Gestational breast cancer (GBC) or pregnancy-associated breast cancer was defined as breast cancer diagnosed during pregnancy and within 1 year of delivery. Breast cancer is the second commonest cancer after cervical seen in pregnancy and lactation. Nevertheless, the incidence is low and accounts for approximately 1 in 3000 of pregnancies. A delay in diagnosis is common and 70% to 89% of patients with operable primary lesions already have positive axillary lymph nodes. Breast cancer identified during pregnancy can be extremely distressing for the mother despite it has similar course of disease and prognosis seen in non-pregnant women of the same age and stage of disease. Diagnostic and treatment options should be carefully decided to prevent further harm to the mother or any potential risk to the developing fetus.
Background: To assess the effect of cement vertebroplasty on the activity of daily living of elderly patients who have sustained a vertebral osteoporotic fracture.
Patients and Methods: Seven patients with clinically significant and radiologically proven osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures suitable to be treated with percutaneous cement vertebroplasty were recruited. Evaluation was based on pre- and postprocedure activity by clinical documentation (including interview) and by a self-developed questionnaire (including quality of life).
Results: Following the procedure, 54% of patients resumed their activities of daily living with minimal pain while 46% of patients were able to do so without any pain (p
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.
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.
Background: The public health issue of consuming groundwater is a major concern because people often extract groundwater directly from the aquifers either through wells or boreholes without treating it with any form of filtration system or chlorine disinfection. Based on the Malaysian National Drinking Water guidelines the current study was designed to provide a better understanding on the variable factors that are influencing the quality of well-water in an urbanised village in Malaysia. Well water quality assessment of heavy metals, chemicals, microbial and physical parameters were carried out for Sungai Buloh Village in the Klang Valley to ensure it was safe for human consumption.
Materials and Methods: Water samples were collected from wells at four sites (Sites A,B,C,D), a river and a tap inside a house in Sungai Buloh village. Soil was sampled from the riverbed and area surrounding the wells. Samples were collected every two months over a one year duration from all sites. The water samples were processed and examined for viruses, coliforms and protozoa as well as for heavy metal contaminants.
Results: The turbidity and colour ranged in the average of 0.57-0.13 Nephelometric Turbidity (NTU) and 4.16-5.00 Total Conjunctive Use (TCU) respectively for all sites except Site C. At Site C the turbidity level was 2.56 ± 1.38 NTU. The well-water was polluted with coliforms (1.2 to 2.4 x 103 CFU/100 ml) in all sites, E. coli (0.12 - 4 x 102 CFU/100 ml CFU/ 100 ml) and Cryptosporidium oocysts (0.4 cysts/100 ml). All the heavy metals and chemical parameters were within the Malaysian Guidelines’ limits except manganese. The average pH ranged from 5.44 - 6.62 and the temperature was 28 ºC.
Conclusion: In summary, the well water at Sungai Buloh is considered unsafe for consumption due to pollution. Therefore the major thrust will be to provide better quality of drinking water to the residents of the village.
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.
Background: The International Medical University (IMU) has an outcome-based curriculum defined by eight major curriculum outcome domains.The attributes, qualities and competencies expected of a health care professional form the basis for these outcome domains. Community service is an effective curriculum delivery tool widely practised by medical universities around the world. We present the results of a survey among IMU students to explore the effectiveness of community service as a curriculum delivery tool in enabling activities defined within the major curriculum outcome domains of IMU. Methods: A self-administered 6-point Likert scale questionnaire was used to survey student participants of 20 community service events held in a rural village between 2007 – 2012. The survey tool included questions on demographic data as well as the perception of the students on whether participation in the events enabled them to experience activities defined under the eight major curriculum outcome domains of IMU.The one sample Student t-test was used to test for statistical significance while regression analysis was done to look for significant predictors. Results: A total of 255 students were surveyed, of which 229 (90.5%) were medical students while the rest were nursing students. Most of the students were in the 3rd (48.2%) and 4th (43.8%) year of their studies and have completed the surgery, internal medicine and family medicine posting. Six out of the 8 curriculum outcomes domains were achieved through participation in the community service programme. Conclusion: Community service is an effective curriculum delivery tool for the outcome-based curriculum of IMU where activities defined in six out of eight outcome domains were achieved.
With recent medical advances and the availability of newer sophisticated technologies, critically ill patients tend to survive longer. Thus, decisions to forgo life-sustaining medical treatment generate challenging issues that all doctors must face. The aim of this pilot study was to assess attitudes towards end-of-life care in ICU which included futile therapy (withholding and withdrawing therapy) among final year medical students who had received the same degree of clinical exposure and training in medical school. The results revealed varying attitudes and views towards end-of-life care in ICU suggesting other factors such as religion, ethnicity and culture may influence decision making.
Delay in childbearing, family history of type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity in childbearing years increases a possibility of glucose intolerance or overt
diabetes in pregnancy which may remain unrecognised unless an oral glucose tolerance test is done.The International Association of Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Group (IADPSG, 2010) recommended the detection and diagnosis of hyperglycaemic disorders in pregnancy at two stages of pregnancy, the first stage looking for ‘overt diabetes’ in early pregnancy based on risk factors like age, past history of gestational diabetes and obesity and the second stage where ‘gestational diabetes’ at 24-28 weeks with 75 g oral glucose tolerance test. Although the one step approach with 75 g of glucose offers operational convenience
in diagnosing gestational diabetes, there are concerns raised by the National Institute of Health in the recent consensus statement, supporting the two step approach(50-g, 1-hour loading test screening 100-g, 3-hour oral glucose tolerance test) as the recommended approach for detecting gestational diabetes. Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) with well-designed meal plan and appropriate exercise achieves normoglycemia without inducing ketonemia and weight loss in most pregnant women with glucose intolerance. Rapidly acting insulin analogues, such as insulin lispro and aspart are safe in pregnancy and improve postprandial glycemic control in women with pre-gestational diabetes. The long acting analogues (Insulin detemir and glargine) though proven to be safe in pregnancy, do not confer added advantage if normoglycemia is achieved with intermediate insulin (NPH). Current evidence indicates the safe use of glyburide and metformin in the management of Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes as other options. However, it is prudent to communicate to the women that there is no data available on the long-term health of the offspring and the safety of these oral hypoglycemic drugs are limited to the prenatal period.
There is no substantial difference in conducting research that is both ethical and responsive to the health needs in developing and developed nations. Differences are in financial constraints, technological expertise in identification and addressing needs, and in the perception of equal partnership of all stakeholders. There will be differences in emphasis of research but this is slowly blurred due to globalisation. Public health emergencies in developing countries need timely and effective global collaborative research to implement control strategies. Research needs should be based on predictive models with learning from past emergencies, technological advances, strategic critical appraisal of local and global health information, and dialogue with all stakeholders. Adequate funding will be challenging and resources from national, international and aid
foundations will be needed. Issues associated with such funding include deployment of international rapid response teams, collaborating researchers, transfer of technology, and intellectual property ownership. While all types of research ranging from basic, applied, clinical
studies, meta-analysis, and translational research are relevant, the relative importance and specific allocation of resources to these may differ. Is the choice related to responsiveness or based on researchers’ perception of their contributions to evidence-based practice and research? Ethical issues relating to vulnerable groups, risk distribution, quality issues, research integrity and oversight are just as important. Internationally funded
research including clinical trials must be sensitive to such issues to avoid allegations of exploitation. Thus the potential of utilisation and buy-in of research findings and recommendations must be considered.
The Orang Aslis are indigenous minority peoples of Peninsular Malaysia, numbering 147,412 in 2003.Currently, the Orang Asli are divided into four language groupings namely the Northern Aslian, the Central Aslian, and the Southern Aslian groups, all of whom speak Austroasiatic languages; a fourth group in the South of Peninsular Malaysia speak a Malay dialect belonging to the Austronesian group of languages.This research was carried out on only one of the Northern Aslian group, the Jehai, who are also named Negritos based on their physical features. The Jehai live in the Belum and the Temenggor Forest that straddles Upper Perak and West Kelantan and until recently, were nomadic and lived by hunting-gathering.The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately two billion people worldwide are infected with the soil-transmitted nematode helminths,Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and the hookworms Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale, with 400 million of these infected being children of school age.Global numbers of A. lumbricoides infection have been estimated at about 1.5 billion cases. (Crompton, 2001). T. trichiura infection affects approximately 1,049 million people worldwide and an estimated 1.2 billion people are infected by hookworms. In Malaysia, the most common soil-transmitted helminth infections are A. lumbricoides, T. trichiura and hookworms.
However, as there have been no extensive surveys on these infections, it is difficult to estimate with certainty the current overall incidence of infection with soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) among the Malaysian population.
This paper presents the solution to a calculation of the pH of a very dilute solution of a weak acid, taking into account the effect of the hydroxonium ions generated from the ionization of the acid on the ionization of water, also a very weak acid. To be solved successfully, this calculation involves the concepts of conservation of charge, pH, equilibria and the application of the general solution to a cubic equation. Such an exercise requires the application of skills in algebra, and can provide a core of understanding that can prepare advanced students for many different sorts of calculations that represent real-life problems in the chemical sciences. A programme is presented in C++ which enables the work of students to be individualized 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 the application of complex algebra to problems related to equilibria and solution dynamics.
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.
Medical education of today continues to evolve to meet the challenges of the stakeholders. Medical professionals today are expected to
play multiple roles besides being experts. Thus, the curriculum has to be developed in a manner that facilitates learners to achieve the intended goal of becoming a medical professional with multiple competencies. The understanding of learning theories will be helpful in designing and delivering the curriculum to meet the demands of producing a medical professional who would meet the CanMEDS model.
This commentary explores and reflects on the learning theories of behaviorism, cognitivism and constructivism as they have evolved over time and the application of these learning theories in medical education, particularly in the context of medical education in Malaysia. The authors are convinced that these three theories are not mutually exclusive but should be operationalized contextually and throughout the
different stages of learning in the MBBS curriculum. Understanding these theories and their application will enhance the learning experience of students.
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
The purpose of this prospective longitudinal study was to investigate the maternal cardiac haemodynamic and structural changes that occur
in pregnancies with uncomplicated hyperemesis gravidarum in a selected Malaysian population. Nine women underwent serial echocardiography beginning at 12 weeks of gestation and throughout pregnancy at monthly intervals. Their echocardiograms were repeated at 6 and 12 weeks following delivery to reflect the pre-pregnancy haemodynamic state. Cardiac output was measured by continuous wave Doppler at the aortic valve. Interventricular septum thickness was determined by M- mode echocardiography and ventricular diastolic function by assessing flow at the mitral valve with Doppler recording. Cardiac output showed an increase of 32.9% at 36 weeks and maintained till 40 weeks of gestation. Heart rate increased from 79 ± 6 to 96 ± 8 beats/min at 36 weeks. Stroke volume increased by 16.4 % at 40 weeks of gestation when compared to the baseline
value. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure did not appreciably change but showed a lower reading during the mid-trimester period. Early inflow velocity of left ventricle did not show a rise while peak atrial velocity showed an increasing trend; thus the ratio of early inflow to peak atrial transport showed a declining trend from early pregnancy to term. End diastolic dimension of left ventricle and interventricular septum thickness showed an increased value at term. Uncomplicated hyperemesis gravidarum did not alter the haemodynamic changes throughout pregnancy and concur with established data for normal pregnancy.
This paper attempts to utilise clinical scenarios where ethical issues are embedded and requires appropriate application of the steps of the framework mentioned. A step by step sequential approach is adopted to illustrate how the ‘ethical decision model ‘can be used to resolve ethical problems to arrive at a reasonable conclusion. The UNESCO ethical method of reasoning is used as the framework for decision making. Physician-educators should be competent to use ethical decision models as well as best available scientific evidence to be able to arrive at the best decision for patient care as well as teach health professional trainees how reasonable treatment decisions can be made within the perimeter of medical law and social justice.
The case report describes the presentation of a 19-year old female with tuberous sclerosis who presented with progressive dyspnoea over 2 days.
Chest radiograph revealed bilateral pneumothorax. Computed tomography showed features of pulmonary lymphangioleiomyomatosis and bilateral renal angiomyolipomas. The coexistence of both conditions may cause devastating morbidity and mortality.