T minus 3 hrs …. Beijing and beyond

16 05 2011

By Chris Lam
MsGH 2012 Candidate

Trying to relax a little bit as I wait for my flight at Chicago o’hare to Beijing. It’s been a whirlwind of activity since exams finished in early may until now. I was up at 3 am in an effort to miss interstate traffic and get through security for my 7 am connection. So I’m just starting to wake up now. I think it will be a 14 hr flight from Chicago to Beijing so I’m downloading stuff to make it through my flight. I will be meeting up with 2 colleagues Wu and Li, at the airport. I’m very happy to have at someone familiar that can help me navigate to my hotel in my jet lagged state.

I’ll be interning at the George Institute (an Aussie uni.) and Peking University. There is this a unique partnership between these two institutions and Duke to form the Center of Excellence targeting Chronic Diseases, in China. I will be assisting with an on-going efforts to reduce the incidence of stroke through a population wide intervention reduce the dietary sodium intake. In rural China the average salt consumption per day is between two to three times the recommended amount. So the idea is to use a salt substitute that reduces about 33% less sodium that reg. table salt instead of just dietary edu / counseling alone. Early pilot studies have been very promising and there are currently longer term trials underway. I’ve eaten items seasoned with reduced sodium soy sauce before and haven’t noticed much of a taste difference. But some folks have thought that the salt subt. can be slightly bitter tasting (which is from potassium I think) and there is the issue of cost. I think it’s 50% more expensive for thes salt subt. in the US, I’m not sure about the cost difference in China I’m pretty pumped about seeing this relatively low cost intervention in action.

Well going to walk around a little but before we board. I will try and update regularly. Look for my post recapping visits in late May when I’ll be going to 2 rural villages, Gaoping and Yangcheng, to see the implementation of the intervention in action.

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