During a disaster, all hospitals are expected to function as “social critical institutions” that protect the lives and health of people. In recent disasters, numerous hospitals were damaged, and this hampered the recovery of the affected communities. Had these hospitals business continuity plans (BCPs) to recover quickly after the disaster, most of the damage could have been avoided. This study conducted a scoping review of the historical trend and regional differences in hospital BCPs to validate the improvement of the BCP concept based on our own experience at Tohoku University Hospital, which was affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (GEJET). We searched PubMed by using keywords related to BCP and adapted 97 articles for our analysis. The number of articles on hospital BCPs has increased in the 2000s, especially after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. While there are regional specificity of hazards, there were many common topics and visions for BCP implementation, education, and drills. From our 2011 GEJET experience, we found that BCPs assuming region-specific disasters are applicable in various types of disasters. Thus, we suggest the following integral and universal components for hospital BCPs: (1) alternative methods and resources, (2) priority of operation, and (3) resource management. Even if the type and extent of disasters vary, the development of BCPs and business continuity management strategies that utilize the abovementioned integral components can help a hospital survive disasters in the future.
Invited Review for the 100th Anniversary of the TJEM
Immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4)-related disease (IgG4-RD) is distinguished by the infiltration of IgG4-positive plasma cells in a variety of tissues and organs including the pancreas, salivary glands, retroperitoneal lesions, kidney, and lymph nodes with elevated serum IgG4 levels. Even so, central nervous system (CNS) lesions such as brain parenchymal lesions associated with IgG4-RD are scarce. So far, only six cases of IgG4-RD in relation with brain parenchymal lesions have been described, with its characteristics still being not clear. Here we have detailed a case of IgG4-RD with brain parenchymal lesions and reviewed previously-reported cases of IgG4-RD with brain parenchymal lesions. A 62-year-old Japanese male suffering from lung silicosis was admitted to our hospital for abdominal discomfort and altered consciousness. He has shown no major neurologic abnormalities except for drowsiness, urinary retention, and fecal incontinence. Brain magnetic resonance imaging has shown scattered hyperintense signals in the brain parenchyma. The serum IgG4 levels were elevated and systemic lymph nodes were enlarged. Biopsy from inguinal lymph nodes has shown massive infiltration of IgG4-positive plasma cells: the ratio of IgG4-positive/IgG-positive plasma cells was nearly 100%. Based on clinical courses, images, laboratory data, and pathological findings, a diagnosis of IgG4-RD that was complicated by brain parenchymal lesions and sacral nerve disturbance was confirmed. The patient was then given methylprednisolone pulse therapy (1g for 3 days) succeeding oral prednisolone (1 mg per body weight). The clinical and radiological improvements together with steroid therapy proposed IgG4-RD to be the cause of the lesions.
Natural disasters, including earthquakes, cause disaster-associated direct deaths due to hazards and disaster-related deaths. This study was a retrospective and observational study that explored the effect of natural disasters on direct death. Although research reports on disaster-related deaths are common, there are few reports of disaster-associated direct death caused by events, such as house collapses, fires, and sediment-related factors. The amendment of the Building Standards Law in 1981 has made Japanese building standards more stringent. We sought to examine the determinants of the number of disaster-associated direct deaths during recent inland earthquakes in Japan. Following 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes (April 14, 21:26 [magnitude (M) 6.5], April 15, 0:03 [M 6.4], and April 16, 1:25 [M 7.3] and the subsequent numerous aftershocks), police necropsies confirmed 50 disaster-associated direct deaths (28 women [56%]). Thirty-four victims (68%) were elderly people 65 years of age or older, and 38 victims (76%) died as a result of a collapsed house. These percentages are consistent with those associated with recent inland earthquake disasters in Japan. The main finding was a linear correlation between the number of completely collapsed houses and the number of deaths due to house collapse during recent inland earthquakes in Japan (P = 0.02). It is suggested that the maintenance of houses may be important in reducing the number of disaster-associated direct deaths during inland earthquakes. The amendment of the Building Standards Law might reduce the number of disaster-associated direct deaths during inland earthquakes.
The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is now officially declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), and most parts of the world are taking drastic measures to restrict human movements to contain the infection. Millions around the world are wondering, if there is anything that could be done, other than maintaining high personal hygiene, and be vigilant of the symptoms, to reduce the spread of the disease and chances of getting infected, or at least to lessen the burden of the disease, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The National and International health agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the WHO have provided clear guidelines for both preventive and treatment suggestions. In this article, I will briefly discuss, why keeping adequate zinc balance might enhance the host response and be protective of viral infections.
Prior studies have shown an association between the incidence of diabetes with liver enzymes, such as alanine transaminase (ALT). Liver fibrosis scores, such as the Fibrosis-4 index which indicates chronic liver damage, were also associated with diabetes development. However, no literature compared predictive accuracy between ALT and Fibrosis-4 index. Thus, we aimed to determine it, and to assess its association using inverse probability of treatment weighting. This was a non-concurrent prospective cohort study of 9,748 subjects without diabetes receiving Yuport Health Checkup in Japan between 1998 and 2006. ALT was categorized into three groups: the highest ALT group (men ≥ 30 U/L and women ≥ 20 U/L), the middle (men ≥ 20 and < 30 U/L, and women ≥ 14 and < 20 U/L), and the lowest (men < 20 U/L and women < 14 U/L). The primary outcome was the new onset of diabetes. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUC) of ALT for predicting the diabetes development was higher than that of any other markers of liver damage. The AUC for ALT was 0.71, while that for the Fibrosis-4 index was 0.51 (p < 0.001 for the difference between the AUCs). The highest and middle ALT groups had a significantly higher incidence of diabetes than the lowest group: adjusted relative risk 1.79 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.29, 2.58], and 1.64 [95% CI: 1.17, 2.38] respectively. Of the various indicators of liver function, ALT is likely to be the most accurate and associated predictor of diabetes development.
Approximately 90% of low back pain (LBP) diagnoses are non-specific (NSLBP; i.e. with unknown cause). In NSLBP patients, the hamstrings, iliopsoas, piriformis, and tensor fasciae latae are overactive due to weak hip abductor, extensor, and core muscles. Core stability is essential for proper load balance within the pelvis, spine, and kinetic chain, and core stability exercise (CSE) is an exercise treatment regimen for LBP conditions. We investigated how core stability and hip muscle stretching exercises affected NSLBP patients’ physical function and activity. Patients were randomly allocated to three groups. The Stretch group (n = 24) performed exercises for hip muscle stretching for maximal motion; the Strengthen group (n = 22) performed exercises for hip muscle strengthening while maintaining the maximal isometric contraction. The Sham group (n = 20) received gentle palpation of the skin. Therapy was conducted thrice weekly for 6 weeks. Pain intensity, lower back instability, and hip muscle flexibility were measured to assess physical function. Disability level, balance ability, and quality of life were measured to assess physical activity. Data were collected prior to intervention and at 6-week follow-up. There were significant within-group changes for all measurements (P < 0.05). The Stretch and Strengthen groups had greater improvements in pain intensity, disability level, balance ability, and quality of life than the Sham group. Lower back instability and hip muscle flexibility had the greatest improvement in the Stretch group. In conclusion, CSE and hip muscle stretching are effective at improving physical function and activity in NSLBP patients.
In 2011, Minamisanriku Town lost all of its medical facilities during the Great East Japan Earthquake. Using 10,459 anonymized disaster medical records of affected people in Minamisanriku Town, we assessed the prevalence and risk factors of sleep disturbance, which is known to exacerbate non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and anxiety disorder. Because sleep disturbance is a part of mental health issues, we divided the patients into two groups: patients (n = 492) with mental health issues other than sleep disturbance and the remaining (n = 9,967) with other comorbidities. Out of 492 patients with mental health issues, 295 patients (60.0%, 114 male, 158 female and 23 unknown) had sleep disturbance who might have required specific treatments. Out of the remaining 9,967 patients, 1,203 patients (12.1%, 361 male and 769 female and 73 unknown) had sleep disturbance. Univariate and multivariate analyses of the 9,967 patients revealed that the odds ratio (OR) of sleep disturbance was higher for female (OR 1.95), elderly persons over 60 (OR 16.15) and residing in evacuation centers (OR 1.36). Patients with two or more NCD had higher risk (OR 1.42). Importantly, sleep disturbance affects younger patients without NCD residing in evacuation center. Emergency medical teams most frequently prescribed benzodiazepines both for sleep induction and anxiolysis. In addition to high risk groups (female, older, with other mental health issues, residing in evacuation center), it is important to survey sleep disturbance in younger and healthier populations especially in evacuation centers and to provide psychosocial and medical support for them.
Poor accessibility to physicians might be linked to the inadequate control of cardiovascular risk factors. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the accessibility of primary care physicians was related to a lower incidence of ischemic heart disease and stroke mortality via ecological data analyses of both primary care facility density and internal physician density. The unit of observation was the Japanese secondary medical service area, the basic unit for healthcare planning and administration. A primary care facility was defined as a clinic or medical institution with less than 200 inpatient beds, whose specialty included internal medicine. The number of primary care facilities per 10,000 population and the number of internal physicians per 10,000 population were used as explanatory variables. Bayesian hierarchical models were used to analyze the relative risks (RR) of primary care facility density and internal physician density using the socioeconomic confounders of designated emergency hospitals, natural log-transformed population density, birth rate, secondary and tertiary industrial workers, and taxable income. In multivariate models for ischemic heart disease mortality, primary care facility density was significantly related to the total population (RR = 0.986, 95% credible interval [CrI]: 0.979-0.993), men (RR = 0.988, 95% CrI: 0.981-0.996), and women (RR = 0.986, 95% CrI: 0.979-0.993). No significant results were obtained for internal physician density. In the multivariate models for stroke mortality, neither primary care facility density nor internal physician density showed any significant effects. Increasing primary care facility density may reduce ischemic heart disease mortality.
For increasing medical care demand by aging population, the Japanese government is shifting to home medical care for treatments that do not necessarily require hospitalization. It is therefore essential to identify factors involved in improving the quality and outcomes of home medical care. This study examined the effect of hospital discharge support in long-term care wards on readmission rates. We used medical insurance and the Long-Term Care Insurance data of patients aged ≥ 65. Participants were patients who discharged between April 2012 and March 2016 from long-term care wards that did not require 24-hour monitoring and had no specific incurable diseases. Participants were divided into two groups according to hospital discharge support, defined by medical fee incentives for discharge planning and coordination of medical and nursing services after discharge. We explored the association between hospital discharge support and risk-adjusted readmission based on patient characteristics for one year beginning the month after patient discharge. This study involved a total of 10,998 patients: 2,563 patients with hospital discharge support and 8,435 patients without relevant support. In the group with hospital discharge support, there was a significant reduction in readmission rates. When examined by patients’ characteristics, this association was significant in groups with age ≥ 85, care needs levels 1 to 2 (conditions requiring partial care for daily living), dementia or fracture. Our results suggest that hospital discharge support by medical and nursing care workers is effective in reducing readmission rates. Moreover, patients’ age, care needs, and underlying disease should be considered.
As the number of women who postpone their first pregnancy until their late 30s or early 40s is increasing, adenomyosis is more frequently encountered by obstetricians. Some studies have reported on the relationship between adenomyosis and pregnancy complications. We aimed to investigate the effect of adenomyosis on pregnancy complications and outcomes and associations between adenomyosis type and pregnancy outcomes. This multicenter retrospective 1:4 case-control study included 61 women with singleton pregnancies diagnosed with adenomyosis. The control group included women with singleton pregnancies without adenomyosis; these women were matched to those with adenomyosis using propensity scores. The incidence of obstetric complications, delivery, and neonatal outcomes were compared. The adenomyosis group (n = 61) had significantly higher incidence of preterm delivery (21.3% vs. 9.4%), hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (13.1% vs. 5.3%), cesarean delivery (46.0% vs. 20.9%), and postpartum hemorrhage (57.3% vs. 36.8%) than the control group (n = 244). Subgroup analysis by the adenomyosis type revealed that the diffuse adenomyosis group (n = 41) was significantly more likely to experience preterm labor (29.3% vs. 7.3%), hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (17.0% vs. 5.5%), severe hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (12.2% vs. 1.8%), preterm premature rupture of membranes (12.2% vs. 2.4%), cesarean delivery (61.3% vs. 18.9%), and postpartum hemorrhage (70.7% vs. 44.5%) than the control group (n = 164). The focal adenomyosis (n = 20) group was not statistically different from the control group (n = 80) with respect to obstetric complications. Women with diffuse adenomyosis require more careful perinatal management than previously thought.