According to Tamiji Nakashima, an anatomist at the University of Occupational and Environmental Health in Kitakyushu, the investigators studied the remains of samurai men, their wives and children, about 70 in total. Earlier tests had found unusually high levels in the women compared to men; the last study looked at the children. The researchers tested for lead in rib bones, x-rayed the childrens’ arm and leg bones looking for signs of lead poisoning.
The Japanese scientists had already concluded that the lead levels in women were directly related to the white face paint popular in aristocratic circles, which turned out to be loaded with lead. They wondered if exposure to the same material might have harmed the children and the new results showed them precisely right; they found evidence of lead levels more than 120 times background level as well as bands of lead deposits in the bones.
Nakashima and his colleagues believe that the children were poisoned by touch, as they were fed, hugged, carried by their mothers, the lead-rich paint rubbed off on them. They also speculate that the gradual lead-poisoning – with its inevitable taint of death and disability – helped put an end to the shogunate reign in the late 19th century, setting up the transfer of power to an emperor.
In 1881, researchers at Massachusetts’ Worcester Asylum for the Insane learned about recovery when they surveyed 1,157 people who had been discharged dating back to 1840. Of the patients who were discharged as “recovered,” 58 percent remained well for the remainder of their lives. The idea of recovery in the United States is also closely connected to the recovery movement in the substance abuse field, particularly with Alcoholics Anonymous, which began in the 1930s as a fellowship of people focused on sobriety.
The normal process of recovery was often stilted in the United States throughout the 1940s and 1950s as state hospitals sought more to confine patients than to help them recover. Even throughout the years of deinstitutionalization that began in the 1970s, people with mental health disorders were frequently told that they would likely get worse and even lose their jobs and their friends. Despite these falsehoods, people with mental health disorders have continued to believe in themselves and in one another and to help one another recover.