[Neuro-otology: Branch of clinical medicine which treats neurological disorders of the ear]
- Soma City [is] 44 km north of Fukushima Daiichi… almost all patients who require hospitalization for ear, nose, and throat (ENT) care were referred to our department… We thus investigated the influence of the disaster on internal ear diseases.
- Regarding the evacuation area, the total number of patients [in the ENT department]increased 4.64 times [364% in 1st year], 4.24 times [324% in 2nd year], and 4.54 times[354% in 3rd year] compared with the number before the disaster.
- New patients [with vertigo, Meniere’s disease, and acute low-tone sensorineural hearing loss] in Shinchi Town… increased by 64.3%, 114.3%, and 46.4% [in years 1, 2, and 3] respectively… In the case of Minami-Soma City, except the evacuation area… increased by 84.2%, 152.6%, and 142.1%, respectively… Regarding the evacuation area… the numbers of patients with vertigo, MD, or ALHL became 7 times [600% increase in 1st year], 5 times [400% increase in 2nd year], and 7 times [600% increase in 3rd year].
- Although the causes for MD and ALHL are still unknown [the rise] might be due to increased tension and stress… As for the cases [of vertigo] we were unable to establish the neuro-otologic pathogeneses in… 72% [and] there may have been cases ofpsychogenic dizziness… administration of an anti-vertigenous drug or advice to keep calm and to have a sound mind did not help… There were some difficult cases where ENT treatment alone did not work, presumably because these cases were complicated with some mental diseases… In some serious cases, we… referred the patients to psychiatric care or prescribed psychosomatic medicine. Some patients refused our advice… or to admit that they had a mental problem.
- The number of reported cases of heart disease and brain infarction have increased in the devastated area… Diabetes, osteoporosis, and psychiatric illnesses were feared to have worsened… There is a great concern that there will be additional health hazards, and we strongly feel the need for administrative support.