Recently, it has been suggested that fetal and infant environments are associated with childhood and adulthood health status, specifically regarding presence of obesity and chronic diseases. This concept is known as the “Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) hypothesis.” Thus, it is necessary to collect information about the fetal and infancy periods in order to examine the association between fetal and infancy exposures and later growth. Based on the DOHaD hypothesis, childhood growth trajectories, which were described by multilevel analysis, might be important in examining the effects of early-life environment on later-life health. The author and colleagues examined the association between maternal smoking during pregnancy and fetal/childhood growth, specifically risk of childhood obesity, by using the dataset from an ongoing prospective cohort study called “Project Koshu,” which enrolled pregnant women and their children from a rural area of Japan. Children born to smoking mothers were likely to have lower birth weights and, thereafter, to show an increase in body mass index compared to children of non-smoking mothers. Differences in pubertal growth patterns by gender and childhood weight status were then examined. Growth rate and height gain trajectories were similar between genders, although pubertal growth spurts were observed earlier in girls than in boys. The overweight/obese children grew faster than did the non-overweight children in the early pubertal stages, and the non-overweight children caught up and showed greater height gains at older ages. Because Project Koshu is ongoing, further studies examining new research questions will be conducted with larger sample sizes.
Background: Epidemiologic features of prion diseases in Japan, in particular morbidity and mortality, have not been clarified. Methods: Since 1999, the Research Committee has been conducting surveillance of prion diseases, and the surveillance data were used to assess incident cases of prion diseases. For the observation of fatal cases, vital statistics were used. Results: Both incidence and mortality rates of prion diseases increased during the 2000s in Japan. However, this increase was observed only in relatively old age groups. Conclusions: The increased number of patients among old age groups might be due to increased recognition of the diseases. If so, the number of cases should plateau in the near future.
Background: To date, the relationship between zolpidem use and subsequent risk of glaucoma in a Taiwanese population has not been assessed. Methods: We used data from the National Health Insurance system to investigate whether zolpidem use was related to glaucoma risk. A 1:4 matched case-control study was conducted. The cases were patients newly diagnosed with glaucoma from 2001 to 2010. The controls were randomly selected non-glaucoma subjects matched by sex and age (±5 years). Zolpidem exposure and/or the average dosage of zolpidem used (mg/year) were evaluated. Medical comorbidities were considered as confounding factors. Multiple logistic regression models were used to evaluate the potential risk of zolpidem exposure on glaucoma with/without adjustment for the effects of confounding variables. Results: The exposure rate of zolpidem use in the glaucoma group was significantly higher than that of the control group (2.8% vs. 2.0%, P < 0.0001). The adjusted odds ratio (OR) of the risk of glaucoma for those with zolpidem use vs. those without was 1.19 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02–1.38). Compared to non-zolpidem users, zolpidem users with an average dose of more than 200 mg/year had significantly increased risk of glaucoma (OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.03–1.68). Conclusions: This study suggests that the use of zolpidem might increase the risk of subsequent glaucoma. Further confirmatory studies are recommended to clarify this important issue.
Background: Specific centile growth charts for children with Down syndrome (DS) have been produced in many countries and are known to differ from those of normal children. Since growth assessment depends on the growth pattern characteristic for these conditions, disorder-specific charts are desirable for various ethnic groups. Aims: To provide cross-sectional weight, height, and head circumference (HC) references for healthy United Arab Emirates (UAE) children with DS. Methods: A retrospective and cross-sectional growth study of Emirati children with DS, aged 0 to 18 years old, was conducted. Height, weight, and HC were measured in each child. Cole’s LMS statistical method was applied to estimate age-specific percentiles, and measurements were compared to UAE reference values for normal children. Results: Incidence of DS in the UAE population is 1 in 374 live births (267 in 10 000 live births). We analyzed 1263 growth examinations of 182 children with DS born between 1994 and 2012. The male-to-female ratio was 1.6:1. Height, weight, and HC centile charts were constructed for ages 0 to 13 years. The prevalence of overweight and obesity in DS children aged 10 to 13 years of age was 32% and 19%, respectively. The DS children were significantly shorter and heavier than normal children in the UAE. Conclusions: Weight, height, and HC growth charts were created for children with DS. These can be used as a reference standard for the UAE children with DS. Overweight and obesity are quite common in DS children ≥10 years of age, as DS children tend to be shorter and heavier than non-DS children.
Background: A high rate of stillbirth was previously observed in the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women’s Health (ALSWH). Our primary objective was to test the validity and reliability of self-reported stillbirth data linked to state-based administrative datasets. Methods: Self-reported data, collected as part of the ALSWH cohort born in 1973–1978, were linked to three administrative datasets for women in New South Wales, Australia (n = 4374): the Midwives Data Collection; Admitted Patient Data Collection; and Perinatal Death Review Database. Linkages were obtained from the Centre for Health Record Linkage for the period 1996–2009. True cases of stillbirth were defined by being consistently recorded in two or more independent data sources. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, percent agreement, and kappa statistics were calculated for each dataset. Results: Forty-nine women reported 53 stillbirths. No dataset was 100% accurate. The administrative datasets performed better than self-reported data, with high accuracy and agreement. Self-reported data showed high sensitivity (100%) but low specificity (30%), meaning women who had a stillbirth always reported it, but there was also over-reporting of stillbirths. About half of the misreported cases in the ALSWH were able to be removed by identifying inconsistencies in longitudinal data. Conclusions: Data linkage provides great opportunity to assess the validity and reliability of self-reported study data. Conversely, self-reported study data can help to resolve inconsistencies in administrative datasets. Quantifying the strengths and limitations of both self-reported and administrative data can improve epidemiological research, especially by guiding methods and interpretation of findings.
Background: Melatonin is associated with a variety of diseases in advanced age, including insomnia, depression, and dementia, and its secretion is influenced by light exposure. Although studies in young and middle-aged subjects have shown that females tend to have higher melatonin levels than males, gender differences in melatonin levels among older people remain unclear. Methods: To determine the gender differences in melatonin levels among older people in home settings, we conducted a cross-sectional study in 528 older people. We measured overnight urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin excretion (UME; an index of melatonin secretion), and ambulatory light intensity. Results: The mean age of females was 1.8 years younger, and average intensity of daytime light exposure was half that in males (P < 0.01). In a univariate comparison, UME was significantly lower in females than in males (P < 0.01). A multivariate model using analysis of covariance showed that log-transformed UME remained significantly lower in females after adjustment for potential confounding factors, including age and daytime and nighttime light exposure profiles (males vs. females: 1.90 vs. 1.73 log µg; adjusted mean difference 0.17 log µg [95% confidence interval [CI] 0.02–0.32]; P = 0.02). This result indicates that older females have 18.4% (95% CI, 2.2–37.4%) lower UME than older males. Conclusions: Older females have significantly lower UME than older males, an association which is independent of light exposure profiles in home settings. Our findings may be useful as basic data for further research to investigate gender differences in several diseases associated with melatonin in the elderly.
Background: Smoking during pregnancy is related to fetal constraint and accelerated postnatal growth. However, the pathways between these factors have not been clarified. Pathway analyses that link these factors can help us better understand the mechanisms involved in this association. Therefore, this study aimed to examine pathways between maternal smoking during pregnancy and growth in infancy. Methods: Participants were singletons born between 1993 and 2006 in rural Japan. The outcome was the change in weight z-score between birth and 3 years of age. Pathways from maternal smoking and other maternal factors (such as maternal body mass index and work status) to growth in infancy via birth factors (such as birth weight and gestational age) and breastfeeding were examined using structural equation modeling. Results: Complete data were available for 1524 children (775 boys and 749 girls). The model fit appeared adequate. Lower birth weight and non-exclusive breastfeeding mediated the association between maternal smoking during pregnancy and rapid growth in infancy. Maternal smoking was also directly linked to rapid growth in infancy (standardized direct effects 0.06, P = 0.002). Taking all pathways into account, the standardized total effect of maternal smoking on growth in infancy was 0.11. Conclusions: Maternal smoking during pregnancy may both indirectly, through birth weight and breastfeeding status, and directly influence growth during infancy; however, there may be other pathways that have not yet been identified.
Background: Finding ways to improve the cervical cancer screening rates among young women has been seen as a critical national health problem in many countries, including Japan. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of a free-coupon program for cervical cancer screening conducted by a local government under financial support from the Japanese national government. Methods: The personal cervical cancer screening information was analyzed for all female residents of Toyonaka City, including any past screening history and clinical results since the year 2009, when a free-coupon program for screening was started. These results were compared to results from 2008, prior to implementation of the free-coupon screening program. Results: The screening rates of women eligible for the free-coupon peaked dramatically compared to women of similar age who paid for their screening; however, the rates for the ineligible-age population also increased significantly in parallel to those in the free-coupon program, possibly by indirect peer and publicity effects. In women aged 20 to 25 years, the consecutive screening rate after a free-coupon screening was significantly lower than for those women who received a regular residential screening. After a free-coupon screening, the rate for participating in consecutive screenings depended significantly on the institution where the participant received her first screening test. Conclusions: These results suggest that, for a generation of young women 20–25 years of age, a free-coupon program for cervical cancer screening was effective in increasing the first-time participation rate for screening; however, the increase in first-time participation did not lead to the expected increase in consecutive screenings.
Background: Cataracts are one of the major public health problems worldwide. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is one of the risk factors for cataract development. We analyzed the relationship between disability-adjusted life year (DALY) rates of cataracts and UVR exposure in China. Methods: DALY rates of cataracts and UVR exposure in 31 regions of China were calculated based on data from the Second China National Sample Survey on Disability and the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration database. The relationship between the DALY rates of cataracts and UVR was estimated by Spearman rank correlation analysis and linear regression analysis. Results: The elderly (≥65 years) had higher DALY rates of cataracts than the whole population. The DALY rate of cataracts in the agricultural population was higher than that observed in the non-agricultural population. The DALY rates of cataracts were positively associated with UVR The DALY rates of cataracts in regions with higher UVR were higher than those in regions with lower UVR. An increase in the daily ambient erythemal UVR of 1000 J/m2 was associated with an increase in the DALY rates of cataracts by 92 DALYs/100 000 (R2 = 0.676) among the whole population, 34 DALYs/100 000 among the population <65 years old (R2 = 0.423), 607 DALYs/100 000 among the population aged 65–74 years (R2 = 0.617), and by 1342 DALYs/100 000 among the population ≥75 years old (R2 = 0.758). Conclusions: DALY rates of cataracts increased with increases in UVR exposure in 31 regions of China. Greater exposure to UVR increases the disease burden of cataracts in the whole population, especially in the elderly and among the agricultural population.
Background: Findings regarding the association between milk consumption and all-cause mortality reported by studies carried out in Western populations have been inconsistent. However, no studies have been conducted in Japan on this issue. The present study aimed to investigate the association of milk drinking with all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality in Japan. Methods: The data were obtained from the Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) study. A total of 94 980 Japanese adults aged 40–79 years who had no history of cancer, stroke, or chronic cardiovascular diseases were followed between 1988 and 2009. Multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of mortalities were assessed using a Cox proportional hazard regression model and taking the lowest milk consumption group as the reference. Results: During a median of 19 years of follow-up, there were 21 775 deaths (28.8% and 35.3% from cardiovascular diseases and cancer, respectively). Drinking milk 1–2 times a month was associated with lower all-cause mortality in men compared to those who never drank milk (multivariable-adjusted HR 0.92; 95% CI, 0.85–0.99). In women, those who drank 3–4 times a week also had a lower mortality risk compared with those who never drank milk (HR 0.91; 95% CI 0.85–0.98). Inverse associations between drinking milk and mortality from cardiovascular diseases and cancer were found only in men. Conclusions: Drinking milk at least 1–2 times a month was associated with lower all-cause mortality in men compared to never drinking milk. An inverse association was also found between drinking milk and mortality from both cardiovascular diseases and cancer. However, lower all-cause mortality in women was found only in those who drank milk 3–4 times/week.
Background: Metabolic syndrome has clinical implications for chronic liver disease, but the relationship between chronic hepatitis B and metabolic syndrome remains unclear. The aim of this study was to determine whether hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positivity is associated with metabolic syndrome. Methods: Data were obtained from the Third Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES). Participant sera were tested for HBsAg. Metabolic syndrome was defined according to the modified National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines for Koreans. Results: Of the 5108 participants, 209 (4.1%) tested positive for HBsAg, and 1364 (26.7%) were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 23.4% in HBsAg-positive men, 31.5% in HBsAg-negative men, 18.6% in HBsAg-positive women, and 23.7% in HBsAg-negative women. After adjusting for multiple factors, male participants who tested positive for serum HBsAg had an odds ratio of 0.612 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.375–0.998) for metabolic syndrome and an odds ratio of 0.631 (95% CI 0.404–0.986) for elevated triglycerides. Women who tested positive for serum HBsAg had an odds ratio of 0.343 (95% CI 0.170–0.693) for elevated triglycerides. Conclusions: Positive results for serum HBsAg are inversely associated with metabolic syndrome in men and with elevated triglycerides in men and women. This suggests that elevated triglycerides may contribute to the inverse association between HBsAg and metabolic syndrome.
Background: Lymphocytes are susceptible to damage from radiation, and the white blood cell (WBC) count, including counts of neutrophils and lymphocytes, is a useful method of dosimetry. According to the basic survey of the Fukushima Health Management Survey (FHMS), among 13 localities where evacuation was recommended, Iitate and Namie had more individuals with external radiation exposure of more than 5 mSv than the other evacuation areas. We analyzed whether or not WBC, neutrophil, and lymphocyte counts decreased after the disaster. Methods: The subjects of this study were 45 278 men and women aged 20 to 99 years (18 953 men and 26 325 women; mean age 56 years) in the evacuation zone who participated in the Comprehensive Health Check (CHC) from June 2011 to the end of March 2012. Results: Significant differences were detected in the mean values of WBC, neutrophil, and lymphocyte counts, and for the proportion of individuals under the minimum standard for WBC and neutrophil counts, among the 13 localities. However, the distribution of individuals at each 200-cell/µL increment in lymphocyte count were similar in these areas, and the WBC, neutrophil, and lymphocyte counts did not decrease in Iitate or Namie specifically. Conclusions: No marked effects of radiation exposure on the distribution of WBC counts, including neutrophil and lymphocyte counts were detected within one year after the disaster in the evacuation zone.
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