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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.
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.
This study aimed to describe the levels of social engagement and to examine the relationship between the nursing home scale groups and social engagement in nursing homes in South Korea.
A total of 314 residents were randomly selected from rosters provided by 10 nursing homes located in three metropolitan areas in South Korea. The outcome variable was social engagement measured by the Revised Index of Social Engagement (RISE), and the key independent variable was the nursing home scale (small, medium, and large). Individual factors (age, gender, activities of daily living and cognitive function, and depressive symptoms) and organizational factors (location, ownership, and staffing levels) were controlled in the model as covariates. Multilevel logistic regression was used in this study.
About half of the residents (46%) in this study were not socially engaged in the nursing home (RISE=0) where they resided. Controlling for individual- and organizational-level factors, the nursing home facility size was a significant factor to predict the likelihood of residents’ social engagement, with that the residents in large-scale nursing homes being less likely to be socially engaged than those in medium-scale nursing homes (odds ratio = 0.457; p-value = 0.005).
This study supports evidence from previous studies that smaller-scale nursing homes are likely to provide more person-centered care compared to larger-scale nursing homes. Subsequent quality studies are needed to examine how the mechanisms for how smaller-scale nursing homes can enhance residents’ social engagement in terms of care delivery processes.
To examine the association of food insufficiency with dietary intake and eating and health behaviours.
A cross-sectional study.
Data were obtained from a secondary source, the Fifth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2010–2012).
The sample size consisted of 15 603 adults over 19 years of age (8898 households).
Significant differences in socio-economic factors were observed according to food insufficiency level (P<0·05), but BMI was similar among groups. Regarding macronutrients, lower protein intake and higher carbohydrate intake were found in the severely food-insufficient group, but we found no association with fat intake. Regarding micronutrients, Ca, Fe, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin niacin and vitamin C intakes were negatively associated with food insufficiency level (Ptrend<0·05). Consumption of different food groups, such as meat, fish, eggs and beans, vegetables and fruits, was significantly lower as food insufficiency level decreased after controlling for all possible variables; food group consumption also differed by sex. Overall eating and health behaviours were poorer in the mildly and severely food-insufficient groups, who received more food assistance but less nutritional education.
Our results showed that dietary intake as well as eating and health behaviours are adversely associated with food insufficiency. These findings suggest that specific strategies to help food-insufficient individuals should be developed in order to improve their dietary quality and health status.
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.
The present study was performed to investigate whether breast-feeding is associated with early pubertal development among children 7–9 years old in Korea.
Children were divided into those who did and did not receive breast-feeding for 6 months or longer in accordance with the recommendations of the WHO. Pubertal status was determined by clinical examination using Tanner staging.
Prospective observational study.
We conducted a follow-up study of children aged 7–9 years in 2011 who had taken part in the Ewha Birth & Growth Cohort study.
Fifty (22·8 %) of the total of 219 children were in early puberty, with the proportion being slightly higher for girls (24·1 %) than boys (21·4 %). Children who had entered early puberty were taller, weighed more and had a higher concentration of insulin-like growth factor 1. Moreover, the change in weight Z-score from birth to follow-up was significantly lower in children who were breast-fed than in those who were not (weight Z-score change: 0·32 (sd 1·59) v. 0·77 (sd 1·61), respectively, P=0·04). Comparison of breast-feeding by puberty status indicated a preventive association with early puberty in children who were breast-fed for 6 months or longer (OR=0·37; 95 % CI 0·18, 0·74). This association remained significant after adjustment for relevant covariates.
These results demonstrate a beneficial association between breast-feeding and early pubertal development, especially in those breast-fed for 6 months or longer. The study suggests that interventions would need to start early in life to prevent early pubertal development.
The aim of the present study was to identify the genes differentially expressed in the visceral adipose tissue in a well-characterised mouse model of high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity. Male C57BL/6J mice (n 20) were fed either HFD (189 % of energy from fat) or low-fat diet (LFD, 42 % of energy from fat) for 16 weeks. HFD-fed mice exhibited obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidaemia and adipose collagen accumulation, along with higher levels of plasma leptin, resistin and plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1, although there were no significant differences in plasma cytokine levels. Energy intake was similar in the two diet groups owing to lower food intake in the HFD group; however, energy expenditure was also lower in the HFD group than in the LFD group. Microarray analysis revealed that genes related to lipolysis, fatty acid metabolism, mitochondrial energy transduction, oxidation–reduction, insulin sensitivity and skeletal system development were down-regulated in HFD-fed mice, and genes associated with extracellular matrix (ECM) components, ECM remodelling and inflammation were up-regulated. The top ten up- or down-regulated genes include Acsm3, mt-Nd6, Fam13a, Cyp2e1, Rgs1 and Gpnmb, whose roles in the deterioration of obesity-associated adipose tissue are poorly understood. In conclusion, the genes identified here provide new therapeutic opportunities for prevention and treatment of diet-induced obesity.
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.
Cataract, defined as opacity of the lens in one or both eyes, is a major cause of blindness throughout the world, and not uncommon, particularly in the elderly population. However, congenital cataracts are rare and occur with a frequency of 30 cases in 100,000 births. About one-third of the cases fall into the group inherited without systemic abnormality. Importantly, congenital cataracts produce deprivation amblyopia, refractive amblyopia, and retinal detachment, leading to lifelong visual impairment. Successful management is dependent on early diagnosis and referral for surgery when indicated. Here we present a case of hereditary bilateral cataracts in a dizygotic twin detected on prenatal ultrasound examinations and postnatally confirmed as congenital cataracts associated with posterior lenticonus.
In this study, we fabricated blue OLEDs with quantum well structure (QWS) using four different blue emissive materials such as DPVBi, ADN and DPASN, and BAlq as QWS material. Conventional QWS blue OLEDs used to be composed of emissive layer and charge blocking layer with lower HOMO-LUMO energy level, but we designed triple emitting layer for more significant hole-electron recombination in EML and a wider region of exciton generation as forming QWS spontaneously. The structure of triple emitting layered blue OLED is ITO / NPB(700 Å) / X(100 Å) / BAlq(100 Å) /X (100 Å) / Bphen(300 Å) / Liq(20 Å) / Al(1200 Å) (X= DPVBi, ADN, DPASN). HOMO-LUMO energy levels of DPVBi, ADN, DPASN and BAlq were 2.8-5.9, 2.6-5.6, 2.3-5.2 and 2.9-5.9 eV, respectively. The maximum luminous efficiency was 5.32 cd/A at 3.5 V in a blue OLED with DPASN / BAlq / DPASN QWS.
The electroluminescent characteristics of blue organic light-emitting diodes(BOLEDs) were fabricated with single emitting layer using host-dopant system and doped charge carrier transport layers. The structure of the high efficiency BOLED device was; NPB(600Å)/NPB:BCzVBi-7%(100Å)/ADN:BCzVBi-7%(300Å)/BAlq:BCzVBi-7%(100Å)/BAlq(200Å)/Liq(20Å)/Al(1200Å) to optimize probability of exciton generation by doping BCzVBi in emitting layer and hole/electron transport layers(HTL/ETL) as well. Luminance and luminous efficiency of BOLED doped BCzVBi in EML and HTL/ETL improved from 10090 cd/m2 at 9.5V and 6.44 cd/A at 4.0V to 13190 cd/m2 at 9.5V and 7.64 cd/A at 4.0V about 30% and 18%, respectively, with CIE coordinates of (0.14, 0.17) comparing to BOLED doped BCzVBi in EML only
In this study, we demonstrate blue organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) with a dual emitting layer (EML) configuration consisting of fluorescent and phosphorescent emitting materials. We investigated the influence of dopants on the electrical and optical characteristics of devices when controlling the fluorescent dopant concentration. The current density and luminance of device B doped with 12wt% BCzVBi was 141.6 mA/cm2 and 6582 cd/m2 at 10V, respectively. In addition, a maximum luminous efficiency of 8.11 cd/A, was achieved from device B. The corresponding Commission Internationale de l’E´ clairage (CIExy) coordinates of device D doped with 5wt% BCzVBi were (0.143, 0.255) at 6V.
Adiponectin has been associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus and possibly fetal growth. Our aim was to assess the association between the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the adiponectin gene (ADIPOQ) and the birth sizes. We investigated four SNPs of ADIPOQ (rs182052, rs2241766, rs1501299, and rs266729) and birth height and weight in 237 healthy full-term neonates. The neonates with the rs182052 G allele had a greater birth weight (p = .043 in the dominant model) and a higher ponderal index (p = .028 in the additive model). The rs2241766 G allele was associated with a greater birth weight (p = .016 in the recessive model). In a logistic regression analysis, the homozygotes for the rs182052 G allele and those for the rs2241766 G allele showed a significant association with a greater birth weight above 90 percentile (OR 2.75, 95% CI 1.13–6.70 and OR 5.15, 95% CI 1.66–15.99, respectively). In conclusion, we found an association between rs182052 and rs2241766 and birth weight and ponderal index among healthy neonates and suggested that adiponectin might have some roles in fetal growth.
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.
We have carried out simultaneous 22 GHz H2O and 44 GHz Class I CH3OH maser line surveys of more than 1500 intermediate- and high-mass YSOs in the Galaxy using newly-constructed KVN 21-m telescopes. As the central (proto)stars evolve, the detection rates of the two masers rapidly decrease for intermediate-mass YSOs while the rates increase for high-mass YSOs. These results suggest that the occurrence of the two masers is closely related both to the evolutionary stage of the central objects and to the circumstellar environments. CH3OH masers always have very similar velocities (<10 km s−1) to the natal dense cores, whereas H2O masers often have significantly different velocities. The isotropic luminosities of both masers are well correlated with the bolometric luminosities of the central (proto)stars.
We investigated the pressure dependence of the inductive coupled plasma (ICP) oxidation on the electrical characteristics of the thin oxide films. Activation energies and electron temperatures with different pressures were estimated. To demonstrate the pressure effect on the plasma oxide quality, simple N type metal-oxide-semiconductor (NMOS) transistors were fabricated and investigated in a few electrical properties. At higher pressure than 200mTorr, plasma oxide has a slightly higher on-current and a lower interfacial trap density. The on-current gain seems to be related to the field mobility increase and the lower defective interface to the electron temperature during oxidation.