New Frontiers in Lifestyle-Related Diseases

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It is my great pleasure to publish New Frontiers in Lifestyle-Related Dis- eases, the proceedings of the Showa University International Symposium for Life Sciences, 3rd Annual Meeting, held at Showa University on Sep- tember 13, 2006. This symposium was supported, in part, by Grants for the Promotion of the Advancement of Education and Research in Graduate Schools and Ordinary Expenses for Private Schools from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan. On behalf of Showa University, I would like to express my deepest thanks to all the authors and editors for their great contribution to the publication of this memorable book that accelerates research activity in lifestyle-related diseases. Akiyoshi Hosoyamada, M.D., Ph.D. President, Showa University Tokyo, Japan September 2007 v Preface The leading cause of death in Western countries and some developing countries is atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases. Among them, acute myocardial infarction is the most common type of fatal disease, caused by the progression of atherosclerosis characterized by accumulation of choles- terol in vascular walls. Development of atherosclerosis is greatly enhanced by major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as obesity, hyperlip- idemia, diabetes (hyperglycemia), and hypertension. Among those, obesity frequently initiates a metabolic change that subsequently induces hyperlip- idemia, diabetes, hypertension, and eventually atherosclerotic cardiovascu- lar diseases. Because obesity and its related disorders largely depend on lifestyle factors such as high calorie intake and low physical activity, a series of disorders are termed lifestyle-related diseases.