Background: Mount Oyama, on the Japanese island of Miyakejima, began erupting in June 2000, necessitating the evacuation of 3,000 island residents. Volcanic gas emissions, primarily consisting of sulfur dioxide (SO2), gradually decreased and residents returned to the island after the evacuation order was lifted in February 2005.
Objectives: To assess the exposure-effect and exposure-response relationships between SO2 exposure and effects on respiratory system in adult Miyakejima residents.
Method: Health checkups focusing on pulmonary function and respiratory/irritative symptoms were conducted six times every November from 2006 to 2011. The study population comprised 168 subjects who underwent all health checkups. SO2 concentrations were measured at six fixed monitoring stations in inhabitable areas.
Result: Based on the annual mean SO2 concentration, inhabitable areas were classified into three categories; namely, lower (L), higher (H-1), and highest (H-2) areas. Average SO2 concentrations (ppb) during 3 months prior to each health checkup dropped from 11.3 to 3.29, 32.2 to 13.4 and 75.1 to 12.6 from 2006 to 2010/2011 in L, H-1, and H-2. No significant declines in pulmonary function were observed in all areas. However, prevalence of subjective symptoms such as "Cough," "Irritation and/or pain in throat," "Irritation, runny nose, and/or nasal sniffles," and "Irritation and/or pain in the eyes," dependently increased on SO2 concentration. Odds ratios were statistically significant at approximately 70 ppb of SO2 or above.
Conclusion: Adult residents of Miyakejima island showed no deterioration in pulmonary function at SO2 levels, but complained of respiratory/irritative symptoms in an SO2 concentration- dependent manner.
Objectives: This study identified perceived employability trajectories and their associations with sleeping difficulties and depressive symptoms over time. Methods: The sample was part of the Swedish Longitudinal Survey on Health from 2008 to 2014 (n = 4,583). Results: Two stable trajectories (high and low perceived employability over time) and three trajectories with changes (increasing, decreasing, and V-shaped perceived employability over time) were identified. Workers with stable low perceived employability reported more sleeping difficulties and depressive symptoms than those who perceived high or increasing employability. Conclusion: Perceived employability is a rather stable personal resource, which is associated with well-being over time. However, changes in perceived employability do not seem to be echoed in well-being, at least not as immediately as theoretically expected.
Objectives: The manual for the Japanese Stress Check Program recommends use of the Brief Job Stress Questionnaire (BJSQ) from among the program's instruments and proposes criteria for defining "high-stress" workers. This study aimed to examine how accurately the BJSQ identifies workers with or without potential psychological distress.
Methods: We used an online survey to administer the BJSQ with a psychological distress scale (K6) to randomly selected workers (n=1,650). We conducted receiver operating characteristics curve analyses to estimate the screening performance of the cutoff points that the Stress Check Program manual recommends for the BJSQ.
Results: Prevalence of workers with potential psychological distress defined as K6 score ≥13 was 13%. Prevalence of "high-risk" workers defined using criteria recommended by the program manual was 16.7% for the original version of the BJSQ. The estimated values were as follows: sensitivity, 60.5%; specificity, 88.9%; Youden index, 0.504; positive predictive value, 47.3%; negative predictive value, 93.8%; positive likelihood ratio, 6.0; and negative likelihood ratio, 0.4. Analyses based on the simplified BJSQ indicated lower sensitivity compared with the original version, although we expected roughly the same screening performance for the best scenario using the original version.
Conclusions: Our analyses in which psychological distress measured by K6 was set as the target condition indicate less than half of the identified "high-stress" workers warrant consideration for secondary screening for psychological distress.
Objectives: Mental disorders are a key cause of sickness absence (SA) and challenge prolonging working careers. Thus, evidence on the development of SA trends is needed. In this study, educational differences in long SAs due to mental disorders were examined in two age groups among employees of the City of Helsinki from 2004 to 2013.
Methods: All permanently and temporarily employed staff aged 18–34 and 35–49 were included in the analyses (n = ~27800 per year). SA spells of ≥14 days due to mental disorders were examined annually. Education was classified to higher and lower levels. Joinpoint regression was used to identify major turning points in SA trends.
Results: Joinpoint regression models showed that lower educated groups had more long SAs spells due to mental disorders than those groups with higher education. SA trends decreased during the study period in all studied age and educational groups. Lower educated age groups had similar SA trends. Younger employees with higher education had the fewest SAs.
Conclusions: A clear educational gradient was found in long SAs due to mental disorders during the study period. SA trends decreased from 2004 to 2013.
Background: It has been difficult to make reliable hazard assessments of manufactured nanomaterials, because the nanomaterials form large agglomerations in both in vitro and in vivo studies. Objective: A project by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan has succeeded in ensuring the stability of dispersion (nanoscale <100 nm) of manufactured nanomaterials, and is developing hazard assessments of manufactured nanomaterials. Results and Conclusion: Focusing on titanium dioxide, fullerenes and carbon nanotubes, we introduce findings made in inhalation and intratracheal installation studies overseas, and together with the findings made in the NEDO project, and also assess the hazards presented by manufactured nanoparticles.
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