While more than 30 years have elapsed since the outbreak of Minamata disease in the area facing the Shiranui Sea, Kyushu, Japan, little is yet known regarding the health conditions of Minamata disease patients. Patients were surveyed for ADL and subjective complaints to evaluate their current life (1, 227 cases). Controls, aged 40 or over, were selected from residents of a rural town, not polluted by methylmercury and near the patients' residence (3, 212 persons). The results are as follows: 1) ADL of patients under 30 years old (prenatal exposure) called fetal Minamata disease was poorer than those aged 30 or over (postnatal exposure) and the distribution of subjective complaints differed between the two groups. 2) The subjective complaints of the patients aged 40 or over were classified into two categories: those where frequency increased with age, and those, although high, remained unchanged with age (constant group). Among controls, the frequency of the subjective complaints increased with age. 3) In patients aged 40 or over, subjective complaints relating to sensory disturbance were included in the constant group. These results suggest that the late effects of methylmercury exposure differs with age at which exposure to methylmercury occurred, and that there are differences in the health effects associated with aging between the patients and the control population.
The relationship between several obesity indices and serum lipids (triglycerides and total cholesterol) and blood pressure (systolic and diastolic) was examined in 178 Japanese adult males and 120 females. At first, principal components analysis of five skinfold thicknesses after adjustment for sum of skinfold thicknesses was done in order to identify subcutaneous fat distribution patterning. The first component represents"abdomenextremity" hpatterning, and the second?g"upper-lower"hpatterning . Waist/hip circumference ratio and waist/thigh circumference ratio are correlated with body mass index, trunk-extremity fat patterning index and upper-lower fat patterning index . These ratios are most strongly correlated with serum lipids and blood pressure of all obesity indices . Therefore, waist/hip ratio and waist/thigh ratio appear to be the most suitable indices for clinical screening.
The effect of married life on the health of the spouse was studied utilizing the Todai Health Index (THI) questionnaire, on 550 couples residing in an administrative district of Maebashi city, Gunma prefecture. The age of the wife of couples was 25 to 74 years, and the response rate of the complete survey was 75%. For 130 items relating to somatic symptoms and psychological complaints, 14 scales were derived as follows; SUSY: subjective symptoms, RESP: respiratory organs, EYSK: eye and skin, MOUT: mouth and anus, DIGE: digestive organ, IMPU: impulsiveness, LISC: lying scale, MENT: mental instability, DEPR: depression, AGGR: aggressiveness, NERV: nervousness, LIFE: irregularity of life, PSD: tendency for psychosomatic disease, and NEURO: tendency forneurosis. The 550 couples were divided into three groups by age of wife: young, middle aged (fifties), and old (65 years old or more). Scale scores of SUSY, IMPU, LISC, MENT, DEPR, AGGR, LIFE, PSD, and NEURO had significant correlations between husband and wife of the younger group. For middle aged couples, husband-wife correlations were found for SUSY, EYSK, MOUT, DIGE, IMPU, MENT, DEPR, LIFE, PSD, and NEURO; and for old couples SUSY, DIGE, and DEPR. Since little correlation was observed between scale scores of randomly matched men and women pairs, married life appears to demonstrate certain health interactions on spouses, which differ by age, being mainly psychological effects in the younger aged couples, psychosomatic in middle aged, and weak physical in the older aged group.
Data recorded in the religious affiliation rej istration records (Shumon-aratamecho) of Ogenji Temple in 1833 and 1834 was compared with necrology data in the Kakocho for the same time period and geographical area. 1) The comparision was performed utilizing two formulas. In Formula A, the age was used as recorded in the Shumon-aratamecho, whereas in Formula B, one year was deducted from the age given. As a result, it was found that the birthrate and the population pyramid calculated according to Formula B was much closer than with Formula A to the figure in the Kakocho. This is attributable to the fact that data for the Shumon-aratamecho had to be submitted in February, necessitating entering the population changes of the previous year. 2) The death rate in the Shumon-aratamecho was found to be smaller than that in the Kakocho, presumably because the name of everyone who died was recorded in the Kakocho, while in the Shumon-aratamecho the old and the sick were omitted. An alienation of the old which prevailed in those days may be reflect by this. 3) The population figures for women between the ages of 16-20 is smaller in the Shumon-aratamecho than in the Kakocho. Conversely, for the 20-30 year age group, both men and women are more numerous in the Shumon-aratamecho than in the Kakocho.This suggests that women between the ages of 16-20 were live-in domestic helpers in households in town and thus were not able to return home at the time of the religious affiliation census, while men and women aged between 20 and 30 were largely temporary workers who were able to return to their homes in winter and were thus included in the religious affiliation census records.