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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.
Background: The purpose of this study was to find out the relationship between appropriateness of antibiotic prescription and clinical outcomes in patients with community-acquired acute pyelonephritis (CA-APN). Methods: A multicenter prospective cohort study was performed in 8 Korean hospitals from September 2017 to August 2018. All hospitalized patients aged ≥19 years diagnosed with CA-APN at admission were recruited. Pregnant women and patients with insufficient data were excluded. In addition, patients with prolonged hospitalization due to medical problems that were not associated with APN treatment were excluded. The appropriateness of empirical and definitive antibiotics was divided into “optimal,” “suboptimal,” and “inappropriate,” and optimal and suboptimal were regarded as appropriate antibiotic use. The standard for the classification of empirical antibiotics was defined reflecting the Korean national guideline for the antibiotic use in urinary tract infection 2018. The standards for the classification of definitive antibiotics were defined according to the result of in vitro susceptibility tests of causative organisms. Clinical outcomes including clinical failure (mortality or recurrence) rate, hospitalization days, and medical costs were compared between patients who were prescribed antibiotics appropriately and those who were prescribed them inappropriately. Results: In total, 397 and 318 patients were eligible for the analysis of the appropriateness of empirical and definitive antibiotics, respectively. Of these, 10 (2.5%) and 18 (5.7%) were inappropriately prescribed empirical and definitive antibiotics, respectively, and 28 (8.8%) were prescribed either empirical or definitive antibiotics inappropriately. Patients who were prescribed empirical antibiotics appropriately showed a lower mortality rate (0 vs 10%; P = .025), shorter hospitalization days (9 vs 12.5 days; P = .014), and lower medical costs (US$2,333 vs US$4,531; P = .007) compared to those who were prescribed empirical antibiotics “inappropriately.” In comparison, we detected no significant differences in clinical outcomes between patients who were prescribed definitive antibiotics appropriately and those who were prescribed definitive antibiotics inappropriately. Patients who were prescribed both empirical and definitive antibiotics appropriately showed a lower clinical failure rate (0.3 vs 7.1%; P = .021) and shorter hospitalization days (9 vs 10.5 days; P = .041) compared to those who were prescribed either empirical or definitive antibiotics inappropriately. Conclusions: Appropriate use of antibiotics leads patients with CA-APN to better clinical outcomes including fewer hospitalization days and lower medical costs.
Since the significance of metacognition as the theoretical basis of a psychological intervention for schizophrenia first emerged, there have been ongoing attempts to restore or strengthen patients’ metacognitive abilities.
A Korean version of the metacognitive training (MCT) program was developed, and its effects on theory of mind, positive and negative symptoms, and interpersonal relationships were examined in stable outpatients with schizophrenia.
A pre-test–post-test design with a control group was used. The participants were 59 outpatients (30 in experimental group, 29 in control group) registered at five mental health facilities in a city in South Korea. The developed MCT program was applied for a total of 18 sessions, 60 min per session, over a period of 14 weeks. The hinting task, false belief task, Scale for the Assessment of Positive and Negative Symptoms, and Relationship Change Scale were used to verify the effects of this program. Data were analysed by the chi-square test, t-test, and Mann–Whitney U-test using the SPSS/PASW 18.0 statistics program.
The general characteristics, intelligence, and outcome variables of the two groups were homogeneous. After the intervention, the experimental group showed significant improvements in theory of mind, positive and negative symptoms and interpersonal relationships compared with the control group.
These results suggest that the MCT program can be a complementary psychotherapy that contributes to symptom relief and interpersonal functioning in patients with schizophrenia, and is effective in the Korean culture, beyond the Western context.
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.
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
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.
Background: Highly educated participants with normal cognition show lower incidence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) than poorly educated participants, whereas longitudinal studies involving AD have reported that higher education is associated with more rapid cognitive decline. We aimed to evaluate whether highly educated amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) participants show more rapid cognitive decline than those with lower levels of education.
Methods: A total of 249 aMCI patients enrolled from 31 memory clinics using the standard assessment and diagnostic processes were followed with neuropsychological evaluation (duration 17.2 ± 8.8 months). According to baseline performances on memory tests, participants were divided into early-stage aMCI (−1.5 to −1.0 standard deviation (SD)) and late-stage aMCI (below −1.5 SD) groups. Risk of AD conversion and changes in neuropsychological performances according to the level of education were evaluated.
Results: Sixty-two patients converted to AD over a mean follow-up of 1.43 years. The risk of AD conversion was higher in late-stage aMCI than early-stage aMCI. Cox proportional hazard models showed that aMCI participants, and late-stage aMCI participants in particular, with higher levels of education had a higher risk of AD conversion than those with lower levels of education. Late-stage aMCI participants with higher education showed faster cognitive decline in language, memory, and Clinical Dementia Rating Sum of Boxes (CDR-SOB) scores. On the contrary, early-stage aMCI participants with higher education showed slower cognitive decline in MMSE and CDR-SOB scores.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the protective effects of education against cognitive decline remain in early-stage aMCI and disappear in late-stage aMCI.
Symptomatic intracranial atherosclerosis (ICAS) is a dynamic disease that frequently progresses. Statins have been shown to have anti-atherosclerotic activity. We therefore investigated whether statins could prevent progression of ICAS.
This retrospective cohort study assessed 55 patients with acute ischemic stroke and symptomatic ICAS in the middle cerebral or basilar arteries as shown on magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), with follow-up MRA performed more than 1 year after the index stroke. Change in ICAS was classified as progressive, regressive, or stable. Baseline clinical characteristics and risk factor control during follow-up were assessed, and laboratory tests were performed at the time of follow-up MRA. The statin group was defined as patients regularly treated with statins for more than 75% of the follow-up period; the remaining patients were defined as the non-statin group.
At a median follow-up time of 21.8 months (range, 11.8-66.1 months), the statin group consisted of 26 (47.3%) patients and the non-statin group of 29 (52.7%). During follow-up, 6 (10.9%) patients progressed, 14 (25.5%) regressed, and 35 (63.6%) remained stable. Statin treatment was significantly associated with non-progression of ICAS (p=0.024). Two patients in the non-statin group had recurrent strokes. Border-zone infarcts were associated with progression of ICAS (3/6, 50%; p=0.007), whereas risk factors and inflammatory biomarkers were not related to progression.
Treatment with statins may prevent progression of symptomatic ICAS. Prospective randomized controlled trials are required to confirm that statins protect against such progression.
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.
We aimed to assess the prevalence and associated factors of vitamin D deficiency in healthy adolescents and to determine parent–adolescent association in vitamin D status.
A cross-sectional study.
Data from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) 2008–2009. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels were measured using 125I-labelled RIA kits. Vitamin D deficiency in adolescents was defined as 25(OH)D level <27·5 nmol/l, and 25(OH)D levels between 27·5 and <50 nmol/l were considered insufficient. For the parents, vitamin D deficiency was defined as 25(OH)D level <50 nmol/l.
The study population consisted of 2062 adolescents (1095 boys, 967 girls; aged 10–18 years) and their parents (1005 fathers, 1341 mothers).
Overall, 13·4 % of adolescents (boys 11·7 %, girls 15·4 %) were 25(OH)D deficient, 54·7 % were 25(OH)D insufficient. Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency increased with age (P < 0·0001). Parental vitamin D deficiency was more prevalent in vitamin D-deficient adolescents than in non-deficient adolescents (all P < 0·0001). In multivariate logistic regression analyses, predictors for vitamin D deficiency were senior high school students (OR = 3·45–4·33), winter/spring season (OR = 3·18–5·11/5·35–7·36) and parental vitamin D deficiency (OR = 1·78–4·88; all P < 0·05).
Vitamin D insufficiency is prevalent among healthy Korean adolescents and the parent–offspring association warrants vitamin D screening for family members of deficient individuals.
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.
Little is known about the bioavailability of isoflavones in children. Previous studies have shown that children excrete more isoflavone in urine compared with adults. Thus we examined the relationship between usual dietary isoflavone intake and the urinary excretion of isoflavonoids in Korean girls of pubertal age. Twelve girls each were selected from the lowest and the highest quartiles of isoflavone intake among 252 Korean girls aged 8–11 years. Age, BMI and sexual maturation stage were matched between the two groups. Dietary intakes for 3 d by diet record and overnight urine samples were collected at baseline and at 6 and 12 months. Total and individual isoflavone (daidzein, genistein and glycitein) intakes were calculated from diet records. The parent isoflavone compounds (daidzein, genistein and glycitein) and their metabolites (equol, O-desmethylangolensin (O-DMA), dihydrodaidzein and dihydrogenistein) present in the urine samples were analysed using liquid chromatography–MS. Intake levels of total and individual isoflavone compounds were significantly higher in the high isoflavone (HI) group than the levels in the low isoflavone (LI) group (P < 0·05). Urinary excretion of all isoflavone parent compounds was significantly higher in the HI group than in the LI group (P < 0·0001). Among isoflavone metabolites, only O-DMA and total metabolites were significantly different (P < 0·05). Total isoflavone intake was highly correlated with the urinary excretion of total parent compounds (r 0·68; P < 0·01), parent compounds plus their metabolites (r 0·66–0·69; P < 0·01) and total isoflavonoids (r 0·72; P < 0·0001). In conclusion, overnight urinary excretion of total isoflavonoids is a reliable biomarker of usual isoflavone intake in Korean girls of pubertal age.