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National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University


  • Research Highlights

  • Publish Date:2024-02-20
Attention Needed for Dementia Prevention! Latest research from NYCU reveals complex association with ‘Oral Health’.
<div class="ed_model08 clearfix"> <div class="ed_pic_full"><img alt="The 2024 Harvard World Model United Nations (WorldMUN) is scheduled to take place in Taipei from March 10th to March 14th. " src="/userfiles/nycuen/images/20240202162220841.png" /></div>  <div class="ed_txt" style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="color:#4e5f70;"><span style="font-size:90%;">Deputy Mayor Si-chuan Li (third from the left) banged the gavel at the press conference, declaring, &quot;2024 Harvard WorldMUN in Taipei!&quot;.<br /> President Chi-Hung Lin of NYCU (second from the right) and Vice Dean Zhang Li-Hong of the Liberal Arts College (far right) also attended to show their support.</span></span></em></div> </div>  <div class="ed_model04 clearfix"> <div class="ed_flex_box"> <div class="box"> <div class="ed_txt"><strong>By Yen-Chien Lai</strong><br /> ______</div>  <div class="ed_txt" style="text-align: justify;">After a 14-year hiatus, the 2024 Harvard World Model United Nations (WorldMUN) is scheduled to take place in Taipei from March 10th to March 14th. This event, acclaimed as the &#39;Olympics of Model United Nations,&#39; provides a fresh international platform for students worldwide and signifies the proactive advocacy of the Taiwan Model UN Development Association. It showcases the independent organizational spirit of National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU) students, illustrating the vibrant and dynamic atmosphere of the institution. The participation of over 1500 international university students is anticipated as they come together in Taiwan, contributing to the success of this resounding event.<br /> <br /> The Harvard WorldMUN, founded in 1992, has toured 30 cities globally, attracting participation from 110+ countries and 30,000 students. Held in major cities like Paris, Montreal, Rome, Seoul, Geneva, and Singapore, it features Model United Nations conferences where participants act as diplomats discussing global issues like security, economics, humanitarianism, and law. Emphasizing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the conferences simulate multilateral diplomacy, allowing delegates to express views and debate issues. Diplomatic events during the Golden Age, including the World Village Carnival, Cultural Night, and banquets, fostered exchanges and friendships.<br /> &nbsp;</div>  <div class="ed_txt"><strong>Student-Led Initiative! President Lin: Embodies NYCU&#39;s Commitment to Cultivating Future Leaders and Connecting Globally</strong></div>  <div class="ed_model08 clearfix"> <div class="ed_pic_full"><img alt="Yu-Jia Gu, the Executive Director of the Taiwan Model UN Development Association, expressed the hope that this event would create opportunities for Taiwanese youth to engage with the international community." src="/userfiles/nycuen/images/20240202163404066.png" /></div> </div>  <div class="ed_txt"><em><span style="color:#4e5f70;"><span style="font-size:90%;">Yu-Jia Gu, the founder of the Taiwan Model UN Development Association and Executive Director of the 2024 WorldMUN, expressed the hope of creating opportunities for Taiwanese youth to engage with the international community.</span></span></em></div>  <div class="ed_txt"> <div style="text-align: justify;"><br /> The organizer of this event is the student-led Taiwan Model UN Development Association, with Yu-Jia Gu serving as the Executive Director&mdash;a student from the first cohort of NYCU&#39;s Bai Chuan Program. This underscores the crucial role of students in organizing and promoting the event. In addition to the independent initiatives of the students, NYCU&#39;s Liberal Arts College has generously sponsored the event. Collaborating closely with the Taipei City Government, we aim to provide the best venues, services, and support to ensure the event&#39;s success.<br /> <br /> &nbsp;</div> </div>  <div class="ed_model08 clearfix"> <div class="ed_pic_full">&nbsp;</div> </div>  <div class="ed_txt">&nbsp;</div> </div>  <div class="box"> <div class="ed_txt" style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp; <div style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div>  <div class="ed_model08 clearfix"> <div class="ed_pic_full">Taipei City Vice Mayor Si-chuan Li expressed that Taipei&#39;s selection as the host city for the &lsquo;2024 WorldMUN&rsquo; affirms Taipei&#39;s international standing. This event has garnered support from various sectors, including government, industry, and academia, with the expectation that the Harvard WorldMUN conference will not only increase awareness of Taipei among students from around the world but also contribute to cultivating a new generation of leaders in Taiwan with international perspectives engaged in global affairs.<br /> <br /> <img alt="Chi-Hung Lin, the President of NYCU, stated: &quot;As the co-organizer of this conference, our Liberal Arts College will seize this rare opportunity to showcase Taiwan to the world and foster understanding of Taiwan." src="/userfiles/nycuen/images/20240202164044552.png" /></div> </div> <span style="font-size:90%;"><span style="color:#4e5f70;"><em>Chi-Hung Lin, the President of NYCU, stated: &quot;As the co-organizer of this conference, our Liberal Arts College will seize this rare opportunity to showcase Taiwan to the world and foster understanding of Taiwan.</em></span></span><br /> <br /> President Chi-Hung Lin of NYCU said this marks a significant milestone in NYCU&#39;s journey toward becoming a &#39;great university.&#39; It showcases NYCU&#39;s commitment to academic excellence and reflects our enthusiasm for international affairs and concern for global issues. President Lin emphasizes that Model United Nations is a crucial educational activity for cultivating critical thinking, independent thought, and global intelligence. It embodies NYCU&#39;s dedication to humanities and global values and the determination to nurture future leaders with a worldwide perspective and connect with international affairs.<br /> <br /> Let us look forward to the 2024 Harvard WorldMUN held in Taipei, which will propel NYCU onto the global stage and serve as a prominent platform for Taiwan to engage in youth exchanges with the international community, jointly embracing various challenges that lie ahead.<br /> &nbsp;</div> </div> </div> </div>
The lead researcher of this study, Dr. Chia-Shu Lin, an Adjunct Professor at NYCU's Dental Department and Institute of Brain Science
Translated By Elaine Chuang

Preventing dementia goes beyond exercising the brain and engaging in social activities; paying close attention to one's oral health now appears crucial. Recently, the dental department at NYCU published a report in the international medical journal 'Ageing Research Review,' revealing substantial evidence supporting a strong correlation between severe periodontal disease, extensive tooth loss, and dementia.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare estimates that the dementia population in Taiwan exceeds 300,000, with those aged 65 and above accounting for 96%. Dementia is a general term for a disease, not simply an aging phenomenon, with Alzheimer's disease being the most well-known. In addition to memory decline, dementia also affects cognitive functions and alters personality and behavior in the human brain. Although previous studies have found a correlation between deteriorating oral health and an increased risk of dementia, the exact nature of this relationship remains unclear.
Research Evidence Indicates Strong Association Between Severe Oral Health Issues and Cognitive Impairment

The latest research from the Dental Department systematically reviewed 28 studies conducted over the past five years, analyzing the correlation between oral health and cognitive impairment. Most of these studies focused on the association between periodontal disease, oral microbiota, and Alzheimer's disease. More research evidence now supports a strong link between severe oral health issues, such as severe periodontal disease and, extensive tooth loss, and cognitive impairment.

However, there is a lack of consistent conclusions regarding other oral health issues, such as the chewing function in the elderly. Moreover, whether oral health can prevent early or mild-stage dementia has yet to receive more robust research evidence support.

The lead researcher of this study, Dr. Chia-Shu Lin, an Adjunct Professor at NYCU's Dental Department and Institute of Brain Science, noted significant divergence in the current discussions about the relationship between oral health and cognitive impairment.

However, overall, oral issues like extensive tooth loss or severe periodontal disease show the strongest association with dementia.

He emphasized that the correlation between the two should not be oversimplified into a causal relationship. For instance, while there is a connection between tooth loss and dementia, it doesn't necessarily mean that wearing dentures will prevent dementia or that increased chewing will automatically enhance cognitive function. The association between oral health and dementia cannot be simplified to the idea that regular brushing alone can prevent dementia. "These aspects require further research for confirmation," he added.

In fact, due to the gradual loss of self-care abilities that often accompanies dementia, patients may be unable to maintain their oral hygiene practices, such as brushing their teeth and rinsing. As the condition progresses, this can lead to more severe oral issues.

However, Chia-Shu Lin also noted that even though scientists cannot clarify the causal relationship, oral health still holds significant relevance to cognitive function. Unfortunately, the majority of people are not aware of this connection. "We hope to raise awareness among the public about the crucial link between oral health and cognitive well-being. Oral health should play a vital role in caring for the elderly," he emphasized.

This study, led by Professor Chia-Shu Lin from NYCU's Department of Dentistry, along with Dr. Ta-chung Chen from Taipei Veterans General Hospital's Stomatology Department, and Dr. Jong-Ling Fuh, the Director of the Department of Neurosurgery, collaborated with an international team from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The team systematically analyzed existing systematic literature using an umbrella literature review approach. The research was published in a top-tier journal in the field of geriatric medicine in January of this year and featured in a report by Newsweek in the United States.