Study underway over Noto quake impact on cognitive function

A group of researchers are conducting a survey of elderly people over the impact of the Noto Peninsula earthquake on cognitive function.

Researchers from Kanazawa University and other bodies are carrying out the survey in an area of Nanao City, Ishikawa Prefecture, on the Sea of Japan coast. A major earthquake hit the region on New Year's Day, causing severe damage.

Researchers are calling on about 2,400 residents aged 65 or over to participate in the study.

On Monday, about 80 people gathered at a welfare center. They received health checks, including a test of cognitive function and a blood test to look for substances believed to be related to dementia.

The researchers also questioned the participants about changes in their lives, such as damage to their houses and the use of shelters. The residents were also asked how they feel about their current circumstances.

Kanazawa University began conducting epidemiological surveys on dementia in the area 18 years ago.

The researchers say they are able to closely study the impact of the quake on elderly people's cognitive function by comparing data from before and after the disaster.

They plan to conduct the survey for three years and will also use diagnostic imaging equipment to check brain function.

Kanazawa University Professor Ono Kenjiro points out that disasters, such as powerful earthquakes, could take place anywhere.

He says he hopes to find out ways to prevent the deterioration of cognitive function when disasters strike, by extensively studying connections between the quake and cognitive function.