Media Release 


Can ageing in humans be halted or slowed down?

Is it possible to stop disease progression?

- Gain insights into these profound questions at SGH Annual Scientific Meeting -



The greatest threat to good health, including the chance of developing chronic diseases, is age.

If by understanding ageing and developing clinical interventions to slow or even prevent ageing, would it be possible to extend the human healthspan, the disease-free and functional part of people’s lives? Is it already happening? For instance, it is now possible to delay or stop some diseases from progressing by treating the early signs of those diseases. Are we on the cusp of revolutionising medicine and the way diseases and treatment are viewed?

Internationally renowned ageing expert Professor Brian Kennedy provided insights into this topic -- including what interventions are already in place, as well as strategies for measuring and delaying ageing in humans – at a plenary lecture on “Preventive Medicine in an Ageing Society” at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) 23rd Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM).

Prof Kennedy is Professor of the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing, Novato, California, USA, and Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Biochemistry and Physiology at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore.

In addition to Prof Kennedy, other speakers talked about how healthcare has been advancing through research and technology. Presentations and discussions at the ASM, titled “Advancing Care: Above and Beyond”, centred around the Ministry of Health’s call to involve the community, not just hospitals and healthcare institutions, in caring for people, especially the elderly.

In an extension of the Ministry’s “Three Beyonds” to healthcare “Beyond Borders”, experts also weighed in on the global health initiatives that had emerged from SingHealth institutions as the group’s clinicians and researchers look to strengthening health systems in the region, and to insulating countries from pandemics and other disease threats.

“SGH continues to strive for better patient care through advances in research, innovation and education. This year, the ASM showcases new and ongoing projects in areas of value-based care, community health, and preventive medicine, in line with the Health Ministry’s ‘Three Beyonds’,” said Associate Professor Deidre Anne De Silva, Organising Chairperson of this year’s ASM and Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Neurology, National Neuroscience Institute (SGH Campus).

“The SGH Annual Scientific Meeting brings together the wide range of healthcare professionals across different fields and disciplines and is a platform to present new ideas, share best practices and learn from one another,” added Prof Deidre.

Guest-of-Honour for the two-day conference was Minister for Health, Mr Gan Kim Yong, who delivered the Opening Speech on Friday, 12 April 2019, 8am at the Auditorium of Academia, SGH Campus.

He also officiated the launch of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Transplant Centre, a unique multi-organ transplant facility encompassing solid organ, tissue and cellular transplantation, and the largest SingHealth Duke-NUS Disease Centre.

SGH Annual Scientific Meeting

Held bi-annually, the ASM this year had attracted about 230 abstract submissions from SGH and across the Campus for the 16 different award categories, including a new student category for the Young Investigator’s Award. These abstracts include: 

1. Prevalence of diabetes mellitus in multi-ethnic, end-stage liver disease patients of mixed etiologies awaiting transplant
In a study involving more than 200 end-stage liver disease patients awaiting transplant, close to half of them had diabetes. Some were only diagnosed during pre-transplant checks and may have been living with diabetes unknowingly for years. A small group of patients also developed diabetes post-transplant. The team found that patients who were older, were male, had higher BMI, and had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or liver cancer were more likely to have pre-transplant diabetes.

2. Novel wearable cooling device for post-cardiac arrest care in the emergency department
To reduce mortality and prevent brain damage, it is vital to quickly lower a cardiac arrest victim’s core body temperature immediately after resuscitation – a process called Therapeutic Temperature Management. Using a non-invasive novel cooling device that was co-developed by a hospital and an industry partner, researchers have shown that it was able to bring down patients’ body temperature safely starting in the Emergency Department, and in a shorter amount of time as compared to conventional treatment. This has improved the quality and effectiveness of post-cardiac arrest care.  

3. Longitudinal association between visual impairment and incident cognitive impairment in a multi-ethnic Asian population
In this first observational multi-ethnic Asian population study which evaluated the longitudinal association between visual and cognitive impairment, researchers followed about 2,200 individuals aged 60 and above for a period of six years, and found that those with poor vision had a higher risk of developing cognitive impairment. This was more profound in those who were blind at the start of the study. The visual loss in these cases were caused by treatable and preventable conditions such as cataract and under-corrected near- or far-sightedness. Maintaining good vision may thus prevent or delay the progression of age-related cognitive declines.

4. The influence of Malay cultural beliefs on breast cancer screening and genetic testing
The uptake rate of breast cancer screening amongst Malay women is reportedly low and is associated with poorer cancer outcomes. Researchers conducted focus groups involving about 30 Malay women aged 40 to 69 years and found that their decision to participate in breast cancer screening and genetic testing are influenced by cultural, traditional, spiritual/religious and intergenerational beliefs


The Opening Ceremony was held on:

Date : Friday, 12 April 2019
Time : 8am
Venue : Level 1 Auditorium
             Academia, SGH Campus
             20 College Road, Singapore 169856

For more information, please contact:

Ms Carol Ang
DID: 6326 6085