Ziro Kaneko graduated from the Osaka University Medical School in May 1938, and entered the Department of Neuropsychiatry of Osaka University. He worked as an army surgeon in China from 1939 to 1946. In 1946 he recommenced his career as an instructor in the Department of Neuropsychiatry of Osaka University. In 1949, he became Associate Professor at the Nara Prefecture Medical School where he founded the Department of Psychiatry and becoming its Head. In 1953, he was promoted to full professorship. In 1956 he assumed the post of Professor of the Department of Neuropsychiatry at Osaka University.
Kaneko was a pioneer in the field of Geriatric Psychiatry in Japan. He had outstanding achievement as a researcher and co-researcher in a variety of fields: clinical neurology, ultrasonic doppler flowmetry, psychosomatic medicine, psychosomatic correlation and hypnosis, psychophysiology employing the electroencephalograph and polygraph, psychological tests as intelligence and personality testing, psychopathology, the psychiatry of puberty, the biochemistry in senile dementia and the clinical practice for the dying.In 1978 he retired form Osaka University with the title of Professor Emeritus bestowed on him. He then took up the appointment as Director of the Kansai Rosai Hospital, where he served until 1990. Kaneko wrote in 1986 the article titled "First Steps in the Development of the Doppler Flowmeter" in Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, 12:189, where he detailed the early development of doppler ultrasound in Japan, and pointed out the pioneering work in contrast to that at the University of Washington in the United States. His group had started their study on the determination of cerebral circulation around 1954 for the differential diagnosis of cerebrovascular dementia and the Alzheimer form of senile dementia. In 1956 after moving to Osaka University, he pioneered ultrasonic Doppler flowmetry with Shigeo Satomura in his pursuit of an easy-to-handle-method of assessing cerebral blood flow in the collaboration of young co-researchers, cardiologist and physicists. In 1960, Kaneko presented the paper "Ultrasonic Blood Rheograph" (with Satomura) at the Third International Conference on Medical Electronics in London.
Kaneko postulated that while the doppler flowmeter could not measure the quantitative blood flow volume, it could examine qualitatively the characteristic rheological changes of blood flow in various clinical conditions. In the summary of the paper, Satomura and Kaneko wrote, "Ultrasonic waves are transmitted to the blood vessels from the surface of the skin and, by demodulating and amplifying the reflected waves that are produced by the turbulent flow within the blood stream, a noise is obtained that changes its intensity in proportion to the velocity of flow of the blood. It is thus possible to determine the state of the blood flow in the arteries and veins and to judge the condition of the blood vessels ......". This was the precursor of spectral flow analysis. The first commercial aparatus was built and marketed by NEC (Nippon Electric Company) and was called a Doppler Rheograph.
Kaneko has a gentle nature. He was always deeply involved with his specialty and had successively held the post of chairman of many large academic societies. He also faced an extremely difficult situation as director of Osaka University Hospital during the period of political conflicts in colleges and universities in Japan. Invariably he coped with the difficulties with success. Professor Kaneko passed away because of gastric cancer on September 21, 1997 at the age of 82.
Partly excerpted from an obituary by Dr. Hideki Kondo, his good friend and colleague.
Copyright © Neurosonology Research Group.
A brief history of the pioneering work in Doppler applications in Japan is described here.
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