Health

News

26 May 2020
Scratching the head or rubbing the hands repeatedly is common, unconscious behaviour when people are facing stress. Neuroscientists from the School of Biomedical Sciences and the Gerald Choa Neuroscience Centre of the Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CU Medicine) have discovered a mammalian brain circuitry underlying our ability to generate adaptive responses when facing stress with strong negative emotions. The result of the study was recently published in the renowned international scientific journal Nature Communications.
25 May 2020
Wastewater could be used as a surveillance tool to monitor the invasion, spread and eradication of COVID-19 in communities.
21 May 2020
A group of Hokkaido University researchers has developed a paper-based device that can easily and cheaply measure lithium ion concentration in blood, which could greatly help bipolar disorder patients.
19 May 2020
A recent study conducted by the Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CU Medicine) discovered a novel genetic biomarker which can predict the survival of head and neck cancer patients. There are over 0.7 million new head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cases globally each year. However, currently there is no clinical implementation of any genetic biomarker to predict outcomes for these patients after standard treatment. A study led by Professor Vivian Wai Yan LUI, an expert in genomic medicine and Associate Professor of the School of Biomedical Sciences at CU Medicine, and her research team, has identified that mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway mutations found in almost 20% of HNSCC patients can predict favourable clinical outcomes with standard therapy. Their survival also doubled when compared with other patients. The finding has just been published in the journal Life Science Alliance.
18 May 2020
Professor Tony MOK from the Faculty of Medicine of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CU Medicine) and Professor LU You from West China School of Medicine at The Sichuan University co-led the world’s first-in-human Phase I clinical trial investigating the safety and feasibility of CRISPR gene-edit therapy as a treatment option for patients with late stage lung cancer. Research team recruited 22 advanced Non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) patients and isolate the T cell (a form of white blood cell) from peripheral blood. After gene-editing by CRISPR, the T cells that were reinfused back to patient may have the ability to attack cancer cell. Objective of the study is to demonstrate safety and feasibility. Results demonstrated CRISPR technology is safe and feasible as patients showed no severe adverse events and the frequency of off-target events was only 0.05%. This opens a new chapter in the history of lung cancer immunotherapy. The findings were recently published on-line in the international medical journal Nature Medicine.
cPass™
15 May 2020
As a first-in-the-world "rapid smart test kit", the cPass™ which can measure neutralising antibodies in an hour will be a huge boost to current COVID-19 investigations, from contact tracing, sero-prevalence survey, and assessment of herd immunity, longevity of protective immunity and efficacy of different vaccine candidates.
CityU’s 3T MRI animal scanner
13 May 2020
Diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, the most common type of dementia, is not easy for its overlapping signs with normal ageing. A collaborative research by City University of Hong Kong (CityU) and Johns Hopkins University has developed a new non-invasive molecular imaging approach based on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to dynamically measure glucose level changes in the brain lymphatic system. Their discovery may help in identifying Alzheimer's disease at early stages so that treatments can start as soon as possible.
13 May 2020
Insights into a flipping crystal could further research into the development of autonomous robots.
 (From left) Dr Lung Hong Lok, Dr Jiang Lijun, Professor Gary Wong Ka-Leung and Professor Mak Nai-Ki developed a novel drug for the treatment of EBV-related cancers such as nasopharyngeal cancer.
11 May 2020
A research team led by Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has developed a novel anti-Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) drug that can selectively disrupt a viral protein produced by EBV, leading to the shrinkage of tumours caused by the virus. It is the first known agent to successfully target the virus and disturb its latency in tumour cells in this way.
08 May 2020
When the master regulator of protein production malfunctions, it may contribute to the development of neuronal diseases such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's.
30 Apr 2020
The UK today confirmed that it will be the largest supporter of the international alliance to vaccinate children against deadly diseases, saving millions of lives.
28 Apr 2020
A research team led by Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has launched an online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) programme. Introduced in April 2020 for Hong Kong people with mild to moderate depressive symptoms, the programme provides them with easy access to counselling services and reduces the stigma associated with depression. The team will recruit 400 participants aged between 18 and 70 with depressive symptoms and provide training next year to around 200 local mental health professionals on how to operate this online CBT programme, with the aim of serving more people in the long run.
16 Apr 2020
A small mitochondrial protein is necessary for energy production and its malfunction could be behind a range of degenerative diseases, according to study by Duke-NUS Medical School and their collaborators.
13 Apr 2020
The best timing for endoscopy of patients with acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding is still controversial among the medical community. A recent study conducted by the Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CU Medicine) found that for patients with overt signs of acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding, urgent endoscopy performed within 6 hours after gastroenterological consultation was not associated with lower mortality and risk of further bleeding, compared with endoscopy performed between 6 and 24 hours after consultation. In other words, earlier endoscopy did not lower mortality nor improve outcomes. The study results have just been published in the top medical journal, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
31 Mar 2020
New findings show that the formation of amyloid plaques drives damage and tissue loss in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease in animals, but lithium reduces the life-shortening effects of this loss.
30 Mar 2020
To support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, from March 29, the Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CU Medicine) has offered to conduct, for free, stool tests for asymptomatic children coming to Hong Kong by air to screen for possible COVID-19. The test currently employed by the Department of Health relies on collection of respiratory samples. The false negative rate of deep throat saliva test increases to over 40% with improper collection technique. Collection is particularly difficult in young children and infants. The potentially high false negative rate of the current test for children is therefore of great public health concern. The stool test that CU Medicine has developed is non-invasive, accurate and is potentially a better option for screening test for asymptomatic populations such as young children and infants. By conducting stool tests for children, CU Medicine aims to help identify asymptomatic children carrying the COVID-19 virus as early as possible in order to stop its spread through our community.
27 Mar 2020
A Communique from the InterAcademy Partnership urges countries to collaborate, use and share science-based information, and help the developing world.
27 Mar 2020
Screening is important for the early detection of cervical cancer, but rates were significantly affected, in some areas for years, following a devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
25 Mar 2020
Some trans fats enhance a pathway inside the cell that leads to cell death. Drugs targeting this mechanism could help address diseases associated with these fats.
23 Mar 2020
Nested in the long-running Singapore Chinese Health Study, a new study by researchers in Singapore, based on data from over 60,000 middle-aged to older adults, has found that people who suffer from diabetes and who are also underweight have a much higher risk of active tuberculosis (TB) than their heavier counterparts, supporting calls for TB screening among these patients.
17 Mar 2020
The Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CU Medicine) analysed more than 300 specimens (including sputum, nasopharyngeal swabs, deep throat saliva, blood, urine and stool) from 14 Hong Kong patients confirmed with COVID-19 and discovered that the virus was detectable in the fecal samples of all patients, regardless of the degree of illness. Three out of 14 patients still had viruses in their stool samples even though the virus was no longer found in sputum, nasopharyngeal and deep throat saliva samples. This finding suggests that virus shedding in stool is common and can be an alternative screening tool. Importantly, we should not overlook the potential risk of environmental contamination by virus shedding in stool.
12 Mar 2020
Studying Finnish genes leads to unique revelations about the development of a serious complication of diabetes, and informs an ongoing genomic study of a Singaporean cohort as part of Singapore’s Diabetes Study in Nephropathy and other Microvascular Complications (DYNAMO).
11 Mar 2020
When it comes to awareness of social and legal services available to people with dementia, financial knowledge is key
11 Mar 2020
・A novel pathway of L-fucose metabolism was discovered in strictly anaerobic and pathogenic bacterium. ・The genetic context in bacterial genomes and the screening for potential substrates can help identify the biochemical functions of bacterial enzymes. ・No homologous pathway is found in humans or in probiotic bacteria.
07 Mar 2020
Computerized sound-cognitive therapy could be a new potential treatment for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
26 Feb 2020
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has been collaborating with Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QE) and the Hospital Authority (HA) respectively to design and produce 3D-printed eye shields and face shields.
22 Feb 2020
Attendees’ health and safety “utmost priority”
19 Feb 2020
Multi-country intervention trial to improve hypertension management, led by Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, in partnership with the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), Aga Khan University in Pakistan, the University of Kelaniya in Sri Lanka and the Singapore Clinical Research Institute (SCRI), leads to “clinically meaningful” reductions in blood pressure and better blood pressure control in patients receiving the multi-component intervention. Researchers call for national scale-up of the intervention.
19 Feb 2020
The novel coronavirus COVID-19 worries people around the world as more cases have been reported. In order to provide insights into the epidemic control, the Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CU Medicine) has been working on several studies on the outbreak, including community studies. The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care under the Faculty launched an online survey within 36 hours after confirmed COVID-19 cases were first reported in Hong Kong. The research team has conducted the survey with over 1,000 residents in town and collected information which investigate public’s risk perception and psychobehavioral responses. Results showed majority has difficulty to adopt social distancing.
17 Feb 2020
The precipitous drop in HPV vaccination rates after suspension of proactive recommendations by the government in 2013 could result in an additional 25,000 cervical cancer cases and more than 5,000 additional deaths among females born between 1994 to 2007 in Japan. However, swift action by the government could mitigate much of this damage according to a study in Lancet Public Health.

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Giants in history

Chinese-American virologist and molecular biologist Flossie Wong-Staal (27 August 1946 – 8 July 2020) was the first scientist to clone HIV and determine the function of its genes.
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.