The number of surgeons is decreasing in Japan. We investigated the trend and factors influencing surgeons’ selection of and retention in surgical specialty. In 2016, we obtained data of biennial surveys conducted by the government, and analyzed the annual data of doctors up to the latest available survey at that time (survey, 1994-2014; medical license acquisition, 1993-2014). The rate of selecting surgery by male and female doctors during early career (first three surveys after acquiring medical license) decreased from 28.1% in 1994 to 21.3% in 2010 (first to nineth survey). Female surgeons increased from 7.8% in 1993 to 12.4% in 2003, but decreased from 12.5% in 2006 to 10.7% in 2010. Total number of surgeons declined throughout the period. In females, the rate of selecting surgery tended to increase at the beginning of the new training system in 2004, but declined slightly thereafter. The retention rate in those who selected surgery at least once by the third survey (1998) after acquiring medical license in 1993 showed a downward trend. The retention rate in females declined continuously to 48.4% in 2002, stabilized thereafter, and then increased from 47.6% in 2006 to 50.8% in 2014. The retention rate after 10 years (1993-2003) was almost stable (72.4%) in males, but increased to 57.5% in females, and the gender difference tended to decrease. Younger doctors tend to value their private life, and may not choose or continue to practice surgery unless working conditions in surgery improve and income is commensurate with their work.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a global public health concern that can be classified as mild, moderate, severe, or critical, based on disease severity. Since the identification of critical patients is crucial for developing effective management strategies, we evaluated clinical characteristics, laboratory data, treatment provided, and oxygenation to identify potential predictors of mortality among critical COVID-19 pneumonia patients. We retrospectively utilized data from seven critical patients who were admitted to our hospital during April 2020 and required mechanical ventilation. The primary endpoint was to clarify potential predictor of mortality. All patients were older than 70 years, five were men, six had hypertension, and three ultimately died. Compared with survivors, non-survivors tended to be never smokers (0 pack-years vs. 30 pack-years, p = 0.08), to have higher body mass index (31.3 kg/m2 vs. 25.3 kg/m2, p = 0.06), to require earlier tracheal intubation after symptom onset (2.7 days vs. 5.5 days, p = 0.07), and had fewer lymphocytes on admission (339 /μL vs. 518 /μL, p = 0.05). During the first week after tracheal intubation, non-survivors displayed lower values for minimum ratio of the partial pressure of oxygen to fractional inspiratory oxygen concentration (P/F ratio) (44 mmHg vs. 122 mmHg, p < 0.01) and poor response to intensive therapy compared with survivors. In summary, we show that obesity and lymphopenia could predict the severity of COVID-19 pneumonia and that the trend of lower P/F ratio during the first week of mechanical ventilation could provide useful prognostic information.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is associated with various symptoms and changes in hematological and biochemical variables. However, clinical features, which can differentiate COVID-19 from non-COVID-19, are not clear. We therefore examined the key clinical features of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients. This study included 60 COVID-19 patients and 100 non-COVID-19 patients, diagnosed by PCR, and no significant differences in the age and sex were seen between the two groups. The frequencies of fatigue, loose stool, diarrhea, nasal obstruction, olfactory dysfunction, taste dysfunction, underlying hyperlipidemia, and the prescription of angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) were significantly higher in COVID-19 patients than those in non-COVID-19 patients. The counts of leucocytes, neutrophils, lymphocytes, eosinophils, monocytes, and basophils and the levels of chloride and calcium in blood of COVID-19 patients were significantly lower than those of non-COVID-19 patients. The frequencies of atypical lymphocytes and the levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and potassium were significantly higher in COVID-19 than those in non-COVID-19. The C-reactive protein (CRP) level in COVID-19 patients was significantly lower than that in non-COVID-19 patients, when we compared CRP levels among patients with elevated CRP. This study is the first to indicate that electrolyte levels and the frequency of atypical lymphocytes in COVID-19 are significantly different from those in non-COVID-19. Fatigue, loose stool, diarrhea, nasal obstruction, olfactory dysfunction, and taste dysfunction were the key symptoms of COVID-19. Furthermore, hyperlipidemia and ARB may be risk factors of COVID-19. In conclusion, leucocytes, leucocyte fractions, CRP, LDH, and electrolytes are useful indicators for COVID-19 diagnosis.
Joso City, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan was severely affected by flooding of the River Kinugawa in September 2015. Local psychiatric organizations immediately began providing disaster mental health services (DMHS). In post-disaster settings, DMHS involving organizational interventions by multiple regional institutions are required to support disaster victims. However, little is known about the process of coordinating multiple institutions or determining whether appropriate support has been provided. To elucidate the characteristics of communications that enable effective disaster medical team formation, we conducted network analyses of sender-recipient pairs of emails during the period of DMHS activity. The network analysis is a research method that represents various objects as a network of nodes and edges and explores their structural characteristics. We obtained 2,450 time-series emails from five core members of DMHS, including 32,865 pairs of senders and recipients. The network generated by the emails was scale-free, and its structure changed according to the phases of disaster recovery. In the ultra-acute phase, which lasted about 1 week, spreading information and recruiting people to provide disaster support was given the highest priority. In the acute phase, which lasted about 1 month, support and swift decision-making were essential for directing large numbers of staff. In the mid- to long-term phase, support for staff to share information and experience in small groups was observed. Network analyses have revealed that disaster medical teams must change their communication styles during the mission to adapt to different health needs corresponding to each post-disaster phase.
The reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is currently a social problem. Our hospital has established a project team, which consisted of medical staff including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and technicians, to prevent HBV reactivation and subsequent de novo hepatitis B in 2015. To verify the usefulness of the team, we aimed to examine the implementation rate of HBV screening tests in patients with RA in 2011, 2015, and 2018. We also examined the rate of HBV infection, as well as the rate of HBV reactivation during the course. In this study, medical records of patients who visited our hospital in 2011, 2015, and 2018 were retrospectively reviewed. HBV screening was completed when hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), hepatitis B surface antibody (HBsAb), and hepatitis B core antibody (HBcAb) were all examined. The prevalence of patients who completed HBV screening dramatically increased from 2.4% in 2011 to 79.1% in 2015 and 86.9% in 2018. Patients who completed the screening had significantly higher rates of liver dysfunction, methotrexate use, and use of biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs than those who did not. Of the 767 patients who completed HBV screening in 2018, 157 patients (20.5%) had previously resolved HBV infection (HBsAg-negative but HBsAb- and/or HBcAb-positive). During a mean follow-up of 41.0 months, reactivation of HBV was observed in 10 out of the 157 patients (6.4%); however, none developed de novo hepatitis B. In conclusion, our multidisciplinary approach to prevent de novo hepatitis B is considered useful.
Secondary prevention with medications is essential for the better prognosis of patients who have experienced cardiovascular events. We aimed to evaluate the use of guideline-based medications for secondary prevention in older adults in the community settings after discharge following percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). A retrospective cohort study was conducted using anonymized claims data of older beneficiaries in a suburban city of Japan between April 2012 and March 2015. The prescriptions of antiplatelets, statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi)/angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARB), and β-blockers were evaluated for 3 months before and after the month in which the participants underwent PCI. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was conducted to evaluate the associations of age (“pre-old” group [63-72 years] vs. “old” group [≥ 73 years]) and sex with the prescriptions, adjusting for whether a participant was followed-up by the PCI-performing hospital. Of 815 participants, 59.6% constituted the old group and 70.9% were men. The prescription rates for antiplatelets, statins, ACEi/ARB, and β-blockers after discharge were 94.6%, 65.0%, 59.3%, and 32.9%, respectively. The adjusted analysis indicated that statins were less likely to be prescribed for the old group (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.70; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.51-0.95; p = 0.023) and for men (aOR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.45-0.89; p = 0.008). β-blockers were more likely to be prescribed for men (aOR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.17-2.33; p = 0.004). Our results suggest the potential for improvements in secondary prevention by increasing the prescription rates of guideline-based medications in this population.
Membranous nephropathy (MN) is a common glomerular disease that is characterized by diffuse thickening of the glomerular basement membrane, and a common cause of nephrotic syndrome (NS). MN is often accompanied with malignant disease; The solid tumors are commonly associated with MN, whereas hematological malignancies are rarely found in patients with MN. A 68-year-old man with a history of diabetes mellitus visited a hospital with a chief complaint of general fatigue. He was previously not diagnosed with any complications of diabetes. Computed tomography revealed a pancreatic tumor, and the pathological findings of the biopsied tumor revealed the tumor was diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Concurrently, he developed severe proteinuria, hypoalbuminemia, systemic edema and hyperlipidemia, consistent with the diagnosis of NS. The biopsied renal specimen revealed minute spike lesions of glomerular basement membrane, and abnormal lymphocytes infiltrated in the kidney interstitially. Anti-glomerular basement membrane antibody, proteinase-3-/myeloperoxidase antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody and hepatitis B antigenemia, are absent in the patient. Serum anti-phospholipase A2 receptor (PLA2R) antibody (marker for primary MN) was not detected. A diagnosis of secondary MN induced by DLBCL was made. He received rituximab containing chemotherapy for DLBCL, resulting in amelioration of both DLBCL and MN. We report the rare case of a patient co-existing NS and DLBCL. DLBCL might be pathogenesis of NS; the findings are supported by the presence of MN, an underlying malignancy (DLBCL), and the lack of anti-PLA2R antibodies. Although further investigation is warranted, our case suggests that DLBCL is a possible cause of secondary MN.
The double burden of malnutrition is the coexistence of two different conditions, mainly reflected as excess or deficit in weight. Anemia is a specific nutritional deficit not always included in the double burden assessment. We reviewed overweight and/or obesity (OW/OB) and anemia studies from Latin-American Children over the last ten years up to 2019. Two authors evaluated the MEDLINE, SCOPUS, and LILACS databases. A scale of ten questions was used to assess the risk of bias in prevalence studies. Fourteen studies were selected. The population studies’ size ranged from 147 to 20,342 children with different socio-economic backgrounds, such as urban, peri-urban and rural settings, socio-economic status, schooling, population (ethnic minorities and indigenous), and environmental differences (sea level or high altitude). The prevalence of OW/OB ranged from 4.9% to 42%. The prevalence of anemia was from 3.4% to 67%. The double burden, including OW/OB and anemia, ranged from 0.7% to 67%. A higher prevalence of excess weight and anemia was found in rural and high altitude above sea level environments, extreme poverty, low education level, and indigenous communities. These heterogeneous data, before the 2020 (COVID-19 pandemic), reflect the vast inequities between countries and within each country. Food insecurity linked to poverty and the induced change in eating habits and lifestyles threaten optimal child nutrition in ongoing and future scenarios. The existence of OW/OB and anemia and their simultaneous coexistence in the community, home, and individual levels, indicates that interventions should be comprehensive to face the double burden of malnutrition.
Editor’s picks: Invited Review for the 100th Anniversary of the TJEM
Hyperarousal, defined as increased levels of cortical activity and cognitive-emotional reactivity induced by stress, is suggested to be a key factor in insomnia. In particularly, pre-sleep arousal constitutes one of the major features of insomnia. The Pre-Sleep Arousal Scale is the best-known measure used to evaluate pre-sleep arousal. However, a well-validated Japanese version of the scale (PSAS-J) has not yet been established. The aim of this research was to develop and validate such a scale. A cross-sectional questionnaire-based study was conducted via the internet. In total, 237 of 300 participants (mean age 43.28 ± 11.19 years) completely responded to the questionnaires as followed: the PSAS-J, the Insomnia Severity Index, Ford Insomnia Response to Stress Test, and Dysfunctional Beliefs and Attitudes about Sleep Scale. In addition, the participants were divided into two groups: insomniacs and normal sleepers. As a result, the PSAS-J had a two-factor structure similar to that of the original version, i.e., somatic and cognitive arousal subscales. The internal consistency (α = 0.85 to 0.90) and test-retest reliability (r = 0.67 to 0.78) were high. Correlations between the PSAS-J and the above-mentioned scales ranged from 0.35 to 0.53. Discriminant validity showed that the PSAS-J was distinct from the Ford Insomnia Response to Stress Test and Dysfunctional Beliefs and Attitudes about Sleep Scale. The PSAS-J scores were significantly higher in insomniacs than in normal sleepers. Our results suggest that the PSAS-J has high reliability and validity and that this scale is adequate for assessing pre-sleep arousal.
Clozapine (CLZ), an antipsychotic with a unique mechanism of action, is known to be superior to any other antipsychotic for schizophrenia. However, CLZ is also known to be associated with the development of lethal side effects, which include agranulocytosis and glucose intolerance (GI). Regular measurement and registration of blood test results have been mandatory for all CLZ users; however, these risks may still prevent therapists from prescribing CLZ. While CLZ-induced agranulocytosis has been well documented, CLZ-induced GI in the real world has not been fully investigated. Therefore, in this study, we used data registered in monitoring systems to investigate background factors associated with new-onset GI after CLZ administration and changes in HbA1c levels during CLZ treatment. Data of all patients with schizophrenia who were using CLZ from July 29, 2009 to January 20, 2016 were used for the analysis. Of the 3,746 patients enrolled in the study, 92 (2.5%) had GI at baseline; of the remaining 3,654 patients, 428 (11.7%) developed new-onset GI. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that the development of new-onset GI was significantly associated with older age, higher baseline HbA1c levels, and longer treatment duration. In patients with GI at baseline, HbA1c levels were maintained or improved over 18 months, while in the other patients, CLZ administration gradually elevated HbA1c levels. The findings of this study suggest that, although adequate monitoring and intervention is required, CLZ induction and maintenance therapy may be safe, even for patients with impaired glucose tolerance.