Name: Benny Fok Sui Pong

Post: Full-time Ph.D

Enrolled: 2002 - 2005

Origin: Hong Kong / Canada

First Degree:  BSc. Immunology, University of British Columbia, BC, Canada

Supervisor:  Prof. Lester Critchley, Prof. Brian Tomlinson*
[* Department of Clinical Pharmacology]

Title of Thesis:

An investigation of the relationship between atherosclerosis and its risk factors amongst subjects with different degrees of glycaemic control

Outline of the Thesis:

Atherosclerosis is the process by which the inner lining of a large or medium artery is deposited with lipids, cellular waste and other substances. It reduces the vessel's elasticity, lumen size and blood flow. Atherosclerosis is the primary underlying mechanism leading to cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, the second and third leading causes of death in Hong Kong.

As the prevalence of atherosclerosis has risen to an alarming level throughout the world, this thesis investigated: 1) the effects of type 2 diabetes mellitus on the risk factors for atherosclerosis and the intima-media thickness (IMT) of the common carotid arteries (a surrogate marker for atherosclerosis), 2) the contribution of various risk factors to the IMT of the common carotid arteries and 3) the interrelationship between the risk factors.

Both traditional and emerging risk factors for atherosclerosis were studied: traditional risk factors include age, blood pressure, indices of glycaemia control (fasting glucose, insulin and haemoglobin-Alc), and fasting lipids, while the emerging risk factors include, abdominal fat volume (subcutaneous and visceral), inflammatory markers (interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-8 (IL-8) and high sensitivity c-reactive protein (hsCRP)), adiponectin, stress hormones (24 hr urinary noradrenaline and adrenaline, and plasma cortisol), and occupational stress (measured by a effort-reward imbalance questionnaire).

Starting with 204 subjects recruited from three different studies, data from 84 normoglycaemic subjects, 23 patients with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and 77 patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) were included in the analysis. When the IMT of the common carotid arteries and various risk factors were compared between normoglycaemic, IGT and DM subjects: 1) the IMT of the common carotid arteries showed an increasing trend with the worsening of glycaemia control (normal<IGT<DM), 2) increased prevalence of hypertension, dyslipidaemia, and obesity were observed among DM patients, and 3) increased levels of inflammatory markers, reduced concentration of adiponectin (a anti-inflammatory substance), and increased plasma cortisol concentration were also found among DM subjects.

Current Employment: 

Research Assistant, The Drug Development Centre, School of Pharmacy, CUHK, based at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

Publications arising from his thesis:

(A) Scientific Papers:

  1. Thomas GN, Critchley LAH, Fok BSP, Critchley JAJH, Tomlinson B., A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of a Traditional Chinese Medicine formulation used to treat components of the metabolic syndrome.(Pending acceptance)

  2. Ma SW, Benzie IFF, Chu TTW, Fok BSP, Critchley LAH, Tomlinson B., Effect of Panax ginseng supplementation on biomarkers of glucose tolerance, antioxidant status and oxidative stress in type 2 diabetic subject: results of a placebo-controlled human intervention trial.

(B) Conference Abstracts:

  1. Fok BSP, Cornelissen G, Halbery F, Chu TTW, Thomas GN, Tomlinson B. Different effects of lercanidipine and felodipine on circadian blood pressure and heart rate among hypertensive patients. 13th Annual Scientific Congress of Hong Kong College of Cardiology 2005, Hong Kong.