Newsletter No. 256

CU Recommends New Combination Treatment for Chinese Chronic Hepatitis B Patients C hronic Hepatitis B vims infection is the commonest cause o f liver cirrhosis and liver cancer i n Hong Kong. Patients with Hepatitis B e antigens may have very active liver disease, high viral load and a higher risk o f liver-related complications. Doctors often treat these patients w i th powerful antiviral drugs bu t drug resistant viral mutants ma y emerge w i th prolonged treatment. T o help prevent resistance an d improve outcomes, doctors sometimes combine interferon with antiviral drugs. Few studies have assessed the benefits and harms o f these combination therapies fo r chronic Hepatitis B in Asian patients. The University conducted a study a t the Prince o f Wales Hospital t o see whether combining pegylated interferon- α 2b with lamivudine reduces the amount of Hepatitis B vims in the body and liver inflammation more than lamivudine alone from 2000 t o 2003. One hundred Chinese adults with chronic Hepatitis B were r andomly assigned t o receive pegylated interferon- α 2 b fo r 3 2 weeks plus lamivudine fo r 5 2 weeks o r lamivudine alone fo r 52 weeks. A t th e en d o f treatment, patients r e c e i v i ng combination therapy more often had virologic response, i.e. HBeAg seroconversion and HBV DNA suppression (60 pe r cent vs. 2 8 pe r cent); had more than 10 times reduction of HBV DNA; and less often had lamivudine- resistant mutants (2 1 pe r cent vs . 4 0 pe r cent) a s compared t o those o n lamivudine alone. The rate o f sustained virologic response six months after stopping treatment wa s s t i ll higher (3 6 pe r cent) f o r th e combination treatment group than the lamivudine alone group (14 per cent). Adverse effects, such as transient influenza-like symptoms an d local erythematous reactions, were more common w i t h combination therapy. The Faculty of Medicine therefore recommends that combining pegylated interferon with lamivudine may be considered as the first line treatment o f chronic Hepatitis B . Fu ll article ca n b e seen i n Annals of Internal Medicine 2005, 15th February. Opening o f Chan Chun Ha Hostel in United College T he Opening Ceremony o f Chan Chun Ha Hostel, the fourth student residence of United College, took place o n 21st February 2005. Officiating guests included Mr. C.P. L in (middle), trustee of the Chan Chun Ha Charitable Trust; Prof. Lawrence Lau (left 2), vice-chancellor o f the University; Mr. Shum Choi Sang (right 2), chairman o f the United College Board o f Trustees; Dr. Thomas H.C. Cheung (left 1), president o f the United College Alumni Association, and Prof. K.P. Fung ( r i ght 1), head o f United College. Attending the ceremony were trustees o f the College, officers o f the University, alumni and friends o f the College as well as resident students. The Chan Chun Ha Hostel was made possible b y a generous donation o f over HK$ 20 m i l l i on f r om th e Chan Chun H a Charitable Trust. Situated i n the valley north o f the T.C. Cheng Building, the 10-storey hostel commands th e scenic view o f Tolo Harbour. The hostel provides a total o f 300 places and has it s own roof garden and gallery fo r activities and exhibitions. Rooms i n th e hostel ar e designed fo r double occupancy, with four o f them specially equipped for students with disabilities. A lift provides vertical linkage between floors and a walk bridge links th e hostel horizontally with the United campus. Run for Fun, Run for Health T he Faculty o f Medicine and Chung Chi College jointly organized the annual health-promoting event Fun Run on 19th February. Two hundred and fifty staff, students, alumni and friends o f the faculty and Chung Ch i College participated i n the exercise which was kicked off by Prof. Leung Yuen Sang, head o f Chung Chi College, and Prof. Fok Tai Fai, dean o f medicine. The winner took just 22 minutes 40 seconds to cross th e f i n i s h i ng line, wh i le other participants completed the 5-km route from the Prince o f Wales Hospital t o Lingnan Stadium at Chung Chi College i n an hour. The Fun Run embodies the facutly's thesis of encouraging staff and students t o adopt a healthy lifestyle b y exercising t o prevent disorders such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart diseases. Normal Range of Cardio- respiratory Fitness for Chinese Adults Established L ow levels o f cardiorespiratory fitness have proven to b e associated w i th a higher risk o f premature death from all causes, specifically from cardiovascular disease. However, there has been n o study conducted to describe th e aerobic capacity norms i n healthy Chinese. N o longer the case now. The Chinese University of Hong Kong has conducted in 2003-4 the first cross-sectional study o f the aerobic capacity of healthy Chinese. The results show that maximal heart rate, maximal ventilation an d oxygen uptake decreased with age, while the percentage o f body fa t increased with age in both genders. The decline in aerobic power in both Chinese females and males over time was found to depend on aging and body composition. The worst age group was the group of 25 to 34 years followed by the age group o f 35 t o 44. I n addition, subjects i n this study showed a significantly lower cardiorespiratory fitness levels in both male and female when compared with their counterparts in the USA as reported by the Cooper Institute for Aerobic Research in Texas. The normal range o f aerobic power i n Chinese obtained i n the study provides a valuable reference t o assess health and fitness i n Chinese objectively. Results from this study also suggested that percentage o f body fat and lean body mass were important determinants o f the decline i n aerobic power observed over time. With these guidelines, th e School o f Public Health ha s designed it s l i f es t y le mo d i f i c a t i on programmes accordingly t o help improve fitness and overall health of the general public. (Enquiry: 2252 8766, 2252 8765 or 2252 8831) E-NEWSLETTER ABSTRACT Volume 2 No. 7 CUHK BBA Team Placed Second i n International Competition The Chinese University's BBA team wa s first- r u n n e r s - up i n t h e Copenhagen Business School (CBS) Case Competition held i n Denmark o n 4t h March 2005. The Chinese University was also among the top three last year. Celebration i n Honour o f Prof. Hu Shiu Ying's 100th Birthday The Chinese University hosted a symposium o n 1st March 2005 t o celebrate the 100th birthday o f Prof. Hu Shiu Ying, renowned botanist and honorary professor o f Chinese medicine o f CUHK. For details, please visit . hk/enews/ . 1 No. 256 19thMarch 2005