Yun-Kwok Wing

Sleep and psychiatric disorders: From epidemiology to treatment

Yun-Kwok Wing, MBChB, FRCPsych(UK), MRCP(UK), FHKAM (Psych), FHKCPsych (Hong Kong)
Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine & Director of Li Chiu Kong Family Sleep Assessment Unit
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Keynote Summary: Sleep and circadian problems have long been recognized as closely related to psychiatric disorders. The contribution of epidemiological studies in both clinical and general population, for example, in finding a reciprocal and bidirectional relationship between insomnia and depression has contributed to our conceptual shift to re-consider sleep disturbances as an independent comorbidity rather than a secondary symptom. Along with this paradigm shift, the resultant proper recognition and treatment of comorbid sleep and circadian disturbances has improved the depression outcome. The comorbid concept has also provided a new direction of prevention medicine from sleep perspective: Can we prevent depression by targeting sleep problems? Can we prevent insomnia? Can we prevent neurodegeneration by targeting sleep and psychiatric disorders?

Biosketch: Professor Wing graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China. He is currently the Chairman and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry of the Faculty of Medicine of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is also the Director of the Li Chiu Kong Family Sleep Assessment Unit of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Professor Wing has diverse research interest in sleep and circadian medicine, psychiatric disorders, neuropsychiatry, and transcultural psychopharmacology. He has actively contributed to scientific communities, including his leadership role in the Hong Kong Society of Sleep Medicine (ex-President, HKSSM) and Asian Sleep Society of Sleep Medicine (ASSM, Vice-president of Education). He was also involved in the World Association of Sleep Medicine (Scientific Committee, 2011, 2013 and 2015) and World Sleep 2017, 2019 and 2022 (International Scientific Committee). He has recently organized and chaired the Gordon Research Conference on “Cognitive Dysfunction in Brain Diseases” in Hong Kong, May 2019. He is currently serving at 6 editorial boards, including his role as Associate Editor in the journal Behavioral Sleep Medicine and Deputy Editor in Sleep Medicine Research.

He and his research group have established the first local epidemiological data of various sleep disorders in Hong Kong including sleep deprivation, insomnia, childhood OSA, narcolepsy, and parasomnia. In particular, the group has studied the relationship between sleep and circadian disruption and psychiatric disorders. The group has recently conducted a study on using bright light adjuvant treatment to manage patients with depression and evening chronotype and also completed a novel prevention study of insomnia among at-risk adolescents. In addition, the group has extensive work on REM sleep behavioral disorder, a sleep disorder with high specificity in predicting future alpha-synucelinopathy neurodegeneration. The recent familial RBD study suggested a strong familial aggregation and staging pathology of alpha-synucleinopathy. The group is working on the close relationship among psychiatric disorders, RBD and alpha-synucleinopathy.

Professor Wing was awarded the distinguished national award for Sleep Medicine Scientific Technological Advance in China by the Chinese Medical Doctor Association in 2010 and distinguished contributions to the development of sleep medicine and sleep research by Chinese Sleep Research Society in 2016. He was also awarded the Teacher of the Year Award, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK for 2012-13.