Tohoku University Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization (ToMMo) has revealed that in 2014, three years after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, depressive symptoms continue to be higher in the coastal areas than in the inland areas of Miyagi Prefecture.

Since 2011, about a quarter of the residents on the Pacific coast of Miyagi Prefecture have been suffering from depression. That's a slightly higher rate compared to the number of those living in inland areas. These findings are from the third round of announcements from the Tohoku Medical Megabank Project Community-Based Cohort Study conducted by ToMMo.

In the current analyses, we found the following results.

  • The participants living on the Pacific coast have a higher risk of mental health problems such as depression. However, in fiscal year 2014, the difference in risk levels between the coastal and inland areas decreased slightly compared to fiscal year 2013.
  • The rate of participants who stopped hypertension treatment in coastal area was higher than those in inland areas.
  • Many participants seemed to start taking sleep medicine as a result of psychological stress and changes in lifestyle.

The Tohoku Medical Megabank Project Community-Based Cohort Study was conducted in 21 cities and towns in fiscal year 2013-2014. The findings are based on answers from questionnaires, and the examinations of blood and urine samples of a total of 24,703 residents (some 7,000 in fiscal year 2013 and 17,000 in fiscal year 2014).

The participating residents were recruited at health checkup sites established by municipalities in Miyagi Prefecture.