December 03, 2009

Case Western Reserve Faculty Helping to Research Obseity Trends, Solutions in China

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Li Li, associate professor of family medicine and associate director for prevention research in the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Nathan A. Berger, Hanna-Payne Professor of Experimental Medicine, co-director of the Aging Cancer Research Program and director of the Center for Science, Health and Society at Case Western Reserve, were featured participants in the Fourth International Symposium on Community Health and Family Medicine in Shanghai, Zhabei, on Nov. 11.

The conference was co-sponsored by the Shanghai Zhabei District Health Bureau, China; the Department of Family Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, the School of Public Health, Fudan University, and the Shanghai City Committee of Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party. The fourth in a series, the conference focused on changing and improving health and health management in Zhabei District Shanghai, which has a population of over 1.1 million residents.

The original founders of the collaboration at Case Western Reserve, led by Li, include George Kikano, Dorothy Jones Weatherhead Professor and chair of the Department Family Medicine; Kurt Stange, Gertrude Donnelly Hess, M. D. Professor in Oncology Research, Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Family Medicine; and Berger.

In collaboration with Case Western Reserve faculty, the Zhabei District Health Department, led by Guangrong Wang, director of Zhabai District Department of Health, and Weihong Zhong, deputy director of Zhabai District Center for Community Health, developed and completed a population-based health survey, "Health Zhabei 2020," which included a lifestyle and risk factor questionnaire, along with physical examination and anthropomorphic measurements on more than 48,000 Zhabei residents. Blood samples for serum/plasma and DNA were also collected on more than 22,000 participants ages 35 and older to establish a biorepository for studies of health and health care needs in urban China. In addition, the information will be used for a population-based biobank to study disease evolution in association with genetics and environmental changes in the traditional diet, medicine, and lifestyle, along with the impact of western customs.

Li spoke on approaches to colon cancer screening and surveillance, and on studies on energy balance linking insulin resistance with colon neoplasms. Berger also spoke on energy balance and cancer studies including obesity and liver cancer. China has one of the lowest incidences of obesity among all countries of the world, but also has one of the most rapid rates of increase.

The Case Western Reserve physicians met with Shanghai government officials, physicians from Zhabei and public health faculty from Fudan University to analyze data from the Zhabei 2020 health survey to further define changes and the relation of energy balance, obesity and cancer, and to design more effective cancer screening, prevention and control strategies. Li and Berger also met with the leadership of Shibei Hospital and Zhabei Cancer Control Council to develop new approaches to cancer prevention and treatment.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, December 3, 2009 12:39 PM | News Topics: Conferences/Symposia, Faculty, Research, School of Medicine, international, news

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