The Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) is an international consortium of 45 universities in the Pacific Rim, representing 16 economies, 130 000 faculty members and more than two million students. The APRU Global Health Program aims to expand existing collaborative research efforts among universities to address regional and global health issues. Since its launch in 2007–08, the program has covered a significant range of topics including emerging public health threats, ageing and chronic diseases, infectious diseases and health security issues, among others. The Program’s activities in research, training, and service around the globe illustrate the diverse dimensions of global health. In this paper, the major activities to date are outlined and future planned activities are discussed.
This article on global health reviews the environment surrounding health strategies and plans, as well as lessons learned from the first 15 years of the 21st century, followed by a discussion on the quest for a new paradigm for disease control efforts and challenges and opportunities for Japan.
Background: In 2004, the Japanese government halted the 6-month mass screening program for neuroblastoma. We investigated whether its cessation had led to an increase not only in mortality due to this disease but also in the incidence of advanced-stage disease among older children. Methods: Study subjects were neuroblastoma patients retrieved from the population-based Osaka Cancer Registry. Trends of incidence and mortality from neuroblastoma were analyzed by calendar year and birth cohort. Prognostic factors, including stage and v-myc avian myelocytomatosis viral oncogene neuroblastoma derived homolog (MYCN) oncogene status, were compared before and after the cessation of mass screening. Results: Age-standardized incidence rates in 2005–2009 (the cessation period of mass screening; 11.1 per million) were similar to those in 1975–1979 (the pre-screening period; 8.6 per million). Age-standardized mortality rates tended to decrease from 1975–1979 (4.0 per million) to 2005–2009 (2.7 per million) in parallel with the improvement in survival. Analysis by birth cohort indicated that the mortality rates in 2004–2005 (after cessation) for children 0–4 years of age were lower than those in 1975–1979 (O:E ratio 0.25; 95% confidence interval, 0.03–0.90). For children 1–9 years of age, there was a not significant difference in the distribution of stage, MYCN oncogene status, and DNA ploidy between 1991–2003 (the mass screening period) and 2004–2008 (after cessation). Conclusions: The cessation of mass screening for neuroblastoma does not appear to have increased mortality due to this disease or incidence of advanced-stage disease among older children.
Objectives: We conducted a cross-sectional study to evaluate the socioeconomic systems supporting outpatients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in Japan. Methods: The study was performed in 2013 at two private hospitals and one clinic in Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan. A survey was conducted with 248 consecutive PD patients, and the data from 237 PD outpatients were analyzed after excluding 11 patients who did not meet inclusion criteria. Monthly medical and transportation payments as a PD outpatient were selected as outcome variables, and their association with various explanatory variables, such as utilization of support systems for PD outpatients, were evaluated using logistic regression model analysis. Results: After controlling for potential confounding variables, the utilization of the system providing financial aid for treatment for patients with intractable disease was significantly inversely associated with monthly medical payment among PD outpatients (OR 0.46; 95% CI, 0.22–0.95). Experience of hospital admission for PD treatment was significantly positively associated with monthly transportation payment (OR 4.74; 95% CI, 2.18–10.32). Monthly medical payment was also significantly positively associated with monthly transportation payment (OR 4.01; 95% CI, 2.23–7.51). Conclusions: Use of Japanese public financial support systems may be associated with reductions in medical payments for PD outpatients. However, those systems may not have supported transportation payments, and higher transportation payments may be associated with an increased risk of hospitalization.
Background: Cause of death (COD) information taken from death certificates is often inaccurate and incomplete. However, the accuracy of Underlying CODs (UCODs) recorded on death certificates has not been comprehensively described when multiple diseases are present. Methods: A total of 450 consecutive autopsies performed at a geriatric hospital in Japan between February 2000 and August 2002 were studied. We evaluated the concordance rate, sensitivity, and specificity of major UCODs (cancer, heart disease, and pneumonia) reported on death certificates compared with a reference standard of pathologist assessment based on autopsy data and clinical records. Logistic regression analysis was performed to assess the effect of sex, age, comorbidity, and UCODs on misclassification. Results: The concordance rate was relatively high for cancer (81%) but low for heart disease (55%) and pneumonia (9%). The overall concordance rate was 48%. Sex and comorbidity did not affect UCOD misclassification rates, which tended to increase with patient age, although the association with age was also not significant. The strongest factor for misclassification was UCODs (P < 0.0001). Sensitivity and specificity for cancer were very high (80% and 96%, respectively), but sensitivity for heart disease and pneumonia was 60% and 46%, respectively. Specificity for each UCOD was more than 85%. Conclusions: Researchers should be aware of the accuracy of COD data from death certificates used as research resources, especially for cases of elderly patients with pneumonia.
Background: During the last several decades, the number of children who are overweight or obese has reached alarming levels worldwide. The purpose of the present study was to examine trends in measures of childhood obesity among Korean children aged 2–19 from 1998 to 2012. Methods: Height, weight, and waist circumference (WC) were measured, and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Age-adjusted means of WC and BMI were compared between years. We used three international criteria (International Obesity Task Force [IOTF], World Health Organization [WHO], United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]) and a Korean national reference standard (Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [KCDC]) to calculate age-standardized prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity. Results: Despite differences in absolute prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity according to the four different criteria, the time trends of prevalence were generally similar across criteria. The prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity generally stabilized from 2001–2012 in both boys and girls. WC decreased from 2001–2012 in both boys and girls aged 2–19. Conclusions: Further studies exploring the factors causing plateaued trends of childhood obesity measures are needed to implement effective policies for reducing the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity.
Background: Whether smokers and former smokers have worse lipid profiles or glucose levels than non-smokers remains unclear. Methods: The subjects were 1152 Japanese males aged 42 to 81 years. The subjects were divided according to their smoking habits (nonsmokers, former smokers, and current smokers) and their visceral fat area (VFA) (<100 cm2 and ≥100 cm2). Results: The serum triglyceride (TG) levels of 835 males were assessed. In the VFA ≥100 cm2 group, a significantly greater proportion of current smokers (47.3%) exhibited TG levels of ≥150 mg/dL compared with former smokers (36.4%) and non-smokers (18.8%). The difference in TG level distribution between former smokers and non-smokers was also significant. However, among the subjects with VFA of <100 cm2, the TG levels of the three smoking habit groups did not differ. The serum hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels of 877 males were also assessed. In the VFA <100 cm2 group, significantly higher proportions of current smokers (17.9%) and former smokers (14.9%) demonstrated HbA1c levels of ≥5.6% compared with non-smokers (6.3%). In contrast, in the VFA ≥100 cm2 group, significantly fewer former smokers displayed HbA1c levels of ≥5.6% compared with non-smokers and current smokers. Furthermore, the interaction between smoking habits and VFA was associated with the subjects’ TG and HbA1c concentrations, and the associations of TG and HbA1c concentrations and smoking habits varied according to VFA. Conclusions: Both smoking habits and VFA exhibited associations with TG and HbA1c concentrations. The associations between smoking habits and these parameters differed according to VFA.
Background: The causative pathogen is rarely identified in the emergency department (ED), since the results of cultures are usually unavailable. As a result, antimicrobial treatment may be overused. The aim of our study was to investigate the pathogens, risk factors of acute gastroenteritis, and predictors of acute bacterial gastroenteritis in the ED. Methods: We conducted a matched case-control study of 627 stool samples and 612 matched pairs. Results: Viruses (41.3%) were the leading cause of gastroenteritis, with noroviruses (32.2%) being the most prevalent, followed by bacteria (26.8%) and Giardia lamblia (12.4%). Taking antacids (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 4.10; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.57–6.53), household members/classmates with gastroenteritis (aOR 4.69; 95% CI, 2.76–7.96), attending a banquet (aOR 2.29; 95% CI, 1.64–3.20), dining out (aOR 1.70; 95% CI, 1.13–2.54), and eating raw oysters (aOR 3.10; 95% CI, 1.61–5.94) were highly associated with gastroenteritis. Elders (aOR 1.04; 05% CI, 1.02–1.05), those with CRP >10 mg/L (aOR 2.04; 95% CI, 1.15–3.62), or those who were positive for fecal leukocytes (aOR 2.04; 95% CI, 1.15–3.62) or fecal occult blood (aOR 1.97; 95% CI, 1.03–3.77) were more likely to be hospitalized in ED. In addition, presence of fecal leukocytes (time ratio [TR] 1.22; 95% CI, 1.06–1.41), abdominal pain (TR 1.20; 95% CI, 1.07–1.41), and frequency of vomiting (TR 0.79; 95% CI, 0.64–0.98) were significantly associated with the duration of acute gastroenteritis. Presence of fecal leukocytes (aOR 2.08; 95% CI, 1.42–3.05), winter season (aOR 0.45; 95% CI, 0.28–0.74), frequency of diarrhea (aOR 1.69; 95% CI, 1.01–2.83), and eating shrimp or crab (aOR 1.53; 95% CI, 1.05–2.23) were highly associated with bacterial gastroenteritis. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of the final model was 0.68 (95% CI, 0.55–0.63). Conclusions: Acute bacterial gastroenteritis was highly associated with season, frequency of diarrhea, frequency of vomiting, and eating shrimp or crab.
Background: The association between time spent walking and risk of diabetes was investigated in a Japanese population-based cohort. Methods: Data from the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Diabetes cohort were analyzed. The surveys of diabetes were performed at baseline and at the 5-year follow-up. Time spent walking per day was assessed using a self-reported questionnaire (<30 minutes, 30 minutes to <1 hour, 1 to <2 hours, or ≥2 hours). A cross-sectional analysis was performed among 26 488 adults in the baseline survey. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between time spent walking and the presence of unrecognized diabetes. We then performed a longitudinal analysis that was restricted to 11 101 non-diabetic adults who participated in both the baseline and 5-year surveys. The association between time spent walking and the incidence of diabetes during the 5 years was examined. Results: In the cross-sectional analysis, 1058 participants had unrecognized diabetes. Those with time spent walking of <30 minutes per day had increased odds of having diabetes in relation to those with time spent walking of ≥2 hours (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1.23; 95% CI, 1.02–1.48). In the longitudinal analysis, 612 participants developed diabetes during the 5 years of follow-up. However, a significant association between time spent walking and the incidence of diabetes was not observed. Conclusions: Increased risk of diabetes was implied in those with time spent walking of <30 minutes per day, although the longitudinal analysis failed to show a significant result.