Newsletter No. 143

CUHK Launches Digi tal Library Ini t iat ive O n 19th March the University signed an agreement with the South China University of Technology in Guangzhou, Academia Sinica in Taiwan, and Carnegie Mellon University in the United States to set up a high speed experimentation of digital library applications. This initiative to upgrade networking and digital library hosting facilities will help spearhead Hong Kong as a major Internet hub in this region and an Internet gateway to mainland China. The four institutions w i ll also j o in efforts i n enhancing D i g i t al Library research and application development. They w i l l develop content and digital library applications for the testbed and place valuable content on the network. They w i ll also assist one another by caching valuable multimedia content locally. An important feature is a cross-lingual platform for mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the US. Mr. K.C. Kwong, Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting of the HKSAR, officiated at the signing ceremony. HK Girls in Dangerous Pursuit of Thin Body T he majority of Chinese adolescent girls in Hong Kong are obsessed with having slimmer figures and pathological eating behaviours among them are alarmingly common, according to a study by the Department of Psychology. The study surveyed 4,641 girls aged 12 to 18 on their figures and eating behaviours. The results showed that 84 per cent were worried about their weight and shape. Thirty-four per cent agreed that a slimmer body was important for a woman, 33 per cent believed that being slimmer would enhance their self-worth, and 31 per cent reported intense fear of gaining weight. To lose weight, they admitted resorting to pathological weight loss behaviours such as excessive exercising (48.7 per cent), dieting or fasting (28.3 per cent), self-induced vomiting (3.3 per cent), and using laxatives (1.7 per cent). Eating disorders could lead to severe physical and mental health problems. The findings of the survey were released at a press conference on 18th March, and the researchers in charge of the study called for proper education on body weight, exercise, and a healthy diet. Worksho p o n Advancin g Famil y Medicin e o n Mainlan d L eading medical experts from mainland China participated in the Workshop on Advancing Family Medicine in China organized by the University's Department of Community and Family Medicine on 12th and 13th March to examine the future direction of family medicine in China. The workshop was sponsored by the Fiftieth Anniversary Fund of New Asia College. In response to the decision by the mainland Chinese government to develop a health care system based on a primary medical care approach, with more responsibility placed on family medicine doctors, the workshop reviewed the current health care system on the mainland and discussed how to reorganize it through distance learning, research, and evaluation, and using the experience of other countries as examples. Speakers at the workshop included Prof. Frede Oleson from Denmark, president of the European Society of General Practice/Family Medicine; Prof. Leon Piterman from Monash University in Australia, an expert on distance learning programmes for doctors; and Prof. James Dickinson and Prof. Cynthia Chan from the University's Faculty of Medicine. Funding Support for Research Activities T he following three projects have obtained RGC central allocations for the acquisition of major equipment or conducting group research: O For upgrading services at the Universities Service Centre (HK$3,000,000) Principal investigator: Prof. Kuan Hsin-chi O For acquiring an Automated Microbial Identification System (HK$2,000,000) Principal investigator: Prof. Samuel S.M. Sun O Research on Service Robotics (HK$2,700,000) Principal investigator: Prof. Xu Yangsheng Nine projects conducted by members of the University have received funding from the UK-Hong Kong Joint Research Scheme 1998-99: O Biochemical Characterization of Mas Oncoprotein and Its Interactions with RAMP (£4,760) Principal investigator: Prof. Cheung Wing-tai O Isolation, Identification, and Biotechnological Characterization of Hyperthermophilic Bacteria from Hot-spring Environments in China (£5,469) Principal investigator: Prof. J.A. Buswell O Image Data Mining and Visualization for Cardiac MR (£6,000) Principal investigator: Prof. Heng Pheng Ann O Design Framework and Tools for Reconfigurable Computing (£5,994) Principal investigator: Prof. K . W. N g O Interactive Parametric Minimax Method in Multiobjective Optimization (£6,000) Principal investigator: Prof. L i Duan O Novel Analyst Assay in Experimental and Human Cataract (£5,569) Principal investigator: Prof. N.M. Hjelm O Rod-type Nonselective Cation Channel in Vascular Endothelial Cell (£6,000) Principal investigator: Prof. Yao Xiaoqiang O Production of Recombinant Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4 for the Treatment of Bone Defects and Disorders (£5,977) Principal investigator: Prof. Jack C.Y. Cheng O Electrophysiological and Molecular Studies o f Epithelial Potassium Channels (£4,950.57) Principal investigator: Prof. Huang Yu The following project has received support from the Health Services Research Fund: O The Efficacy of a Community Nurse Specialist in Preventing Hospital Readmission of Older Patients with Chronic Lung Disease and Cardiac Failure (HK$621,596) Investigators: Profs. Timothy C.Y. Kwo k, Jean Woo, Edith Lau, Diana Lee, and Catherine Tang