Newsletter No. 248

Setting a NE w Standard for Paediatric Inguinal Hernia Surgery I nguinal hernia, one of the most common surgical problems in young children, occurs in three to five per cent of full-term babies and about 20 per cent of pre-term infants. Surgical repair of the inguinal hernia is the only definitive and effective treatment. Traditional surgical repair, performed via an open inguinal exploration, requires a bigger incision and carries the risk of damage to the vas deferens and testicular vessels. A contralateral hernia also occurs in about 20 to 30 per cent of cases. Hence paediatric surgeons in North America have been advocating the routine exploration of the contralateral side in order to avoid a second operation and general anaesthesia. The Division of Paediatric Surgery and Paediatric Urology of the University has pioneered a new method to repair inguinal hernia in infants and children. This method combines the use of the laparoscope and a specially made herniotomy hook designed by and named after the division head Prof. Yeung Chung-kwong. The l apa r oscope enables clear visualization of the hernial defect and neighbouring structures, and accurate assessment of the presence of a contralateral hernia, thus avoiding unnecessary exploration. The herniotomy hook allows complete dissection and ligation of the hernial sac under laparoscopic guidance while safeguarding the vas and testicular vessels. I f a contralateral hernia is present, it can be repaired simultaneously and in similar fashion, thereby eliminating the need for a second operation. The procedure is performed as day surgery and all patients are discharged on the same day. Postoperative pain is minimal with nearly all children resuming normal activities the day after. Wounds are tiny and become invisible in a few weeks' time. Since October 2000 the division has successfully performed laparoscopic herniotomy using this technique in 325 infants and children at the Prince of Wales Hospital. A l l recovered uneventfully with no complications. On follow-up, all patients remained well with excellent cosmetic results. CUHK Consort ium Leads Business Integrat ion of RFID Technology for HK A research team from the University's Centre of Cyber Logistics (CCL) is spearheading a project with leading industry partners to investigate the integration of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies in business chains for Hong Kong. The team comprises Prof. Waiman Cheung, director of CCL, Prof. Chu Sung- chi, and Prof. Timon Du from the Faculty of Business Administration. The project, officially launched on 19th October, enjoys great support from the University's partners in the logistics, supply chain, and technology industries, as we ll as solutions providers and regulatory agencies. The list includes Cathay Pacific, DHL, Bossini, NEC, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems of California Ltd., and Tradelink. The Asia-Pacific Institute of Business at the University has also made significant contributions to the study. RFID technology, unlike the commonly used barcode scanning method, can identify products packed in high density w i t h in a tolerable time frame. Its applications in corporations of different business natures have been highlighted recently in the media. The project addresses three topical areas: information infrastructure 一 global identification standards and neutral i n f o rma t i on and communications platforms; business collaboration 一 integration of RFID-aware business processes; and information security and privacy 一 dynamic management of sensitive information sharing among business partners. Prof. Waiman Cheung (photo) said that the project w i ll provide clear and forward-looking recommendations to leverage RF ID technologies in the near future, and to take steps to alleviate key concerns, especially those related to security and privacy. The industry partners have provided support to the project, in terms of equipment and software, to the tune of HK$2.5 million. Funding Support for CUHK Research T he following 10 research and research-related projects undertaken by faculty members of the University have attracted funding support from different quarters: • Export Potential of Hong Kong's Education Services (HK$410,000) Sponsor. Hong Kong Trade Development Council Principal investigator: Prof. Hung Fan-sing (Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research) CUHK co-investigators: Dr. Glenn Shive and Dr. Jonathan Diu • Protective Role of Blockade of the Renin-Angiotensin System with Losartan on Pancreatic ß - cell Function and Repair and Its Relationships with Oxidative Stress in Impaired Glucose Tolerance and Type 2 Diabetes (US$50,000) Sponsor: Merck-Cozaar Medical School Grant Programme Principal investigator: Prof. P.S. Leung (Department of Physiology) • Case-based Learning of High School Science Subjects to Support Learning to Learn (HK$2,820,000) Sponsor: Quality Education Fund Principal investigator: Prof. Leo Lau Woon-ming (Faculty of Science) • IDFace: Identification and Detection of Face in Image, Video, and Sketch (HK$5,792,000) Sponsor: Innovation and Technology Fund Principal investigator: Prof. Tang Xiaoou (Department of Information Engineering) CUHK co-investigator: Dr. Jianzhuang L iu • Putonghua Festival 2004 (HK$ 1,200,000) Sponsor: The Language Fund Principal investigators: Prof. Ho Wai-kit (Centre for Research and Development of Putonghua Education) and Mrs. Winnie Lai Chan Wei-ling (Audio-Visual Division) • Research on the Control of Infectious Disease (HK$25,000,000) Sponsor: Research Fund for the Control of Infectious Diseases Principal investigator: Prof. Joseph Sung (Department of Medicine and Therapeutics) • Index to Hong Kong Newspaper L i t e r a ry Supplements (HK$460,470) Sponsor: Hong Kong Arts Development Council Principal investigator: Mr. Leo Ma Fai-hung (University Library System) • Development and Technology Transfer of Intelligent Electronic Toys (HK$ 1,986,500) Sponsors: Innovation and Technology Fund, and Lung Cheong Toys Ltd. Principal investigator: Prof. X u Yangsheng (Department of Automation and Computer-Aided Engineering) CUHK co-investigators: Mr. Tong Hang and Mr. Lee Ka-Keung • A Pilot Study to Examine the Feasibility and Acceptability of a Community Model for Exercise Prescription for Patients with Chronic Diseases (HK$77,310) Sponsor: Health and Health Services Research Fund Principal investigator: Prof. Jean Woo (Department of Medicine and Therapeutics) • A Randomized Controlled Study to Evaluate the Relative Efficacy of Using the Voluntary Counselling and Testing ( VCT) Approach and the Information Distribution Approach to Reduce HIV-related Risk Behaviours Among Hong Kong Male Cross-border Truck Drivers (HK$597,819) Sponsor: Research Fund for the Control of Infectious Diseases Principal investigator: Prof. Joseph Lau Tak-fai (Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics) Expert in Planetary Science Visits United College From left: Prof. Lam Kin-che, Mrs. Yung Sau-mei, Prof. Lawrence J. Lau, Prof. Y.L. Yung, and Prof. K.P. Fung P rof. Yung Yuk-ling, professor of planetary science at the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, paid a visit to United College from 17th to 31st October 2004 as the college's first Distinguished Visiting Scholar in 2004-5. During his visit, Prof. Yung delivered two public lectures and hosted a night talk. Topics addressed included 'Are We Alone in the Universe?', ' D id the Sunspot Cycle Cause the Fall of the M i ng Dynasty?', and 'Life on the Cutting Edge of Science at Caltech'. He also met with students from the Department of Physics at a dinner hosted by the United College Physics Society. 2 No. 248 4th November 2004