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Koreans’ head size grew over 40 years (from 1930s to 1970s)
Found by Dr. Im Joo Rhyu-led research team at the Korea University College of Medicine as a result of MRI analyses, Koreans’ intracranial volume 90ml larger resulting from changes in the social environment
It has been found that the Koreans’ head has greatly changed during 20th century. Professor Im Joo Rhyu of the Anatomy Department at the Korea University College of Medicine reported that Koreans born in the 1970s had 90ml larger cranial volume than those born in the 1930s. Also, the cranial morphology in both groups was also different from each other.
The researchers stated that they reached the conclusion based on three dimensional analyses of scanned cranial vault of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of total 115 Koreans born in the 1930s and 1970s.
According to the study results, the difference was found from size of the interior skull and the intracranial volume between two groups. The people born in the 1970s who bred in socioeconomic stable environment, was 90ml bigger than the people born in the 1930s, who lived under impoverished colonial rule. Also, the changes differed by sex as the cranial shape; length, height, and width has increased in men while the only the height and width was increased in women. This change is dramatic as the change typically processed slowly over 100 to 200 years. Such cranial morphology was accompanied by industrialization and urbanization that had occurred since the Industrial Revolution. However, according to the study, the process took 40 years In Korea, which is a short period of time after the national liberation.
The results indicate that Koreans who grew up under the Japanese colonial rule in the 1930s were devastated in both socio-economical means, therefore left with poor nutrition, which lead to poor maternal health and physical growth. On the other hand, those born in the 1970s, were provided enough nutrition to grow and develop, as the nation had become free of exploitation while the society was stable, and economy was flourishing.
“The intracranial volume and cranial index have been recognized as important indicators in the field of not only physical anthropology, but also brain science and evolutionary anthropology, because it is possible to assess brain size using them. From the recent study on Koreans, we have demonstrated the fact that not all generations of Koreans go through same changes, but the changes in head size and shape are accompanied by socioeconomic conditions, as well as geological or environmental circumstances,” head researcher Professor Rhyu said. “We concluded that the social stability and economic growth in the 1970s in Korea brought the people proper nutrition and physical growth.”
The research was supported by the Ministry of Education, under the BK21PLUS Project, and was published in the latest edition of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology under the title, Changes in Intracranial Volume and Cranial Shape in Modern Koreans Over Four Decades. The journal is prestigious, ranking the top 8.8% in the international journal lists for anthropology of Social Science Citation Index (SSCI), released by Clarivate Analytics.
pubmed link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29543324
Am J Phys Anthropol. 2018 Jul;166(3):753-759. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.23464. Epub 2018 Mar 15.
Hepatic Resection Compared to Chemoembolization in Intermediate to Advanced Stage Hepatocellular Carcinoma
The Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) staging system has been widely adopted around the world in the staging and treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma. The BCLC staging system classifies patients into 0, A, B, C, or D, after examining the status of the tumor and hepatic function, enabling one to determine the disease status relatively easily. The system also suggests a treatment option: transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) for BCLC stage B, and systematic treatment for BCLC stage C. But it might be a problem if one were to stick to only one kind of treatment, as the BCLC stage B/C patients fall into various categories in terms of liver function and vascular invasion. Particularly, for East Asian patients with hepatocellular carcinoma whose liver function is relatively well-preserved, more active treatment should be taken into account.
The research team led by Dr. Kim Jihoon from the Department of Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine at Korea University Guro Hospital compared a surgical resection with TACE in patients with intermediate to advanced-stage (BCLC B/C) through systematic review and meta-analysis. Through a database search, they included 18 high-quality studies (one randomized controlled trial [RCT], five propensity-score matching non-randomized comparative trials [NRCTs], and 12 NRCTs), that compared survival outcomes of 5,986 patients after surgery and TACE. They found significant survival benefits for surgery over TACE in BCLC stage B/C patients (hazard ratio 0.67; P<0.00001). Five-year survival rates for surgery were significantly higher than those for TACE in the patients (odd ratio 2.71 in BCLC B/C, 2.77 in BCLC B, 3.03 in BCLC C; P < 0.00001). Survival benefits persisted across subgroups, sensitivity, and meta-regression analysis, and remained constant. In conclusion, this meta-analysis suggests that surgical resection provides survival benefits in patients with intermediate to advanced-stage (BCLC stage B/C). The evidence found herein may assist in the choice of treatment modality based on diverse definitions of operability.
The research results are published in Hepatology, under the title of, ‘Hepatic Resection Compared to Chemoembolization in Intermediate to Advanced Stage Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Meta-analysis of High- Quality Studies.’
pubmed link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29543988
Hepatology 2018 Mar 15. doi: 10.1002/hep.29883.
Constriction of the Mitochondrial Inner Compartment is a Priming Event for Mitochondrial Division
Mitochondria are organelles which have evolved by endosymbiosis. They have double membranes: inner (IMM), and outer (OMM), and play a physiological role, such as in generating cellular energy, regulating calcium levels, and releasing reactive oxygen species. The word mitochondrion comes from the Greek μ？το？, mitos, meaning "thread", and χονδρ？ον, chondrion, which means "granule" or "grain-like". They are known as highly dynamic organelles that change their shapes by continuously undergoing fusion and division.
Although such morphological alterations, particularly triggered by cellular metabolism, division, or death are drawing great attention, the molecular mechanism behind this has not been clearly elucidated. The research team led by Dr. Woong Sun, of the Department of Anatomy at Korea University College of Medicine, witnessed a repetitive constriction of mitochondrial inner compartments (named CoMIC) in neurons, and found that this constriction is necessary for mitochondrial fission.
Experts have believed that two major proteins (actin protein and Drp1), which exist in cytoplasm, are involved in mitochondrial fission tightening around the mitochondrion. But our team’s recent study discovered that the inner mitochondrial membrane also plays a role in the constriction leading to fission. We also confirmed that some roles involving both in and out at the same time, are required for an effective mitochondrial fission. Primitive microorganisms (achebacteria) deemed to be the origin of mitochondria, live independently, and, therefore, they must be mediated by a molecular mechanism to reproduce (cell division) on their own, where the cell division takes place inside. In this context, our discovery would also be very interesting from an evolutionary point of view, as it is regarded that eukaryotic mitochondria somehow maintain strategy for their old ancestors used.
The research results are published in Nature Communications under the title of, ‘Constriction of the Mitochondrial Inner Compartment is a Priming Event for Mitochondrial Division.’
pubmed link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5472732/
Nature Communications 2017 Jun 9;8:15754. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15754.
Holding an Open Discussion for Medical Students on the 4th Industrial Revolution
This past Friday, May 11th, the Korea University College of Medicine opened a student forum with great fanfare, as part of its 2018 global leadership project, under the theme of, ‘The 4th Industrial Revolution - How Can We Be Ready?’.
KU Medicine hosted this event to help their medical students be better prepared to respond to the rapidly changing health industry in the 4th industrial revolution, make a plan for the future, and ultimately develop themselves as great medical specialists and leaders. It is meaningful all the more, given that the school had many students get involved in voicing their opinions, helping to plan the event, and in presiding over the session. Exchange students from overseas from countries such as China, Germany, Sweden, and Thailand, who were here for clinical research and training, also took part in the presentation and discussion.
In one conference session, more than 70 students and professors actively discussed and shared ideas, based on some theme-based strategies presented by each student team. The student presenters exchanged opinions about how they see the current state of the medical industry, what the 4th industrial revolution means to future medical doctors, and how they can best prepare for the revolution. The exchange students also expressed thoughts about how they understand the 4th industrial revolution based on their own environment.
Some of the comments made by Korean students participating in the presentation were, “It was a great opportunity to think seriously about my career and future in the face of the 4th industrial revolution, that would otherwise go unnoticed.” “Actually, it was hard to prepare for the presentation, but it was enormously useful at the same time, as I could really think about my future.” “It was good to share opinions while listening to others, and I also felt how important it is to express myself effectively in English.” Some foreign students said, “I was impressed by the humanistic approach in dealing with the issues of today.” “I wish the discussion on the theme had been longer than the presentation.”
Dean Hong Sik Lee said, “We have been holding a Global Leadership Project Series to provide an open place for high-level discussion to our students, so that they can express themselves effectively, and communicate with others in a proper way. If you get involved in sharing information and ideas with each other just like today, you have already started preparing for the future in the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution.” “I’m so pleased to see our students take the 4th industrial revolution really seriously, and their strategic ideas and presentation quality were amazing. I learned a lot from them”, he added.