Malaysia has good environmental laws to protect the outdoor environment and public health. However there are no laws governing indoor air quality (IAQ) and the knowledge among the public about its importance is also lacking. Environmental professionals think it is not a priority and this influences the policy decisions in the country. Therefore there is a need to create awareness by way of research, education and other promotional activities. What is much needed at this time is the establishment of standards for the conduct of risk assessment studies. To establish standards we need reliable data which can be used to develop appropriate guidelines for the purpose of mitigation and adaptation programmes. IAQ can have significant influence on health resulting in drop in productivity and economy of a country. It has been estimated that in the US, building related illnesses (BRI) symptoms have a relationship with decrease (3 to 5%) in work performance in an affected population resulting in an annual loss of US$60 billion in revenue. However, based on efficient management programmes they have also projected that the potential annual savings can be in the region of US$10 to 30 billion. This establishes that fact that good management programmes based on efficient guidelines is of economic value to a country and wellbeing of the population. The IMU has embarked on a research programme to collect the much-needed data for the framing of a good IAQ guideline for Malaysia.
The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of Sarcocystis infection in wild and peri-urban rodents in some states in Peninsular Malaysia. The thigh muscle from these rodents were formalin preserved, sectioned and stained with hematoxylin and eosin and examined under light microscopy. Of the 146 muscle tissue examined only 73 were positive for Sarcocystis infection.
Morphological identification showed the presence of some new morphological types to be present. Different species of Sarcocystis were seen in the sections but more extensive studies are needed to identify them to species level.
Climate change is a product of human actions. The extreme events such as flash floods, droughts, heat waves, earthquakes, volcano eruptions and tsunamis seen in the world today are the result of indiscriminate human intrusion into the environment. Vulnerable countries and populations are the most affected by these climatic events. This places a burden on the resources of these countries. The Kyoto Protocol is a milestone in environmental management and the impetus created by it must be maintained by carrying out the much needed research into appropriate mitigating measures that will alleviate the climate
change impact globally. A paradigm shift is needed in addressing the associated risks on human health to assess socioeconomic determinants and the related impacts on disease burden. Some wealthy nations emphasize economic benefits and downplay sustainability goals, health and equality. However the rising cost of energy is beginning to influence their outlook towards this issue. The implications on economics, human health and wellbeing are implicit. In order to strike a balance between disadvantaged and privileged nations, many
international agencies are spearheading various research agenda to improve adaptation programmes on effects of changing climatic conditions on health. Malaysia too has such programmes initiated under its 5-year development plans.
Background: Problem based learning (PBL) is a student-centered curriculum delivery tool believed to promote active student participation. Though the PBL is student-centered, the facilitator plays an important role in maintaining the integrity of this system by providing balance in group interaction and discussion of learning issues. In International Medical University (IMU) one of the strategies to ensure the quality of the facilitators was the pre and post PBL meetings. This study aimed to gauge its usefulness in ensuring the quality of PBL facilitation.
Method: The questionnaire to study the perceptions of PBL facilitators on the pre and post PBL meetings included close ended questions on pre and post PBL meeting’s attendance and their scored opinion in improving PBL facilitation skills, open ended questions inviting suggestions to improve these meetings and PBL facilitation in IMU as a whole and self-evaluation as an effective PBL facilitator using a six point Likert scale to a list of statements.
Results: 84.2% of facilitators agreed the meetings were beneficial. Self-evaluation of their facilitator effectiveness showed on average ratings of seven out of ten indicating strong confidence in facilitating skills. Suggestions ensuring facilitator quality included content expert briefing in pre PBL meetings and student appraisals of facilitators given weightage in staff appraisal.
Conclusion: Pre and post PBL meetings enhanced facilitator comfort with the triggers, adding to their confidence and provided a venue to obtain feedback on the triggers.
In the last decade or so, Medical education all over the world has been inundated with innovations in education, which include innovations in curricular design, delivery as well as assessments. There is a need to reflect on the effectives of these innovations
on the learner. Hence the theme chosen for the 2009 International Medical Education Conference (IMEC 2009) was “Reflections on Innovations”. The Organising Committee felt that it was timely for medical educators everywhere to reflect and evaluate the effect of the many innovations adopted by their schools. (Copied from article)
Background: Database on hospital records like discharge data, birth and death certificates are widely used for epidemiological and research studies. However there are a very few validation studies on these data. The aim of this study was to validate and assess the accuracy of the ICD 10 database on congenital anomalies in the state of Penang. This study was carried out for three years, from 2002 to 2004.
Methods: The list of cases coded under the general coding “Q” was extracted and approximately 30% of cases were randomly selected from the list. Medical records for the selected cases were checked and discrepancies for the diagnoses between the medical records and the ICD 10 data base were recorded for three years. Verification was done for basic demographic variables and the coding of the diseases. Discrepancies, sensitivity and specificity were calculated.
Results: The ICD 10 database for congenital anomalies are classified into two types: Type 1 and Type 2. Discrepancies on demographic information were found among the age of patients (babies with congenital anomalies). In Type 1, there was a discrepancy of about 0.02 % to 0.05% probability that a congenital anomaly case can be recorded as non congenital anomaly in the ICD 10. In Type 2 there was a discrepancy that a non-congenital anomaly was classified as congenital anomaly and this ranged from 26.7% to 50.0%. The sensitivity ranged from 96.85% to 97.98%, thus it can be concluded the ICD 10 database is highly sensitive while the specificity ranged from 50.00% to 78.57 %. In other words the ICD 10 is not accurate when classifying the non- congenital anomaly cases. A fair percentage of non-congenital anomaly cases were classified as CA in the ICD 10 database.
Conclusion: Even though hospital databases are used as a baseline data for a number of research and epidemiological studies it cannot be used at face value. Validation of these data is necessary before any conclusions can be drawn or intervention measures are undertaken.
Background: The importance of tooth sectioning is realized in disasters such as earthquake, airplane crash investigation, terror, micro leakage studies, age estimation etc. The objective of this study was to develop a simple method to make thin sections (approximately 100 mm) from freshly extracted teeth.
Methods: One hundred and twenty human premolars recently extracted for orthodontic purpose were used for this study. The teeth were stored in 0.5% chorlaramine for 2 weeks and were not allowed to dry at any stage of the experiment. The teeth were thoroughly washed in distilled water teeth and then were sectioned buccolingually from crown to the root portion.
Results: A detailed embedding-cutting-mounting procedure is described. The prepared thin ground sections were then examined under a Polarised light microscope for the enamel and the dentine, as well as the caries lesions can clearly be distinguished.
Conclusion: This is an effective and efficient method for preparation of ground sections in which the hard tissue details are preserved.
This review explores the digestibility of lactose by Malaysians, and the value of milk and other milk-derived products as sources of appropriate nutrition for Malaysians. Increased calcium intake through consumption of milk is an effective mechanism for increasing calcium uptake from the diet and thereby minimising the risk of development of osteoporosis in later life. Detailed information about rates of lactose intolerance, and adaptation to dietary lactose and its consequences for Malaysians, will help in the formulation of dietary advice, and improve commerial food manufaturing practice and Government policy
directed to the minimization of rates of osteoporosis, which presents a substantial morbidity risk to elderly female Asians in particular.
This paper presents the solution to a calculation of the pH of a very dilute solution of a strong acid or base, taking into account the effect of the hydronium or hydroxyl ions generated from the ionisation of the strong acid or base on the ionisation of water, as a second very weak acid. To be solved successfully, this calculation involves the concepts of conservation of charge, pH and the application of the general solution to a quadratic equation. Such an exercise involves the application of skills in basic numeracy, and can provide a core of understanding that can prepare students for
many different sorts of calculations that represent reallife problems in the medical and biological sciences.A programme is presented in C++ which enables the work of students to be individualised so that each student in a class can work through a slightly different pH calculation, in such a way that a class supervisor can quickly check each student’s result for accuracy. This exercise is presented as a potential means of enabling students to undertake and master similar types of calculations involving simple or more complex equilibria.
Keriorrhoea is the involuntarily passing of orange oil per rectum. One of us (PMB) had the misfortune to experience this symptom, together with considerable gastrointestinal disturbances for a prolonged period of time after consumption of a deep sea fish, orange roughy, which is rich in liquid wax esters (LWEs). This paper presents a summary of available evidence concerned with the physiology and pathology of ingestion of LWEs, which can enter the human diet in substantial amounts from consumption of several species of deep-sea fish. LWEs are poorly digested and absorbed by the human body. They generally cause keriorrhoea when ingested deliberately or accidentally. Jojoba oil, which is a plant LWE, together with certain nutritional products (e.g. olestra) and medical (e.g. Orlistat) which are not LWEs may mimic the effects of LWEs, and cause similar gastrointestinal disturbances. This paper discusses the potential effects of LWEs as components of gastrointestinal micelles, and predicts that the orange oil which is leaked from a bout of keriorrhoea may contain considerable volumes of triacylglycerols (TAGs).
Self-blood pressure monitoring (SBPM) at home creates greater awareness and patient participation
in their treatment prevents hypertensive complications and helps facilitate doctors to make decisions on treatment. A study was conducted to assess the knowledge on self-blood pressure monitoring (SBPM) among hypertensive patients in selected wards of Hospital Lam Wah Ee, Malaysia. The results showed only 21 (32.3%) respondents monitored their blood pressure and 44 (67.7%) did not monitor their blood pressure at home. A total of 12 (18.4%) respondents reported that they monitored their blood pressure at home because they were aware of complications of hypertension. From those respondents who did not monitor blood pressure at home, only 13 (29.5%) respondents planned to carry out SBPM at home in the future. The overall knowledge
score results for self-blood pressure monitoring showed that 6 (9.2%) subjects scored 8 and above, 42 (64.6%) scored 5-7, and 17 (26.1%) scored less than 4. The findings from the study will help the nurses understand the level of knowledge on SBPM among hypertensive patients, and include training and health education during hospitalisation reinforcing the importance and the technique of performing SBPM at home. It also helps to identify patients with poor control of blood pressure so that they can be referred to the physician for further treatment.
Background: Positron Emission Tomography and Computed Tomography (PET-CT) imaging is shown to influence a decision change in managing non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). The introduction of such a facility in Malaysia is relatively recent, and its impact from its utility is currently being assessed.
Aim: In a tertiary referral centre possessing the only PET-CT facility in northern Peninsular Malaysia, we evaluated the potential roles of PET-CT in referred patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma.
Methodology: Sixty eligible adult cases with NSCLC, between September 2005 and December 2007, were retrospectively reviewed. Relevant data was collected using standard questionnaire for indications, staging of disease, and outcomes in terms of recurrence and response to prescribed cancer-specific therapy.
Results: The indications for PET-CT were: staging of a newly diagnosed non-small cell lung carcinoma (25.0%); post-operative restaging (21.7%); exclusion of recurrence or metastasis (18.3%); establishing diagnosis of carcinoma (13.3%); assessment of response to treatment (11.7%), and for surveillance (10.0%). The use of PET-CT was shown to induce a change in the staging, compared with non-PET conventional means in 69.2% of patients with newly diagnosed lung carcinoma (upstaged in 55.5%; downstaged in 44.5%) and in 65.0% of patients who underwent cancer-specific treatments (upstaged in 38.5%; downstaged in 61.5%). PET-CT detected recurrence in 62.5% who underwent the imaging to exclude a recurrence or metastasis.
Conclusion: PET-CT has affected the staging of a large proportion of our local Malaysian patients. Like elsewhere, the availability of such a facility is likely to have important influence in overall management of NSCLC in Malaysia.
Tumoral calcinosis is an uncommon condition which
has been described to exist in primary and secondary
forms. A lack of awareness of this entity can lead to
unnecessary procedures and incorrect management.
We report a case of a patient on peritoneal dialysis who
presented with multiple painful joint swellings to the
orthopaedic department. An initial diagnosis of septic
arthritis was made, then revised to chronic tophaceous
gout and referred to the rheumatology unit.
Poor adherence to anti-hypertensive agents may be a major contributor for suboptimal blood pressure control among patients with hypertension. This study was conducted to assess the adherence to antihypertensive agents using Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (MMAS-8) among primary care patients, and to determine whether the blood pressure control is associated with the level of adherence.
A medical narrative is a physician-patient
dialogue, where the physician listens carefully to
fragments of the patient’s story, while interpreting their
hidden messages and word sequences, as well as observing
their gestures and body language. This aspect of the
therapeutic relationship contributes to deciphering
symptoms which are not apparent in the conventional
interview and contributes to a much broader perspective
of illness and health.
The arts and the humanities have always been
inseparable from each other in medical education.
In this biomedical revolution, the humanities are needed
now more than ever before to bridge the divides that
separate the physician from the patient, from self, from
colleagues, and society.
Narrative Medicine (NM) which aims to treat the
whole person, and not just the illness, is an emerging
patient-centred discipline in medical schools that can
humanise medical care and promote empathy.
NM helps medical students cope with the suffering
of their patients as well as their own emotions by
reducing the anxiety and threat that come with illness,
thereby providing a psychologically-sound foundation
for the development of self-reflection and empathy.
NM facilitates medical students’ adoption of patients’
perspectives with the hope of ultimately leading to more
humane, ethical and empathetic healthcare for their
patients. The discipline of NM is critically examined in
this review paper from the perspective of external and
Introduction: Kelantan, an east coast state of Peninsular Malaysia is rich in culture and supports a population that is dependent on agriculture. The crops cultivated are mainly paddy and rubber but in recent years tobacco is beginning to gain importance over paddy. We centered our study around Bachok District which is about 25 kilometers east of Kota Bharu, the state capital.
Methods: Based on case reports we focused our study on cercarial dermatitis and also recorded the socioeconomic status of the people in the four study villages.
Result: The ducks and cows were the common livestock kept by the farmers and these were found to be significantly associated (P=0.05) with the occurrence of dermatitis. Cercariae shedding by snails were found in waters used for irrigation.
Conclusion: The results indicate that cercarial dermatitis is occupation specific, and its debilitating effect was having an influence on the socioeconomic status and general wellbeing of the population in these villages. The dermatitis occurred only during the field preparation and transplanting stages of paddy and was found to be significantly associated (P=
Background: Many proteins released by cells to the blood and other fluids are glycoproteins. One set of glycoproteins carry the ABO blood group determinants and glycoproteins have been shown to be vital in determining the structure and organization of plasma membranes. There is evidence suggesting their important role in cell-to-cell contact, adhesion, hormone interaction and vital transformation. Differences in proteins and glycoproteins in the different human blood groups may influence the invasion process of Plasmodium falciparum. The objectives of the study were to determine whether there are any changes in proteins and glycoproteins of red blood cells upon infection by P. falciparum and whether these protein and glycoprotein changes differ in the various ABO blood groups.
Methods: A Malaysian strain of P. falciparum was cultured in vitro in red blood cells from A, B, O and AB blood groups. Protein and glycoprotein profiles of uninfected and P. falciparum- infected red blood cells from the different human ABO blood groups were analyzed by SDS-PAGE. For protein bands, the gels were stained with Coomassie blue while glycoproteins were visualized following staining of gels using GelCode ® Glycoprotein Staining Kit.
Results: Cell membranes of P. falciparum infected erythrocytes from different ABO blood groups have different glycoprotein profiles compared to uninfected cells. All the infected samples showed a prominent protein band of molecular weight 99 kDa which was not present in any of the uninfected samples while a 48 kDa band was seen in four out of the seven infected samples. The erythrocyte cell membranes of A and AB blood groups showed different glycoprotein profiles upon infection with P. falciparum when compared to those from blood groups B and O.
Conclusion: The two glycoproteins of molecular weights 99 kDa and 48 kDa should be further studied to determine their roles in the pathogenesis of malaria and as potential targets for drug and vaccine development.
Introduction: To review the sputum bacteriology and its in-vitro antibiotic susceptibility in patients hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in a state tertiary-referral Hospital (Penang hospital, Malaysia) in order to determine the most appropriate empiric antibiotics.
Methods: From September 2006 to May 2007, 68 immunocompetent adult patients [mean age: 52 years (range 16-89); 69% male] admitted to respiratory wards for CAP with positive sputum isolates within 48 hours of admission were retrospectively identified and reviewed.
Results: 62 isolates were Gram(-) bacilli (91%) & 6 were Gram(+) cocci (9%). The two commonest pathogens isolated were Pseudomonas aeruginosa (n=20) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (n=19) together constituted 57% of all positive isolates. Among the Pseudomonas isolates, 84.2% were fully sensitive to cefoperazone and cefoperazon/sulbactam; 95% to ceftazidime, cefepime, piperacillin/tazobactam, ciprofloxacin and amikacin, and 100% to gentamycin, netilmycin, imipenem and meropenem. Among the Klebsiella isolates, 5.3% were fully sensitive to ampicillin; 84.2% to amoxicillin, ampicllin/sulbactam, cefuroxime and ceftriazone; 89.5% to piperacillin/ tazobactam; 93.3% to cefoperazon/sulbactam and 100% sensitive to ceftazidime, cefepime, ciprofloxacin, all aminoglycosides and carbopenems.
Conclusion: In view of the high prevalence of respiratory Pseudomonas aeruginosa, ampicillin/ sulbactam, currently the most prescribed antibiotic to treat CAP in our respiratory wards, may not be the most appropriate empiric choice. Higher generation cephalosporins with or without beta-lactamase inhibitors, ciprofloxacin or carbapenem may be the more appropriate choices. The lack of information on patients’ premorbidities such as recent hospitalization and prior antibiotic exposure, limits the interpretation of our findings and may have biased our results towards higher rates of Gram negative organisms.
Outcome and competency-based undergraduate and graduate medical education is the desired standard embraced by many medical educationists worldwide. Reflective capacity is an integral component of that strategy and reflective writing has shown tremendous potential as a delivery tool. But there are various challenges in the implementation of the initiative. Efficacy as a delivery tool, achievement of pedagogical outcomes, reliability issues, challenges in assessment outcomes/tools, and whether it can be taught and learnt, need to be addressed. Many questions are still not satisfactorily answered, and this review attempts to offer some perspective on the issues.
Microalgae are important biological resources that have a wide range of biotechnological
applications. Due to their high nutritional value, microalgae such as Spirulina and Chlorella are being mass cultured for health food. A variety of high-value products including polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), pigments such as carotenoids and phycobiliproteins, and bioactive compounds are useful as nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals, as well as for industrial applications. In terms of environmental biotechnology, microalgae are useful for bioremediation of agro-industrial wastewater, and as a biological tool for assessment and monitoring of environmental toxicants such as heavy metals, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. In recent years, microalgae have attracted much interest due to their potential use as feedstock for biodiesel production. In Malaysia, there has been active research on microalgal biotechnology for the past 30 years, tapping into the potential of our
rich microalgal resources for high-value products and applications in wastewater treatment and assessment of environmental toxicants. A culture collection of microalgae has been established, and this serves as an important resource for microalgal biotechnology
research. Microalgal biotechnology should continue to be regarded as a priority area of research in this country.