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People who eat alone, which is becoming a new trend owing to the increasing proportion of one-person households in Korea, are more likely to become overweight and obese. Therefore, we investigated the association between having a dinner companion and BMI.
A linear regression model adjusted for covariates was utilized to examine the association between having a dinner companion and BMI. Subgroup analyses were performed, stratified by age group, gender, household income, educational level and occupation.
We used the data from the Korean Health and Nutrition Examination Survey VI. Our primary independent variable was having a dinner companion while the dependent variable was BMI.
In total, 13303 individuals, aged 20 years or over, were analysed.
Compared with the solo eating group, BMI was lower in the family dinner group (β=−0·39, P<0·01) but not in the non-family dinner group (β=−0·06, P=0·67). The subgroup analysis revealed that the difference in BMI was most significant in young generations, such as those aged 20–29 years (β=−1·15, P<0·01) and 30–39 years (β=−0·78, P=0·01).
We found that people who eat dinner alone are more likely to become overweight and obese than those who eat with their family. This association was stronger in males and young adults than their counterparts. Considering the increasing trends in the proportion of single-person households and solo eating, appropriate intervention is needed.
This study aimed to investigate the relationship between the unemployment experience and depressive symptoms among mid-aged (ages 45–59) and elderly (ages 60 or above) persons and to examine further the effects of unemployment insurance, industrial accident compensation insurance (IACI) and national pension on the stated relationship. Data were used from the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (KLoSA) between 2006 and 2012. A total of 1,536 individuals employed at the 2006 baseline were followed. The association between employment status change during 2006 to 2008, 2008 to 2010 or 2010 to 2012 and depressive symptoms in years 2008, 2010 or 2012 were analysed using a generalised estimating equation model. Depressive symptoms were measured with the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D 10) scale. The results showed that the ‘employed to unemployed’ group had statistically significant increases in depression scores in the mid-aged (β = 0.4884, p = 0.0038) and elderly (β = 0.8275, p ⩽ 0.0001) categories, compared to the ‘employed to employed’ group. Findings were maintained in groups without a social safety net. Contrastingly, the ‘employed to unemployed’ groups with unemployment insurance and IACI did not show statistically significant increases in depression scores. The ‘employed to unemployed’ category of individuals enrolled in the national pension system exhibited a lower increase of depression. Therefore, an enhanced focus on the mental health of unemployed individuals is required, in addition to the provision of a reliable social safety net.
In South Korea, injury is a public health problem due to its high incidence and high mortality. To improve emergency medical systems, the government announced plans to increase the emergency medical resources for each region. This study investigated the association between regional emergency medical resources and mortality during hospitalization in severely injured inpatients.
To analyse mortality for severely injured inpatients, we used the Korean National Hospital Discharge In-depth Survey data, consisting of 18,621 hospitalizations from 2005-2012. Generalized estimating equations were analysed to examine the association between mortality during hospitalization and both individual and regional variables.
Mortality during hospitalization occurred in 913 (4.9%) cases. Patients in regions with a higher number of emergency departments (odds ratio [OR]=0.94, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.91-0.98), a higher number of ambulances (OR=0.99, 95% CI: 0.98-0.99), and a higher number of registered nurses per emergency department (OR=0.88, 95% CI: 0.83-0.94) had a lower risk of mortality during hospitalization.
Our findings suggest that regional emergency medical resources are associated with a lower risk of mortality during hospitalization in severely injured patients. Thus, health care policymakers need to determine the proper distribution of emergency medical resources for each region and the function of emergency departments to provide a superior quality of emergency medical services to patients.
Noticeable demographic changes have taken place in South Korea, with the general marriage rate decreasing and the average first age at marriage and general divorce rate increasing. The shown trends have contributed to intergenerational discordance in the perception of familial values, which is important in addressing the psychological well-being of parents. This study aimed to investigate the association between the marital status of offspring aged 40 years and over and the depression levels of parents.
Data were from the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (KLoSA), 2006–2012. A total of 2,540 individuals with at least two offspring aged 40 years and over were included. Association between offspring marital status and parental depression scores, measured using the Center for Epidemiological Studies and Depression (CES-D 10) scale, was investigated using the generalized estimating equation (GEE) model. Subgroup analysis was performed based on offspring education level.
When parents with only married offspring were set as reference, parents with never married offspring (β: 0.27, p = 0.02), parents with separated offspring (β: 0.52, p = 0.03), and parents with never married offspring and separated offspring (β: 0.38, p < 0.001) showed increases in depression scores. In the subgroup analysis, these higher depression score effects were largely limited to parents with high school graduate offspring.
It is important to monitor the mental health status of parents with never married, separated, or both never married and separated offspring as this group may be comparatively vulnerable to depressive symptoms.
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).
Suicide rates are high among elderly individuals experiencing socioeconomic insecurity. Socioeconomic security is of critical importance for elderly individuals and directly affects mental health, including suicidal behavior. Thus, we investigated the relationship between socioeconomic status and suicidal ideation in elderly individuals.
We conducted a cross-sectional study using data on 58,590 individuals 65 years of age or older from the Korean Community Health Survey 2013. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify relationships between socioeconomic factors (food insecurity, household income, and living arrangement) and suicidal ideation in the elderly population.
The study included 58,590 participants (24,246 males and 34,344 females). Of those, 2,847 males and 6,418 females experienced suicidal ideation. Participants with food insecure were more likely to experience suicidal ideation than were those who were food secure (males: OR = 1.60; 95% CI, 1.34–1.90; females: OR = 1.54; 95% CI, 1.38–1.72). We found a similar pattern among participants with a low household income and those living alone. Additionally, male and female subjects who were food insecure and living alone or food insecure and had a low household income showed a marked increase in suicidal ideation.
Our findings suggest that low socioeconomic status is associated with an increased risk of suicidal ideation among the elderly. Furthermore, intervention programs that address the prevalence of elderly suicide, particularly among those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged, are needed.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are common dietary exposures that cross the human placenta and are classified as a probable human carcinogen. The aim of the present study was to investigate the potential impact of exposure to PAH-containing meat consumed during pregnancy on birth outcomes.
Prospective birth cohort study. Only non-smoking women with singleton pregnancies, who were free from chronic disease such as diabetes and hypertension, were included in the study. Maternal consumption of PAH-rich meat was estimated through FFQ. Multiple linear regression was used to assess factors related to higher intake and the association between dietary PAH and birth outcomes.
Republic of Korea, 2006–2011.
Pregnant women (n 778) at 12–28 weeks of gestation enrolled in the Mothers and Children’s Environmental Health (MOCEH) study.
The multivariable regression model showed a significant reduction in birth weight associated with higher consumption level of foods rich in PAH, such as grilled or roasted meat, during pregnancy (β=−17·48 g, P<0·05 for every 1 point higher in meat score). Further adjusting for biomarkers of airborne PAH did not alter this association. There was no evidence that higher consumption level of PAH-rich meat shortens the duration of gestation (P=0·561). Regression models performed for birth length and head circumference produced negative effects that were not statistically significant.
Consumption of higher levels of barbecued, fried, roasted and smoked meats during pregnancy was associated with reduced birth weight. Dietary risk of PAH exposure in Korean women is of concern.
The aim of this study is to examine a relationship between a change in social activity and depression among Koreans aged 45 years or more.
Data came from the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (KLoSA) (2006–2010), with 5,327 participants aged 45 years or more. The generalized estimating equation (GEE) with the logit link was used to investigate an association between a change in social activity during 2006–2008 (or 2008–2010) and depression among respondents in year 2008 (or Y2010). Depression was measured by Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale (CES-D10) and a change in social activity was classified with four categories, i.e. “consistent participation”, “consistent non-participation”, “participation to non-participation”, and “non-participation to participation”. Social activity was divided into various elements and the same analysis was conducted for each of these elements.
Those with consistent non-participation and from participation to non-participation were more likely to be depressed than those with consistent participation and from non-participation to participation in social activities (OR 1.44 [95% CI 1.22–1.71], OR 1.35 [95% CI 1.15–1.58] vs. OR 1.00 [Reference], OR 1.27 [95% CI 1.09–1.48]). In addition, the strength of the negative association between consistent or new participation in social activity and depression was different across different elements of social activity. The negative association was particularly strong for leisure, culture or sports clubs, and for family or school reunion.
For improving the mental health of the population aged 45 years or more, the promotion of their continued or new participations in leisure/culture clubs and family/school reunion might be needed in South Korea.
We previously demonstrated that the chronic consumption of a high-fat diet (HFD) promotes lung and liver metastases of 4T1 mammary carcinoma cells in obesity-resistant BALB/c mice. To examine early transcriptional responses to tumour progression in the liver and lungs of HFD-fed mice, 4-week-old female BALB/c mice were divided into four groups: sham-injected, control diet (CD)-fed; sham-injected, HFD-fed (SH); 4T1 cell-injected, CD-fed (TC); 4T1 cell-injected, HFD-fed (TH). Following 16 weeks of either a CD or HFD, 4T1 cells were injected into the mammary fat pads of mice in the TC and TH groups and all mice were continuously fed identical diets. At 14 d post-injection, RNA was isolated from hepatic and pulmonary tissues for microarray analysis of mRNA expression. Functional annotation and core network analyses were conducted for the TH/SH Unique gene set. Inflammation in hepatic tissues and cell mitosis in pulmonary tissues were the most significant biological functions in the TH/SH Unique gene set. The biological core networks of the hepatic TH/SH Unique gene set were characterised as those genes involved in the activation of acute inflammatory responses (Orm1, Lbp, Hp and Cfb), disordered lipid metabolism and deregulated cell cycle progression. Networks of the pulmonary Unique gene set displayed the deregulation of cell cycle progression (Cdc20, Cdk1 and Bub1b). These HFD-influenced alterations may have led to favourable conditions for the formation of both pro-inflammatory and pro-mitotic microenvironments in the target organs that promote immune cell infiltration and differentiation, as well as the infiltration and proliferation of metastatic tumour cells.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the diffusion patterns of new medical technologies in Korean hospitals. We also sought to identify critical factors leading to the decision to acquire capital-intensive medical technology. The rationale and timing of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) acquisitions were retrospectively evaluated according to a “whether, when, and why” paradigm.
Methods: We analyzed data pertaining to 232 hospitals with active medical residency programs. Of these, 185 hospitals owned or leased an MRI unit, and 47 had not acquired units as of June 2004. Data were collected from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Korean National Statistical Office, and Korean Hospital Association databases, and variables were identified and classified as predisposing, enabling, or reinforcing factors.
Results: The MRI diffusion rate curve was linear for two types of hospital but was S-shaped for tertiary hospitals, which were early adopters of MRI. Significant predictors for MRI adoption included the per capita number of regional physicians (+), total number of existing regional MRI units (−), percentage of the regional population over 65 years of age (+), private ownership of the hospital, presence of a radiology residency program, number of beds (+), and regional per capita taxable income (+).
Conclusions: Diffusion of MRI technology is occurring rapidly across Korean hospitals. The factors affecting MRI adoption in Korea are similar to the factors documented in other countries, namely regional population over age 65, regional income per capita, large hospitals, and teaching hospitals. This study provides baseline information for predicting diffusion patterns of other new and/or expensive medical technologies.
Evaluation of apoptosis and expression level of apoptosis-related genes is useful for examining the variation in embryo quality according to environmental change. The objective of this study was to investigate DNA fragmentation and apoptosis-related gene expression patterns in frozen-thawed bovine blastocysts. In vitro produced day 7 blastocysts were frozen by two different vitrification methods (conventional 0.25 ml straw or MVC straw). After thawing, DNA fragmentation of surviving embryos was examined by TUNEL assay, and the expression patterns of their apoptotic genes (survivin, Fas, Hsp 70 and caspase-3) were evaluated using real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. In vitro survival rates of frozen-thawed embryos were higher following the MVC vitrification method (88.2% re-expanded at 24 h, 77.1% hatching at 48 h) than the conventional (C) vitrification method (77.0% re-expanded at 24 h, 66.7% hatching at 48 h). However, both vitrified methods resulted in a significantly higher apoptotic index (C vitrification method 11.9%, MVC vitrification method 11.0%) than in non-frozen embryos (3.0%). Expression levels of survivin, Fas, caspase-3, and Hsp 70 were also increased in the frozen-thawed embryos compared with non-frozen embryos. These results indicate that the cryopreservation procedure might cause damage that results in an increase in DNA fragmentation and apoptosis-related gene transcription, reducing developmental capacity of frozen-thawed embryos.
Pt thin films of various thicknesses (30 nm ∼ 200 nm) were deposited on Si wafers with SiO2, Ti, TiO2, or IrO2 buffer layers at various temperatures (room temperature ∼200 °C) by a direct current magnetron sputtering process. The Pt films showed a strong (111)-preferred texture irrespective of the thickness, under-layer, and growth temperature. The authors previously reported [J-E. Lim, D-Y. Park, J.K. Jeong, G. Darlinski, H.J. Kim, and C.S. Hwang, Appl. Phys. Lett. 81, 3224 (2002)] that the films were composed of three kinds of grains with slightly different (111) lattice parameters (bulklike, 1.0% and 2.1% larger). This study details the microstructural variations of the Pt films according to the variations of experimental parameters. The different deposition conditions produced slightly different crystalline structures, but the three different (111) lattice parameters were always found. Epitaxial (200) Pt films on a (200) MgO substrate and a highly (111) textured Au thin film on a SiO2/Si did not show the same splitting in the lattice parameter. The grains with 1.0% and 2.1% larger (111) lattice parameter almost disappeared after postannealing at 1000 °C. However, surface chemical binding of the Pt film before and after annealing was unchanged. Therefore, it is believed that the lattice parameter splitting in the (111) textured Pt film originated from the interfacial grains with the distorted crystal structure due probably to growth stress.
For a diffusion barrier against Cu, tantalum nitride (TaN) films have been successfully deposited by both conventional thermal atomic layer deposition (ALD) and plasma assisted atomic layer deposition (PAALD), using pentakis (ethylmethlyamino) tantalum (PEMAT) and ammonia (NH3) as precursors. The growth rate of PAALD TaN at substrate temperature 250° was slightly higher than that of ALD TaN (0.80 Å/cycle for PAALD and 0.75 Å/cycle for ALD). Density of TaN films deposited by PAALD was as high as 11.0 g/cm3, considerably higher compared to the value of 8.3 g/cm3 obtained by ALD. The N: Ta ratio for ALD TaN was 44: 37 in composition and the film contained approximately 8∼10 atomic % carbon and 11 atomic % oxygen impurities. On the other hand, the ratio for PAALD TaN layers was 47: 44 and the respective carbon and oxygen contents of TaN layers decreased to 3 atomic % and 4 atomic %. The stability of 10 nm-thick TaN films as a Cu diffusion barrier was tested through thermal annealing for 30 minutes in N2 ambient and characterized by XRD, which proves the PAALD deposited TaN film to maintain better barrier properties against Cu below 800°.
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