The pollinators of 29 ginger species representing 11 genera in relation to certain floral morphological characteristics in a mixed-dipterocarp forest in Borneo were investigated. Among the 29 species studied, eight were pollinated by spiderhunters (Nectariniidae), 11 by medium-sized Amegilla bees (Anthophoridae), and ten by small halictid bees. These pollination guilds found in gingers in Sarawak are comparable to the pollination guilds of neotropical Zingiberales, i.e., hummingbird-, and euglossine-bee-pollinated guilds. Canonical discriminant analysis revealed that there were significant correlations between floral morphology and pollination guilds and suggests the importance of plant-pollinator interactions in the evolution of floral morphology. Most species in the three guilds were separated on the plot by the first and second canonical variables. Spiderhunter-pollinated flowers had longer floral tubes, while Amegilla-pollinated flowers had wider lips than the others, which function as a platform for the pollinators. Pistils and stamens of halictid-pollinated flowers were smaller than the others. The fact that gingers with diverse morphologies in a forest with high species diversity were grouped into only three pollination guilds and that the pollinators themselves showed low species diversity suggests that many species of rare understory plants have evolved without segregating pollinators in each pollination guild.
This article reports on the prevalence of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in Southeast Asia. The spread of HIV infection in this region has been predicted to be worse than that of Africa. The high-prevalence countries are Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar, where prevalence rates in the population at risk (15-49 year olds) are up to 2%; while low prevalence countries with rates of 0.1% include the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Brunei, and Singapore. Heterosexual transmission in Southeast Asia is the main mode of spread of HIV. Another route is through migration, rural-to-urban or international migration of people seeking jobs; with concurrent loneliness and anonymity, they become vulnerable to STDs and HIV infection. Intravenous drug use poses an increasing risk of transmission. The unavailability of data in some countries makes it difficult to evaluate the extent of the epidemic or if there's an impending epidemic. There are a number of caveats to the data compilation from various countries. These include the following: under-reporting of cases; underdiagnosis; missed diagnosis; and differences in the time of data collection. It is clear that poverty, illiteracy, and poor access to educational information in most countries in this region facilitate the rapid spread of HIV. These coupled with lack of primary health care services, and in most instances, enormously high cost of drugs make the pain and suffering due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic a human disaster far worse than the ravages of war.
The purpose of the 1992 Singapore National Health Survey was to determine the current distribution of major noncommunicable diseases and their risk factors, including the prevalence of diabetes and dyslipidemia, in Singapore.
MeSH terms: Adolescent; Adult; Age Factors; Aged; Body Constitution; Cardiovascular Diseases/epidemiology*; China/ethnology; Cholesterol/blood; Diabetes Mellitus/epidemiology*; Diabetic Angiopathies/epidemiology*; Ethnic Groups/statistics & numerical data*; Female; Health Surveys*; Humans; India/ethnology; Insulin Resistance; Malaysia/ethnology; Male; Middle Aged; Risk Factors; Sex Factors; Singapore/epidemiology; Triglycerides/blood; Body Mass Index; Prevalence; Diabetes Complications
Conservative medical management of chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM) is an important step in achieving a dry ear. Topical antibiotic ear drops and aural toilet form the mainstay of medical management of noncholesteatomatous CSOM. This study analyzes the causal organisms and their sensitivity to various antibiotics. Out of 382 swabs examined, the major organisms isolated were Pseudomonas aeruginosa (27.2%), followed by Staphylococcus aureus (23.6%). The sensitivity of P. aeruginosa was 100% to ceftazidime, 98.9% to ciprofloxacin, 96.3% to gentamicin, and 95.4% to polymyxin B, whereas the sensitivity of S. aureus was 98.6% to ciprofloxacin, 97.4% to cloxacillin sodium, 96.5% to cotrimoxazole, and 90.7% to gentamicin. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was almost completely resistant to ampicillin (97.6%) and chloramphenicol (96.6%), whereas S. aureus was almost completely resistant to ampicillin (73.8%) and polymyxin B (98.3%). Among the available topical antibiotic preparations for use in the ear, we found that ciprofloxacin and gentamicin are the best choices.
Beta-thalassemia major is one of the commonest genetic disorders in South-East Asia. The spectrum of beta-thalassemia mutations in the various ethnic sub-populations on the island of Borneo is unknown. We studied 20 Dusun children from the East Malaysian state of Sabah (North Borneo) with a severe beta-thalassemia major phenotype, using a combination of Southern analysis, polymerase chain reaction analysis and direct sequencing. We found the children to be homozygous for a large deletion, which has a 5' breakpoint at position -4279 from the cap site of the beta-globin gene (HBB) with the 3' breakpoint located in a L1 family of repetitive sequences at an unknown distance from the beta-globin gene. This was similar to a recent finding of a large deletion causing beta-thalassemia first described in unrelated beta-thalassemia heterozygotes of Filipino descent. This report describes the first 20 families with homozygosity of the deletion causing a severe phenotype. It provides the first information on the molecular epidemiology of beta-thalassemia in Sabah. This finding has implications for the population genetics and preventative strategies for beta-thalassemia major for nearly 300 million individuals in South-East Asia.
The effect of adding inhaled salmeterol to inhaled corticosteroids was studied in patients with poorly controlled nocturnal asthma. In a double-blind, cross-over study, 20 patients were randomized to receive either salmeterol 50 micrograms twice daily or placebo via a Diskhaler after a 1-week run-in period. After 4 weeks of treatment, patients were subsequently crossed over to receive the other treatment for a further 4 weeks with a 2-week wash-out period in between. The response to treatment was assessed by peak expiratory flow rates (PEF) measured in the morning and evening, symptom scores of asthma, number of bronchodilators used, forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) at regular intervals. Patients' preference for the Diskhaler or metered-dose inhaler was assessed at the last visit. The results showed that morning PEF was significantly higher while on salmeterol than on placebo (296.9 +/- 70.2 vs 274.6 +/- 77.4 L/min). Evening PEF showed a trend towards a higher value while on salmeterol than on placebo (321.1 +/- 73.4 vs 288.7 +/- 79.4 L/min), but the difference was not significant. There was no statistically significant improvement in symptom scores, number of rescue bronchodilators used and FEV1 or FVC between the two treatment groups. The occurrence of side effects in terms of tremors and palpitations between treatment and placebo were similar. There were more patients who preferred Diskhaler to metered-dose inhaler (70% vs 30%). We conclude that salmeterol 50 micrograms twice daily produces significant improvement in morning PEF and is well tolerated in patients with nocturnal asthma. Diskhaler is a device which is easy to use and preferred to a metered-dose inhaler.
Study site: Respiratory Clinic, Pusat Perubatan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (PPUKM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Acute myopathy complicating treatment of status asthmaticus has been increasingly recognized since its original description in 1977. We report a case of an 11-year-old boy with severe asthma requiring mechanical ventilation. He was given high doses of parenteral steroids and neuromuscular blockade with non-depolarizing agents in order to achieve controlled hypoventilation with an ensuing hypercapnoea. He developed rhabdomyolysis with elevated creatinine kinase and renal impairment secondary to myoglobinuria. Electrophysiological studies revealed myopathic abnormalities. The aetiology for this myopathy appears to be related to therapy with parenteral steroids, muscle-relaxant agents and respiratory acidosis. Patients treated with steroids and neuromuscular blocking agents should be regularly monitored for development of myopathy.
Despite their proven value in reducing morbidity and mortality in different grades of heart failure, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors continue to be underused. One reason for this is clinicians' apprehension of first-dose hypotension. We conducted a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled parallel group study to investigate the effect of various ACE inhibitors on first-dose hypotension. Eighty unselected patients were randomised into five treatment groups: placebo, captopril 6.25 mg, enalapril 2.5 mg, perindopril 2 mg and lisinopril 2.5 mg. Blood pressure was measured at baseline, half hourly for two hours and hourly for three hours after drug treatment. The maximum drops in mean arterial pressure (in mmHg +/- SD) were placebo 5.89 +/- 2.65, perindopril 5.29 +/- 2.49, enalapril 13.28 +/- 3.31, lisinopril 15.04 +/- 5.74 and captopril 16.76 +/- 5.74 (all p < 0.05 vs placebo except for perindopril). Perindopril, unlike the other ACE inhibitors studied, did not produce first-dose hypotension following its initiation in patients with congestive heart failure.
A nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay that uses Plasmodium genus-specific primers for the initial PCR (nest 1) amplification and either genus- or species-specific primers for the nest 2 amplifications was tested on laboratory and field samples. With in vitro cultured Plasmodium falciparum-infected blood samples, it was capable of detecting six parasites/microl of blood using DNA prepared from 25-microl blood spots on filter paper. The assay was evaluated on fingerprick blood samples collected on filter paper from 129 individuals living in a malaria-endemic area in Malaysia. Malaria prevalence by genus-specific nested PCR was 35.6% (46 of 129) compared with 28.7% (37 of 129) by microscopy. The nested PCR detected seven more malaria samples than microscopy in the first round of microscopic examination, malaria in three microscopically negative samples, six double infections identified as single infections by microscopy and one triple infection identified as a double infection by microscopy. The nested PCR assay described is a sensitive technique for collecting accurate malaria epidemiologic data. When coupled with simple blood spot sampling, it is particularly useful for screening communities in remote regions of the world.
MeSH terms: Animals; Evaluation Studies as Topic; Humans; Plasmodium falciparum/genetics*; Plasmodium falciparum/isolation & purification*; Sensitivity and Specificity; Species Specificity; DNA, Protozoan/analysis; Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods*; Malaria, Falciparum/parasitology*; DNA Primers; Parasitemia/parasitology
Edible oils have different effects on lipid profiles and on the propensity for producing lipid peroxidation products. These two properties of edible oils can affect arterial structure, ultimately leading to atherosclerosis. Hypertension is said to be a predisposing factor for atherosclerosis and can accelerate its process. This paper investigates the effects of three edible oils, namely soya bean oil, palm oil and ghee, on the ultrastructure of the aortas of spontaneously hypertensive rats at the end of a 4 month feeding period. It was found that ghee produced significant structural changes to the aortic wall when compared with palm oil or soya bean oil, and that no noticeable structural differences were seen to occur on the aortas of the palm oil-fed and soya bean oil-fed groups of rats. This study suggests that the consumption of ghee, rather than palm or soya bean oil, is more likely to lead to the development of atherosclerosis.
Mycoplasma imitans (Mim) has been isolated from ducks, geese and partridges, and is closely related to Mycoplasma gallisepticum (Mg). The pathogenicity of Mim for chicks was investigated in single and mixed infections with infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) by giving IBV strain M41 at 1-day-old and Mim 2 days later. Single infections with IBV or Mim were also performed. No clinical signs or gross lesions were seen in chicks infected with Mim or uninfected control chicks, but they were seen in the other two groups. Clinical scores were consistently higher in birds with mixed infections than those infected with IBV alone, and were significantly higher (P < 0.05) between days 7 and 14. More birds developed sinusitis, tracheitis and airsacculitis (with greater severity) in the mixed than the single IBV infections. Mim was recovered more frequently and in greater numbers from the respiratory tract of birds with mixed than single infections. It was recovered from the lower trachea, air sacs and lungs only in mixed infections. Seroconversion to Mim occurred by day 14 in mixed infections, but not until day 21 in single infections. It appears that Mim can act synergistically with IBV in young chickens in a similar manner to Mg, although Mg may act as a primary pathogen under some circumstances.
The clastogenic and mutagenic effects of the insecticide Dimethoate (Cygon-2E), herbicides Atrazine, Simazine (Princep), Dicamba (Banvel D) and Picloram (Tordon) were studied using the Tradescantia-micronucleus (Trad-MCN) and Tradescantia-stamen hair mutation (Trad-SHM) assays. In clone 4430, dimethoate fumes both significantly increased the pink mutation events and reduced the number of stamen hairs per filament with increasing dosages. The pink mutation events were elevated by the liquid treatment with Picloram at 100 ppm concentration. The result of Trad-MCN test on Dimethoate fumes was not significantly different between the control and treated groups. The herbicide Atrazine showed positive effects at 10-50 ppm dose (liquid) and signs of overdose at 100 and 500 ppm concentrations. Simazine was mildly positive in elevating the MCN frequencies in the dose range of 5 to 200 ppm (liquid doses). Both Dicamba and Picloram induced a dosage-related increase in MCN frequencies in the Trad-MCN tests using Tradescantia clone 03. However, in higher dosages (200 ppm or higher), there were signs of overdose, reduction of MCN frequencies and physical damage of the leaves and buds of plant cuttings.
Cross-correlating two surface EMG signals detected at two different locations along the path of flow of action potential enables the measurement of the muscle fiber average conduction velocity in those active motor units monitored by the electrodes. The position of the peak of the cross-correlation function is the time delay between the two signals and hence the velocity may be deduced. The estimated velocity using this technique has been observed previously to depend on the location of the electrodes on the muscle surface. Different locations produced different estimates. In this paper we present a measurement system, analyze its inherent inaccuracies and use it for the purpose of investigating the reliability of measurement of conduction velocity from surface EMG. This system utilizes EMG signals detected at a number of locations on the biceps brachii, when under light tension, to look for any pattern of variations of velocity as a function of location and time. It consists of a multi-electrode unit and a set of eight parallel on-line correlators. The electrode unit and the parallel correlators ensure that these measurements are carried out under the same physical and physiological conditions of the muscle. Further, the same detected signals are used in different measurement configurations to try to understand the reasons behind the observed variations in the estimated velocity. The results obtained seem to suggest that there will always be an unpredictable random component superimposed on the estimated velocity, giving rise to differences between estimates at different locations and differences in estimates with time at the same location. Many factors contribute to this random component, such as the non-homogeneous medium between the muscle fibers and the electrodes, the non-parallel geometry and non-uniform conduction velocity of the fibers, and the physical and physiological conditions of the muscle. While it is not possible to remove this random component completely from the measurement, the user must be aware of its presence and how to reduce its effects.
This paper focuses on the evaluation of the k0 method of instrumental neutron activation analysis in biological materials. The method has been applied in multielement analysis of human hair standard reference materials from IAEA, No. 085, No. 086 and from NIES (National Institute for Environmental Sciences) No. 5. Hair samples from people resident in different parts of Malaysia, in addition to a sample from Japan, were analyzed. In addition, human kidney stones from members of the Malaysian population have been analyzed for minor and trace elements. More than 25 elements have been determined. The samples were irradiated in the rotary rack (Lazy Susan) at the TRIGA Mark II reactor of the Malaysian Institute for Nuclear Technology and Research (MINT). The accuracy of the method was ascertained by analysis of other reference materials, including 1573 tomato leaves and 1572 citrus leaves. In this method the deviation of the 1/E1+ alpha epithermal neutron flux distribution from the 1/E law (P/T ratio) for true coincidence effects of the gamma-ray cascade and the HPGe detector efficiency were determined and corrected for.
To study the process of establishment, and evaluate the outcome of participation, in a self-help support group for people with chronic nonmalignant pain, members of a newly-established, consumer-led group participated in two interviews 5 months apart and a researcher observed group meetings. Participants reported significant benefits from participating in the group. They had a significant increase in functional ability and activity, and reported decreased recourse to health professionals, particularly family physicians. This study indicates that pain support groups can play a valuable role for people in pain, assisting with support and rehabilitation, and meeting needs that health professionals are often not appropriate or able to provide.
Study site: Waikato pain support group, New Zealand
MeSH terms: Adult; Aged; Chronic Disease; Female; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; New Zealand; Self-Help Groups*; Qualitative Research