General Description of the Department and the Courses offered
The Department of Health Sciences was established on April 1st, 1981. Since then, the department has operated under the leadership of Professor Makoto HIGURASHI for about 7 years and of Professor Akio ASAKA for about next 10 years.
With regard to the education of undergraduate medical students, the department has been in charge of instruction in Public Health for the 3rd grade (lectures) and 6th grade (practice for public health) and Human Genetics for the 1st grade. Moreover, postgraduate students can participate in the Masters and Doctorate of Philosophy programs in Life Sciences (MLS and PhD, respectively) by undertaking research.
The aim of the department in the light of medical education and research is to carry out research on various fields of human health, thus contributing to the human health and welfare. In order to realize this objective, the staff of the department makes great efforts for education and research.
The Members of the Faculty (Area of Research)
|Professor||Zentaro YAMAGATA, M.D., Ph.D. (Public Health, Human Genetics, Epidemiology, Molecular Genetic Epidemiology)|
|Associate Professor||Kohta SUZUKI M.D., Ph.D. M.P.H. (Epidemiology, Public Health, Maternal and Child Health, Reproductive Medicine)|
|Assistant Professor||Hiroshi YOKOMICHI M.D. M.P.H. Dr.P.H. (Epidemiology, Public Health, Maternal and Child Health)|
|Assistant Professor||Sonoko MIZOROGI M.D. (Epidemiology, Public Health, Pediatrics)|
|Center for Birth Cohort Studies|
|Project Junior Associate Professor||Ryoji SHINOHARA Ph.D. (Epidemiology, Public Health, Maternal and Child Health)|
|Project Assistant Professor||Miri SATO Ph.D. (Epidemiology, Public Health, Maternal and Child Health)|
General Description of the Research Activities (themes)
There are mainly 2 research themes of the department. One of these is genetic research on various chronic diseases in humans. The other is a community-based longitudinal survey for research on maternal and child health.
1. Molecular Genetic Epidemiology
This research aims to clarify the association between the prevalence of chronic diseases and environmental factors with considering genetic factors. Moreover, we also examine the ethical, legal, and social concerns associated with the collection of individual genetic information for studies on the prevention of diseases.
2. Project Koshu: a dynamic ongoing prospective cohort study of pregnant women and their children in a Japanese rural area
In Japan, pregnant women must register their pregnancy at the city office, and children must undergo a medical checkup at the ages of 1.5, 3, and 5 years. To ascertain the lifestyle habits of expectant mothers, we first conducted a questionnaire-based survey of expectant mothers visiting the city office to register their pregnancy; informed consent was obtained prior to the survey. Next, during each medical checkup of the children born to these mothers, we surveyed the lifestyle habits of the children and their mothers by using a questionnaire. During the checkups, we also obtained the growth and physical data of the children.
We use these data to clarify the association maternal lifestyle during pregnancy and the physical and mental development of their offspring like the association between maternal smoking during pregnancy and childhood obesity. Recently, we have applied the multilevel analysis when we use the data of repeated measurement like childhood body mass index at each age.
In addition, we have been carrying out the national birth cohort study named "Japan Environmental and Children's Study (JECS)" with Center for Birth Cohort Studies since January of 2011. The purpose of this national study is to explore the effect of environment around children and mothers and their lifestyle habits on childhood growth and development. We will follow up these children until 13 years of age.