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1.  Magnesium Modifies the Cardiovascular Mortality Risk Associated with Hyperphosphatemia in Patients Undergoing Hemodialysis: A Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e116273.
In vitro studies have shown inhibitory effects of magnesium (Mg) on phosphate-induced calcification of vascular smooth muscle cells, raising the possibility that maintaining a high Mg level may be useful for reducing cardiovascular risks of patients with hyperphosphatemia. We examined how serum Mg levels affect the association between serum phosphate levels and the risk of cardiovascular mortality in patients undergoing hemodialysis.
A nationwide register-based cohort study was conducted using database of the Renal Data Registry of the Japanese Society for Dialysis Therapy in 2009. We identified 142,069 patients receiving in-center hemodialysis whose baseline serum Mg and phosphate levels were available. Study outcomes were one-year cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. Serum Mg levels were categorized into three groups (lower, <2.7 mg/dL; intermediate, ≥2.7, <3.1 mg/dL; and higher, ≥3.1 mg/dL).
During follow-up, 11,401 deaths occurred, out of which 4,751 (41.7%) were ascribed to cardiovascular disease. In multivariable analyses, an increase in serum phosphate levels elevated the risk of cardiovascular mortality in the lower- and intermediate-Mg groups, whereas no significant risk increment was observed in the higher-Mg group. Moreover, among patients with serum phosphate levels of ≥6.0 mg/dL, the cardiovascular mortality risk significantly decreased with increasing serum Mg levels (adjusted odds ratios [95% confidence intervals] of the lower-, intermediate-, and higher-Mg groups were 1.00 (reference), 0.81 [0.66–0.99], and 0.74 [0.56–0.97], respectively.). An interaction between Mg and phosphate on the risk of cardiovascular mortality was statistically significant (P = 0.03).
Serum Mg levels significantly modified the mortality risk associated with hyperphosphatemia in patients undergoing hemodialysis.
PMCID: PMC4278867  PMID: 25545498
2.  Mineral Metabolism Markers Are Associated with Myocardial Infarction and Hemorrhagic Stroke but Not Ischemic Stroke in Hemodialysis Patients: A Longitudinal Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114678.
The associations between phosphate, calcium, and intact parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels and composite cardiovascular end points have been studied. This study examined the associations of these markers with myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke separately.
This is a longitudinal study on 65,849 hemodialysis patients from the Japan Renal Data Registry. Patients with prior events at baseline were excluded. Predictors were phosphate, albumin-corrected calcium, intact PTH, and calcium times phosphate product levels. Outcome was the first episode of MI or stroke during a 1-year observation period. Data were analyzed using multiple logistic regression analyses, adjusted for potential confounders.
There were 1,048, 651, and 2,089 events of incident MI, hemorrhagic, and ischemic stroke, respectively. Incident MI was associated with phosphate levels ≥6.5 mg/dL (odds ratio 1.49; confidence interval 1.23–1.80) compared with phosphate levels of 4.7–5.4 mg/dL and intact PTH levels>500 pg/mL (1.35; 1.03–1.79) compared with intact PTH levels of 151–300 pg/mL. Higher albumin-corrected calcium level was positively associated with MI (p = 0.04 by trend analysis). Hemorrhagic stroke was associated only with intact PTH levels>500 pg/mL (1.54; 1.10–2.17). Incident ischemic stroke had no association with phosphate, calcium, or intact PTH levels. The association of calcium times phosphate product with outcomes was essentially the same pattern as that of phosphate and outcomes.
MI was associated with phosphate, calcium, and intact PTH levels, whereas hemorrhagic stroke was associated only with intact PTH. Ischemic stroke was not associated with any of them. The potential distinct beneficial effect on MI and stroke by managing bone and mineral disease should be investigated in future studies.
PMCID: PMC4262415  PMID: 25494334
3.  Association between Combined Lifestyle Factors and Non-Restorative Sleep in Japan: A Cross-Sectional Study Based on a Japanese Health Database 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108718.
Although lifestyle factors such as cigarette smoking, excessive drinking, obesity, low or no exercise, and unhealthy dietary habits have each been associated with inadequate sleep, little is known about their combined effect. The aim of this study was to quantify the overall impact of lifestyle-related factors on non-restorative sleep in the general Japanese population.
Methods and Findings
A cross-sectional study of 243,767 participants (men, 39.8%) was performed using the Specific Health Check and Guidance System in Japan. A healthy lifestyle score was calculated by adding up the number of low-risk lifestyle factors for each participant. Low risk was defined as (1) not smoking, (2) body mass index<25 kg/m2, (3) moderate or less alcohol consumption, (4) regular exercise, and (5) better eating patterns. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between the score and the prevalence of non-restorative sleep, which was determined from questionnaire responses. Among 97,062 men (mean age, 63.9 years) and 146,705 women (mean age, 63.7 years), 18,678 (19.2%) and 38,539 (26.3%) reported non-restorative sleep, respectively. The prevalence of non-restorative sleep decreased with age for both sexes. Compared to participants with a healthy lifestyle score of 5 (most healthy), those with a score of 0 (least healthy) had a higher prevalence of non-restorative sleep (odds ratio, 1.59 [95% confidence interval, 1.29–1.97] for men and 2.88 [1.74–4.76] for women), independently of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. The main limitation of the study was the cross-sectional design, which limited causal inferences for the identified associations.
A combination of several unhealthy lifestyle factors was associated with non-restorative sleep among the general Japanese population. Further studies are needed to establish whether general lifestyle modification improves restorative sleep.
PMCID: PMC4182544  PMID: 25268956
4.  Budget impact analysis of chronic kidney disease mass screening test in Japan 
Our recently published cost-effectiveness study on chronic kidney disease mass screening test in Japan evaluated the use of dipstick test, serum creatinine (Cr) assay or both in specific health checkup (SHC). Mandating the use of serum Cr assay additionally, or the continuation of current policy mandating dipstick test only was found cost-effective. This study aims to examine the affordability of previously suggested reforms.
Budget impact analysis was conducted assuming the economic model would be good for 15 years and applying a population projection. Costs expended by social insurers without discounting were counted as budgets.
Annual budget impacts of mass screening compared with do-nothing scenario were calculated as ¥79–¥−1,067 million for dipstick test only, ¥2,505–¥9,235 million for serum Cr assay only and ¥2,517–¥9,251 million for the use of both during a 15-year period. Annual budget impacts associated with the reforms were calculated as ¥975–¥4,129 million for mandating serum Cr assay in addition to the currently used mandatory dipstick test, and ¥963–¥4,113 million for mandating serum Cr assay only and abandoning dipstick test.
Estimated values associated with the reform from ¥963–¥4,129 million per year over 15 years are considerable amounts of money under limited resources. The most impressive finding of this study is the decreasing additional expenditures in dipstick test only scenario. This suggests that current policy which mandates dipstick test only would contain medical care expenditure.
PMCID: PMC4271136  PMID: 24515308
CKD; Budget impact; Dipstick test; Mass screening; Proteinuria; Serum creatinine assay
5.  Association of High Pulse Pressure With Proteinuria in Subjects With Diabetes, Prediabetes, or Normal Glucose Tolerance in a Large Japanese General Population Sample 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(6):1310-1315.
To examine whether there is a difference in the association between high pulse pressure and proteinuria, independent of other blood pressure (BP) indices, such as systolic or diastolic BP, among subjects with diabetes, prediabetes, or normal glucose tolerance.
Using a nationwide health checkup database of 228,778 Japanese aged ≥20 years (mean 63.2 years; 39.3% men; none had pre-existing cardiovascular disease), we examined the association between high pulse pressure, defined as the highest quintile of pulse pressure (≥63 mmHg, n = 40,511), and proteinuria (≥1+ on dipstick, n = 12,090) separately in subjects with diabetes (n = 27,913), prediabetes (n = 100,214), and normal glucose tolerance (n = 100,651).
The prevalence of proteinuria was different among subjects with diabetes, prediabetes, and normal glucose tolerance (11.3 vs. 5.0 vs. 3.9%, respectively; P < 0.001). In subjects with diabetes, but not those with prediabetes or normal glucose tolerance, high pulse pressure was associated with proteinuria independently of significant covariates, including systolic BP (odds ratio 1.15 [95% CI 1.04–1.28]) or diastolic or mean BP (all P < 0.01). In patients with diabetes, a +1 SD increase of pulse pressure (+13 mmHg) was associated with proteinuria, even after adjustment for systolic BP (1.07 [1.00–1.13]) or diastolic or mean BP (all P < 0.05).
Among the Japanese general population, there was a significant difference in the association between high pulse pressure and proteinuria among subjects with diabetes, prediabetes, and normal glucose tolerance. Only in diabetes was high pulse pressure associated with proteinuria independent of systolic, diastolic, or mean BP levels.
PMCID: PMC3357237  PMID: 22474041
6.  Nephrology for the people: Presidential Address at the 42nd Regional Meeting of the Japanese Society of Nephrology in Okinawa 2012 
The social and economic burdens of dialysis are growing worldwide as the number of patients increases. Dialysis is becoming a heavy burden even in developed countries. Thus, preventing end-stage kidney disease is of the utmost importance. Early detection and treatment is recommended because late referral is common, with most chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients remaining asymptomatic until a late stage. Three-quarters of dialysis patients initiated dialysis therapy within 1 year after referral to the facility. Since its introduction in 2002, the definition of CKD has been widely accepted not only by nephrologists but also by other medical specialties, such as cardiologists and general practitioners. Japan has a long history of general screening for school children, university students, and employees of companies and government offices, with everybody asked to participate. The urine test for proteinuria and hematuria is popular among Japanese people; however, the outcomes have not been well studied. We examined the effects of clinical and laboratory data from several sources on survival of dialysis patients and also predictors of developing dialysis from community-based screening (Okinawa Dialysis Study, OKIDS). At an early CKD stage, patients are usually asymptomatic; therefore, regular health checks using a urine dipstick and serum creatinine are recommended. The intervals for follow-up, however, are debatable due to the cost. CKD is a strong risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease and death and also plays an important role in infection and malignancies, particularly in elderly people. People can live longer with healthy kidneys.
PMCID: PMC3751387  PMID: 23392566
Survival; Predictor; Chronic kidney disease (CKD); End-stage kidney disease (ESKD); Proteinuria
7.  Endoscopic and radiographic features of gastrointestinal involvement in vasculitis 
Vasculitis is an inflammation of vessel walls, followed by alteration of the blood flow and damage to the dependent organ. Vasculitis can cause local or diffuse pathologic changes in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The variety of GI lesions includes ulcer, submucosal edema, hemorrhage, paralytic ileus, mesenteric ischemia, bowel obstruction, and life-threatening perforation.The endoscopic and radiographic features of GI involvement in vasculitisare reviewed with the emphasis on small-vessel vasculitis by presenting our typical cases, including Churg-Strauss syndrome, Henoch-Schönlein purpura, systemic lupus erythematosus, and Behçet’s disease. Important endoscopic features are ischemic enterocolitis and ulcer. Characteristic computed tomographic findings include bowel wall thickening with the target sign and engorgement of mesenteric vessels with comb sign. Knowledge of endoscopic and radiographic GI manifestations can help make an early diagnosis and establish treatment strategy.
PMCID: PMC3309893  PMID: 22442741
Behçet’s disease; Churg-Strauss syndrome; Computed tomography; Endoscopy; Gastrointestinal tract; Henoch-Schönlein purpura; Histopathology; Lupus mesenteric vasculitis; Systemic lupus erythematosus; Vasculitis
8.  Cost-effectiveness of chronic kidney disease mass screening test in Japan 
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a significant public health problem. Strategy for its early detection is still controversial. This study aims to assess the cost-effectiveness of population strategy, i.e. mass screening, and Japan’s health checkup reform.
Cost-effectiveness analysis was carried out to compare test modalities in the context of reforming Japan’s mandatory annual health checkup for adults. A decision tree and Markov model with societal perspective were constructed to compare dipstick test to check proteinuria only, serum creatinine (Cr) assay only, or both.
Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) of mass screening compared with do-nothing were calculated as ¥1,139,399/QALY (US $12,660/QALY) for dipstick test only, ¥8,122,492/QALY (US $90,250/QALY) for serum Cr assay only and ¥8,235,431/QALY (US $91,505/QALY) for both. ICERs associated with the reform were calculated as ¥9,325,663/QALY (US $103,618/QALY) for mandating serum Cr assay in addition to the currently used mandatory dipstick test, and ¥9,001,414/QALY (US $100,016/QALY) for mandating serum Cr assay and applying dipstick test at discretion.
Taking a threshold to judge cost-effectiveness according to World Health Organization’s recommendation, i.e. three times gross domestic product per capita of ¥11.5 million/QALY (US $128 thousand/QALY), a policy that mandates serum Cr assay is cost-effective. The choice of continuing the current policy which mandates dipstick test only is also cost-effective. Our results suggest that a population strategy for CKD detection such as mass screening using dipstick test and/or serum Cr assay can be justified as an efficient use of health care resources in a population with high prevalence of the disease such as in Japan and Asian countries.
PMCID: PMC3328680  PMID: 22167460
Chronic kidney disease; Cost-effectiveness; Dipstick test; Mass screening; Proteinuria; Serum creatinine
9.  Associations of estimated glomerular filtration rate and albuminuria with mortality and renal failure by sex: a meta-analysis 
Objective To assess for the presence of a sex interaction in the associations of estimated glomerular filtration rate and albuminuria with all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and end stage renal disease.
Design Random effects meta-analysis using pooled individual participant data.
Setting 46 cohorts from Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Australasia.
Participants 2 051 158 participants (54% women) from general population cohorts (n=1 861 052), high risk cohorts (n=151 494), and chronic kidney disease cohorts (n=38 612). Eligible cohorts (except chronic kidney disease cohorts) had at least 1000 participants, outcomes of either mortality or end stage renal disease of ≥50 events, and baseline measurements of estimated glomerular filtration rate according to the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration equation (mL/min/1.73 m2) and urinary albumin-creatinine ratio (mg/g).
Results Risks of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality were higher in men at all levels of estimated glomerular filtration rate and albumin-creatinine ratio. While higher risk was associated with lower estimated glomerular filtration rate and higher albumin-creatinine ratio in both sexes, the slope of the risk relationship for all-cause mortality and for cardiovascular mortality were steeper in women than in men. Compared with an estimated glomerular filtration rate of 95, the adjusted hazard ratio for all-cause mortality at estimated glomerular filtration rate 45 was 1.32 (95% CI 1.08 to 1.61) in women and 1.22 (1.00 to 1.48) in men (Pinteraction<0.01). Compared with a urinary albumin-creatinine ratio of 5, the adjusted hazard ratio for all-cause mortality at urinary albumin-creatinine ratio 30 was 1.69 (1.54 to 1.84) in women and 1.43 (1.31 to 1.57) in men (Pinteraction<0.01). Conversely, there was no evidence of a sex difference in associations of estimated glomerular filtration rate and urinary albumin-creatinine ratio with end stage renal disease risk.
Conclusions Both sexes face increased risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and end stage renal disease with lower estimated glomerular filtration rates and higher albuminuria. These findings were robust across a large global consortium.
PMCID: PMC3558410  PMID: 23360717

Results 1-9 (9)