Conference Highlights

Article Conference CoverageFrom the 9th World Congress on Menopause - Yokohama, Japan-2000

Audio/Video Link  *requires RealPlayer - free download  “Professor Aso, we are here at the 9th World Conference on Menopause, and you are President of this Conference.  Could you tell us what the main topics of this Conference are?”

Professor Takeshi Aso:  “As everybody is aware of all over the world, the population of the elderly is increasing dramatically.  We determined this when we started to organize this Congress and we selected topics closely related to the healthcare for the elderly.  That is one of the major topics and probably healthy aging in the 21st century is a major topic we’re also covering.”  “This is very general and I think it’s not only a medical problem but also a political one.”

Professor Takeshi Aso  “Yes, exactly, so we’re not only including the medical topics but also the social, cultural, and ethnic in every aspect that we’re going to discuss at this Congress.”  “There was a big session about cultural influences on menopause and the behavior in menopause - the complaints.  Is there anything special about this Congress being held in Japan?” 

Professor Takeshi Aso:  “Yes, this is the first Congress held in the Asian Pacific region so we’re very happy to introduce the culture or ethnic aspects of menopausal women to the Western or European people.  In some of the program, many people will appreciate the presentation showing the specific aspect of the menopausal symptoms, what the influence of the tradition is on their lifestyle, and what is influenced on those factors on current menopausal women.”  “Could you tell us what’s some typical differences between the Eastern oriental women and, let’s say, the Western Europe or United States women?”

Professor Takeshi Aso:  “It has been reported that many Western women complain of hot flashes as the most typical sign of the climatic symptom, whereas with the women in Asia, the incidence of that kind of climatic symptom is less than those of the Western women.  It has not been fully understood what factors have a big influence of those changes but probably the lifestyle and especially the diet habits, particularly the high intake of soy could be one of the important factors to induce that kind of difference between these two areas.”  “This intake of soy because of the fetal estrogens but also it’s been stated that especially in Japan and in China the Confucianism could have some influence.  Could you explain that a little bit?”

Professor Takeshi Aso:  “Basically, Japanese women consider menopause as a segment of their life stage and not particularly accompanied by the severe symptoms.  So they consider that it is a natural way and the problem occurring in that stage will be diminished after a certain year naturally.  So basically, they do not want to have special intervention, and they probably prefer to adjust their lifestyle and not take any HRT or those kinds of medicine.”  “Let’s change to one of the opening lectures by Professor Berger.  He told us about HRT and that there are a lot of advantages but also a lot of drawbacks.  There are a lot of negative things with it.  Do you think with this Conference we now have a little bit more light on this discussion?”

Professor Takeshi Aso:  “Yes, HRT is now widely used in the Western country and not so much in Japan, and we always ask ourselves what makes such a big difference between Japan and other Western countries.  Professor Berger clearly indicated the benefits and risks of HRT and what the future of HRT is.  At this Congress, we studied the information he provided as probably many of the Japanese and of course the other top specialists from other countries are with new information, and they were going to conduct their own studies in their own countries and that makes some changes in the future in using the HRT as a proper way.”  “You as a professional can oversee the field of menopause, what do you think is the most important news you heard at this Conference up until now?”

Professor Takeshi Aso:  “Of course, we have a lot of new information from the many informative presentations and lectures.  I am particularly interested in the mental disorder or the dementia that is increasingly important for the next century, and we have many basic science information and also clinical intervention for those disorders.”  “You’re now talking about dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  Do you also mean perhaps even more larger aspects of depressive disorders?”

Professor Takeshi Aso:  “Yes, including depressive disorders and we in Japan have a large number of menopausal women suffering from the depressive and mood problem in the course of menopause so that is a very important issue for us in how to give them proper treatment or intervention.”  “It’s all turning around to estrogens and when I was listening to one of the lectures this afternoon about the metabolics of the brain and disorders, I thought as a man, would it be necessary to take estrogens as well in the future?”

Professor Takeshi Aso:  “I’m not sure but that’s kind of a promising way but we need further investigation; what the background is with two years of estrogen for women and for men also.”  “The next Conference will be in Berlin in 2002 within three years, so could you already suggest what would be the most important topics then?”

Professor Takeshi Aso:  “Now we have obtained a lot of scientific information on the medical intervention for the menopausal problem but it’s my impression the awareness of the public of the importance of the preventive care in the menopausal period is not enough.  So probably in the next Congress we can compare how the public are educated or the promotion to be involved in their own healthcare by themselves; that means we reduce the medical expenditures for the cure medicine and also the preventive care has a much greater advantage than the cure medicine.”  “Is that the reason you also had a large women’s health fair connected with this Conference?”

Professor Takeshi Aso:  “That’s right, that is our goal to spread the scientific information to the public and in an easier understanding fashion.”  “Thank you very much, Professor Aso.”

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