The ethanol in alcoholic beverages and the acetaldehyde associated with alcohol consumption are Group 1 human carcinogens (WHO, International Agency for Research on Cancer). The combination of alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, the inactive heterozygous aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 genotype (ALDH2*1/*2) and the less-active homozygous alcohol dehydrogenase-1B genotype (ADH1B*1/*1) increases the risk of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in the upper aerodigestive tract (UADT) in a multiplicative fashion in East Asians. In addition to being exposed to locally high levels of ethanol, the UADT is exposed to a very high concentration of acetaldehyde from a variety of sources, including that as an ingredient of alcoholic beverages per se and that found in tobacco smoke; acetaldehyde is also produced by salivary microorganisms and mucosal enzymes and is present as blood acetaldehyde. The inefficient degradation of acetaldehyde by weakly expressed ALDH2 in the UADT may be critical to the local accumulation of acetaldehyde, especially in ALDH2*1/*2 carriers. ADH1B*1/*1 carriers tend to experience less intense alcohol flushing and are highly susceptible to heavy drinking and alcoholism. Heavy drinking by persons with the less-active ADH1B*1/*1 leads to longer exposure of the UADT to salivary ethanol and acetaldehyde. The ALDH2*1/*2 genotype is a very strong predictor of synchronous and metachronous multiple SCCs in the UADT. High red cell mean corpuscular volume (MCV), esophageal dysplasia, and melanosis in the UADT, all of which are frequently found in ALDH2*1/*2 drinkers, are useful for identifying high-risk individuals. We invented a simple flushing questionnaire that enables prediction of the ALDH2 phenotype. New health appraisal models that include ALDH2 genotype, the simple flushing questionnaire, or MCV are powerful tools for devising a new strategy for prevention and screening for UADT cancer in East Asians.
There have been few reports published in English on emergency medicine (EM) in Japan; the main reason for this is that the concept of EM was different in Japan from that in western countries. In the 1960s, legislation was passed in Japan that implemented emergency medical services, and emergency hospitals were designated by the government. There were no emergency medicine specialists, and so surgeons/physicians without specialist training in emergency medicine provided care to emergency patients (the multispecialist-type model). The Japanese Association for Acute Medicine (JAAM), an academic society for emergency physicians, was founded in 1973. In its pioneering days, this association focused mostly on trauma/burn care and also influenced policymaking. In 1977, the government built emergency medical service centers (the ICU-type model) and reorganized all emergency medical facilities into three levels. With the aging of society, the number of non-trauma patients presenting at hospitals, especially in the elderly population, has increased and has resulted in some cases of refusal by hospitals to accept emergency patients. A new postgraduate medical education curriculum was legislated in 2004 that mandated EM training for all postgraduates and encouraged reinforcement of emergency departments in teaching hospitals. The JAAM established a committee to promote the ER-type model of EM in 2003. By 2007, more than 150 JAAM-affiliated hospitals had implemented this type of EM. In conclusion, emergency medicine in Japan is currently based on a mixture of three models: the multispecialist-type, the ICU-type and the ER-type models.
The medical curriculum at King's College London School of Medicine is a 5year course; an extended program (6years) and a graduate entry program (4years) are also available. The first 2years of the curriculum comprise phases 1 and 2. The curriculum consists of core material that is common to all students and student-selected components (students undertake three such components in the first 2years). Phase 1 lasts 12 weeks and students learn the principles of tissue and organ structure and function. They are also introduced to the practice of medicine (concepts of health, communication, ethics, inter-professional education and medicine in the community). Phase 2 consists of 36 weekly clinical scenarios that place basic medical science in a clinical context. Phase 2 covers cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, renal and musculoskeletal systems; nutrition; endocrinology; head and neck anatomy; neuroscience; genetics; and infections. Teaching continues in primary care and in the hospitals and includes basic and advanced life support. Learning experiences include lectures, tutorials, practical classes, dissection and prosection, communication skills, e-learning, student-led sessions and primary care and hospital visits. Assessment consists of in-course assessment (e.g., presentations, tests and essays) and end-of-year examinations which consist of written papers and an objective structured clinical examination at the end of year 2. The main strengths of the program include the scenario format of learning and the practice of medicine early on. The difficulties arise mainly from the large numbers of students (420 per year).