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Pediatrician advocates use of ‘evidence-based medicine’ in Japan

by

Kyodo

A Tokyo pediatrician is working to promote “evidence-based medicine” and ensure that medical treatments used in Japan are backed by the highest-quality international research.

Rintaro Mori, 44, is co-director of the Japanese branch of the Cochrane Collaboration, an international nonprofit organization that aims to produce credible health information based on research.

For around 20 years, the group, named after British medical researcher Archie Cochrane, has been the organizer of the “Cochrane Reviews,” which seek to identify the most effective treatments through rigorous analysis of medical research.

The reviews help doctors, drug manufacturers and patients make the best decisions about medicine, nutrition and other treatment based on the best available evidence, according to Mori.

“Developing nations need to enhance their medical systems in order to protect the health of pregnant women and their babies,” Mori said.

“A systematic medicine is necessary in Japan, too, where doctors are getting exhausted because they have had to do everything all alone,” he said. “The significance of the Cochrane Reviews has been increasing.”

Mori himself had no idea about the reviews until he started working in Australia.

Mori, who hails from the port city of Kobe, graduated from Okayama University. He went to work at a hospital in Australia, where he encountered the Cochrane Reviews.

“Trainee doctors from various other countries were often saying, ‘The Cochrane Reviews say this and that,’ ” Mori said. “I was shocked to learn that there is such a convenient system.”

He explained that the Australian hospital covered a vast area, even wider than the whole of Japan, and needed a sophisticated and consistent treatment system.

“It is the reason why the Cochrane Reviews play an important role,” he said.

Mori then studied public health in London and helped draw up guidelines on childbirth and medical treatment for childhood diseases at an organization backed by the British government.

He later produced reviews that served as the foundation for the guidelines.

After returning to Japan seven years ago, Mori became head of the health policy department at the National Center for Child Health and Development in Tokyo.

Mori, who also conducts research on global health, said, “I hope to find more people willing to help create reviews.”