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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.
Decreased hemoglobin levels increase the risk of developing dementia among the elderly. However, the underlying mechanisms that link decreased hemoglobin levels to incident dementia still remain unclear, possibly due to the fact that few studies have reported on the relationship between low hemoglobin levels and neuroimaging markers. We, therefore, investigated the relationships between decreased hemoglobin levels, cerebral small-vessel disease (CSVD), and cortical atrophy in cognitively healthy women and men.
Cognitively normal women (n = 1,022) and men (n = 1,018) who underwent medical check-ups and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were enrolled at a health promotion center. We measured hemoglobin levels, white matter hyperintensities (WMH) scales, lacunes, and microbleeds. Cortical thickness was automatically measured using surface based methods. Multivariate regression analyses were performed after controlling for possible confounders.
Decreased hemoglobin levels were not associated with the presence of WMH, lacunes, or microbleeds in women and men. Among women, decreased hemoglobin levels were associated with decreased cortical thickness in the frontal (Estimates, 95% confidence interval, −0.007, (−0.013, −0.001)), temporal (−0.010, (−0.018, −0.002)), parietal (−0.009, (−0.015, −0.003)), and occipital regions (−0.011, (−0.019, −0.003)). Among men, however, no associations were observed between hemoglobin levels and cortical thickness.
Our findings suggested that decreased hemoglobin levels affected cortical atrophy, but not increased CSVD, among women, although the association is modest. Given the paucity of modifiable risk factors for age-related cognitive decline, our results have important public health implications.
There is increasing evidence of a relationship between underweight or obesity and dementia risk. Several studies have investigated the relationship between body weight and brain atrophy, a pathological change preceding dementia, but their results are inconsistent. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and cortical atrophy among cognitively normal participants.
We recruited cognitively normal participants (n = 1,111) who underwent medical checkups and detailed neurologic screening, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the health screening visits between September 2008 and December 2011. The main outcome was cortical thickness measured using MRI. The number of subjects with five BMI groups in men/women was 9/9, 148/258, 185/128, 149/111, and 64/50 in underweight, normal, overweight, mild obesity, and moderate to severe obesity, respectively. Linear and non-linear relationships between BMI and cortical thickness were examined using multiple linear regression analysis and generalized additive models after adjustment for potential confounders.
Among men, underweight participants showed significant cortical thinning in the frontal and temporal regions compared to normal weight participants, while overweight and mildly obese participants had greater cortical thicknesses in the frontal region and the frontal, temporal, and occipital regions, respectively. However, cortical thickness in each brain region was not significantly different in normal weight and moderate to severe obesity groups. Among women, the association between BMI and cortical thickness was not statistically significant.
Our findings suggested that underweight might be an important risk factor for pathological changes in the brain, while overweight or mild obesity may be inversely associated with cortical atrophy in cognitively normal elderly males.
The objective of the present study was to determine whether angiotensinogen G(–6)A polymorphism is associated with the elevation of blood pressure (BP) in the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy in Korean population. The subjects included 201 cases with the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and 160 healthy controls. The medical records of subjects were reviewed. Cases were classified into the four subtypes (transient hypertension, preeclampsia, chronic hypertension, and preeclampsia superimposed on chronic hypertension) by the diagnostic criteria suggested by the National High Blood Pressure Education Program Working Group. Cases were also divided into the high and low BP group by the elevation of BP (diastolic BP greater than or equal to 110 mmHg). Maternal angiotensinogen G(–6)A polymorphism was determined by restriction fragment length polymorphism. Frequencies of AA genotype were significantly higher in the high than in the low BP group in the preeclampsia, superimposed preeclampsia, and the combined group (N = 201), suggesting that the angiotensinogen G(–6)A allele was significantly associated with the elevation of BP in the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy among South Korean women. The present findings imply that the elevation of BP can serve as an endophenotype for a spectrum of hypertensive conditions in pregnancy.
NiCr films were thermally evaporated on the Mn-Ni-Co-O thick-film substrates. The NiCr/Mn-Ni-Co-O bi-layer systems were tested in a thermal shock chamber with three temperature differences of 150, 175 and 200°C. The systems were considered to have failed when the sheet resistance of NiCr films changed by 30% relative to an initial value. As the cyclic repetition of thermal shock increased, the sheet resistance of NiCr coatings increased. The Coffin-Manson equation was applied to the failure mechanism of cracking of NiCr coatings and the SEM observation of cracks and delamination in NiCr coatings due to thermal cycling agreed well with the failure mechanism.
To compare the epidemiology and genetic relatedness of Candida tropicalis isolates causing bloodstream infection (BSI) in two hospitals.
Two tertiary-care hospitals in Korea.
A retrospective molecular epidemiologic analysis using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was performed with 49 C. tropicalis isolates from sporadic cases of BSI. The isolates were collected from 27 patients at Chonnam National University Hospital (CUH) during a 6-year period and 22 patients at Asan Medical Center (AMC) during a 2-year period.
Based on the PFGE patterns, the average similarity value (SAB) for the 27 isolates from CUH was 0.84 ± 0.08, which was significantly higher than that for the 22 isolates from AMC (0.78 ± 0.06; P < .001). Of the 49 strains from patients at the 2 hospitals, 9 isolates were placed into 3 subtypes with SAB values of 1.0, which indicated that they were identical. All 9 of these strains were isolated from CUH patients, and each type strain was isolated sporadically during a period ranging from 4 months to 3 years. On comparison of the clinical characteristics of the patients of the 2 hospitals, the CUH strains were isolated more frequently from non-neutropenic patients and patients with central venous catheter–related fungemia; cases from CUH had a better outcome than those from AMC (P < .05).
These data show that the clinical and epidemiologic characteristics of C. tropicalis fungemia may differ markedly among hospitals and that some cases of C. tropicalis fungemia may be caused by endemic strains within a hospital.
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