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1.  Data mining analysis of terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism shows geographical differences in the human gut microbiota 
Biomedical Reports  2013;1(4):559-562.
Environmental factors are important for shaping the gut microbiota. In this study, terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis was performed, and data mining analysis was applied to investigate the geographical differences in the gut microbiota in Japan. A total of 121 healthy individuals living in four different districts (Shiga, Hyogo, Fukuoka and Chiba prefectures) in Japan were enrolled. Their gut microbiota profiles were evaluated by T-RFLP analysis, and data mining analysis using the Classification and Regression Tree (C&RT) approach was performed. Data mining analysis provided a decision tree that clearly identified the various groups of subjects (nodes). Some nodes characterized the subjects from the four geographically distinct regions. Overall, 21 of the 35 subjects from the Hyogo Prefecture were mainly included in Node 21, 11 of the 16 subjects from the Shiga Prefecture were mainly included in Node 19, 37 of 40 subjects from the Chiba Prefecture were mainly included in Node 6 and 28 of 30 subjects from the Fukuoka Prefecture were included in Node 3. Only eight operational taxonomic units (OTUs) of the total 100 OTUs contributed to the characterization of the gut microbiota of the four geographically distinct districts in Japan. Geographical differences in the human gut microbiota were identified in Japan. Data mining analysis appears to be one of the optimal tools for characterization of the human gut microbiota.
PMCID: PMC3916989  PMID: 24648986
data mining; microbiota; terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism
2.  In the Nepalese context, can a husband’s attendance during childbirth help his wife feel more in control of labour? 
A husband’s support during childbirth is vital to a parturient woman’s emotional well-being. Evidence suggests that this type of support enables a woman to feel more in control during labour by reducing maternal anxiety during childbirth. However, in Nepal, where childbearing is considered an essential element of a marital relationship, the husband’s role in this process has not been explored. Therefore, we examined whether a woman in Nepal feels more in control during labour when her husband is present, compared to when another woman accompanies her or when she has no support person.
The study participants were low risk primigravida women in the following categories: women who gave birth with their husband present (n = 97), with a female friend present (n = 96), with mixed support (n = 11), and finally, a control group (n = 105). The study was conducted in the public maternity hospital in Kathmandu in 2011. The Labour Agentry Scale (LAS) was used to measure the extent to which women felt in control during labour. The study outcome was compared using an F-test from a one-way analysis of variance, and multiple regression analyses.
The women who gave birth with their husband’s support reported higher mean LAS scores (47.92 ± 6.95) than the women who gave birth with a female friend’s support (39.91 ± 8.27) and the women in the control group (36.68 ± 8.31). The extent to which the women felt in control during labour was found to be positively associated with having their husband’s company during childbirth (β = 0.54; p < 0.001) even after adjusting for background variables. In addition, having a female friend’s company during childbirth was related to the women’s feeling of being in control during labour (β = 0.19; p < 0.001) but the effect size was smaller than for a husband’s company.
The results show that when a woman’s husband is present at the birth, she feels more in control during labour. This finding has strong implications for maternity practices in Nepal, where maternity wards rarely encourage a woman to bring her husband to a pregnancy appointment and to be present during childbirth.
PMCID: PMC3464724  PMID: 22698006
3.  Possible effects of diets on serum lipids, fatty acids and blood pressure levels in male and female Japanese university students 
To prepare a dietary recommendation for young Japanese for the prevention of coronary heart disease, we surveyed the dietary habits, serum lipids, serum fatty acids and blood pressure levels among male and female students.
In this study, 175 male and 246 female university students were interviewed for the frequency of consumption of selected food items and the habit of skipping breakfast. Serum fatty acids were analyzed by gas chromatography.
The frequencies of consumption of dishes cooked with oil and intake of vegetables were higher in female students than in male students. Serum n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids were slightly higher in females students than in male students while that of serum n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids was 6.4% in both sexes. For both males and females, those who skipped breakfast at least once a week were less likely to consume vegetables and fruits than those who did not. Female students who skipped breakfast were also less likely to consume fish and had lower composition of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid and higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels than males. For female, the intake of milk and dairy products correlated inversely with systolic blood pressure levels and the intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids correlated inversely with diastolic blood pressure levels. For males, the intake of fruits and consumption of dishes cooked with oil correlated inversely with systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels.
Our findings suggest that increased intake of fish, milk and dairy products, fruits and vegetables from early adulthood and a regular dietary pattern are important to reduce the risk factors for coronary heart disease.
PMCID: PMC2723630  PMID: 21432162
diets; lipids; fatty acids; coronary risk factors; students
4.  Dementia-specific risks of scabies: Retrospective epidemiologic analysis of an unveiled nosocomial outbreak in Japan from 1989–90 
Although senile dementia patients in long-term care facilities are at leading risk of scabies, the epidemiologic characteristics of this disease have yet to be fully clarified. This study documents the findings of a ward-scale nosocomial outbreak in western Japan from 1989–90, for which permission to publish was only recently obtained.
A retrospective epidemiologic study was performed to identify specific risk factors of scabies among patients with dementia. Analyses were based on a review of medical and nursing records. All inpatients in the affected ward at the time of the outbreak were included in the study. Observational and analytical approaches were employed to assess the findings.
Twenty of 65 inpatients in the ward met the case definition of scabies. The outbreak lasted for almost 10 months and as a result, the spatial distribution of infections showed no localized patterns in the latter phase of the outbreak. The duration of illness significantly decreased after initiation of control measures (P = 0.0067). Movement without assistance (Odds Ratio [OR] = 11.3; 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 2.9, 44.8) and moving beyond the room (but within the ward) (OR = 4.1; 95% CI: 1.4, 12.5) were significantly associated with infection, while types of room (Western or Japanese) and sleeping arrangement (on beds or futons laid directly on the floor) appeared not to be risk factors.
Univariate analysis demonstrated the importance of patients' behaviours during daily activities in controlling scabies among senile dementia patients. The findings also support previous evidence that catching scabies from fomites is far less common. Moreover, since cognitive disorders make it difficult for individuals to communicate and understand the implications of risky contacts as well as treatment method, and given the non-specific nature of individual contacts that are often unpredictable, real-time observations might help improve control practices.
PMCID: PMC1276794  PMID: 16225694
5.  Differences in dietary habits, serum fatty acid compositions and other coronary risk characteristics between freshmen and fourth-year male university students 
Westernization of lifestyles among Japanese, in particular among young generations, is a matter of concern for future increase in coronary heart disease. We surveyed a total of 349 male university students to examine changes in lifestyles and coronary risk factors in campus life. We compared dietary habits and serum fatty acid compositions as well as other coronary risk characteristics between freshmen (n=171) and fourth-year (senior) students (n=178). Serum fatty acid compositions and dietary intakes of selected foods as well as serum lipids, blood pressures and physical characteristics were examined at the 1996 and 1997 annual health examinations.
Compared to freshmen, senior students had a lower frequency of fish, vegetable, milk and egg intake, and a higher frequency of oil and fat intake. The proportions of serum saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids were significantly higher among senior students than among freshmen, whereas the proportion of serum polyunsaturated fatty acids was significantly lower among senior students than among freshmen. Senior students also had higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures, percent body fat, smoking rate and alcohol usage than freshmen. Mean body weight and mean body mass index were not different between the two groups.
Senior students generally showed Westernized dietary habits and higher coronary risk profiles than freshmen as indicated by the change of serum fatty acid compositions. Modification of these dietary habits and lifestyles may be important for the prevention of future CHD among Japanese young adults.
PMCID: PMC2723300  PMID: 21432252
dietary habit; cardiovascular risk factor; serum lipid; serum fatty acid; male university student
6.  Pharmacokinetic Evaluation of Amphotericin B in Lung Tissue: Lung Lymph Distribution after Intravenous Injection and Airspace Distribution after Aerosolization and Inhalation of Amphotericin B 
We have studied the pharmacokinetics of amphotericin B (AmB) in lung lymph circulation and bronchial-wash fluid after intravenous infusion and inhalation, respectively. For two experiments with awake sheep, we used lung lymph fistulas and tracheotomy. In experiment 1, AmB concentrations in plasma and lung lymph after intravenous infusion of AmB (1 mg/kg of body weight) over 1.5 h were measured. The mean peak in plasma level was 756.0 ± 188.8 ng/ml at 3 h after the start of infusion, and the level then decreased gradually to 194.8 ± 28.9 ng/ml at 24 h. The stable and maximal levels in lung lymph last 5 to 9 h after the start of AmB infusion. The concentrations in lung lymph after 9 h were slightly higher than those in plasma. Thus, the lung lymph-to-plasma ratio of AmB concentrations increased gradually during infusion, and the ratio was more than 1.0 after the end of infusion, suggesting that AmB could be easily moved from plasma to pulmonary interstitium and/or lung lymph circulation. In another experiment, 5 or 30 mg of aerosol AmB was inhaled, and the concentration of AmB in the bronchial-wash fluid was determined by bronchoalveolar lavage. The peak AmB concentration in the fluid was observed at 0.5 h. After that, AmB was slowly eliminated over 24 h. The area under the concentration-time curve for 30 mg of inhaled AmB was higher than that for 5 mg, but maximum concentrations of AmB in serum for 5 and 30 mg were almost similar. These observations identify the pharmacokinetic characteristics of AmB in the lung and may provide a new insight into the strategy for clinical treatment of fungal pneumonia.
PMCID: PMC105652  PMID: 9660990
7.  Year-round high physical activity levels in agropastoralists of Bolivian Andes: Results from repeated measurements of DLW method in peak and slack seasons of agricultural activities 
American Journal of Human Biology  2009;21(3):337-345.
By the repeated use of the doubly labeled water method (DLW), this study aimed to investigate (1) the extent of changes in energy expenditure and physical activity level (PAL) in response to increased agricultural work demands, and (2) whether the seasonal work demands induce the changes in the fairly equitable division of work and similarity of energy needs between men and women observed in our previous study (Phase 1 study; Kashiwazaki et al., 1995: Am J Clin Nutr 62: 901–910). In a rural small agropastoral community of the Bolivian Andes, we made the follow-up study (Phase 2, 14 adults; a time of high agricultural activity) of the Phase 1 study (12 adults; a time of low agricultural activity). In the Phase 2 study, both men and women showed very high PAL (mean±SD), but there was no significant difference by sex (men; 2.18 ± 0.23 (age; 64 ± 11 years, n = 7), women; 2.26 ± 0.25 (63 ± 10 years, n = 7)). The increase of PAL by 11% (P = 0.023) in the Phase 2 was equally occurred in both men and women. The factorial approach underestimated PAL significantly by ≈15% (P < 0.05). High PAL throughout the year ranging on average 2.0 and 2.2 was attributable to everyday tasks for subsistence and domestic works undertaking over 9–11 h (men spent 2.7 h on agricultural work and 4.7 h on animal herding, whereas women spent 7.3 h almost exclusively on animal herding). The seasonal increase in PAL was statistically significant, but it was smaller than those anticipated from published reports. A flexible division of labor played an important role in the equitable energetic increase in both men and women. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
PMCID: PMC2842569  PMID: 19127525

Results 1-7 (7)