The Tohoku Medical Megabank Project, a project designed to support the reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, is conducting a genome cohort study that will follow about 150,000 people. The project is being implemented in Miyagi Prefecture by Tohoku University and in Iwate Prefecture by Iwate Medical University. As of February 2014, the project had the participation of more than 20,000 community residents.
In order to execute the Tohoku Medical Megabank Project, Tohoku University founded the Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization (Executive Director: Masayuki Yamamoto; hereinafter, "ToMMo") in February 2012. The Tohoku Medical Megabank Project Community-Based Cohort Study (TMM CommCohort Study) commenced in May 2013. As of February 2014, this study had the participation of more than 9,000 Miyagi Prefecture residents. By the end of December 2013, the study findings were aggregated for approximately 40% of the participants, or 3,744 people.
The aggregate findings showed 27% of the 3,744 study participants had depressive tendencies. Possible causes include the effects of the experience of the disaster and the deaths of close relatives. The findings of a questionnaire study furthermore showed 5% had signs of PTSD. These residents are being provided with supports by clinical psychologists, including telephone counseling.
Approximately 10% of the study participants had kidney failure as well as elevated markers for heart failure. However, this was not a significant increase from the findings of past studies. Allergy tests showed that cedar pollen-related allergies accounted for the largest percentage of the 33 allergens tested (approximately 40%), and that this percentage decreased with age.
ToMMo will continue to analyze the findings of the cohort study, shed light on the physical, psychological, and social factors affecting the physical and mental well-being of residents in the wake of the disaster, and contribute to enhancing the support and reconstruction measures.