BACKGROUND: Early menopause is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease in Caucasian women. However, this association has not been examined in Asian women. METHODS: We conducted a 10-year cohort study of 37,965 Japanese post-menopausal women aged 40-79 years in the Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) Study. Causes of death were determined based on the International Classification of Disease. RESULTS: There were 487 mortality of stroke and 178 mortality of coronary heart disease. Late menarche or early menopause, or shorter duration of reproductive period was not associated with risk of mortality from coronary heart disease. However, compared with women with age at menarche ≤13 years, those with age at menarche ≥17 years tended to have increased risk of mortality from stroke: the multivariable hazard ratio was 1.32 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.93-1.87, p = 0.10). Compared with women with age at menopause of ≥49 years, those with age at menopause of <49 years tended to have increased risk of coronary heart disease among women aged 40-64 years; the multivariable hazard ratio was 1.85 (95% CI: 0.92-3.73, p = 0.08). CONCLUSIONS: The possible association between early menopause and coronary heart disease among middle-aged women was consistent with the result of observational studies for Caucasian women, and can be explained by a protective effect of endogenous estrogen on the development of atherosclerosis. J Epidemiol 2006; 16: 177-184.
BACKGROUND: Although smoking and alcohol drinking are established risk factors of esophageal cancer, their public health impact is unclear. Furthermore, the effect of green tea is controversial. METHODS: The present study was based on a pooled analysis of two prospective cohort studies. A self-administered questionnaire about health habits was distributed to 9,008 men in Cohort 1 and 17,715 men in Cohort 2, aged 40 years or older, with no previous history of cancer. We identified 38 and 40 patient cases with esophageal cancer among the subjects in Cohort 1 (9.0 years of follow-up) and Cohort 2 (7.6 years of follow-up), respectively. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) of the risk of esophageal cancer incidence. RESULTS: Cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking and green tea consumption were significantly associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer. Compared with men who had never smoked, never drunk alcohol or green tea, the pooled multivariate HRs (95% confidence intervals) were 5.09 (1.80-14.40) (p for trend <0.0001), 2.73 (1.55-4.81) (p for trend=0.0002), or 1.67 (0.89-3.16) (P for trend=0.04) for men who were currently smoking ≥20 cigarettes/day, drinking alcohol daily, or drinking ≥5 cups green tea/day, respectively. The population attributable fractions of esophageal cancer incidence that was attributable to smoking, alcohol drinking and green tea consumption were 72.0%, 48.6%, and 22.1%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Among the variables studied, smoking has the largest public health impact on esophageal cancer incidence in Japanese men, followed by alcohol drinking and green tea drinking. J Epidemiol 2006; 16: 185-192.
BACKGROUND: Few previous epidemiologic studies have evaluated the effects of non-dietary nutrient intake, such as supplements, over the counter (OTC) drugs, and prescription drugs containing vitamins or minerals, in examining the relationship between dietary factors and health outcomes. METHODS: To examine the influence of the non-dietary intake of vitamins and calcium on the estimation of nutrient intake, we conducted a cross-sectional study with 1,168 community-dwelling Japanese subjects aged 70 years or older in 2002. The subjects were asked to bring their non-dietary nutrient sources to the examining site. The dietary and non-dietary intakes of vitamins B1, C, E and calcium were obtained and the subjects were grouped into quartiles according to their dietary intake and their dietary plus non-dietary intake. The degree of agreement between these two classifications was examined to estimate the degree of misclassification. RESULTS: Among the subjects who were classified into the highest intake category for vitamin E with dietary intake plus non-dietary nutrient intake, 34.2 % were misclassified into lower category with dietary intake alone. Similarly, intake of vitamin B1, vitamin C and calcium were misclassified 28.8%, 18.8 %, 6.2 %, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that estimation of vitamin intake from dietary sources alone would yield a maximum misclassification of one-third, which would lead to misleading conclusions being drawn from epidemiologic studies. In contrast, the degree of misclassification for calcium may be relatively small. J Epidemiol 2006; 16: 193-200.
BACKGROUND: Although the short-term safety of statins is well established, their potential carcinogenicity in the long term is still being debated. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between statin-therapy and the incidence of cancer in coronary heart disease patients. METHODS: The subjects were 263 patients with coronary heart disease who were from Osaka prefecture and who were admitted to the Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases between September 28, 1991 and March 31, 1995. The five-year cancer incidence among the subjects was checked using the database of the institution-based cancer registry of the hospital as well as the population-based Osaka Cancer Registry. The Cox's proportional hazards ratios (HRs) of all cancer incidence and observed/expected (O/E) ratios by cancer site were calculated. RESULTS: Cancer incidence was observed in 17 patients during the follow-up period. Age (HR=1.16 per one year of age) and continuous smoking during the period (HR=5.82 compared to not smoking during the period) were significantly associated with cancer incidence using multivariable analysis. After being adjusted for sex, age, total serum cholesterol level and smoking habit, the HR of cancer incidence with pravastatin use was 0.78 (95% confidence interval: 0.18-3.46). In the O/E analysis, significantly elevated risks were found for bladder cancer in all the subjects (HR=8.93), as well as in the pravastatin use patients (HR=13.76). CONCLUSIONS: Pravastatin use for 5 years did not indicate an increase in over all cancer risk. J Epidemiol 2006; 16: 201-206.
BACKGROUND: It remains unclear whether chronic ingestion of arsenic in drinking water affects the peripheral nervous system. We examined the effects of arsenic exposure on nerve conduction velocity using electromyography. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted of a population living in an arsenic-affected village in Hetao Plain, Inner Mongolia, China. A total of 134 (93.7%) of 143 inhabitants took part in the study, and 36 (76.6%) of 47 inhabitants in a low-arsenic exposed village were recruited as a control group. Of the participants, 109 inhabitants in the arsenic-affected village and 32 in the low-arsenic exposed village aged ≥18 years were used for the analyses. An expert physician performed skin examinations, and median nerve conduction velocity was examined by electromyography. Arsenic levels in tube-well water and urine were measured. A mean level of arsenic in tube-well water in the arsenic-affected village was 158.3μg/L, while that in the low-arsenic exposed village was 5.3μg/L. RESULTS: No significant differences in the means of the motor nerve conduction velocity (MCV) and sensory nerve conduction velocity (SCV) were observed in relation to arsenic levels in tube wells, urine, and the duration of tube-well use. Further, no differences in mean MCV or SCV were found between the subjects with and without arsenic dermatosis, with mean SCV of 52.8 m/s (SD 6.3) in those without and 54.6 m/s (5.2) in subjects with arsenic dermatosis (p=0.206). CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that chronic arsenic poisoning from drinking water is unlikely to affect nerve conduction velocity, at least within the range of arsenic in drinking water examined in the present study. J Epidemiol 2006; 16: 207-213.
BACKGROUND: There has been no nationwide study in Japan on reasons for extraction of permanent teeth. This survey was aimed to determine the reasons for extraction of permanent teeth in Japan. METHODS: Five thousand, one hudred and thirty-one dentists were selected by systematic selection from the 2004 membership directory of the Japan Dental Association. The dentists selected were asked to record the reason for each extraction of permanent teeth during a period of one week from February 1 through 7, 2005. Reasons for tooth extraction were assigned to five groups: caries, fracture of teeth weakened by caries or endodontics, periodontal diseases, orthodontics, and other reasons. RESULTS: A total of 2,001 dentists (response rate of 39.1%) returned the questionnaires, and information on 9,115 extracted teeth from 7,499 patients was obtained. The results showed that caries and its sequela (totally 43.3%, 32.7% and 10.6%, respectively) and periodontal disease (41.8%) were the main reasons for teeth extraction. Extraction due to caries or fracture was commonly observed in all age groups over 15 years of age, whereas periodontal disease was predominant in the groups over 45 years of age. CONCLUSIONS: Most of the permanent teeth were extracted due to caries and its sequela and periodontal disease. Prevention and care for dental caries for all age groups and periodontal disease for over middle age groups are required. J Epidemiol 2006; 16: 214-219.