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Background: Although small- and medium-sized hospitals comprise most healthcare providers in South Korea, data on antibiotic usage is limited in these facilities. We evaluated the pattern of antibiotic usage and its appropriateness in hospitals with <400 beds in South Korea. Methods: A multicenter retrospective study was conducted in 10 hospitals (6 long-term care hospitals, 3 acute-care hospitals, and 1 orthopedic hospital), with <400 beds in South Korea. We analyzed patterns of antibiotic prescription and their appropriateness in the participating hospitals. Data on the monthly antibiotic prescriptions and patient days for hospitalized patients were collected using electronic databases from each hospital. To avoid the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, data were collected from January to December 2019. For the evaluation of the appropriateness of the prescription, 25 patients under antibiotic therapy were randomly selected at each hospital over 2 separate periods. Due to the heterogeneity of their characteristics, the orthopedics hospital was excluded from the analysis. The collected data were reviewed, and the appropriateness of antibiotic prescriptions was evaluated by 5 specialists in infectious diseases (adult and pediatric). Data from 2 hospitals were assigned to each specialist. The appropriateness of antibiotic prescriptions was evaluated from 3 aspects: route of administration, dose, and class. If the 3 aspects were ‘optimal,’ the prescription was considered ‘optimal.’ If only the route was ‘optimal,’ and the dose and/or class was ‘suboptimal,’ but not ‘inappropriate,’ it was considered ‘suboptimal.’ If even 1 aspect was ‘inappropriate,’ it was classified as ‘inappropriate.’ Results: The most commonly prescribed antibiotics in long-term care hospitals was fluoroquinolone, followed by β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitor (antipseudomonal). In acute-care hospitals, these were third-generation cephalosporin, followed by first-generation cephalosporin and second-generation cephalosporin. The major antibiotics that were prescribed in the orthopedics hospital was first-generation cephalosporin. Only 2.3% of the antibiotics were administered inappropriately. In comparison, 15.3% of patients were prescribed an inappropriate dose. The proportion of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions was 30.6% of the total antibiotic prescriptions. Conclusions: The antibiotic usage patterns vary between small- and medium-sized hospitals in South Korea. The proportion of inappropriate prescriptions exceeded 30% of the total antibiotic prescriptions.
We establish a highly feasible algorithm for time-optimal cornering trajectory planning (TP) for car-like mobile robots (CLMRs) based on a dynamic model that contains actuator dynamics. First, we formulate an accurate dynamic model of a robot that contains DC motor actuators; this includes steering braking (caused by the lateral force of the front steering wheel) and two types of friction (viscous and Coulomb) under a nonslip condition. Our TP algorithm can utilize the full power of the DC motor actuators within proper pulse width modulation bounds and generated torque limits. Then, we establish an algorithm for a time-optimal cornering trajectory planning for CLMRs (TOCTP-CLMR). Our algorithm divides the trajectory into five sections comprising three turnings and two translations to minimize the travel distance. Then, we utilize the quickest rotation when turning to construct the time-optimal trajectory that satisfies the bang-bang principle. In addition, simulations are performed to demonstrate the validity of this method. Finally, we conduct open-loop experiments to validate our dynamic model and a trajectory tracking experiment to demonstrate the feasibility of the TOCTP-CLMR trajectory.
We calculated the human resources required for an antimicrobial stewardship program (ASP) in Korean hospitals.
Multicenter retrospective study.
Eight Korean hospitals ranging in size from 295 to 1,337 beds.
The time required for performing ASP activities for all hospitalized patients under antibiotic therapy was estimated and converted into hours per week. The actual time spent on patient reviews of each ASP activity was measured with a small number of cases, then the total time was estimated by applying the determined times to a larger number of cases. Full-time equivalents (FTEs) were measured according to labor laws in Korea (52 hours per week).
In total, 225 cases were reviewed to measure time spent on patient reviews. The median time spent per patient review for ASP activities ranged from 10 to 16 minutes. The total time spent on the review for all hospitalized patients was estimated using the observed number of ASP activities for 1,534 patients who underwent antibiotic therapy on surveillance days. The most commonly observed ASP activity was ‘review of surgical prophylactic antibiotics’ (32.7%), followed by ‘appropriate antibiotics recommendations for patients with suspected infection without a proven site of infection but without causative pathogens’ (28.6%). The personnel requirement was calculated as 1.20 FTEs (interquartile range [IQR], 1.02–1.38) per 100 beds and 2.28 FTEs (IQR, 1.93–2.62) per 100 patients who underwent antibiotic therapy, respectively.
The estimated time required for human resources performing extensive ASP activities on all hospitalized patients undergoing antibiotic therapy in Korean hospitals was ~1.20 FTEs (IQR, 1.02–1.38) per 100 beds.
Background: After the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus outbreak in Korea in 2015, the government newly established the additional reimbursement for infection prevention to encourage infection control activities in the hospitals. The new policy was announced in December 2015 and was implemented in September 2016. We evaluated how infection control activities improved in hospitals after the change of government policy in Korea. Methods: Three cross-sectional surveys using the WHO Hand Hygiene Self-Assessment Framework (HHSAF) were conducted in 2013, 2015, and 2017. Using multivariable linear regression model including hospital characteristics, we analyzed the changes in total HHSAF scores according to the survey time. Results: In total, 32 hospitals participated in the survey in 2013, 52 in 2015, and 101 in 2017. The number of inpatient beds per infection control professionals decreased from 324 in 2013 to 303 in 2015 and 179 in 2017. Most hospitals were at intermediate or advanced levels of progress (90.6% in 2013, 86.6% in 2015, and 94.1% in 2017). In a multivariable linear regression model, the total HHSAF scores were significantly associated with hospital teaching status (β coefficient of major teaching hospital, 52.6; 95% CI, 8.9–96.4; P = .018), bed size (β coefficient of 100-bed increase, 5.1; 95% CI, 0.3–9.8; P = .038), and survey time (β coefficient of 2017 survey, 45.1; 95% CI, 19.3–70.9; P = .001). Conclusions: After the national policy implementation, the number of infection control professionals increased, and the promotion of hand hygiene activities was strengthened in Korean hospitals.
The 14C peak in AD 775 (M12) has been measured and confirmed globally in several studies since it was first measured in annual tree rings by Miyake et al. (2012). However, M12 data measurements in early- and latewood are limited. This paper presents the Δ14C values in early- and latewood from AD 762–776 Zelkova serrata tree rings from Bangu-dong, Ulsan, South Korea (35°33′N, 129°20′E). The results indicate no early rise in Δ14C values in the latewood of AD 774 in this sample located at mid-latitude. A comparison of the results of this and previous studies suggests latitude dependence (Büntgen et al. 2018); that is, the early rise of Δ14C in AD 774 was not observed at mid-latitudes in South Korea but was observed at high latitudes in Finland. The half-oxidation time of 14C was estimated from a detailed analysis of a small bomb peak in AD 1962. Based on the half-oxidation time, the Δ14C rise in the latewood, but not in the earlywood, of AD 774 in Finland, and the absence of a Δ14C rise in both the early- and latewood of AD 774 in South Korea, the 14C spike was estimated to have been produced from late April to mid-June in AD 774.
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.
Refugees commonly experience difficulties with emotional processing, such as alexithymia, due to stressful or traumatic experiences. However, the functional connectivity of the amygdala, which is central to emotional processing, has yet to be assessed in refugees. Thus, the present study investigated the resting-state functional connectivity of the amygdala and its association with emotional processing in North Korean (NK) refugees.
This study included 45 NK refugees and 40 native South Koreans (SK). All participants were administered the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Clinician-administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), and differences between NK refugees and native SK in terms of resting-state functional connectivity of the amygdala were assessed. Additionally, the association between the strength of amygdala connectivity and the TAS score was examined.
Resting-state connectivity values from the left amygdala to the bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) were higher in NK refugees than in native SK. Additionally, the strength of connectivity between the left amygdala and right dlPFC was positively associated with TAS score after controlling for the number of traumatic experiences and BDI and CAPS scores.
The present study found that NK refugees exhibited heightened frontal–amygdala connectivity, and that this connectivity was correlated with alexithymia. The present results suggest that increased frontal–amygdala connectivity in refugees may represent frontal down-regulation of the amygdala, which in turn may produce alexithymia.
Late Pleistocene carbon isotope (δ13C) records from a paleolithic sedimentary sequence collected from Baeki, Hongcheon, central Korea, show long-term changes with superimposed short-term isotopic excursions. The δ13C value of the sedimentary organic matter, a proxy for past vegetation change, varied from − 26‰ to − 23‰ for the period between 30 and 90 ka, with a long-term variation similar to insolation changes. High-amplitude (− 1‰ to approximately − 1.5‰) fluctuations superimposed on the long-term changes in the δ13C values decreased during stronger summer monsoon intervals but increased during the weakened summer monsoon. This millennial-scale pattern is generally similar to Greenland Dansgaard–Oeschger (D–O) cycles. The possible connection between the Hongcheon area, Korea and high latitudes may be explained by atmospheric circulation changing in response to the D–O oscillations in the Northern Hemisphere.
To trace past changes in flooding frequency, we investigated fluvial sediments in the middle reach of the Nakdong River, South Korea. Sediments with larger grain size, lower total organic carbon percentage, and depleted δ13C values in the recovered sediment cores were interpreted as periods of more frequent flooding. Patterns of decreased long-term flooding frequency and vegetation changes during the early to late Holocene were similar to the decreasing regional summer monsoon intensity. Multicentennial frequent flooding periods in the study area (2900–3400 cal yr BP, 3600–3900 cal yr BP, 4600–5300 cal yr BP, and 5800–6400 cal yr BP) corresponded to stronger El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) activity periods. Based on previous studies showing that high-frequency tropical typhoon-driven coastal inundation along the western coast of Japan during the middle to late Holocene was coupled with stronger ENSO activity, it is likely that the observed centennial-to-millennial-scale flood frequency change in South Korea was influenced mainly by changes in the genesis and tracks of tropical typhoons at centennial-to-millennial time scales. This suggests that the centennial-to-millennial-scale hydrologic changes in East Asia were linked to the remote atmospheric-oceanic circulation changes represented by an ENSO-like pattern.
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).
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.
Thick coatings of tetrahedral amorphous carbon (ta-C) have great existing and potential commercial importance for components such as automobile accessories. We confirmed the feasibility of depositing thick ta-C coating on Si wafer, WC, stainless steel (STS), and Al alloy substrates by a home-made filtered cathode vacuum arc. A ta-C coating of 800 nm thickness was successfully deposited over 20 min continuous coating. Interestingly, coatings with thicknesses exceeding 1 μm were easily delaminated by thermal and internal stress effects when the coating time exceeded 20 min. Varying the bias (0 V ↔ 500 V) was highly effective in controlling the internal stress relaxation of the ta-C. This method showed significant improvements in the stress relaxation of the ta-C coatings. By applying multicycle coating, the thickness and hardness of the ta-C coating could reach 9.3 μm and 45 GPa, respectively, at a coating speed of 3.0 μm/h on a fixed substrate.
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.
Some clinical studies have reported reduced peripheral glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) level in elderly patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). We verified whether a reduction in plasma GDNF level was associated with MDD.
Plasma GDNF level was measured in 23 healthy control subjects and 23 MDD patients before and after 6 weeks of treatment.
Plasma GDNF level in MDD patients at baseline did not differ from that in healthy controls. Plasma GDNF in MDD patients did not differ significantly from baseline to the end of treatment. GDNF level was significantly lower in recurrent-episode MDD patients than in first-episode patients before and after treatment.
Our findings revealed significantly lower plasma GDNF level in recurrent-episode MDD patients, although plasma GDNF levels in MDD patients and healthy controls did not differ significantly. The discrepancy between our study and previous studies might arise from differences in the recurrence of depression or the ages of the MDD patients.
The mitochondrial genome is maternally inherited in animals, despite the fact that paternal mitochondria enter oocytes during fertilization. Autophagy and ubiquitin-mediated degradation are responsible for the elimination of paternal mitochondria in Caenorhabditis elegans; however, the involvement of these two processes in the degradation of paternal mitochondria in mammals is not well understood. We investigated the localization patterns of light chain 3 (LC3) and ubiquitin in mouse and porcine embryos during preimplantation development. We found that LC3 and ubiquitin localized to the spermatozoon midpiece at 3 h post-fertilization, and that both proteins were colocalized with paternal mitochondria and removed upon fertilization during the 4-cell stage in mouse and the zygote stage in porcine embryos. Sporadic paternal mitochondria were present beyond the morula stage in the mouse, and paternal mitochondria were restricted to one blastomere of 4-cell embryos. An autophagy inhibitor, 3-methyladenine (3-MA), did not affect the distribution of paternal mitochondria compared with the positive control, while an autophagy inducer, rapamycin, accelerated the removal of paternal mitochondria compared with the control. After the intracytoplasmic injection of intact spermatozoon into mouse oocytes, LC3 and ubiquitin localized to the spermatozoon midpiece, but remnants of undegraded paternal mitochondria were retained until the blastocyst stage. Our results show that paternal mitochondria colocalize with autophagy receptors and ubiquitin and are removed after in vitro fertilization, but some remnants of sperm mitochondrial sheath may persist up to morula stage after intracytoplasmic spermatozoon injection (ICSI).
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.