Publications by authors named "Taro Yamamoto"

81 Publications

Behavioural responses and anxiety symptoms during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in Japan: A large scale cross-sectional study.

J Psychiatr Res 2021 04 13;136:296-305. Epub 2021 Feb 13.

Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, School of Public Health, Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, 350122, Fujian Province, China; Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence-Based Practice, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, 50603, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Electronic address:

Background: This study explored the behavioural responses and anxiety symptoms of the general adult population in Japan during the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

Methods: A web-based cross-sectional survey was conducted between 12th and May 13, 2020. Quota sampling was used to attain equal gender and age distributions representative of the Japanese population.

Results: A total of 4127 complete responses were analysed. Higher educational level (B = 0.045, p = 0.002) and household income (B = 0.04, p = 0.009) were associated with a higher increase in preventive measures when comparing before and after the state of emergency was declared. The highest reported social anxiety was a feeling of fear (65.6%), followed by embarrassment (43.8%), keeping infection a secret (41.3%), avoidance (41.3%), and stigma (25.5%). A total of 86.1% of the respondents reported moderate to severe anxiety. The partial least square-based structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) revealed that being female has the greatest effect (B = 0.246, p < 0.0001) on higher current preventive measures, followed by social anxiety (B = 0.119; p = 0.001) and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory scores (B = 0.153; p < 0.001). Perceived susceptibility (B = 0.033, p = 0.020), knowing someone who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (B = 0.097, p < 0.001), higher income (B = 0.079, p < 0.001) and educational level (B = 0.045; p = 0.004) all had a small but significant effect on influencing levels of preventive measures.

Conclusions: A moderate level of preventive practices found in this study indicates the need to encourage behavioural change to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The provision of mental health services is warranted as anxiety symptoms are prevalent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2021.02.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7880847PMC
April 2021

Unique hemoglobin dynamics in female Tibetan highlanders.

Trop Med Health 2021 Jan 4;49(1). Epub 2021 Jan 4.

Department of International Health and Medical Anthropology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, 1-12-4 Sakamoto, Nagasaki, 852-8523, Japan.

Background: Tibetan highlanders have adapted to hypoxic environments through the development of unique mechanisms that suppress an increase in hemoglobin (Hb) concentration even in high-altitude areas. Hb concentrations generally decrease with increasing age. However, in the highlands, chronic altitude sickness is known to occur in the elderly population. To investigate how aging in a hypoxic environment affects Hb levels in Tibetan highlanders, we focused on the Mustang people, who live above 3500 m. We tried to clarify the pure relationship between aging and Hb levels in a hypoxic environment.

Results: We found that the Hb concentration increased with increasing age in females but not in males. Multivariate analysis showed that age, pulse pressure, the poverty index, and vascular diameter were strongly correlated with the Hb concentration.

Conclusions: We found unique Hb dynamics among female Tibetan highlanders. As seen in these Hb dynamics, there may be sex-based differences in the adaptive mechanism in Tibetan highlanders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s41182-020-00289-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7780399PMC
January 2021

Antenatal Care Visits and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes at a Hospital in Rural Western Province, Rwanda.

Acta Med Okayama 2020 Dec;74(6):495-503

Department of International Health and Medical Anthropology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University.

In many economically developing countries, and especially in the rural regions of sub-Saharan African coun-tries, there have been only limited investigations into the association between antenatal care (ANC) and adverse pregnancy outcomes. We obtained information on ANC and pregnancy outcomes between 2011 and 2016 from hospital files of pregnant women (n = 4,960) served at a rural hospital in Rwanda, and we examined the associa-tions between their ANC visits and the adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes by using univariate and mul-tivariate logistic regression models to estimate the odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Most of the pregnant women had ≥ 4 ANC visits, but 39% (n = 1,911) did not have ≥ 3 visits before delivery. The prev-alence of low birth weight (LBW) and that of preterm birth (PTB) were 12% and 9.9%, respectively. Compared to the women who attended only one ANC visit, those who attended ≥ 4 ANC visits had lower risks of LBW (OR 0.20; 95%CI: 0.11-0.36) and PTB (OR 0.28; 95%CI: 0.11-0.76). Frequent ANC visits were also associ-ated with better postnatal outcomes of the newborns. Encouraging women to attend ANC visits before delivery can markedly reduce PTB-related and LBW-related complications, especially in resource-limited settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18926/AMO/61209DOI Listing
December 2020

The use of traditional medicines among mycetoma patients.

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 2021 Apr;115(4):297-306

Mycetoma Research Center, University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan.

Background: Mycetoma patients frequently present with advanced disease, the cause of which is multi-factorial, but the use of traditional medicine modalities has been shown to be an important one. Traditional medicine is an integral part of the Sudanese culture and many mycetoma patients revert to it because it is accessible, cheap and available.

Methods: To confirm this anecdotal observation, the pattern and characteristics of traditional medicine use among a group of mycetoma patients seen at the Mycetoma Research Center in Khartoum, Sudan, were studied.

Results: In this descriptive, cross-sectional, hospital-based study, 389 mycetoma-confirmed patients were included. All of them had used traditional medicine at some stage of their mycetoma treatment. Among them, 66% had first consulted traditional healers for mycetoma treatment. In this study, 58% had consulted religious healers known as fakis, while the majority (72%) of those who consulted specialist healers had consulted herbalists. The most frequent type of traditional medicine received by patients from religious healers was al-azima (31%) and the most common treatment given by the specialist healers was herbal medicine (46%).

Conclusion: Traditional medicine can lead to a delay in seeking medical care and serious complications. Collaboration with traditional healers, and training and educating them to refer mycetoma patients to specialised centres is vital to ensure that they receive proper treatment in a timely and efficient manner.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/trstmh/traa135DOI Listing
April 2021

Telomere shortening as a stress-related biomarker in children exposed to maternal chronic stress in utero measured 7 years after the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Psychiatry Res 2021 Jan 11;295:113565. Epub 2020 Nov 11.

Department of International Health and Medical Anthropology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan.

Seven years after the Great East Japan Earthquake, we investigated telomeres as a potential biomarker of maternal chronic stress in children according to the timing of exposure to the disaster. The subjects were children aged 5-9 years living in Rikuzentakata, Japan. Relative telomere length (rTL) was measured with PCR in saliva samples. The partial regression coefficient of the rTL was significantly shorter in the group of children conceived after the disaster than in the children who were in utero on the day of the disaster. Telomere length should be investigated as a biomarker for assessing disaster-related trauma in future studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113565DOI Listing
January 2021

Implications of human activities for (re)emerging infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

J Physiol Anthropol 2020 Sep 25;39(1):29. Epub 2020 Sep 25.

Department of International Health and Medical Anthropology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, 1-12-4 Sakamoto, Nagasaki, 852-8523, Japan.

Since 1980, the world has been threatened by different waves of emerging disease epidemics. In the twenty-first century, these diseases have become an increasing global concern because of their health and economic impacts in both developed and resource-constrained countries. It is difficult to stop the occurrence of new pathogens in the future due to the interconnection among humans, animals, and the environment. However, it is possible to face a new disease or to reduce the risk of its spread by implementing better early warning systems and effective disease control and prevention, e.g., effective global surveillance, development of technology for better diagnostics, effective treatments, and vaccines, the global political will to respond to any threats and multidisciplinary collaboration involving all sectors in charge of good health maintenance. In this review, we generally describe some factors related to human activities and show how they can play a role in the transmission and spread of infectious diseases by using some diseases as examples. Additionally, we describe and discuss major factors that are facilitating the spread of the new pandemic known as COVID-19 worldwide.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40101-020-00239-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7517057PMC
September 2020

Chronic stress and age-related pattern of blood pressure: A cross-sectional study in rural China.

Am J Hum Biol 2021 01 22;33(1):e23449. Epub 2020 Jun 22.

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Objective: Chronic stress is a risk factor for hypertension in adults. However, there is conflicting evidence for older adults. We hypothesized that age-related arterial stiffening, which leads to a lower blood pressure (especially diastolic blood pressure [DBP]), is more pronounced among older adults with high vs low stress. The objectives of this study were (a) to investigate age-related trends in systolic and DBPs among adults in rural Fujian, China, and (b) to examine differences in age-related blood pressure trends according to levels of stress by using Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibody titer as a marker of chronic stress status.

Methods: We collected cross-sectional data from 764 rural community-dwelling adults in rural Fujian, China (mean age = 59.4). Participants were categorized into high and low stress groups by median split of EBV antibody titer. A least-squares regression analysis was used to investigate the association between age and blood pressures.

Results: We observed an inverted U-shaped association between age and DBP, while there was a linear association between age and systolic blood pressure in the overall sample. When stratified by stress, the inverted U-shaped associations with age (both systolic and DBPs) were seen only among those with high stress; DBP peaked at the age of ~68 years, and the declining trend later in life was more clearly observed among those with high chronic stress.

Discussion: Decrease of DBP was more pronounced among older adults with high vs low chronic stress in rural China.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.23449DOI Listing
January 2021

Deep sequence analysis of NS5A resistance-associated substitution changes in patients reinfected with the hepatitis C virus after liver transplantation.

J Viral Hepat 2020 05 15;27(5):552-555. Epub 2020 Jan 15.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki, Japan.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jvh.13256DOI Listing
May 2020

The type-reproduction number of sexually transmitted infections through heterosexual and vertical transmission.

Sci Rep 2019 11 22;9(1):17408. Epub 2019 Nov 22.

Department of Mathematical and Systems Engineering, Shizuoka University, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, 432-8561, Japan.

Multiple sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have threatened human health for centuries. Most STIs spread not only through sexual (horizontal) transmission but also through mother-to-child (vertical) transmission. In a previous work (Ito et al. 2019), we studied a simple model including heterosexual and mother-to-child transmission and proposed a formulation of the basic reproduction number over generations. In the present study, we improved the model to take into account some factors neglected in the previous work: adult mortality from infection, infant mortality caused by mother-to-child transmission, infertility or stillbirth caused by infection, and recovery with treatment. We showed that the addition of these factors has no essential effect on the theoretical formulation. To study the characteristics of the epidemic threshold, we derived analytical formulas for three type-reproduction numbers for adult men, adult women and juveniles. Our result indicates that if an efficient vaccine exists for a prevalent STI, vaccination of females is more effective for containment of the STI than vaccination of males, because the type-reproduction number for adult men is larger than that for adult women when they are larger than one.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-53841-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6874657PMC
November 2019

The role of education in the association between self-rated health and levels of C-reactive protein: a cross-sectional study in rural areas of China.

BMJ Open 2019 11 19;9(11):e027659. Epub 2019 Nov 19.

Aging Research Center, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society (NVS), Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

Objectives: This study aims to examine the association between self-rated health (SRH) and levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) among adults aged 45 to 101 years old in rural areas of China, and to explore the role of education in the association.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: The study population was derived from two databases in China: Nanping project (NP) and the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS).

Participants: There were 646 participants from a rural area of Nanping (NP) and 8555 rural participants from a national representative sample of China (CHARLS).

Methods: CRP was measured using a high sensitivity sandwich enzyme immunoassay in the NP and immunoturbidimetric assay in the CHARLS. SRH was assessed by SRH questionnaires and categorised into good and poor. Education was measured by the maximum years of schooling and dichotomised into illiterate and literate. Multivariate linear regression models were used to study the associations.

Results: Compared to people with good SRH, those with poor SRH had higher levels of CRP in NP (β=0.16, 95% CI -0.02 to 0.34) and in CHARLS (β=0.07, 95% CI 0.02 to 0.11) after adjusting for potential confounders. Similar findings were observed in the pooled population (β=0.08, 95% CI 0.03 to 0.12), especially in men (β=0.13, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.20) and in literate people (β=0.12, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.18).

Conclusion: Poor SRH may be a predicator of elevated levels of CRP among middle-aged and older people in rural areas, especially in men and literate people.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-027659DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6887060PMC
November 2019

The association between family members' migration and Epstein-Barr virus antibody titers among people left behind in rural Fujian, China.

Am J Hum Biol 2020 03 10;32(2):e23327. Epub 2019 Sep 10.

Department of Human Ecology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan.

Objectives: In contrast to the health of migrants, which has been extensively studied, little attention has been paid to the health of adults left behind by family members who out-migrated to other locations. This study was performed to investigate the association between being left behind and the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibody titer, which is an indicator of cellular immune functioning previously shown to be associated with psychological stress.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in rural communities in Fujian, China, in 2015. Questionnaire data and dried blood spot samples were collected from 748 adults. A mixed effect regression analysis was conducted to investigate the association.

Results: Results indicated that the EBV antibody titers were higher among people who had been left behind compared with those who had not.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that, in rural Fujian, China, family separation following the out-migration of family members is an important determinant of psychological stress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.23327DOI Listing
March 2020

Is the network of heterosexual contact in Japan scale free?

PLoS One 2019 27;14(8):e0221520. Epub 2019 Aug 27.

Department of Environment and Energy Systems, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Shizuoka University, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan.

Elucidation of the structure of human sexual networks is not only an interesting topic in the area of social networks but also an important clue for understanding the spreading risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Some previous studies have indicated that sexual networks are scale free, while others have suggested that they are not. We conducted a Web-based survey on sexual contact in Japan to collect data on cumulative (total) heterosexual partners and the number of recent (in the last three or previous three months) heterosexual partners. To determine whether the number of heterosexual contacts in Japan has a power-law tail, we used maximum likelihood fitting methods and Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests. For confirmation, we also used the Akaike information criterion (AIC) and the Bayesian information criterion (BIC). Our results indicate that the distributions of the number of sexual partners in Japan have power-law tails.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0221520PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6711537PMC
March 2020

Association between early parental deprivation and cellular immune function among adults in rural Fujian, China.

Dev Psychobiol 2019 11 17;61(7):1094-1099. Epub 2019 Jun 17.

Department of Human Ecology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.

This study investigated the role of childhood parental deprivation in the association between quality of life (QOL) and the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibody titer, a marker of cellular immune functioning, using data from 734 adults living in seven communities in rural Fujian, China. Parental deprivation was defined if either of their parents had died, divorced, or left them for migratory work for more than 1 year before they turned (a) 16 years of age (childhood and adolescence), or (b) 3 years of age (early childhood). A mixed-effects regression analysis with a random effects model revealed that parental deprivation during early childhood was positively associated with the EBV antibody titer (coefficient = 0.33, p = 0.007), whereas parental deprivation during the first 16 years was not. Further analysis incorporating an interaction term between QOL and parental deprivation revealed a significant interaction between QOL and parental deprivation during early childhood; a significant association between QOL and the EBV antibody titer was found only among those who reported parental deprivation during early childhood. This study suggests that parental deprivation during the period of immune system development may be linked with physiological responses to stressors later in life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/dev.21886DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6989117PMC
November 2019

The human cost of global warming: Deadly landslides and their triggers (1995-2014).

Sci Total Environ 2019 Sep 1;682:673-684. Epub 2019 Apr 1.

Department of Geography, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA; Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.

Worldwide, landslides incur catastrophic and significant economic and human losses. Previous studies have characterized the patterns in landslides' fatalities, from all kinds of triggering causes, at a continental or global scale, but they were based on data from periods of <10 years. The research herein presented hypothesizes that climate change associated with extreme rainfall and population distribution is contributing to a higher number of deadly landslides worldwide. This study maps and identified deadly landslides in 128 countries and it encompasses their role, for a 20 years' period from January/1995 to December/2014, considered representative for establishing a relationship between landslides and their meteorological triggers. A database of georeferenced landslides, their date, and casualties' information, duly validated, was implemented. A hot spot analysis for the daily record of landslide locations was performed, as well as a percentile-based approach to evaluate the trend of extreme rainfall events for each occurrence. The relationship between casualty, population distribution, and rainfall was also evaluated. For 20 years, 3876 landslides caused a total of 163,658 deaths and 11,689 injuries globally. They occurred most frequently between June and December in the Northern Hemisphere, and between December and February in the Southern Hemisphere. A significant global rise in the number of deadly landslides and hotspots across the studied period was observed. Analysis of daily rainfall confirmed that more than half of the events were in areas exposed to the risk of extreme rainfall. The relationships established between extreme rainfall, population distribution, seasonality, and landslides provide a useful basis for efforts to model the adverse impacts of extreme rainfall due to climate change and human activities and thus contribute towards a more resilient society.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.03.415DOI Listing
September 2019

Bis(1,4-dihydro-2-methyl-1-phenyl-4-thioxo-3-pyridiolato)zinc(II) exhibits strong cytotoxicity and a high intracellular accumulation in cultured vascular endothelial cells.

J Toxicol Sci 2019 ;44(2):113-120

Department of Environmental Health, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tokyo University of Science.

Although cytotoxicity of inorganic metals has been well investigated, little is known about the cytotoxicity of organic-inorganic hybrid molecules. The cytotoxicity of zinc complexes was evaluated using a culture system of vascular endothelial cells. We found that bis(1,4-dihydro-2-methyl-1-phenyl-4-thioxo-3-pyridiolato)zinc(II), termed Zn-06, exhibited strong cytotoxicity in vascular smooth muscle cells, epithelial cells, fibroblastic cells, and vascular endothelial cells. This study showed that the tetracoordinate structure of the Zn-06 molecule, which contains two sulfur and two oxygen atoms attached to the zinc atom, facilitated its accumulation within vascular endothelial cells whereas the whole structure of the zinc complex was involved in its cytotoxicity in the cells. The present data suggest that a part of the structure, especially the binding site of the metal atom, was responsible for accumulation of zinc complexes, and the entire structure is responsible for their cytotoxicity in vascular endothelial cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2131/jts.44.113DOI Listing
February 2019

Longitudinal genotyping surveillance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in an area with high tuberculosis incidence shows high transmission rate of the modern Beijing subfamily in Japan.

Infect Genet Evol 2019 08 24;72:25-30. Epub 2018 Sep 24.

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki University, 1-12-4 Sakamoto, Nagasaki 852-8523, Japan; Department of International Health, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, 1-12-4 Sakamoto, Nagasaki 852-8523, Japan.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a severe and wide-spread infectious disease worldwide. The modern Beijing subfamily, one lineage of M. tuberculosis, reportedly has high pathogenicity and transmissibility. This study used a molecular epidemiological approach to investigate the transmissibility of the modern Beijing subfamily in the Airin area of Osaka City, Japan. During 2006-2016, we collected 596 M. tuberculosis clinical isolates in the Airin area, Osaka city, Japan. We analyzed the 24-locus variable number of tandem repeats typing optimized for the Beijing family of isolates, M. tuberculosis lineage, and patient epidemiological data. The proportion of the modern Beijing subfamily was significantly higher not only than previously obtained data for the Airin area: it was also higher than the nationwide in Japan. The rate of recent clusters, defined as a variable number of tandem repeats profile identified within two years, of the modern Beijing subfamily was significantly higher than that the rate of recent clusters of the ancient Beijing subfamily. Results suggest that TB control measures formulated with attention to the modern Beijing subfamily might be an important benchmark to understanding recent TB transmission in the area.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.meegid.2018.09.014DOI Listing
August 2019

Mycobacterium caprae Infection in Captive Borneo Elephant, Japan.

Emerg Infect Dis 2018 10;24(10):1937-1940

In 2016, disseminated tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium caprae was diagnosed in a captive Borneo elephant in Japan. The bacterium was initially identified from clinical isolates. An isolate collected during a relapse showed isoniazid monoresistance and a codon 315 katG mutation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2410.180018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6154153PMC
October 2018

Current health status and its risk factors of the Tsarang villagers living at high altitude in the Mustang district of Nepal.

J Physiol Anthropol 2018 Aug 29;37(1):20. Epub 2018 Aug 29.

Department of International Health, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, 1-12-4 Sakamoto, Nagasaki, 852-8523, Japan.

Background: Epidemiology of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as obesity and diabetes mellitus (DM) are influenced by multiple hosts and environmental factors. This study aims to investigate the prevalence of NCDs and determine their risk factors among the adults residing in an isolated village situated at a rural highland of Nepal.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in a village located at 3570 m. Each 188 randomly selected participants of age ≥ 18 years old answered a questionnaire and took a full physical exam that included biomedical measurements of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c).

Results: The prevalence of intermediate hyperglycemia and DM was 31.6% and 4.6% respectively, and the prevalence of hypoxemia (SpO < 90%) was 27.1%. A multiple logistic regression analysis for factors for the prevalence of glucose intolerance (HbA1c ≥ 6%) revealed older age (odds ratio [OR] 1.11, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06-1.16, for every 1 year increase) and SpO (OR for hypoxemia 3.58, 95% CI 1.20-10.68, vs SpO ≥ 90%).

Conclusions: Tibetan highlanders in the remote mountainous Mustang valley of Nepal have high prevalence of impaired glucose metabolism which could be related to hypoxemia imposed by the hypoxic conditions of high altitude living.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40101-018-0181-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6114060PMC
August 2018

Disseminated nontuberculous mycobacterial disease in a cat caused by Mycobacterium sp. strain MFM001.

Vet Microbiol 2018 Jul 19;220:90-96. Epub 2018 May 19.

Laboratory of Small Animal Clinics, Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Azabu University, 1-17-71, Fuchinobe, Chuo, Sagamihara, Kanagawa, 252-5201, Japan. Electronic address:

Mycobacterium sp. strain MFM001 (MFM001), a new strain of slow-growing nontuberculous mycobacteria not associated with the Mycobacterium avium complex, led to disseminated mycobacterial disease characterized by transmural granulomatous gastroenterocolitis of lepromatous type in a cat treated with immunosuppressive medication. MFM001 was found to be closely related to M. kyorinense or M. celatum by partial sequence of 16S rDNA, and identical with an unspecified M. sp. strain B10-07.09.0206 isolated from a human pulmonary infection in Germany. MFM001 should be considered as a pathogenic organism in cats, especially in immunocompromised animals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2018.05.010DOI Listing
July 2018

Epstein-Barr virus antibody titer as a stress biomarker and its association with social capital in rural Fujian communities, China.

Am J Hum Biol 2018 07 11;30(4):e23135. Epub 2018 May 11.

Department of Human Ecology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-0033, Japan.

Objectives: There has been little research on the association between social capital and psychological stress measured by a biomarker, particularly in developing countries. Our objective was to investigate the association between Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibody titer, an indicator of cellular immune function previously shown to be associated with psychological stress, and social capital among rural community dwellers in Fujian Province, China.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey in seven rural communities in Fujian in 2015. We used questionnaire data and dried blood spot samples for the measurement of biomarkers collected from 734 local residents for the analysis. We conducted a mixed effects regression analysis to investigate the association between EBV antibody titer and four social capital variables, which included cognitive and structural social capital assessed both at individual and community levels.

Results: Community-level structural social capital was inversely associated with psychological stress (coefficient = -0.96, 95% confidence interval [CI] = -1.91, -0.01) while individual-level structural social capital was positively associated with it (coefficient = 0.21, 95% CI = 0.07, 0.36). Neither individual- nor community-level cognitive social capital was associated with psychological stress status.

Conclusions: In rural Fujian, China, social capital seemed to be an important determinant of psychological health. While living in a community with active social interaction may benefit the residents psychologically, social interaction in the form of strongly bonded relationships may be a source of psychological stress at the individual level due to the potential demands and obligations that may be associated with such connections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.23135DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6687072PMC
July 2018

Phylogenetic uniqueness of Mycobacterium avium subspecies hominissuis isolated from an abnormal pulmonary bovine case.

Infect Genet Evol 2018 08 17;62:122-129. Epub 2018 Apr 17.

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan; Department of International Health, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan.

Mycobacterium avium subspecies hominissuis (MAH) is an important cause of infection in human pulmonary and swine intestinal cases. Although MAH is isolated from environmental sources frequently, infections of other animals have rarely been analysed. Recently, we detected granulomatous inflammation in bovine lung as an abnormal postmortem inspection case. To ascertain its genetic profile, we conducted a variable numbers of tandem repeats (VNTR) analysis and genomic characterization using deep sequencing. The VNTR type was a unique profile that differed from reported genotypes, but it was assigned within a broad genotypic complex of isolates from human patients and bathrooms. Genomic comparison with 116 registered genome sequences of the subspecies revealed that the strain was separate from five major genetic population groups proposed previously. Although the infection source remains unclear, its isolation from various resources such as animal infection cases should be elucidated more extensively to reveal its genetic diversity and ecological context.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.meegid.2018.04.013DOI Listing
August 2018

Social participation and the onset of hypertension among the middle-aged and older population: Evidence from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study.

Geriatr Gerontol Int 2018 Jul 30;18(7):1093-1099. Epub 2018 Mar 30.

Department of International Health, Institute of Tropical Medicine (NEKKEN), Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan.

Aim: While previous studies have examined the association between health-related behaviors and hypertension, comparatively little attention has been paid to the role of social participation (i.e. participating in community organizations). The aim of the present study was to investigate the longitudinal association between social participation and hypertension among the middle-aged and older population (aged ≥45 years) in China where the prevalence of hypertension has been increasing rapidly in the past few decades.

Methods: Data came from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study waves 2011 and 2013. Information was obtained from 5483 participants on blood pressure, social participation and covariates. A sex-stratified Poisson regression model with a robust variance estimator was used to examine the associations.

Results: During the period between 2011 and 2013, 20.6% of men and 17.2% of women developed hypertension. A Poisson regression model showed that participating in community organizations once a week or more frequently was inversely associated with the onset of hypertension in women (incidence rate ratio 0.80, 95% confidence interval 0.67-0.95, P = 0.012). Among men, no such association was found.

Conclusion: The present study suggests that promoting social participation might help mitigate the disease burden associated with hypertension in China, particularly among women. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2018; 18: 1093-1099.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ggi.13317DOI Listing
July 2018

[Mortality rates of foreign national residents in Japan: comparison with the Japanese population and a possible healthy migrant effect].

Nihon Koshu Eisei Zasshi 2017 ;64(12):707-717

Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University.

Objectives This study clarified the health status of foreign nationals residing in Japan by comparing their current mortality rates with those of the Japanese population.Methods We focused on foreign national residents and used official statistical data from 2010. Due to the possible overestimation of published death rates (PDRs), we computed calculated death rates (CDRs) for foreign national residents, using the number of registered foreign national residents as the denominator. We obtained this number from the Statistics on Foreign National Residents provided by the Ministry of Justice.Results The all-cause age-adjusted mortality rates (per 100,000 population) of foreign national residents were 571.5 for men and 316.1 for women. The ratios with reference to the mortality rates of the Japanese population were 1.1 and 1.0 for men and women, respectively, indicating that the age-adjusted mortality rates for foreign national residents were similar to those of the Japanese population. However, the rate ratios by age group were 0.3-0.5 for those aged 20-34 years, 0.6-1.0 for those aged 35-59 years, and 1.0-1.4 for those aged ≥60 years, suggesting that the mortality rate of foreign national residents increases with age when compared to that of the Japanese population. Although the foreign population are thought to be disadvantaged in many ways, the mortality rates of the young and middle-aged groups were lower than those of the Japanese population. A similar tendency was observed in the cause-specific mortality rates of the young and middle-aged groups of foreign national residents, except the rates of mortality due to accidents and suicide in the middle-aged group, which were higher than those of the Japanese population. In those aged ≥60 years, the mortality rates were higher than those of the Japanese population overall, especially the mortality rates due to suicide.Conclusion These results suggest that young and middle-aged foreign national residents are relatively healthy and that a healthy migrant effect exists in Japan. Because this health advantage may either decrease or converge with that of the native population after long-term residence as a previous research reported; without intervention, these lower mortality rates in the young and middle-aged foreign national residents may eventually increase or even exceed those of the Japanese population. More attention should be paid to middle-aged foreign national residents who have higher rates of mortality due to accidents and suicide as well as foreign national residents aged ≥60 years, who have an extremely high mortality rates due to suicide. Although overestimations and underestimations are still possible, CDRs are considered more appropriate than PDRs, since the impact is smaller. Future investigations should focus on the healthy migrant effect in Japan in order to address current and upcoming health issues among foreign national residents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11236/jph.64.12_707DOI Listing
February 2019

Binding Properties of Split tRNA to the C-terminal Domain of Methionyl-tRNA Synthetase of Nanoarchaeum equitans.

J Mol Evol 2017 06 6;84(5-6):267-278. Epub 2017 Jun 6.

Department of Biological Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science, 6-3-1 Niijuku, Katsushika-ku, Tokyo, 125-8585, Japan.

The C-terminal domain of methionyl-tRNA synthetase (MetRS-C) from Nanoarchaeum equitans is homologous to a tRNA-binding protein consisting of 111 amino acids (Trbp111) from Aquifex aeolicus. The crystal structure of MetRS-C showed that it existed as a homodimer, and that each monomer possessed an oligonucleotide/oligosaccharide-binding fold (OB-fold). Analysis using a quartz crystal microbalance indicated that MetRS-C freshly isolated from N. equitans was bound to tRNA. However, binding of the split 3'-half tRNA species was stronger than that of the 5'-half species. The T-loop and the 3'-end regions of the split 3'-half tRNA were found to be responsible for the binding. The minimum structure for binding to MetRS-C might be a minihelix-like stem-loop with single-stranded 3'-terminus. After successive duplications of such a small hairpin structure with the assistance of a Trbp-like structure, the interaction of the T-loop region of the 3'-half with a Trbp-like structure could have been evolutionarily replaced by RNA-RNA interactions, along with many combinational tertiary interactions, to form the modern tRNA structure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00239-017-9796-6DOI Listing
June 2017

Mycobacterium tuberculosis Transmission among Elderly Persons, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, 2009-2015.

Emerg Infect Dis 2017 03;23(3):448-455

In many countries with low to moderate tuberculosis (TB) incidence, cases have shifted to elderly persons. It is unclear, however, whether these cases are associated with recent Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission or represent reactivation of past disease. During 2009-2015, we performed a population-based TB investigation in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, using in-depth contact tracing and 24-loci variable-number tandem-repeat typing optimized for Beijing family M. tuberculosis strains. We analyzed 494 strains, of which 387 (78.3%) were derived from elderly patients. Recent transmission with an epidemiologic link was confirmed in 22 clusters (70 cases). In 17 (77.3%) clusters, the source patient was elderly; 11 (64.7%) of the 17 clusters occurred in a hospital or nursing home. In this setting, the increase in TB cases was associated with M. tuberculosis transmissions from elderly persons. Prevention of transmission in places where elderly persons gather will be an effective strategy for decreasing TB incidence among predominantly elderly populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2303.161571DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5382749PMC
March 2017

Helicobacter pylori VacA, acting through receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase α, is crucial for CagA phosphorylation in human duodenum carcinoma cell line AZ-521.

Dis Model Mech 2016 12;9(12):1473-1481

Department of Bacteriology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, 1-12-4, Sakamoto, Nagasaki 852-8523, Japan.

Helicobacter pylori, a major cause of gastroduodenal diseases, produces vacuolating cytotoxin (VacA) and cytotoxin-associated gene A (CagA), which seem to be involved in virulence. VacA exhibits pleiotropic actions in gastroduodenal disorders via its specific receptors. Recently, we found that VacA induced the phosphorylation of cellular Src kinase (Src) at Tyr418 in AZ-521 cells. Silencing of receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase (RPTP)α, a VacA receptor, reduced VacA-induced Src phosphorylation. Src is responsible for tyrosine phosphorylation of CagA at its Glu-Pro-Ile-Tyr-Ala (EPIYA) variant C (EPIYA-C) motif in Helicobacter pylori-infected gastric epithelial cells, resulting in binding of CagA to SHP-2 phosphatase. Challenging AZ-521 cells with wild-type H. pylori induced phosphorylation of CagA, but this did not occur when challenged with a vacA gene-disrupted mutant strain. CagA phosphorylation was observed in cells infected with a vacA gene-disrupted mutant strain after addition of purified VacA, suggesting that VacA is required for H. pylori-induced CagA phosphorylation. Following siRNA-mediated RPTPα knockdown in AZ-521 cells, infection with wild-type H. pylori and treatment with VacA did not induce CagA phosphorylation. Taken together, these results support our conclusion that VacA mediates CagA phosphorylation through RPTPα in AZ-521 cells. These data indicate the possibility that Src phosphorylation induced by VacA is mediated through RPTPα, resulting in activation of Src, leading to CagA phosphorylation at Tyr972 in AZ-521 cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dmm.025361DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5200893PMC
December 2016

Weight Gain in Survivors Living in Temporary Housing in the Tsunami-Stricken Area during the Recovery Phase following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

PLoS One 2016 1;11(12):e0166817. Epub 2016 Dec 1.

Department of International Health, Nagasaki University, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Sakamoto, Nagasaki, Japan.

Introduction: Survivors who lost their homes in the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami were forced to live in difficult conditions in temporary housing several months after the disaster. Body weights of survivors living in temporary housing for a long period might increase due to changes in their life style and psychosocial state during the medium-term and long-term recovery phases. The aim of this study was to determine whether there were differences between body weight changes of people living in temporary housing and those not living in temporary housing in a tsunami-stricken area during the medium-term and long-term recovery phases.

Materials And Methods: Health check-ups were performed about 7 months after the disaster (in 2011) and about 18 months after the disaster (in 2012) for people living in a tsunami-stricken area (n = 6,601, mean age = 62.3 y). We compared the changes in body weight in people living in temporary housing (TH group, n = 2,002) and those not living in temporary housing (NTH group, n = 4,599) using a multiple linear regression model.

Results: While there was no significant difference between body weights in the TH and NTH groups in the 2011 survey, there was a significant difference between the mean changes in body weight in both sexes. We found that the changes in body weight were significantly greater in the TH group than in the NTH group in both sexes. The partial regression coefficients of mean change in body weight were +0.52 kg (P-value < 0.001) in males in the TH group and +0.56 kg (P-value < 0.001) in females in the TH group (reference: NTH group).

Conclusion: Analysis after adjustment for life style, psychosocial factors and cardiovascular risk factors found that people living in temporary housing in the tsunami- stricken area had a significant increase in body weight.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0166817PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5131987PMC
June 2017

Nitrogen fixation and nifH diversity in human gut microbiota.

Sci Rep 2016 08 24;6:31942. Epub 2016 Aug 24.

Department of Human Ecology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.

It has been hypothesized that nitrogen fixation occurs in the human gut. However, whether the gut microbiota truly has this potential remains unclear. We investigated the nitrogen-fixing activity and diversity of the nitrogenase reductase (NifH) genes in the faecal microbiota of humans, focusing on Papua New Guinean and Japanese individuals with low to high habitual nitrogen intake. A (15)N2 incorporation assay showed significant enrichment of (15)N in all faecal samples, irrespective of the host nitrogen intake, which was also supported by an acetylene reduction assay. The fixed nitrogen corresponded to 0.01% of the standard nitrogen requirement for humans, although our data implied that the contribution in the gut in vivo might be higher than this value. The nifH genes recovered in cloning and metagenomic analyses were classified in two clusters: one comprising sequences almost identical to Klebsiella sequences and the other related to sequences of Clostridiales members. These results are consistent with an analysis of databases of faecal metagenomes from other human populations. Collectively, the human gut microbiota has a potential for nitrogen fixation, which may be attributable to Klebsiella and Clostridiales strains, although no evidence was found that the nitrogen-fixing activity substantially contributes to the host nitrogen balance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep31942DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4995403PMC
August 2016

Participation in Relief Activities in the Aftermath of the Great Nepal Earthquake and Disaster Reconstruction Assistance.

Authors:
Taro Yamamoto

Japan Med Assoc J 2015 Sep 1;58(3):111-3. Epub 2015 Sep 1.

Department of International Health, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan ( ).

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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4716955PMC
September 2015

Maternal overweight/obesity characteristics and child anthropometric status in Jos, Nigeria.

Niger Med J 2015 Jul-Aug;56(4):236-9

Department of International Health, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan.

Objective: This study is to determine the pattern of overweight and obesity and its relationship with childhood anthropometric status in Nigeria.

Materials And Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in Jos, Nigeria. Interviewer administered questionnaire was used in data collection. Maternal and child anthropometric measurements were obtained using standard WHO methods. Child anthropometric Z scores were obtained from WHO Anthroplus while BMI of mothers were also determined. Totally, 262 mother-child pairs were recruited.

Results: Mean maternal age and mean child age were 30.8 ± 6.3 yrs (15-47 yrs) and 22.3 ± 18.7 months (3-72 months). Prevalence of maternal underweight, overweight and obesity was 4.2% (11/262), 29.4% (77/262) and 25.9% (68/262), respectively. Child overweight/obesity was 5.4% (14/262), severe under-nutrition 5.7% (15/262). Mean maternal BMI was higher in the older, more educated and higher socioeconomic status (SES). Child mean birth-weight, weight-for-age Z-score and BMI-for-age Z-score (BAZ) were higher among mothers with BMI ≥ 25 kg/m(2). All large-for-age babies were in mothers with maternal BMI ≥ 25 kg/m(2). Childhood over-nutrition was more common in maternal BMI of ≥25 kg/m(2). Overall, BAZ was directly related with maternal BMI, maternal age and birth-weight, although it was inversely related with maternal BM I ≥ 25 kg/m(2).

Conclusion: Higher BMI is seen in educated and higher SES mothers and this impact on childhood anthropometry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/0300-1652.165031DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4697208PMC
January 2016