The ratio of stable carbon isotopes (δ(13)C) in plants and animals from Malaysian mangrove swamps, coastal inlets, and offshore waters was determined. Vascular plants of the swamps were isotopically distinct ( x±s.d.=-27.1±1.2‰) from plankton (-21.0±0.3‰) and other algae (-18.7±2.2‰). Animals from the swamps (-20.9±4.1‰) and inlets (-19.8±2.5‰) had a wide range of isotope ratios (-28.6 to-15.4‰), indicating consumption of both mangrove and algal carbon. Several commercially important species of bivalves, shrimp, crabs, and fish obtained carbon from mangrove trees. Mangrove carbon was carried offshore as detritus and was isotopically distinguishable in suspended particulate matter and sediments. Animals collected from 2 to 18 km offshore, however, showed no isotopic evidence of mangrove carbon assimilation, with ratios (-16.5±1.1‰, range-19.1 to-13.1‰) virtually identical to those reported for similar animals from other plankton-based ecosystems. Within groups of animals, isotope ratios reflected intergencric and interspecific differences in feeding and trophic position. In particular, there was a trend to less negative ratios with increasing trophic level.
Seven natural populations of Dacus dorsalis were analysed for phosphoglucomutase by means of horizontal starch-gel electrophoresis. The electrophoretic phenotypes were governed by four codominant Pgm alleles. The commonest allele in all the seven population samples was PgmB which encoded an electrophoretic band with intermediate mobility. The distributions of PGM phenotype were in accordance with Hardy-Weinberg expectations. There was geographic variation in the distribution of Pgm alleles.
Thirty-one patients with systemic lupus erythematosus had membranous lupus nephropathy (MLN). They were divided into two groups. Group I consisted of 13 patients who had pure MLN but the patients in Group 2 had segmental proliferation in up to 35 per cent of their glomeruli. The rest of the glomeruli had purely membranous change. The patients of Group 2 were no different from the other MLN patients in terms of age, sex and race. The extrarenal disease in both groups was extensive and severe. The renal disease was usually associated with the nephrotic syndrome or oedema but was asymptomatic throughout in one patient. Both renal and extrarenal features responded to treatment initially but relapses were frequent and often severe. Relapses often occurred as treatment was discontinued or medication reduced. Survival at six years in Group I was 62 per cent and in Group 2 was 50 per cent. Only one patient died with renal failure although five patients had impaired renal function at death. The chief causes of death were disease of the central nervous system and infection.
A study of food ideology and eating behavior in a Malay village demonstrates that the relationship between belief and action is complex and not always predictable. Over-reliance upon stated beliefs, and generalizations derived from particular ecological settings, have influenced investigators into making universal and logical statements about Malay eating behavior and its health consequences--a logic which, however, does not always jibe with reality. Food ideology, like any other portion of a belief system, is subject to innovation, interpretation and rationalization, and contains within it 'rules to break rules' which assure the continued integrity of the symbolic system by patterning what might otherwise be seen as rifts in its fabric. An understanding of eating behavior must be based both on a knowledge of the subsidiary, as well as primary, clauses of food ideology, and on direct observation of the behaviors elicited by these beliefs and modified by the setting, the situation and the individual.
Mitochondrial malic enzyme (EC 184.108.40.206; MEM) was examined by starch-gel electrophoresis on post-mortem brain samples from 453 unrelated subjects of either sex comprising 161 Chinese, 150 Indians and 113 Malays and 29 from other racial groups. The estimated gene frequencies of MEM1 were found to be 0.7111, 0.6100 and 0.6769 in Chinese, Indians and Malays, respectively. No significant deviation from the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium was observed in Chinese and Malays. However, there was a significant deviation with a deficiency of heterozygotes among Indians. MES did not show any polymorphism.
Caesarean hysterectomy is a useful surgical procedure. However, the increased blood supply to the pelvis during pregnancy, distortion of the anatomy caused by the enlarged uterus, fragility of oedematous pelvic tissues and adhesions from prior caesarean sections predispose to poor haemostasis and urinary tract injuries. In this series all the cases were done as an emergency procedure and, despite the multiple obstetric complications, there was no maternal mortality and the incidence of post-operative morbidity was low.
Paddy fish (Trichogaster pectoralis Regan) were collected from five sampling locations in a major paddy-growing area of Malaysia and analysed for organochlorine residues. During the same period, ten farming families, chosen at random from each of the five sampling sites, were interviewed. Information was obtained about the quantity of paddy fish consumed, the amount and type of pesticide used on the paddy-field, and the frequency of application.The pesticide residues found in the fish samples were aldrin/dieldrin, chlordane, HCH, and DDT. Only the projected maximum intake level for aldrin/dieldrin approached the acceptable daily intake as recommended by FAO/WHO; other residue levels were relatively low. However, this study considered only fish; the total daily intake of pesticide residues by the Malaysian paddy farmer may be considerably increased by consumption of other contaminated food.
Traditionally, Malaysian women (Malay, Indian and Chinese) breastfed their infants as a matter of course and for an extended period of time; only elite Chinese women might have resorted to a wet-nurse. But the introduction of condensed and dehydrated milk in colonial Malaya from the late nineteenth century, and the later marketing also of commercially manufactured baby foods, led to some variation in traditional practice. Structural changes, industrialiZation and urbanisation affected social as well as economic life, and again these broad changes had an impact on infant feeding. Today, few women remain unfamiliar with the wide range of infant food products sold in the most isolated provision shops. This paper focuses on key sociological factors that might predict the frequency and duration of breastfeeding and weaning patterns. The data analysed below, collected during semi-structured interviews with 278 women presenting at Maternal and Child Health Clinics in Peninsular Malaysia, are in part confusing. They suggest that the women most likely to bottle feed only or to breast feed for a short period, and to use commercial baby foods, are young, with one child only, who reside in urban or peri-urban areas and have a reasonable household income. Higher educated women, and women whose husbands are in non-traditional occupations, are also less likely to breast feed or to do so for an extended period. But the profile of infant feeding practices is by no means clear. One of the shortcomings of the study relates to the method of collection of data, and highlights the need for detailed ethnographic studies to better explore the variability and complexity of the patterns of infant feeding.
MeSH terms: Ambulatory Care Facilities; Bottle Feeding/trends*; Breast Feeding*; Diet Surveys; Female; History; Humans; Infant; Infant Food*; Malaysia; Maternal-Child Health Centers; Milk, Human; Weaning; Qualitative Research
Details of curing rituals symbolize social traumas. Western based psychiatrists are often not very successful in treating Malay patients because of the difficulty of understanding the ritual signs. This paper focusses upon cultural details as they relate to a curer. The paper begins by discussing 'medical pluralism' and proceeds to a consideration of one local healer.
Ah Yuk Je is a successful Hakka Chinese spirit medium practicing in a small Chinese community in Malaysia. Her clientele consists largely of young children suffering from a culturally specific condition called haak geng or 'soul loss' and women concerned about infertility, prenatal problems and errant spouses. While in a trance state, assisted by her tutelary spirits, she diagnoses, prescribes and treats illnesses. Her treatment includes naturalistic and magico-religious elements such as 'cooling' herbal teas, tonics to strengthen the body, rituals and amulets. Because Ah Yuk Je is a wife and mother, women find her sympathetic and astute at solving family problems. When faced with an illness herself, which she suspects to be the result of kong tao (black magic) instigated by someone in her own village, she seeks assistance from a healer outside her own ethnic group as well as outside her community. Four important factors influence Ah Yuk Je's decision to seek out this healer. The first two, recommendation from a trusted friend and a positive previous experience, are obvious, and require no further discussion. The remaining factors are the special nature of the illness, which requires treatment from a specialist, and her practice as a spirit medium. Successful spirit mediums are perceived to have a certain immunity to and control over supernatural forces. Thus the need for secrecy when a spirit medium becomes the victim of evil forces. She is able to preserve her professional reputation by consulting someone outside her ethnic group of potential clients as well as outside her physical community.
MeSH terms: Ethnic Groups; Humans; Magic*; Malaysia; Medicine, Chinese Traditional*; Medicine, East Asian Traditional*; Medicine, Traditional*
This paper attempts to analyse professional rivalry and dissonance amongst traditional Malay midwives (bidan kampung) in the Northwest areas of Peninsular Malaysia. It elucidates how techniques of symbolic and ritual communication are carefully monitored by these female specialists, to develop regular clientele and professional credibility over time. However, since an integral element of Malay midwifery is protection from and mastery over mystical forces in nature and evil spirits harboured by witches, a midwife is also an exorcist with skills rather similar to the Malay bomoh (traditional medical practitioner, usually male) except that her range of knowledge of witchcraft is limited to diagnostic and curative rituals of spirit-possession, in infants and children, young unmarried women and pregnant mothers. Within a restricted population area, professional rivalries and competition amongst midwives regularly surface in oblique attacks of witchcraft accusations where the accused strives to maintain her credibility while her accuser gradually wins over her clientele. Significantly, codes of professionalism in traditional Malay midwifery are not only determined by skill and experience, but also religiousness (faith in Islam), benevolence, virtue, diligence and a sense of equality and fair-play in the practice of the trade. These qualities are seemingly lacking in witches who are conceived to be anti-Islamic, uncompromising, manevolent and destructive. Thus, government midwives who threaten the popularity of traditional midwives by being particularly active in their work or supervising and controlling midwives in an authoritarian way, are also labelled as witches. Generally, while midwifery and witchcraft reflect two forms of knowledge that are structurally opposed, in ideology and morality, they exist within the same sphere of ritual and symbolic communication where the practitioners aided by their clients, shift from one state of dissonance to another in an attempt to regulate behaviour.
MeSH terms: Humans; Magic*; Malaysia; Medicine, Traditional*; Rural Population
This paper presents evidence from the Malaysian Family Life Survey that mothers' reports of their babies' birthweights, including reports of unweighed babies' approximate size at birth, can be used to examine many biological and socioeconomic correlates of birthweight. The study uses a sample of 5583 singleton births that occurred between 1945 and 1976. In these data, the frequency distribution of birthweights and their bivariate and multivariate relationships with the biological correlates of mother's age, baby's sex, first parity and infant mortality are consistent with those found in prospective studies. A new biological correlate, mother's age at menarche, is introduced as a proxy for the mother's nutrition during childhood. Late age at menarche is associated with lower birthweight. Other results show mothers younger than 20 years and older than 35 appear to be at greater risk of bearing small babies, but the former effect is no longer important when parity is controlled. Short interbirth intervals are associated with small babies. We attempt to distinguish whether this is due to prematurity or to maternal nutritional depletion; both effects appear to be operating. Higher income appears to mitigate the pernicious effect of short interbirth intervals. Indian babies weigh significantly less than those of other ethnic groups. Furthermore, birthweights have increased since the 1950s for Malays and Chinese, but not for Indians. The lower birthweights and lack of improvement over time for Indians appear to be due to close birthspacing, lack of access to medical care and falling incomes.
In a study with 113 Asian children in which phenobarbitone was used as the sole antiepileptic drug in 75 children, including Chinese, Malays, and Indians, the mean phenobarbitone dosage required to produce a plasma level of 15 micrograms/ml was 5.2 mg/kg/day. While the mean plasma level/dose ratio varied, the differences between the three ethnic groups were not statistically significant. Also of little difference were the ratios between the male and female groups. For those patients with poor seizure control, however, the mean plasma level/dose ratio was significantly lower than in those whose seizures were controlled. Using additional anticonvulsant drugs concurrently with phenobarbitone in 40 children raised the mean plasma level/dose ratios significantly in each ethnic group. Further, the greater age level in those given additional antiepileptic drugs might have contributed slightly to a higher mean plasma level/dose ratio.