Hypertension in pregnancy (HP), one of the most common causes of perinatal deaths, is a multifactorial disease with genetic and environmental factors involved in its etiology. We have carried out molecular epidemiologic research with the purpose of (1) identifying gene variants associated with HP in Japanese women, and (2) analyzing the genetic and environmental factors involved in the pathophysiology of the disease. Self-administered questionnaires were returned by the subjects between 1 and 6 months after delivery. The candidate genetic variants were identified by use of a PCR-RFLP method. T235 of AGT, C1166 of AT1 and Asp298 of NOS3 were respectively associated with HP, although no significant associations were found between the common genetic variants and HP in ACE, FV, MTHFR, B3AR, TNF-A, PAI-1, GSTP1, mEH, and LPL. In analyses using genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors, 5 factors before pregnancy and 4 factors during pregnancy were significantly associated with HP in univariate analysis. Further multivariate analysis revealed 3 factors before pregnancy, i.e. "prepregnancy BMI ≥ 24 kg/m2", "family history of hypertension" and "TT genotype of AGT", and 2 factors during pregnancy, i.e. "mentally stressful condition" and "salty dishes preferred". Dividing the subjects into 2 subgroups according to whether they possessed "TT genotype of AGT" or not, we identified acquired risk factors before and during pregnancy for HP in each groups. The multivariate analysis identified "mentally stressful condition" as a potent significant risk factor during pregnancy in the former subgroup. However, there were no significant risk factors concerning and "mental stress" in the latter subgroup. Through further exploration of the risk factors associated with HP, we hope to provide useful suggestions about the development of new and effective preventive measures for a range of multifactorial diseases. J Epidemiol 2006; 16: 1-8.
BACKGROUND: Epidemiologic features of Kawasaki disease in China is still not clear. METHODS: A questionnaire form and diagnostic guidelines for Kawasaki disease were sent to hospitals in Shanghai, which provided with pediatric medical care. All patients with Kawasaki disease diagnosed during January 1998 through December 2002 were recruited in this study. RESULTS: A total of 768 patients with Kawasaki disease were reported. The incidence rates of Kawasaki disease for each year were 16.79 (1998), 25.65 (1999), 28.16 (2000), 28.05 (2001), and 36.76 (2002) per 100,000 children under 5 years of age. The male/female ratio was 1.83:1. The age at onset ranged from 1 month to 18.8 years (median: 1.8 years). The disease occurred more frequently in spring and summer. Fever was the most common clinical symptom, followed by oral changes, extremities desquamate, rash, conjunctive congestion, lymphadenopathy, extremities swelling, and crissum desquamate. Cardiac abnormalities were found in 24.3% of patients. The most common cardiac abnormality was coronary artery lesions including dilatation (68%) and aneurysm (10%). The case-fatality rate at acute stage of the disease was 0.26%. A second onset of the disease occurred in 1.82% of patients. CONCLUSIONS: The incidence rate of Kawasaki disease in Shanghai is lower than that reported in Japan, but higher than those in western countries. The increasing trend in incidence, sex distribution and cardiac abnormalities are similar to those in previous reports. The seasonal distribution is similar to the report from Beijing and different from other reports. J Epidemiol 2006; 16: 9-14.
BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that the predictive value of serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels for prognosis, measured by indices such as all-cause mortality and medical costs, may be modified by body mass index (BMI). However, the relationship between serum ALT and BMI has not been satisfactorily elucidated. METHODS: Four thousand, five hundred and twenty-four community dwelling Japanese National Health Insurance beneficiaries, 40-69 years old, were classified into five categories according to their serum ALT levels (IU/L) (ALT<20, 20≤ALT<30, 30≤ALT<40, 40≤ALT<50 and 50≤ALT) and followed for 10 years. Hazard ratios for all-cause mortality, with reference to the lowest serum ALT category, and medical costs per person were evaluated for each serum ALT category after analyzing interactions between serum ALT levels and BMI for all-cause mortality and for medical costs. RESULTS: A significant interaction between serum ALT levels and BMI was observed. In participants below the median BMI, positive, graded relationships were identified between serum ALT levels and allcause mortality as well as between serum ALT levels and personal medical costs. The multivariateadjusted hazard ratio in the "50≤ALT" category showed an approximately 8-fold increase. However, in the participants at or above the median BMI, no significant relationships between serum ALT levels and all-cause mortality or personal medical costs were identified. CONCLUSIONS: In these Japanese participants, the predictive value of serum ALT levels for prognosis was more evident if BMI was taken into account. A combination of high serum ALT levels and below median BMI was associated with excess mortality and medical costs. J Epidemiol 2006; 16: 15-20.
BACKGROUND: Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee is a common form of arthritis, and affects quality of life. We investigated factors associated with functional limitation in stair climbing among female Japanese patients with knee OA. As weight is a known risk factor for knee OA, we focused on body weight at 40 years of age, and examined the association with present weight, past weight, and weight change. METHODS: Subjects were 360 Japanese women aged 40-92 years who were newly diagnosed with knee OA at 3 university hospitals over a 1-year period. Factors associated with the severity of functional limitation in stair climbing were assessed by calculating odds ratios (OR) using the proportional odds model in logistic regression. RESULTS: Weight at diagnosis showed a positive association with severe functional limitation in stair climbing; however, a negative association was observed for weight change since age 40. Further analysis indicated that the association with weight at age 40 (highest vs. lowest quartile, OR=2.84, 95% confidence interval: 1.03-7.83, trend p=0.071) is stronger than weight at diagnosis. Other significant characteristics were age (70+ vs. 40-59 years, OR=7.37), previous knee pain and/or swelling 12 years or more before diagnosis (OR=2.67), and physical work (OR=1.94). In addition, higher parity was found to be a negatively associated factor (for tripara or more, OR=0.41). CONCLUSIONS: This study identified factors, such as heavy weight at age 40 and physical labor, which are potentially useful for preventing severe functional limitation for female knee OA patients. In addition, higher parity was associated with milder stair climbing limitation. J Epidemiol 2006; 16:21-29.
BACKGROUND: We examined patients who showed laboratory and histological evidence of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) in the absence of antimitochondrial antibody (AMA) to elucidate the characteristics of AMA negative PBC. METHODS: From a total of 5,805 patients with symptomatic PBC, 2,419 cases (41.7%) were selected in the present study, who were diagnosed using the following criterion; chronic non-suppurative destructive cholangitis was histologically observed and laboratory data did not contradict PBC. The information collected from records included sex, age, symptoms, physical findings, and complicated autoimmune diseases. We then evaluated these data according to the positivity of AMA. RESULTS: Of the total subjects, 470 cases (19.4%) were found to be negative for AMA. The proportion of female patients was higher among the AMA negative group than among the AMA positive one. Pruritus was found less frequently among patients with AMA negative PBC than among those with AMA positive PBC. Levels of alkaline phosphatase,γ-glutamyl transpeptidase, and IgM were significantly lower among patients with AMA negative PBC than among those with AMA positive PBC. Complications such as Sjögren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and scleroderma, including CREST syndrome, were found with significantly higher frequency among patients with AMA negative PBC than among those with AMA positive PBC. CONCLUSION: Considering serum level of IgM and frequencies of complicated autoimmune diseases, it is possible that Japanese patients with AMA negative PBC are consistent with the disease entity of autoimmune cholangitis reported in western countries. J Epidemiol 2006; 16: 30-34.
BACKGROUND: This study attempted to clarify the duration of effects of 3- and 6-month comprehensive health education programs based on hot spa bathing, lifestyle education and physical exercise for women at 1-year follow-up. METHODS: We examined middle-aged and elderly women who were randomly divided into two groups and followed up them for one year. Spa programmers instructed subjects for one hour in lifestyle education and physical exercise and for one hour in a half bath (salt spring, temperature at 41.5°C) once a week. The program for the 3-month group (n=19) was repeated in the 6-month group (n=14).The evaluation items were body mass index, PWC75%HRmax (by a bicycle ergometer as aerobic capacity), blood profiles (total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, arteriosclerotic index, uric acid, and hemoglobin A1c), profile of mood states, self-rating depression scale, subjective happiness, pains in the knee and back, and active modification of lifestyle. RESULTS: There were significant interactions between groups and response over time to aerobic capacity, hemoglobin A1c, back pain, vigor, fatigue and self-rating depression (respectively, p<0.05). Duration of effects was longer for the 6-month intervention than for the 3-month intervention. CONCLUSIONS: Beneficial effects of 6-month intervention on hemoglobin A1c, aerobic capacity, pains in the back, vigor, fatigue and depression remained significant at the 1-year follow-up. Duration of effects was longer in the 6-month intervention than in the 3-month intervention. J Epidemiol 2006; 16: 35-44.
BACKGROUND: Genotype announcement may be one of the effective methods to induce smoking cessation, but the studies are limited throughout the world. METHODS: Subjects were smokers who attended a health checkup examination provided by a local government in Hokkaido, Japan, 2003. Those who agreed to know their genotypes were informed of the genotypes of glutathione S-transferease (GST) M1 present/null, GSTT1 present/null, and NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) C609T (Pro187Ser). RESULTS: Out of 143 smokers (92 males and 51 females), 101 individuals participated in the present study. A postal questionnaire one year after the genotype announcement found that 8 persons (6 males and 2 females) of 41 respondents had quitted smoking. Two of 8 quitters stated that they had quitted smoking due to the announcement. There were none who regretted the genotype tests. CONCLUTION: Although the cessation rate, 7.9% (8/101) at least, was not marked, no harmful effects were observed among the respondents. J Epidemiol 2006; 16: 45-47.
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