This paper covers our recent work regarding family caregiver burden for elderly. The topics are as follows: cross-sectional studies on caregiver burden; changes in caregiver burden; appropriateness of the Long-Term Care insurance assessment scheme; attitude towards caregiving among caregivers; and the development of the short version of the Japanese version of the Zarit Caregiver Burden Interview (J-ZBI_8).
BACKGROUND: Oral health conditions and related factors of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) have not been well elucidated. The aim of the present study was to investigate oral health conditions and related factors which may influence oral health conditions among patients with PD. METHODS: We compared oral health conditions and related factors between 104 PD patients and 191 inhibitants (controls) who received dental health check-ups in Hokkiado, Japan. The unconditional logistic regression model was used for adjusting for sex and age. We also conducted stratified analysis by sex and age group using this model. The χ2 test and the Cochran-Mantel-Haenzel test were used for simple and stratified analyses of knowledge of oral health among PD patients, respectively. RESULTS: In the present survey, we found the following results. (1) PD patients had more complaints of chewing difficulties and denture discomfort than controls. (2) Fewer PD patients had their own teeth than controls regardless of sex. (3) Fewer PD patients cleaned their dentures every day than controls, regardless of sex or age. (4) More than half of the PD patients had problems with swallowing. CONCLUSION: We found that PD patients had more complaints about their oral health and more problems in oral health behavior than the general population. These findings may provide useful information for the caregivers of PD patients to conduct oral health care as well as for making oral health plans for PD patients and for medical and welfare services.
BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to analyze the characteristics of the physical growth of twins in childhood and to present growth charts of Japanese twins. METHODS: The subjects consisted of 2029 pairs of normally developed Japanese twins. Growth data were obtained by mailed or hand-distributed questionnaires. Factors that affect body weight and height/length at selected ages were analyzed by stepwise regression analysis. Selected percentiles of body weight, height/length, and body mass index were calculated according to sex, and growth curves were drawn using a spline function. The size deficit of the twins compared to the standards for the general population of Japan was calculated. RESULTS: Gestational age, parity, zygosity, and birth order affected physical growth in varying degrees, although the overall effects themselves were small and mostly disappeared by one year of age. Growth charts of the twins present growth at selected percentiles from birth to 6 years of age according to sex. The size deficit of the twins was largest at birth: more than 20% for weight and approximately 6% for length compared to the 50th percentile of the standard for the general population of Japan. These deficits decreased rapidly in the first 6 to 12 months, and were found to be as low as 0-2% at 4 to 6 years of age. CONCLUSION: Growth charts specifically for twins are needed, at least for the first 1 to 3 years of age but not beyond the age of 6 years.
BACKGROUND: Anthropometric characteristics, lifestyle, and baseline biological markers of Japanese non-professional ultra-marathon runners have not been fully assessed. METHODS: We evaluated anthropometric characteristics, lifestyle, and baseline biological markers of 180 Japanese amateur ultra-marathon runners (144 males [mean age: 50.5±9.4 (standard deviation) years] and 36 females [48.9±6.9]), and compared them with those of participants in a community heath check-up program and with the figures in the literature. We furthermore evaluated baseline blood indices according to monthly running distance with analysis of variance adjusted for age, body mass index, smoking and alcohol drinking habits. RESULTS: The ultra-marathon runners demonstrated more favorable values for body mass index and bone density, and the proportion of smoking, and undertaking physical activity (for both sexes), eating breakfast (for males), and having daily bowel movements (for females), while greater proportion of alcohol drinking habit (for both sexes), than the comparison group. Average monthly running distances and standard deviations (km) were 257.2±128.9 for males and 209.0±86.2 for females. Male runners possessed beneficial markers, including lowered triglyceride and elevated high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and their values showed hockey-stick (or inverse hockey-stick) patterns depending on their monthly running distance. Some subjects running more than 300 km/month exhibited signs of an over-reaching/training syndrome, including somewhat lowered hemoglobin, ferritin and white blood cell count, and elevated creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase. CONCLUSIONS: Together with a desirable lifestyle, Japanese non-professional ultra-marathon runners with vigorous exercise habit demonstrated a preferable health status according to biological indices.
BACKGROUND: Although the average age of onset of ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament of the spine (OPLL) is at around 50 years, the onset of the symptoms is insidious and the progression is very slow. The etiology of OPLL has not been elucidated in detail. Previous studies have suggested that a high-salt diet and low consumption of animal protein, glucose intolerance and high body mass are risk factors for OPLL. However, there is little information about the relationship between OPLL and life styles in the prime of life (between 30 and 50 years). METHODS: To facilitate early prediction and prevention of OPLL, we analyzed life styles such as sleeping habit, physical exercise, smoking, alcohol drinking and hangover in subjects in the prime of life. Self-administered questionnaires were obtained from patients with OPLL and their sex- and age-matched controls. Sixty-nine patients diagnosed with OPLL within 3 years previously and 138 sex- and age-matched controls without backbone diseases, randomly selected from participants in a health checkup in a local town, were enrolled. RESULT: Moderate amount of sleep (6-8 hours vs. 5 hours or shorter and 9 hours or longer; odds ratio [OR] = 0.18, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.06, 0.54) and a regular sleeping habit (i.e., going to bed and getting up at regular time) (OR=0.44, 95% CI=0.22, 0.90) were associated with a decreased risk of OPLL even after adjusting for other factors. On the other hand, moderate physical exercise (once a week or more v.s. less than once a week: OR=0.97, 95% CI=0.42, 2.26), smoking (OR=1.41, 95% CI=0.67, 2.97), drinking (OR=1.08, 95% CI=0.53, 2.20) and hangover (OR=1.12, 95% CI=0.43, 2.94) in the prime of life showed no correlation with risk of OPLL. CONCLUSION: Good sleeping habits in the prime of life may decrease the risk of OPLL.