【TMU Symposium】Asia-Pacific Symposium on Respiratory Medicine

Source: College of Medicine

Published on 2018-07-04

The Asia-Pacific Symposium on Respiratory Medicine hosted by TMU in December attracted scholars[1] from the United Kingdom, Singapore and Vietnam. These researchers exchanged ideas on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary fibrosis and environmental respiratory diseases.

[1] Speakers invited included Dr. Kazuhiro Ito, Imperial College London; Dr. Phan Thu Phuong, Bach Mai Hospital, Vietnam; Dr. Le Thuong Vu, University Medicine and Pharmacy, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Prof. Lin Wei Tian, University of Hong Kong; Prof. Kin Fai Ho, Chinese University of Hong Kong; Dr. Chan Yeow, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore; Dr. Dat Phan Thuong, Pham Ngoc Thach, Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases Hospital, Vietnam; and Dr. Van Linh Pham, Haiphong University Hospital, Vietnam.

Air pollution was considered the main factor responsible for respiratory illness and participants expressed much of concern about its prevalence. Other topics were chronic lung disease, environmental lung disease, respiratory therapy, tuberculosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Epidemiological studies have pointed out that air pollutants are related to incidences of sleep apnea, cardiopulmonary disease and mortality. Recent studies also show that exposure to fine-particle aerosols in the workplace significantly reduces employee lung function. Urine serotonin concentrations have been shown to be severely affected, damaging sleep cycles and causing symptoms such as insomnia and depression.

Thoracic Medicine Director Kang-Yun Lee of Shuang Ho Hospital was involved in this important study associating both pollution and serotonin with sleep disorders. The related tryptophan metabolism pathway is also an important factor in regulating immunity and inflammation that are linked to increases in cancer risk.

Dr. Lee suggested that in times of serious air pollution, eating foods rich in tryptophan such as cow’s milk, yogurt, cheese, chocolate, eggs, fish, beans and meat can increase serotonin. The old European folk remedy of a glass of warm milk before bed for a good night’s sleep finds support in this research, which suggests that probiotics in yogurt can promote a good tryptophan metabolism pathway, boost the immune system, but also help fight cancer.

Improving air quality has become an important global goal. While Taiwan’s government addresses the problem by trying to control and regulate fixed and mobile pollution sources, TMU Associate Professor Chong Xiao-Qi said a mobile phone app allows the public to check for updates and respond to pollution spikes at any time.

In polluted conditions, doctors advise people to restrict themselves to indoor activity in a place with closed windows, preferably with an air cleaner running. If you need to be outdoors or to commute by bicycle, you should wear a commercially available medical-grade mask and replace it regularly to reduce the health risks from air pollution exposure.