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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.
Our previous studies have already revealed that β-cryptoxanthin (BCX), hesperetin (HES), and icariin (ICA) antioxidants are effective for in vitro maturation (IVM) of porcine oocytes. In this study, we investigated which of BCX, HES, or ICA was more effective for IVM of porcine oocytes. The antioxidant properties were assessed with aged porcine oocytes and embryos by comparing 2,2-diphenyl-1-(2,4,6-trinitrophenyl)hydrazyl (DPPH), reducing power, and H2O2 scavenging activity assays. The chemical assay results demonstrated that BCX had a greater DPPH scavenging activity and reducing power than HES and ICA, compared with controls. However, the H2O2 scavenging activity of the antioxidants was similar when tested at the optimal concentrations of 1 μM BCX (BCX-1), 100 μM HES (HES-100), and 5 μM ICA (ICA-5). The biological assay results showed that BCX-1 treatment was more effective in inducing a significant reduction in reactive oxygen species (ROS), improving glutathione levels, and increasing the expression of antioxidant genes. In addition, BCX-1 inhibited apoptosis by increasing the expression of anti-apoptotic genes and decreasing pro-apoptotic genes in porcine parthenogenetic blastocysts. BCX-1 also significantly increased the blastocyst formation rate compared with the ageing control group, HES-100 and ICA-5. This study demonstrates that damage from ROS produced during oocyte ageing can be prevented by supplementing antioxidants into the IVM medium, and BCX may be a potential candidate to improve assisted reproductive technologies.
The aim of this study is to examine the empirical insulinemic potential consisting of dietary and lifestyle factors and the interactive effect with the common genetic susceptibility locus rs2423279 on the risk of CRC. This case-control study was conducted with 923 CRC patients and 1,846 controls. The empirical measures for assessing the insulinemic potential, namely, the empirical dietary index for hyperinsulinemia (EDIH), for insulin resistance (EDIR), the empirical lifestyle index for hyperinsulinemia (ELIH), and for insulin resistance (ELIR), were calculated based on semiquantitative food frequency and lifestyle questionnaires. A genetic variant of rs2423279 was genotyped. The CRC patients were more likely to score in the highest quartile for the ELIH (OR Q4 vs Q1, 95% CI = 2.90, 2.01 - 4.19, P for trend < 0.001), EDIR (OR Q4 vs Q1, 95% CI = 3.32, 2.32 - 4.74, P < 0.001), and ELIR (OR Q4 vs Q1, 95% CI = 2.79, 1.96 - 3.97, P < 0.001) than were the controls. The significant effect between the ELIR, which assesses dietary and lifestyle patterns related to insulin resistance, and C allele carriers of rs2423279 was stronger than that for homozygous T allele carriers (OR, 95% CI = 2.50, 1.78 - 3.51, P for interaction = 0.034). The empirical insulinemic potential for insulin resistance might have interactive effects with the rs2423279 polymorphism on the risk of CRC. The results of this study suggest the basis of the metabolic impact of the insulin response on colorectal carcinogenesis.
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.
This study aimed to determine the effect of donor-transmitted atherosclerosis on the late aggravation of cardiac allograft vasculopathy in paediatric heart recipients aged ≥7 years.
In total, 48 patients were included and 23 had donor-transmitted atherosclerosis (baseline maximal intimal thickness of >0.5 mm on intravascular ultrasonography). Logistic regression analyses were performed to identify risk factors for donor-transmitted atherosclerosis. Rates of survival free from the late aggravation of cardiac allograft vasculopathy (new or worsening cardiac allograft vasculopathy on following angiograms, starting 1 year after transplantation) in each patient group were estimated using the Kaplan–Meier method and compared using the log-rank test. The effect of the results of intravascular ultrasonography at 1 year after transplantation on the late aggravation of cardiac allograft vasculopathy, correcting for possible covariates including donor-transmitted atherosclerosis, was examined using the Cox proportional hazards model.
The mean follow-up duration after transplantation was 5.97 ± 3.58 years. The log-rank test showed that patients with donor-transmitted atherosclerosis had worse survival outcomes than those without (p = 0.008). Per the multivariate model considering the difference of maximal intimal thickness between baseline and 1 year following transplantation (hazard ratio, 22.985; 95% confidence interval, 1.948–271.250; p = 0.013), donor-transmitted atherosclerosis was a significant covariate (hazard ratio, 4.013; 95% confidence interval, 1.047–15.376; p = 0.043).
Paediatric heart transplantation recipients with donor-transmitted atherosclerosis aged ≥7 years had worse late cardiac allograft vasculopathy aggravation-free survival outcomes.
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is characterized by anxiety regarding social situations, avoidance of external social stimuli, and negative self-beliefs. Virtual reality self-training (VRS) at home may be a good interim modality for reducing social fears before formal treatment. This study aimed to find neurobiological evidence for the therapeutic effect of VRS.
Fifty-two patients with SAD were randomly assigned to a VRS or waiting list (WL) group. The VRS group received an eight-session VRS program for 2 weeks, whereas the WL group received no intervention. Clinical assessments and functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning with the distress and speech evaluation tasks were repeatedly performed at baseline and after 3 weeks.
The post-VRS assessment showed significantly decreased anxiety and avoidance scores, distress index, and negative evaluation index for ‘self’, but no change in the negative evaluation index for ‘other’. Patients showed significant responses to the distress task in various regions, including both sides of the prefrontal regions, occipital regions, insula, and thalamus, and to the speech evaluation task in the bilateral anterior cingulate cortex. Among these, significant neuronal changes after VRS were observed only in the right lingual gyrus and left thalamus.
VRS-induced improvements in the ability to pay attention to social stimuli without avoidance and even positively modulate emotional cues are based on functional changes in the visual cortices and thalamus. Based on these short-term neuronal changes, VRS can be a first intervention option for individuals with SAD who avoid society or are reluctant to receive formal treatment.
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.
Gosan-ri-type pottery (GTP) is a unique plant-fiber-tempered pottery from Korea and has only been found in Early Neolithic sites on Jeju Island. In this study, we conducted radiocarbon (14C) dating for one GTP sample and 10 charcoal samples collected from archaeological structures in which GTP was found in 2012. The measurement conditions, the internal quality assurance test, and the reliability test indicate that each 14C date is very reliable. However, the 14C dates of the charcoal samples were more accurate than that of the GTP sample due to contamination from younger humic acids. From the summary of all 14C dates of charcoal samples using the KDE model, we finally conclude that GTP was manufactured and utilized throughout the period 9610–9490 cal BP (7670–7550 BC) with 95.4% confidence level. This age corroborates the inference that GTP is the oldest known Korean Neolithic pottery.
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.
To investigate the impacts of depression screening, diagnosis and treatment on major adverse cardiac events (MACEs) in acute coronary syndrome (ACS).
Prospective cohort study including a nested 24-week randomised clinical trial for treating depression was performed with 5–12 years after the index ACS. A total of 1152 patients recently hospitalised with ACS were recruited from 2006 to 2012, and were divided by depression screening and diagnosis at baseline and 24-week treatment allocation into five groups: 651 screening negative (N), 55 screening positive but no depressive disorder (S), 149 depressive disorder randomised to escitalopram (E), 151 depressive disorder randomised to placebo (P) and 146 depressive disorder receiving medical treatment only (M).
Cumulative MACE incidences over a median 8.4-year follow-up period were 29.6% in N, 43.6% in S, 40.9% in E, 53.6% in P and 59.6% in M. Compared to N, screening positive was associated with higher incidence of MACE [adjusted hazards ratio 2.15 (95% confidence interval 1.63–2.83)]. No differences were found between screening positive with and without a formal depressive disorder diagnosis. Of those screening positive, E was associated with a lower incidence of MACE than P and M. M had the worst outcomes even compared to P, despite significantly milder depressive symptoms at baseline.
Routine depression screening in patients with recent ACS and subsequent appropriate treatment of depression could improve long-term cardiac outcomes.
For decades, fructose intake has been recognised as an environmental risk for metabolic syndromes and diseases. Here we comprehensively examined the effects of fructose intake on mice liver transcriptomes. Fructose-supplemented water (34 %; w/v) was fed to both male and female C57BL/6N mice at their free will for 6 weeks, followed by hepatic transcriptomics analysis. Based on our criteria, differentially expressed genes (DEG) were selected and subjected to further computational analyses to predict key pathways and upstream regulator(s). Subsequently, predicted genes and pathways from the transcriptomics dataset were validated via quantitative RT-PCR analyses. As a result, we identified eighty-nine down-regulated and eighty-eight up-regulated mRNA in fructose-fed mice livers. These DEG were subjected to bioinformatics analysis tools in which DEG were mainly enriched in xenobiotic metabolic processes; further, in the Ingenuity Pathway Analysis software, it was suggested that the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is an upstream regulator governing overall changes, while fructose suppresses the AhR signalling pathway. In our quantitative RT-PCR validation, we confirmed that fructose suppressed AhR signalling through modulating expressions of transcription factor (AhR nuclear translocator; Arnt) and upstream regulators (Ncor2, and Rb1). Altogether, we demonstrated that ad libitum fructose intake suppresses the canonical AhR signalling pathway in C57BL/6N mice liver. Based on our current observations, further studies are warranted, especially with regard to the effects of co-exposure to fructose on (1) other types of carcinogens and (2) inflammation-inducing agents (or even diets such as a high-fat diet), to find implications of fructose-induced AhR suppression.
This research investigated patients who underwent surgery for a dilated aorta associated with a connective tissue disease or inflammatory vasculitis in children and adolescents.
Materials and Methods:
The medical records of 11 patients who underwent aortic surgery for dilatation resulting from a connective tissue disease or inflammatory vasculitis between 2000 and 2017 were retrospectively reviewed.
The median age and body weight of the patients were 9.6 years (range 5.4 months–15.5 years) and 25.8 kg (range 6.8–81.5), respectively. The associated diseases were Marfan syndrome (n = 3), Loeys-Dietz syndrome (n = 3), Kawasaki disease (n = 1), Takayasu arteritis (n = 1), PHACE syndrome (n = 1), tuberous sclerosis (n = 1), and unknown (n = 1). The most common initially affected area was the ascending aorta. During the 66.4 ± 35.9 months of follow-up, two Marfan syndrome patients died, and four patients (one Marfan syndrome and three Loeys-Dietz syndrome) had repeated aortic operation. Except for one patient, the functional class was well maintained in all patients who were followed up.
Cases of surgical treatment for a dilated aorta associated with a connective tissue disease and inflammatory vasculitis are rare in children and adolescents at our institution. Most of the patients in this study showed a tolerable postoperative course. However, the aorta showed progressive dilation over time even after surgical treatment, especially in patients with Loeys-Dietz syndrome. In these patients, close and more frequent regular follow-up is required.
Depressive symptoms are common in bereaved caregivers; however, there have been few prospective studies using a structured interview. This study investigated the prevalence and preloss predictors of major depressive disorder (MDD) in bereaved caregivers of patients in a palliative care unit.
This prospective cohort study collected caregiver sociodemographic and psychological data before the death of a palliative care unit patient, including MDD, care-burden, coping style, and hopeful attitude. Postloss MDD was assessed 6 and 13 months after death, and a multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify its predictors.
Of 305 caregivers contacted, 92 participated in this study. The prevalence of preloss MDD was 21.8%; the prevalences of postloss MDD were 34.8% and 24.7% at 6 and 13 months, respectively. Preloss MDD predicted postloss MDD at 6 months (odds ratio [OR] = 5.38, 95% confidence interval [CI95%] = 1.29, 22.43); preloss nonhopeful attitude and unemployment status of caregivers predicted postloss MDD at 13 months (OR = 8.77, CI95% = 1.87, 41.13 and OR = 7.10, CI95% = 1.28, 39.36, respectively).
Significance of results
Approximately 35% of caregivers suffered from MDD at 6 months postloss, but the prevalence of MDD decreased to about 25% at 13 months. Preloss MDD significantly predicted postloss MDD at 6 months, whereas hopeful attitude and unemployment at baseline were significantly associated with postloss MDD at 13 months.
New ionic conjugated polyelectrolyte complex films based on poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):sulfonated poly(diphenylacetylene) (PEDOT:SPDPA) are electrochemically formed on indium thin oxide substrates using a potentiostatic method, and their physical properties are evaluated using various analytical tools. Depending on a constant applied voltage, the surface morphological features and electrochemically doped states are different due to the conformational structure related to the oxidation state in the PEDOT growth process and concomitant SPDPA doping state in the films. For the purpose of use as a hole injection layer in organic light-emitting diodes, a well-known configuration (ITP/PEDOT:SPDPA/TPD/Alq3/LiF/Al) is adopted to investigate the optoelectronic properties.
The National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke-Canadian Stroke Network (NINDS-CSN) 5-minute neuropsychology protocol consists of only verbal tasks, and is proposed as a brief screening method for vascular cognitive impairment. We evaluated its feasibility within two weeks after stroke and ability to predict the development of post-stroke dementia (PSD) at 3 months after stroke.
We prospectively enrolled subjects with ischemic stroke within seven days of symptom onset who were consecutively admitted to 12 university hospitals. Neuropsychological assessments using the NINDS-CSN 5-minute and 60-minute neuropsychology protocols were administered within two weeks and at 3 months after stroke onset, respectively. PSD was diagnosed with reference to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association statement, requiring deficits in at least two cognitive domains.
Of 620 patients, 512 (82.6%) were feasible for the NINDS-CSN 5-minute protocol within two weeks after stroke. The incidence of PSD was 16.2% in 308 subjects who had completed follow-up at 3 months after stroke onset. The total score of the NINDS-CSN 5-minute protocol differed significantly between those with and without PSD (4.0 ± 2.7, 7.4 ± 2.7, respectively; p < 0.01). A cut-off value of 6/7 showed reasonable discriminative power (sensitivity 0.82, specificity 0.67, AUC 0.74). The NINDS-CSN 5-minute protocol score was a significant predictor for PSD (adjusted odds ratio 6.32, 95% CI 2.65–15.05).
The NINDS-CSN 5-minute protocol is feasible to evaluate cognitive functions in patients with acute ischemic stroke. It might be a useful screening method for early identification of high-risk groups for PSD.
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).