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Hiromi Shinya

Hiromi Shinya (新谷弘実 Shin'ya Hiromi?, born 1935) is a Japanese-born gastroenterologist. He practices half of the year in Japan and the other half in the United States. He is a clinical professor of surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University; head of the endoscopic center at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, New York; and Vice-chairman of the Japanese Medical Association in the United States. He pioneered modern colonoscopic techniques, and invented the electrosurgical polypectomy snare now common on colonoscopes, allowing for removal of colon polyps without invasive surgery. He is also author of The Enzyme Factor, the English translation of his book on the relationship between enzymes and health that has sold two million copies in Japan.


Early Life

Hiromi Shinya was born in 1935 in the city of Yanagawa in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan (Shinya Medical Clinic: About Dr. Shinya). From a young age, his mother encouraged him to earn a medical degree and pursue medicine in the United States. He graduated from Juntendo University School of Medicine in 1960. He then applied with nine hundred other candidates for one of fourteen openings for interns at the United States Naval Hospital in Yokosuka. Passage of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates examination was required for the program, necessitating a high degree of English fluency, so he "spent a lot of time going to American movies" (Sivak 2004, p. 978) to prepare.

Work with Colonoscopy

Following the internship, Dr. Shinya began his residency at Toho University Hospital, with the hope of becoming a neurosurgeon. However, when a position was offered to him in 1963 in another program to which he had applied, he accepted it. He left Japan for New York, New York to complete a surgical residency at Beth Israel Medical Center. In 1967, Dr. Shinya became involved with colonoscopy as a senior resident at Beth Israel (Shinya Medical Clinic: About Dr. Shinya).

Dr. Shinya began developing colonoscopic techniques with an esophagoscope from Olympus Optical Co., Ltd.. The instrument was a short fiberscope with a two-way maneuverable tip and was designed for use on the esophagus, but with it, Dr. Shinya was able to reach the splenic flexure--the first bend in the colon--about 50% of the time. While other doctors were concurrently developing colonoscopic techniques, most of them practiced a two-person technique, with one person controlling the direction of the tip while the other controlled insertion. Dr. Shinya was in the minority who rejected this procedure, preferring to develop methods which allowed one endoscopist to perform colonoscopy reliably. As a result, "many and probably most of the fundamental principles of the procedure [colonoscopy] were developed by Dr. Shinya" (Sivak 2004, p. 978). By the beginning of 1969, Olympus had introduced several iterations of dedicated colonoscopes, and Dr. Shinya was able to reach the cecum--located at the end of the colon--in 90% of his patients (Sivak 2004, p. 978-9).

Dr. Shinya's other great contribution to colonoscopy was the invention of the electrosurgical polypectomy snare, with the support of Olympus employee Hiroshi Ichikawa. Even before the results of the National Polyp Study linked colon polyps to colon cancer, Dr. Shinya instinctively "thought the polyp was the forerunner of cancer and that removing these polyps could reduce the risk of cancer" (Sivak 2004, p. 979). Since polyp removal accounted for 30% of the colon surgery of the day, Dr. Shinya's primary focus from his first experiences with colonoscopy was a noninvasive method of performing polypectomy. On January 8, 1969, he and Hiroshi Ichikawa sketched out the first plans for a snare attached to the end of a colonoscope that would allow for easy removal of polyps during colonoscopy (Sivak 2004, p. 979). They experimented with different types of wire, testing them on animal bowels. Within a few months, they had a workable polypectomy snare (Sivak 2004, p. 981). Dr. Shinya then performed the first colonoscopic electrosurgical snare polypectomy in September of 1969. In 1970, he delivered the first report of the procedure to the New York Surgical Society, and in May of 1971 presented his experiences to the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (Sivak 2004, p. 977,981).

This development made Dr. Shinya famous worldwide. There was immediate demand for his procedure, with his performing 20 colonoscopies a day. To date, he has performed approximately 300,000 colonoscopies and given nearly 300 live demonstrations of the technique. Polypectomy has gone on to surpass "all other endoscopic therapeutic procedures in terms of numbers performed" and "impacts the lives of millions of people throughout the world." According to Michael Sivak, Jr., it is the most important achievement in gastrointestinal endoscopy (Sivak 2004, p. 981).


Dr. Shinya has authored a number of books in Japan, of which Living without Disease: A Miracle Enzyme Determines Life (病気にならない生き方 ミラクル・エンザイムが寿命を決める) is the most well-known. It has sold over 2 million copies internationally since its release in July, 2005. Its English translation, entitled The Enzyme Factor was published in October, 2007 by Council Oak Books. It is an alternative health title which stresses the importance to health of a "source" enzyme identified by Shinya. The book explains how to maintain proper levels of this enzyme through proper nutrition and lifestyle and the effects this will have on health and longevity. Dr. Shinya uses his 45 years of experience in gastroenterology to support his claims (Council Oak Books: The Enzyme Factor).

Notes and References

  1. Sivak, Jr., Michael V. (2004-12). "Polypectomy: Looking Back". Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 60 (6): 977-982. ISSN 1097-6779.
  2. About Dr. Hiromi Shinya. Shinya Medical Clinic. Retrieved on 2007-10-04.
  3. The Enzyme Factor. Council Oak Books. Retrieved on 2007-10-15.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hiromi_Shinya". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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