University of Minnesota

Naosuke Sasaki, MD, PhD

1921 — 2007

Naosuke Sasaki is a pioneer of CVD epidemiology in Japan with major contributions in diet and hypertension. Sasaki received his MD from Keio-Gijuku University in 1943, his PhD in 1950 and worked as professor of hygiene at Hirosaki University until retirement in 1986. He and his associates from the Department of Hygiene in Hirosaki University early noticed regional variations in mortality rates from cerebrovascular disease in Japan, and their special interest centered on the high dietary salt intake of Japan’s Tohoku district. Collaborating in the 1950s with the discoverer of the hypertension-prone rat, pathologist LK Dahl, Sasaki and associates sought to find out if Japan’s northern region, well known for its high salt intake, had higher morbidity compared with its low salt southern counterpart.

In an ecological study, they found a higher incidence of hypertension and cerebrovascular disease in Akita Prefecture and went on to find individual correlations with sodium intake. In another ecological study, they suggested that the apple growers of the region were protected by their higher potassium intake. In researching the regional variations in cerebrovascular disease, Sasaki and associates became pioneers in the epidemiological study of cerebrovascular disease, the major killer in Japan.

He wrote two popular books in Japan: The Apple in Health and Salt and Health and closed his career with intervention studies of electrolytes and hypertension. (HU/HB)


Hirotsugu Ueshima and Henry Blackburn

Image provided by:

Related Content

Study Synopses