Health and Science

Kaohsiung doctor seeking volunteers for face transplant

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2019/01/09
By: Chen Chi-fong and Flor Wang

Kaohsiung, Jan. 9 (CNA) A Kaohsiung-based surgeon is seeking volunteers to undergo

Photo taken from Pixabay

Taiwan’s first face transplant operation after gaining approval from the central government to do so in November 2018.

Kuo Yur-ren (郭耀仁), director of the Department of Surgery at Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital and the key figure on its face transplant team, told CNA Wednesday he has been looking for volunteers with facial disfigurement to do a transplant since being given the green light by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Prior to receiving approval, the hospital had patients ask about the possibility of the procedure last year, but no action was taken because of the lack of a legal basis, Kuo explained.

The concept of face transplants grabbed popular attention in the 1997 thriller Face/Off, leading local media to dub Kuo’s search as an attempt to bring the movie to life in Taiwan, where the procedure has never been done.    [FULL  STORY]

Track pigs with GPS, vets say

QUARANTINE LOOPHOLES: It is difficult to require hog farms to install GPS devices, given that smaller farmers use their vehicles for various purposes, an official said

Taipei Times
Date: Jan 09, 2019
By: Lin Chia-nan and Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporters

The Council of Agriculture should require vehicles transporting pigs to install GPS

Pigs are pictured in a pen on a pig farm in Hualien County on Sunday.
Photo: CNA

devices for retroactive tracking in the event that African swine fever enters the nation, veterinary experts said yesterday.

Since China reported the first infection in early August last year, the council has been increasing its quarantine measures against the disease, while experts continue to identify possible loopholes.

At a meeting with council officials yesterday, academics urged the council to close quarantine loopholes and brace for the worst-case scenario if unfortunately the disease enters the nation.

The disease can be latent for up to 15 days and the council should think about how to track transmission if any infection is reported, National Chung Hsing University Department of Animal Science dean Chen Chih-feng (陳志峰) said, adding that the fight against the disease could last for decades.    [FULL  STORY]

ASF found 10 times in meat products brought in from China: BAPHIQ

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2019/01/06
By: Wu Hsin-yun and William Yen

CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 6 (CNA) Since August 2018, there have been 10 cases in which meat products brought into Taiwan by travelers have tested positive for the African swine fever (ASF) virus, according to the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ).

Over the almost five-month period, it has tested 678 of the 708 meat products it has found brought in from China, the BAPHIQ data showed Saturday.

Among them, 10 were confirmed to be infected with the ASF virus, the BAPHIQ said.

In six of the 10 cases, the meat products were found in Customs disposal containers, three at Kinmen’s Shuitou Pier, and one each at Taichung International Airport, Kaohsiung International Airport (KIA) and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TTIA), BAPHIQ data showed.    [FULL  STORY]

ASF virus found in Chinese meat product: COA

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2018/10/31
By: Wu Hsin-yun and Flor Wang 

Taipei, Oct. 31 (CNA) Amid government efforts to keep African Swine Fever (ASF) at bay, the Council of Agriculture (COA) announced Wednesday that a Chinese meat product brought by passengers into Taiwan has been detected to contain the deadly virus.

“The Animal Health Research Institute discovered the ASF virus today in a meat product brought by passengers from China to Kinmen,” COA Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城) told a news conference.

The tainted product, Chinese crispy sausage, was sent to the institute for examination after being collected by institute officers Oct. 25 from a garbage container at Shuitou Port in offshore Kinmen County, apparently having been discarded by passengers coming from China’s Fujian Province via the ferry services between the two destinations, Huang explained.

According to Huang, the sausage was made by Shuanghai — the largest processed food maker in China. Shuanghui’s meat products have been repeatedly found to contain the ASF virus since the outbreak of the disease in China first surfaced Aug. 3, he noted.

Taiwan looking to build health ties in Asia-Pacific: Chen

Taipei Times
Date: Oct 29, 2018
By: Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The annual Global Health Forum in Taiwan opened yesterday in Taipei, with Vice

Vice President Chen Chien-jen attends the first day of the Global Health Forum in Taiwan yesterday in Taipei.  Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) saying that the nation is looking forward to strengthening Asia-Pacific ties to increase cooperation in the areas of medicine and health, and promoting health-related industrial links.

The theme of the forum is “Resilience: New Challenges and Opportunities for Global Health.”

Taiwan is a member of the global public health community and it has taken the annual forum seriously for the past 14 years, Chen said.

Many nations are facing the challenges brought by rapidly aging populations and high prevalence of chronic diseases that call for better medical and public health environments as well as social welfare services, he said.    [FULL  STORY]

Whitebait a good source of calcium… and cholesterol

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 2018-09-17

Tiny white fish – known as whitebait – are commonly eaten in Taiwan. It’s a delicacy consisting of immature fish from a number of different species, including anchovies and sardines. But while people often eat them for their health benefits, health experts are sounding the alarm.

These tiny “whitebait” are often served up in soups and porridges in Taiwan. They not only add flavor to the dish, they are also a good source of calcium.

But health experts are warning that there are health concerns, too. That’s because they are consumed whole, which means you ingest the intestines and fat, and a surprising amount of cholesterol for such a tiny fish.    [FULL  STORY]

CDC confirms first cluster of imported typhoid cases this year

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2018/09/11
By: Chen Wei-ting and Ko Lin

Taipei, Sept. 11 (CNA) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Tuesday confirmed the

Image taken from Pixabay

first cluster of imported typhoid fever cases this year and urged the public to pay attention to food sanitation when traveling to areas where typhoid is endemic.

The patients, a new immigrant mother and her eldest son, were on a family visit to Indonesia from Aug. 6-19.

Upon their return, the woman suffered from diarrhea and abdominal pain, said CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥).

She sought medical assistance three times from Aug. 20-30, and later tests confirmed she had contracted typhoid, Chuang said.    [FULL  STORY]

Southern Taiwanese city of Tainan reports year’s first indigenous dengue fever case

Taiwan News  
Date: 2018/09/11
By:  Central News Agency

A 78-year-old woman has become the first reported indigenous dengue fever case in

Tainan sees a case of dengue fever. (By Central News Agency)

Tainan this year, health authorities in the southern city announced Tuesday.

The woman living in Tainan’s South District sought medical treatment and underwent screening for dengue Sunday after feeling unwell that day and coming down with a fever. She was hospitalized the following day, said Chen Yi, head of the city government’s dengue fever prevention and control center.

The woman was later confirmed to have dengue virus type 4 (DENV-4), Chen said.

The Tainan health authorities also determined the patient to be this year’s first indigenous dengue fever case in the southern city, according to Chen.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan university develops battery costing only 5% of lithium ones

Date: 13 April 2018
By: Rebecca Kuo, Tainan; Joseph Tsai, DIGITIMES

Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University has developed an eco-friendly battery using

National Cheng Kung University develops a sodium ion-based battery
Photo: NCKU

sodium ion electrolyte as the source. The battery’s non-corrosive, non-toxic and non-explosive characteristics have made it suitable for storing power generated by wind and solar power systems, and can be applied near agricultural or water source areas without creating hazard, the developers said.

Since the electrolyte is diluted from sodium phosphate powder, which is cheap to acquire at NT$300 (US$10) per kilogram, the costs for making the battery are only 5% of those of a lithium battery.

However, the battery only features a maximum capacity of 60mAh/g, which is only half of the lithium battery’s 120mAh/g.    [SOURCE]

TAIWAN: Eating Out, Lack of Exercise Behind Rising Heart Disease

Heart disease is now the number two cause of death in Taiwan.

The News Lens
Date: 2018/03/26
By: By Matthew Fulco,

Credit: REUTERS/Nicky Loh

Last year my family and I moved into an apartment building with a small gym. There are treadmills, an elliptical trainer, an exercise bike, and dumbbell sets – enough equipment for a full workout.

It’s almost like having a private gym in my home. Even at peak times for gym use like early evening, I rarely have to share the space. In an 11-story building with multiple apartments on each floor, there are just a handful of people who use the fitness center.

As it turns out, my experience is not unique. A 2015 survey by the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) under the Ministry of Health and Welfare found that 76 percent of Taiwanese don’t get enough exercise. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate physical exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity.    [FULL  STORY]

Physical inactivity is a top risk factor for heart disease, the No. 2 cause of mortality in Taiwan after cancer. In 2016 nearly 21,000 people died of cardiovascular disease in Taiwan, according to government data. The heart disease mortality rate rose 0.37 percent that year.