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Background: Recently, healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in long-term care hospitals (LTCHs) have markedly increased, but no infection control policy has been established in South Korea. We investigated the current HAI surveillance system and executed a point-prevalence pilot study in LTCHs. Methods: HAIs were defined by newly established surveillance manual based on McGeer criteria revised in 2012. Three LTCHs in Seoul and Gyeonggi province were voluntarily recruited, and data were collected from up to 50 patients who were hospitalized on August 1. The medical records from September to November 2018 were retrospectively reviewed by a charge nurse for infection control per each hospitals after 1 day of training specific for LTCH surveillance. All data were reviewed by a senior researcher visiting onsite. Results: The participating hospitals had 272.33 ± 111.01 beds. Only 1 hospital had an onsite microbiological laboratory. In total, 156 patients were enrolled and 5 HAIs were detected, for a prevalence rate of 3.2%. The average patient age was 79.04 ± 9.92 years. The HAIs included 2 urinary tract infections, skin and soft-tissue infection, low respiratory infection, and conjunctivitis. Conclusions: This is the first survey of HAI in LTCHs in South Korea. The 3.2% prevalence rate is lower than those from previous reports from the European Union or the United States. This study supports the development of a national HAI surveillance and infection control system in LTCHs, although implementation may be limited due to the lack of laboratory support and infection control infrastructure in Korea.
We report our experience with an emergency room (ER) shutdown related to an accidental exposure to a patient with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who had not been isolated.
A 635-bed, tertiary-care hospital in Daegu, South Korea.
To prevent nosocomial transmission of the disease, we subsequently isolated patients with suspected symptoms, relevant radiographic findings, or epidemiology. Severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assays (RT-PCR) were performed for most patients requiring hospitalization. A universal mask policy and comprehensive use of personal protective equipment (PPE) were implemented. We analyzed effects of these interventions.
From the pre-shutdown period (February 10–25, 2020) to the post-shutdown period (February 28 to March 16, 2020), the mean hourly turnaround time decreased from 23:31 ±6:43 hours to 9:27 ±3:41 hours (P < .001). As a result, the proportion of the patients tested increased from 5.8% (N=1,037) to 64.6% (N=690) (P < .001) and the average number of tests per day increased from 3.8±4.3 to 24.7±5.0 (P < .001). All 23 patients with COVID-19 in the post-shutdown period were isolated in the ER without any problematic accidental exposure or nosocomial transmission. After the shutdown, several metrics increased. The median duration of stay in the ER among hospitalized patients increased from 4:30 hours (interquartile range [IQR], 2:17–9:48) to 14:33 hours (IQR, 6:55–24:50) (P < .001). Rates of intensive care unit admissions increased from 1.4% to 2.9% (P = .023), and mortality increased from 0.9% to 3.0% (P = .001).
Problematic accidental exposure and nosocomial transmission of COVID-19 can be successfully prevented through active isolation and surveillance policies and comprehensive PPE use despite longer ER stays and the presence of more severely ill patients during a severe COVID-19 outbreak.
There is limited evidence on the interaction by alcohol dehydrogenase 2 (ADH1B) (rs1229984) and aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) (rs671) regarding the associations of alcohol and a methyl diet (low folate and high alcohol intake) with cancer risk, partly because of rare polymorphisms in Western populations.
In a case–control study, we estimated the ORs and 95 % CIs to evaluate the associations of ADH1B and ALDH2 genotypes with colorectal cancer (CRC) and the joint association between methyl diets and ADH1B and ALDH2 polymorphisms with CRC risk using logistic regression models.
A hospital-based case–control study.
In total, 1001 CRC cases and 899 cancer-free controls admitted to two university hospitals.
We found that alcohol intake increased the risk of CRC; OR (95 % CI) was 2·02 (1·41, 2·87) for ≥60 g/d drinkers compared with non-drinkers (Ptrend < 0·001). The associations for two polymorphisms with CRC were not statistically significant. However, we found a potential interaction of ALDH2 with methyl diets and CRC. We observed a 9·08-fold (95 % CI 1·93, 42·60) higher risk of CRC for low-methyl diets compared with high-methyl diets among individuals with an A allele of ALDH2, but the association was not apparent among those with ALDH2 GG (Pinteraction = 0·02).
Our data support the evidence that gene–methyl diet interactions may be involved in CRC risk in East Asian populations, showing that a low-methyl diet increased the risk of CRC among individuals with an A allele of ALDH2.
The experiments reported in this research paper aimed to determine the effect of supplementing different forms of L-methionine (L-Met) and acetate on protein synthesis in immortalized bovine mammary epithelial cell line (MAC-T cells). Treatments were Control, L-Met, conjugated L-Met and acetate (CMA), and non-conjugated L-Met and Acetate (NMA). Protein synthesis mechanism was determined by omics method. NMA group had the highest protein content in the media and CSN2 mRNA expression levels (P < 0.05). The number of upregulated and downregulated proteins observed were 39 and 77 in L-Met group, 62 and 80 in CMA group and 50 and 81 in NMA group from 448 proteins, respectively (P < 0.05). L-Met, NMA and CMA treatments stimulated pathways related to protein and energy metabolism (P < 0.05). Metabolomic analysis also revealed that L-Met, CMA and NMA treatments resulted in increases of several metabolites (P < 0.05). In conclusion, NMA treatment increased protein concentration and expression level of CSN2 mRNA in MAC-T cells compared to control as well as L-Met and CMA treatments through increased expression of milk protein synthesis-related genes and production of the proteins and metabolites involved in energy and protein synthesis pathways.
Firefighters are routinely exposed to various traumatic events and often experience a range of trauma-related symptoms. Although these repeated traumatic exposures rarely progress to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, firefighters are still considered to be a vulnerable population with regard to trauma.
To investigate how the human brain responds to or compensates for the repeated experience of traumatic stress.
We included 98 healthy firefighters with repeated traumatic experiences but without any diagnosis of mental illness and 98 non-firefighter healthy individuals without any history of trauma. Functional connectivity within the fear circuitry, which consists of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, insula, amygdala, hippocampus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), was examined using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Trauma-related symptoms were evaluated using the Impact of Event Scale – Revised.
The firefighter group had greater functional connectivity between the insula and several regions of the fear circuitry including the bilateral amygdalae, bilateral hippocampi and vmPFC as compared with healthy individuals. In the firefighter group, stronger insula–amygdala connectivity was associated with greater severity of trauma-related symptoms (β = 0.36, P = 0.005), whereas higher insula–vmPFC connectivity was related to milder symptoms in response to repeated trauma (β = −0.28, P = 0.01).
The current findings suggest an active involvement of insular functional connectivity in response to repeated traumatic stress. Functional connectivity of the insula in relation to the amygdala and vmPFC may be potential pathways that underlie the risk for and resilience to repeated traumatic stress, respectively.
The Earth is dramatically carbon poor comparing to the interstellar medium and the proto-sun. The carbon to silicon ratios in inner solar system objects show a correlation with heliocentric distance, which suggests that the destruction of carbon grains has occurred before planet formation. To examine this hypothesis, we perform model calculations using a chemical reaction network under the physical conditions typical of protoplanetary disks. Our results show that, when carbonaceous grains are destroyed and converted into the gas phase and the gas becomes carbon-rich, the abundances of carbon-bearing species such as HCN and carbon-chain molecules, increase dramatically near the midplane, while oxygen-bearing species such as H2O and CO2 are depleted. The carbon to silicon ratios obtained by our model calculations qualitatively reproduce the observed gradient with disk radius, but there are some quantitative discrepancies from the observed values of the solar system objects. We adopted the model of a disk around a Herbig Ae star and performed line radiative transfer calculations to examine the effect of carbon grain destruction through observations with ALMA. The results indicate that HCN, H13 CN and c-C3 H2 may be good tracers of this process.
Raman scattered O VI features at 6825 Å and 7082 Å found in symbiotic stars are important spectroscopic tools to probe the mass transfer process. Adopting a Monte Carlo approach, we perform a profile analysis of Raman O VI features of the yellow SySt AG Draconis and make a comparison with the spectrum obtained with CFHT. It is assumed that the accretion flow is convergent on the entering side with enhanced O VI emission and the flux ratio F(1032)/F(1038)∼1, whereas on the opposite side the flow is divergent with low O VI emission and F(1032/F(1038)∼2. Our best fit to the spectrum is obtained from our model with a mass-loss rate of the giant ∼4 × 10−7 M⊙ yr−1. A slight red wing excess in the spectrum suggests the presence of bipolar neutral components receding in the directions perpendicular to the binary orbital plane with a speed ∼70km s−1
We present a high-resolution optical spectrum of the symbiotic nova RR Tel obtained with MIKE at Magellan-Clay telescope. RR Tel is a wide binary system of a hot white dwarf and a Mira with an orbital period of a few decades, where the white dwarf is accreting through gravitational capture of some fraction of material shed by the Mira. We find broad emission features at 6825, 7082, 7023, and 7053 Å, which are formed through Raman scattering of far-UV O VI ⋋⋋ 1032 and 1038 Å, C II ⋋⋋ 1036 and 1037 Å with atomic hydrogen. Raman O VI features exhibit clear double-peak profiles indicative of an accretion flow with a characteristic speed ∼ 30 km s−1, whereas the Raman C II features have a single Gaussian profile. We perform a profile analysis of the Raman O VI by assuming that O VI emission traces the accretion flow around the white dwarf with a fiducial scale of 1 AU. A comparison of the restored fluxes of C II ⋋⋋ 1036 and 1037 from Raman C II features with the observed C II ⋋ 1335 multiplet is consistent with the distance of RR Tel ∼ 2.6 kpc based on interstellar extinction of C II.
Our ALMA observations of HCO+ and HCN show such redshifted absorption toward an isolated core, BHR 71. Both lines show a similar redshifted absorption profile. We also found emissions of complex organic molecules (COMs) around 345 GHz from a compact region centered on the continuum source, which is barely resolved with a beam of 0″27, corresponding to ∼50 AU.
The present study aimed to estimate heritability of Hwabyung (HB) symptoms in adolescent and young adult twins in South Korea. The sample included 1,601 twins consisting of 143 pairs of monozygotic male (MZM), 67 pairs of dizygotic male (DZM), 295 pairs of monozygotic female (MZF), 114 pairs of dizygotic female (DZF), and 117 pairs of opposite-sex dizygotic (OSDZ) twins and 129 twins with non-participating co-twins (mean age = 19.1 ± 3.1 years; range: 12–29 years). An HB symptom questionnaire was given to twins via a telephone interview. Consistent with the literature of HB, the mean level of HB was significantly higher in females than in males. Maximum likelihood twin correlations for HB were 0.31 (95% CI [0.16, 0.45]) for MZM, 0.19 (95% CI [-0.05, 0.41]) for DZM, 0.50 (95% CI [0.41, 0.58]) for MZF, 0.28 (95% CI [0.11, 0.44]) for DZF, and 0.23 (95% CI [0.05, 0.40]) for OSDZ twins. These patterns of twin correlations suggested the presence of additive genetic influences on HB. Model-fitting analysis showed that additive genetic and individual-specific environmental influences on HB were 44% (95% CI [37, 51]) and 56% (95% CI [49, 63]), respectively. Shared environmental influences were not significant. These parameter estimates were not significantly different between two sexes, and did not change significantly with age in the present sample, suggesting that genetic and environmental influences on HB in both sexes are stable across adolescence and young adulthood.
In order to improve research planning it is critical to understand how decision makers have used previous health technology assessment (HTA) results, and what expectations policy makers and health professionals have in HTA programs. In this study, we aimed to examine how HTA results have been used by decision makers, and explore complex relationships between the National Evidence-based Healthcare Collaborating Agency (NECA) and various decision-making bodies in Korea.
Three areas of healthcare decision in which NECA has been extensively involved were selected: prevention programs, single technology reimbursement, and clinical guidelines. We conducted in-depth interviews with two or three key informants from decision making bodies in each selected area. The interview participants included clinicians and government officials. We also conducted interviews with the researchers who participated in the related research to better capture the context. The interviews were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.
Eight interviews with decision makers and five interviews with researchers were conducted and analyzed. Three main themes were revealed in the data. Firstly, it was revealed that NECA was primarily expected to be an intermediary between clinicians and government. Both government and clinicians had referred to NECA's HTA results, which are expected to be scientific and impartial, when they need to reach one another on controversial topics. Secondly, there was a high need for deliberative process to resolve the conflicting interests regarding HTA results. Lastly, they wanted the HTA process to be more responsive to fast changing healthcare environments by introducing a form of rapid review.
Lack of effective communication channels between government and healthcare providers in Korea has made a room for HTA to be a common language for both sides. It is time to give up the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to conducting HTA research and tailor the research process to various needs of decision makers.
Since established in 2009, the National Evidence-based healthcare Collaborating Agency (NECA) has been the sole government-funded Health Technology Assessment (HTA) institution in Korea, yet little effort has been made to systematically evaluate the influence of its products. In this study, we aimed to measure the impact of the HTA products of NECA on clinical and policy decisions by introducing a systematic framework.
We included HTA reports published from 2009 to 2015. Among the 141 research reports published during this period, there were 67 HTA reports. We gathered data on the influence by literature and news article search, review of administrative documents and directly listening to the decision makers. The influence was categorized into three decision types: changes in clinical guidelines, administrative decision on investment/disinvestment and healthcare policy making. Whether a research report was used directly in decision making, or followed by subsequent researches or round-table conference, was recorded to examine the knowledge transfer process.
In total, 67.2 percent of the included HTA reports were used to support clinical and policy decisions. Twenty-seven reports had influenced administrative decisions on investment/disinvestment. Ten provided evidence for new health policies or legislation. Eight were reflected in clinical guidelines. The impact of HTA reports published by NECA was more evident when the research was directly requested by decision-making bodies such as government institutions. Although most HTA reports were conducted in collaboration with clinicians, the use of results by clinicians was limited. Definitive results were more likely to be used, but reports with competing interests had fewer impacts.
HTA by NECA had impacts on the rational use of healthcare resources in Korea, and NECA has established its role as an intermediary between governmental decision-making bodies and clinicians. However, more continuous approaches rather than one-time HTA research are needed for HTA on controversial topics to have impacts on decision making.
Allicin (AL) regulates the cellular redox, proliferation, viability, and cell cycle of different cells against extracellular-derived stress. This study investigated the effects of allicin treatment on porcine oocyte maturation and developmental competence. Porcine oocytes were cultured in medium supplemented with 0 (control), 0.01, 0.1, 1, 10 or 100 μM AL, respectively, during in vitro maturation (IVM). The rate of polar body emission was higher in the 0.1 AL-treated group (74.5% ± 2.3%) than in the control (68.0% ± 2.6%) (P < 0.1). After parthenogenetic activation, the rates of cleavage and blastocyst formation were significantly higher in the 0.1 AL-treated group than in the control (P < 0.05). The reactive oxygen species level at metaphase II did not significantly differ among all groups. In matured oocytes, the expression of both BAK and CASP3, and BIRC5 was significantly lower and higher, respectively, in the 0.1 AL-treated group than in the control. Similarly, the expression of BMP15 and CCNB1, and the activity of phospho-p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), significantly increased. These results indicate that supplementation of oocyte maturation medium with allicin during IVM improves the maturation of oocytes and the subsequent developmental competence of porcine oocytes.
Our objective was to evaluate long-term altered appearance, distress, and body image in posttreatment breast cancer patients and compare them with those of patients undergoing active treatment and with general population controls.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey between May and December of 2010. We studied 138 breast cancer patients undergoing active treatment and 128 posttreatment patients from 23 Korean hospitals and 315 age- and area-matched subjects drawn from the general population. Breast, hair, and skin changes, distress, and body image were assessed using visual analogue scales and the EORTC BR–23. Average levels of distress were compared across groups, and linear regression was utilized to identify the factors associated with body image.
Compared to active-treatment patients, posttreatment patients reported similar breast changes (6.6 vs. 6.2), hair loss (7.7 vs. 6.7), and skin changes (5.8 vs. 5.4), and both groups had significantly more severe changes than those of the general population controls (p < 0.01). For a similar level of altered appearance, however, breast cancer patients experienced significantly higher levels of distress than the general population. In multivariate analysis, patients with high altered appearance distress reported significantly poorer body image (–20.7, CI95% = –28.3 to –13.1) than patients with low distress.
Significance of results:
Posttreatment breast cancer patients experienced similar levels of altered appearance, distress, and body-image disturbance relative to patients undergoing active treatment but significantly higher distress and poorer body image than members of the general population. Healthcare professionals should acknowledge the possible long-term effects of altered appearance among breast cancer survivors and help them to manage the associated distress and psychological consequences.
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.
This study evaluated the impacts of earlier traumatic events on the mental health of older adults, in terms of mental disorders and mental well-being, according to sociodemographic variables, trauma-related characteristics, and personality traits in a nationally representative sample of older Koreans.
A total of 1,621 subjects aged 60 to 74 years from a Korean national epidemiological survey of mental disorders responded face-to-face interviews. The Korean Composite International Diagnostic Interview was used to investigate lifetime trauma exposure (LTE) and psychiatric diagnoses. The EuroQol health classification system and life satisfaction scale were used to assess quality of life (QoL), and the Big Five Inventory-10 (BFI-10) to measure personality traits.
Five-hundred and seventy-seven subjects (35.6%) reported a history of LTE (mean age at trauma, 30.8 years old). Current mental disorders were more prevalent in elderly people with LTE, while better current QoL was more frequent in those without LTE. Among older people with LTE, lower extraversion and higher neuroticism increased the risk of current mood or anxiety disorders, whereas higher extraversion increased the probability of experiencing mental well-being after adjusting for sociodemographic and trauma-related variables.
Personality traits, especially extraversion, and neuroticism, may be useful for predicting the mental health outcomes of LTE in older adults. Further longitudinal studies investigating the relationship between traumatic events and mental health outcomes are needed.
Many transgenic domestic animals have been developed to produce therapeutic proteins in the mammary gland, and this approach is one of the most important methods for agricultural and biomedical applications. However, expression and secretion of a protein varies because transgenes are integrated at random sites in the genome. In addition, distal enhancers are very important for transcriptional gene regulation and tissue-specific gene expression. Development of a vector system regulated accurately in the genome is needed to improve production of therapeutic proteins. The objective of this study was to develop a knock-in system for expression of human fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) in the bovine β-casein gene locus. The F2A sequence was fused to the human FGF2 gene and inserted into exon 3 of the β-casein gene. We detected expression of human FGF2 mRNA in the HC11 mouse mammary epithelial cells by RT-PCR and human FGF2 protein in the culture media using western blot analysis when the knock-in vector was introduced. We transfected the knock-in vector into bovine ear fibroblasts and produced knock-in fibroblasts using the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 system. Moreover, the CRISPR/Cas9 system was more efficient than conventional methods. In addition, we produced knock-in blastocysts by somatic cell nuclear transfer using the knock-in fibroblasts. Our knock-in fibroblasts may help to create cloned embryos for development of transgenic dairy cattle expressing human FGF2 protein in the mammary gland via the expression system of the bovine β-casein gene.
Based on the sequences of Brassica rapa ssp. pekinensis, we carried out a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) study for genes controlling disease resistance (clubroot, turnip mosaic virus and soft rot) and leaf traits in B. rapa leafy genotypes ‘VC40’ and ‘SR5’. In total, 7645 SNP markers were obtained based on the annotation of a B. rapa database for disease resistance. Among these 7645 SNP markers, 141 were related to 125 genes linked to leaf traits. From these 141 SNP markers, 63 were screened and High Resolution Melt (HRM) primers were designed for genomic studies. A total of 20 polymorphic SNP primers were finally obtained. Eventually, these markers will be further used for the detection of quantitative trait loci and mapping studies.
Next-generation sequencing technique has been known as a useful tool for de novo transcriptome assembly, functional annotation of genes and identification of molecular markers. This study was carried out to mine molecular markers from de novo assembled transcriptomes of four chilli pepper varieties, the highly pungent ‘Saengryeg 211’ and non-pungent ‘Saengryeg 213’ and variably pigmented ‘Mandarin’ and ‘Blackcluster’. Pyrosequencing of the complementary DNA library resulted in 361,671, 274,269, 279,221, and 316,357 raw reads, which were assembled in 23,607, 19,894, 18,340 and 20,357 contigs, for the four varieties, respectively. Detailed sequence variant analysis identified numerous potential single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and simple sequence repeats (SSRs) for all the varieties for which the primers were designed. The transcriptome information and SNP/SSR markers generated in this study provide valuable resources for high-density molecular genetic mapping in chilli pepper and Quantitative trait loci analysis related to fruit qualities. These markers for pepper will be highly valuable for marker-assisted breeding and other genetic studies.