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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.
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.
The effect of wet chemical treatment on the magnetic tunneling junction (MTJ) was examined. The tunneling magneto-resistance (TMR) increased and the resistance of anti-parallel state and parallel state decreased when a wet cleaning treatment was carried out after a reactive ion etching process. Furthermore, the exfoliation between the capping layer and Inter layer Dielectric (ILD) was prevented. Presumably, these were due to the elimination of the damaged layer and the residues. This investigation showed that the wet treatment after the MTJ patterning using RIE process could improve the MTJ properties without degradation of Hc, such as TMR and Rlow.
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.
The diatoms are an ecologically important group of algae that have been extensively studied by ecologists and taxonomists. However, the large-scale patterns of diatom distribution and the factors underlying this distribution are largely unknown. The aims of this study were to identify the large-scale spatial patterns of benthic diatom assemblages in Korean streams and rivers, and to assess the importance of numerous environmental factors on diatom distribution. We classified 720 study sites based on diatom flora. Benthic diatoms, water chemistry, altitude, and riparian land cover and use were characterized by multivariate analyses, Monte Carlo permutation tests, and indicator species analysis. In total, we identified 531 diatom taxa. Diatom assemblages were mostly dominated by species of the genera Achnanthes, Navicula, Nitzschia, Cocconeis, Fragilaria (Synedra included), Cymbella, Gomphonema, and Melosira. Cluster analysis partitioned all 720 sites into eight groups based on diatom species composition. Canonical correspondence analysis indicated that altitude, land cover and use, current velocity, electrical conductivity, and nutrient levels explained a significant amount of the variation in the composition of assemblages of benthic diatoms. At the national scale, a downstream ecological gradient was apparent, from fast-flowing, mostly oligotrophic highland streams to slow-flowing, mostly eutrophic lowland rivers. Our data suggest that spatial factors explain some of the variation in diatom distribution. The present investigation of the spatial patterns of benthic diatoms, the ecological determinants of diatom occurrence, and the identification of diatom indicator species contributes to development of a program for assessing the biological integrity of lotic ecosystems in Korea.
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