Nebulization with B-agonist and administration of systemic corticosteroids are standard treatments for severe asthma exacerbations, but corticosteroids take several hours to become effective. IV magnesium sulphate (MgSO4) acts faster and has both antiinflammatory and bronchodilating properties. It appears to have played a pivotal role in the successful management of a child with severe asthma exacerbation and atelectasis unresponsive to conventional therapy. A literature review reveals that the results of IV MgSO4 are much greater in children than in adults, and can avoid the need to hospitalize 25% of children presenting with severe asthma. Magnesium sulphate appears safe to use.
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is one of the most common infectious diseases and the world’s leading cause of mortality and morbidity, especially in patients aged 65 years and above.1,2 It is the 6th cause of mortality and the most important cause of hospitalisation in Malaysia. According to the British Thoracic Society, the gold standard in diagnosing CAP is based on radiological findings and it is defined into 2 different settings – community and hospital.3
Background: Sensitisation to house dust mite (HDM) has been regarded as a major risk factor for development of asthma. This study was carried out to investigate the profiles of HDM sensitisation among Malaysian children with asthma.
Material and Methods: The association between HDM sensitisation and control and severity of asthma was investigated. The salivary HDM specific IgE levels were quantified in different grades of control and severity of asthma in 125 unselected asthmatic children aged 5-12 years old attending the asthma follow-up clinic in Hospital Tuanku Ja’afar Seremban. An additional 29 non-asthmatic patients were selected as control. The skin prick test to assess sensitisation to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (DP) and Dermatophagoides farinae (DF) was performed on all the participants. A questionnaire regarding the control and severity of asthmatic symptoms of the subject was administered. Saliva was collected by voluntary spitting and ELISA was used to quantify the IgE specific to HDM antigen.
Results: There was a significant association between sensitisation to DP and DF and the control of asthma. The association between DP sensitisation and severity of asthma just failed to reach a significant level although there is a clear trend for this. Significant association was found between DF sensitisation and severity. The HDM specific IgE in the saliva was significantly higher in asthmatic patients compared to non-asthmatic patients. There was no significant difference between the specific IgE levels in patients with different severity status of asthma.
Conclusion: Salivary IgE levels may not be an appropriate indicator of the patients’ asthmatic condition in this study. However, it can be concluded that there is significant association between the sensitisation of HDM and the control and severity of asthma.
Background: The widespread use of multiple choice questions (MCQ) in examinations is attributed to its logistical advantage and broad coverage of content within a short duration. The end-of-semester examinations for several modules in the pharmacy programme previously employed a combination of written examination tools including MCQ, short answer questions (SAQ) or essays for assessing learning outcomes in the cognitive domain. Concerns regarding assessment fatigue and subjectivity in marking have led to a review of the assessment formats in the examinations. Various types of MCQ were consequently introduced as the only assessment tool. This study was conducted to evaluate the performance of students in the examinations as a result of the change.
Methodology: Analyses were carried out on the end-ofsemester examination results of two cohorts of students for each module, one based on a combination of MCQ, SAQ or essay and the other based on MCQ alone. The class means were compared, and t-test was used to determine the difference between the performances.
Results: Although the difference in the mean scores of the two groups is statistically significant in 13 of the 20 modules, the difference is less than 5% in 10 modules.
Conclusion: The findings provide evidence that wellconstructed MCQ can effectively assess cognitive skills.
Background: Increased maternal anxiety level has been reported to have detrimental effects on the physical outcome of pregnancies such as not achieving vaginal births. This study thus aims to determine the level and factors affecting mental preparedness among mothers with normal pregnancies and its correlation with birth outcomes.
Methods: Three hundred healthy mothers above 37 weeks of gestation in the early stage of labour were assessed for their level of mental preparation before birth process and outcomes after births which include general feeling (euphoria), ability to withstand labour pain and bonding with the new born. The successfulness of vaginal birth and other data on factors affecting mental preparation were also collected.
Results: The level of mental preparedness was found good in 78% of the mothers, mainly determined by their socioeconomic status, family support and personal ability to adjust to changes. Age (p= 0.048), parity (0.00) and income (0.01) were found to influence mental preparedness significantly. Race, occupation, education level and marital status are however not significantly related. Poor mental preparedness is associated with greater pain during labour. A correlation analysis also found a positive relationship between the level of mental preparation and mental outcomes following birth in these mothers but it did not significantly influence the mode of delivery.
Conclusion: Mental preparation before birth seems to have an effect on mental outcomes of mothers following birth process. It is vital that mothers of the younger age group with no previous obstetric experience be given more attention in preparing them mentally before they face the painful birth process.
Background: Misinterpretation of abbreviations by healthcare workers has been reported to compromise patient safety. Medical students are future doctors. We explored how early medical students acquired the practice of using abbreviations, and their ability to interpret commonly used abbreviations in medical practice.
Method: Eighty junior and 74 senior medical students were surveyed using a self-administered questionnaire designed to capture demographic data; frequency and reasons for using abbreviations; from where abbreviations were learned; frequency of encountering abbreviations in medical practice; prevalence of mishaps due to misinterpretation; and the ability of students to correctly interpret commonly used abbreviations. Comparisons were made between senior and junior medical students.
Results: Abbreviation use was highly prevalent among junior and senior medical students. They acquired the habit mainly from the clinical notes of doctors in the hospital. They used abbreviations mainly to save time, space and avoid writing in full sentences. The students experienced difficulties, frustrations and often resorted to guesswork when interpreting abbreviations; with junior students experiencing these more than senior students. The latter were better at interpreting standard and non-standard abbreviations. Nevertheless, the students felt the use of abbreviations was necessary and acceptable. Only a few students reported encountering mishaps in patient management as a result of misinterpretation of abbreviations.
Conclusion: Medical students acquired the habit of using abbreviations early in their training. Senior students knew more and correctly interpreted more standard and non-standard abbreviations compared to junior students. Medical students should be taught to use standard abbreviations only.
Background: The present study describes the morphology of sparganum (larva) of the Malaysian Spirometra spp. collected from naturally infected frogs (Rana cancrivora) from rice fields in Tanjung Karang, Malaysia.
Materials and Methods: Spargana of Spirometra spp. collected from naturally infected frogs (Rana cancrivora) were used for the morphological studies. Stretched on a metal ruler, measurements of the worm were recorded. Specimens were stained in Alum-carmine.
Results: The length of the body ranged from 11-50 mm and the width ranged from 0.5-1.5 mm. Specimens stained with Alum-carmine showed ridges (formation of segments) on the surface of the body, and no sexual organs in the body.
Conclusion: The Malaysian Spirometra spp. are similar in measurement and morphology to Spirometra erinacei but further studies are required for confirmation.
In ancient times, before Hippocrates, disease and illness were attributed as a sign of divine dismay, and the Gods needed to be appeased to achieve a cure. Hippocrates and his followers showed courage in breaking away from this paradigm. They moved away from the divine and supernatural, to focus on the biology of the body. In the process they put the patient at the centre of their focus. They collected detailed case histories, dismissed religious and supernatural explanations and developed remedies in the form of diets, exercise and mixed minerals and herbs based on their understanding of ill health.
Interprofessional learning (IPL) promotes collaboration among healthcare professionals in providing quality healthcare. For the IPL to have a positive influence on inter-professional collaboration, opportunities must be made available for the healthcare students to learn together. Attitudinal factors have been identified as the major factor hindering the implementation of IPL. In Malaysia, little is known about attitudes of healthcare students towards IPL. Students from different health disciplines often have poor conception of each other’s roles as a member of the healthcare team. IPL increases this knowledge and gives students an understanding of the interpersonal skills needed for liaison and communication. Students from different disciplines who learn together develop interpersonal and teamwork skills, and gain knowledge of how other professionals work. IPL has been shown to create teams that work together better and improve patient experience. In general, IPL aims to improve patient safety, enhance patient satisfaction, and increase levels of innovation in patient care, and increase staff motivation, well-being and retention. There has been increasing emphasis on the important role that interprofessional education (IPE) must play in educating and developing present and future healthcare professionals. This review aims to examine how learning outcomes are articulated in the field of IPE and includes the benefits, importance, ethical concepts and application of IPL in nursing.
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).
A recently published meta-analysis showed that each additional serving of rice increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) by an alarming 11%. We investigated whether this phenomenon is seen in the Malaysian population by studying the effect of rice intake and added sugar consumption on fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and fasting triacylglycerol (TAG).
Background: At the International Medical University (IMU), a half day cardiac life support teaching session was provided to fourth year medical students which included training on the use of the defibrillator machine, how to handle cardiac or respiratory arrest and drugs used for resuscitation. A new CLS (cardiac life support) training session was introduced and increased to a oneday course where students were given practical training first, which included 5 stations (airway equipment, mega codes, drugs for resuscitation, defibrillator use and cardiac rhythm identification) , MCQ (multiple choice questions) test and a mega code (practical)assessment. Objective: To evaluate the students’ knowledge on cardiac resuscitation after a change in the delivery of the cardiac life support training (CLS).
Methodology: Group I, consisted of 82 students taught using the traditional teaching and Group II consisted of 77 students taught using hands on simulation. The students in both groups had an online manual to read prior to the session, were given an identical written exam six months after the CLS training. Group II, however, had an online pre-test.
Results: There was a statistical difference in the final mean marks between the two groups with group II scoring higher (67.3) than group 1 (62.1). No significant marks difference was noted between male and female students for both the cohorts.
Conclusion: There is a significant difference in medical students’ knowledge when cardiac life support is taught using simulation. IMU has adopted the new teaching method with simulated training for the cardiac life support courses with plans to implement higher fidelity and technology to the existing simulated teaching in other areas of medicine.
Background: The tissue specimens used for extraction of DNA in this study were from rodents trapped in four states in Peninsular Malaysia, namely Kedah, Kelantan, Selangor and Johor. Methods: Histological sections of these rodent muscle tissues stained with hematoxylin and eos in showed infection with Sarcocystis spp. Based on these results, the current study was carried out to determine the phylogenetic relationship among the identified Sarcocystis spp. in these rodents.The formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) rodent muscle blocks were subjected to DNA extraction and followed with semi nested PCR targeting 5’ and 3’ regions of 18S rRNA of Sarcocystis spp. Results: Phylogenetic analysis showed two distinct groups of Sarcocystis spp. among the rodents in Peninsular Malaysia. Most of the identified Sarcocystis spp. were genetically closely related to Sarcocystis rodentifelis and Sarcocystis muris and were also observed to be genetically closely related to Sarcocystis sp. ex Columba livia and Sarcocystis sp. cyst type I ex Anser albifrons. Conclusion: Further classification to confirm these Sarcocystis spp. was not possible as only partial sequences of 18S rRNA was available and this was insufficient for
Background: A number of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) preparations are being used for the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Some components of these preparations have biochemical effects other than those of lowering blood glucose and indeed have been used for other medical indications in traditional practice. The primary objective of the study was to determine the effect of the oral mixture of Traditional Chinese Medicine for diabetes (TCM-D™ complex) on blood glucose level and the biochemical changes if any, on the liver (ALT, AST, gamma-GT, albumin, globulin) and renal (blood creatinine, urea) functions in normal mice. The oral mixture is an aqueous extract of four wellknown traditional Chinese medicinal herbs and consists of Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim., Paeonia lactiflora Pall., Glycyrrhiza uranlensis Fisch., and Panax ginseng (red) CA Meyer in the proportion of 36%, 28%, 18%, and 18% respectively of the dry weight. These herbs have
been shown to have blood glucose lowering activity and have been used for other traditional medicinal purposes.The safety of the combination was evaluated in the present study. Methods: Experimental Balb/c mice were treated orally via gastric tube with the extract at daily doses equivalent to 1 and 10 times the recommended human dose for 8 weeks. Blood glucose and other biochemical profiles were monitored at pre-treatment and monthly posttreatment until killed. Results: When compared to pre-treatment levels, the blood glucose levels were significantly lower in treated animals compared to those in the control group. At the recommended TCM-D™ dose the levels in treated animals were significantly lower than that of control animals and at pre-treatment. When compared with pre-treatment, the glucose levels were lowest at Week 8 of treatment, the mean levels being 111.23%, 83.32% and 70.33% in control, and in animals given 1 x and 10 x the recommended TCM-D™ dosage respectively. The blood glucose lowering effect was also associated with a significant weight loss in treated animals. There were transient increases in AST and ALT levels but these reverted to normal at Week 8 of treatment. The levels of bilirubin, g-GT, albumin, creatinine and blood urea were also not significantly different at Week 8 from pre-treatment levels in all groups. Conclusion: Even at 10 times the dosage recommended for humans, TCM-D™ did not affect the liver and renal functions of treated animals. Treated and control animals remained healthy and normal throughout the period of observation.
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.
The incidence of cancer in Malaysia is rising alarmingly and newly qualified doctors will be expected
to be competent in the basic management of cancer patients. However, the opportunity to gain experience in oncology management will remain limited unless these students are stationed in an oncology unit which is solely dedicated to the treatment of such patients. Therefore, it is essential that undergraduate medical school training equips students with a sound knowledgebase, so that they can confidently manage basic oncological conditions appropriately. With the many private and local medical universities across the country, it is important that oncology training be standardized
and reflective of the local resources available, and government health policies. As a result, having a
standardized curriculum would help create a framework whereby competencies in cancer management would be accurately assessed.
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.
Introduction: Undergraduate medical education should be broad-based, holistic, integrated and should promote a framework for the development of higher order cognitive skills like communication, professionalism and teamwork to prepare the student for a life-long challenging medical career. Recent calls for a competency-based medical education require, in addition, competency in clinical and procedural skills prior to graduation. This study investigates how often opportunities exist for medical students to perform four common ward procedures prior to graduation.
Method: A prospective cross-sectional study to assess the opportunities a medical student have in performing four common ward procedures, comprising intravenous cannulation, nasogastric tube insertion, urinary catheterisation and chest tube insertion, in a State General hospital in Malaysia was done.
Results: A medical student has sufficient opportunity to perform only intravenous cannulation prior to graduation. He has a remote chance to insert a urinary catheter and is unlikely to have the opportunity to insert a nasogastric tube or insert a chest tube prior to graduation.
Conclusion: Although competency in clinical skills and procedural skills prior to graduation are desirable, this is increasingly difficult to achieve due to shortage of clinical material, teachers to supervise, the large numbers of medical students and house officers, the short time spent on the main disciplines and the failure of many universities to invest heavily in skills laboratories staffed by full time clinicians. The calls to introduce competency-based medical education in undergraduate medical education, particularly in procedural competence, should take into account the challenges in delivery and the realities in the hospitals today. This is necessary to avoid demoralising students who are unable to achieve their quota of procedures through no fault of theirs.
Keywords: procedural competency, medical education, Malaysia
The International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur (IMU) has just completed 20 years of success and had a series of events to celebrate its 20th anniversary as well as its achievements in 2012. As part of the 20th anniversary celebrations, IMU successfully co-hosted the Ottawa conference with the European Medical Education Association in Kuala Lumpur. This was the first time this conference was hosted in Asia and it was one of the biggest and most successful of the Ottawa Conference series ever held. This conference focuses on medical education with the major emphasis on assessment.
Healthcare investment is critically important for the health and well-being of the population, and different health systems are developed to meet the needs and priorities of each country. What has become clear has been that despite major advances in medicine, science and technology, there are major issues related to access and equity as well as quality and patient safety in healthcare services. The issue of patient safety was highlighted by the reports of the Institute of Medicine, USA1,2 and this had received worldwide attention. It is also an irony that despite being in an age of major advances in medicine, science and technology, with the acceptance of evidence-based medicine, so much of medicine and healthcare delivered is of little or no proven value. This poses a major challenge on health policy, and on how this can be addressed in any health reform process that focuses on improving access, equity, efficiency and effectiveness in healthcare services.