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Otorhinolaryngology

  • Tamotsu Harada, M.D., Ph.D. Professor and Chairman
  • Takeshi Akisada, M.D., Ph.D., Professor
INDEX :  Main Areas and Themes of Research    Clinical Features
       Educational Features

Main Areas and Themes of Research

Our main focuses in clinical research are allergies, centering on the nose, and deafness. The incidence of allergic rhinitis is increasing every year, most markedly with hay fever. The symptoms of hay fever are violent in nature, differing in many ways from house-dust allergy. We are presently elucidating the nature of these differences. Our clinical research on deafness includes the effects of cochlear implants on the central nervous system, and the effects of rehabilitation. Patient numbers are small, and our findings are only preliminary, but we have found small but definite results with our patients who have had cochlear implant surgery and are now undergoing speech therapy.

In addition to these clinical studies, based at the postgraduate school, we are also conducting research into autoimmune deafness and the morphology and electrophysiology of the inner ear, as well as other subjects. Since these studies have only been underway for three years, results are somewhat limited, but new and important information is beginning to emerge. The following clinical and basic research projects are presently in progress:

1) Central response to cochlear implants

2) Surgery techniques of the middle ear

3) The connection between autoimmune diseases and deafness

4) Stress and diseases of the ear, nose and throat

5) The pathology of otitis media with effusion

6) Nasal allergy

7) The morphology and electrophysiology of the inner ear

8) Molecular biological aspects of the function of the stria vascularis ductus cochlearis

9) Treatment of malignancies of the head and neck

Clinical Features

The field of otorhinolaryngology (ENT) deals with conditions of the ear, sinuses, mouth, pharynx, larynx, trachea and esophagus. These parts of the body encompass a variety of senses (taste, smell, hearing and balance) and functions vital for daily living (speaking, breath, eating and swallowing). The field of ENT overlaps many other specialties, encompassing medical conditions such as vertigo and allergic rhinitis, as well as conditions requiring surgery such as hypopharyngeal cancer. Our medical treatment will be performed not only for medical management, but also for surgical treatment against conditions such as allergy, trauma, infectious disease, benign tumor and cancer, and so on, from the baby to the adult.

Educational Features

A sufficient degree of basic knowledge is therefore an obvious requirement, and the main portions of ENT Department lectures are included in the block of lectures related to the senses. We encourage our students to achieve a good grasp of the lecture content, and then as part of their clinical experience to observe hearing and balance testing, see patients with their teachers, and thereby gain a deep and practical understanding of the field of otorhinolaryngology. Some students are unable, however, to achieve a thorough clinical understanding due to time restraints or an insufficiently broad patient mix. For these students, we set aside time to present cases using slides and case histories, deepening their understanding of the full range of conditions.

Postgraduate training begins with two years as a resident. During that period, each resident who wants to study otolaryngology spends at least 1 to 12 months in the ENT Department, and for the rest of the time rotates through the other departments. This enables them to acquire a variety of clinical skills, producing useful medical practitioners. As previously mentioned, the field of otorhinolaryngology is a broad one, and is strongly interconnected with other specialties. During this term, we aim to produce a clinician able to provide first-rate primary care, and to respond to the demands of society.

On completion of their residency, residents may choose to go on to become senior residents of the ENT Department, and conduct clinical research while acquiring a higher level of knowledge and skills in the field of otorhinolaryngology. Some residents instead go on to postgraduate studies, and conduct basic research.