A case-control study was conducted to investigate how basic habits of life including dietary habit, physical activity, cigarette smoking, and drinking, are involved in the development of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Collection of cases was entrusted to the clinical research group of DCM, and national pooled controls established by sex and age category by the epidemiological research group of intractable diseases were used to ensure representativeness of the controls. Fifty-eight cases of DCM which developed in and after January 1991 were collected, and 5, 912 controls matched with the cases by residential area, sex, and age were selected. Analysis of the results of the study showed that items in the questionnaire suggestive of viral infection, such as "susceptibility to common cold" and "susceptibility to diarrhea", items concerning dietary habit, including "taking no breakfast", "ingestion of salty food", and "ingestion of fatty food", and such items as "cigarette smoking" and "lack of sleep" tended to be observed in the case group at significantly higher frequencies. Since viral infection has been suspected as a causative factor of DCM, further research of this area is thought to be of particular importance for determining the etiology of DCM. J Epidemiol, 1999 ; 9 : 286-296
There is a low risk area for gastric cancer in Jiangsu Province, China, where people frequently consume raw allium vegetables. As a first step epidemiological study to clarify the factors involved in the low incidence of gastric cancer, we conducted a comparative study of the ecological factors in a high risk area (HRA), Yangzhong, and a low risk area (LRA), Pizhou, using a questionnaire. Subjects were selected from the general population according to age and sex, and comprised 414 residents of the HRA and 425 residents of the LRA. Ecological factors were compared for the two areas by Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel method, age-adjusted. Smoking and drinking habits were found to be more common in the LRA. On the other hand, allium vegetables were consumed in the LRA much more frequently, with high consumption of raw vegetables, fruit, tomatoes, kidney beans and soybean products. People who consumed garlic en masse 3 times or more per week were 82% of men and 75% of women in the LRA, and 1 % of men and women in the HRA. The results of the survey suggest that frequent consumption of allium vegetables, in addition to other anticancer foods, may be a factor in low mortality for gastric cancer. J Epidemiol, 1999 ; 9 : 297-305
Two-hundred and six breast cancer cases were histologically confirmed breast cancer diagnoses at the Cancer Institute in Chennai (Madras), India. One-hundred and fifty hospital controls were patients who had cancer at any site other than breast and gynecological organs, and 61 healthy controls were persons accompanying patients in the Cancer Institute. Serum levels of carotenoids such as, β-carotene, lycopene, cryptoxanthin, and zeaxanthin & lutein were determined by HPLC. Serum levels of total carotenes and total carotenoids including, β- carotene, which reflects food intake of colored vegetables and fruits and has a protective role for certain sites of cancer, were significantly lower among breast cancer cases and hospital controls compared to healthy controls, especially in post-menopausal women. Serum carotenoid levels appeared to change with menopausal status. Serum β-carotene levels tended to be lower among breast cancer cases than among hospital controls in premenopausal women. Serum xanthophyll levels were significantly lower among breast cancer cases than among healthy controls in post-menopausal women, but not in premenopausal women. Serum levels of retinol and a -tocopherol among breast cancer cases were not significantly different from those in post- menopausal healthy controls, but were higher than those in hospital controls. Serum estrone levels were significantly higher among breast cancer cases than among healthy controls, but serum levels of estradiol and estriol were not. In conclusion, Indian women with cancer of breast or of other sites might have low intake of green-yellow vegetables rich in fiber and carotenoids such as β-carotene and zeaxanthin & lutein. J Epidemiol, 1999 ; 9 : 306-314
There have been few reports with regard to the life spans of medical doctors. The status of the medical doctors graduating from 1926 to 1974, alive or dead as of October 1996, was ascertained on the basis of the list of graduates from the School of Medicine, Hokkaido University. Excluding data on female doctors and those who died in battle during World War II, data on a total of 3, 982 doctors were available for study. Their mortality as of October 1996 decreased in parallel with the graduation year. Their mean future life span at graduation was estimated to be about 52.88 years (95% Cl, 52.45-53.31) through linear regression (r=0.992). Their mean age at graduation was 25.17 years. This was not different from the future life expectancy at 25 years of age of the general population (52.35 years). The future life span of surgeons and gynecologists-obstetricians was shorter than that of the doctors of basic medical sciences and internal medicine. This difference might be accounted for by factors peculiar to each speciality (e.g., exposure to blood) or by the degree of stress from work. J Epidemiol, 1999; 9 : 315-319
Although smoking has been considered a risk factor in causing pepticulcers, no study has examined the effects of job stress on the relationship between peptic ulcers and smoking.To establish a link between gastric or duodenal ulcers over two years and a state of perceived job stress, a questionnaire, including questions on demographics, smoking, history of peptic ulcer and perceived job stress was conducted. Follow-up surveys were carried out every six months to accumulate the data for this analysis and the time span of this follow up study was two years. To examine the role of perceived job stress on the relationship between smoking and peptic ulcers, stratified analyses were performed.Some specific causes of perceived job stress such as "Too much competition, " "Schedule is too tight or pressed to work too hard" had high estimated relative risks: 2.13 with 95% confidence interval (CI) of 1.09 -4.16 and 2.50 with 95%Cl of 0.98 - 6.40, respectively. Stratified analyses suggested an effect-measure modification of perceived job stress in the relationship between peptic ulcers and smoking. Multiplicative and additive models suggest positive interaction between perceived job stress and smoking. These results suggest that specific perceived job stress is an effect modifier in the relationship between the history of the peptic ulcer and smoking. J Epidemiol, 1999 ; 9 : 320-326
Purpose: Senile cataract contributes to 75% of blindness in India and there is a growing backlog of cataract cases needing surgery. The present study seeks clues to the etiology of senile cataract, so that strategies to prevent or even delay cataract formation could be planned. Methods: Using a community based case-control design, 258 cases & 308 controls from one centre and 301 cases & 591 controls from another were studied. The subjects were from rural areas and were aged 40-60 years. Logistic regression analysis technique was employed to study the associations between senile cataract and various variables. Results: Systolic blood pressure, duration of exposure to sunlight per day were associated with senile cataract in both the centres (OR=1.4 & 1.5 for sysstolic BP and 1.6 & 1.4 for exposure to sunlight). Utilization of rice gruel (OR=0.5), duration of exposure to fire & dust per day (OR=1.8), family history of cataract (OR=5.0), use of cheap cooking fuels (OR=1.8), increased height (OR = 0.7) and increased number of hours of work per day (OR=0.7) were other variables that showed significant association in either of the centres. Conclusions: Senile cataract appears to have a multi factorial etiology. Though the study provided some clues to the etiology of senile cataract, further studies are needed to know the specific role of these factors in the causation of cataract, so that any preventive or control measures could be initiated in the community. Till such time, we have to fall back on the available surgical approach in control of senile cataract. J Epidemiol, 1999; 9 : 327-336
In order to clarify the later sequelae of sarin poisoning that occurred in Matsumoto City, Japan, on June 27, 1994, a cohort study was conducted on all persons (2052 Japanese people) inhabiting an area 1050 meters from north to south and 850 meters from east to west with the sarin release site in the center. Respondents numbered 1237 and 836 people when surveys were conducted at one and three years after the sarin incident, respectively. Numbers of persons with symptoms of sarin toxicity were compared between sarin victims and non-victims. Of the respondents, 58 and 46 people had symptoms associated with sarin such as fatigue, asthenia, shoulder stiffness, asthenopia and blurred vision at both points of the survey, respectively. The prevalences were low; some complained of insomnia, had bad dreams, difficulty in smoking, husky voice, slight fever and palpitation. The victims who had symptoms one year after the incident had a lower erythrocyte cholinesterase activity than did those who did not have symptoms at the early stage; such persons lived in an area with a 500 meter long axis north east from the sarin release site. The three-year cohort study clearly showed that the odds ratios of almost all of the symptoms were high in the sarin-exposed group, suggesting a positive relationship between symptoms and grades of exposure to sarin. These results suggest that symptoms reported by many victims of the sarin incident are thought to be sequelae related to sarin exposure J Epidemiol, 1999 ; 9 : 337-343
We examined the association between neonatal mortality and ambient sulfur dioxide (SO2) levels in the neighborhood of Mt. Sakurajima, Yamashita public health district of Kagoshima City, during the period between 1978 and 1988. The analysis using Poisson regression models showed that the monthly average level of SO2 was positively associated with the neonatal mortality (P = 0.002). When the SO2 levels were categorized into four groups to estimate the relative risk (RR) of neonatal mortality using the lowest exposure category as a reference, the RR increased with elevated exposure levels (P for trend < 0.001) and was the highest in the group with the highest level of exposure (RR = 2.2, 95% confidence interval; 1.2-4.1). Other than SO2, we also examined the number of eruptions, the amount of ashfall, and the average level of suspended particulate matter. None of these factors was associated with neonatal mortality. Although the present study suggests that increase in SO2 levels has had an adverse effect on neonatal mortality in the neighborhood of Mt. Sakurajima, it is difficult to determine the source of the SO2. Further studies are necessary to elucidate the mechanisms of the excess neonatal mortality probably associated with the volcanic SO2 levels. J Epidemiol, 1999 ; 9 : 344-349
Background: In 1987, we reported that the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Nepal was low, as compared to hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection, and that no human T-lymphotropic type-1 (HTLV-1) infection was found in Nepal. Objectives: To determine changes in the prevalence of HAV, HBV, and HCV infections between 1987 and 1996 in inhabitants of Bhadrakali (suburban) and Kotyang (rural) villages in Nepal. Study design: We did a cross-sectional survey of 458 inhabitants of two Nepalese villages, to assess the prevalence of antibody to HAV (anti-HAV), antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti- HBc), hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), antibody to HCV (anti-HCV), and antibody to HTLV-I (anti-HTLV-I). Results: Anti-HAV was detected in 454 (99.1 %), HBsAg in 5(1.1 %), anti-HBc in 33 (7.2%) and anti-HCV in 8 (1.7%) of serum samples tested in 1996. Statistically significant differences by gender or age group were nil. The prevalence of HCV infection was significantly higher in 1996 than in 1987 after adjusting for age of subjects living in the two villages (p<0.01). The prevalence of HBsAg was significantly higher in 1996 than 1987 in Bhadrakali after adjusting for the factor of age (p<0.05). Between 1987 and 1996, evidence for HTLV-1 positive residents was nil. Conclusion: These results suggest that HAV has been endemic in Nepal for long time while not of HBV, and that HCV infection tends to be increased recently. J Epidemiol, 1999; 9 : 350-354
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