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1.  The Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Vaccine Does Not Increase the Mortality Rate of Idiopathic Interstitial Pneumonia: A Matched Case-Control Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88927.
Evidence regarding the mortality rate after administration of the pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 vaccine on patients with underlying diseases is currently scarce. We conducted a case-control study in Japan to compare the mortality rates of patients with idiopathic interstitial pneumonia after the vaccines were administered and were not administered.
Between October 2009 and March 2010, we collected clinical records in Japan and conducted a 1∶1 matched case-control study. Patients with idiopathic interstitial pneumonia who died during this period were considered case patients, and those who survived were considered control patients. We determined and compared the proportion of each group that received the pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 vaccine and estimated the odds ratio. Finally, we conducted simulations that compensated for the shortcomings of the study associated with adjusted severity of idiopathic interstitial pneumonia.
The case and control groups each comprised of 75 patients with idiopathic interstitial pneumonia. The proportion of patients who received the pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 vaccine was 30.7% and 38.7% for the case and control groups, respectively. During that winter, the crude conditional odds ratio of mortality was 0.63 (95% confidence interval, 0.25–1.47) and the adjusted conditional odds ratio was 1.18 (95% confidence interval, 0.33–4.49); neither was significant. The simulation study showed more accurate conditional odds ratios of 0.63–0.71.
In our study, we detected no evidence that the influenza A (H1N1) 2009 vaccine increased the mortality rate of patients with idiopathic interstitial pneumonia. The results, however, are limited by the small sample size and low statistical power. A larger-scale study is required.
PMCID: PMC3934868  PMID: 24586445
2.  Multilevel Longitudinal Analysis of Sex Differences in Height Gain and Growth Rate Changes in Japanese School-Aged Children 
Journal of Epidemiology  2013;23(4):275-279.
Determining standard pubertal growth patterns using longitudinal anthropometric measures is important in growth assessment. We used an appropriate repeated-measurements method to identify height growth patterns in Japanese school-aged girls and boys.
The participants were children born during the period from 1991 through 1999 who had entered the first grade of elementary school in the Enzan district in Koshu City, Japan. This study was part of the Project Koshu cohort study. Height was measured annually in April from the first grade of elementary school (age, 6–7 years) to the third grade of junior middle school (age, 14–15 years). Height gain and growth rate trajectories in boys and girls were constructed using multilevel analysis.
In total, 1984 children (1036 boys and 948 girls) were included in this study. Height in boys and girls was similar at age 6.5 to 9.5 years. Girls subsequently grew faster and were taller than boys at age 10.5 to 11.5 years. Starting at age 12.5 years, male height caught up and exceeded female height. Height gain trajectories showed that annual height gain among girls increased slowly and peaked during age 9.5 to 11.5 years, while male height gains declined slightly at first and peaked at age 11.5 to 12.5 years. Sex differences in height gains were significant during the period from age 7.5 to 14.5 years (P < 0.0001). Growth rate and height gain trajectories were similar between sexes.
Sex differences in growth trajectory were significant, and female height gain peaked approximately 2 years earlier than male height gain.
PMCID: PMC3709552  PMID: 23774286
growth pattern; sex; puberty; height gain; growth rate
3.  Developmental Trajectories of Body Mass Index Among Japanese Children and Impact of Maternal Factors during Pregnancy 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51896.
The aims of this study were to 1) determine the distinct patterns of body mass index (BMI) trajectories in Japanese children, and 2) elucidate the maternal factors during pregnancy, which contribute to the determination of those patterns.
Methodology/Principal Findings
All of the children (1,644 individuals) born in Koshu City, Japan, between 1991 and 1998 were followed in a longitudinal study exploring the subjects’ BMI. The BMI was calculated 11 times for each child between birth and 12 years of age. Exploratory latent class growth analyses were conducted to identify trajectory patterns of the BMI z-scores. The distribution of BMI trajectories were best characterized by a five-group model for boys and a six-group model for girls. The groups were named “stable thin,” “stable average,” “stable high average,” “progressive overweight,” and “progressive obesity” in both sexes; girls were allocated to an additional group called “progressive average.” Multinomial logistic regression found that maternal weight, smoking, and skipping breakfast during pregnancy were associated with children included in the progressive obesity pattern rather than the stable average pattern. These associations were stronger for boys than for girls.
Multiple developmental patterns in Japanese boys and girls were identified, some of which have not been identified in Western countries. Maternal BMI and some unfavorable behaviors during early pregnancy may impact a child’s pattern of body mass development. Further studies to explain the gender and regional differences that were identified are warranted, as these may be important for early life prevention of weight-associated health problems.
PMCID: PMC3521723  PMID: 23272187
4.  Prevalence of birth defects and risk-factor analysis from a population-based survey in Inner Mongolia, China 
BMC Pediatrics  2012;12:125.
Birth Defects are a series of diseases that seriously affect children's health. Birth defects are generally caused by several interrelated factors. The aims of the article is to estimate the prevalence rate and types of birth defects in Inner Mongolia, China, to compare socio-demographic characteristics among the children with birth defects and to analyze the association between risk factors and birth defects.
Data used in this study were obtained through baseline survey of Inner Mongolia Birth Defects Program, a population-based survey conducted from 2005 to 2008. The survey used cluster sampling method in all 12 administrative districts of Inner Mongolia. Sampling size is calculated according to local population size at a certain percentage. All live births, stillbirths and abortions born from October 2005 to September 2008, whose families lived in Inner Mongolia at least one year, were included. The cases of birth defects were diagnosed by the clinical doctors according to their experiences with further laboratory tests if needed. The inclusion criteria of the cases that had already dead were decided according to death records available at local cites. We calculated prevalence rate and 95% confidence intervals of different groups. Outcome variable was the occurrence of birth defects and associations between risk factors and birth defects were analyzed by using Poisson regression analysis.
976 children with birth defects were diagnosed. The prevalence rate of birth defects was 156.1 per 10000 births (95%CI: 146.3-165.8). The prevalence rate of neural tube defect (20.1 per 10000 births) including anencephaly(6.9 per 10000), spina bifida (10.6 per 10000), and encephalocele (2.7 per 10000) was the highest, followed by congenital heart disease (17.1 per 10000). The relative risk (RR) for maternal age less than 25 was 2.22 (95%CI: 2.05, 2.41). The RR of the ethnic Mongols was lower than Han Chinese (RR: 0.84; 95%CI: 0.80-0.89). The RR of the third and second pregnancy was significantly higher than the first pregnancy while a slight difference between the second and the first pregnancy was also found. Alcohol drinking of mothers, familial inheritance and living area were also found to be related to the occurrence of the birth defects.
Relatively higher birth defect rates were found in Inner Mongolia. This study found that maternal age less than 25, alcohol drinking, familiar inheritance, lower education level of mothers, times of pregnancies and living in rural areas may increase the risk of birth defects. Ethnic Mongols were less likely to have birth defects than Han Chinese.
PMCID: PMC3473296  PMID: 22900612
Birth defects; Prevalence rate; Relative risk; Risk factors

Results 1-4 (4)