The Pathology Division of the National Institute for Occupational Health has stored and maintained histology materials from deceased miners examined for compensation, since the establishment of the NIOH in 1957. This archival collection of blocks and slides is of great value to pathologists and scientists nationally and internationally who study mining related diseases and many visit the division and undertake collaborative research.
Our current visitor is Professor Koichi Honma from Japan. Prof Honma studied medicine at Tohoku University, situated in Sendai, Northern Japan. Since qualifying in 1979, he has been employed as a pathologist at Dokkyo University in Tochigi, Central Japan, which has 1200 bed hospital. The anatomical pathology section has a staff complement of 11 technologists and 8 pathologists on a part time and full time basis.
Before 2001 Prof Honma had visited the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the United States of America regularly to investigate the pathology of Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis. His aim was to get an overall view and insight of occupational lung disease throughout the world. His last visit to the USA was in August 2001. After the attack on the twin towers in September the same year, he decided to shift his focus.
During his working career as a pathologist he was impressed with the quality of papers that were written from South Africa, and after contacting Prof Murray, has been a regular visitor to our pathology division since the end of 2001.
The collection of blocks and slides dating back to the start of the unit has been invaluable to him, and he has become very interested in the material on asbestos related diseases. This was the only country which mined all three types of asbestos in the past, and has therefore a unique collection of the pathology of asbestos related lung diseases, which is invaluable source of information for research.
Prof Honma’s primary purpose is to review the cases, especially those prior to 1975 which is when the data was first computerized and he will provide reports on these early cases for computerisation, thus completing the NIOH electronic autopsy database. His current interest is to investigate early changes of abestosis caused by amphibole asbestos.
The Pathology department welcomes all visitors (national and international) and assists them with their research and seeks to make their stay at NIOH as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.