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Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 15:52

HK neurologist first Chinese to win world stroke honor

By Wang Yuke
HK neurologist first Chinese to win world stroke honor
Lawrence Wong Ka-sing’s breakthrough discoveries in stroke research in the Asian population earned him World Stroke Organization President’s Award for Services to Stroke. (Wang Yuke / China Daily)

HONG KONG - A new therapy to achieve better recovery for stroke patient was introduced by a Hong Kong neurology scholar, which landed him the honor of being the first Chinese to win a world-level honor.

Lawrence Wong Ka-sing found that brain damage caused by lack of blood flow to brain or brain cells’ lack of stimulus, is the prime suspect behind the physical disability

The therapy, combining three methods, is developed by Lawrence Wong Ka-sing, neurology professor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He was granted the WSO President’s Award for Services to Stroke last month for his breakthrough discoveries in stroke research in the Asian population.

The award was presented by the World Stroke Organization in its biennial conference last month.

Normally a stroke patient, despite receiving timely treatment, suffers from 15 to 30 percent malfunction of their body physically. And current treatment for stroke patients focuses on the physical therapy.

But Wong found that brain damage caused by lack of blood flow to brain or brain cells’lack of stimulus, is the prime suspect behind the physical disability.

In order to build the connection between neurons, Wong proposed to introduce stimulus to the brain cell by using an intermittent theta burst stimulation method (iTBS), faster but equally effective compared with the old way – the repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) – in use for more than 30 years.

As to improving the blood circulation in the brain, Wong’s team use external counterpulsation to divert the blood circulation and bring up the blood from limbs to the brain and heart, which is proved to be significant in rebuilding stroke patient’s mobility.

HK neurologist first Chinese to win world stroke honor
Lawrence Wong Ka-sing’s team use external counterpulsation to divert the blood circulation and bring up the blood from limbs to the brain and heart, which is proved to be significant in rebuilding stroke patient’s mobility. (Wang Yuke / China Daily)

The last element of Wong’s magic is the standard physical therapies.

The prospect is promising, Wong said, as the combination of the three approaches may well triple the effect of single methods practiced independently.

Wong has made a great contribution in stroke research, particularly targeting research on Asian stroke sufferers.

As early as 1998, the team first discovered that narrowing of the blood vessel in the brain (intracranial atherosclerosis) was the commonest cause of stroke in the Chinese population.

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