Background: The accidents that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant after the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011 have resulted in long-term, ongoing anxiety among the residents of Fukushima, Japan. Soon after the disaster, Fukushima Prefecture launched the Fukushima Health Management Survey to investigate long-term low-dose radiation exposure caused by the accident. Fukushima Medical University took the lead in planning and implementing this survey. The primary purposes of this survey are to monitor the long-term health of residents, promote their future well-being, and confirm whether long-term low-dose radiation exposure has health effects. This report describes the rationale and implementation of the Fukushima Health Management Survey. Methods: This cohort study enrolled all people living in Fukushima Prefecture after the earthquake and comprises a basic survey and 4 detailed surveys. The basic survey is to estimate levels of external radiation exposure among all 2.05 million residents. It should be noted that internal radiation levels were estimated by Fukushima Prefecture using whole-body counters. The detailed surveys comprise a thyroid ultrasound examination for all Fukushima children aged 18 years or younger, a comprehensive health check for all residents from the evacuation zones, an assessment of mental health and lifestyles of all residents from the evacuation zones, and recording of all pregnancies and births among all women in the prefecture who were pregnant on 11 March. All data have been entered into a database and will be used to support the residents and analyze the health effects of radiation. Conclusions: The low response rate (<30%) to the basic survey complicates the estimation of health effects. There have been no cases of malignancy to date among 38 114 children who received thyroid ultrasound examinations. The importance of mental health care was revealed by the mental health and lifestyle survey and the pregnancy and birth survey. This long-term large-scale epidemiologic study is expected to provide valuable data in the investigation of the health effects of low-dose radiation and disaster-related stress.
Aberrant DNA methylation is associated with cancer development and progression. There are several types of specimens from which DNA methylation pattern can be measured and evaluated as an indicator of disease status (from normal biological process to pathologic condition) and even of pharmacologic response to therapy. Blood-based specimens such as cell-free circulating nucleic acid and DNA extracted from leukocytes in peripheral blood may be a potential source of noninvasive cancer biomarkers. In this article, we describe the characteristics of blood-based DNA methylation from different biological sources, detection methods, and the factors affecting DNA methylation. We provide a comprehensive literature review of blood-based DNA methylation as a cancer biomarker and focus on the study of DNA methylation using peripheral blood leukocytes. Although DNA methylation patterns measured in peripheral blood have great potential to be useful and informative biomarkers of cancer risk and prognosis, large systematic and unbiased prospective studies that consider biological plausibility and data analysis issues will be needed in order to develop a clinically feasible blood-based assay.
Background: In patients with cancer, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is elevated and is a predictor of prognosis. We investigated whether serum HGF was a predictive marker for cancer death in a population of community-dwelling Japanese. Methods: We studied 1492 apparently healthy Japanese adults who underwent health examinations in 1999. Those who reported a history of liver disease or malignancy on a baseline questionnaire were excluded, and plasma HGF was measured in the remaining 1470 participants, who were followed periodically for 10 years. Multivariate proportional hazards regression was used to estimate cancer mortality. Results: A total of 169 participants died during follow-up (61 from cancer, 32 from cerebrocardiovascular disease, and 76 from other diseases). Mean HGF at baseline was significantly higher among decedents than among survivors (0.26 ± 0.11 vs 0.23 ± 0.09 ng/ml, respectively; P < 0.01). The Cox proportional hazards model showed that age, systolic blood pressure, HGF (hazard ratio, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.06–1.52; P = 0.009), albumin level, smoking status, and creatinine were independent predictors of all-cause death. Age, HGF (hazard ratio, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.04–1.65; P = 0.02), and total cholesterol were independent predictive markers for cancer death. Conclusions: Serum HGF was a predictor of cancer death in an apparently healthy population of community-dwelling Japanese.
Background: There is limited evidence regarding the relationship between serum tocopherol levels and cardiovascular disease. Methods: We conducted a nested case-control study as part of the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for evaluation of cancer risk (JACC Study). Baseline serum samples were collected from 39 242 participants (age range, 40–79 years) between 1988 and 1990. During the 13-year follow-up, there were 530 stroke deaths (302 ischemic strokes and 210 hemorrhagic strokes) and 211 deaths from coronary heart disease. Controls were matched for sex, age, and area of residence. Results: Serum α-tocopherol level was not associated with any type of cardiovascular death in men; however, in women, it was inversely associated with total stroke mortality and hemorrhagic stroke mortality. The multivariate odds ratio (95% CI) for the highest versus the lowest quintile of serum α-tocopherol levels among women was 0.35 (0.16–0.77; P for trend = 0.009) for total stroke and 0.26 (0.07–0.97; P for trend = 0.048) for hemorrhagic stroke. Serum γ-tocopherol was inversely associated with ischemic stroke mortality in men but positively associated with hemorrhagic stroke mortality in women. The respective multivariate odds ratios (95% CI) for the highest versus the lowest quintile and for a 1-standard deviation increment in γ-tocopherol level were 0.48 (0.22–1.06; P for trend = 0.07) and 0.77 (0.58–1.02), respectively, for ischemic stroke in men and 3.10 (0.95–10.12; P for trend = 0.052) and 1.49 (1.04–2.13) for hemorrhagic stroke in women. Conclusions: Among women, hemorrhagic stroke mortality was inversely associated with serum α-tocopherol and positively associated with serum γ-tocopherol. These findings are due in part to the antioxidative and antithrombotic activities of these tocopherols.
Background: A few studies reported an association between body weight during early childhood and body composition in later life, as measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA); however, none of those studies investigated an East Asian population. In a Japanese population, we examined the association between body weight at age 3 years and body composition at age 11 years, as measured using DXA. Methods: The source population was 726 fifth-grade school children enrolled at 3 public schools in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan from 2008–2010. All children who lived in the study area went to 1 of these 3 schools. DXA was used to obtain data on body composition, and the Maternal and Child Health Handbook was used to calculate body mass index (BMI). The general linear model was used for statistical analysis. Results: We were able to analyze data on body composition at age 11 years and BMI in early childhood for 550 children. BMI at age 3 and change in BMI z-score from birth to age 3 were positively associated with bone mineral content (BMC), fat-free soft tissue mass (FFSTM), and fat mass (FM) at age 11. After adjusting for confounding factors, mean BMC, FFSTM, and FM were significantly lower among children who were underweight at age 3 and significantly higher among children who were overweight at age 3, as compared with values for normal-weight children at age 3. Conclusions: Among Japanese children, body weight at age 3 years predicts body composition at age 11 years.
Background: We attempted to identify the domain of self-rated health (SRH) that best predicts medical care utilization among Taiwanese adults. In addition, we examined the association between SRH and different measure of medical care utilization. Methods: We analyzed data on 11 987 community-dwelling adults aged 18 to 64 years from the 2005 Taiwan National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). NHIS data were linked to the 2006 National Health Insurance (NHI) administrative database. Then, medical care utilization in 2006, including all outpatient visits, hospitalizations, and mental health outpatient visits, was identified. Domain-specific health ratings were measured by using the Short Form-36 (SF-36) health survey questionnaire. Negative binominal models were used to estimate the contribution of the health domains to medical care utilization. Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) are presented. Results: The IRR for the physical component scale showed that those with the highest scores had 77% of the outpatient visits of those with the lowest scores. The importance of mental health domains was markedly higher in estimating mental health outpatient visits. Those with mental health scores above the median had only 61% of mental health outpatient visits of those with scores below the median. Conclusions: A person’s medical care utilization is reflected in the different domains of general health. Domain-specific measures of subjective health are not interchangeable with global general health ratings, because different domains have independent effects on medical care utilization. Our results are potentially important for medical resource allocation because they identify different health domain experiences that require improvement.
Background: We investigated socioeconomic inequalities in hypertension prevalence, treatment, and control among middle-aged Koreans. Methods: We analyzed data from 4275 adults aged between 40 and 64 years who participated in the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2007 and 2008. Education, income, and occupational level were evaluated to assess the relationship of socioeconomic status with hypertension prevalence, treatment, and control. Results: There were significant differences in socioeconomic status among individuals with no hypertension, controlled hypertension, and uncontrolled hypertension in both sexes. In multiple logistic regression models, as compared with men who had more than 12 years of education, those with 7 to 12 years and less than 7 years of education had odds ratios (ORs) for untreated hypertension of 2.14 (95% CI: 1.18 to 3.90) and 2.98 (95% CI: 1.42 to 6.28), respectively (P for trend <0.05). As compared with women who had more than 12 years of education, those with 7 to 12 years and less than 7 years of education had ORs for hypertension prevalence of 1.75 (95% CI: 1.10 to 2.78) and 1.88 (95% CI: 1.12 to 3.16), respectively (P for trend <0.05). Women who worked as manual labors had an OR for uncontrolled hypertension of 1.50 (95% CI: 1.02 to 2.22) as compared with women in other jobs. There was no statistically significant association between income level and hypertension control. Conclusions: Socioeconomic status was independently associated with hypertension prevalence and care, which suggests a need for health policy efforts to reduce the socioeconomic disparity in hypertension management.
Background: In this prospective cohort study, we estimated the risk of developing more than 1 metabolic risk factor, using different obesity indices. In addition, we investigated the relative usefulness of the obesity indices for predicting development of such risk factors and calculated optimal cutoffs for the obesity indices. Methods: The cohort comprised 10 038 representative residents of a small city and a rural county who were recruited in 2001–2002. Follow-up examinations were conducted every 2 years. Among the 3857 participants without metabolic syndrome at baseline, 1102 new cases occurred during the 6-year follow-up. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves for the obesity indices were plotted to compare the usefulness of the obesity indices. Results: The numbers of new cases of multiple metabolic risk factors among people in the highest quintiles of body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), waist-hip ratio (WHR), and waist-height ratio at the baseline examination were 2 to 3 times those in the lowest quintiles. The area under the ROC curve for WHR was significantly higher than that for BMI. The optimal BMI cutoff was 24 kg/m2 in men and women, and the optimal WC cutoffs were 80 cm and 78 cm in men and women, respectively. Conclusions: Both overall obesity and central obesity predicted risk of developing multiple metabolic risk factors, and WHR appeared to be a better discriminator than BMI. To prevent development of metabolic diseases among Koreans, it might be useful to lower the cutoff for abdominal obesity, as defined by WC.
Background: We conducted a survey in 2008 to measure the prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases and risk factors in Philippine adults. Methods: Stratified multistage sampling was used to cover the entire Philippine population of adults aged 20 years or older. Using health questionnaires, anthropometric measurements, and blood examinations, the prevalences of atherosclerosis-related risk factors and diseases were determined. Survey results were compared with those obtained in 2003. Results: Out of 7700 eligible subjects, 64% to 93.7% responded to different survey items. Age-adjusted hypertension prevalence was 24.6% at a single visit and 20.6% when corrected for true prevalence. The prevalence of diabetes was 3.9% on the basis of fasting blood glucose (FBG), 5.2% by FBG and history, and 6.0% when 2-hour post-load plasma glucose level was determined. The prevalence of dyslipidemia was 72.0% and the prevalence of smoking was 31%. The prevalence of obesity was 4.9% by body mass index (BMI), and 10.2% and 65.6% by waist-hip ratio (WHR) in men and women, respectively. The prevalences of coronary, cerebrovascular, and peripheral arterial diseases were 1.1%, 0.9%, and 1.0%, respectively. Conclusions: The prevalences of risk factors for atherosclerosis were higher in 2008 than in 2003, although the increase in diabetes was not significant and smoking decreased. These findings indicate a need for active collaborative intervention by all government agencies and medical societies in the Philippines.
Background: Monitoring secular trends in blood pressure (BP) among children is important in predicting subsequent hypertension and cardiovascular disease. We investigated secular trends in BP using data from population-based annual screenings of Japanese schoolchildren. Methods: The participants were 10 894 children (all fourth graders between 1994 and 2010 and all seventh graders between 1997 and 2010) living in the town of Ina in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. Body height, weight, and BP were measured, after which children were classified as non-overweight, overweight, or obese. Trends in variables relative to calendar year were analyzed using regression models. Results: Systolic BP was significantly associated with calendar year among fourth- and seventh-grade boys (−0.350 and −0.434 mm Hg/year, respectively) and fourth- and seventh-grade girls (−0.513 and −0.473 mm Hg/year, respectively) (all P < 0.001), respectively, over time. Systolic BP and calendar year were significantly negatively correlated regardless of physique or sex among all fourth graders, but not among obese seventh-grade girls. In addition, diastolic BP and calendar year did not significantly correlate among seventh-grade overweight or obese boys or obese seventh-grade girls. Conclusions: BP decreased among fourth-grade schoolchildren in Ina during the past 17 years, regardless of sex or physique. However, BP and calendar year did not significantly correlate among obese seventh graders.
Background: We investigated the prevalence of low ankle brachial index (ABI) and the association of low ABI with pulse pressure among elderly community residents in China. Methods: This population-based cross-sectional study was conducted in Beijing and recruited 2982 participants who were aged 60 years or older in 2007. Low ABI was defined as an ABI value less than 0.9 in either leg. Participants with or without stroke or coronary heart disease (CHD) were analyzed separately. The association between pulse pressure and low ABI was examined by using multiple logistic regression models. Results: The prevalence of low ABI was 5.65% (4.24% among men and 6.52% among women; P = 0.0221) among participants without stroke or CHD and 10.91% (13.07% among men and 9.49% among women; P = 0.1328) among those with stroke or CHD. After adjusting for confounders, the odds ratio (95% CI) for each 5-mm Hg increase in pulse pressure was 1.19 (1.07, 1.33) and 1.10 (1.02, 1.20) for men and women, respectively, among participants without stroke or CHD and 1.17 (1.03, 1.34) and 1.15 (1.02, 1.30) for men and women with stroke or CHD. When pulse pressure was classified into quartiles and the lowest quartile was used as reference, the association between pulse pressure and low ABI remained positive in men and women. Conclusions: Low ABI was prevalent among elderly Chinese, and pulse pressure was positively associated with low ABI.
Background: Self-report remains the most practical and cost-effective method for epidemiologic sleep studies involving large population-based samples. Several validated questionnaires have been developed to assess sleep, but these tools are lengthy to administer and may be impractical for epidemiologic studies. We examined whether a 3-item sleep questionnaire, similar to those typically used in epidemiologic studies, closely corresponded with objective measures of sleep as assessed using actigraphy monitoring. Methods: Eligible participants were Western Australian women aged 18 to 80 years. Participants completed a sleep questionnaire, wore a wrist actigraph for 7 nights, and completed a brief daily sleep log. Objective actigraphy measurements for 56 participants were summarized by mean and mode and compared with the subjective reports, using weighted kappa and delta. Results: Data collected from the questionnaire showed poor agreement with objectively measured sleep, with kappas ranging from −0.19 to 0.14. Conclusions: Our results indicate that sleep questions typically used in epidemiologic studies do not closely correspond with objective measures of sleep as assessed using actigraphy. The findings have implications for studies that have used such sleep questions. A means of appropriately measuring sleep as a risk factor in epidemiologic studies remains to be determined.
Background: We assessed mobility in different life stages over a 29-year period from adolescence through adulthood and its correlation with psychosocial stress and vital exhaustion at ages 32 and 42 years. Methods: Data were derived from the Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study, an observational longitudinal study of 420 boys and girls from age 13 to 42 years. Measurements included cumulative frequency of geographic relocation (CFGR), psychosocial stress (measured by a Dutch scale of experienced stress, VOEG-13), vital exhaustion (measured by the Maastricht Questionnaire, MQ), demographics, socioeconomic status, and other background characteristics. Results: From 1976 to 2006, total CFGR was 3.56 ± 1.89 (range 0–13). Frequent geographic relocation during 2 life stages (age 22–32 years and 33–42 years) was significantly interrelated; however, this was not evident at age 13 to 21 years, which suggests a unique exposure to relocation during adolescence and youth. After adjusting for anticipated confounders, higher cumulative frequencies of residential changes during adolescence and youth were markedly associated with psychosocial stress and vital exhaustion at ages 32 and 42 years. Conclusions: Frequent geographic relocation during adolescence and youth was an indicator of psychosocial stress and vital exhaustion in the transition to middle adulthood. Further consideration of the pathways in this web of causation may aid in stress prevention and minimize negative consequences.
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