Melanosis coli denotes brownish discoloration of the colonic mucosa found on endoscopy
or histopathologic examination. The condition has no specific symptom on its own. It is a fairly frequent incidental finding of colonic biopsies and resection specimens. The pigmentation is caused by apoptotic cells which are ingested by macrophages and subsequently transported into the lamina propria, where lysosomes use them to produce lipofuscin pigment, not melanin as the name suggests. Melanosis coli develops in over 70% of persons who use anthraquinone laxatives (eg cascara sagrada, aloe, senna, rhubarb, and frangula), often within 4 months of use. Long-term use is generally believed to be necessary to cause melanosis coli.The condition is widely regarded as benign and reversible, and disappearance of the pigment generally occurs within a year of stopping laxatives. Although
often due to prolonged use of anthraquinone, melanosis can probably result from other factors or exposure to other laxatives. It has been reported as a consequence of longstanding inflammatory bowel disease. Some investigators suggested that increase in apoptosis of
colonic mucosa by anthraquinone laxatives increased the risk of colonic cancer. Recent data, including those from large-scale retrospective, prospective and experimental studies, did not show any increased cancer risk.
The relationship between anatomy and surgery has been historic and epic, spanning many centuries, complementing each other in medical education and being independent as well as interdependent in many ways. However, curricular changes that have happened globally in recent years with the introduction of several contemporary styles of medical teaching have subtly downplayed the importance of anatomy in medicine, allowing young doctors with poor knowledge of anatomy to become surgeons. With a whimsical introduction that metaphorically hints at the strained relationship that exists between anatomy and surgery, the article attempts to explore the ‘anatomy’ of anatomy itself, examining its origins in recorded ancient history, evolution along the centuries in tandem with surgery and its current status in medical education.
This paper traces the evolution of PBL in the International Medical University over a period
of twenty years; since its inception in 1992 till 2012. It is a record of the reasons for the evolution, the people involved and the strategies adopted. The PBL in IMU has metamorphosed over the years from a paper-based complete case history into its present form of staggered release of information, paper-based or otherwise (videos, web-based, newspaper cuttings, debates). Strategies to improve student and facilitator buy-in, strengthening of facilitator training, adoption of PBL templates, innovations to improve student participation are discussed.
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.
This article presents an overview of long acting products used in animal health, production
and reproduction. The topic represents a niche field of controlled release that few formulation scientists become specialists and experts in, but it is a field which has made significant contribution to the area of controlled release technology, and one which is of major importance to human kind due to their dependence on farmed animals as a source of hide, protein, milk and eggs.
The immune system is the host natural defence against cancer. Cancers are caused by progressive growth of the progeny of a single transformed host cell. The immune system is generally not able to mount immune responses to “self-antigens”, due to various mechanisms of immunological tolerance that are in place. This means that despite possessing a natural defence against tumours, many of the cancer patients may not be able
to mount an effective immune response to fight the tumours. Dendritic cells (DC) are highly specialised in antigen presenting that can initiate and stimulate immune responses. These cells have the ability to stimulate naïve T cell proliferation and perform specific stimulatory and tolerogenic functions respectively. When the DC are activated by antigens, these cells
undergoes further maturation and migrate to secondary lymphoid tissues, present antigen to T cells and finally induce an immune response. The ability of the DC to activate naïve and primed T-lymphocytes makes these cells a good candidate to be explored as a potential immunotherapeutic agent that can modulate antitumour immune responses in the affected host.
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.
Shock, a major cause of morbidity and mortality in children, is the the most anxiety-provoking emergency that needs to be addressed urgently and effectively by the attending paediatrician. It is a state where the metabolic demands of the tissue are not met due to circulatory dysfunction. Unlike adults, hypotension is a very late feature of shock in children. As the child’s condition worsens, the clinical presentation of the different causes of shock become similar, and nullify any aetiological differences. Regardless of the type of shock, the final common pathway is inadequate tissue perfusion and oxygen supply to meet cellular demands. Delayed recognition and treatment result in progression from compensated reversible shock to uncompensated irreversible shock with widespread multiple system
organ failure to death. This paper reviews the physiological basis, and pathophysiological classification of the various types of shock and their respective aetiologies. The clinical features of the different types of shock are described, and current diagnostic and therapeutic strategies are applied for the most effective and appropriate treatment for resuscitating the child in shock. A strong index of suspicion, early recognition, timely intervention and transfer to an intensive care unit are critical for successful outcomes in the management of paediatric shock.
Oral health diseases are common in all regions of the world and their impact on anatomical
and social functioning is widely acknowledged.Their distributions are unequal between and within countries, with the greatest burden falling on disadvantaged and socially marginalized populations. The risk factors and social determinants for oral diseases have been comprehensively documented, and the evidence base for their prevention is growing. However, decisions on health care are still often made without a solid grounding in research evidence. Translation of research into policy and practice should be a priority for all. Both community and individual interventions need tailoring to achieve a more equal and person-centered preventive focus and reduce any social gradient in health. The major challenges of the future will be to translate knowledge and experiences in oral disease prevention
and health promotion into action programmes.The international oral health research community needs to engage further in research capacity building and in strengthening the work so that research is recognized as the foundation of oral health policy at global level.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.