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In this observational study conducted in 2022, 12.3% of patients who shared a room with a patient positive for severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) also had a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, either at initial screening or during a 5-day quarantine. Therefore, screening and quarantine are still necessary within hospitals for close-contact inpatients during the SARS-CoV-2 omicron-variant dominant period.
We investigated gender differences in psychosocial determinants that affect hand hygiene (HH) performance among physicians.
The survey included a structured questionnaire with 7 parts: self-assessment of HH execution rate; knowledge, attitude, and behavior regarding HH; internal and emotional motivation for better HH; barriers to HH; need for external reminders; preference for alcohol gel; and embarrassment due to supervision.
The study was conducted across 4 academic referral hospitals in Korea.
Physicians who worked at these hospitals were surveyed.
The survey questionnaire was sent to 994 physicians of the hospitals in July 2018 via email or paper. Differences in psychosocial determinants of HH among physicians were analyzed by gender using an independent t test or the Fisher exact test.
Of the 994 physicians, 201 (20.2%) responded to the survey. Among them, 129 (63.5%) were men. Male physicians identified 4 barriers as significant: time wasted on HH (P = .034); HH is not a habit (P = .004); often forgetting about HH situations (P = .002); and no disadvantage when I do not perform HH (P = .005). Female physicians identified pain and dryness of the hands as a significant obstacle (P = .010), and they had a higher tendency to feel uncomfortable when a fellow employee performed inadequate HH (P = .098). Among the respondents, 26.6% identified diversifying the types of hand sanitizers as their first choice for overcoming barriers to improving HH, followed by providing reminders (15.6%) and soap and paper towels in each hospital room (13.0%).
A significant difference in the barriers to HH existed between male and female physicians. Promoting HH activities could help increase HH compliance.
Background: Surveillance of healthcare-associated infection (HAI) is the basis of infection prevention programs. However, manual review of medical records is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. We evaluated the diagnostic performance of automated surveillance of HAI using electronic screening algorithms. Methods: Between April and June 2022, we conducted surveillance of HAI manually and automatically using electronic screening algorithm on 75 units (general medical and surgical wards and ICUs) in a 2,700-bed, tertiary-care hospital in South Korea. Algorithms for surveillance of HAI were developed accordance with NHSN surveillance definitions (Fig. 1). Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) were automatically detected when eligible pathogen and fever (>38°C) were matched within infection window period. Other specific types of infection were automatically classified based on laboratory results that met NHSN criteria. After the algorithm showed possible cases that met laboratory-confirmed bloodstream infection (LCBI) criteria, we excluded secondary BSIs using the automatic surveillance algorithm. We analyzed sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) for the automated surveillance system compared to manual surveillance. Results: An algorithm for detecting CAUTI showed 98.7% sensitivity (78 of 79), 100.0% specificity (2,443 of 2,443), 100.0% PPV (78 of 78), and 100.0% NPV (2,443 of 2,444). For CLABSI, the algorithm had 97.3% sensitivity (214 of 220), 98.3% specificity (5,759 of 5,861), 67.7% PPV (214 of 316), and 99.9% NPV (5,759 of 5,765). In total, 102 cases of possible CLABSI were identified by the algorithm, and 76 (74.5%) were eventually diagnosed as secondary BSIs. Also, by chart review, 20 BSIs (19.6%) were present on arrival in ER (ER-POA). In 4 cases (3.9%), an original pathogen reoccurred in a repeated infection timeframe (RIT), and 2 cases (2%) were mucosal barrier injury-LCBI (MBI-LCBI). When we additionally performed manual surveillance for intra-abdominal infection secondary BSI, ER-POA, and assigning pathogen to original BSI in RIT, PPV increased to 87.7% (214 of 244). Conclusions: Algorithm for automated surveillance of CAUTI had good performance; however, automated surveillance of CLABSI was suboptimal. More elaborate screening algorithm for diagnosis CLABSI is needed, and further studies are needed to determine whether an automated surveillance system can reduce workload for surveillance of HAI.
Nowadays, a growing number of firms utilize corporate lobbying to advocate for more environmentally friendly policies and regulations, deviating from the traditional lobbying mainly used to minimize regulatory burdens. In this study, we investigate what motivates firms to engage in such an unusual type of lobbying—environmental lobbying. Focusing on the product strategy of firms, we suggest that firms with greater green product intensity are more likely to engage in environmental lobbying. When environmental lobbying raises environmental hurdles in the market, firms with an intensive focus on green products can bear adjustment costs with little effort, leaving other “less green” firms relatively disadvantaged under the newly regulated market conditions. Moreover, those firms can address demand-side issues more easily by lobbying the government to provide greater incentives for purchasing green products or to request subsidies that can be used to improve their cost structure. Our analyses based on the US light vehicle market indicate that, indeed, the more electric vehicles automakers sell relative to their total sale volumes, the more they will engage in environmental lobbying. We also find that this relationship becomes more salient when a firm has greater market share or originally comes from a foreign country with more stringent environmental regulations than the United States.
Firefighters are frequently exposed to stressful situations and are at high risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Hyperresponsiveness to threatening and emotional stimuli and diminishment of executive control have been suggested as manifestations of PTSD.
To examine brain activation in firefighters with PTSD by conducting an executive control-related behavioural task with trauma-related interferences.
Twelve firefighters with PTSD and 14 healthy firefighters underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while performing a Stroop match-to-sample task using trauma-related photographic stimuli. Seed-based functional connectivity analysis was conducted using regions identified in fMRI contrast analysis.
Compared with the controls, the participants with PTSD had longer reaction times when the trauma-related interferences were presented. They showed significantly stronger brain activation to interfering trauma-related stimuli in the left insula, and had weaker insular functional connectivity in the supplementary motor area and the anterior cingulate cortex than the controls. They also showed a significant correlation between left insula–supplementary motor area connectivity strength and the hyperarousal subscale of the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale.
Our findings indicate that trauma-related stimuli elicit excessive brain activation in the left insula among firefighters with PTSD. Firefighters with PTSD also appear to have weak left insular functional connectivity with executive control-related brain regions. This aberrant insular activation and functional connectivity could be related to the development and maintenance of PTSD symptoms in firefighters.
Nosocomial transmission of COVID-19 among immunocompromised hosts can have a serious impact on COVID-19 severity, underlying disease progression and SARS-CoV-2 transmission to other patients and healthcare workers within hospitals. We experienced a nosocomial outbreak of COVID-19 in the setting of a daycare unit for paediatric and young adult cancer patients. Between 9 and 18 November 2020, 473 individuals (181 patients, 247 caregivers/siblings and 45 staff members) were exposed to the index case, who was a nursing staff. Among them, three patients and four caregivers were infected. Two 5-year-old cancer patients with COVID-19 were not severely ill, but a 25-year-old cancer patient showed prolonged shedding of SARS-CoV-2 RNA for at least 12 weeks, which probably infected his mother at home approximately 7–8 weeks after the initial diagnosis. Except for this case, no secondary transmission was observed from the confirmed cases in either the hospital or the community. To conclude, in the day care setting of immunocompromised children and young adults, the rate of in-hospital transmission of SARS-CoV-2 was 1.6% when applying the stringent policy of infection prevention and control, including universal mask application and rapid and extensive contact investigation. Severely immunocompromised children/young adults with COVID-19 would have to be carefully managed after the mandatory isolation period while keeping the possibility of prolonged shedding of live virus in mind.
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.
In spite of significant concerns about Hg contamination and its toxic impacts in the environment, limited studies have been carried out in Korea. The objectives of this study are to investigate the extent and degree of Hg contamination in soil, sediment, dust and sludge from various anthropogenic sources in Korea, and to understand the distribution patterns of Hg in the study areas. The anthropogenic sources of Hg contamination were divided into four major sources: (1) by-product from abandoned Au-Ag mines; (2) coal combustion; (3) cement production; and (4) industrial and domestic discharges. A calculation of enrichment factor and index of geoaccumulation for Hg in soils and sediments indicated that some samples from mining sites were enriched in Hg. In addition, Hg concentrations in marine sediments from industrial sites were above the Effects Range Median (ERM) criteria suggested by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States (NOAA). Therefore, it can be concluded that samples from various sites were directly influenced by anthropogenic sources of Hg in the surface environment.
An index of biomarkers derived from dietary factors (diet–biomarker-related index) identifies foods and nutrients that encompass physiological potentials and provides scientific evidence for dietary patterns that increase the risk of disease associated with specific biomarkers. Although men and women have different dietary patterns and physiological characteristics, sex is not often considered when investigators develop a diet–biomarker-related index. We aimed to review whether epidemiological studies developed diet–biomarker-related indices in a sex-specific way.
We systematically searched for epidemiological studies that developed diet–biomarker-related indices, including (i) biomarker prediction indices that include dietary factors as explanatory variables and (ii) dietary patterns to explain biomarker variations, in the PubMed and EMBASE databases. We qualitatively reviewed the sex consideration in index development.
We identified seventy-nine studies that developed a diet–biomarker-related index. We found that fifty-four studies included both men and women. Of these fifty-four studies, twenty-nine (53·7 %) did not consider sex, eleven (20·3 %) included sex in the development model, seven (13·0 %) considered sex but did not include sex in the development model, and seven (13·0 %) derived a diet–biomarker-related index for men and women separately. A list of selected dietary factors that explained levels of biomarkers generally differed by sex in the studies that developed a diet–biomarker-related index in a sex-specific way.
Most studies that included both men and women did not develop the diet–biomarker-related index in a sex-specific way. Further research is needed to identify whether a sex-specific diet–biomarker-related index is more predictive of the disease of interest than an index without sex consideration.
The Korea National Health Insurance (K-NHI) has covered medical devices with low cost-effectiveness evidence by what is known as the Selective Benefit (SB) since December of 2013 as a type of conditional coverage. Most medical devices in the SB category are new technology and have higher levels of clinical effectiveness and/or functions than those in the benefit category, but they are characterized as being expensive. We compare the K-NHI medical device coverage system to those in Japan and Taiwan so as to be more informed about how to cover and set prices for new medical devices.
We searched for materials related to medical device coverage or the reimbursement systems of three countries (Korea, Japan, and Taiwan). National health insurance laws, policy reports, and the websites of the Ministries of Health of the respective countries, for instance, were also reviewed.
The NHI systems of Korea, Japan, and Taiwan have several similarities with regard to their medical device benefit lists. They reimburse listed medical devices separately although they cover them basically by including procedures or a diagnosis-related group (DRG) fee. The K-NHI reimburses for medical devices with low cost-effectiveness using the actual market medical price, similar to other medical devices in the benefit category. However, there are no detailed rules regarding how to set prices for these devices. Every listed medical device is covered at the notified price in Japan, but the prices of new medical devices with improved functions can add 1 -100 percent of the price to the notified price. The prices of devices related to new medical procedures are determined by cost-accounting methods. The NHI service in Taiwan compensates for medical devices which are alternates but clinically improved types through a balance billing method.
The NHI systems in Japan and Taiwan set prices with regard to reimbursements for new medical devices separately, specifically for devices which are advanced clinically or functionally but expensive. The K-NHI must consider establishing a pricing or reimbursement system for new medical devices through the discussion with stakeholders for reasonable reimbursements and decreasing the financial burden on the K-NHI.
There are several options for the repair of interrupted aortic arch. Direct anastomosis may cause several problems including anastomotic site stenosis, left main bronchus compression, and acute-angled aortic arch. Interposition of a prosthetic graft has no growth potential. We present a case of 34-month-old child with interrupted aortic arch, which was repaired using a pulmonary autograft tube.
Echinochloa species are among the most troublesome weeds in
rice cultivation, and grow in a broad habitat range in Korea. Although
various ecotypes of Echinochloa have been collected as
germplasm for future studies, it has been difficult to classify them due to
their high level of morphological similarity. This study was thus conducted
to develop and investigate the phylogenetic relationships between 77
Echinochloa accessions with the use of 23 simple
sequence repeat (SSR) markers and 24 morphological traits. Of 77
Echinochloa accessions, including 57 accessions from
Korea and 5 reference species, late watergrass was clearly clustered as a
distinctive group from barnyardgrass and other Echinochloa
species. In this analysis, we also identified core genetic and morphological
markers that can be used for the future identification and classification of
Echinochloa species. Five out of 23 SSR makers produced
distinctive bands that discriminate late watergrass from barnyardgrass and
other Echinochloa species. Four morphological traits of the
reproductive organs were the most influential contributors for classifying
Echinochloa species. Although there was no clear
consensus generated in this study between SSR markers and morphological
trait analyses, our results support the potential use of the selected SSR
markers and morphological traits in future studies of
In South Korea, injury is a public health problem due to its high incidence and high mortality. To improve emergency medical systems, the government announced plans to increase the emergency medical resources for each region. This study investigated the association between regional emergency medical resources and mortality during hospitalization in severely injured inpatients.
To analyse mortality for severely injured inpatients, we used the Korean National Hospital Discharge In-depth Survey data, consisting of 18,621 hospitalizations from 2005-2012. Generalized estimating equations were analysed to examine the association between mortality during hospitalization and both individual and regional variables.
Mortality during hospitalization occurred in 913 (4.9%) cases. Patients in regions with a higher number of emergency departments (odds ratio [OR]=0.94, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.91-0.98), a higher number of ambulances (OR=0.99, 95% CI: 0.98-0.99), and a higher number of registered nurses per emergency department (OR=0.88, 95% CI: 0.83-0.94) had a lower risk of mortality during hospitalization.
Our findings suggest that regional emergency medical resources are associated with a lower risk of mortality during hospitalization in severely injured patients. Thus, health care policymakers need to determine the proper distribution of emergency medical resources for each region and the function of emergency departments to provide a superior quality of emergency medical services to patients.
Diet may play an important role in breast cancer recurrence or survival, and therefore assessment of long-term diet among breast cancer survivors is important in breast cancer survivorship research. Given that the diet of breast cancer survivors may differ from that of the general population, the use of a FFQ specific to this group may be needed. The objective of this study was to develop a FFQ for breast cancer survivors, the most commonly used tool to measure long-term dietary patterns in nutritional epidemiological studies. We collected information on the foods and amounts of foods consumed using 3-d dietary records from a total of 192 women who had been diagnosed with stage I–III breast cancers and had undergone breast cancer surgery at least 6 months before the baseline study. A total of 1254 foods and dishes consumed were re-grouped by the similarity of the main ingredients and/or serving units, and several dishes commonly consumed among the Korean population were added. After we performed contribution analyses and variability analyses to detect between-person variation for selected nutrients, we listed a total of 123 foods and dishes for the FFQ specific to breast cancer survivors. Our breast cancer survivor-specific FFQ can be used to estimate long-term dietary intake and to examine its association with breast cancer prognosis in epidemiological studies of breast cancer in Korea.
A few epidemiological data are available assessing the associations of intakes of sodium (Na) and potassium (K) with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We aimed to examine the associations of dietary intake of Na and K with the prevalence of ultrasound-diagnosed NAFLD. We performed a cross-sectional study of 100 177 participants (46 596 men and 53 581 women) who underwent a health screening examination and completed a FFQ at the Kangbuk Samsung Hospital Total Healthcare Centers, South Korea, between 2011 and 2013. NAFLD was defined by ultrasonographic detection of fatty liver in the absence of excessive alcohol intake or other known causes of liver disease. The proportion of NAFLD was 35·6 % for men and 9·8 % for women. Increasing prevalence of NAFLD was observed with increasing Na intake. The multivariable-adjusted prevalence ratios (PR) of NAFLD comparing the highest with the lowest quintile of energy-adjusted Na intake were 1·25 (95 % CI 1·18, 1·32; Ptrend<0·001) in men and 1·32 (95 % CI 1·18, 1·47; Ptrend <0·001) in women. However, when we additionally adjusted for body fat percentage, the association became attenuated; the corresponding PR of NAFLD were 1·15 (95 % CI 1·09, 1·21) in men and 1·06 (95 % CI 0·95, 1·17) in women. No inverse association was observed for energy-adjusted K intake. Our findings suggest that higher Na intake is associated with a greater prevalence of NAFLD in young and middle-aged asymptomatic adults, which might be partly mediated by adiposity.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are common dietary exposures that cross the human placenta and are classified as a probable human carcinogen. The aim of the present study was to investigate the potential impact of exposure to PAH-containing meat consumed during pregnancy on birth outcomes.
Prospective birth cohort study. Only non-smoking women with singleton pregnancies, who were free from chronic disease such as diabetes and hypertension, were included in the study. Maternal consumption of PAH-rich meat was estimated through FFQ. Multiple linear regression was used to assess factors related to higher intake and the association between dietary PAH and birth outcomes.
Republic of Korea, 2006–2011.
Pregnant women (n 778) at 12–28 weeks of gestation enrolled in the Mothers and Children’s Environmental Health (MOCEH) study.
The multivariable regression model showed a significant reduction in birth weight associated with higher consumption level of foods rich in PAH, such as grilled or roasted meat, during pregnancy (β=−17·48 g, P<0·05 for every 1 point higher in meat score). Further adjusting for biomarkers of airborne PAH did not alter this association. There was no evidence that higher consumption level of PAH-rich meat shortens the duration of gestation (P=0·561). Regression models performed for birth length and head circumference produced negative effects that were not statistically significant.
Consumption of higher levels of barbecued, fried, roasted and smoked meats during pregnancy was associated with reduced birth weight. Dietary risk of PAH exposure in Korean women is of concern.
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.
Assessment of frontal lobe impairment in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a matter of great importance, since it often causes ALS patients to decrease medication and nursing compliance, thus shortening their survival time.
The frontal assessment battery (FAB) is a short and rapid method for assessing frontal executive functions. We investigated the applicability of the FAB as a screening method for assessing cognitive impairments in 61 ALS patients. Depending on the results of the FAB, we classified patients into two subgroups: FAB-normal and FAB-abnormal. We then performed additional evaluations of cognitive function using the Korean version of the mini-mental state examination (K-MMSE), a verbal fluency test (COWAT), and a neuropsychiatric inventory (NPI). Results of these tests were compared between the two groups using Mann-Whitney U-tests, and Spearman correlation analyses were used to investigate the relationships between FAB score and disease duration and severity.
Of the 61 sporadic ALS patients included in this study, 14 were classified as FAB-abnormal and 47 were classified as FAB-normal. The FAB-normal and FAB-abnormal patients performed significantly differently in all domains of the COWAT. There was no difference in behavioral disturbance, as assessed by the NPI, between the two groups. The FAB scores were found to significantly correlate with both disease duration and severity.
The FAB shows promise as a method of screening for frontal lobe dysfunction in ALS, as it is not only quick and easy, but also reliable. Additional studies should examine how FAB performance changes as ALS progresses.