Professor Norbert Berend chronic discusses obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and comorbidities.

On the 3rd July 2013 The George Institute for Global health in China had the honor of hosting Professor Norbert Berend, Professor Emeritus at the University of Sydney and Head of Respiratory Research at the George Institute for Global Health. Professor Berend presented on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and comorbidities.

The presentation was relevant to the current environment in Beijing, since air pollution is a significant causative factor in the development of COPD. In his presentation, Professor Berend commented on the relationship between air pollution, particularly particulate matter (PM2.5), and COPD.

In the introduction by Professor Yangfeng Wu, Professor Berend’s many academic accomplishments were highlighted. Professor Berend has a distinguished background in respiratory research, and he has also held several administrative positions in the field of public health. Currently, Professor Berend holds the position of Head of Respiratory Research at George Clinical in Sydney, Australia.

Professor Berend highlighted the facts that COPD is associated with increased hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and muscle weakness as well as a number of other debilitating conditions. These comorbidities have traditionally been regarded as coexistent medical conditions. However they are increasingly being regarded as causally related to COPD. These comorbidities have an important effect of the quality of life, morbidity and mortality associated with COPD as well as affecting disease management and treatment outcomes. New research reveals that the link between these comorbidities and COPD may be through systemic inflammation, which subsequently opens up pathways for new treatment options.

Professor Berend’s presentation sparked debate amongst the researchers in attendance, including Professor Hebei and Huangwei of Peking University Health Science Center. There were many areas of common research interest and it is hoped that this will lead to future academic collaborations.

In his closing remarks, Philip Gregory, the General Manager of George Clinical China thanked Professor Berend for his informative presentation and for the lively discussion from the audience. Today’s Beijing Health Research lecture Series marks the first time that the George Institute and George Clinical have co-hosted such a presentation and it is hoped that this will form the basis for collaborations in the future.