It has been decided that IeJSME should be a general rather than specialty medical journal in that it would cover work ranging from bench science to clinical and medical education research. While this is to ensure the ease of soliciting sufficient manuscripts for sustainability of the journal, the other important reason is to provide learning opportunities for novice researchers, including undergraduate medical students, to improve their work in such a way that are publishable at a certain research quality. This intention is being birthed primarily with our 16-year old medical university and Malaysia in mind, although, as the journal title suggests, we aim that the work published in IeJSME will have international relevance and importance. (Copied from article).
A review of the literature indicates that food scientists and health authorities in several countries, especially member countries of the European Union, are still very concerned about the potential health hazards of oxidized products and lipid polymers formed in repeatedly-used deep frying oils. During the frying process at temperatures of 170° – 200°C, steam formed from moisture in the food being fried help volatile products rise to the surface of the frying medium and into the kitchen atmosphere, imparting a mixture of fried-flavours and off-flavours. The non-volatile compounds formed, however, gradually build up in the oil as it is being repeatedly-used for food frying operations. These non-volatiles, primarily “polar compounds” (PC) and to a lesser extent lipid polymers, get absorbed into fried foods and eventually end up in our body system. Available local data suggests that deep-frying oil samples obtained from food hawkers and those produced under simulated deep-frying conditions in the laboratory, are generally safe as they contain PC within safe limits and rarely exceed the upper limit (UL) of 25%. This contrasts with the situation in some European countries where a very high proportion of frying oil samples collected from fast-food restaurants were reported to contain PC exceeding this UL. Appropriately, promotion of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) certification and gazetting of food regulations to limit the PC content in frying oils have been introduced in these countries to protect the health of consumers. Meanwhile, simple gadgets/test kits are available commercially to monitor the quality of the frying oil. This would greatly assist kitchen supervisors at restaurants and franchised friedfood outlets to know when best to change a batch of frying oil before the ULs of frying oil quality are breached.
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.
To determine the degree of resolution in pleural effusions treated with anti-tuberculosis treatment alone without thoracentesis, 62 eligible adult cases [mean age (SD), 46 (17) yrs; 77% male] of tuberculosis pleural effusions treated in two urban-based university teaching hospitals were retrospectively reviewed for changes in effusion size at 2, 6 and 12 months after initiation of treatment. The proportions of patients in whom resolution were complete, partial and unchanged were 64.5%, 27.4% and 8.1%. Effusions with size smaller than three tenth of hemithorax were at three-fold increased likelihood of complete resolution, compared with those with larger effusions [Odds ratio (95% CI): 3.295 (1.033 to 10.514); p=0.04]. Consideration for thoracentesis is therefore still important in certain patients.
Avoiding the adverse neonatal effects of perinatal asphyxia has been one of the common indications for cesarean deliveries in current obstetric practice. Expeditious delivery is dependent on decision to perform cesarean delivery and time lines achieved. A decision-delivery interval of 30 minutes, a concept initiated by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has open to debate as controversy reins about neonatal outcome when this time interval is considered in isolation. Time lines alone are probably not the only criteria to be employed, and may contribute to errors in interpretation by professional regulatory bodies and the society at large. Procedures prior to decision making like trial of labour, fetal scalp sampling and readily available resources for instituting emergent cesarean delivery invariably need to be considered. Though decision to delivery time is an integral component of critical conduct intervals in the acutely compromised fetus, a more pragmatic approach needs to be taken considering potential and known logistical and obstetric factors in line with good obstetric practice.
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=
Pharmacogenomics (or pharmacogenetics), the study of the effects of genetic differences on a person’s response to drugs, can help in optimizing drug efficacy and minimizing adverse drug reactions. Interperson difference in drug metabolism is one of the important consequences of such genetic variation. This variation is determined in part by mutations in cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYPs). IMU is part of a major collaborative research project in the area of phamacogenetics and drug metabolism. Working together with USM and UiTM, our group has, since 2000, generated useful population database on genetic polymorphism of various CYP isoforms. We have successfully genotyped three major ethnic groups, Malay, Indian and Chinese for their allelic frequency of important isoforms. These include CYP2D6, CYP2C9, CYP2C8 and CYP2A6. Data generated so far collectively have contributed to our effort in mapping and constructing genomic database for Malaysian population.
Since early 2002, our research has been focusing on developing in vitro methods in studying the functional consequences of genetic polymorphism of CYP enzymes. Using site-directed mutagenesis, CYP mutants, carrying nucleotide changes as reported in known alleles in human populations, were generated and expressed in E. coli system, and the expressed recombinant proteins were characterized using enzyme assays to determine the functional consequences of mutations. We have established a series of HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography)-based and fluorescence-based assays to investigate CYP activities. Assays that have been developed include tolbutamide methylhydroxylase, paclitaxel 6α-hydroxylase, dextromethorphan O-demethylation, testosterone 6β-hydroxylation and coumarin 7-hydroxylase assays. These assays serve as activity markers allowing comparison of catalytic activities of mutant proteins generated. Another focus of our work is to use the developed assays as a screening tool to investigate drug-herb interactions. This was achieved by co-incubation of herbal extracts and active constituents with the probe substrates in the assays followed by characterization of the kinetic behaviors of the enzymes involved using various pharmacokinetic parameters such as Km, Vmax, IC50 and Ki. This work is currently carried out with collaboration from the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) and is supported by MOSTI’s eScienceFund under RM9. It is envisaged that this screening work will give us insights on the potential of the commonly used herbs to cause pharmacokinetic interactions with other drug substrates, and allow us to elucidate the mechanisms involved in the interactions.
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 incidence of tuberculosis (TB) is currently increasing. HIV induced immuno-suppression modifies the clinical presentation of TB. Our aim is to determine the differences in clinical presentation of HIV-TB co-infection based on their CD4 counts. This retrospective study looked at cases of adult active TB and HIV-1 co-infection treated in Penang Hospital from January 2004 to December 2005. Of the 820 patients treated for active TB, HIV-1 seropositivity rate was 12.6% (103 patients). Majority of HIV-1 co-infected patients presented with prolonged insidious and non-specific symptoms like weight loss, fever and night sweats. The clinical presentation of TB depended on the stage of HIV-1 infection and associated degree of immunodeficiency. Compared to the less immuno-compromised HIV-1 and TB co-infected population (CD4 > 200/mm3 ), patients with CD4 counts ≤ 200 are more likely to have atypical chest radiographs (P = 0.009). During active TB, the Mantoux test was positive in 12 (14.5%) HIV-1 infected patients with a CD4 counts ≤ 200/mm3 and in 16 (80%) of those with CD4 counts > 200/mm3 (P = 0.0001). In our series, the AFB smear / AFB culture and type of TB did not show obvious correlation with CD4 counts. Therefore to diagnose TB in severely immuno-compromised HIV patients, we need to have a high index of suspicion.
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.
The International Medical University (IMU) has encouraged and facilitated research activities since 2001. Research activities by undergraduates, postgraduates, and faculty members have increased substantially since then. The governance aspects of research activities are closely monitored by the Institutional Review Board which is the IMU-Joint Committee on Research and Ethics. (Copied from article)
The simultaneous presence of polycystic ovary syndrome with pelvic endometriosis presents compounded gynecological effects on women with subfertility and pelvic pain as the common symptoms. We describe one such case. The molecular basis for etiology is discussed and the need for individualized treatment is suggested.
This is a questionnaire survey of dietary supplement usage among students in the International Medical University. Just over two-fifths of these students reported using dietary supplements daily. This high usage of dietary supplements is in contrast their expressed ambivalence about these products.
In this review article, the author illustrates the advanced searches for “Malaysian” health and life sciences publications. Examples of searching are made on PubMed, Google Scholar and Scopus. The strengths and weaknesses of these services are compared.
Introduction: Pneumonia is the most common diagnosis made in hospitalised children. The Malaysian Clinical Practice Guidelines on pneumonia and respiratory tract infections provides a comprehensive guidance in the local context. We evaluated the documented assessment and management of children diagnosed with pneumonia admitted to the children’s ward, Hospital Batu Pahat against this guideline.
Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of hospital case notes for children admitted from January to May 2004.
Results: Ninety six case notes were analysed. Most patients (84%) had at least four positive clinical features leading to the diagnosis of pneumonia. 92% met the guideline criteria for admission. Sp02 was performed for 58% on admission, and 58% with reading below 95% received supplemental oxygen. Throughout hospital stay, each patient had an average of four investigations (range: 1 – 12). Among 23 patients who had further investigations, justifications were only recorded in seven patients (30.4%), and changes in management resulted in 23%. The most common antibiotic prescribed was intravenous Penicillin (97 %). In 17 patients who met the guideline classification for severe pneumonia, none received the recommended antibiotic combination. The median time to fever resolution was 22 hours (range 2 – 268), and median hospital stay was 3 days (range 1 – 12).
Conclusions: Although the quality of clinical assessment and antibiotic choices were acceptable, there was a failure to critically evaluate patients according to disease severity and initiate corresponding investigations and managements. Future efforts need to be directed at promoting further guideline adherence and the exercise of critical judgment in patient evaluation.
Pneumonia continues to a disease of potentially high morbidity and mortality, sparing no children or healthy adults. Over the years, clinical practice guidelines and institution-initiated management protocols have been introduced with the intention of improving outcomes by ensuring appropriate assessment and management of pneumonia. Correct assessment of pneumonia type and severity will lead to appropriate course of action. This is especially true when deciding whether the patient can be treated at home and the type of empiric antibiotic(s) that should be prescribed. The latter has a strong evidence-base when examined in the light of clinical practice guidelines. Non-guideline adherent empiric antibiotic regimes used in hospitalized community acquired pneumonia (CAP) are adversely associated with time to clinical stability, time to switch therapy, length of hospital stay, hospital survival and hospital re-admission rates. Our own local study on hospitalized patients with Klebsiella pneumoniae pneumonia, a highranking community-acquired organism in Malaysia, also testified to the association of adverse hospital outcomes with inappropriate choice of empiric antibiotic(s). (Copied from article).
Introduction: Task-based learning (TBL) has been accepted as an effective tool in teaching and learning activities in most medical schools. Many studies have looked at competencies and learning outcomes essential for undergraduates. Among the essential competencies are interpersonal skills and the ability to engage in a group discussion which this study has focused on. The evidence supporting higher interpersonal skills is however limited because many relevant competencies are hard to measure and require long observational periods.
Objective: To determine students’ self-perceived value of TBL in enhancing their interpersonal skills during the clinical phase.
Material and Methods: All students’ (semesters 6-10) in the clinical school of International Medical University (IMU) were invited to participate in this cross-sectional study done in December 2007 utilising a self-administered questionnaire with a 5-point Likert scale. It assessed the students’ perception on TBL sessions conducted during their clinical attachments in the various disciplines. Mean-scores, standard deviations, and confidence interval were used.
Results: Response rate was 62%. The results indicated that students were favorable in their opinion on TBL as a suitable forum for active communication and participation in group discussion. The results also show that both male and female students’ have similar perception. As for the comparison according to semesters, this showed that students’ maturity does not influence their perception as well.
Conclusion: In conclusion, the study has shown positive students’ perception on the effect of TBL on acquired skills such as interpersonal communication. Our findings are consistent with many earlier studies which show students’ perception of the method of learning as important factor in the enhancement of their interpersonal skills which is fundamental to clinical practice. Further research is necessary; long-term and larger scale observational studies would undoubtedly be optimal to minimise response bias.
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)
Item analysis is the process of collecting, summarizing and using information from students’ responses to assess the quality of test items. Difficulty index (P) and Discrimination index (D) are two parameters which help evaluate the standard of MCQ questions used in an examination, with abnormal values indicating poor quality. In this study, 120 test items of 12 Type A MCQ tests of Foundation 1 multi-disciplinary summative assessment from M2 / 2003 to M2 / 2006 cohorts of International Medical University were selected and their P-scores in percent and D-scores were estimated using Microsoft Office Excel. The relationship between the item difficulty index and discrimination index for each test item was determined by Pearson correlation analysis using SPSS 11.5. Mean difficulty index scores of the individual summative tests were in the range of 64% to 89%. One-third of total test items crossed the difficulty index of 80% indicating that those items were easy for the students. Sixty seven percent of the test items showed acceptable (> 0.2) discrimination index. Forty five out of 120 test items showed excellent discrimination index. Discrimination index correlated poorly with difficulty index (r = -0.325). In conclusion, a consistent level of test difficulty and discrimination indices was maintained from 2003 to 2006 in all the twelve summative type A MCQ tests.
Abstract: Ampicillin-sulbactam combination is the most frequently prescribed antibiotic in diabetic foot ulcers. We conducted a retrospective study to evaluate the antibiotic sensitivity of bacteria isolated to this antibiotic. In 33 patients with diabetic foot ulcer (September 2008-March 2009), 67% were culture positive in which Citrobacter spp accounted for 36% of these isolates. The rest isolated included Pseudomonas aeruginosa (22%), Proteus spp (18%), Acinetobacter spp (9%), Klebsiella pneumoniae (5%), Escherichia coli (5%) and Staphylococcus aureus (5%). These isolates were more likely to be ampicillin-resistant (n=18) than were ampicillin-sensitive isolates (n=4). Ampicillin resistance has raised our concern about current practice of prescribing ampicillin/ sulbactam as monotherapy for majority of our patients with such ulcers.