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The explosive outbreak of COVID-19 led to a shortage of medical resources, including isolation rooms in hospitals, healthcare workers (HCWs) and personal protective equipment. Here, we constructed a new model, non-contact community treatment centres to monitor and quarantine asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic COVID-19 patients who recorded their own vital signs using a smartphone application. This new model in Korea is useful to overcome shortages of medical resources and to minimise the risk of infection transmission to HCWs.
To determine the level of vitamin D and to identify the association between vitamin D and depressive symptoms in apparently healthy Korean male adults.
A retrospective study design. Among 43 513 participants between 1 March and 30 November 2018, after eliminating participants with a history of depression or vitamin D deficiency, 9058 were included. To determine the level of vitamin D, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] was measured. To assess the level of depression, the Korean version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) was used.
Male adults who underwent routine health check-ups.
The average vitamin D level was 22·31 ± 7·09 ng/ml as 25(OH)D, while the number of subjects in the vitamin D insufficiency group with a finding of <20 ng/ml was 3783 (41·8 %). The mean CES-D score in all subjects was 8·31 ± 5·97 points, and the proportion of the depressive symptoms group with a score of ≥16 was 8·71 %. The OR of patients in the depressive symptoms group also being in the insufficiency group was found to be 1·49 (95 % CI 1·12, 2·00).
A total of 41·8 % of apparently healthy male adults had vitamin D levels <20 ng/ml. We identified an association between vitamin D insufficiency and depressive symptoms in apparently healthy Korean male adults.
There is limited evidence on the interaction by alcohol dehydrogenase 2 (ADH1B) (rs1229984) and aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) (rs671) regarding the associations of alcohol and a methyl diet (low folate and high alcohol intake) with cancer risk, partly because of rare polymorphisms in Western populations.
In a case–control study, we estimated the ORs and 95 % CIs to evaluate the associations of ADH1B and ALDH2 genotypes with colorectal cancer (CRC) and the joint association between methyl diets and ADH1B and ALDH2 polymorphisms with CRC risk using logistic regression models.
A hospital-based case–control study.
In total, 1001 CRC cases and 899 cancer-free controls admitted to two university hospitals.
We found that alcohol intake increased the risk of CRC; OR (95 % CI) was 2·02 (1·41, 2·87) for ≥60 g/d drinkers compared with non-drinkers (Ptrend < 0·001). The associations for two polymorphisms with CRC were not statistically significant. However, we found a potential interaction of ALDH2 with methyl diets and CRC. We observed a 9·08-fold (95 % CI 1·93, 42·60) higher risk of CRC for low-methyl diets compared with high-methyl diets among individuals with an A allele of ALDH2, but the association was not apparent among those with ALDH2 GG (Pinteraction = 0·02).
Our data support the evidence that gene–methyl diet interactions may be involved in CRC risk in East Asian populations, showing that a low-methyl diet increased the risk of CRC among individuals with an A allele of ALDH2.
Spirituality is what gives people meaning and purpose in life, and it has been recognized as a critical factor in patients’ well-being, particularly at the ends of their lives. Studies have demonstrated relationships between spirituality and patient-reported outcomes such as quality of life and mental health. Although a number of studies have suggested that spiritual belief can be associated with mortality, the results are inconsistent. We aimed to determine whether spirituality was related to survival in advanced cancer inpatients in Korea.
For this multicenter study, we recruited adult advanced cancer inpatients who had been admitted to seven palliative care units with estimated survival of <3 months. We measured spirituality at admission using the Korean version of the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual Well-Being (FACIT-sp), which comprises two subscales: meaning/peace and faith. We calculated a Kaplan-Meier curve for spirituality, dichotomized at the predefined cutoffs and medians for the total scale and each of the two subscales, and performed univariate regression with a Cox proportional hazard model.
We enrolled a total of 204 adults (mean age: 64.5 ± 13.0; 48.5% female) in the study. The most common primary cancer diagnoses were lung (21.6%), colorectal (18.6%), and liver/biliary tract (13.0%). Median survival was 19.5 days (95% confidence interval [CI95%]: 23.5, 30.6). Total FACIT-sp score was not related to survival time (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.981, CI95% = 0.957, 1.007), and neither were the scores for its two subscales, meaning/peace (HR = 0.969, CI95% = 0.932, 1.008) and faith (HR = 0.981, CI95% = 0.938, 1.026).
Significance of results
Spirituality was not related to survival in advanced cancer inpatients in Korea. Plausible mechanisms merit further investigation.
Hyperlipidaemia is a major cause of atherosclerosis and related CVD and can be prevented with natural substances. Previously, we reported that a novel Bacillus-fermented green tea (FGT) exerts anti-obesity and hypolipidaemic effects. This study further investigated the hypotriglyceridaemic and anti-obesogenic effects of FGT and its underlying mechanisms. FGT effectively inhibited pancreatic lipase activity in vitro (IC50, 0·48 mg/ml) and ameliorated postprandial lipaemia in rats (26 % reduction with 500 mg/kg FGT). In hypertriglyceridaemic hamsters, FGT administration significantly reduced plasma TAG levels. In mice, FGT administration (500 mg/kg) for 2 weeks augmented energy expenditure by 22 % through the induction of plasma serotonin, a neurotransmitter that modulates energy expenditure and mRNA expressions of lipid metabolism genes in peripheral tissues. Analysis of the gut microbiota showed that FGT reduced the proportion of the phylum Firmicutes in hamsters, which could further contribute to its anti-obesity effects. Collectively, these data demonstrate that FGT decreases plasma TAG levels via multiple mechanisms including inhibition of pancreatic lipase, augmentation of energy expenditure, induction of serotonin secretion and alteration of gut microbiota. These results suggest that FGT may be a useful natural agent for preventing hypertriglyceridaemia and obesity.
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.
Devastating disasters around the world directly contribute to significant increases in human mortality and economic costs. The objective of this study was to examine the current state of the Korea Disaster Relief Team that participated in an international training module.
The whole training period was videotaped in order to observe and evaluate the respondents. The survey was carried out after completion of the 3-day training, and the scores were reported by use of a 5-point Likert scale.
A total of 43 respondents were interviewed for the survey, and the results showed that the overall preparedness score for international disasters was 3.4±1.6 (mean±SD). The awareness of the Incident Command System for international disasters was shown to be low (3.5±1.1). Higher scores were given to personnel who took on leadership roles in the team and who answered “I knew my duty” (4.4±0.6) in the survey, as well as to the training participants who answered “I clearly knew my duty” (4.5±0.5).
The preparedness level of the Korea Disaster Relief Team was shown to be insufficient, whereas understanding of the roles of leaders and training participants in the rescue team was found to be high. It is assumed that the preparedness level for disaster relief must be improved through continued training. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;1–5)
This study reports the earliest known reef-building anthaspidellid sponge, Rankenella zhangxianensis n. sp., from the Cambrian Series 3 (late Stage 5–early Guzhangian) deposit of the Zhangxia Formation, Shandong Province, China. Rankenella zhangxianensis mostly occurs within Epiphyton-Rankenella-Cambroctoconus reefs, with minor occurrence from inter-reef grainstone. The species has anthaspidellid-type regular ladderlike spicule networks consisting of dendroclones and trabs, and is characterized by trabs parallel/subparallel to the gastral surface that diverge and meet the dermal surface, which is typical of the genus. Compared to R. mors and R. hamdii, reported from the late Cambrian Series 2–late Cambrian Series 3 of Australia and the late Cambrian Series 3–early Furongian of Iran, respectively, R. zhangxianensis is characterized by a relatively thicker wall, high angle (~90°) between dermal surfaces and intersecting trabs, and minor occurrence of differentiated canals. On the other hand, R. zhangxianensis mainly shows obconical shape, which is far less diverse than the other two species showing conicocylindrical, digitate, explanate, or bowl shapes. These Cambrian Series 3 reefs from China are the ancestors of the Furongian anthaspidellid-microbial reefs and the Early Ordovician anthaspidellid-microbial reefs that flourished worldwide. They represent the resurgence of reef-building metazoans after the extinction of archaeocyaths at the end of Cambrian Series 2.
The purpose of this study was to validate the Sense of Well-Being Inventory (SWBI), a quality of life measure, for people with spinal cord injury. Four hundred and five participants were recruited from the Canadian Paraplegia Association for this study. The participants were asked to complete a research packet containing a demographic questionnaire, the SWBI, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and the Acceptance of Disability Scale. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses of the SWBI and correlational analyses of the SWBI factors with other psychosocial variables were conducted. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses validated a four-factor structure (financial, family and social, psychological, and physical wellbeing) for the SWBI. SWBI factors are positively related to self-esteem and disability acceptance. With continuing research to document reliability and validity, the SWBI appears to have great potential as a vocational rehabilitation outcome measurement for people with spinal cord injury.
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.
We report on the formation of highly flexible and transparent TiO2/Ag/ITO multilayer films deposited on polyethylene terephthalate substrates. The optical and electrical properties of the multilayer films were investigated as a function of oxide thickness. The transmission window gradually shifted toward lower energies with increasing oxide thickness. The TiO2 (40 nm)/Ag (18 nm)/ITO (40 nm) films gave the transmittance of 93.1% at 560 nm. The relationship between transmittance and oxide thickness was simulated using the scattering matrix method to understand high transmittance. As the oxide thickness increased from 20 to 50 nm, the carrier concentration gradually decreased from 1.08 × 1022 to 6.66 × 1021 cm−3, while the sheet resistance varied from 5.8 to 6.1 Ω/sq. Haacke's figure of merit reached a maximum at 40 nm and then decreased with increasing oxide thickness. The change in resistance for the 60 nm-thick ITO single film rapidly increased with increasing bending cycles, while that of the TiO2/Ag/ITO (40 nm/18 nm/40 nm) film remained virtually unchanged during the bending test.
Formation of patterned metal and semiconductor (e.g. silicon) nanowires is achieved using anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) templates with porous structures of different heights resulting from an initial step difference made by etching the aluminum (Al) thin film with a photoresist developer prior to the anodization process. This approach allows for the growth of vertically aligned nanowire arrays on a metal substrate, instead of an oriented semiconductor substrate, using an electroplating or a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process. The vertically aligned metal and semiconductor nanowires defined on a metal substrate could be applied to the realization of vertical 3D transistors, field emission devices, or nano-micro sensors for biological applications.
To determine the influence of early pain relief for patients with suspected appendicitis on the diagnostic performance of surgical residents.
A prospective randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted for patients with suspected appendicitis. The patients were randomized to receive placebo (normal saline intravenous [IV]) infusions over 5 minutes or the study drug (morphine 5 mg IV). All of the clinical evaluations by surgical residents were performed 30 minutes after administration of the study drug or placebo. After obtaining the clinical probability of appendicitis, as determined by the surgical residents, abdominal computed tomography was performed. The primary objective was to compare the influence of IV morphine on the ability of surgical residents to diagnose appendicitis.
A total of 213 patients with suspected appendicitis were enrolled. Of these patients, 107 patients received morphine, and 106 patients received placebo saline. The negative appendectomy percentages in each group were similar (3.8% in the placebo group and 3.2% in the pain control group, p=0.62). The perforation rates in each group were also similar (18.9% in the placebo group and 14.3% in the pain control group, p=0.75). Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed that the overall diagnostic accuracy in each group was similar (the area under the curve of the placebo group and the pain control group was 0.63 v. 0.61, respectively, p=0.81).
Early pain control in patients with suspected appendicitis does not affect the diagnostic performance of surgical residents.
This study examined changes in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and quality of care (QoC) as perceived by terminally ill cancer patients and a stratified set of HRQoL or QoC factors that are most likely to influence survival at the end of life (EoL).
We administered questionnaires to 619 consecutive patients immediately after they were diagnosed with terminal cancer by physicians at 11 university hospitals and at the National Cancer Center in Korea. Subjects were followed up over 161.2 person-years until their deaths. We measured HRQoL using the core 30-item European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire, and QoC using the Quality Care Questionnaire–End of Life (QCQ–EoL). We evaluated changes in HRQoL and QoC issues during the first three months after enrollment, performing sensitivity analysis by using data generated via four methods (complete case analysis, available case analysis, the last observation carried forward, and multiple imputation).
Emotional and cognitive functioning decreased significantly over time, while dyspnea, constipation, and pain increased significantly. Dignity-conserving care, care by healthcare professionals, family relationships, and QCQ–EoL total score decreased significantly. Global QoL, appetite loss, and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status (ECOG–PS) scores were significantly associated with survival.
Significance of results:
Future standardization of palliative care should be focused on assessment of these deteriorated types of quality. Accurate estimates of the length of life remaining for terminally ill cancer patients by such EoL-enhancing factors as global QoL, appetite loss, and ECOG–PS are needed to help patients experience a dignified and comfortable death.
Whether an association exists between cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) and functional recovery after ischemic stroke is unclear. We aimed to evaluate the association between CMBs and functional outcome after acute ischemic stroke.
Consecutive patients with acute stroke were enrolled, and all patients were stratified into good and poor functional outcome groups at discharge and 6 months after ischemic stroke by using a modified Rankin Scale score. Cardiovascular risk factors, CMBs, and white matter hyperintensities were compared between these two outcome groups. Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the risk of poor functional outcomes.
A total of 225 patients were enrolled, 121 of whom were classified as having a good functional outcome at discharge and 142 as having a good 6-month functional outcome. The presence of CMBs was associated with a poor functional outcome at discharge [CMBs (+) patients in poor vs. good functional group; 48.1% vs. 30.6%; p=0.007] and 6 months [53.0% vs. 30.3%; p=0.001]. After adjustment for confounding factors, only the presence of infratentorial CMBs was associated with a poor functional outcome at discharge and 6 months. The poor functional outcome group had more CMBs than the good outcome group at 6 months.
Infratentorial cerebral microbleeds were significantly associated with worse functional outcomes not only in the early phase of ischemic stroke but also in the chronic phase. These findings suggest that the presence of infratentorial CMBs can predict poor functional outcome after acute ischemic stroke.
Genetic variation in wild soybean (Glycine soja Sieb. and Zucc.) is a valuable resource for crop improvement efforts. Soybean is believed to have originated from China, Korea, and Japan, but little is known about the diversity or evolution of Korean wild soybean. Therefore, in this study, we evaluated the genetic diversity and population structure of 733 G. soja accessions collected in Korea using 21 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. The SSR loci produced 539 alleles (25.7 per locus) with a mean genetic diversity of 0.882 in these accessions. Rare alleles, those with a frequency of less than 5%, represented 75% of the total number. This collection was divided into two populations based on the principal coordinate analysis. Accessions from population 1 were distributed throughout the country, whereas most of the accessions from population 2 were distributed on the western side of the Taebaek and Sobaek mountains. The Korean G. soja collection evaluated in this study should provide useful background information for allele mining approach and breeding programmes to introgress alleles into the cultivated soybean (G. max (L). Merr.) from wild soybean.
Background: Mortality associated with depression may be influenced by severity of depression and gender. We investigated the differential impacts on all-cause mortality of late-life depression by the type of depression (major depressive disorder, MDD; minor depressive disorder, MnDD; subsyndromal depression, SSD) and gender after adjusting comorbid conditions in the randomly sampled elderly.
Methods: One thousand community-dwelling elderly individuals were enrolled. Standardized face-to-face clinical interviews, neurological examination, and physical examination were conducted to diagnose depressive disorders and comorbid cognitive disorders. Depressive disorders were diagnosed according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV) criteria and SSD to study-specific operational criteria. Five-year survivals were compared between groups using Cox proportional hazards models.
Results: By the end of 2010, 174 subjects (17.4%) died. Depressive disorder (p = 0.001) and its interaction term with gender (p < 0.001) were significant in predicting five-year survival. MDD was an independent risk factor for mortality in men (hazard ratio = 3.65, 95% confidence interval = 1.67–7.96) whereas MnDD and SSD were not when other risk factors were adjusted.
Conclusions: MDD may directly confer the risk of mortality in elderly men whereas non-major depression may be just an indicator of increased mortality in both genders.