We proposed a new wisdom called sportology, a scientific approach to the relationship between sports and health. Needless to say, well-trained, non-stressful physical activities are expected to be the most important methods to comprehensively reduce various health problems.
While using “sports” and “health” as keywords to deepen the respective specialized sciences involved, sportology simultaneously integrates each of these specializations, creating opportunities where deepening and integration are possible and giving society more effective and efficient academic achievements.
In 2007, Juntendo University, with the aid of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan, established the Sportology Center, where our motto is to “measure precisely whatever we can measure and make measurable what is not measured in human beings.” Our aim for this center is to translate what we have found at the molecular, cell, and animal levels into demonstrable in human beings. With new findings obtained at this center, we will be able to develop new biomarkers and bioimaging techniques with which we will be able to perform more precise diagnosis and treatment. Among numerous new findings obtained by the Sportology Center, some topics are highlighted.
Two core studies were performed this decade at the Sportology Center. The first was the Sportology Center Core Study, in which we investigated the pathogenesis of metabolic disorders in non-obese individuals and found that insulin resistance in muscle may be a primary cause of metabolic diseases in non-obese Japanese men. The second is the ongoing Bunkyo Health Study, a prospective cohort study of elderly subjects in an urban community. This second study is designed to clarify the association of muscle mass, muscle strength, and muscle insulin sensitivity with the major diseases and risk factors leading to the need for long-term care. We believe that the results of these 2 core studies have provided valuable information for extending healthy lifespans.
Objective: To explore the myelin changes induced by long-term intensive training in Japanese World Class Gymnasts (J-WCGs) using a myelin-sensitive imaging technique known as magnetization transfer saturation (MTsat) imaging and tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) analysis.
Materials: Ten right-handed J-WCGs and 10 age- and sex-matched right-handed non-athlete healthy controls were included.
Methods: All imaging data were obtained using a 3-T scanner (MAGNETOM Prisma, Siemens Healthcare, Erlangen, Germany) equipped with a 64-channel head coil. Diffusion tensor imaging (fractional anisotropy [FA]) and MTsat imaging (myelin volume fraction [MVF]) parameters were compared between J-WCGs and controls using TBSS analysis. In addition, white matter volume (WMV) and white matter fraction volume (WMV/intracranial volume) were also compared between the two groups.
Results: MVF in some white matter areas, including the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus and inferior and superior longitudinal fasciculi in J-WCGs, was significantly lower than those of the controls. However, FA was only significantly lower in the genu and splenium of corpus callosum. No significant differences were demonstrated in WMV and WMF between groups.
Conclusions: Our results indicate that long-term intensive gymnastic training could induce myelin changes in the white matter related to visuomotor processing and attention control. Further, gymnastic practice may cause myelin neuroplasticity in the white matter.
Numerous issues regarding athletes and spectators, such as terrorism and infection control measures, have been raised concerning the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in summer 2020. In particular, heat illness is considered to be the most important problem.
Venue medical officers (VMOs) at the Olympic Stadium, Tokyo Aquatics Centre (swimming, diving, and artistic swimming), and the Tatsumi Water Polo Centre in Tokyo have been appointed from Juntendo University by the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It has been decided that Juntendo University Hospitals with dispatch many volunteer doctors and nurses to these venues. As the Olympic Stadium is an outdoor facility, many people are expected to develop heat illness. Education of the medical staff not only about treatments but also about preventive measures is essential for the management of heat illness. Analysis of past statistics is useful for this purpose. We interviewed persons in different sections of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government related to the management of heat illness during the Tokyo Olympic Games. We also heard opinions of heat illness experts in the field of industrial health. Based on the information obtained and by referring to information collected by browsing the websites of related ministries and agencies, and through literature searches, we evaluated measures for the management of heat illness in consideration of basic matters and statistical findings about heat illness, and from the viewpoint of the discipline of sportology proposed by our university.
Athletes will compete in a total of 55 Olympic and Paralympic sports at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games between July and September 2020. It is well known that regular exercise and physical activity are associated with the reduction of morbidity and mortality due to cardiovascular events. However, the question remains whether the health benefits of sports participation decrease the risk of morbidity and mortality due to cardiovascular diseases, particularly in Olympic and Paralympic athletes. In addition, the incidence of acute cardiovascular events may even be increased in visitors to large sports stadiums and television network viewers compared with the general population. Sportology, a new academic discipline field, is a scientific approach to the relationship between sports and health. Sportology integrates sports and health specializations to create opportunities for deepening and further integrating these fields and to give society more effective and efficient academic achievements. In this review, we discuss a comprehensive approach for preventing cardiovascular events during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, from the point of view of Sportology.
Juntendo University will provide medical support for athletes and spectators at the Olympic Stadium, Tokyo Aquatics Centre, and Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Organizing Committee, as well as Izu Velodrome and Izu Mountain Bike (MTB). The course was requested to provide medical support for athletes and spectators in the athlete village in Shizuoka Prefecture (using “Laforet Resort Shuzenji” in Izu City as an Olympic cycling village). Therefore, at the Olympic Stadium, Tokyo Aquatics Centre, and Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center, applicants will be recruited from five Juntendo University Hospitals, and 94 doctors and 159 nurses will be selected to provide medical support. In addition, Izu Velodrome, Izu Mountain Bike Course, and the athlete’s village in Shizuoka Prefecture will be handled by Juntendo University Shizuoka Hospital due to geographical conditions. On the other hand, more than 20 physicians are requested by each sports organization and provide medical care at the athlete village. There are also a number of Juntendo University undergraduate students and alumni who do not specialize in healthcare but participate as volunteers. As of March 16, 2020, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics Games are threatened due to the epidemic of COVID-19 1), but we believe that it will be held and should make solid preparations.
In 2020, the summer Olympic and Paralympic Game will be held in Tokyo and nearby prefectures. Venue medical officers (VMOs) are responsible for providing various medical services for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Cycling events have been held at every Summer Olympic Games. Track events and mountain bike racing will be held at the Cycle Sports Center in Izu City, the road race will finish at the Fuji International Speedway in Gotemba City, and the athlete village will be located at Hotel Laforet Shuzenji in Izu City in eastern Shizuoka Prefecture. Juntendo Shizuoka Hospital serves as the base hospital for a physician staffed helicopter (called a doctor helicopter [DH] in Japan) and is responsible for eastern Shizuoka. It is also the leader of the medical control council system, which oversees the activities of the fire department. At present, the DH in eastern Shizuoka routinely transports severely injured or ill patients from the Cycle Sports Center in Izu City and the Fuji International Speedway in Gotemba City. The VMO of Juntendo Shizuoka Hospital is now responsible for providing medical services at track and mountain races held in Izu City. After the determination that the Olympic cycling events would be held in Izu City, the VMO of Juntendo Shizuoka Hospital held several meetings with these organizations and attended special training for mass casualty events to establish an appropriate medical control system for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. To provide appropriate medical services during these events, the VMO of Juntendo Shizuoka Hospital has started cooperating with related organizations.
Recently, the anti-doping movement has worked to improve the image of sports. Historically, doping inspection was implemented as a deterrent. A serious problem in recent years has been the violation of anti-doping regulations through intake of supplements mixed with prohibited substances. Unlike prescribed medications with clear ingredients, there are no international rules governing the manufacture of supplements or labelling of their ingredients. If the results of the doping control process are presumptive positive, a hearing will be arranged where athletes can present their case; however, insufficient labeling is not considered a good defense in itself. Code 2015, the current anti-doping rule, emphasizes the role and responsibilities of athletes and if a banned substance is present in the body it is a violation of this rule, whether intentionally or not. Recent studies have found that Japanese university athletes are generally lacking in anti-doping knowledge, as well as a lack of medical knowledge and little recognition of their responsibilities as athletes. Given these circumstances, anti-doping education has started to shift from a “deterrent approach” aimed at detecting fraud to a “preventive approach” aimed at inculcating the importance of ethics in sports. There are also guidelines to ensure that these lessons are learned as soon as possible. Code 2021, to be enacted in 2021, is the first time that International Standards for Education (ISE) will be formulated. Education to further raise awareness of anti-doping by developing ISE is also expected.
Any individual can enhance his/her performance by engaging in deliberate practice and training during optimal periods of development. Nonetheless, the initial level of performance at first exposure to a sport varies greatly between individuals, as some individuals show a higher response to training than others. Furthermore, some athletes are repeatedly afflicted with injuries, but some athletes are not injured at all. Numerous twin and family studies have demonstrated that genetic factors contribute significantly to the variation in physical performance. Further, it has been demonstrated that several genetic variants significantly affect the susceptibility of sports-related injuries. Since an insertion (I)/deletion (D) polymorphism in the angiotensin I-converting enzyme gene (ACE) was first reported to have an impact on human physical performance, numerous studies have attempted to identify genetic variants influencing sports performance. To date, at least 100 genetic markers have been reported to be linked to the status of an athlete’s endurance, and at least 69 genetic markers have been reported to be linked to the status of an athlete’s power. Nevertheless, there is limited evidence of the genetic factors involved in sports performance and vulnerability to sport-related injuries in Asian populations. In order to perform genetic testing for individual training to improve sport performance and reduce injury risk, reliable and valid evidence is required, in addition to careful consideration of ethical issues. To achieve such individualized training in Japanese athletes, we need to develop a strong scientific foundation on this topic in the Asian population through large-scale collaborative projects.
Athletes can experience a number of psychological, physical, and behavioral problems, but if these problems are dealt with appropriately mental health can be well maintained. However, if these problems are not dealt with properly and psychological problems become more serious, they could lead to depression, burnout, and eating disorders. In the worst-case scenario, it may be necessary for the athlete to withdraw from a competition and even consider retirement. Consequently, it is important for athletes to maintain both their mental and physical health to deliver their best competitive performance, and in addition appropriate psychological support is required to maintain and improve the athlete’s mental health. In the field of mental health and psychology, research on psychological approaches to athletes’ mental health is being actively conducted ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In the field of mental health and psychology there is a growing interest in research on mental health issues related to athletic performance, an increase in the number of case studies using mental training to demonstrate methods to increase competitive performance, as well as other sports psychological efforts in preparation for the Olympics. On the sports field, sports mental training instructors, clinical psychologists, and mental health welfare workers are also active. In 2018, an examination to become a Licensed Psychologists was carried out, the first national qualification in psychology. It is expected to play an active role in the field of mental health in the future. This paper focuses on athletes’ mental health, examines related psychological problems and actual case studies and investigates how mental health relates to the field of sportology. The author also plans to collaborate with professionals and athletes in connection with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Objective: The aim of this study was to (1) review the research on physical fitness tests conducted as a field test for amputee soccer players, (2) organize measurement items and methods of physical fitness tests adapted to amputee soccer outfield players based on previous studies.
Methods: The following key words were used to identify proper articles: amputee soccer/football, lower limb amputation, amputee’s physical fitness, amputee’s field-based fitness test, and amputee’s fitness-test battery. A comprehensive search was conducted until November 2019 using electronic databases (MEDLINE, SPORTdiscus, CINAHL, Web of Science, Scopus, EMBASE, Cochrane, and Google Scholar).
Results: The original search netted 29 studies and after the removal of duplicates and screening, 17 studies remained. Based on previous studies, the following measurement items were selected as physical fitness tests adapted to amputee soccer outfield players and the measurement methods were organized. Anthropometric measurements included body height, body weight, and body composition. Muscular performance included balance, flexibility, muscular endurance and muscular strength. Anaerobic performance included sprint, agility, and jump. Several studies have evaluated the aerobic performance of outfield players by using aerobic tests developed for healthy individuals; however, the test has not been standardized.
Conclusion: This pilot study reviewed and organized the physical fitness tests of amputee soccer players.
This study aimed to examine the physical fitness of athletes and identify their talents by measuring and evaluating their physical fitness and to review the studies regarding competitive history and health of athletes. Generally, the physical fitness levels of athletes are higher than those of nonathletes. Besides the studies assessing the association between physical fitness and injury, studies aimed to predict performance from physical fitness data exist. Several studies attempting to identify talents using physical fitness tests based on such findings exist. Improving performance by identifying and training talents at early ages is common. However, the optimum age of sports specialization has been reconsidered. Some athletes choose their specialization after trying several sports and training styles. For example, in Japan, junior high school students who play sports regularly tend to quit sports after graduation. This tendency may be partly due to the competitive education in Japan. Delayed sports specialization may improve the mental and physical health of athletes. It has recently been reported that there are some issues in promoting the health of former athletes. In youth sports, intense training may significantly increase the risk of injury. As described above, my review of the findings of the physical fitness of athletes identified several issues related to the accurate evaluation of physical fitness and the performance and health of athletes. Future studies should further determine possible methods to improve the performance and health of athletes and former athletes by analyzing the increasing data volume on the physical fitness of athletes.
According to an estimate of the Japan National Tourism Organization, 2,930,000 overseas visitors came to Japan in April 2019. With the growing the number of non-Japanese and Tokyo hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, there is a rising need in Japan for international medical communication. Medical interpreting training is urgently required owing to language problems through the rapid increase in the number of non-Japanese workers in Japan over recent decades. A systematic review indicated five core competencies for medical interpreters: maintaining accuracy and completeness; medical terminology and understanding the human body; behaving ethically and making ethical decisions; nonverbal communication skills; and cross-cultural communication skills. A training course to develop those skills was implemented in Juntendo University’s Faculty of International Liberal Arts (FILA). Since its founding in 1838, Juntendo University has produced experts in medicine, health care, and sports. The rich culture accumulated over that time has been adapted for the global era: the university offers a progressive education that simultaneously teaches internationalism and currently required health expertise. The FILA offers several courses to help promote medical interpreters. A practical example is presented in this paper to show the capabilities of the FILA system. Interfaculty cooperation is needed to bridge the gap between medical professionals and patients with limited Japanese proficiency. By nurturing medical interpreters, Juntendo University is expected to promote interfaculty collaboration in supporting non-Japanese patients. In 2020, Japan should create an environment in which people from overseas can visit the country without worrying about medical care.