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Online ISSN : 1881-7823
Print ISSN : 1881-7815
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Policy Forum
  • Hidechika Akashi, Miwa Ishioka, Akiko Hagiwara, Rumiko Akashi, Yasuyo ...
    Volume 12 (2018) Issue 1 Pages 1-6
    Released: March 18, 2018
    [Advance publication] Released: February 26, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    Providing a continuum of care (CoC) is important strategy for improving maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH). Japan's current very low maternal and infant mortality rates suggest that its CoC for MNCH is good. In this paper, we attempt to clarify how CoC and low mortality rates are being maintained in Japan, by examining the entire MNCH service provision system. First, we examine two important tools for integrated service provision, the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Handbook and registration of pregnant women with local governments, both introduced in 1942. Second, we explore the incentives provided by the MNCH system that prompt actors to participate in it. The three actors identified are service users (e.g., mothers and babies), medical professionals, and local governments. Through system design, all three actors benefit in ways that incentivize them to use MNCH services, which consequently connects service users with resources: all service users regardless of financial status, nationality, and location can receive free MNCH services such as antenatal care, assistance with childbirth, postnatal care, and immunizations; using the handbook, service users obtain health information, and medical professionals obtain the health records of pregnant women and their children as well as access examination fees from the local government by submitting vouchers in the handbook; local governments can then identify pregnant women for follow-up and provide health information and administrative services. As a result, the coverage rate of the MCH Handbook has reached 100% and MNCH services coverage could potentially reach the same level.

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  • Kyoko Sudo, Jun Kobayashi, Shinichiro Noda, Yoshiharu Fukuda, Kenzo Ta ...
    Volume 12 (2018) Issue 1 Pages 7-11
    Released: March 18, 2018
    [Advance publication] Released: February 26, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    Elderly care is an emerging global issue threatening both developed and developing countries. The elderly in Japan increased to 26.7% of the population in 2015, and Japan is classified as a super-aged society. In this article, we introduce the financial aspects of the medical care and welfare services policy for the elderly in Japan. Japan's universal health insurance coverage system has been in place since 1961. Long-term care includes welfare services, which were separated from the medical care insurance scheme in 2000 when Japan was already recognized as an aging society. Since then, the percentage of the population over 65 has increased dramatically, with the productive-age population on the decrease. The Japanese government, therefore, is seeking to implement "The Community-based Integrated Care System" with the aim of building comprehensive up-to-the-end-of-life support services in each community. The system has four proposed elements: self-help (Ji-jo), mutual aid (Go-jo), social solidarity care (Kyo-jo), and government care (Ko-jo). From the financial perspective, as the government struggles against the financial burdens of an aging population, they are considering self-help and mutual aid. Based on Japan's present situation, both elements could lead to positive results. The Japanese government must also entrust the responsibility for implementing preventive support to municipalities through strongly required regional autonomy. As Japan has resolved this new challenge through several discussions over a long period of time, other aging countries could learn from the Japanese experience of solving barriers to healthcare policy for the elderly.

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Review
  • Yingwei Fan, Yan Xia, Xinran Zhang, Yu Sun, Jie Tang, Liwei Zhang, Hon ...
    Volume 12 (2018) Issue 1 Pages 12-23
    Released: March 18, 2018
    [Advance publication] Released: January 15, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    This review focuses on optical coherence tomography (OCT)-based neurosurgical application for imaging and treatment of brain tumors. OCT has emerged as one of the most innovative and successful translational biomedical-diagnostic techniques. It is a useful imaging tool for noninvasive, in vivo, in situ and real-time imaging in soft biological tissues, such as brain tumor imaging. OCT can detect the structure of biological tissue in a micrometer scale, and functional OCT has some clinical researches and applications, such as nerve fiber tracts and neurovascular imaging. OCT is able to identify tumor margins, and it gives intraoperative precision identification and resection guidance. OCT-based theranostics is introduced into preclinical neurosurgical resection, such as the integration of OCT and laser ablation. We discuss the challenges and opportunities of OCT-based system in the field of combination of intraoperative structural and functional imaging, neurosurgical guidance and minimally invasive theranostics. We point out that OCT and laser ablation-based theranostics can give more precision and intelligence for intraoperative diagnosis and therapeutics in clinical applications. The theranostics can precisely locate, or specifically target cancerous tissues, and then as much as possiblly eliminate them.

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Original Articles
  • Qiyu Liu, Chong Lu, Wanjun Dai, Ke Li, Jing Xu, Yunke Huang, Guiling L ...
    Volume 12 (2018) Issue 1 Pages 24-31
    Released: March 18, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    In order to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the biobehavioral factors responsible for cervical cancer from the perspective of lncRNAs. Tumor samples were obtained from patients with stage Ib-IIb squamous cervical cancer, which were divided into high- and low-risk groups according to biobehavioral risk factors. A lncRNA + mRNA microarray was performed, and the results were validated using qRT-PCR. Gene ontology (GO), pathway, and lncRNA-mRNA co-expression analysis were performed to predict the potential functions of the differentially expressed transcripts. 1,621 lncRNAs and 1,345 mRNAs were found to be differentially expressed between the high-risk and low-risk groups. The results of the qR-TPCR validation were in 100% agreement with the microarray analysis results. GO analysis revealed that the transcripts showing significantly different expression were mainly associated with various aspects of immune response. Pathway analysis indicated that systemic lupus erythematosus signaling was the most significantly down-regulated pathway in the high-risk group. Co-expression analysis indicated NONHSAT002712, NONHSAT095060, and TCONS_00026535 had significant correlations with ZNF683 and BTLA, which were found to be associated with the GO term "adaptive immune response". The levels of genome-wide lncRNAs are significantly altered in cervical tumors from patients with higher biobehavioral risk factors.

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  • Yan Du, Lanting Chen, Jing Lin, Jun Zhu, Na Zhang, Xuemin Qiu, Dajin L ...
    Volume 12 (2018) Issue 1 Pages 32-39
    Released: March 18, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    Recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA) is a multifactorial disease of which the exact causes are still unknown. In the current study, we aimed to analyze the distribution of abnormal embryonic karyotypes in RSA. 781 RSA patients of 17 hospitals in Shanghai from January 2014 to September 2016 were enrolled. Fetal villus tissues were collected during uterine curettage and then cultured in situ for karyotyping. All of the 781 cases were successfully cultured. There were 393 cases of abnormal karyotypes, accounting for 50.3% of the total cases. Women with abnormal embryonic karyotype were significantly older compared to those with normal karyotype (P < 0.001). The majority of patients with abnormal karyotype fell among age groups of 25-29 and 30-34. There were 247 cases of aneuploidy, accounting for 62.8% of the total abnormal karyotype cases. Autosomal trisomy was the primary form of aneuploidy (189/247, 76.5%), and the most common types were trisomy-16 (n = 69), trisomy-22 (n = 28), trisomy-21 (n = 21), trisomy-15 (n = 15), and trisomy-13 (n = 10). Abnormal karyotype is a major factor related to RSA. Further studies are needed to elucidate the etiology of RSA in order to achieve more effective prevention and treatment.

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  • Zhihong Yang, Lixia Ji, Guohui Jiang, Ranran Liu, Zhantao Liu, Yuechen ...
    Volume 12 (2018) Issue 1 Pages 40-46
    Released: March 18, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    The aim of the current study was to investigate the effects of FL118, a novel camptothecin analogue, on migration and invasion of human breast cancer cells and the underlying mechanisms of those effects. A 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay and a plate clone formation assay were used to examine inhibition of the proliferation of MDA-MB-231 cells by FL118. Cell cycle distribution was detected using flow cytometry. A wound healing assay and a transwell assay were performed to detect the effects of FL118 on migration and invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells, respectively. qRT-PCR, Western blotting, and immunocytochemistry were used to study the effects of FL118 on expression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related molecules and Wnt/ β-catenin signaling components in MDA-MB-231 cells. The current results indicated that FL118 inhibited the proliferation, migration and invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. FL118 caused MDA-MB-231 cells to accumulate in the S phase. FL118 significantly suppressed the expression of vimentin while enhancing the expression of E-cadherin. Moreover, decreased expression of β-catenin and its targets survivin and cyclin Dl was detected in the nucleus of MDA-MB-231 cells. Taken together, the current results suggest that FL118 inhibited Wnt/β-catenin signaling, leading to suppressed EMT and decreased migration and invasion of breast cancer cells.

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  • Fabian Grass, Matthieu Cachemaille, David Martin, Nicolas Fournier, Di ...
    Volume 12 (2018) Issue 1 Pages 47-53
    Released: March 18, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    The purpose of this prospective cohort study was to compare multimodal pain management and pain perception after open vs. laparoscopic colorectal surgery within enhanced recovery care. Pain scores at rest and at mobilization were prospectively assessed in consecutive patients using Visual Analog Scales (VAS 0-10) and consumption of different analgesics was recorded daily until 96 hours postoperatively. Uni- and multivariate risk factors for pain peaks (≥ 4/10) were identified by logistic regression and compared between two propensity score matched groups (open vs. laparoscopic). 156 open and 176 laparoscopic procedures were included. Mean VAS scores were consistently < 3 until 96 hours at rest and at mobilization. Patients operated by laparoscopy experienced more pain peaks (≥ 4) within 24 hours (p < 0.05), while patients operated by open approach experienced more pain peaks (≥ 4) during mobilization at 72 hours (p < 0.05). Independent risk factors for insufficient pain control (≥ 4) within 24 hours from surgery were duration of the procedure (OR 3.37, 95%CI 2.03-5.59), emergency surgery (OR 3.01, 95%CI 1.72-5.31), wound infiltration (OR 3.23, 95%CI 0.97-10.70), age < 70 years (OR 2.03, 95% CI 1.18-3.48) and ASA I-II score (OR 2.06, 95% CI 1.19-3.56). The perioperative adding of lidocaine ± ketamine to opioids did not improve postoperative pain perception nor decrease morphine equivalents. In conclusion, overall pain scores were low after colorectal surgery. However, pain peaks remained a concern early after minimally invasive surgery and after epidural removal for open surgery. Multimodal strategies were not superior to opioids alone.

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  • Didier Roulin, Raphaël Girardet, Rafael Duran, Steven Hajdu, Alban Den ...
    Volume 12 (2018) Issue 1 Pages 54-59
    Released: March 18, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    The specific management and outcome of acute biliary pancreatitis in elderly patients is not well established. The aim of this study was to assess the outcome of elderly compared to younger patients after acute biliary pancreatitis. Retrospective analysis of consecutive patients admitted with acute biliary pancreatitis between January 2006 and December 2012. Elderly patients (≥ 70 years) were compared to younger patients (< 70 years) in a case-control study. Comorbidities were assessed according to the Charlson score. Clinical (Atlanta score) and radiological (Balthazar and computed tomography severity index scores) severity were analyzed, as well as clinical outcome. Among 212 patients admitted with acute biliary pancreatitis, 76 were > 70 years (35.8%). Elderly patients had a higher Charlson comorbidity index score at admission (p < 0.001). No difference was observed in terms of clinical and radiological severity of acute pancreatitis. The median hospital stay was longer in elderly (11 days, interquartile range 7-15) than in younger patients (7 days, interquartile range 5-11) (p < 0.001). No difference was observed regarding in-hospital 90-day mortality (3 vs. 1 patients, p = 0.133). Elderly patients had similar clinical and radiological severity of acute biliary pancreatitis compared to younger patients.

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  • Nao Yoshida, Shintaro Yamazaki, Masahiko Sugitani, Tadatoshi Takayama
    Volume 12 (2018) Issue 1 Pages 60-67
    Released: March 18, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    Energy devices can cause significant thermal damage to surrounding tissues causing unanticipated organ trauma. To evaluate the safety and feasibility of a novel electric device (DD1) for soft tissue dissection. Three series of measurements were performed in a pig model. First, macro- and microscopic tissue damage was compared between the DD1 and an electric scalpel (ES). Second, the time course of tissue temperature was measured for the DD1 and three other energy devices (ES, Harmonic and LigaSure). Third, the time required for mobilization of a peripheral artery of the intestine was compared between the DD1 and manual, non-energized forceps. First, the tissue damage area caused by ES was significantly larger compared to that in the DD1 at all time points (p < 0.0001). The number of damaged cells due to thermal damage was significantly larger for ES than for DD1, even when the DD1 was applied to a single point at maximum power for 60 sec (p < 0.0001). Second, the maximum temperature of Harmonic was 160°C 3 sec after use and dropped to 68°C after 10 sec. At the same time points after use, we observed: ES (84°C, 45°C), LigaSure (61°C, 49°C), and DD1 (30.5°C, 29°C). Third, the median dissection time for the artery using DD1 was significantly shorter than that for dissecting forceps (DD1: 100 sec, range 70-205 sec vs. forceps: 130 sec, range 90-210 sec, p = 0.0325). DD1 was a safe non-thermal device which causes less tissue damage while also providing shorter dissection times than manual dissection.

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  • Tokio Higaki, Shintaro Yamazaki, Yusuke Mitsuka, Masaru Aoki, Nao Yosh ...
    Volume 12 (2018) Issue 1 Pages 68-72
    Released: March 18, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    To clarify whether high transient elevation of serum transaminase predicts severe complications and is related to the ischemic area on CT. Postoperative laboratory data and ischemia area on CT were analyzed on the basis of the presence of high transaminase elevation (aspartate aminotransferase (AST) > 1,000 IU/L within postoperative day (POD) 2 after liver resection. In the high elevation group, volume of ischemic areas was assessed by CT on POD2. The 538 patients were divided into a high transaminase group (n = 51) and a control group (n = 487). Median operation time (527 min vs. 360 min, p < 0.01) and liver ischemia time (121 min vs. 70 min, p < 0.01) were significantly longer, and intraoperative blood loss (478 mL [85-1572 mL] vs. 269 mL [5-4491 mL], p < 0.01) was significantly greater in the high transaminase group. No significant differences observed in frequency of severe complications (Clavien-Dindo classification Grade III or more) or postoperative hospitalization. Operation time (> 500 min; odds ratio (OR), 4.86; 95% confidence interval (CI), 2.40-9.89; p < 0.01) and liver ischemia time (> 120 min; OR, 3.47; 95%CI, 1.67-7.17; p < 0.01) were independent predictors of high transaminase elevation. No relationship was observed between degree of transaminase elevation and ischemic area (correlation coefficients: AST, R2 < 0.001; alanine aminotransferase, R2 = 0.005) CT volumetry on POD2. In conclusions, high transaminase elevations do not predict severe complications or reflect remnant ischemic area.

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  • Tokio Higaki, Osamu Aramaki, Masamichi Moriguchi, Hisashi Nakayama, Yu ...
    Volume 12 (2018) Issue 1 Pages 73-78
    Released: March 18, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    Conventional regimens for unresectable intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma are considered of limited effectiveness. To evaluate the efficacy and toxicity of combination chemotherapy with hepatic arterial infusion of IA-call (a fine-powder formulation of cisplatin) plus oral S-1 in patients with unresectable intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. The clinicopathological data and long-term outcome of 12 patients who were received with IA-call plus S-1 were compared with those of 16 patients who were received other treatments, such as radiation therapy, trans-arterial chemoembolization, and systemic chemotherapy. The IA-call plus S-1 regimen consisted of IA-call (65 mg/m2, administered into the hepatic artery) on day 1 and oral S-1 (60 mg/m2/day) on days 1-28, every 42 days, repeated cycle. Prognostic factors of these patients were evaluated by uni- and multivariate analysis. There was no significant difference between the two groups in the disease status, such as the number of tumor and the tumor size. The overall survival was significantly longer in the patients receiving the arterial IA-call and S-1 regimen (median survival time = 10.1; range, 3.6-24.2 months) than in the receiving other treatments (median survival time = 4.0; range; 0.3-24.2 months, p = 0.01). The multivariate analysis revealed that chemotherapy regimen was significantly related to survival, with a hazard ratio of 3.97 (p = 0.02). In the IA-call plus S-1 group, the overall response rate was 33.3%. The major toxic effect was grade 3 anemia, occurring in 1 patient (4.5%). Combination chemotherapy with arterial IA-call plus oral S-1 is an effective regimen that may improve survival in patients with unresectable intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.

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Brief Reports
  • Bifan Zhu, Fen Li, Changying Wang, Linan Wang, Zhimin He, Xiaoxi Zhang ...
    Volume 12 (2018) Issue 1 Pages 79-86
    Released: March 18, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    One aim of the current study was to track end-of-life care using individual data in Shanghai, China to profile hospital costs for decedents and those for the entire population. A second aim of this study was to clarify the effect of proximity to death. Data from the Information Center of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning (SMCHFP) were examined. For decedents who died in medical facilities in 2015, inpatient care was tracked for 1 year before death. A total of 43,765 decedents were included in the study, accounting for 35% of total deaths in 2015 in Shanghai. Hospital costs were higher for people who died before the age of 45 (14,228.62 USD) than for those aged 90 or older (8,696.34 USD). The ratio of costs for decedents to the entire population declined significantly with age. Women received less care than men in the last year of life (t = -15.1244, p < 0.05). Average tertiary hospital costs per decedent declined significantly with age, whereas average secondary hospital costs increased slightly with age. Among the top 14 causes of death classified using the ICD-10, rectal cancer incurred the greatest costs (13,973 USD per decedent). Over 43% of hospital costs were incurred during the month before death. Declining costs in the last year of life with age as well as with distance to death demonstrate the existence of a proximity to death phenomenon in health care expenses. Disease-specific studies should be conducted and attention should be paid to gender equity when examining end-of-life medical costs in the future.

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  • Fen Li, Bifan Zhu, Zhimin He, Xiaoxi Zhang, Changying Wang, Linan Wang ...
    Volume 12 (2018) Issue 1 Pages 87-93
    Released: March 18, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    The aim of this study was to use data from the Information Center of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning (SMCHFP) to determine the factors affecting end-of-life hospital costs of patients. A total number of 43,806 decedents who died in medical facilities in 2015 were examined. These individuals, accounted for 34.85% of all deaths in 2015 in Shanghai. Descriptive analysis and multiple linear regression analysis were performed using STATA 13.0. Results indicated that 88.94% of the decedents who died in medical facilities were over age 60. Males accounted for 55.57% of decedents, and the insured were mostly covered by Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance (UEBMI) (81.93%). Cancer and circulatory disease were the main causes of death, causing 34.53% and 26.19% of deaths. Hospital costs were higher for males (male vs. female: 9,013 USD vs. 7,844 USD), individuals insured by UEBMI (8,784 USD), and individuals with cancer (10,156USD). Twenty-nine-point-zero-three percent of admissions occurred in the month before death and accounted for 37.82% of costs. Multiple linear regression analysis indicated that hospital costs were correlated with gender, cause of death (cancer, circulatory disease, or respiratory disease), time-to-death, insurance schemes, level of medical facilities, and length of stay (LOS) (p < 0.05 for all). After controlling for other factors, age was not a significant factor (p > 0.05). A proximity-to-death (PTD) phenomenon was evident in Shanghai. This study suggested that the PTD should be considered when predicting medical cost. Primary medical care should be enhanced and gaps in insurance coverage should be reduced to improve the efficiency and equity of medical funding. More attention should be paid to the population with a heavier disease burden.

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  • Yoshie Kametani, Yuko Yamada, Shuji Takabayashi, Hideki Kato, Kenji Is ...
    Volume 12 (2018) Issue 1 Pages 94-101
    Released: March 18, 2018
    [Advance publication] Released: January 15, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    The in vivo model of pollinosis has been established using rodents, but the model cannot completely mimic human pollinosis. We used Callithrix jacchus, the common marmoset (CM), to establish a pollinosis animal model using intranasal weekly administration of cedar pollen extract with cholera toxin adjuvant. Some of the treated CMs exhibited the symptoms of snitching, excess nasal mucus and/or sneezing, but the period was very short, and the symptoms disappeared after several weeks. The CD4+CD25+ cell ratio in the peripheral blood increased in CMs quickly after the nasal administration of cedar pollen extract, but the timing was not parallel with the symptoms. IL-10 mRNA was enhanced in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), suggesting CM-induced tolerance for cedar pollen administration. Similarly, Foxp3 mRNA was also detected in the PBMC. Additive sensitization of these CMs with Ascaris egg administration did not enhance chronic inflammation of type 1 allergy to induce the symptoms. These results suggest that the environmental immune cells develop transient allergic symptoms and subsequent immune-tolerance in the intranasally sensitized CMs.

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