Health

News

22 Sep 2020
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, many organisations have adopted work from home (WFH) practice for months. A recent survey conducted by Lingnan University (LU) in Hong Kong reveals that over 80 per cent of respondents prefer WFH for at least one day per week even after the pandemic. More than 70 per cent of respondents said WFH allowed them to have more time to rest while 64 per cent said the practice helped reduce work stress. Conducted by the School of Graduate Studies of LU from 8 to 26 April 2020, the online survey collected valid responses from 1,976 Hong Kong citizens. The objective of the survey was to understand people’s views and experiences regarding WFH.
18 Sep 2020
Drugs tackling chronic myelogenous leukemia have completely transformed prognoses of patients over the last couple of decades, with most cases going into remission. But drug resistance can occur, leading to relapses. Targeting the lipids involved in regulating part of a leukemia stem cell’s life span offers a potential second route to defeat the disease—and solid tumorous cancers as well.
16 Sep 2020
Applying cutting-edge experimental and computational tools to basic science, researchers in Australia and Singapore have discovered a technique that could enable future cell therapies for placenta complications during pregnancy.
15 Sep 2020
A team of scientists has unraveled the molecular mechanism behind one of the causes of colorectal cancer, and a treatment target.
15 Sep 2020
Compared to Minimally Invasive Surgery, Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection (ESD) represents an advanced less-invasive endoscopic treatment for early gastrointestinal cancer. ESD has significant advantages as an organ preservation surgical treatment, but it is technically challenging with substantial risk of perforation and bleeding. The Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CU Medicine) has been collaborating with researchers from Singapore since 2010 to develop a flexible endoscopic robotic system. This novel system was specifically designed to enhance the safety and efficacy of ESD for the treatment of gastrointestinal cancer. Using the first prototype flexible endoscopic robot, our team at CU Medicine had successfully performed ESD for treatment of early gastric cancer in 2011. The flexible endoscopic robot is now further redesigned and developed for performing ESD in the colorectum– namely The EndoMaster EASE (Endoluminal Access Surgical Efficacy) System. CU Medicine led the world’s first clinical trial on robotic colorectal ESD using the EndoMaster EASE System which commenced in May this year and has demonstrated satisfactory outcomes thus far. Researchers believe this innovative technology will enhance advanced endoscopic resection and benefit more patients with early colorectal cancer who will require ESD treatment.
Three developing stages and OH-PCBs concentration of a Japanese macaque fetus
14 Sep 2020
This study selected the Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) as a model animal for the fetal transfer of OH-PCBs in humans, and revealed OH-PCB concentrations and their relationships in the maternal and fetal brains. The key finding from this study is that OH-PCBs can reach the developing brain of the fetus as early as the first trimester of pregnancy. These OH-PCBs may exceed the levels that induce adverse effects on neurodevelopment.
11 Sep 2020
Face masks have become an important tool in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. However, improper use or disposal of masks may lead to "secondary transmission". A research team from City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has successfully produced graphene masks with an anti-bacterial efficiency of 80%, which can be enhanced to almost 100% with exposure to sunlight for around 10 minutes. Initial tests also showed very promising results in the deactivation of two species of coronaviruses. The graphene masks are easily produced at low cost, and can help to resolve the problems of sourcing raw materials and disposing of non-biodegradable masks.
09 Sep 2020
Running is a fundamental mode of human movement that most of us perform effortlessly without conscious thought. Some may run regularly for exercise, or even undergo serious, professional training for completing marathons. This apparent ease of running belies the enormous biomechanical complexity of running, the coordinated control of which is accomplished by an intricate neuronal network in the brain and spinal cord.
Macrophage Activation Syndrome in COVID-19
08 Sep 2020
Scientists review macrophage activation syndrome — a feature of the cytokine storm that kills patients with severe cases of COVID-19, as well as possible treatments.
04 Sep 2020
Pregnant mice fed diets high in omega-6 fats and low in omega-3 fats are shown in a new study to produce offspring whose brains had a higher level of dopamine-producing neurons—the neurological reward system. These mice went on to chase hyper-caloric diets, suggesting that the fats in a pregnant mother's diet may control the eating habits of her children, and potentially offering a new obesity-prevention strategy.
03 Sep 2020
Conference will see leading regional thought leaders, policymakers, C-suite officers, senior and middle level hospital and healthcare, e-health, clinical operations, medical and nursing professionals convene to explore new ways to innovate and collaborate.
03 Sep 2020
Study by researchers at Duke-NUS Medical School, Duke University and SingHealth finds that dispatch-assisted CPR, training in CPR and use of an Automated External Defibrillator, and a volunteer first responder mobile app, increased the likelihood of laypeople performing CPR during out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, which was associated with increased survival rates.
01 Sep 2020
Researchers at the Smart-Aging Research Center (IDAC) at Tohoku University have developed an innovative training protocol that, utilizing immersive virtual reality (IVR), leads to real physical and cognitive benefits.
28 Aug 2020
Scientists have reviewed reported cases and testing data of COVID-19 and have determined that changes in the testing rate may be masking the true growth rate and extent of the pandemic.
28 Aug 2020
Understanding the skin damage caused by rubbing could lead to better topical skin treatments and help prevent the formation of new routes for viral and bacterial infection.
27 Aug 2020
The older population and those with dementia around the world are facing an unprecedented threat from COVID-19 which threatens them with a higher risk of death when infected. As of 23 August 2020, in Hong Kong, the mortality rate for people aged 60 or above was around 6.27%, which was almost 105 times of those below 60 (0.06%). All deaths from the third wave of COVID-19 in Hong Kong are 60 years old or above. Data from the United Kingdom showed that having dementia was associated with a two-fold increase in the risk of death from COVID-19. In light of this, a dementia team of the Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CU Medicine), initiated an international effort to devise strategies that can reduce the adverse impact which can come from public health interventions and protect them from getting COVID-19.
26 Aug 2020
Duke-NUS, the only graduate-entry medical school in Singapore, has joined the TriNetX global research network to increase clinical trial adoption and to facilitate better collaboration with other global healthcare organizations (HCOs). This latest member for TriNetX in Asia will provide the network with access to de-identified data from more than a million patients.
26 Aug 2020
A group of scientists have detected genetic material from SARS-CoV-2 in untreated wastewater samples collected in April 2020 from two wastewater treatment plants in Louisiana, USA.
24 Aug 2020
Hong Kong has been experiencing hotter summers and more scorcher days in recent years due to climate change and heat island effect. Amid the increasing number of “hot nights”, it is found that consecutive “hot nights” are more detrimental to human health than “very hot days”, although the actual temperature does not reach the level of daytime, according to a collaborative research conducted by the Institute of Future Cities at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), as well as researchers from the University of Hong Kong. The research also identified that lack of urban greenery and poor air ventilation in a high-density context are factors that lead to more “hot nights” than “hot days” in some areas. The team suggests that better urban planning and building design are long-term mitigation measures.
Hypothesis for mechanism of action of IL-34 in TNBC
21 Aug 2020
Hokkaido University scientists have shown that Interleukin-34 is a prognostic marker and drug target for Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
21 Aug 2020
Uterine fibroid is a common benign gynaecological disease for women of reproductive age and often leads to heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain and pressure related symptoms. Both surgical and non-surgical treatment options, such as High-Intensity-Focused-Ultrasound (HIFU), are available for patients nowadays. The Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CU Medicine) has developed a modified HIFU treatment protocol for patients with uterine fibroid. The innovative procedure implements a modified energy transmission protocol and oxytocin augmentation which has proved to provide better therapeutic outcomes than other non-surgical treatments. The findings were recently published in the international journal Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology.
18 Aug 2020
Under the “Saving the Lives of Healthcare Workers” project in the Philippines, ASSIST and Project HOPE will distribute kits of personal protective equipment (PPE) to select hospitals and health facilities in COVID-19 hotspots in the Philippines.
18 Aug 2020
Malignant glioma is the most common type of primary brain cancer. But lack of early diagnosis, among many other factors, has made it difficult to be treated. Recently, a team of cross-disciplinary scientists from City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has discovered new biomarkers in blood serum, which can be quantitatively detected by the label-free biosensors developed by the team, for the early detection of glioma progression. The findings enable a non-invasive liquid biopsy of glioma to be conducted, making it a promising diagnostic tool in the future.
17 Aug 2020
Duke-NUS spinout, PairX, led by US and Singapore scientists and investors, to advance immunotherapy biotech exclusively licensed from Duke-NUS.
12 Aug 2020
Researchers in China have taken the first step towards a new way of treating gastric wounds by using a microrobot combined with the new concept of “in situ in vivo bioprinting” to carry out tissue repair inside the body.
12 Aug 2020
Forty-five of the world’s most influential leaders and innovators participated in EmTech Asia. They discussed how emerging technologies will influence industries related to artificial intelligence, robotics, sustainability, healthcare, immersive media, and more.
11 Aug 2020
Scientists from the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, Republic of Korea, discover a new way to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease by analyzing the levels of specific proteins in nasal discharge. This simple and inexpensive method could help in timely diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, in order to start treatment as soon as possible, thus delaying disease progression.
11 Aug 2020
A large cohort study conducted by the Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CU Medicine), in collaboration with investigators from the University of Sydney, Australia, has discovered that shortened DNA telomere length is a useful biomarker linked to a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease in patients with type 2 diabetes. The Endocrinology and Diabetes team of CU Medicine evaluated this biomarker in over 5,300 type 2 diabetes patients during a 13-year follow-up period. Patients with cardiovascular disease at baseline or during follow-up had shorter tail-ends of DNA strands, expressed as relative Leukocyte Telomere Length (rLTL), than those who never had cardiovascular disease. For each unit relative decrease in rLTL, the risk of cardiovascular disease increased by 25%. These results have been published in the leading diabetes journal, Diabetes Care.
Scientists who contributed to this research
07 Aug 2020
Scientists have unveiled a correlation between high blood lead levels in children and methylation of genes involved in haem synthesis and carcinogenesis, indicating a previously unknown mechanism for lead poisoning.
06 Aug 2020
Researchers from the Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CU Medicine) have recently conducted a study to investigate the impact of liver injury on clinical outcomes in COVID-19 patients. Data from over 1,000 COVID-19 patients in Hong Kong was analysed and liver injury was found in around 20% of the patients. The estimated risk of COVID-19 patients with liver injury experiencing adverse clinical outcomes such as intensive care unit (ICU) admission, use of invasive mechanical ventilation or death was almost eight times of other patients. It is suggested that liver function monitoring is important regarding its association with adverse clinical outcomes in COVID-19 patients. These findings have been published recently in the world-renowned medical journal Gut. In view of the high prevalence of various chronic liver diseases in the Asia-Pacific region, CU Medicine’s researchers led a group of experts from Mainland China, Japan, Singapore and Australia to issue a position statement on the management of COVID-19 patients with liver derangement. The statement has been published recently in another international medical journal The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

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Giants in history

Maharani Chakravorty (1937 – 2015) was one of India’s earliest molecular biologists whose research paved the way for advances in the treatment of bacterial and viral infections.
Archana Sharma (16 February 1932 - 14 January 2008) conducted research into plant and human genetics that expanded the understanding of both botany and human health. In relation to botany, she uncovered the means by which asexually-reproducing plants evolve into new species.
The first Thai woman to receive a degree in medicine, Margaret Lin Xavier (29 May 1898 – 6 December 1932), is best remembered for her compassion towards her less privileged patients.
In 1915, pathologist Katsusaburo Yamagiwa and his research assistant Koichi Ichikawa became the first to prove that chronic exposure to chemicals can cause cancer.
After witnessing death and suffering as a youth in his home village during World War II, Nguyễn Tài Thu (6 April 1931 – 14 February 2021) set his sights on alleviating pain by becoming a doctor. After studying Traditional Chinese Medicine in China in the 1950s, Thu returned to Vietnam to serve in military hospitals. Eventually, he became the country’s foremost practitioner of acupuncture, a technique he first learned by inserting needles into himself.
David T. Wong (born 1936) is a Hong Kong-born American neuroscientist who is best known for discovering the antidepressant drug fluoxetine, better known as Prozac.
Indian organic chemist Asima Chatterjee (1917 to 2006) studied the medicinal properties of plant products, especially compounds known as vinca alkaloids.
Hsien Wu (24 November 1893 – 8 August 1959) is widely regarded as the founder of biochemistry and nutrition science in China. He was the first to propose that protein denaturation was caused by the unfolding of the protein, instead of chemical alteration.
Umetaro Suzuki (7 April 1874 – 20 September 1943) was a Japanese scientist best remembered for his research on beriberi, a disease caused by vitamin B1 deficiency, characterized by limb stiffness, paralysis and pain.
Syed Qasim Mehdi (13 February 1941 – 28 September 2016) was a Pakistani molecular biologist who was a founding member of the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP), which assessed human diversity by studying human migration, mutation rates, relationships between different populations, genes involved in height and selective pressure.
Tsai-Fan Yu (1911 – 2 March 2007) was a Chinese-American physician and researcher who was the first female full professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She discovered that gout, a condition characterized by the painful inflammation of joints, was caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the bloodstream.
Min Chueh Chang (10 October 1908 – 5 June 1991) was a Chinese-American biologist who studied fertilization in mammalian reproduction.
A Japanese surgeon, Tetsuzo Akutsu (20 August 1922 – 9 August 2007) built the first artificial heart capable of keeping an animal alive.
Ogino Ginko (3 March 1851 – 23 June 1913) was the first registered female doctor to practise modern medicine in Japan.