1. Alexisomia (shitsu-taikan-sho in Japanese) ＜日本語＞
“Shitsu-taikan-sho” (alexisomia in English) is a concept first proposed by Dr. Yujiro Ikemi in 1979 to categorize symptoms commonly observed in patients with psychosomatic diseases. Shitsu-taikan-sho is defined as the condition of having difficulty in experiencing bodily feelings (shitu=lack, taikan=bodily feelings, sho=symptoms or conditions). Although a considerable number of papers on shitsu-taikan-sho have been published in Japan, there still remain many questions including how shitsu-taikan-sho influences pathophysiology and which underlying characteristics shitsu-taikan-sho represents in individual diseases. Another problem on shitsu-taikan-sho is that the original definition of shitsu-taikan-sho given by Ikemi was vague and standardized methods to evaluate shitsu-taikan-sho have yet to be developed.
To better clarify the concept of shitsu-taikan-sho, we reviewed how Ikemi conceptualized shitsu-taikan-sho and its historical background. We also extracted various descriptions of shitsu-taikan-sho from his papers and books and summarized the specific components that comprise shitsu-taikan-sho. Ikemi proposed that the following senses are impaired in shitsu-taikan-sho, resulting in reduced awareness: (1) senses that are necessary to maintain homeostasis such as hunger and somnolence; (2) senses associated with adaptive processes to changes in environment that subjects normally feel as warning signs (such as fatigue); and (3) senses that accompany physical diseases; i.e., subjective symptoms such as chill and pain. Ikemi added that shitsu-taikan-sho-prone individuals also have problems in expressing such bodily feelings and in responding accordingly in addition to having difficulties in awareness. Furthermore, he mentioned that such individuals are apt to lead unhealthy and self-destructive lifestyles, have decreased sensitivity to seasonal changes, and have little chance to experience contact with natural environment.
Now, we’ve launched to develop a questionnaire to evaluate shitsu-taikan-sho and to study the significance of shitsu-taikan-sho in the development of stress-related, psychosomatic diseases.
1) Takakazu Oka, Tomoko Matsushita, Tatsuyuki Arimura: Historical review of alexisomia (shitsu-taikan-sho) and its characteristics. Jpn J Psychosom Med 51,978-985,2011.
2) Tomoko Matsushita, Tatsuyuki Arimura, Takakazu Oka: Trends in alexisomia research and future problems. Jpn J Psychosom Med 51, 376-83,2011.