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This study aimed to explore perceptions of the meaning of life among Korean patients living with advanced cancer.
The study employed a mixed-methods design, and 16 participants were included in the analysis. Qualitative data gathered from in-depth interviews were analyzed using Colaizzi's phenomenological method. Quantitative survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, the Mann–Whitney U test, the Kruskal–Wallis test, and Spearman's ρ correlation.
Participants experienced both the existence of meaning and the will to find meaning in terms of four categories: “interpersonal relationships based on attachment and cohesion” (three themes — family as the core meaning of one's life, supportive and dependent interconnectedness with significant others, and existential responsibility embedded in familism), “therapeutic relationships based on trust” (one theme — communication and trust between the patient and medical staff), “optimism” (two themes — positivity embodied through past experiences and a positive attitude toward the current situation), and “a sense of purpose with advanced cancer” (two themes — the will to survive and expectations for the near future). The meaning in life questionnaire (MLQ) and the purpose in life scale (PIL) showed a significant positive correlation tendency with the functional assessment of chronic illness therapy-spiritual well-being scale (FACIT-Sp). The patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9) showed significant negative correlation tendency with both the MLQ-presence of meaning (MLQ-PM) and PIL-Initiative (PIL-I) questionnaires.
Significance of results
Finding meaning in life helps advanced cancer patients realize their will to live. It also acts as a coping mechanism that palliates negative experiences in the fight against the disease. In particular, among advanced cancer patients in the Korean culture, the dynamics of relationships with family and medical staff was a key axis that instilled optimism and will to live. These results suggest that considering the meaning of life in advanced cancer patients by reflecting Korean culture in the treatment process improves the quality of care.
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.
Oxidative stress causes several diseases and dysfunctions in cells, including oocytes. Clearly, oxidative stress influences oocyte quality during in vitro maturation and fertilization. Here we tested the ability of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) to reduce reactive oxygen species (ROS) and improve mouse oocyte quality during in vitro culture. Treatment with 50 μM CoQ10 efficiently reduced ROS levels in oocytes cultured in vitro. The fertilizable form of an oocyte usually contains a cortical granule-free domain (CGFD). CoQ10 enhanced the ratio of CGFD–oocytes from 35% to 45%. However, the hardening of the zona pellucida in oocytes was not affected by CoQ10 treatment. The in vitro maturation capacity of oocytes, which was determined by the first polar body extrusion, was enhanced from 48.9% to 75.7% by the addition of CoQ10 to the culture medium. During the parthenogenesis process, the number of two-cell embryos was increased by CoQ10 from 43.5% to 67.3%. Additionally, treatment with CoQ10 increased the expression of Bcl2 and Sirt1 in cumulus cells. These results suggested that CoQ10 had a positive effect on ROS reduction, maturation rate and two-cell embryo formation in mouse oocyte culture.
Here, we present an overview of how a tertiary hospital responded to maintain necessary activities and protect patients and staff from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
Gil Medical Center, a tertiary hospital in Incheon, has operated a special response team since January 21, 2020. All visitors were assessed for body temperature and respiratory symptoms, and screened for recent overseas travel. Suspected COVID-19 patients were taken to a screening clinic. All febrile patients with or without respiratory symptoms were taken to a respiratory safety clinic. An isolation ward, which consisted of 10 negative-pressure rooms, was used to treat confirmed cases. More than 120 beds were prepared for the outbreak, and patients with pneumonia were preemptively isolated.
By May 5, 480 960 visitors were assessed at the control station, 3350 patients visited the triage center, and 1794 were treated in the respiratory safety clinic. Seventeen confirmed cases were admitted to the negative isolation ward, and 350 patients with pneumonia were preemptively isolated. A total of 2977 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) polymerase chain reaction tests were performed.
While tertiary hospitals play an important role in treating both COVID-19 patients and non-COVID-19 patients, hospital staff have to protect themselves from unexpected in-hospital transmission. A multifaceted response must be undertaken to protect tertiary hospitals and their staff during the COVID-19 epidemic.
Mindfulness based art therapy induces emotional relaxation in cancer patients and is a treatment known to improve psychological stability. The objective of this research was to evaluate the treatment effects of MBAT for breast cancer patients.
Twenty-four breast cancer patients were selected as subjects of the study. Two groups, the MBAT group and control group with 12 patients each, were randomly assigned. The patients in the MBAT group were given 12 sessions of treatments. To measure depression and anxiety, low scales of the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) was used. Health-related quality of life was evaluated using the European organization for research and treatment of cancer quality of life questionnaire (EORTC-QLQ-C30). The treatment results were analyzed using Ancova and two-way repeated measures Anova.
The results showed that depression and anxiety decreased significantly and health-related quality of life improved significantly in the MBAT group. In the control group, however, there was no significant change.
MBAT can be seen as an effective treatment method that improves breast cancer patients’ psychological stability and quality of life. Evaluation of treatment effects using program development and large-scale research for future clinical application is needed.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Recent hospital fire incidents in South Korea have heightened the importance of patient evacuation. Moving patients from an intensive care unit (ICU) or emergency department (ED) setting is a challenge due to the complexity of moving acutely unwell patients who are reliant on invasive monitoring and organ support. Despite the importance of patient evacuation, the readiness of ICU and ED for urgent evacuation has not been assessed.
To enhance the readiness and competencies of workers from ICU and ED in the evacuation of patients during a simulated tabletop fire exercise.
A tabletop simulation exercise was developed by the Center for Disaster Relief, Training, and Research referencing the fire evacuation manual developed by the hospital’s ICU and ED. The scenario consisted of evacuating patients horizontally and vertically from each department. The participants’ actions were assessed using a checklist. A debriefing was completed after the exercise to discuss the gaps observed. A post-survey questionnaire was used to evaluate the exercise and assess the perception changes of the participants. All pre-to-post differences within subjects were analyzed with paired t-tests.
A total of 22 and 29 people participated in the exercise from ICU and ED, respectively. Knowledge and confidence improved post-exercise for both ICU and ED scenarios (p<0.05). Course satisfaction was 7.9 and 8.7, respectively for ICU and ED exercise. Correct performance rates for ICU and ED were 59% and 58%, respectively. Common gaps noted for both ICU and ED were wearing protective masks, patient hand-over communication, and preparation for resources.
There need to be exercises to recognize system gaps in place for hospital fire evacuation preparedness. Tabletop simulation exercises are ideal tools for this purpose. Although this was a short 90-minute exercise, this increased familiarity with the evacuation plan, tested the plan, and allowed for identification of gaps.
South Korea experienced Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak in 2015. To mitigate the threat posed by MERS, the Ministry of Health and Center for Disease Control designated hospitals to be responsible for managing any suspected or confirmed infectious patient. These hospitals receive mandatory training in managing infectious patients, but many of the trainings lack practical skills practice and pandemic preparedness exercise.
To develop and evaluate a training course designed to train healthcare providers from designated hospitals to enhance their competencies in managing emerging infectious diseases and potential outbreaks.
A two-day course was developed by the Center for Disaster Relief, Training, and Research in collaboration with the Korea Health Promotion Institute using Kern’s 6-step approach. The course consisted of didactic lectures, technical skills training, tabletop simulation, and scenario-based simulation. Table-top simulation exercises consisted of cases involving a single infectious patient detected in the outpatient clinic and outbreak in the emergency department. Scenario-based simulation exercises involved managing a critically ill infectious patient in an isolated ward. A post-survey questionnaire was used to evaluate the course and assess the perception changes of the participants. All pre-to-post differences within subjects were analyzed with paired t-tests.
A total of 121 healthcare providers participated in three separate courses. The competencies for pandemic preparedness knowledge, skills, and attitude improved from pre- to post-course. The differences were all statistically significant (p<0.05). Overall course satisfaction in average for expectation, time, delivery method, and contents were 9.5, 9.2, 9.4, and 9.2, respectively.
There needs to be tests and exercises to recognize gaps of systems in place for pandemic preparedness. Simulation exercises are ideal tools for this purpose. Although this was only a two-day intensive course, this increased familiarity with workflows, tested the coordination of workflows between different disciplines and allowed the identification of gaps.
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.
Cerebral white matter hyperintensities (WMH) are prevalent incident findings on brain MRI scans among elderly people and have been consistently implicated in cognitive dysfunction. However, differential roles of WMH by region in cognitive function are still unclear. The aim of this study was to ascertain the differential role of regional WMH in predicting progression from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to different subtypes of dementia.
Participants were recruited from the Clinical Research Center for Dementia of South Korea (CREDOS) study. A total of 622 participants with MCI diagnoses at baseline and follow-up evaluations were included for the analysis. Initial MRI scans were rated for WMH on a visual rating scale developed for the CREDOS. Differential effects of regional WMH in predicting incident dementia were evaluated using the Cox proportional hazards model.
Of the 622 participants with MCI at baseline, 139 patients (22.3%) converted to all-cause dementia over a median of 14.3 (range 6.0–36.5) months. Severe periventricular WMH (PWMH) predicted incident all-cause dementia (Hazard ratio (HR) 2.22; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.43–3.43) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) (HR 1.86; 95% CI 1.12–3.07). Subcortical vascular dementia (SVD) was predicted by both PWMH (HR 16.14; 95% CI 1.97–132.06) and DWMH (HR 8.77; 95% CI 1.77–43.49) in more severe form (≥ 10 mm).
WMH differentially predict dementia by region and severity. Our findings suggest that PWMH may play an independent role in the pathogenesis of dementia, especially in AD.
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 crystallization of amorphous silicon thin films by electron beam exposure was studied. Amorphous silicon and silicon dioxide layers were deposited on glass substrate by PECVD at 360 °C. The optimization to crystallize 300 nm thick amorphous silicon film was carried out at a RF power of 300 W, DC voltage of 1500 V, Argon gas flow rate of 3 sccm and a distance between electron beam mesh and sample of 40 mm. High quality nano-crystalline silicon films with an activation energy of 0.47 eV from conductivity, a grain size of 15–45 nm from SEM and Raman crystalline volume fraction of 93.1% were fabricated. We expect that e-beam exposure will be applied to crystallization of amorphous silicon films.
To compare the characteristics and risk factors for surgical site infections (SSIs) after total hip arthroplasty (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA) in a nationwide survey, using shared case detection and recording systems.
Retrospective cohort study.
Twenty-six hospitals participating in the Korean Nosocomial Infections Surveillance System (KONIS).
From 2006 to 2009, all patients undergoing THA and TKA in KONIS were enrolled.
SSI occurred in 161 (2.35%) of 6,848 cases (3,422 THAs and 3,426 TKAs). Pooled mean SSI rates were 1.69% and 2.82% for THA and TKA, respectively. Of the cases we examined, 42 (26%) were superficial-incisional SSIs and 119 (74%) were “severe” SSIs; of the latter, 24 (15%) were deep-incisional SSIs and 95 (59%) were organ/space SSIs. In multivariate analysis, a duration of preoperative hospital stay of greater than 3 days was a risk factor for total SSI after both THA and TKA. Diabetes mellitus, revision surgery, prolonged duration of surgery (above the 75th percentile), and the need for surgery due to trauma were independent risk factors for total and severe SSI after THA, while male sex and an operating room without artificial ventilation were independent risk factors for total and severe SSI after TKA. A large volume of surgeries (more than 10 procedures per month) protected against total and severe SSI, but only in patients who underwent TKA.
Risk factors for SSI after arthroplasty differ according to the site of the arthroplasty. Therefore, clinicians should take into account the site of arthroplasty in the analysis of SSI and the development of strategies for reducing SSI.
To evaluate the risk factors for surgical site infection (SSI) after gastric surgery in patients in Korea.
A nationwide prospective multicenter study.
Twenty university-affiliated hospitals in Korea.
The Korean Nosocomial Infections Surveillance System (KONIS), a Web-based system, was developed. Patients in 20 Korean hospitals from 2007 to 2009 were prospectively monitored for SSI for up to 30 days after gastric surgery. Demographic data, hospital characteristics, and potential perioperative risk factors were collected and analyzed, using multivariate logistic regression models.
Of the 4,238 case patients monitored, 64.9% (2,752) were male, and mean age (±SD) was 58.8 (±12.3) years. The SSI rates were 2.92, 6.45, and 10.87 per 100 operations for the National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance system risk index categories of 0, 1, and 2 or 3, respectively. The majority (69.4%) of the SSIs observed were organ or space SSIs. The most frequently isolated microorganisms were Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Male sex (odds ratio [OR], 1.67 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.09–2.58]), increased operation time (1.20 [1.07–1.34] per 1-hour increase), reoperation (7.27 [3.68–14.38]), combined multiple procedures (1.79 [1.13–2.83]), prophylactic administration of the first antibiotic dose after skin incision (3.00 [1.09–8.23]), and prolonged duration (≥7 days) of surgical antibiotic prophylaxis (SAP; 2.70 [1.26–5.64]) were independently associated with increased risk of SSI.
Male sex, inappropriate SAP, and operation-related variables are independent risk factors for SSI after gastric surgery.
The present study was carried out to evaluate the microstructures and mechanical properties of severely deformed Ni-30Cr alloy. Cross-roll rolling (CRR) as severe plastic deformation (SPD) process was introduced and Ni-30Cr alloy sheets were cold rolled to a 90% thickness reduction and subsequently annealed at 700 °C for 30 min so as to obtain the recrystallized microstructure. For the analysis of grain boundary character distributions (GBCDs), electron back-scattered diffraction (EBSD) technique was introduced. CRR on Ni-30Cr alloy was effective to enhance the grain refinement through heat treatment; consequently, average grain size was significantly reduced from 33 μm in initial material to 0.6 μm in CRR processed material. This grain refinement directly affected the mechanical properties improvement, in which yield and tensile strengths were significantly increased than those of initial material. In this study, we systematically discussed the grain refinement, accompanying with increase in mechanical properties, in terms of the effective strain imposed by CRR, comparing with conventional rolling (CR).
We investigated microstructures, compositional distributions, and electrical properties of dielectric CaCu3Ti4O12 (CCTO) thin films deposited on Pt/TiO2/SiO2/Si substrates from 700 to 800 °C by pulsed laser deposition. With increasing the deposition temperature from 700 to 750 °C, the dielectric constants (εr) of CCTO films were greatly enhanced from ∼300 to ∼2000 at 10 kHz, respectively. However, the εr values of CCTO films were gradually decreased above 750 °C, which was surely attributable to the formation of a TiO2-rich dead layer at the interface between CCTO and Pt electrode. Compositional analyses by Auger electron spectroscopy, energy dispersive spectroscopy, and electron energy loss spectroscopy revealed that the TiO2-rich dead layer became thicker because of severe Cu diffusion from CCTO films to Pt electrode. The leakage current behaviors of CCTO films are in good agreement with Poole–Frenkel conduction mechanism, where both the TiO2-rich dead layer and rutile TiO2 nanocrystalline particles are considered to play a role of charge trapping centers.
The effects of tannic acid (TA) supplementation (0·02 %, wt/wt) were compared with the effects of clofibrate (CF) supplementation (0·02 %, wt/wt) in apo E-deficient (apo E− / −) mice fed a AIN-76 semi-synthetic diet (normal diet) over 20 weeks. The mice were monitored for the modulation of hepatic mRNA expression and the activities of lipid-regulating enzymes. Both TA and CF supplementation lowered hepatic 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGR) activity and prevented atherosclerotic lesion formation in comparison with the control group. Hepatic carnitine palmitoyl transferase and β-oxidation activities were significantly higher in the TA and CF groups than in the control group. Both CF and TA supplementation resulted in significant decreases in hepatic HMGR mRNA levels in association with its enzyme activity. However, in contrast to CF supplementation, TA supplementation seemed to decrease the accumulation of hepatic lipids in the apo E− / − mice without increasing liver weight. These results suggest that the overall effect of TA is more desirable than CF for the alleviation of hepatic lipogenesis and atherogenesis in apo E− / − mice.