Psychosocial factors such as personality traits and depression may alter immune and endocrine function, with possible effects on cancer incidence and survival. Although these factors have been extensively studied as risk and prognostic factors for cancer, the associations remain unclear. The author used data from prospective cohort studies in population-based and clinical databases to investigate these relations. The findings do not support the hypotheses that personality traits and depression are direct risk factors for cancer and cancer survival. Some researchers have recently reported that cancer affects the psychological status of the partners and family members of cancer patients. The mechanisms underlying this hypothesis imply the existence of not only psychological distress from caregiving and grief but also a shared unhealthy lifestyle. Only a few studies have suggested that major psychosocial problems develop in partners of cancer patients. The present study used nationwide population-based data to investigate depression risk among male partners of women with breast cancer. The results support the hypothesis that such men are at increased risk of depression. In conclusion, the effects of personality traits and depression on cancer risk and survival appear to be extremely small. In addition, partners of cancer patients were at increased risk of depression. Screening partners and family members of cancer patients for depressive symptoms is therefore an important concern for research in psycho-oncology.
Background: The results of epidemiologic studies of the association between serum γ-glutamyltransferase (GGT) and brachial–ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) have been inconsistent. We examined the association between serum GGT and arterial stiffness in a general population of Korean adults. Methods: The study population consisted of 6314 community-dwelling Koreans who participated in the baseline survey of the Namwon Study. We analyzed sex-specific association between serum GGT and arterial stiffness, as measured by baPWV. Results: There was a significant progressive increase in age-adjusted mean baPWV across quartiles of GGT in both sexes. In fully adjusted analysis, as compared with the lowest quartile, the odds ratios (95% CI) for high baPWV (ie, sex-specific fifth quintile) were 1.51 (1.03–2.23), 1.82 (1.22–2.72), and 2.80 (1.79–4.40) among men (P-trend <0.001), and 1.11 (0.81–1.52), 1.29 (0.94–1.76), and 1.47 (1.04–2.08) among women (P-trend <0.001), for the second, third, and fourth quartiles of GGT, respectively. Conclusions: This population-based study examined the dose-response relationship between GGT and arterial stiffness as measured by baPWV in both sexes. The association between GGT and arterial stiffness was stronger among men. Additional longitudinal studies are needed to examine the relationship between GGT and arterial stiffness and clarify the mechanism underlying the association.
Background: Ambient temperature affects mortality in susceptible populations, but regional differences in this association remain unclear in Japan. We conducted a time-series study to examine the variation in the effects of ambient temperature on daily mortality across Japan. Methods: A total of 731 558 all-age non-accidental deaths in 6 cities during 2002–2007 were analyzed. The association between daily mortality and ambient temperature was examined using distributed lag nonlinear models with Poisson distribution. City-specific estimates were combined using random-effects meta-analysis. Bivariate random-effects meta-regressions were used to examine the moderating effect of city characteristics. Results: The effect of heat generally persisted for 1 to 2 days. In warmer communities, the effect of cold weather lasted for approximately 1 week. The combined increases in mortality risk due to heat (99th vs 90th percentile of city-specific temperature) and cold (first vs 10th percentile) were 2.21% (95% CI, 1.38%–3.04%) and 3.47% (1.75%–5.21%), respectively. City-specific effects based on absolute temperature changes were more heterogeneous than estimates based on relative changes, which suggests some degree of acclimatization. Northern populations with a cool climate appeared acclimatized to low temperature but were still vulnerable to extreme cold weather. Population density, average income, cost of property rental, and number of nurses appeared to influence variation in heat effect across cities. Conclusions: We noted clear regional variation in temperature-related increases in mortality risk, which should be considered when planning preventive measures.
Background: In “Physical Activity Reference for Health Promotion 2013” the Japan Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare publication gives reference values for cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) required for good health. We examined the associations between the CRF reference values and incidence of type 2 diabetes. Methods: This prospective cohort study enrolled 4633 nondiabetic Japanese men aged 20 to 39 years at baseline. CRF was measured using the cycle ergometer test, and maximal oxygen uptake was estimated. On the basis of the CRF reference value, participants were classified into 2 groups: those with values less than the reference value (under-RV) and those with values equal to or greater than reference value (over-RV). Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs for incident type 2 diabetes were estimated using a Cox proportional hazards model. Results: A total of 266 participants developed type 2 diabetes during the 14 years of follow-up. As compared with the under-RV group, the over-RV group had a significantly lower multivariable-adjusted HR for type 2 diabetes (HR 0.67; 95% CI, 0.51–0.89). In receiver operating characteristic analysis, the optimal CRF cut-off value for predicting incident type 2 diabetes was 10.8 metabolic equivalents (sensitivity, 0.64; specificity, 0.64), which was close to the CRF reference value of 11.0 metabolic equivalents. Conclusions: The reference CRF value appears to be reasonably valid for prevention of type 2 diabetes, especially among Japanese men younger than 40 years. Development of type 2 diabetes can be prevented by maintaining a CRF level above the reference value.
Background: It is important to detect cognitive decline at an early stage, especially before onset of mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Processing speed and working memory are aspects of cognitive function that are associated with cognitive decline. Hand strength is an inexpensive, easily measurable indicator of cognitive decline. However, associations between hand strength, processing speed, and working memory have not been studied. In addition, the genetic and environmental structure of the association between hand strength and cognitive decline is unclear. We investigated phenotypic associations between hand strength, processing speed, and working memory and examined the genetic and environmental structure of the associations between phenotypes. Methods: Hand strength, processing speed (digit symbol performance), and working memory (digit span performance) were examined in monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs. Generalized estimating equations were used to identify phenotypic associations, and structural equation modeling was used to investigate the genetic and environmental structure of the association. Results: Generalized estimating equations showed that hand strength was phenotypically associated with digit symbol performance but not with digit span performance. Structural equation modeling showed that common genetic factors influenced hand strength and digit symbol and digit span performance. Conclusions: There was a phenotypic association between hand strength and processing speed. In addition, some genetic factors were common to hand strength, processing speed, and working memory.
Background: Although gastrointestinal (GI), respiratory, and dermal symptoms are common, few studies have conducted concurrent and comparative prospective analyses of risk factors for these 3 morbidity outcomes. Methods: We used data from a community-based randomized controlled trial among 277 South Australian families to analyze GI (diarrhea, vomiting), respiratory (sore throat, runny nose, cough) and dermal (rash, generalized itch, dermal infection) symptoms. Results: Log-binomial regression analysis revealed similar risks of GI (adjusted risk ratio [RR], 1.65; 95% CI, 1.05–2.58) and respiratory (RR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.31–2.15) symptoms among childcare/kindergarten attendees. Swimming in public pools/spas in the current or previous week was associated with all 3 symptom complexes, conferring similar risk for each (RR for GI: 1.33; 95% CI, 0.99–1.77; respiratory: 1.20; 95% CI, 1.04–1.38; dermal: 1.41; 95% CI, 1.08–1.85). Pet ownership was not associated with symptoms. Household clustering of GI and respiratory symptoms was common, and clustering of respiratory symptoms correlated with number of individuals per household. Conclusions: This simultaneous examination of risk factors for 3 health outcomes yielded new comparative data that are useful for developing prevention strategies.
Background: A number of noninvasive diagnostic tests are available to detect Helicobacter pylori infection. Data on serologic testing of children are lacking, however, and thus it remains unclear whether the serology cutoff points used for adults are appropriate for children. Methods: Serum and stool samples were obtained from 73 children who visited 5 hospitals in Japan between March 1993 and December 2009. Analysis of stool samples was carried out using an H pylori stool antigen enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (HpSA ELISA), and serum antibodies to H pylori were examined using an antibody determination kit (E-Plate Eiken H pylori antibody). The validity of the serologic test was evaluated based on its sensitivity, specificity, and receiver operating characteristics curve. Results: Of the 73 children included in this study, 34 were HpSA-positive and 39 were negative. Among the 34 HpSA-positive patients, 32 were IgG-positive and 2 were IgG-negative. Of the 39 patients who were HpSA-negative, 38 were IgG-negative and 1 was IgG-positive. The sensitivity, specificity, and positive likelihood ratio for IgG antibody testing were 91.2%, 97.4%, and 35.6, respectively, based on the recommended adult cutoff point of 10 U/ml. Among children, use of cutoff points in the range of 7 to 9 U/ml yielded optimal values for sensitivity and specificity, as well as a positive likelihood ratio. Conclusions: The performance of the E-plate anti-H pylori IgG antibody test was comparable to that of the stool antigen test and is therefore suitable for epidemiologic studies of H pylori infection in large samples.
Background: Cognitive function is an important contributor to health among elderly adults. One reliable measure of cognitive functioning is information processing speed, which can predict incident dementia and is longitudinally related to the incidence of functional dependence. Few studies have examined the association between information processing speed and mortality. This 8-year prospective cohort study design with mortality surveillance examined the longitudinal relationship between information processing speed and all-cause mortality among community-dwelling elderly Japanese. Methods: A total of 440 men and 371 women aged 70 years or older participated in this study. The Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) was used to assess information processing speed. DSST score was used as an independent variable, and age, sex, education level, depressive symptoms, chronic disease, sensory deficit, instrumental activities of daily living, walking speed, and cognitive impairment were used as covariates. Results: During the follow-up period, 182 participants (133 men and 49 women) died. A multivariate Cox proportional hazards model showed that lower DSST score was associated with increased risk of mortality (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.62, 95% CI = 0.97–2.72; HR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.05–2.87; and HR = 2.55, 95% CI = 1.51–4.29, for the third, second, and first quartiles of DSST score, respectively). Conclusions: Slower information processing speed was associated with shorter survival among elderly Japanese.
Background: Maternal smoking during pregnancy is a major cause of intrauterine growth restriction and childhood obesity, but only a few studies have examined the association of smoking cessation before and during pregnancy with fetal and childhood growth. We examined this association in a prospective cohort study in Japan. Methods: Our study included children born between 1991 and 2006 and their mothers. Using a questionnaire, maternal smoking status was recorded at pregnancy. The anthropometric data of the children were collected during a medical check-up at age 3 years. Multiple linear and logistic regression models were used for data analysis stratified by sex. Results: In total, 2663 mothers reported their smoking status during early pregnancy, and data were collected from 2230 (83.7%) children at age 3 years. Maternal smoking during pregnancy was associated with a significant reduction in birth weight (approximately 120–150 g). Body mass index at age 3 years was significantly higher among boys born to smoking mothers than among boys born to nonsmoking mothers. Maternal smoking during pregnancy was associated with overweight at age 3 years among boys (adjusted odds ratio, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.03–5.4). However, among women who stopped smoking in early pregnancy, there was no increase in the risks of a small for gestational age birth or childhood overweight at age 3 years. Conclusions: Children born to mothers who stopped smoking before or during early pregnancy had appropriate fetal and childhood growth.
Background: The characteristics of established risk factors for breast cancer may vary among countries. A better understanding of local characteristics of risk factors may help in devising effective prevention strategies for breast cancer. Methods: Information on exposures to risk factors was collected from the medical charts of 4211 women with breast cancer diagnosed during 1999–2008. The distributions of these exposures among regions, and by menopausal status and birth period, were compared with the χ2 test. Crude associations between the selected factors and breast cancer were estimated using the cases in the present study and a representative control population, which was selected from qualified published studies. Results: As compared with cases from less developed regions, those from more developed regions were significantly more likely to be nulliparous, had fewer childbirths (P < 0.05), and were less likely to have breastfed (P = 0.08). As compared with premenopausal cases, postmenopausal cases were more likely to be overweight and to have breastfed and had more childbirths (P < 0.05). The number of live births and rate of breastfeeding decreased in relation to birth period (P for trends <0.001). Overweight, late menopause, and family history of breast cancer were significantly associated with breast cancer among Chinese women. Conclusions: Breast cancer incidence was associated with nulliparity and history of breastfeeding. Population attributable risks should be assessed, especially for more developed areas and young women. The effects of body mass index, age at menopause, and family history of breast cancer should be given priority during assessment of breast cancer risk among Chinese women.
Background: Japan’s National Database (NDB) includes data on health checks and health insurance claims, is linkable using hash functions, and is available for research use. However, the linkage rate between health check and health insurance claims data has not been investigated. Methods: Linkage rate was evaluated by comparing observed medical and pharmaceutical charges among health check recipients in fiscal year (FY) 2009 (N = 21 588 883) with expected charges from the same population when record linkage was complete. Using the NDB, observed charges were estimated from the first published result of linking health check recipients in FY2009 and their health insurance claims in FY2010. Expected charges were estimated by combining 3 publicly available datasets, including data from the Medical Care Benefit Survey and an ad-hoc report by the Japan Health Insurance Association. Results: Only 14.9% of expected charges were linked by the NDB. The linkage rate was higher for women than for men (18.2% vs 12.4%) and for elderly adults as compared with younger adults (>25% vs <10%). Conclusions: The linkage rate in the NDB was so low that any research linking health check and health insurance claims will not be reliable. Causes for the low linkage rate include differences between health check and health insurance claims data in name format (eg, insertion of a space between family and given names) and date of birth (Japanese vs Gregorian calendar). Investigation of the causes for the low linkage rate and measures for improvement are urgently needed.
Background: Urbanizing rural areas in China face a rapidly growing cardiovascular disease burden. Epidemiologic studies and effective preventive strategies are urgently needed. Methods: The Fangshan Cohort Study is a prospective study that began in 2008 and targets local residents aged 40 years or older living in 3 towns in the Fangshan district of Beijing. The baseline examination included a questionnaire on medical history, health knowledge, and behaviors related to cardiovascular disease, as well as physical and blood biochemical examinations. The questionnaire survey will be readministered every 2 years. A system for surveillance of mortality and morbidity of cardiovascular disease is under development. Results: A total of 20 115 adults (6710 men and 13 405 women) were investigated at baseline (participation rate = 84.5%). The data indicate that overweight/obesity is a serious public health issue in Fangshan: average body mass index was 25.4 kg/m2 among men and 26.5 kg/m2 among women, and the prevalences of overweight and obesity were 43.6% and 10.3% among men and 47.0% and 17.7% among women. Conclusions: The Fangshan Cohort Study will provide data on cardiovascular risk factors and disease profile, which will assist in developing appropriate prevention and control strategies for cardiovascular disease in rural Chinese communities.