Study finds 80% of Beijing high school students nearsighted

An extensive study of Chinese high school students grade 10 and 11 found more than 80% had some degree of myopia, or nearsightedness.

Taking a random sample from nine districts in Beijing, researchers tested 4677 high school students for myopia, with 80.7% testing positive.

Among those found positive for myopia, only 40.4% reported wearing glasses on a daily basis, the study found.

Interviews with the students revealed  a  high prevalence of myopia  linked to study time and time spent on ‘near work’ – activities that require focusing on items in close proximity.

Daily study time of more than 8 hours per day was reported by 85.5% of the students examined with 80.1% saying they had less than one hour of sporting activity per day.

Lack of rests between study sessions was another major contributor.  Just over half reported proactively taking a rest during study sessions.

“Since the competition for seats at the university is high, the examination for entrance into the university is difficult and the students intensively prepare,” the study said.

“The high-school students have thus a high load of prolonged near-work during the high-school period during which little time is left for outdoor activities.”

Females aged 16 to 18 had the highest percentage and most severe cases of near-sightedness between the two sexes.

Researchers from Capital Medical University in Beijing, with the help of the Center for Disease Control, also determined  those  from a high-income background or attending key schools resulted in more frequent, more severe cases of nearsightedness.

Genetically, Han students with parents who exhibit myopia were the most likely.

The study aimed to better quantify and understand the level of nearsightedness among Chinese students.

“With this young myopic generation getting older, myopia as cause for visual impairment and blindness may further increase in importance,” the study, Prevalence and Associated Factors of Myopia in High-School Students in Beijing, said.

“Future studies may address whether active rests during studying with looking into the distance are preventive against myopia development or progression.”

It was published online at PLOS ONE on March 24.

Traditional Chinese Medicine used with insulin to improve type 2 diabetes treatment

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) combined with standard insulin therapy proved far more efficient in treating  type 2 Diabetes , a new study reports.

A decade ago, type 2 diabetes, which makes up 90% of diabetes cases worldwide, was a rare occurence in China. But the country’s rise in wealth  has been accompanied by an increase of obesity, the primary cause of type 2.

By 2010, China overtook India as the country with the fastest growing incidents of diabetes, with 92.4 million adults affected, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

Scientists from the Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine tracked treatment of 219 Chinese diabetes patients, 110 who were given standar insulin therapy and 109 who were treated with TCM and insulin.

After 12 weeks of treatment, those who received dual therapy using Shen-Qi-Formula (SQF), a long-used TCM remedy, had substantially decreased  fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels – two key indicators of controlled type 2 diabetes.

“Moreover, 12-weeks of treatment by SQF and insulin improved the levels of GLP-1, oxidative stress, blood lipids, coagulation function and body weight,” the study said.

Those treated with dual therapy also saw a decrease in body weight, with the average dropping from  91.6 kg to 88.3 kg .  The average body weight for patients treated with just insulin increased from 91.2 kg to 92.1.

Shen-Qi Formula is made from  ginseng, kudzu vine root (Huang Qi), rehmannia, Chinese yam, dogwood, radix trichosanthis, salvia, and cooked rhubarb.

Two of its main ingredients – ginseng and kudzu vine root – have studeid extensively for their effects on type 2 diabetes.

“The results from our study indicated that the combination therapy of SQF and insulin significantly improved the clinical outcome of type 2 diabetes mellitus, compared to the insulin monotherapy,” the study said.

Insulin combined with Chinese medicine improving glycemic outcome through multiple pathways in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus was published by the Journal of Diabetes Investigation online on March 16.