes were observed in the sepal, pedicel and bracts. Seeds started to germinate in 10 days at 25°C and reached the plateau in 30 days after sowing. The earliest flowering occurred in 131 days when the plants received 20 days of low temperature treatment (CD) (20 CD), producing 76 flowers, the highest number compared to the number of flowers produced by plants that received 0, 40 and 60 CD. Plants that received 20 CD exhibited early flowering, probably because of the early transition from vegetative growth to reproductive development, as judged by the short stem to the first flower.
It has been suggested that psychosocial factors are related to survival time of inpatients with cancer. However, there are not many studies examining the relationship between spiritual well-being (SWB) and survival time among countries. This study investigated the relationship between SWB and survival time among three East Asian countries.
This international multicenter cohort study is a secondary analysis involving newly admitted inpatients with advanced cancer in palliative care units in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. SWB was measured using the Integrated Palliative Outcome Scale (IPOS) at admission. We performed multivariate analysis using the Cox proportional hazards model to identify independent prognostic factors.
A total of 2,638 patients treated at 37 palliative care units from January 2017 to September 2018 were analyzed. The median survival time was 18.0 days (95% confidence interval [CI] 16.5–19.5) in Japan, 23.0 days (95% CI 19.9–26.1) in Korea, and 15.0 days (95% CI 13.0–17.0) in Taiwan. SWB was a significant factor correlated with survival in Taiwan (hazard ratio [HR] 1.27; 95% CI 1.01–1.59; p = 0.04), while it was insignificant in Japan (HR 1.10; 95% CI 1.00–1.22; p = 0.06), and Korea (HR 1.02; 95% CI 0.77–1.35; p = 0.89).
Significance of results
SWB on admission was associated with survival in patients with advanced cancer in Taiwan but not Japan or Korea. The findings suggest the possibility of a positive relationship between spiritual care and survival time in patients with far advanced cancer.
Accurate prognostication is important for patients and their families to prepare for the end of life. Objective Prognostic Score (OPS) is an easy-to-use tool that does not require the clinicians’ prediction of survival (CPS), whereas Palliative Prognostic Score (PaP) needs CPS. Thus, inexperienced clinicians may hesitate to use PaP. We aimed to evaluate the accuracy of OPS compared with PaP in inpatients in palliative care units (PCUs) in three East Asian countries.
This study was a secondary analysis of a cross-cultural, multicenter cohort study. We enrolled inpatients with far-advanced cancer in PCUs in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan from 2017 to 2018. We calculated the area under the receiver operating characteristics (AUROC) curve to compare the accuracy of OPS and PaP.
A total of 1,628 inpatients in 33 PCUs in Japan and Korea were analyzed. OPS and PaP were calculated in 71.7% of the Japanese patients and 80.0% of the Korean patients. In Taiwan, PaP was calculated for 81.6% of the patients. The AUROC for 3-week survival was 0.74 for OPS in Japan, 0.68 for OPS in Korea, 0.80 for PaP in Japan, and 0.73 for PaP in Korea. The AUROC for 30-day survival was 0.70 for OPS in Japan, 0.71 for OPS in Korea, 0.79 for PaP in Japan, and 0.74 for PaP in Korea.
Significance of results
Both OPS and PaP showed good performance in Japan and Korea. Compared with PaP, OPS could be more useful for inexperienced physicians who hesitate to estimate CPS.
Several studies supported the usefulness of “the surprise question” in terms of 1-year mortality of patients. “The surprise question” requires a “Yes” or “No” answer to the question “Would I be surprised if this patient died in [specific time frame].” However, the 1-year time frame is often too long for advanced cancer patients seen by palliative care personnel. “The surprise question” with shorter time frames is needed for decision making. We examined the accuracy of “the surprise question” for 7-day, 21-day, and 42-day survival in hospitalized patients admitted to palliative care units (PCUs).
This was a prospective multicenter cohort study of 130 adult patients with advanced cancer admitted to 7 hospital-based PCUs in South Korea. The accuracy of “the surprise question” was compared with that of the temporal question for clinician's prediction of survival.
We analyzed 130 inpatients who died in PCUs during the study period. The median survival was 21.0 days. The sensitivity, specificity, and overall accuracy for the 7-day “the surprise question” were 46.7, 88.7, and 83.9%, respectively. The sensitivity, specificity, and overall accuracy for the 7-day temporal question were 6.7, 98.3, and 87.7%, respectively. The c-indices of the 7-day “the surprise question” and 7-day temporal question were 0.662 (95% CI: 0.539–0.785) and 0.521 (95% CI: 0.464–0.579), respectively. The c-indices of the 42-day “the surprise question” and 42-day temporal question were 0.554 (95% CI: 0.509–0.599) and 0.616 (95% CI: 0.569–0.663), respectively.
Significance of results
Surprisingly, “the surprise questions” and temporal questions had similar accuracies. The high specificities for the 7-day “the surprise question” and 7- and 21-day temporal question suggest they may be useful to rule in death if positive.
The explosive outbreak of COVID-19 led to a shortage of medical resources, including isolation rooms in hospitals, healthcare workers (HCWs) and personal protective equipment. Here, we constructed a new model, non-contact community treatment centres to monitor and quarantine asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic COVID-19 patients who recorded their own vital signs using a smartphone application. This new model in Korea is useful to overcome shortages of medical resources and to minimise the risk of infection transmission to HCWs.
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.
Despite the possibility that cognitive deficits associated with depression may have different patterns depending on the level of neurocognitive impairment, there remains no clear evidence of this. This study aimed to investigate the differential association between depression and cognitive function in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
A cross-sectional analysis was performed of data from 1,724 patients with MCI and 1,247 patients with AD from the Clinical Research Center for Dementia in Korea. Depression was assessed using the Korean form of the Geriatric Depression Scale, and cognition was measured using the Seoul Neuropsychological Screening Battery, which includes five domains (attention, language and related function, visuospatial function, memory, and frontal/executive function).
Significant differences were found between the two groups (non-depressed vs. depressed) in visuospatial, memory, and executive function domains in the MCI group, as well as in the attention domain in the AD group. The association between depressive symptoms and cognitive function was significantly greater in patients with MCI than in those with AD. These associations were more pronounced in memory and executive function.
Our findings suggest that the association between depression and decreased cognitive function is more pronounced in MCI than AD.
Spirituality is what gives people meaning and purpose in life, and it has been recognized as a critical factor in patients’ well-being, particularly at the ends of their lives. Studies have demonstrated relationships between spirituality and patient-reported outcomes such as quality of life and mental health. Although a number of studies have suggested that spiritual belief can be associated with mortality, the results are inconsistent. We aimed to determine whether spirituality was related to survival in advanced cancer inpatients in Korea.
For this multicenter study, we recruited adult advanced cancer inpatients who had been admitted to seven palliative care units with estimated survival of <3 months. We measured spirituality at admission using the Korean version of the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual Well-Being (FACIT-sp), which comprises two subscales: meaning/peace and faith. We calculated a Kaplan-Meier curve for spirituality, dichotomized at the predefined cutoffs and medians for the total scale and each of the two subscales, and performed univariate regression with a Cox proportional hazard model.
We enrolled a total of 204 adults (mean age: 64.5 ± 13.0; 48.5% female) in the study. The most common primary cancer diagnoses were lung (21.6%), colorectal (18.6%), and liver/biliary tract (13.0%). Median survival was 19.5 days (95% confidence interval [CI95%]: 23.5, 30.6). Total FACIT-sp score was not related to survival time (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.981, CI95% = 0.957, 1.007), and neither were the scores for its two subscales, meaning/peace (HR = 0.969, CI95% = 0.932, 1.008) and faith (HR = 0.981, CI95% = 0.938, 1.026).
Significance of results
Spirituality was not related to survival in advanced cancer inpatients in Korea. Plausible mechanisms merit further investigation.
Echinochloa species are among the most troublesome weeds in
rice cultivation, and grow in a broad habitat range in Korea. Although
various ecotypes of Echinochloa have been collected as
germplasm for future studies, it has been difficult to classify them due to
their high level of morphological similarity. This study was thus conducted
to develop and investigate the phylogenetic relationships between 77
Echinochloa accessions with the use of 23 simple
sequence repeat (SSR) markers and 24 morphological traits. Of 77
Echinochloa accessions, including 57 accessions from
Korea and 5 reference species, late watergrass was clearly clustered as a
distinctive group from barnyardgrass and other Echinochloa
species. In this analysis, we also identified core genetic and morphological
markers that can be used for the future identification and classification of
Echinochloa species. Five out of 23 SSR makers produced
distinctive bands that discriminate late watergrass from barnyardgrass and
other Echinochloa species. Four morphological traits of the
reproductive organs were the most influential contributors for classifying
Echinochloa species. Although there was no clear
consensus generated in this study between SSR markers and morphological
trait analyses, our results support the potential use of the selected SSR
markers and morphological traits in future studies of
To trace past changes in flooding frequency, we investigated fluvial sediments in the middle reach of the Nakdong River, South Korea. Sediments with larger grain size, lower total organic carbon percentage, and depleted δ13C values in the recovered sediment cores were interpreted as periods of more frequent flooding. Patterns of decreased long-term flooding frequency and vegetation changes during the early to late Holocene were similar to the decreasing regional summer monsoon intensity. Multicentennial frequent flooding periods in the study area (2900–3400 cal yr BP, 3600–3900 cal yr BP, 4600–5300 cal yr BP, and 5800–6400 cal yr BP) corresponded to stronger El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) activity periods. Based on previous studies showing that high-frequency tropical typhoon-driven coastal inundation along the western coast of Japan during the middle to late Holocene was coupled with stronger ENSO activity, it is likely that the observed centennial-to-millennial-scale flood frequency change in South Korea was influenced mainly by changes in the genesis and tracks of tropical typhoons at centennial-to-millennial time scales. This suggests that the centennial-to-millennial-scale hydrologic changes in East Asia were linked to the remote atmospheric-oceanic circulation changes represented by an ENSO-like pattern.
To evaluate the appropriateness of the screening strategy for healthcare personnel (HCP) during a hospital-associated Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak, we performed a serologic investigation in 189 rRT-PCR–negative HCP exposed and assigned to MERS patients. Although 20%–25% of HCP experienced MERS-like symptoms, none of them showed seroconversion by plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT).
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.
Existing literature suggests that mental health literacy is positively associated with mental health services utilization. Despite an aging population that faces significant mental health concerns in Korea, the role of mental health literacy on mental health services utilization is not known among older adults in Korea. This study aimed to (1) identify whether mental health literacy mediates the association between population characteristics and mental health services utilization and (2) identify an optimal path model for mental health services utilization among Korean older adults.
Using a cross-sectional survey with a quota sampling strategy, we collected and analyzed responses from 596 community-dwelling individuals ages 65 years and older. We used structural equation modeling (SEM) to estimate the effect of mental health literacy as a mediator.
When controlling for other relevant covariates in the optimal path model, mental health literacy mediated the relationships between three socio-demographic factors (education, general literacy, and health status) and mental health services utilization. The model fit index shows that the SEM fits very well (CFI = 0.92, NFI = 0.90, RMSEA = 0.07).
Efforts to improve mental health literacy through community-based education programs may need to particularly target Korean older adults with the relevant socio-demographic characteristics to enhance their utilization of appropriate mental health services.
The HoDoo English game was developed to take advantage of the benefits attributed to on-line games while teaching English to native Korean speakers. We expected to see that the improvements in the subjects’ English language abilities after playing the HoDoo English game would be associated with increased brain functional connectivity in the areas of the brain involved in the language production (Broca’s area) and the understanding (Wernicke’s area) networks. Twelve children, aged nine and ten, were asked to play the on-line English education game for 50 minutes per day, five days per week for twelve weeks. At baseline, and again at the end of twelve weeks of game play, each child’s English language ability was assessed and a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan was conducted. The on-line English education game play effectively improved English language skills, especially in terms of non-verbal pragmatic skills. Following twelve weeks of on-line English education game play, the children showed positive connectivity between Broca’s area and the left frontal cortex as well as between Wernicke’s area and the left parahippocampal gyrus and the right medial frontal gyrus. Changes in pragmatic scores were positively correlated with average peak brain activity in the left parahippocampal gyrus. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to report an improvement in English ability and changes in brain activity within language areas after on-line language education game play.
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.
Since 1994, the KHNP has developed a vitrification technology to treat the LILW generated from Korean nuclear power plant. To vitrify the LILW including combustible Dry Active Waste (DAW) and Ion Exchange Resin (IER) containing Zeolite, two borosilicate glasses are formulated. One of the formulated glass, DG2, is for the DAW vitrification solely and the other one, AG8W1, is for the blended wastes (DAW & IER) vitrification in a commercial vitrification facility in HanUl (former Ulchin) nuclear power plant. The physicochemical properties of the two glasses have been evaluated. To evaluate the processability of the glasses, the viscosities and electrical conductivities of the glass melts were measured in the laboratory within a temperature range between 950 and 1,350 degrees C, respectively. The liquidus temperatures of the glasses were evaluated using a gradient furnace for DG2 and data from heat treatment for AG8W1. The Mössbauer spectroscopy for AG8W1 was employed to evaluate the relations between the redox equilibria of iron. In addition, to verify the waste acceptance criteria for the final disposal of the vitrified forms, the compressive strengths of the vitrified forms were tested after an immersion test, a thermal cycling test, and an irradiation test. To verify the chemical durability of the glasses, several tests such as PCT, ISO, VHT, Soxhlet, MCC-1, and ANS16.1 were carried out. The PCT showed leach rates of B, Na, Li and Si were much less than those of the benchmark glass. The ISO test was performed at 90 degrees C for 1,022 days and Cumulative Fraction Leached of all elements in the glasses were analyzed. According to the VHT, the glasses had an outstanding chemical resistance under humid environment at 200 degrees C for 7 days. The Soxhlet leaching was performed on rectangular glass samples at 98 degrees C for 30 days. To analyze the forward dissolution rates of major glass elements, the MCC-1 was conducted at temperatures of 40, 70, and 90 degrees C for three weeks in pH buffer solutions ranging from pH 4 to 11. The processability of the glasses was in the desired ranges. And the product quality of the glasses met all regulatory guidelines. Using two glasses, the CCIM commissioning tests in the UVF were successfully performed and they showed good workability.
Liposomal drug delivery products have been already commercialized in tumor therapeutics, which can realize passive tumor targeting via enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect resulting from the leaky tumor vasculature. To control drug release out of the liposomes, thermo-sensitive liposomes (TSLs) have been developed so that an abrupt exposure of highly concentrated drugs to tumor tissues was enabled by locally treated thermal stimuli. As interests upon TSL have increased along with ongoing clinical trials, some types of TSLs with different physical properties in pharmacokinetics and the mechanism of drug release have been formulated. However, there are few protocols established with a desirable heat source to maximize the efficacy of different TSLs as treating tumors. In this study, we examined different protocols for the most effective application of different TSLs to tumor therapy. First, we examined if enhancing the accumulation of TSLs within tumor tissues prior to bursting drugs out of TSLs could lead to increasing anti-tumor efficacy. Second, we compared the efficiency of two different heat sources on the use of TSL, a warm water bath (42°C) and high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). Our study suggests that the specified protocol be setup for TSLs with different physical properties to optimally function in tumor therapies.
Direct heteroarylation polymerization was employed to synthesize a novel low bandgap polymer, used as a p-type material of polymer photovoltaic cells. To achieve low bandgap of conjugated polymers, electron donor-acceptor (D-A) alternating strategy was used. The electron-donating 3-alkylthiophene and electron-withdrawing cyanothiophene were coupled to be polymerized via direct heteroarylation polymerization. The cyano moiety of the polymer backbone allowed a strong intermolecular interaction between neighboring chains and improved the structural perfection of the crystal structure on the substrate. The solar cell devices of ITO/PEDOT:PSS/P3HT:PCBM/LiF/Al were fabricated on ITO-coated glass substrate.
Resistance degradation of zirconium (Zr)-doped barium titanate (BaTiO3) was investigated. A series of Ba(Ti1−yZry)O3 powders and coarse-grained ceramics ranging y from 0 to 0.1 were prepared. The increase of Zr concentration systematically increased the time to as well as electric field to degradation. Such behaviors directly corresponded to those of ionic conduction contribution as evaluated by the Warburg impedance. The magnitude of Warburg impedance decreased with the increase of Zr concentration, which demonstrates that the Zr incorporation inhibits the ionic conduction caused by oxygen vacancies. The prototype multilayer ceramic capacitor (MLCC) samples were also prepared by applying these Ba(Ti1−yZry)O3 base powders and formulated X5R additives of commercial application. In this case, however, such distinct difference in degradation behavior with the variation of Zr concentration did not appear. It is supposed that the influence of additives far outweighs the effect of relative difference in the ionic conduction of Ba(Ti1−yZry)O3 under the MLCC test condition where the applied electric field strength is much higher than those for the coarse-grained bulk ceramics. Resistance degradation of MLCC under such high field might not be explained by only oxygen vacancy-related behavior alone.