An Analysis of Infectious Disease Research Trends in Medical Journals From North Korea (2018. 03)
Do Hyeon Park, Min Ho Park, Ah Young Lim, Hee Young Shin
Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the current status of infectious disease research in North Korea by analyzing recent trends
in medical journals from North Korea in comparison with research from South Korea.
Methods: Three medical journals (Preventive Medicine, Basic Medicine, and Chosun Medicine) were analyzed from 2012 to 2016. Articles
on tuberculosis (TB), malaria, and parasitic diseases were selected and classified by their subtopics and study areas. Two medical journals
published in the South Korea were selected for a comparative analysis of research trends.
Results: Of the 2792 articles that were reviewed, 93 were extracted from North Korea journals. TB research in North Korea was largely
focused on multi-drug resistant TB and extrapulmonary TB, whereas research in South Korea more frequently investigated non-tuberculous
mycobacteria. Research on parasitic diseases in North Korea was focused on protozoan and intestinal nematodes, while the
corresponding South Korea research investigated various species of parasites. Additionally, the studies conducted in North Korea were
more likely to investigate the application of traditional medicine to diagnosis and treatment than those conducted in South Korea.
Conclusions: This study presents an analysis of research trends in preventive medicine in North Korea focusing on infectious diseases,
in which clear differences were observed between South and North Korea. Trends in research topics suggest a high prevalence of certain
parasitic diseases in North Korea that are no longer widespread in South Korea. The large proportion of studies examining traditional
medicine implies a lack of affordable medicine in North Korea.