Newsletter No. 261

Naming of New PC3 Laboratory T h e University's physical containment level 3 (PCS) laboratory was officially named the Lo Kwee-Seong Research Laboratory of Infectious Diseases on 12th May, in recognition of a HK$5 million donation from the K.S. Lo Foundation. The generous donation w i ll support research on infectious diseases. The ceremony was conducted at the Postgraduate Education Centre of the Prince of Wales Hospital. The ceremony was officiated by Dr. Peter Lo (left 2), chairman of the K.S. Lo Foundation, Prof. Lawrence J. Lau ( right 2), vice-chancellor of the University, Prof. T.F.Fok (left 1), dean of the Faculty of Medicine, and Prof. Joseph Sung ( right 1),director of the Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases of the University. The laboratory w i ll be used to conduct high-risk research projects on SARS, avian influenza, and H I V infection. CUHK Gradua t es Hi gh ly Emp l oyab l e, Survey Reveals T he employment rate and salary level of 2004 CUHK graduates are very good according to a graduate employment survey conducted by the Career Planning and Development Centre of the Office of Student Affairs of the University. As at the end of 2004, 97.5 per cent of graduates were either employed or pursuing further studies. The average monthly salary of those employed was HK$ 13,628, and HK$ 11,266, if MB ChB graduates were excluded. This represents a 5.9 per cent increase from 2003. The highest salary earner was a medical graduate boasting HK$65,000 a month. On average, each respondent had around 2.3 job offers. The survey was carried out f r om November to December 2004 by means of questionnaires and telephone interviews. The 2,474 respondents encompassed full- time, first-degree graduates of 2004 and MB ChB graduates of 2003. Most graduates joined the commerce and industry sector (75.9 per cent), f o l l o w e d by s o c i a l and p u b l i c organizations (12.4 per cent), education (9.9 per cent), and government (1.9 per cent). The top six career fields were computer engineering and IT/eBusiness, accounting/auditing, administration/ management, banking and finance, sales and marketing, and medical and health care. Up to 93.2 per cent expressed satisfaction with their current jobs. Rising Salt Intake Predisposes Locals to Hyper tent ion H ypertension is a serious public health problem due to its prevalence and aetiological significance for stroke, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and kidney disease. The most important modifiable environmental risk factors for hypertension include high salt intake, low po t a s s i um i n t ake f r om f r u i ts and vegetables, obesity, alcohol intake, stress and low physical activity. Contrary to common perception, surveys conducted by the CUHK Faculty of Medicine indicate that salt intake in Hong Kong is on the rise and much higher than WHO r ecommenda t i ons. The organization recommends adults to reduce their daily salt intake from 9-12 grams to not more than 5-6 grams. Chinese are particularly susceptible to dietary salt-induced hypertension because they do not have an efficient mechanism to facilitate the renal excretion of sodium. In response to an increase in dietary salt intake, the kidney normally synthesizes dopamine to inhibit sodium reabsorption and induce relaxation of blood vessels. This response, however, is not seen in Chinese. Salt-induced high blood pressure may be reversible in its early stage and before structural chances occur in blood vessels. Reducing salt intake and optimizing other dietary and lifestyle factors w i l l lower the risk of hypertension. The Faculty of Medicine advises the public to pay more attention to the sodium content of processed foods from which 75 to 80 per cent of total salt intake is derived. Patients with hypertension must undergo regular follow-ups and treatment. For Your Eyes Only Prof. Dennis S.C. L am ( l e f t 3 ), chairman of the D e p a r t me nt of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Prof. S.K. Rao (left 1) and Dr. Arthur Cheng (right 1) announcing the latest de v e l op- ments of refractive surgery on 10th May 2005 Laurels for CUHK Staff and Student at Medical and Biological Conference A research staff and a postgraduate student from the Joint Centre of Biomedical Engineering (JCBME) of the Chinese University won three awards at the Sixth Asian-Pacific Conference on Medical and Biological Engineering, held from 24th to 27th April 2005 at the Tsukuba International Congress Centre in Japan. Ms. Bao Shudi, a research assistant from JCBME, was awarded the Young Investigator's Award for her paper 'A New Symmetric Cryptosystem of Body Area Sensor Networks for Telemedicine'. She also won the Best Presentation Award of the Young Investigator's Award. Ms. Wong Yee-man, an M.Phil. student from J C BME , was awa r ded the Yo u ng Investigator Encouragement Award for her paper 'The Ag i ng Effect on the Characteristic of Photoplethysmogram Waveform'. At this year's conference, a t o t al o f f o ur Yo u ng I n v e s t i g a t or Encouragement Awards, eight Young Investigator's Awards, and two Young Investigator's Awards Best Presentation Awards were presented. CUHK Aviation Policy Experts on Privatization of Ai rport Author i ty T he Aviation Policy and Research Centre of the University has recently released its study on the ' Pa r t i al Privatization of the Airport Authority'. The press conference was hosted by Prof. Japhet Law, director of the centre, Prof. M i c h a e l Fung, and Dr. C . K. L aw, associate directors of the centre, on 19th May 2005 at the CUHK M B A Town Centre in Central. The study was conducted in response to a consultation paper on the subject released by the Economic Development and Labour Bureau of the HKSAR Government. Based on the findings of the study, the centre believes that the case for the privatization of the Airport Authority does not exist at this time or in the foreseeable future. It suggests exploring less disruptive and more direct approaches to raise efficiency in the management of the Airport Authority before resorting to privatization. And given Hong Kong's improved outlook, there is no longer need for immediate or medium term fixes to the government's financial position. CUHK's First Course on Bone Anchored Hear ing Aid T he Department of Surgery and the Institute of Human Communicative Research of the Faculty of Medicine jointly organized the University's inaugural Bone Anchored Hearing A i d ( BAHA) Course on 30th April. The course covered the repertoire of osseointegration concepts, surgical techniques, as well as potential complications and management. The course was sponsored by Entific Medical Systems SE. Besides attending lectures, the 28 participants had the chance to learn first-hand about the unique B AHA experiences of four very different clients. There was also a workshop wherein participants learnt how to elegantly perform BAHA surgery on freshly prepared pig's skulls. The course instructors were Prof. Michael Tong, Dr. Go r don Soo, Dr. W i l l i s Tsang, Ms. Wong Y im Mui, and Mr. Johnnes Mak of the CUHK Faculty of Medicine, and Mr. David Proops of Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, and Dr. Sigfrid So l i of the House Ear Institute, Los Angeles. 2 No. 261 4th June 2005