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Caregivers of people with dementia are likely to have psychological distress that sometimes results in mental health problems, such as depression. The objective of this study was to examine some predictive factors that are thought to be associated with psychological distress of caregivers of people with dementia in Japan.
Design: A cross-sectional study. Sample: As part of a study to estimate the cost of dementia in Japan, 1,437 people with dementia-caregiver dyads were enrolled in the current informal care time study. The measurements in the study included were the basic characteristics of the caregivers and the people with dementia, and the informal care time during a week.
Factors that predict caregivers’ psychological distress, which was measured by Kessler's Psychological Distress scale (K6) score, were evaluated using univariate and multivariate regression analyses.
Approximately 69% of the caregivers recorded a K6 score higher than 4, while 18% scored higher than 12. According to the results of the logistic regression analysis (cut-off 4/5), the K6 score was associated with mental and comorbid diseases of people with dementia, informal care time, its lower number of caregivers, and the level of nursing care. According to the results of logistic regression analysis (cut-off 12/13), the K6 score was associated with mental symptoms and comorbid disease of people with dementia, sex of caregivers, informal care time, and its lower number of caregivers.
Our findings indicated that the psychological distress of the caregivers is quite high and that informal care time and behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia are associated with it. These results corroborate with previous findings.
The International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects, Surveillance and Research reports a rise in the prevalence rate of spina bifida in Japan. We determined first-trimester folate status of Hokkaido women and identified potential predictors. Participants were 15 266 pregnant women of the Hokkaido Study on Environment and Children’s Health Cohort. Data were extracted from self-reported questionnaires and biochemical assay results. Demographic determinants of low folate status were younger maternal age (adjusted OR (AOR) 1·48; 95 % CI 1·32, 1·66), lower educational level (AOR 1·27; 95 % CI 1·17, 1·39) and lower annual income (AOR 1·11; 95 % CI 1·01, 1·22). Plasma cotinine concentrations of 1·19–65·21 nmol/l increased the risk of low folate status (AOR 1·20; 95 % CI 1·10, 1·31) and concentrations >65·21 nmol/l further increased the risk (AOR 1·91; 95 % CI 1·70, 2·14). The most favourable predictor was use of folic acid (FA) supplements (AOR 0·19; 95 % CI 0·17, 0·22). Certain socio-demographic factors influence folate status among pregnant Japanese women. Modifiable negative and positive predictors were active and passive tobacco smoking and use of FA supplements. Avoiding both active and passive tobacco smoking and using FA supplements could improve the folate status of Japanese women.
In order to achieve the widespread use of HIT (Hetero-junction with I etero-Intrinsic T ntrinsic Thin-layer) solar cells, it is important to reduce the power generating cost. There are three main approaches for reducing this cost: raising the conversion efficiency of the HIT cell, using a thinner wafer to reduce the wafer cost, and raising the open circuit voltage to obtain a better temperature coefficient. With the first approach, we have achieved the highest conversion efficiency values of 22.3%, confirmed by AIST, in a HIT solar cell. This cell has an open circuit voltage of 0.725 V, a short circuit current density of 38.9 mA/cm2 and a fill factor of 0.791, with a cell size of 100.5 cm2. The second approach is to use thinner Si wafers. The shortage of Si feedstock and the strong requirement of a lower sales price make it necessary for solar cell manufacturers to reduce their production cost. The wafer cost is an especially dominant factor in the production cost. In order to provide low-priced, high-quality solar cells, we are trying to use thinner wafers. We obtained a conversion efficiency of 21.4% (measured by Sanyo) for a HIT solar cell with a thickness of 85μm. Even better, there was absolutely no sagging in our HIT solar cell because of its symmetrical structure. The third approach is to raise the open circuit voltage. We obtained a remarkably higher Voc of 0.739 V with the thinner cell mentioned above because of its low surface recombination velocity. The high Voc results in good temperature properties, which allow it to generate a large amount of electricity at high temperatures.
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