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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.
This study aims to identify factors associated with divorce following breast cancer diagnosis and measures the impact of divorce on the quality of life (QoL) of patients.
We used cross-sectional survey data collected at breast cancer outpatient clinics in South Korea from November 2018 to April 2019. Adult breast cancer survivors who completed active treatment without any cancer recurrence at the time of the survey (N = 4,366) were included. The participants were classified into two groups: “maintaining marriage” and “being divorced,” between at the survey and at the cancer diagnosis. We performed logistic regression and linear regression to identify the factors associated with divorce after cancer diagnosis and to compare the QoL of divorced and nondivorced survivors.
Approximately 11.1/1,000 of married breast cancer survivors experienced divorce after cancer diagnosis. Younger age, lower education, and being employed at diagnosis were associated with divorce. Being divorced survivors had significantly lower QoL (Coefficient [Coef] = −7.50; 95% CI = −13.63, −1.36), social functioning (Coef = −9.47; 95% CI = −16.36, −2.57), and body image (Coef = −8.34; 95% CI = −6.29, −0.39) than survivors who remained married. They also experienced more symptoms including pain, insomnia, financial difficulties, and distress due to hair loss.
Identifying risk factors of divorce will ultimately help ascertain the resources necessary for early intervention.
To evaluate the impact of a vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) screening policy change on the incidence of healthcare-associated (HA)-VRE bacteremia in an endemic hospital setting.
A quasi-experimental before-and-after study.
A 1,989-bed tertiary-care referral center in Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Since May 2010, our hospital has diminished VRE screening for admitted patients transferred from other healthcare facilities. We assessed the impact of this policy change on the incidence of HA-VRE bacteremia using segmented autoregression analysis of interrupted time series from January 2006 to December 2014 at the hospital and unit levels. In addition, we compared the molecular characteristics of VRE blood isolates collected before and after the screening policy change using multilocus sequence typing and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis.
After the VRE screening policy change, the incidence of hospital-wide HA-VRE bacteremia increased, although no significant changes of level or slope were observed. In addition, a significant slope change in the incidence of HA-VRE bacteremia (change in slope, 0.007; 95% CI, 0.001–0.013; P = .02) was observed in the hemato-oncology department. Molecular analysis revealed that various VRE sequence types appeared after the policy change and that clonally related strains became more predominant (increasing from 26.1% to 59.3%).
The incidence of HA-VRE bacteremia increased significantly after VRE screening policy change, and this increase was mainly driven by high-risk patient populations. When planning VRE control programs in hospitals, different approaches that consider risk for severe VRE infection in patients may be required.
Network approach has been applied to a wide variety of psychiatric disorders. The aim of the present study was to identify network structures of remitters and non-remitters in patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP) at baseline and the 6-month follow-up.
Participants (n = 252) from the Korean Early Psychosis Study (KEPS) were enrolled. They were classified as remitters or non-remitters using Andreasen's criteria. We estimated network structure with 10 symptoms (three symptoms from the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, one depressive symptom, and six symptoms related to schema and rumination) as nodes using a Gaussian graphical model. Global and local network metrics were compared within and between the networks over time.
Global network metrics did not differ between the remitters and non-remitters at baseline or 6 months. However, the network structure and nodal strengths associated with positive-self and positive-others scores changed significantly in the remitters over time. Unique central symptoms for remitters and non-remitters were cognitive brooding and negative-self, respectively. The correlation stability coefficients for nodal strength were within the acceptable range.
Our findings indicate that network structure and some nodal strengths were more flexible in remitters. Negative-self could be an important target for therapeutic intervention.
We argue that a country's international security context influences individual bias against female leaders and propose three mechanisms: by increasing individual demand for defense, by shaping individual ideological orientations, and by increasing society's level of militarization. Using survey data of more than 200,000 individuals in 84 countries, we show the more hostile the country's security environment, the more individuals are likely to agree that men make better political leaders than do women. We also find support for some of our proposed mechanisms and that the effect of security environments is greater for men than women. Our study presents the first cross-national evidence that the country's international security environment correlates with bias against women leaders.
The Internet is commonly used in modern society; however, Internet use may become a problematic behaviour. There is an increasing need for research on problematic Internet use (PIU) and its’ associated risk factors.
This study aims to explore the prevalence and health correlates of problematic Internet use among South Korean adults.
We recruited the participants aged between 18 and 84 years old among the online panel of an online research service. The sample size of the survey was 500. Of these 500 participants, 51.4% (n = 257) were men and 48.6% (n = 243) were women. A participant was classified as a problematic Internet use (PIU) if his/her total score of Young's Internet Addiction Scale (YIA) was above 50. Stress Response Index (SRI), Fagerstrom test for nicotine dependence, lifetime average caffeine consumption, and sociodemographic query form were used in the collection of data. The t test and chi-square test were used for data analysis.
One hundred ninety-seven (39.4%) of the participants was classified into the PIU group. There was no difference of gender and education between PIU and normal users. However, PIU group was younger (mean 39.5 years) than normal users (mean 45.8 years). PIU group was more likely to have high levels of perceived stress, nicotine dependence, and drink more often caffeinated beverages (P < 0.05).
These data indicate that problematic Internet use is associated with perceived stress level, nicotine and caffeine use in South Korean Internet users. More research is needed to better understand the relationship between Internet use and mental health issues.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Little is known about long-term employment outcomes for patients with first-episode schizophrenia-spectrum (FES) disorders who received early intervention services.
We compared the 10-year employment trajectory of patients with FES who received early intervention services with those who received standard care. Factors differentiating the employment trajectories were explored.
Patients with FES (N = 145) who received early intervention services in Hong Kong between 1 July 2001 and 30 June 2002 were matched with those who entered standard care 1 year previously. We used hierarchical clustering analysis to explore the 10-year employment clusters for both groups. We used the mixed model test to compare cluster memberships and piecewise regression analysis to compare the employment trajectories of the two groups.
There were significantly more patients who received the early intervention service in the good employment cluster (early intervention: N = 98 [67.6%]; standard care: N = 76 [52.4%]; P = 0.009). In the poor employment cluster, there was a significant difference in the longitudinal pattern between early intervention and standard care for years 1–5 (P < 0.0001). The number of relapses during the first 3 years, months of full-time employment during the first year and years of education were significant in differentiating the clusters of the early intervention group.
Results suggest there was an overall long-term benefit of early intervention services on employment. However, the benefit was not sustained for all patients. Personalisation of the duration of the early intervention service with a focus on relapse prevention and early vocational reintegration should be considered for service enhancement.
This study aimed to investigate associations among spirituality, coping strategies, quality of life (QOL), and the effects of depression and anxiety thereon in cancer patients.
In total, 237 cancer patients referred to a psycho-oncology clinic at a university hospital in Korea were enrolled. After identifying predictors of patient QOL in a stepwise regression model, we developed a hypothetical path model wherein interpersonal coping was considered as a mediating variable between spirituality (meaning/peace) and QOL and wherein depression and anxiety affected each of these three variables.
The direct effect of spirituality (meaning/peace) on QOL was 36.7%. In an indirect model, interpersonal coping significantly mediated the relationship between spirituality (meaning/peace) and QOL. Depression exerted the largest negative effect on spirituality (meaning/peace), interpersonal coping, and QOL. Anxiety had negative effects on spirituality (meaning/peace) and QOL, but a positive effect on interpersonal coping.
Significance of results
Interpersonal coping strategies work as a partial mediator of the relationship between meaning/peace subscales of spirituality and QOL. Effective management of depression may help in achieving better outcomes associated therewith. Greater attention and efforts to improve social connectedness and meaning of life in spiritual well-being may improve the QOL of cancer patients.
Our objective was to evaluate long-term altered appearance, distress, and body image in posttreatment breast cancer patients and compare them with those of patients undergoing active treatment and with general population controls.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey between May and December of 2010. We studied 138 breast cancer patients undergoing active treatment and 128 posttreatment patients from 23 Korean hospitals and 315 age- and area-matched subjects drawn from the general population. Breast, hair, and skin changes, distress, and body image were assessed using visual analogue scales and the EORTC BR–23. Average levels of distress were compared across groups, and linear regression was utilized to identify the factors associated with body image.
Compared to active-treatment patients, posttreatment patients reported similar breast changes (6.6 vs. 6.2), hair loss (7.7 vs. 6.7), and skin changes (5.8 vs. 5.4), and both groups had significantly more severe changes than those of the general population controls (p < 0.01). For a similar level of altered appearance, however, breast cancer patients experienced significantly higher levels of distress than the general population. In multivariate analysis, patients with high altered appearance distress reported significantly poorer body image (–20.7, CI95% = –28.3 to –13.1) than patients with low distress.
Significance of results:
Posttreatment breast cancer patients experienced similar levels of altered appearance, distress, and body-image disturbance relative to patients undergoing active treatment but significantly higher distress and poorer body image than members of the general population. Healthcare professionals should acknowledge the possible long-term effects of altered appearance among breast cancer survivors and help them to manage the associated distress and psychological consequences.
Psychological health is an important issue after disasters. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of psychological symptoms among 993 residents of Taean District in South Korea after the Hebei Spirit oil spill and to examine determinants of vulnerability in residents’ psychological symptoms.
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress (PTS), depression, suicidal ideation, and anxiety were assessed by questionnaires, and the responses were analyzed by using the survey analysis considering the sampling frame.
Among the study subjects, the symptom prevalences of PTS, depression, suicidal ideation, and anxiety were 19.5%, 22.0%, 2.3%, and 4.2%, respectively, and symptoms were higher in people who were female, were older, were less educated, and had lower family income. People with fishery or related occupations compared to those with unrelated livelihoods and people residing in the vicinity of the oil band in the contaminated coastline showed additively increased symptom risks of PTS. Risk of suicidal ideation was predominantly increased in people with fishery or related occupations compared with those with unrelated livelihoods.
Social supports, including compensation for income loss and community mental health programs, and longer follow-up studies are needed for residents in the communities affected by the Hebei Spirit oil spill. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:51-58)
Dynamic recrystallization (DRX) of 99.9999% aluminum single crystal at room temperature was examined under frictionless deformation mode. To exclude the self-heating of the specimen due to applied high strain, a microcrack that localizes the stress at a very small region was intentionally introduced by controlled local necking. For the in situ observation of DRX, a specially designed in situ microdeformation device was positioned inside an electron backscattered diffraction system chamber. Recrystallized grains showed relatively random texture and preferred growth direction. The subgrains with low-angle grain boundaries formed by dynamic recovery transformed into small grains with high-angle grain boundaries, acting as nuclei for discontinuous dynamic recrystallization and growing by further deformation. The DRX in pure aluminum can take place under frictionless tensile deformation conditions at room temperature, and the stress localization and high purity are key issues for the DRX of aluminum at room temperature.
We investigated the pressure dependence of the inductive coupled plasma (ICP) oxidation on the electrical characteristics of the thin oxide films. Activation energies and electron temperatures with different pressures were estimated. To demonstrate the pressure effect on the plasma oxide quality, simple N type metal-oxide-semiconductor (NMOS) transistors were fabricated and investigated in a few electrical properties. At higher pressure than 200mTorr, plasma oxide has a slightly higher on-current and a lower interfacial trap density. The on-current gain seems to be related to the field mobility increase and the lower defective interface to the electron temperature during oxidation.
Cocoa polyphenols have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. TNF-α is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that has a vital role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases such as cancer and psoriasis. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression is associated with tumorigenesis, CVD, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. We tested whether cocoa polyphenol extract (CPE) inhibited TNF-α-induced VEGF expression in promotion-sensitive JB6 mouse epidermal cells. CPE significantly inhibited TNF-α-induced up-regulation of VEGF via reducing TNF-α-induced activation of the nuclear transcription factors activator protein-1 (AP-1) and NF-κB, which are key regulators of VEGF expression. CPE also inhibited TNF-α-induced phosphorylation of protein kinase B (Akt) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase. CPE blocked activation of their downstream kinases, p70 kDa ribosomal protein S6 kinase and p90 kDa ribosomal protein S6 kinase. CPE suppressed phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) activity via binding PI3K directly. CPE did not affect TNF-α-induced phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase-1 (MEK1) but suppressed TNF-α-induced MEK1 activity. Collectively, these results indicate that CPE reduced TNF-α-induced up-regulation of VEGF by directly inhibiting PI3K and MEK1 activities, which may contribute to its chemopreventive potential.
We evaluated the effects of the two main kiwifruit cultivars (gold kiwifruit (GOK) and green kiwifruit (GRK)) and their active phenolic compound, quercetin, on H2O2-induced inhibition of gap-junction intercellular communication (GJIC) in WB-F344 rat liver epithelial cells. We found that both GOK and GRK protect WB-F344 cells from H2O2-induced inhibition of GJIC. The extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2)–connexin 43 (Cx43) signalling pathway is crucial for the regulation of GJIC, and both GOK and GRK blocked the H2O2-induced phosphorylation of Cx43 and ERK1/2 in WB-F344 cells. Quercetin alone attenuated the H2O2-mediated ERK1/2–Cx43 signalling pathway and consequently reversed H2O2-mediated inhibition of GJIC in WB-F344 cells. A free radical-scavenging assay using 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl showed that the scavenging activity of quercetin was higher than that of a synthetic antioxidant, butylated hydroxytoluene, per mol, suggesting that the chemopreventive effect of quercetin on H2O2-mediated inhibition of ERK1/2–Cx43 signalling and GJIC may be mediated through its free radical-scavenging activity. Since the carcinogenicity of reactive oxygen species such as H2O2 is attributable to the inhibition of GJIC, GOK, GRK and quercetin may have chemopreventive potential by preventing the inhibition of GJIC.
Korean is highly productive as an agglutinative language which has rich verbal and nominal inflections. This chapter, which deals with various aspects of Korean morphology, such as nominal cases, prefinal endings, and final endings, will shed great light on the complex morpho-syntactic structure of Korean. It will review some research in morpho-syntactic processing by Korean aphasic patients. We will present some studies of morpho-syntactic processing such as case marker processing, morphemic ambiguity resolution, agrammatism, and questions relating to pronouns. Understanding the proposed experiments of aphasic data will give us insights concerning the determination of the ‘cognitive architecture’ of language.
Neurolinguistics, as the study of the neurobiology of language, is concerned with the brain mechanism which permits us to understand and to produce language. Studying speakers whose language is impaired, along with their modes of acquisition and use of language, provides a window through which the structure and processing of language may be considered. Aphasic research has been an important area of neurolinguistics and is primarily devoted to an attempt to understand the relationship between the brain and language. The fact that damage to some parts of the brain results in language loss, but damage to other parts of the brain leaves language more or less intact, supports the view of the structured brain with separate faculties.
Current studies on aphasic research were mostly conducted with Indo-European languages. Findings obtained by studies on these languages do not confirm whether the phenomena or results are universal or language-specific ones.
The liquid lens based on MEMS technology can be an appropriate solution to improve the imaging capability of a capsule endoscope because it can be realized small enough and also consume negligible power. In this paper, a cylinder-type liquid lens was designed to minimize the dead area and then fabricated with MEMS technology combining the silicon thin-film process and the wafer bonding process where the multiple dielectric layer of Teflon, silicon nitride and thermal oxide was formed on the cylinder wall. The focal length of the lens module including the fabricated liquid lens was changed reproducibly as a function of the applied voltage. With the change of 30V in the applied bias, the focal length of the constructed lens module could be tuned in the range of about 42cm. The fabricated liquid lens was also proven to be small enough to be adopted in the capsule endoscope, which means the liquid lens can be utilized for the imaging capability improvement of the capsule endoscope.
To improve the IPD reliability of NAND flash memory, plasma oxidation was introduced as the post-treatment process of ONO (Oxide/Nitride/Oxide) IPD. The LP-CVD SiO2 modified by plasma oxidation showed the excellent electrical properties. e.g., low leakage current, high breakdown voltage etc. By the analysis of Tof-SIMS and XRR, we could observe the several changes of physical characteristics such as the reduction of impurities (H, N etc.), the increase of oxide density, and the improvement of oxide surface roughness. We found out the appropriate treatment condition to be able to densify oxide layer without the addition of ONO Equivalent Oxide Thickness (EOT). The LP-CVD SiO2 prepared by plasma oxidation was used for the ONO IPD of 50nm NAND flash device and also compared with the conventional LP-CVD SiO2 in the aspect of the IPD reliability.