Research Team -

Paediatric Respiratory and Sleep Medicine

Principal Investigators


Research Staff

  • Mr. YU Magnum

  • Ms. WONG Lai On

  • Ms. NGAI Hoi Yan


Post-graduate students

  • Ms. YUEN Hoi Man, Cindy

  • Mr. HE Zhiang

  • Ms. GUO Wei

Research Scope


An overview of research focus

Our research team is most interested in paediatric sleep problems and respiratory diseases, with particularly focuses on sleep-disordered breathing, sleep deprivation, and asthma.


A list of research topics

  • Natural history of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) from childhood to adulthood

  • Epidemiology of OSA in children and adolescents

  • Cardiovascular complications of OSA in children

  • Neurocognitive and behavioural outcomes in children with OSA

  • Non-invasive ventilation for childhood OSA

  • Treatment effect of adenotonsillectomy

  • Prediction of treatment responses

  • Anatomical markers of childhood OSA

  • Craniofacial phenotyping by photogrammetry

  • Drug-induced sleep endoscopy for children with OSA

  • Sleep deprivation and cardiovascular outcomes in youth

  • Sleep problems in young children

  • Sleep education

  • Management of asthma in children

  • Asthma and systemic inflammation

  • Tobacco smoke exposure in children


Selected publications

  1. Yuen HM, Au CT, Chu WCW, Li AM, Chan KC. Reduced Tongue Mobility: An Unrecognised Risk Factor of Childhood Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. Sleep. 2021:zsab217. doi:10.1093/sleep/zsab217

  2. Au CT, Chan KCC, Chook P, Wing YK, Li AM. Cardiovascular risks of children with primary snoring: A 5-year follow-up study. Respirology. 2021;26(8):796-803. doi:10.1111/resp.14089

  3. Au CT, Chan KCC, Lee DLY, Leung N, Chow SMW, Chow JS, Wing YK, Li AM. Effect of surgical intervention for mild childhood obstructive sleep apnoea on attention and behavioural outcomes: A randomized controlled study. Respirology. 2021;26(7):690-699. doi:10.1111/resp.14050

  4. Chan KC, Au CT, Hui LL, Wing YK, Li AM. Childhood OSA is an independent determinant of blood pressure in adulthood: longitudinal follow-up study. Thorax. 2020;75(5):422-431. doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2019-213692

  5. Au CT, Chan KC, Zhang J, Liu KH, Chu WCW, Wing YK, Li AM. Intermediate phenotypes of childhood obstructive sleep apnea. J Sleep Res. 2020;30(3):e13191. doi: 10.1111/jsr.13191

  6. Chan KC, Au CT, Hui LL, Ng S-K, Wing YK, Li AM. How OSA Evolves From Childhood to Young Adulthood: Natural History From a 10-Year Follow-up Study. Chest. 2019;156(1):120-130. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2019.03.007

  7. Chan KCC, Au CT, Chook P, Lee DLY, Lam HS, Wing YK, Li AM. Endothelial function in children with OSA and the effects of adenotonsillectomy. Chest. 2015;147(1):132-139. doi:10.1378/chest.14-1307

  8. Chan CCK, Au CT, Lam HS, Lee DLY, Wing YK, Li AM. Intranasal corticosteroids for mild childhood obstructive sleep apnea – a randomized, placebo-controlled study. Sleep Medicine. 2015;16(3):358-363. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2014.10.015

  9. Li AM, Au CT, Ng C, Lam HS, Ho CKW, Wing YK. A 4-year prospective follow-up study of childhood OSA and its association with BP. Chest. 2014;145(6):1255-1263. doi:10.1378/chest.13-1333

  10. Au CT, Ho CKW, Wing YK, Lam HS, Li AM. Acute and chronic effects of sleep duration on blood pressure. Pediatrics. 2014;133(1):e64-72. doi:10.1542/peds.2013-1379


Grants

1. Study title: Validation of the sonographic measurement of lateral parapharyngeal wall thickness in children

Funding source: CUHK Direct Grant

Study period: 28 Jun 2021 to 27 Jun 2022

Reference number: 2020.073


2. Study title: Randomised controlled study to examine the efficacy of sleep education on extending sleep duration of preschool children.

Funding source: RGC General Research Fund

Study period: 1 Jan 2021 to 30 Jun 2023

Reference number: 14116920


3. Study title: Long-term follow-up of children with obstructive sleep apnoea treated with adenotonsillectomy: cardiovascular perspective

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Health Medical Research Fund

Study period: 17 Jul 2020 to 16 Jul 2024

Reference number: 07181276


4. Study title: Prevalence of obstructive sleep apnoea among adolescents in the general population

Funding source: RGC General Research Fund

Study period: 1 Jan 2020 to 30 Jun 2022

Reference number: 14116919


5. Study title: High-flow nasal cannula as an alternative intervention for children and adolescents with obstructive sleep apnoea

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Health Medical Research Fund

Study period: 7 Oct 2019 to 6 Oct 2021

Reference number: 06170456


6. Study title: Sleep pattern and habits of Hong Kong preschoolers

Funding source: CUHK Direct Grant

Study period: 29 Jun 2020 to 28 Jun 2021

Reference number: 2019.071


7. Study title: Validation of a Point-of-Care Prediction Model for Childhood Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Funding source: RGC General Research Fund

Study period: 1 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2020

Reference number: 14123618


8. Study title: Associations between changes in sleep duration and blood pressure across school holidays in sleep-deprived teenagers

Funding source: RGC General Research Fund

Study period: 1 Jan 2018 to 30 Jun 2021

Reference number: 14169817


9. Study title: Smoking reduction intervention for smoking parents of paediatric patients in Hong Kong: a randomised controlled trial

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Health Medical Research Fund - Research Fellowship Scheme

Study period: 1 Aug 2016 to 31 Jan 2019

Reference number: 01150077


10. Study title: A randomised study of surgical intervention for mild childhood obstructive sleep apnoea – neurocognitive perspective

Funding source: RGC General Research Fund

Study period: 1 Jan 2016 to 30 Jun 2018

Reference number: 14113315


11. Study title: A randomized study of surgical intervention for childhood obstructive sleep apnoea – cardiovascular perspective

Funding source: RGC General Research Fund

Study period: 1 Jan 2015 to 30 Jun 2018

Reference number: 14110614


12. Study title: Effects of positional and non-positional obstructive sleep apnoea on blood pressure in pre-pubertal children

Funding source: CUHK Direct Grant

Study period: 1 Jun 2014 to 31 May 2015

Reference number: N.A.


13. Study title: A 10-year follow-up study on obstructive sleep apnoea in a population-based cohort: a cardiovascular perspective

Funding source: RGC General Research Fund

Study period: 1 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2016

Reference number: CUHK470913


14. Study title: Reference range for brachial artery flow-mediated dilation in healthy Chinese children and adolescents

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Health Medical Research Fund

Study period: 1 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2015

Reference number: 01120406


15. Study title: Prospective study of the association between childhood primary snoring and cardiovascular health

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Health Medical Research Fund

Study period: 15 Nov 2013 to 14 Nov 2015

Reference number: 01120736


16. Study title: The effect of sleep duration on carotid intima-media thickness in Hong Kong Chinese adolescents

Funding source: CUHK Direct Grant

Study period: 1 Apr 2013 to 31 Mar 2014

Reference number: N.A.


17. Study title: Parent-based sleep education workshop for children with autism spectrum disorders

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Health Care and Promotion Fund

Study period: 1 Sep 2012 to 31 Aug 2013

Reference number: N.A.


18. Study title: Natural history of primary snoring in school-aged children

Funding source: CUHK Direct Grant

Study period: 1 Apr 2012 to 31 Mar 2013

Reference number: N.A.


19. Study title: Family Studies in Children with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Funding source: RGC General Research Fund

Study period: 1 Nov 2010 to 30 Apr 2014

Reference number: CUHK471210


20. Study title: Endothelial function in children with primary snoring: a case-control study

Funding source: CUHK Direct Grant

Study period: 1 Jun 2010 to 31 May 2011

Reference number: N.A.


21. Study title: Prospective study of the association between childhood obstructive sleep apnoea and hypertension

Funding source: RGC General Research Fund

Study period: 1 Oct 2008 to 31 Mar 2011

Reference number: CUHK470108


22. Study title: Ambulatory blood pressure in non-obese children with primary snoring

Funding source: CUHK Direct Grant

Study period: 1 Jun 2008 to 31 May 2009

Reference number: N.A.


Collaborative works

We work closely with our ENT colleagues, Drs. Dennis Lee and Natalie Leung, to investigate treatment effects of adenotonsillectomy on childhood OSA.


We collaborate with Dr. Savio Wong from the Department of Educational Psychology, CUHK to investigate the effects of sleep disorders, sleep architecture and sleep deprivation on neurocognitive function in children.


Research collaboration has also been established with Dr. Ronald LM Lui from the Department of Mathematics, CUHK to explore ways to quantify various physiological traits of sleep-related breathing and to see if these traits are better predictors of sleep apnoea severity and clinical outcomes.


Research linkage has also been established with Prof. Danny Eckert from the Flinders University in Australia to develop a physiological-based model to predict the treatment responses to surgical treatment in children with obstructive sleep apnoea.


Facilities available

Our sleep laboratory located in the Prince of Wales Hospital was established in 2002. It is a 2-bedded unit and it serves both clinical services and research purposes. Over the past 10 years, we have performed over 1,500 sleep studies on children.

News of the team


Recent research findings

  • Dr. Kate Chan has just completed a secondary analysis of the 10-year follow-up study of the Hong Kong Childhood OSA cohort and found that REM-related OSA was a stable phenotype through childhood to young adulthood, and it was associated with abnormal blood pressure. (Recently published online in Nature and Science of Sleep)

  • Ms. Cindy Yuen (PhD candidate) has discovered that reduced tongue mobility is a novel marker that associated with the occurrence and severity of OSA in prepubertal children. (Recently published online in Sleep)

  • Prof. Jun Au and Dr. Kate Chan conducted a prospective matched cohort study which demonstrated that childhood primary snoring is independently associated with poorer endothelial function, greater intima-media thickness and higher ambulatory blood pressure at 5-year follow-up. (Recently published online in Respirology)

  • Prof. Jun Au and Dr. Kate Chan completed a randomized trial confirming that improvements in OSA severity index and parent-reported symptoms after adenotonsillectomy in pre-pubertal school-aged children with mild obstructive sleep apnoea. However, no improvements in objective attention measures were found, and weight gain and elevated blood pressure were observed after surgery. (Recently published online in Respirology)

  • Cephalometric analysis using local deformation information can provide additional details on each cephalogram, hence, achieving better classification of OSA severity in children. (Presented by Ms. Cindy Yuen in 34thAnnual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies on Aug 27-30 2020)

  • Exposure to household environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is prevalent among Hong Kong young children, particularly in children with maternal smoking and lower socioeconomic status. More importantly, their exposure ETS was associated with respiratory symptoms and all-cause outpatient or inpatient medical service utilization. (Results published in PLoS One and Tobacco Induced Diseases)


Prof. Albert Li presented as a keynote speaker in recent international and Asian sleep conferences


Awards of team members

  • Year 2 medical students, Ms. Kelly Cheung (Supervisor: Prof. Jun Au) and Ms. Emily Wong (Supervisor: Dr. Kate Chan) won the second prize for the best oral and poster presentations respectively in the Hong Kong Paediatric Society and Hong Kong College of Paediatricians Joint Annual Scientific Meeting 2021.

  • Ms. Cindy Yuen obtained the Youth Travel Award for the abstract titled “Craniofacial Phenotyping By Photogrammetry In Hong Kong Chinese Prepubertal Children With Obstructive Sleep Apnea”. Her study found that maxillary-mandibular relationship angle captured by photogrammetry was a feature that was found in both Asian and Caucasian OSA children. (3rd Congress of Asian Society of Sleep Medicine (ASSM), Beijing, May 14–17, 2021)

Opportunities to research students

  • Overnight sleep study (polysomnography) training

Students with interests in performing/analysing overnight sleep study will be provided on-site training to prepare them to sit for the international recognized examination offered by the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists.


  • International exposure

Giving presentations in international conferences.

Potential collaborations with international experts.