• Top
  • Research
  • Cohort Study and Biobank
  • Community-Based Cohort Study (TMM CommCohort Study)
  • Community-Based Cohort Study (TMM CommCohort Study)

    The Community-Based Cohort Study (CommCohort Study) is conducted by Tohoku University Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization (ToMMo) and Iwate Medical University Iwate Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization (IMM). From May 2013 to March 2016, we have achieved our goal of recruiting over 80,000 participants, with a focus on residents from Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures, who are older than 20-years of age. ToMMo has recruited at municipality setting based specific health checkup sites or 7 Community Support Centers in Miyagi. After the participants’ informed consent, ToMMo conducts questionnaires to gain data on participants’ daily lifestyle habits. Biological specimens such as blood and urine are also collected for examination. More detailed surveys are conducted at the centers, along with the collection of a large amount and variety of analytical data.

    Details of TMM BirThree Cohort Study
    Number of participants Approx. 84,000 people
    Recruitment period
    (Baseline assessment)
    From July 2013 to March 2016
    Follow up phase Commenced in June 2017, ongoing
    Secondary assessment: June 2017 to March 2021
    Tertiary assessment: July 2021 to present
    Participants Residents of Miyagi Prefecture and Iwate Prefecture whom are 20-years of age and older
    Recruitment methods -Recruitment for study participation at municipality setting-based specific health checkup sites
    -Promote visits to the Community Support Centers (Miyagi), and satellites (Iwate) through public relations activities
    Requested cooperation Questionnaire, check-ups at the center, collection of various biological specimens (including specimens for genetic analysis); follow-up studies (annual questionnaire and health survey at the center)
    Major target diseases* Chronic diseases
    -Heart disease
    -Cerebrovascular disorders
    -Mental disease
    * Our major focuses are the common diseases that involve the interplay between genetic factors and environmental factors. We have chosen the targeted diseases listed above because of concerns over the potential increase in their prevalence in disaster-affected areas and/ or the degree of disease burden on the population in general.

    Hozawa Atsushi, Tanno Kozo, Nakaya Naoki, et al. Study profile of the Tohoku Medical Megabank Community-Based Cohort Study. Journal of Epidemiology. 2021; 31 (1): 65-76. doi:10.2188/jea.JE20190271
    Other Major Publications (cohort study)


    Follow up

    To understand the distribution of long-term health, we have conducted follow-up surveys as one of the many established methods of investigation. Three major types of surveys are conducted: mailed questionnaires (approximately once every five years ), information obtained from public institutions, and face-to-face surveys conducted at Community Support Centers (approximately once every five years). We also conduct surveys on disease onset based on questionnaires from the participants themselves and disease onset information obtained from public institutions. We have also received responses from many medical facilities in the prefecture regarding stroke, myocardial infarction, and angina pectoris. In addition, we are collecting information on medical expenses and data on specific health checkups. We are also working on obtaining information on long-term care insurance.

    To grasp a better understanding of the changes in health conditions over time, secondary assessments, that involve the participants visiting the Community Support Centers every 3-5 years, were conducted from June 2017 till March 2021. Additionally, the tertiary assessment was conducted from July 2021 onwards. Participants in the baseline study are asked to return to the center for checkups, blood and urine collection, and answering questionnaires. As a general rule, these visits occur once every 5 years to ensure that we continue to collect high quality, and highly accurate data for research, that reflects the changes that can be observed over time. The CommCohort Study is further enriched with information to elucidate genetic and environmental interactions for dementia, respiratory function changes, and sensory function changes.

    In addition, mainly at the request of private companies, detailed surveys have been conducted on several add-on studies (surveys that are conducted in addition to cohort surveys already conducted), thus broadening the range of survey items utilized.


    Results from the cohort study

    From the CommCohort Study, changes in various health aspects associated with areas that experienced disaster were found. The severe damages of the Great East Japan Earthquake still remain here in the Tohoku region. These results were informed to local governments and were utilized in policy making that proceeded after the disaster.

    ・The risk of psychological distress, depressive symptoms, insomnia, and PTSR (post-traumatic stress reaction) were higher in the coastal area compared to the inland area.

    ・The house damage inflicted by the Great East Japan Earthquake (GEJE) was closely related to metabolic syndrome and its components.

    ・The damage inflicted by the GEJE was closely related to the interruption of hypertension treatment.

    ・The ratio of frequency of Helicobacter pylori infection was not altered by GEJE severity.