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The COVID-19 pandemic poses a major threat to mental health and is associated with an increased risk of suicide. An understanding of suicidal behaviours during the pandemic is necessary for establishing policies to prevent suicides in such social conditions.
We aimed to investigate vulnerable individuals and the characteristics of changes in suicidal behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients with suicide attempts who visited the emergency department from February 2019 to January 2021. We analysed the demographic and clinical characteristics, risk factors and rescue factors of patients, and compared the findings between the pre-pandemic and pandemic periods.
In total, 519 patients were included. During the pre-pandemic and pandemic periods, 303 and 270 patients visited the emergency department after a suicide attempt, respectively. The proportion of suicide attempts by women (60.1% v. 69.3%, P = 0.035) and patients with a previous psychiatric illness (63.4% v. 72.9%, P = 0.006) increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, patients’ rescue scores during the pandemic were lower than those during the pre-pandemic period (12 (interquartile range: 11–13) v. 13 (interquartile range: 12–14), P < 0.001).
Women and people with previous psychiatric illnesses were more vulnerable to suicide attempts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Suicide prevention policies, such as continuous monitoring and staying in touch with vulnerable individuals, are necessary to cope with suicide risk.
There has been increasing evidence of hormonal changes during reproductive events that lead to mood changes. However, studies on the severity of psychological problems according to the menopausal stage are limited. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the association between menopausal stages, depression and suicidality.
A total of 45 177 women who underwent regular health check-ups between 2015 and 2018 at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital were included. Participants were stratified into four groups (pre-menopause, early transition, late transition and post-menopause) based on the Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop Criteria. The Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression scale (CESD) was used to evaluate depressive symptoms, and the degree of depressive symptoms was classified as moderate (CESD score 16–24) or severe (CESD score ⩾ 25). To measure suicide risk, we administered questionnaires related to suicidal ideation.
Overall, the prevalence of CESD scores of 16–24 and ⩾ 25 was 7.6 and 2.8%, respectively. Menopausal stages were positively associated with depressive symptoms in a dose-dependent manner. Multivariable-adjusted prevalence ratios (PRs, 95% confidence intervals) for CESD scores of 16–24 comparing the stages of the early menopausal transition (MT), late MT and post-menopause to pre-menopause was 1.28 (1.16–1.42), 1.21 (1.05–1.38) and 1.58 (1.36–1.84), respectively. The multivariable-adjusted PRs for CESD scores ⩾ 25 comparing the stages of the early MT, late MT and post-menopause to pre-menopause were 1.31 (1.11–1.55), 1.39 (1.12–1.72), 1.86 (1.47–2.37), respectively. In addition, the multivariable-adjusted PRs for suicidal ideation comparing the early MT, late MT and post-menopause stages to the pre-menopause stage were 1.24 (1.12–1.38), 1.07 (0.93–1.24) and 1.46 (1.25–1.70) (p for trend <0.001), respectively.
These findings indicate that the prevalence of depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation increases with advancing menopausal stage, even pre-menopause.
To evaluate the bidirectional relationship between blood pressure (BP) and depressive symptoms using a large prospective cohort study.
Prospective cohort study was performed in 276 244 adults who participated in a regular health check-up and were followed annually or biennially for up to 5.9 years. BP levels were categorised according to the 2017 American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association hypertension guidelines. Depressive symptoms were assessed using Centre for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression (CESD) questionnaire and a cut-off score of ≥25 was regarded as case-level depressive symptoms.
During 672 603.3 person-years of follow-up, 5222 participants developed case-level depressive symptoms. The multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) [95% confidence interval (CI)] for incident case-level depressive symptoms comparing hypotension, elevated BP, hypertension stage 1 and hypertension stage 2 to normal BP were 1.07 (0.99–1.16), 0.93 (0.82–1.05), 0.89 (0.81–0.97) and 0.81 (0.62–1.06), respectively (p for trend <0.001). During 583 615.3 person-years of follow-up, 27 787 participants developed hypertension. The multivariable-adjusted HRs (95% CI) for incident hypertension comparing CESD 16–24 and ⩾25 to CESD < 16 were 1.05 (1.01–1.11) and 1.12 (1.03–1.20), respectively (p for trend <0.001) and in the time-dependent models, corresponding HRs (95% CI) were 1.12 (1.02–1.24) and 1.29 (1.10–1.50), respectively (p for trend <0.001).
In this large cohort study of young and middle-aged individuals, higher BP levels were independently associated with a decreased risk for developing case-level depressive symptoms and depressive symptoms were also associated with incident hypertension. Further studies are required to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the bidirectional association between BP levels and incident depression.
Previous studies suggest that there is a strong association between depression and cognitive decline, and that concurrent depressive symptoms in MCI patients could contribute to a difference in neurocognitive characteristics compared to MCI patients without depression. The authors tried to compare neurocognitive functions between MCI patients with and without depression by analyzing the results of neuropsychological tests.
Participants included 153 MCI patients. Based on the diagnosis of major depressive disorder, the participants were divided into two groups: depressed MCI (MCI/D+) versus non-depressed MCI (MCI/D−). The general cognitive and functional statuses of participants were evaluated. And a subset of various neuropsychological tests was presented to participants. Demographic and clinical data were analyzed using Student t-test or χ2 test.
A total of 153 participants were divided into two groups: 94 MCI/D+ patients and 59 MCI/D− patients. Age, sex, and years of education were not significantly different between the two groups. There were no significant differences in general cognitive status between MCI/D+ and MCI/D− patients, but MCI/D+ participants showed significantly reduced performance in the six subtests (Contrasting Program, Go-no-go task, Fist-edge-palm task, Constructional Praxis, Memory Recall, TMT-A) compared with MCI/D− patients.
There were significantly greater deficits in neurocognitive functions including verbal memory, executive function, attention/processing speed, and visual memory in MCI/D+ participants compared to MCI/D−. Once the biological mechanism is identified, distinct approaches in treatment or prevention will be determined.
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.
Epidemiological studies have reported that higher education (HE) is associated with a reduced risk of incident Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, after the clinical onset of AD, patients with HE levels show more rapid cognitive decline than patients with lower education (LE) levels. Although education level and cognition have been linked, there have been few longitudinal studies investigating the relationship between education level and cortical decline in patients with AD. The aim of this study was to compare the topography of cortical atrophy longitudinally between AD patients with HE (HE-AD) and AD patients with LE (LE-AD).
We prospectively recruited 36 patients with early-stage AD and 14 normal controls. The patients were classified into two groups according to educational level, 23 HE-AD (>9 years) and 13 LE-AD (≤9 years).
As AD progressed over the 5-year longitudinal follow-ups, the HE-AD showed a significant group-by-time interaction in the right dorsolateral frontal and precuneus, and the left parahippocampal regions compared to the LE-AD.
Our study reveals that the preliminary longitudinal effect of HE accelerates cortical atrophy in AD patients over time, which underlines the importance of education level for predicting prognosis.
A post heat treatment of reaction-sintered SiC at 1700 °C in nitrogen atmosphere significantly reduced electrical resistivity. A trace of insulating Si3N4 phase was detected via nitrogen heat treatment in high-resolution transmission electron microscopy observation; however, based on x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, the evidence of nitrogen doping into SiC lattice has been claimed as the mechanism to the decreased resistivity. The increase of the total volume of SiC was apparent in x-ray diffraction during the nitrogen heat treatment, which was interpreted to stem from the growth of the nitrogen-doped intergranular SiC particles and surface doping of the primary SiC to reduce the contact resistance between the primary SiC particles.
We report on the basic characteristics and gas sensing operation of density controlled single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) thin films on poly(dimethyl siloxane) (PDMS) substrates The vacuum filteration and PDMS mold transfer method allowed the density of SWCNT distributed to have non-local uniformity. The optical transparency of the SWCNT thin films was inversely proportional to SWCNT density and conductivity. The flexible SWCNT thin film showed high mechanical stability with negligible change in conductance after being bent by 180o. We evaluated its gas sensing operation depending on SWCNT density and bias voltage. It was shown that lower SWCNT density thin films had higher sensitivity to NH3 gas, which may be due to higher exposed surface area for lower density SWCNT thin films. Also, we found that lower bias voltage devices showed faster recovery times. The results show that vacuum filteration and mold transfer method produced flexible SWCNT thin films that have stable mechanical and electrical characteristics and also stable gas sensing capabilities making them applicable to future flexible integrated sensors.
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