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It has been suggested that psychosocial factors are related to survival time of inpatients with cancer. However, there are not many studies examining the relationship between spiritual well-being (SWB) and survival time among countries. This study investigated the relationship between SWB and survival time among three East Asian countries.
This international multicenter cohort study is a secondary analysis involving newly admitted inpatients with advanced cancer in palliative care units in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. SWB was measured using the Integrated Palliative Outcome Scale (IPOS) at admission. We performed multivariate analysis using the Cox proportional hazards model to identify independent prognostic factors.
A total of 2,638 patients treated at 37 palliative care units from January 2017 to September 2018 were analyzed. The median survival time was 18.0 days (95% confidence interval [CI] 16.5–19.5) in Japan, 23.0 days (95% CI 19.9–26.1) in Korea, and 15.0 days (95% CI 13.0–17.0) in Taiwan. SWB was a significant factor correlated with survival in Taiwan (hazard ratio [HR] 1.27; 95% CI 1.01–1.59; p = 0.04), while it was insignificant in Japan (HR 1.10; 95% CI 1.00–1.22; p = 0.06), and Korea (HR 1.02; 95% CI 0.77–1.35; p = 0.89).
Significance of results
SWB on admission was associated with survival in patients with advanced cancer in Taiwan but not Japan or Korea. The findings suggest the possibility of a positive relationship between spiritual care and survival time in patients with far advanced cancer.
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.
Accurate prognostication is important for patients and their families to prepare for the end of life. Objective Prognostic Score (OPS) is an easy-to-use tool that does not require the clinicians’ prediction of survival (CPS), whereas Palliative Prognostic Score (PaP) needs CPS. Thus, inexperienced clinicians may hesitate to use PaP. We aimed to evaluate the accuracy of OPS compared with PaP in inpatients in palliative care units (PCUs) in three East Asian countries.
This study was a secondary analysis of a cross-cultural, multicenter cohort study. We enrolled inpatients with far-advanced cancer in PCUs in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan from 2017 to 2018. We calculated the area under the receiver operating characteristics (AUROC) curve to compare the accuracy of OPS and PaP.
A total of 1,628 inpatients in 33 PCUs in Japan and Korea were analyzed. OPS and PaP were calculated in 71.7% of the Japanese patients and 80.0% of the Korean patients. In Taiwan, PaP was calculated for 81.6% of the patients. The AUROC for 3-week survival was 0.74 for OPS in Japan, 0.68 for OPS in Korea, 0.80 for PaP in Japan, and 0.73 for PaP in Korea. The AUROC for 30-day survival was 0.70 for OPS in Japan, 0.71 for OPS in Korea, 0.79 for PaP in Japan, and 0.74 for PaP in Korea.
Significance of results
Both OPS and PaP showed good performance in Japan and Korea. Compared with PaP, OPS could be more useful for inexperienced physicians who hesitate to estimate CPS.
A suboptimal diet and nutritional deficiencies can have important influences on health with significant impact among older adults. This study aims to assess the presence of suboptimal dietary intake among older Americans and identify risk and protective factors influencing diet quality.
Cross-sectional secondary analysis.
A nationally representative sample of 5614 community-dwelling older adults over age 54 in the Health and Retirement Study – Health Care and Nutrition Survey.
Overall, only 10·7 % of respondents had a good quality diet (Healthy Eating Index score 81 and above); the majority had diets considered poor or needing improvement. Less than 50 % of respondents met dietary guidelines and nutritional goals for most individual food groups and nutrients. Respondents with low socio-economic status, fewer psychosocial resources and those who had limited access to healthy food outlets were more likely to have a diet of suboptimal quality.
Efforts to remove identified barriers that put older adults at risk for poor nutrition and to provide resources that increase access to healthy food should be made to encourage healthy eating and enhance diet quality.
A disaster in the hospital is particularly serious and quite different from other ordinary disasters. This study aimed at analyzing the activity outcomes of a disaster medical assistance team (DMAT) for a fire disaster at the hospital.
The data which was documented by a DMAT and emergent medical technicians of a fire department contained information about the patient’s characteristics, medical records, triage results, and the hospital which the patient was transferred from. Patients were categorized into four groups according to results of field triage using the simple triage and rapid treatment method.
DMAT arrived on the scene in 37 minutes. One hundred and thirty eight (138) patients were evacuated from the disaster scene. There were 25 patients (18.1%) in the Red group, 96 patients (69.6%) in the Yellow group, and 1 patient (0.7%) in the Green group. One patient died. There were 16 (11.6%) medical staff and hospital employees. The injury of the caregiver or the medical staff was more severe compared to the family protector.
For an effective disaster-response system in hospital disasters, it is important to secure the safety of medical staff, to utilize available medical resources, to secure patients’ medical records, and to reorganize the DMAT dispatch system.
A social network is a valuable resource in later life. Therefore, the current study aims to investigate whether social networks within homes and neighbourhoods are associated with older adults’ daily fruit and vegetable consumption.
Cross-sectional secondary data analysis.
A nationally representative sample of 6865 community-dwelling older adults over age 53 in the Health and Retirement Study – Health Care and Nutrition Survey.
Older adults who lived alone with no children or friends nearby had the lowest fruit and vegetable consumption. However, the daily fruit and vegetable consumption of respondents who lived alone and had children or friends nearby or those who lived with someone and had no children or friends nearby was not statistically different from those who lived with someone and had children or friends nearby. This suggests that having a social network either at home or in the neighbourhood complements the absence of living with someone or having children or friends nearby and attenuates the negative association between limited social networks and daily fruit and vegetable consumption. A greater decrease in the number of fruits and vegetables consumed was observed among men when they lived alone with no children or friends nearby.
Special attention should be given to older adults with limited social networks, especially older adults living alone with no children or friends nearby. Provision of help with grocery shopping and meal preparation as well as social support networks and more opportunities that can improve social engagement appear to be necessary.
We report our experience with an emergency room (ER) shutdown related to an accidental exposure to a patient with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who had not been isolated.
A 635-bed, tertiary-care hospital in Daegu, South Korea.
To prevent nosocomial transmission of the disease, we subsequently isolated patients with suspected symptoms, relevant radiographic findings, or epidemiology. Severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assays (RT-PCR) were performed for most patients requiring hospitalization. A universal mask policy and comprehensive use of personal protective equipment (PPE) were implemented. We analyzed effects of these interventions.
From the pre-shutdown period (February 10–25, 2020) to the post-shutdown period (February 28 to March 16, 2020), the mean hourly turnaround time decreased from 23:31 ±6:43 hours to 9:27 ±3:41 hours (P < .001). As a result, the proportion of the patients tested increased from 5.8% (N=1,037) to 64.6% (N=690) (P < .001) and the average number of tests per day increased from 3.8±4.3 to 24.7±5.0 (P < .001). All 23 patients with COVID-19 in the post-shutdown period were isolated in the ER without any problematic accidental exposure or nosocomial transmission. After the shutdown, several metrics increased. The median duration of stay in the ER among hospitalized patients increased from 4:30 hours (interquartile range [IQR], 2:17–9:48) to 14:33 hours (IQR, 6:55–24:50) (P < .001). Rates of intensive care unit admissions increased from 1.4% to 2.9% (P = .023), and mortality increased from 0.9% to 3.0% (P = .001).
Problematic accidental exposure and nosocomial transmission of COVID-19 can be successfully prevented through active isolation and surveillance policies and comprehensive PPE use despite longer ER stays and the presence of more severely ill patients during a severe COVID-19 outbreak.
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.
Hyperlipidaemia is a major cause of atherosclerosis and related CVD and can be prevented with natural substances. Previously, we reported that a novel Bacillus-fermented green tea (FGT) exerts anti-obesity and hypolipidaemic effects. This study further investigated the hypotriglyceridaemic and anti-obesogenic effects of FGT and its underlying mechanisms. FGT effectively inhibited pancreatic lipase activity in vitro (IC50, 0·48 mg/ml) and ameliorated postprandial lipaemia in rats (26 % reduction with 500 mg/kg FGT). In hypertriglyceridaemic hamsters, FGT administration significantly reduced plasma TAG levels. In mice, FGT administration (500 mg/kg) for 2 weeks augmented energy expenditure by 22 % through the induction of plasma serotonin, a neurotransmitter that modulates energy expenditure and mRNA expressions of lipid metabolism genes in peripheral tissues. Analysis of the gut microbiota showed that FGT reduced the proportion of the phylum Firmicutes in hamsters, which could further contribute to its anti-obesity effects. Collectively, these data demonstrate that FGT decreases plasma TAG levels via multiple mechanisms including inhibition of pancreatic lipase, augmentation of energy expenditure, induction of serotonin secretion and alteration of gut microbiota. These results suggest that FGT may be a useful natural agent for preventing hypertriglyceridaemia and obesity.
The effects of the Zr/Ti ratio on the electrical properties of lead zirconate titanate (PZT) thick films prepared by the aerosol deposition (AD) process were investigated to optimize the electrical properties of the thick film. The Zr/Ti ratio was varied among 45/55, 52/48, and 60/40, and the post-annealing temperature was varied from 500 to 900 °C. Microscopic examination of the as-deposited films revealed crack-free and dense microstructures with a thickness of 10 μm. The annealed films showed markedly improved electrical properties in comparison with the as-deposited films with increasing post-annealing temperature. With increasing Zr/Ti ratio, the remnant polarization and coercive field decreased. The dielectric constant and piezoelectric coefficient, d33, were highest for the PZT 52/48 film. This film annealed at 900 °C exhibited the best overall combination of electrical properties, with a dielectric constant, remnant polarization, and piezoelectric coefficient of 1320, 31.1 μC/cm2, and 150 pC/N, respectively.
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