Aim: In Japan, the imbalance in the medical workforce has caused a deterioration of rural medicine. We explored the differences in speciality preferences and career determinant factors among students to identify keys to increase the recruitment of physicians to rural areas. Methods: We conducted a survey of first- and fifth-year medical students, using a questionnaire enquiring about their specialty preference and career determinant factors. The data were analyzed with a chi-square test. Results: A higher percentage of first-year students preferred to be basic medicine scientists, while fifth-year students considered internal medicine subspecialities, obstetrics and gynecology, anesthesia, and ophthalmology to be the most desirable. The factor analysis yielded five factors responsible for these findings; high social approval of the specialty, working hours, income, advice from senior classmates and doctors, and the work environment. The percentage of students who considered rural practice as a choice for thier future plan and had an awareness of the collapse of rural medicine was lower in the fifth-year students than in the first-year students. Conclusion: To increase the medical work force in provincial areas, it is necessary to strengthen not only the medical system with regard to general medicine, but also to offer better medical education in rural areas. More information about rural practice should therefore be transmitted to medical students.
Aim: This study sought to investigate the influence of intervention by therapists at night on the patient's ADL's, number of falls, etc. On convalescent rehabilitation units in order to examine the efficacy of the intervention. Methods: The study subjects included patients hospitalized on 11 convalescent rehabilitation units. The period of intervention by the therapists at night and the period of no intervention were each set for three months. The improvements in the ADL scores during each period were compared, and the changes in the number of falls were examined. In addition, a questionnaire survey was conducted among the night shift staff in order to examine the need for intervention. Results: The patients who received intervention by therapists at night showed higher scores for BI, FIM, etc. and fewer falls than those treated without intervention. The results of the questionnaire survey indicated differences between the therapists and other professionals regarding their attitude toward working the night shift. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that intervention by therapists at night results in favorable outcomes, e.g., improvements in the patient's ADL's and a reduction in the number of falls. Although there are issues to be discussed with respect to raising awareness among therapists and concerns regarding work-related problems, intervention by therapists at night has the possibility to be used as a new treatment strategy on rehabilitation units.
Aim: The AD8 is a brief, sensitive informant interview tool for detecting dementia. However, there are no reports of a Japanese version of the AD8. Our aim was to establish the reliability and validity of the AD8 for screening for dementia in older adults 75 years of age or older in Japan. Methods: We acquired the author's permission to translate the AD8 from English to Japanese. A total of 572 community residents 75 years of age or older living in Kurihara, Northern Japan agreed to participate in this study. Of these participants, 214 scored a Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) of 0 (healthy), 289 scored a CDR of 0.5 (mild cognitive impairment) and 69 scored a CDR of 1 or above (dementia). Analysis 1. Reliability of the Japanese version of the AD8. Analysis 2. Validity of the AD8: Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve for nondemented (CDR 0+0.5) vs. demented (CDR 1 or above) individuals. Results: For the Japanese version of the AD8, the Cronbach' s coefficient alpha was 0.88 and the Guttman's split half method coefficient was 0.85. For the patients with CDR values of 0+0.5 vs. 1 or above, the area under the ROC curve was 0.89 (p<0.0001) and the cut-off score was 1/2, with a sensitivity of 88.4% and specificity of 68.4%. Conclusions: We established the reliability and validity of the Japanese version of the AD8 for screening for dementia in older adults 75 years of age or older in the community.
Aim: To investigate the validity and reliability of a novel performance test, called the "Trail Making Peg" (TMP) test, for evaluating the cognitive function. Methods: We recruited 632 community-dwelling older adults (mean age: 73.3±5.2 years) as subjects for the assessment of the validity of the test and 319 adults (mean age: 73.1±5.2 years) as subjects for the assessment of reliability. Five cognitive tests (5-Cog) were used to evaluate the cognitive function, and the degree of cognitive decline was delineated for subjects scoring below 1 SD from the mean 5-Cog score. A receiver operating characteristic analysis was employed to calculate the cut-off point. Results: There were no sex differences in the TMP scores (P=0.951), and the TMP and 5-Cog scores were found to correlate significantly (r=-0.63) with each other. The Trail Making Peg test demonstrated an area under the curve of 0.855 for discriminating between non-cognitive decline and cognitive decline. At this cutoff point, the sensitivity was 85% and the specificity was 69%. The intraclass correlation coefficient of the TMP was 0.746. Conclusions: The TMP exhibits sufficient validity and reliability. Our results suggest that TMP is a useful screening test for detecting cognitive decline.
Aim: Our aim in this study was to explore individual factors that make it likely for Japanese older adults to engage in communication with important other persons regarding their preferences for end-of-life care. Methods: We conducted a questionnaire survey of outpatients at Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital in the last six days of March 2012. Nine-hundred and sixty-eight outpatients consented in writing to participate in this survey. Two items on the questionnaire concerned the participants' attempts to communicate their preferences regarding end-of-life care; that is, whether they had discussed this issue with their significant others and whether they had written notes indicating how they want to be cared for in the final days of their lives. Results: The participants who had designated a surrogate decision-maker were more likely to report answers of both than only discussion (OR=2.52) and less likely to reports answers of no communication than only discussion (OR=0.37). In addition, (a) those who did not wish to rely on artificial nutrition or hydration (OR=0.68) and (b) those who often thought about their death were more likely to be in the only discussion group than in the no communication group, although these factors were not significantly associated with whether the participants were likely to be in the both or only discussion groups. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that individuals often attempt to clarify their preferences in order to make it easier for their significant others to make end-of-life care decision on their behalf, so that they may receive their desired care.
Aim: We examined the longitudinal association between the change in the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score per year and the incidence of a certified need for care in the long-term care insurance system among community-dwelling older Japanese subjects. Methods: A total of 773 adults 65 years of age or older who participated in a baseline survey (2002 to 2007) underwent MMSE reevaluation at least once until Wave-1 (2003 to 2008). The incidence of a certified need for care in the long-term care insurance system until Wave-2 (Wave-1 to 2013) was examined in all subjects. Results: During an average follow-up of 1,195 days (baseline survey to Wave-1), the change in the MMSE score per year was greater than 0 in 511 (66.1%) participants, 0 to -0.5 in 94 (12.2%) participants, -0.5 to -1 in 66 (8.5%) participants, -1 to -2 in 56 (7.2%) participants, and less than -2 in 46 (6.0%) participants. During an average follow-up of 1,802 days (Wave-1 to Wave-2), 104 participants (13.5%) were newly certified with a need for care in the long-term care insurance system. After controlling for important confounders, elders with a change in the MMSE score of 0 to -0.5, -0.5 to -1, -1 to -2 and less than -2 per year were 1.73 (95% confidence interval, 0.93-3.23), 1.94 (1.01-3.45), 1.95 (1.02-3.76) and 3.16 (1.68-5.98) times as likely to be newly certified with a need for care in the long-term care insurance system, respectively, compared those with a change in the score greater than 0. Conclusions: The extent of change in the MMSE score per year independently predicted the incident certified need for care in the long-term care insurance system in a general population of older Japanese subjects. A decrease of greater than 0.5 points per year may be a useful cutoff value for clinically evaluating elders.