Press Release: Income and impaired kidney function –the disparities of rapid kidney function decline and hemodialysis were 1.7 times– (Doctoral Student Ishimura)

Ph.D. student Ishimura and her team published a study examining the association between income and the development of impaired kidney function in JAMA Health Forum.
The study showed the lowest income group had 1.7 times higher risks of rapid kidney function decline and initiation of kidney replacement therapy (dialysis or kidney transplantation) than the highest income group, based on the analysis of 5.6 million insured individuals from the Japan Health Insurance Association.

Article: Ishimura N, Inoue K, Maruyama S, Nakamura S, Kondo N. Income Level and Impaired Kidney Function Among Working Adults in Japan. JAMA Health Forum. 2024;5(3):e235445.
DOI link:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2023.5445

Press release: 3.8 times the risk of depression when moving to temporary housing; however, those who changed their participation in group activities upon moving had a 40% reduction in the risk (Visiting Researcher Matsuoka)

A research group led by Yoko Matsuoka (Chiba University, Center for Preventive Medical Sciences) and Professor Naoki Kondo analyzed the effect of post-disaster relocation on mental health and the factors explaining this effect among the affected older adults of the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake.

Post-disaster relocation is a risk factor for worsening mental health, but the mechanism has not been elucidated. Therefore, we analyzed the effect of relocation on mental health by housing type and what factors explain this effect. We included 828 older adults aged 65 years or older who participated in the 2013 survey before the earthquake and seven months later in the 2016 survey in Mifune Town, Kumamoto Prefecture, which was affected by the April 2016 Kumamoto earthquake. Focusing on participation in group activities, the risk of depression due to relocation to temporary housing was 3.8 times higher for those who had no change before and after the earthquake, but this risk was reduced by 40% for those who had a change in group participation. After the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake, temporary housing facilities were relocated based on lessons learned from past earthquakes and tsunami disasters, including group relocation policies, the establishment of meeting places in proximity, and visitation activities by support centers. There, residents were able to change their involvement in group activities and optimize their connections, which may have led to a reduction in relocation stress.

The paper was published in BMC Public Health in the online edition on October 11, 2023.

The press release is available here.

[Article Information]

Yoko Matsuoka, Maho Haseda, Mariko Kanamori, Koryu Sato, Airi Amemiya, Toshiyuki Ojima, Daisuke Takagi, Masamichi Hanazato & Naoki Kondo. Does disaster-related relocation impact mental health via changes in group participation among older adults? Causal mediation analysis of a pre-post disaster study of the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake. BMC Public Health 23, 1982 (2023).


Paper Publication: Development and validation of Healthy Ageing indicator proposed by the United Nations (PhD student, Marisa Nishio)

Marisa Nishio, PhD student, announces the publication of a research paper concerning the validity of the concept of Healthy Ageing proposed by the United Nations.

The United Nations has designated the period from 2021 to 2030 as the “Decade of Healthy Ageing,” encouraging countries worldwide to monitor the progress of Healthy Ageing using Functional Ability as an indicator (Functional Ability refers to the combination of an individual’s physical and mental abilities and the supportive environment enabling them to utilize these abilities). However, the measurement for Functional Ability and its conceptual validity have not been extensively studied, making the implementation of monitoring efforts challenging.

This research utilized data from approximately 35,000 older individuals residing in Japan to develop a measurement for Functional Ability and assess its validities. 

Her study confirmed the empirical validity of Functional Ability. To promote the global dissemination and monitoring of Healthy Ageing, further research validating the concept of Functional Ability using data from other countries is essential.

This study was published in “Age and Ageing,” a journal by Oxford University Press. 

Press release is here

【Article information】

Nishio M, Haseda M, Inoue K, Saito M, Kondo N. Measuring functional ability in Healthy Ageing: testing its validity using Japanese nationwide longitudinal data. Age Ageing. 2024 Jan 2;53(1):afad224. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afad224. PMID: 38275093; PMCID: PMC10811647.

URL: Measuring functional ability in Healthy Ageing: testing its validity using Japanese nationwide longitudinal data | Age and Ageing | Oxford Academic (

Paper publication: Paramedics require more than 30 minutes of activity at the scene in older patients, female patients, fire accidents, natural disasters, motor vehicle accidents, assaults, self-injuries, number of hospital inquiries ≥ 4, and the COVID-19 pandemic among ambulance users with minor diseases or injuries (Assistant Professor Ueno)

Prolonged activity time of paramedics at the scene is a major global problem in the emergency medical system (EMS). Assistant Professor Keiko Ueno conducted collaborative research with Hiroshima University, utilizing data from the ambulance transportation and request call records databases of the Higashihiroshima Fire Department over a period of seven years. They revealed that paramedics required more than 30 minutes of activity at the scene in older patients, female patients, fire accidents, natural disasters, motor vehicle accidents, assaults, self-injuries, number of hospital inquiries ≥ 4, and the COVID-19 pandemic among ambulance users with minor diseases or injuries. We need to reconsider how to intervene with potentially modifiable factors, such as EMS personnel performance, the impact of the presence of allied services, hospital patient acceptance systems, and cooperation between general emergency and psychiatric hospitals to improve community EMS.
Article: Ueno, K., Teramoto, C., Nishioka, D. et al. Factors associated with prolonged on-scene time in ambulance transportation among patients with minor diseases or injuries in Japan: a population-based observational study. BMC Emerg Med 24, 10 (2024).

Press Release: Review of Screening and Assessment Tools for Social Determinants of Health in the Field of Cardiovascular Disease

We have published a comprehensive review article on screening and assessment tools for Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) in the field of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
This is a collaborative effort with researchers from the Department of Cardiology at St. Luke’s International Hospital and the Department of Academic Informatics at St. Luke’s International University.

The article elucidates the deployment of previously reported SDOH assessment tools in relation to CVD and the correlation between individual SDOH factors and CVD outcomes.
Our research findings were released on December 11, 2023, in the Circulation Journal, an international journal issued by the Japanese Circulation Society.
Press release is here (in Japanese)

【Article information】
Journal: Circulation Journal
Article title: Scoping Review of Screening and Assessment Tools for Social Determinants of Health in the
Field of Cardiovascular Disease
DOI: 10.1253/circj.CJ-23-0443

Press release: Depressive symptoms, suicide ideation and attempts are about twice as common among those who perceive community gender norms as restrictive (Collaborator Kanamori)

A research group led by Mariko Kanamori (Kyoto University Institute for the Future of Human and Society) and Professor Naoki Kondo reported the impact of perceived community gender norms, such as “You are a man/woman, you shouldn’t/shouldn’t do XXX”, on the mental health of older people.

Men who perceived the gender norms of the community they lived in as restrictive were 1.9 times more likely to have depressive symptoms, 2.0 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts and 2.2 times more likely to have attempted suicide. Similarly, women were 1.8 times more likely to have depressive symptoms, 2.1 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts and 2.6 times more likely to have attempted suicide.

The results of this study suggest that those who perceive the atmosphere in their community as being rigid about gender roles and think that it does not allow for diversity are less likely to seek help in times of need, which in turn has a negative impact on their mental health.

The paper was published in International Psychogeriatrics, a leading journal in the field of gerontology and psychology, in the First View online edition on November 6, 2023.

Mariko Kanamori, Andrew Stickley, Kosuke Takemura, Yumiko Kobayashi, Mayumi Oka, Toshiyuki Ojima, Katsunori Kondo, Naoki Kondo. Community gender norms, mental health and suicide ideation and attempts among older Japanese adults: a cross-sectional study. International Psychogeriatrics, 1-11.




The press release is available on Mariko Kanamori’s website.

Press Release: Dental visit rates among older public assistance recipients are more than 20% lower than among those who do not receive public assistance – Barriers other than economic factors to dental visits (Senior Lecturer Kino, Tokyo Medical and Dental University)

A research group led by Senior Lecturer Shiho Kino and Professor Jun Aida of the Department of Health Promotion Dentistry, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, in collaboration with Kyoto University and Osaka Medical and Pharmaceutical University, has found that older public assistance recipients have lower rates of dental visits for treatment and prevention than those not receiving public assistance.

This study suggests that barriers other than economic factors may exist for public assistance recipients to receive dental treatment. The study was published online on August 9, 2023, in the Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.

Article: Kino S, Ueno K, Nishioka D, Kondo N, Aida J. Prevalence of dental visits in older Japanese adults receiving public assistanceCommunity Dent Oral Epidemiol20230018.

DOI: 10.1111/cdoe.12902

Press Release (link to Tokyo Medical and Dental University HP, click here) * in Japanese

Press Release: 20% of Married Women who had Intended to Conceive Delay Childbearing under the COVID-19 and its Strong Association with Decline in Well-being (Associate Professor Matsushima, University of Tsukuba)

A paper authored by Associate Professor Midori Matsushima of the University of Tsukuba and a research group led by Professor Naoki Kondo has been accepted for publication in BMC Public Health. The paper elucidates the association between the COVID-19 pandemic and the postponement of pregnancy in Japan, and well-being of women who opted to delay childbearing were significantly lower than the women who did not.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 20% of married women who had initially intended to conceive before the pandemic decided to postpone their pregnancy. Furthermore, the study identified a robust connection between severe psychological distress, loneliness, and suicidal ideation during the pandemic, and the choice to delay pregnancy. These findings indicate concerns about the declining well-being of women during times of crisis and the necessity for society to establish comprehensive mental health support systems.

Article: Matsushima, M., Yamada, H., Kondo, N. et al. Married women’s decision to delay childbearing, and loneliness, severe psychological distress, and suicidal ideation under crisis: online survey data analysis from 2020 to 2021. BMC Public Health 23, 1642 (2023).

DOI:  10.1186/s12889-023-16476-z

Press Release (link to University of Tsukuba HP): p20230920140000.pdf ( *in Japanese

Paper Publication: Eight Countries’ Responses to Health Disparities in the COVID-19 Pandemic: How Did Primary Health Care and Public Health Work Together? (Professor Kondo and Researcher Nishioka)

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been noted that there were significant disparities in access to medical care. The situation varied greatly from country to country. Therefore, primary health care and public health researchers from eight countries gathered to examine each country’s response situation. In particular, they clarified the current state of cooperation between the medical sector (clinics and hospitals) and the public health sector (public health centers and municipal health centers, etc.), which are emphasized in order to mitigate disparities.

As a result, it was confirmed that it is essential to develop a mechanism for cooperation between the two sectors in normal times, and in doing so, it is important to establish a mechanism that should take into account the social determinants of health (e.g., poverty, isolation, etc.) of the target population.

Please click here for detailed information.

Press Release: Development of a new method for tailor-made health support for public assistance recipients (Assistant Professor Ueno)

Health is the cornerstone of life. Protecting the health of individuals receiving welfare support, including public assistance recipients, is especially important. Since 2021, welfare offices in Japan have been obliged to implement health management support programs for public assistance recipients. To provide health and life support efficiently and effectively, we have developed a new tailor-made support method using a marketing technique.

In marketing, the target audience for services is classified according to their characteristics (segmentation) to identify priority individuals and design services tailored to these characteristics. In applying this approach, we used data on public assistance recipients aged ≥65 years to extract five distinct segments via soft clustering, a machine learning technique. We examined the similarities between the extracted segments and public assistance recipients in practice by interviewing caseworkers at welfare offices. The results showed that caseworkers perceived several segments as those in practice. Moreover, we extracted segments with characteristics that caseworkers had not been aware of previously.

Accordingly, we have been developing a tailor-made health support system that presents support plans for each segment.


Article: Ueno, K., Nishioka, D., Saito, J. et al. Identifying meaningful subpopulation segments among older public assistance recipients: a mixed methods study to develop tailor-made health and welfare interventions. Int J Equity Health 22, 146 (2023).