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Psychological effect of COVID-19 pandemic on university students in Turkey

Aim: The COVID-19 pandemic that started in China in December 2019 is spreading rapidly in Turkey and other parts of the world. The pandemic has not only brought the risk of death from infection, but also brought an irresistible psychological pressure. Especially, this pressure has increased due to the lockdown applied in the country. In this study, we aimed to reveal the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey on the anxiety levels of university students. 

Materials and Methods: This study was carried out in Turkey with a total of 1704 students studying in different cities and at different higher education institutions. “Personal Information Form” and “Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale” consisting of 7 items were used as the data collection tools. SPSS for Windows 24 program was used for the analyses of study data.  T-test statistics, One-way analysis of variance, Pearson correlation, and Ordinal Logit Regression Analysis test statistics were used for the comparison of data. 

Results: The Cronbach’s alpha value for the total score of the GAD scale was found to be 0.90. Concerning the effect of stress factors of the students on the GAD levels, the results of the study revealed that there was a statistically significant difference between the GAD levels and age, gender, educational level, type of family income, the positivity of COVID-19 in the family, individual, and vicinity, family economy, educational background, daily life routines, negative effects on the social life, and access to a protective mask (p<0.05; p<0.001).  

Discussion: This study highlights the potential effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of the students, and when the results obtained are evaluated, it was seen that this pandemic had a high effect on the mental health of the students. As a result, it is recommended to monitor the mental health of university students during pandemics.

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Can ‘HFNC’ be applied safely in COVID-19 patients in the ICU?

The new Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) affecting the whole world caused a massive pandemic. The most obvious effects of the virus are seen in the lungs, and Mechanical ventilation therapy is the main treatment approach in the intensive care unit. However, the management of each patient who was intubated was not successful, and it was observed that some of these patients died. Some patients may benefit from supportive oxygen therapy and High Flow Nasal oxygen therapy. Supportive oxygen therapies applied with a mask, nasal cannula or reservoir mask have limited benefits, and also long-term high-percentage oxygen therapy can cause toxic effects. While high-flow oxygen therapy can be an effective treatment method in preventing intubation, it may raise concerns in terms of spread through droplets. By using the method we apply to minimize the contamination risk, we are able to manage our patients successfully and safely.

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Protein kinase-coding genes as novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Aim: This study aims to identify the prognostic and diagnostic significance of protein kinase-coding genes in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), products of which constitute one of the main classes of drug targets in cancer treatment.

Material and Methods: Whole-genome gene expression data from seven PDAC cohorts (GSE62452, GSE15471, GSE62165, GSE18670, GSE19280, GSE41368, GSE71989) were included in the integrative transcriptomic analysis (n tumor=252, ncontrol=131). The differentially expressed genes in PDAC compared to controls were identified using random- effects model and were further validated in TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) combined GTEx (Genotype-Tissue Expression) cohort (n tumor=179, ncontrol=171). The prognostic significance of the identified genes was then evaluated by integrating survival and transcriptome data of over 530 (n=530-1302) patients using OSpaad.

Results: The integrative transcriptomic analysis revealed a total of seven down-regulated and 33 up-regulated protein kinase-coding genes in PDAC (adjusted p-value≤0,05, -2≤z-value≤2). The validation analysis using TCGA combined GTEx data confirmed 80% (n=32) of the identified differentially expressed genes in PDAC (p<0,01, and fold change≥2). Amongst, the elevated mRNA expressions of 9 genes (PTK2, TAOK1, CSNK1A1, EIF2AK2, WNK1, CDK12, CDK6, GSK3B, and MAP4K4) were found to be significantly correlated with worse overall survival of patients with PDAC (Logrank p≤0,05, HR>1). Overexpression of SYK and PRKACB were correlated with better overall survival (Logrank p≤0,05, HR<1).

Discussion: The results of this study suggest that mRNA expression of the  identified eleven protein kinase-coding genes can be used as both prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers for further clinical validation.

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