HK SciFest 2017

“Medicine and Health” themed programmes



Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. At the year end of 2015, the population of Hong Kong was about 7.32 million. Men and women in Hong Kong enjoy the longest average life expectancy in the world, i.e., 81.4 and 87.3 years old respectively. This may be due to the well-developed infrastructure and health services in Hong Kong, especially the significant contribution of the medical researches.

Different ethnic groups develop their unique medical systems to cure diseases. For instance, western and Chinese medicines treat diseases basing on their own medical philosophies. In western medicine, it understands the structures and functions of the human body, as well as the disease and pathology through subdividing the body into systems, organs, tissues, cells, organelles, and small molecules. It uses chemical agents or surgery to remove the causes or lesions that lead to diseases. In Chinese medicine, it views human body as an inseparable system, and emphasises the holism as well as the interrelationship between the patient and the changes of nature. It treats diseases and enhances patients’ immunity with the use of herbs supplemented by acupuncture and massage based on the individual and seasonal variations.

With the special historical background of Hong Kong, as early as 1887, the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese (the predecessor of the School of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong) was established to train western medical professionals to serve the community. Today, Hong Kong's medical technology and professionals have reached the international level, and their achievements are internationally renowned such as the invention of the live liver transplantation using the adult right lobe graft, development of the non-invasive prenatal diagnosis of foetal DNA using maternal blood samples, as well as the discovery and study of SARS coronavirus.

In the area of Chinese medicine, the Chinese medicine industry in Hong Kong has developed rapidly in recent years. In addition to the set-up of the regulatory system for Chinese medicine, the bachelor programmes of Chinese medicine from local universities are also instituted to provide systematic training to the local Chinese medicine professionals. Moreover, various research groups in Hong Kong have found different active ingredients from traditional Chinese medicines that may facilitate the development of new drugs. In 2015, the Chinese scientist, Tu Youyou was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of artemisinin (qinghaosu). This further demonstrates the international recognition of the traditional Chinese medicine as a great treasure. Applying modern science and technology, the knowledge and theory of the traditional Chinese medicine can be taken to a new level to make significant contributions to the health of mankind.

The western and Chinese medicines have their own merits. Some studies show that the combination of western and Chinese medicine treatments would improve the therapeutic effect on some diseases such as cancer, stroke, pain, diabetic foot disease and chronic diseases. Hong Kong, as a melting pot of western and Chinese cultures, provides an ideal environment for developing the integrated medical treatment.

"Medicine and health" is one of the themed topics for HK SciFest 2017. The Hong Kong Science Museum has collaborated with various local educational institutions and medical organisations to organise a series of activities including laboratory visits, school visits, lectures and workshops, to allow the public to understand the scientific concepts behind western and Chinese medicines, and recognise the contribution of medical research and disease treatments to our health.

Click here to view “Medicine and Health” themed programmes