Cultivating healthy lifestyles and habits from a young age is key to keeping most heart diseases at bay. At the 4th SingYouth Heart Challenge & Lecture, more than 70 high school and tertiary students submitted abstracts on cardiovascular disease research.

Some 100 students from the local Junior Colleges and Centralised Institutions turned up at the NHCS Lecture Theatre to attend the SingYouth Heart Lecture, which aims to spark youths’ interest in cardiovascular medicine, and hopefully, in turn become ambassadors of cardiac health among their family and student community.

First was an interactive lecture and Q&A session on new heart disease therapies by NHCS cardiologists Dr Eric Lim and Asst Prof Gunasegaran Kurugulasigamoney, followed by Dr Jonathan Yap who spoke about technology in healthcare. It was an eye-opener as students learned how technology advancements progress into the novel therapies used in heart disease treatments today. 

Guest-of-Honour Dr Tong Ming Chuan
Guest-of-Honour, Dr Tong, shared his experience on performing the first heart transplant in Singapore.

Old newspaper clippings, yellowish photographs and a close up shot of a sliced-up heart. Everyone’s attention was then on the Guest-of-Honour, renowned cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Tong Ming Chuan, as he related his compelling experience in leading the medical team to perform the first ever heart transplant surgery in Singapore in 1990, and shared about how the evolution of heart transplantation has benefitted heart patients in Singapore and Asia.

Prior to the SingYouth Heart Lecture, the students had formed 28 teams to submit abstract papers and posters related to cardiovascular disease, and three teams were shortlisted to present their abstracts in front of a panel of judges on the day itself. The presentations were lively
and engaging, and certainly kept the audience entertained.

NHCS SingYouth 2018 students
It was certainly an enriching learning journey for the 28 teams who participated in the Challenge.

As shared candidly by one of the student participant, “Our team’s project was a small one with a lot of learning potential. Seeing how other competing teams take on so many different directions and interpreting the topic in creative ways has really inspired me to be more creative when it comes to doing research. This Challenge has also raised our awareness on important health issues in our everyday lives, and I will take part in this competition again, if given the chance.”

Prizes were then given out for the Best Abstract, Best Poster and Best Oral Presentation. Congratulations go out to the three group winners, whowere each awarded $500 courtesy of Edwards Lifesciences Foundation. It was an enriching learning experience for the teens, and it was great to see how they embraced the spirit of the Challenge with interest and enthusiasm! As Prof Terrance Chua, NHCS’s Medical Director, shared, “Since our launch in 2015, the number of student participants has grown. It’s heartening to see growing support from the schools for this educational event, which serves as a good learning platform for the students, our future generation, to gain insights into the  world of cardiovascular disease, its prevention, and how treatments and research can help improve the lives of heart patients.”

The Best Abstract was won by River Valley High School for their investigation on the different effects of waking during deep and light sleep.

Nanyang Junior College won the Best Poster, for their review on the effects of coffee consumption on cardiovascular risk factors among Asians. 

The Best Oral Presentation was awarded to Dunman High School, who presented on society’s receptiveness towards current hypertensive treatments, and the optimisation of available treatments.

SingYouth Heart Challenge is sponsored by Edwards Lifesciences Foundation.

This article is from Murmurs Issue 32 (September – December 2018). Click here to read the full issue.