On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck off the northeast coast of Japan. Within an hour of the earthquake, devastating tsunamis swept over the coastal region of the Miyagi Prefecture, facing Pacific Ocean. Accordingly, more than 400,000 residents were forced to stay at evacuation shelters. We investigated the changes in tuberculosis prevalence after the disaster. Annual data for all tuberculosis patients between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2013 were extracted from the database of the Miyagi Prefectural Government. In the coastal region of Northern Miyagi, the number of tuberculosis patients increased in the post-disaster period (p < 0.001, 9.6 vs.19.1 per 100,000 people), compared to the pre-disaster period. In contrast, its prevalence did not change in the inland region of Northern Miyagi and the coastal and inland regions of Southern Miyagi. Importantly, in the inland and coastal regions of Northern Miyagi, the number of patients with latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) increased in the post-disaster period (p < 0.001). Furthermore, in the coastal shelters, 11 evacuees with the history of contacting tuberculosis patients were diagnosed with LTBI, whereas no cases of LTBI patients were observed in the inland shelters. Thus, staying in the coastal shelters was a risk factor for contracting tuberculosis (OR: 19.31, 95% CI: 1.11-334.80); indeed, twice as many evacuees visited each coastal shelter on April 1, 2011, compared to the inland region. We should prepare the shelters to avoid overcrowding, and long-term observation is required to detect the prevalence of tuberculosis infection.
Intravascular large B-cell lymphoma (IVLBCL) is a rare subtype of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. There have been only a limited number of reports regarding pituitary dysfunction associated with IVLBCL. We present a 71-year-old woman with hypopituitarism without any hypothalamic/pituitary abnormalities as assessed by magnetic resonance imaging. She presented with edema, abducens palsy, and elevated levels of lactate dehydrogenase and soluble interleukin-2 receptor. Provocative testing showed that the peaks of luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone and adrenocorticotropic hormone were evoked to normal levels by simultaneous administration of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone, thyrotropin-releasing hormone and corticotropin-releasing hormone, but the responses of these four pituitary hormones showed a delayed pattern. She was diagnosed with IVLBCL with cerebrospinal invasion by pathological findings of the bone marrow, skin, and cerebrospinal fluid. She achieved hematological remission after immunochemotherapy. Pituitary function was also restored without hormonal replacement, and the improvement of the pituitary function was confirmed by dynamic testing. We reviewed the literature with respect to hypopituitarism associated with IVLBCL. There were less than 20 case reports and most of the patients died. Endocrinological course was described in only two cases, and both of them required hormonal supplementation. To our knowledge, this is the first case of hypopituitarism induced by IVLBCL that was successfully managed by immunochemotherapy alone. This case suggests that early diagnosis and treatment of IVLBCL might improve anterior pituitary function and enable patients to avoid hormone replacement therapy.
Denosumab (DMAb), a complete human type monoclonal antibody directed against the receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand, has gained attention as a novel treatment for osteoporosis. However, its efficacy in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) remains unclear. We describe a 64-year-old man with severe bone loss and persistent secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) after renal transplantation, whose condition failed to respond to conventional pharmacologic or surgical interventions. He underwent parathyroidectomy with left forearm autograft of crushed tiny parathyroid gland (PTG) particles. However, the autografted PTGs became swollen and caused persistent SHPT in spite of two additional parathyroidectomies of the left forearm. A single subcutaneous administration of DMAb induced hypocalcemia, which was corrected by calcium supplementation and high-dose calcitriol. Eventually, combination therapy with DMAb and calcitriol led to a decline in the patient’s elevated serum parathyroid hormone levels, normalization of laboratory markers of bone metabolism, and improvement in bone mineral density in a short period of time. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case report of severe bone loss with persistent SHPT in a renal transplant recipient effectively treated with the combination therapy of DMAb and vitamin D (VD). Although DMAb itself exerts no direct effects on PTGs, the DMAb treatment improved the patient’s bone loss. In addition, administration of DMAb allowed for high-dose VD therapy which ultimately controlled SHPT and prevented DMAb-induced hypocalcemia. Therefore, this combination therapy might be a reasonable therapeutic strategy to reverse severe bone loss due to therapy-resistant SHPT in patients with CKD.
Independent walking is an important goal of clinical and community-based rehabilitation for children with cerebral palsy (CP). Virtual reality-based rehabilitation therapy is effective in motivating children with CP. This study investigated the effects of treadmill training with virtual reality on gait, balance, muscular strength, and gross motor function in children with CP. Eighteen children with spastic CP were randomly divided into the virtual reality treadmill training (VRTT) group (9 subjects, mean age, 10.2 years) and treadmill training (TT) group (9 subjects, mean age, 9.4 years). The groups performed their respective programs as well as conventional physical therapy 3 times/week for 8 weeks. Muscle strength was assessed using a digitalized manual muscle tester. Gross motor function was assessed using the Gross Motor Functional Measure (GMFM). Balance was assessed using the Pediatric Balance Scale (PBS). Gait speed was assessed using the 10-meter walk test (10MWT), and gait endurance was assessed using the 2-minute walk test (2MWT). After training, gait and balance was improved in the VRTT compared to the TT group (P < 0.05). Muscular strength was significantly greater in the VRTT group than the TT group, except for right hamstring strength. The improvements in GMFM (standing) and PBS scores were greater in the VRTT group than the TT group (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the VRTT group showed the higher values of 10MWT and 2MWT compared to the TT group (P < 0.05). In conclusion, VRTT programs are effective for improving gait, balance, muscular strength, and gross motor function in children with CP.
In Indonesia, the Aceh earthquake and tsunami in 2004 killed 127,000 people and caused half a million injuries, while the Yogyakarta earthquake in 2006 caused 5,700 deaths and 37,000 injuries. Because disaster-affected areas are vulnerable to epidemic-prone diseases and tetanus is one such disease that is preventable, we systematically reviewed the literature related to tetanus outbreaks following previous two natural disasters in Indonesia. Based on our findings, recommendations for proper vaccination and education can be made for future countermeasures. Using specified keywords related to tetanus and disasters, relevant documents were screened from PubMed, the WHO website, and books. Reports offering limited data and those released before 2004 were excluded. In all, 16 publications were reviewed systematically. Results show that 106 cases of tetanus occurred in Aceh, with a case fatality ratio (CFR) of 18.9%; 71 cases occurred in Yogyakarta, with CFR of 36.6%. For both outbreaks, most patients had been wounded during scavenging or evacuation after the disaster occurred. Poor access to health care because of limited transportation or hospital facilities, and low vaccination coverage and lack of awareness of tetanus risk contributed to delayed treatment and case severity. Tetanus outbreaks after disasters are preventable by increasing vaccination coverage, improving wound care treatment, and establishing a regular surveillance system, in addition to good practices of disaster management and supportive care following national guidelines. Furthermore, health education for communities should be provided to raise awareness of tetanus risk reduction.
The many women with breast cancer who underwent axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) suffer from the upper arm dysfunction. In this study, we investigated the effectiveness of a perioperative educational program for improving upper arm dysfunction in breast cancer patients following ALND. This study was a sub-analysis of a previous controlled trial with an educational program. The subjects of this analysis included 64 patients following ALND who completed measurements at 12 months. The perioperative educational program consisted of monitoring of arm dysfunction, exercises, massage, and lifestyle adjustments. The intervention group (37 patients) received this perioperative educational program over 12 months, while 27 patients in the control group received written information about shoulder exercise from on-site staff only before surgery. Primary outcomes were shoulder range of motion (ROM), arm girth, and grip strength. Secondary outcomes were evaluated with the Subjective Perception of Post-Operative Functional Impairment of the Arm (SPOFIA) scores, the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) scores, and the Medical Outcome Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey v2 (SF-36v2). The SF-36v2 measures health-related quality of life (QOL). Primary and secondary outcomes were compared between groups at 1 week (after drainage tube removal) and 12 months after surgery, using the Mann-Whitney U test. The horizontal extension was significantly improved only in the intervention group. Moreover, the SPOFIA score was significantly improved in the intervention group, and other scores of the secondary outcomes were similar between the two groups. The perioperative educational program may improve postoperative upper arm dysfunction and symptoms.
Pneumonia is the third largest cause of death in Japan. Chest physicians have been struggling to improve the outcome of pneumonia treatment in acute care settings. However, a poor long-term prognosis after pneumonia has not been well recognized. Furthermore, the factors related to the poor prognosis, especially the possible involvement of senescence-related disability, have not been identified. In this study, long-term outcomes after discharge from hospital were retrospectively analyzed to identify factors related to the poor long-term prognosis. Outcomes of 958 pneumonia patients who were discharged from South Miyagi Medical Center (Miyagi, Japan) from June 1, 2008 to March 31, 2014 were determined through patient surveys or medical record reviews on September 26, 2014. Survival curves were constructed and compared according to various factors. Multivariate analysis revealed that all levels of decrease in physical activity, an age of 80 years old or more, the most severe status in Japanese Respiratory Society pneumonia severity grading system, the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and comorbid malignancy significantly reduced long-term survival. The effects of dementia, neuromuscular disease, heart disease, and nursing care residency on long-term survival were detected only with univariate analysis. Physical activity influenced the acute-phase and the long-term prognosis of pneumonia. This report provides information to assist physicians in giving better suggestions to disabled older patients when choosing pneumonia treatment options. In conclusion, we propose that death related to pneumonia can be prevented in the same way as non-communicable diseases by improving physical activity.
Falling is a leading cause of severe injuries among the elderly, such as hip fracture. This study examined the regional and sex differences in fall-related physical fitness of the elderly between Seoul, Korea and Gifu, Japan. The study included 87 elderly residents of Seoul (mean age 75.4 years; 21 males and 66 females) and 91 elderly residents of Gifu (mean age 71.9 years; 17 males and 74 females). The participants underwent various physical tests, and two-way ANCOVA (region × sex) with age as a covariate was used for statistical analysis. Significant interaction was shown by the one-legged stance (OLS) with eyes open test, which was higher in elderly females from Gifu than in those from Seoul. Significant main effects for the region were shown by the 30-s chair stand (CS-30) and reaction time tests, wherein the Gifu group performed better than the Seoul group. Significant main effects for sex were shown by the sit and reach, handgrip strength, and knee extension strength tests, which were higher for females in the sit and reach test and lower for females in the handgrip and knee extension strength tests compared to the corresponding males in both the cases. Lastly, elderly from Gifu performed better than those from Seoul in the reaction time, CS-30, and OLS tests. Since the ability to move quickly and maintain balance to avoid falling are factors necessary for reducing fall risk, fall prevention classes and exercise programs are required to improve these abilities in the elderly.
The choroid plexus (CP) performs multiple functions such as secretion and reabsorption. CP also acts as the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier. Prolidase plays an important role in collagen metabolism by degrading imidodipeptides, in which proline or hydroxyproline residue is located at the C-terminal end. Serum prolidase activity (SPA) may reflect the degree of fibrosis and inflammation. Choroid plexus calcification (CPC) is considered as the physiological calcification of the brain, and CPC is diagnosed by the presence of calcification in the anatomical region on computed tomography (CT). Here, CPC and non-calcified CP were defined by Hounsfield Units (HU) values of > 150 and < 50, respectively. We aimed to measure SPA in subjects with CPC and those with non-calcified CP. This study included 89 subjects who were admitted to the neurology clinic and underwent CT: 44 subjects with CPC and 45 subjects with non-calcified CP. The neurological examination of all subjects was normal; namely, the subjects with CPC were asymptomatic. The SPA level was significantly higher in the CPC group than that in the non-calcified CP group (p < 0.002), and there was a significant positive correlation between vitamin D and SPA levels in the CPC group. In contrast, the vitamin D and parathyroid hormone levels were higher in the CPC group, but the difference was not statically significant (p > 0.05). These findings indicate that SPA is a biomarker for CPC that may be predictive of future brain disease.
Multiple pregnancies (twin, triplet, and higher-order pregnancy) are associated with an increased risk of resultant preterm and low birth weight infants. The increase of multiple pregnancies for several decades in Japan has been an important consideration in bed allocation planning for neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The guideline of the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (JSOG) in 2008 recommended that embryo transfer be limited to one. The epidemiological data of Japanese regional multiple pregnancies before the JSOG recommendation are valuable in assessing the perinatal effects after this recommendation. The aim of this study was to investigate regional backgrounds of multiple pregnancies and neonatal outcomes of multiple births including NICU admission before the JSOG recommendation. This is a retrospective population-based study for 20 months (January, 2007 through August, 2008) in Shiga Prefecture, Japan. Sending questionnaires to institutions treating multiple births in Shiga, we extracted relevant data from the responses of respective obstetricians and neonatologists. There were 245 multiple births including 241 twins and 4 triplets. We found more twin deliveries with higher risks such as monochorionic diamniotic twins or preterm twins less than 34 weeks in hospitals including perinatal centers than in primary obstetrics clinics. More than half of multiple-birth infants (57%) required NICU admission, and nearly 20% of NICU beds in Shiga are occupied with multiple-birth infants. Furthermore, half of multiple-birth infants were conceived with medical assistance. We conclude that multiple pregnancies resulting from medically assisted conception could have a significant impact upon the NICU bed occupancy in Japan.