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There are growing concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of older adults. We examined the effect of the pandemic on the risk of depression in older adults.
We analyzed data from the prospective cohort study of Korean older adults, which has been followed every 2 years. Among the 2308 participants who completed both the third and the fourth follow-up assessments, 58.4% completed their fourth follow-up before the outbreak of COVID-19 and the rest completed it during the pandemic. We conducted face-to-face diagnostic interviews using Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview and used Geriatric Depression Scale. We performed generalized estimating equations and logistic regression analyses.
The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with increased depressive symptoms in older adults [b (standard error) = 0.42 (0.20), p = 0.040] and a doubling of the risk for incident depressive disorder even in euthymic older adults without a history of depression (odds ratio = 2.44, 95% confidence interval 1.18–5.02, p = 0.016). Less social activities, which was associated with the risk of depressive disorder before the pandemic, was not associated with the risk of depressive disorder during the pandemic. However, less family gatherings, which was not associated with the risk of depressive disorder before the pandemic, was associated with the doubled risk of depressive disorder during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly influences the risk of late-life depression in the community. Older adults with a lack of family gatherings may be particularly vulnerable.
To evaluate the bidirectional relationship between blood pressure (BP) and depressive symptoms using a large prospective cohort study.
Prospective cohort study was performed in 276 244 adults who participated in a regular health check-up and were followed annually or biennially for up to 5.9 years. BP levels were categorised according to the 2017 American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association hypertension guidelines. Depressive symptoms were assessed using Centre for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression (CESD) questionnaire and a cut-off score of ≥25 was regarded as case-level depressive symptoms.
During 672 603.3 person-years of follow-up, 5222 participants developed case-level depressive symptoms. The multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) [95% confidence interval (CI)] for incident case-level depressive symptoms comparing hypotension, elevated BP, hypertension stage 1 and hypertension stage 2 to normal BP were 1.07 (0.99–1.16), 0.93 (0.82–1.05), 0.89 (0.81–0.97) and 0.81 (0.62–1.06), respectively (p for trend <0.001). During 583 615.3 person-years of follow-up, 27 787 participants developed hypertension. The multivariable-adjusted HRs (95% CI) for incident hypertension comparing CESD 16–24 and ⩾25 to CESD < 16 were 1.05 (1.01–1.11) and 1.12 (1.03–1.20), respectively (p for trend <0.001) and in the time-dependent models, corresponding HRs (95% CI) were 1.12 (1.02–1.24) and 1.29 (1.10–1.50), respectively (p for trend <0.001).
In this large cohort study of young and middle-aged individuals, higher BP levels were independently associated with a decreased risk for developing case-level depressive symptoms and depressive symptoms were also associated with incident hypertension. Further studies are required to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the bidirectional association between BP levels and incident depression.
This study explores factors affecting adoption of two stormwater management practices, rain gardens and rain barrels. Mail survey data from Columbia, Missouri indicate adoption rates of 3.12 percent (rain gardens) and 7.47 percent (rain barrels). This unique dataset enables us to distinguish among nonadopters using knowledge levels, and to investigate the effect of practice-specific barriers. Clustered multinomial logistic regressions reveal serious gardeners are more likely to adopt both practices. Specific barriers differ by practice and type of nonadopter. Adding practice-specific barriers increased pseudo R2 values from 0.12 to 0.22 for rain gardens and from 0.13 to 0.26 for rain barrels.
Social support programs for dementia caregivers were widely used in order to reduce care burden. We investigated which types of social supports can reduce psychological and non-psychological burdens of dementia caregivers, and explored the mechanism of those social supports.
We evaluated 731 community-dwelling dementia patients and their caregivers from the National Survey of Dementia Care in South Korea. We investigated the five types of social supports (emotional support, informational support, tangible support, positive social interaction, affectionate support) using the Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey in each caregiver. The mechanisms of specific types of social support on psychological/non-psychological burden were examined using path analysis.
Positive social interaction and affectionate support reduced psychological burden via direct and indirect paths. Tangible support reduced the non-psychological burden via direct and indirect paths. Informational support and emotional support were not helpful for reducing psychological or non-psychological burden. A maximum of 20% of psychological burden could be relieved by positive social interaction and 10.3% of that could be reduced by affectionate support. Tangible support was associated with a 15.1% maximal improvement in non-psychological burden.
In order to reduce caregiver burden in dementia effectively, psychosocial interventions should be tailored to target type of caregiver burden.
Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios of benthic invertebrates and their potential food sources, such as suspended particulate organic matter (POM), benthic microalgae, attached algae and seagrass, were identified in Dong-dae Bay during the winter. The carbon stable isotope ratios demonstrate that filter feeders, such as oysters (−19.5 ± 1.0‰), use benthic microalgae (−21.2 ± 0.2‰) as a major food, and polychaetes such as Glycera spp. (−14.0 ± 0.6 ‰) preferentially use meiofauna, such as nematodes (−14.0 ± 0.4‰) and copepods (−13.3 ± 1.0‰). These meiofauna may feed on mixed resources (including bacteria) with the isotope ratios between benthic microalgae (−21.2 ± 0.2‰) and seagrass (−9.3 ± 01.0‰). These findings are consistent with the trophic enrichment in the nitrogen isotope ratios (by 3–4‰) between consumers and food sources. Moreover, the results of the MixSIR model based on the observed isotope ratios suggest a large seagrass contribution to the food sources of benthic organisms such as meiofauna (~53.7–62.6%) and macrobenthos (~41.1–68%) through the food web. This model additionally suggests a relatively large contribution of benthic microalgae to the food sources of filter feeders (i.e. 26.4% for oysters).
Background: The influences of demographics, culture, language, and environmental changes on Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores are considerable.
Methods: Using a sample of 7452 healthy, community-dwelling elderly Koreans, aged 55 to 94 years, who participated in the four ongoing geriatric cohorts in Korea, we investigated demographic influences on MMSE scores and derived normative data for this population. Geropsychiatrists strictly excluded subjects with cognitive disorders according to the protocol of the Korean version of the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Packet (CERAD-K) Clinical Assessment Battery (CERAD-K-C).
Results: Education (standardized β = 0.463), age (standardized β = −0.303), and gender (standardized β = −0.057) had significant effects on MMSE scores (p < 0.001). The score of MMSE increase 0.379 point per 1-year education, decrease 0.188 per 1-year older, and decrease 0.491 in women compared to men. Education explained 30.4% of the scores’ total variance, which was much larger than the variances explained by age (8.4%) or gender (0.3%). Accordingly, we present normative data for the MMSE stratified by education (0, 1–3, 4–6, 7–9, 10–12, and ≥ 13 years), age (60–69, 70–79, and 80–89 years), and gender.
Conclusions: We provide contemporary education-, age-, and gender-stratified norms for the MMSE, derived from a large, community-dwelling elderly Korean population sample, which could be useful in evaluating individual MMSE scores.
We evaluated the effects of the two main kiwifruit cultivars (gold kiwifruit (GOK) and green kiwifruit (GRK)) and their active phenolic compound, quercetin, on H2O2-induced inhibition of gap-junction intercellular communication (GJIC) in WB-F344 rat liver epithelial cells. We found that both GOK and GRK protect WB-F344 cells from H2O2-induced inhibition of GJIC. The extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2)–connexin 43 (Cx43) signalling pathway is crucial for the regulation of GJIC, and both GOK and GRK blocked the H2O2-induced phosphorylation of Cx43 and ERK1/2 in WB-F344 cells. Quercetin alone attenuated the H2O2-mediated ERK1/2–Cx43 signalling pathway and consequently reversed H2O2-mediated inhibition of GJIC in WB-F344 cells. A free radical-scavenging assay using 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl showed that the scavenging activity of quercetin was higher than that of a synthetic antioxidant, butylated hydroxytoluene, per mol, suggesting that the chemopreventive effect of quercetin on H2O2-mediated inhibition of ERK1/2–Cx43 signalling and GJIC may be mediated through its free radical-scavenging activity. Since the carcinogenicity of reactive oxygen species such as H2O2 is attributable to the inhibition of GJIC, GOK, GRK and quercetin may have chemopreventive potential by preventing the inhibition of GJIC.
A nonvolatile memory device with the multi-layered SiC nanocrystals embedded in the SiO2 dielectrics for long-term data storage was fabricated and its electrical properties were evaluated. The SiC nanocrystals were formed by using post thermal annealing process. The transmission electron microscope analysis showed the multi-layered SiC nanocrystals between the tunnel and the control oxide layers. The average size and density of the SiC nanocrystals were approximately 5 nm and 2×1012 cm-2, respectively. The memory window of nonvolatile memory devices with the multi-layered of SiC nanocrystals was about 2.7 V during the operations at ±10 V for 700 ms, and then it was maintained around at 1.1 V after 105 sec.
A gold and aluminum layer was investigated as an anode for organic light-emitting devices (OLEDs). By pretreating the ultrathin aluminum layer in an oxygen (O2) plasma, the hole injection from the metal anode to the organic layer was greatly enhanced. The fabricated OLEDs demonstrated improved current density and luminance characteristics as compared with other devices using a gold anode and an aluminum layer not treated with an oxygen plasma.
A new photo-electrochemical etching method was developed and used to fabricate GaN MESFETs. The etching process uses photoresist for masking illumination and the etchant is KOH based. The etching rate with 1.0 mol% of KOH for n-GaN is as high as 1600 Å/min under the Hg illumination of 35 mW/cm/2. The MESFET saturates at VDS = 4 V and pinches off at VGS = −3 V. The maximum drain current of the device is 230 mA/mmn at 300 K and the value is remained almost same for 500 K operation. The characteristic frequencies, fT and fmax, are 6.35 GHz and 10.25 GHz, respectively. Insensitivity of the device performance to temperature was attributed to the defect-related high activation energy of dopants for ionization and band-bending at the subgrain boundaries in GaN thin films.
An optimized process of Pb(Zr,Ti)O3(PZT) ferroelectric capacitor has been investigated in order to develop a highly scaleable 1T/1C ferroelectric random access memory. The PZT ferroelectric capacitor, Pt/PZT/Pt stack, was formed on the TiO2/SiO2/Si substrate. The PZT thin films were prepared by conventional sol-gel multi-coating method. Physical and electrical properties of the PZT ferroelectric capacitors were characterized by XRD, SEM, TEM and RT6000S, respectively.
It was revealed that the microstructure of PZT thin film is strongly influenced by sol-gel coating process, especially depending on coating methods of the first PZT layer. The second phase was observed in the PZT thin films, which is found to be pyrochlore phase. The size and density of pyrochlore phase were significantly reduced by modifying the coating methods of first PZT layer. Microstructure of PZT thin film capacitors was evaluated in detail along with electrical properties such as remnant polarization, coercive electric field, and dielectric leakage. The sensing Pr window was also introduced for proper sensing margin in IT/1C ferroelectric random access memory. This concept is well verified by 64Kb 1T/1C ferroelectric random access memory.
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