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Scientific and medical advancements are closely intertwined, psychiatry is no exception. The addition of neuroscience to the department is recent but well primed – guided by our strong track record in community and clinical psychiatry, neuroscience could broaden our scope in investigating psychiatric illness, it also brings novel perspectives in our understanding of clinical phenomena and paves the road to novel intervention and treatment. This completes our department’s multi-pronged approach aiming at easing the sufferings of those who are mentally ill. 
 
We are establishing a neuroscience laboratory as a platform for the investigation of normal and pathological brain functioning, diagnostics, and treatment. Intrinsically multidisciplinary, our neuroscientific studies would cover anatomical, functional, molecular, and theoretical aspects of neural circuitries that underlies clinical phenomena. Research in neural circuitries not only provides precise mechanistic explanations to brain functioning, it will also lay the foundations essential for our goals in developing new diagnostics and therapeutics. Our laboratory also specializes in research methodology development, offering customized solutions for clinicians to extract as much information as possible from precious patient biological samples such as blood or tissues. This provides a unique advantage for our translational neuroscience-psychiatry research. 
 
With a highly diverse but cooperative departmental structure, we hope our joined forces would steer one step further towards relieving the burdens of psychiatric illness.

RESEARCHERS

Dr. H. M. LAI
Prof. Y.K. WING

Active Research Projects

Neurodevelopmental Disorders & Cognition
Psychopathology, executive dysfunction and role impairment in Chinese young adults with a previous clinical diagnosis of childhood attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in Hong Kong. (HMRF)
PI: Dr. A. MAK

 

Neurodevelopmental Disorders & Phenomena and Epidemiology
Psychopathology, executive dysfunction and role impairment in Chinese young adults with a previous clinical diagnosis of childhood attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in Hong Kong. (HMRF)
PI: Dr. A. MAK

The WHO World Mental Survey – International College Students project.
Coordinator: Dr. A. MAK

 

Neurodevelopmental Disorders & Neuro Modulation
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Treatment for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Young Adults
PI: Dr. A. MAK

 

Schizophrenia and Psychoses & Phenomena and Epidemiology
The WHO World Mental Survey – International College Students project.
Coordinator: Dr. A. MAK

 

Neurocognitive Disorders & Genes – Molecules
Mitochondrial heteroplasmy and cognitive decline
PI: Dr. S.L. MA

 

Affective Disorders & Imaging
Is GABA deficit the link between functional dyspepsia and major depressive disorder? (RGC/GRF)
PI: Dr. A. MAK

Energy Metabolism as Biomarker and Pathogenesis of Bipolar II- Concurrent serum measures of Lipid Peroxidation, 1H-Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.(RGC/ECS)
PI: Dr. A. MAK

Brain Neurochemical and Network Correlates of Gut Microbiota Composition in non-constipation IBS Patients
PI: Dr. A. MAK

 

Affective Disorders & Cognition
Is GABA deficit the link between functional dyspepsia and major depressive disorder? (RGC/GRF)
PI: Dr. A. MAK

Energy Metabolism as Biomarker and Pathogenesis of Bipolar II- Concurrent serum measures of Lipid Peroxidation, 1H-Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.(RGC/ECS)
PI: Dr. A. MAK

 

Affective Disorders & Phenomena and Epidemiology
The WHO World Mental Survey – International College Students project.
Coordinator: Dr. A. MAK

Energy Metabolism as Biomarker and Pathogenesis of Bipolar II- Concurrent serum measures of Lipid Peroxidation, 1H-Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.(RGC/ECS)
PI: Dr. A. MAK

 

Affective Disorders & Neuro modulation
Pre-treatment biomarker for clinical response to neuronavigated repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in the acute phase treatment of refractory major depressive episode- role of intrinsic functional connectivity
PI: Dr. S. CHAN

Randomized controlled trial of augmentative neuro-navigated right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex low frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for antidepressant non-responding bipolar depression.(HMRF)
PI: Dr. A. MAK

 

Sleep and Circadian Medicine & Imaging
Striatal dopamine transmission in individuals with isolated rapid eye movement sleep without atonia: a search for precursor biomarker for neurodegeneration. Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF)
PI: Prof. Y.K. WING

 

Sleep and Circadian Medicine & Phenomena and Epidemiology
Circadian rhythms dysregulation in the unaffected adolescent offspring of parents with bipolar I disorder. Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF);
PI: Dr. J. ZHANG

Mechanisms of circadian rhythms in the progression of rem sleep behavior disorder towards neurodegeneration. The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC);
PI: Dr. J. ZHANG

Familial Aggregation and Biomarkers in REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder: A Case-control Family Study. Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF)
PI: Dr. J. ZHANG

REM sleep behavior disorder in psychiatric populations - a prospective study searching for early neurodegenerative biomarkers and clinical outcome. Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF);
PI: Prof. Y.K. WING

Prodromal markers of α-synucleinopathy neurodegeneration in the first-degree relatives of patients with psychiatric disorders comorbid with REM sleep behavior disorder. RGC General Research Fund (GRF);
PI: Prof. Y.K. WING

 

Sleep and Circadian Medicine & Behavioral and Other Interventions
Can we prevent insomnia? -- A randomized controlled trial of brief cognitive-behavioral insomnia prevention program for high-risk adolescents. RGC General Research Fund (GRF);
PI: Prof. Y.K. WING

Adjunctive light treatment in major depressive disorder patients with evening chronotype - A randomized controlled trial. Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF)
PI: Prof. Y.K. WING

 

Psychosomatic Medicine & Imaging
Is GABA deficit the link between functional dyspepsia and major depressive disorder?(RGC/GRF)
PI: Dr. A. MAK

Brain Neurochemical and Network Correlates of Gut Microbiota Composition in non-constipation IBS Patients.
PI: Dr. A. MAK

 

Psychosomatic Medicine & Cognition
Is GABA deficit the link between functional dyspepsia and major depressive disorder? (RGC/GRF)
PI: Dr. A. MAK

Brain Neurochemical and Network Correlates of Gut Microbiota Composition in non-constipation IBS Patients.
PI: Dr. A. MAK

 

Psychosomatic Medicine & Phenomena and Epidemiology
Is GABA deficit the link between functional dyspepsia and major depressive disorder? (RGC/GRF)
PI: Dr. A. MAK

Brain Neurochemical and Network Correlates of Gut Microbiota Composition in non-constipation IBS Patients.
PI: Dr. A. MAK

 

Psychosomatic Medicine & Behavioral and Other Interventions
Neuropsychiatric Registry at Acute Stroke Unit at Prince of Wales Hospital
PI: Prof. W.K. TANG

Default mode network in poststroke depression: A functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging study
PI: Prof. W.K. TANG

Regional Brain Structural and Function al Changes in Poststroke Depression
PI: Prof. W.K. TANG

Behavioural Dysexecutive Syndrome after Stroke (DES)
PI: Prof. W.K. TANG

Irritability in Stroke
PI: Prof. W.K. TANG

Enlarged perivascular spaces in poststroke depression (EPVS)
PI: Prof. W.K. TANG

Behavioural Disinhibition in Stroke (BIS)
PI: Prof. W.K. TANG

 

Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders & Cognition
Change in cognitive function and biomarkers of neurotoxicity following abstinence of ketamine: A prospective longitudinal study
PI: Prof. W.K. TANG

 

Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders & Behavioral and Other Intervention
Ice Induced Psychosis: A Literature Review and a Prevalence Study in Local Ice Abusers
PI: Prof. W.K. TANG

Director: Prof. Helen CHIU

The Suicide Research Unit was established in 2004 to address the worldwide public health burden related to suicidal behavior. Our primary goal is to build collaborative national and international research network that ultimately translates research findings to effective intervention strategies and health policies. Our unit has been working closely with the World Health Organization, Peking University's Institute of Mental Health, The University of Rochester's Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide through a number of research projects that investigate biopsychosocial risk factors for suicide in high-risk communities and population sectors in Hong Kong and China, namely "Psychological Autopsy Study of Elderly Suicide in Hong Kong", "Psychological Autopsy Study of Non-elder Suicide in Hong Kong", "Prevalence of Suicidal Ideation and Its Correlates in Rural Chinese Residents Ages 16-34 in Mianyang, Sichuan", "Cerebrovascular Risk Factors and Late-Life Suicide", "Trend analysis of suicide surveillance data and evaluation of the effect of SARS outbreak on elderly suicide rates in Hong Kong", "Epidemiologic survey on prevalence of clinically significant depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation among cognitively-impaired elders in the community", and "WHO's START!" (World Health Organization's International Collaborative and Comparative Study in the Western Pacific Region, Suicide Trends in At-Risk Territories). The series of high-quality suicide studies have received supports from competitive research grants such as the Research Grant Council and the US Federal Government's National Institute of Health.

Selected Publications:

  1. Chiu HFK, Yip PSF, Chi I, Chan SSM, Tsoh J, Kwan CW, Li SF, Conwell Y, Caine ED. Elderly Suicide in Hong Kong??A case--controlled Psychological Autopsy Study. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 2004; 109(4): 299-305.
  2. Tsoh J, Chiu HF, Duberstein PR, Chan S, Chi I, Yip PS, Conwell Y. Attempted suicide in elderly Chinese persons: a multi-group, controlled study. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 2005;13(7):562-71.
  3. Chan SSM, Chiu HFK, Lam LCW, Leung VPY. Elderly Suicide and the 2003 SARS epidemic in Hong Kong SAR. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 2006; 21:113-118.
  4. Sandra S Chan, Jeffrey M Lyness, Conwell Yeates. Do Cerebrovascular Risk Factors Confer Risk for Suicide in Later Life? A Case-Control Study. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 2007; 15(6): 541-544
  5. Chan SSM, Pang EPF, Chiu HFK. Validity of best-estimate methodology for assessing psychosocial risk factors and making psychiatric diagnosis among suicide attempters. The Hong Kong Journal of Psychiatry 2007;17(2): 55-63

Neurocognitive disorders are a major global health concern. Given the current lack of disease-modifying treatments and the ageing of our population, early detection and finding ways to delay or prevent the clinical onset of neurocognitive disorders are of great importance from a clinical and public health perspective. Two of our prevalence studies, one conducted in 1995 and the other in 2005, showed that the prevalence of dementia in Hong Kong had doubled during that 10-year period. We have also succeeded in validating and testing the applicability of a wide range of cognitive screening instruments, which are
now widely used throughout Hong Kong. Additionally, we have identified various risk and protective factors for neurocognitive disorders and conducted a series of randomised controlled trials of non-pharmacological interventions for improving cognitive function that have received worldwide attention.

RESEARCHERS

Prof. Helen F.K. CHIU
Prof. Linda C.W. LAM
Dr. Allen T.C. LEE
Dr. Hanna LU


We have also discovered genetic predisposing factors to Alzheimer’s disease as well as the clinical response to cholinesterase inhibitors in the local Chinese population. Apart from our study of Alzheimer’s disease, we have demonstrated that rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behaviour disorder (RBD) is highly predictive of future synucleinopathy neurodegeneration, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. Our current projects in sleep and neurodegeneration include a longitudinal cohort study of typical RBD with in-depth measures of clinical, biochemical and sleep biomarkers, along with a family cohort and national registry of RBD. Our long-term goal is to facilitate the search for biomarkers that predict the onset of neurodegeneration and to develop strategies for its prevention.

RESEARCHERS

Dr. S.L. MA
Dr. J. ZHANG
Prof. Y.K. WING