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  1. Liam CK, Andarini S, Lee P, Ho JC, Chau NQ, Tscheikuna J
    Respirology, 2015 May;20(4):526-34.
    PMID: 25682805 DOI: 10.1111/resp.12489
    For a long time lung cancer was associated with a fatalistic approach by healthcare professionals. In recent years, advances in imaging, improved diagnostic techniques and more effective treatment modalities are reasons for optimism. Accurate lung cancer staging is vitally important because treatment options and prognosis differ significantly by stage. The staging algorithm should include a contrast computed tomography (CT) of the chest and the upper abdomen including adrenals, positron emission tomography/CT for staging the mediastinum and to rule out extrathoracic metastasis in patients considered for surgical resection, endosonography-guided needle sampling procedure replacing mediastinoscopy for near complete mediastinal staging, and brain imaging as clinically indicated. Applicability of evidence-based guidelines for staging of lung cancer depends on the available expertise and level of resources and is directly impacted by financial issues. Considering the diversity of healthcare infrastructure and economic performance of Asian countries, optimal and cost-effective use of staging methods appropriate to the available resources is prudent. The pulmonologist plays a central role in the multidisciplinary approach to lung cancer diagnosis, staging and management. Regional respiratory societies such as the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology should work with national respiratory societies to strive for uniform standards of care. For developing countries, a minimum set of care standards should be formulated. Cost-effective delivery of optimal care for lung cancer patients, including staging within the various healthcare systems, should be encouraged and most importantly, tobacco control implementation should receive an absolute priority status in all countries in Asia.
  2. Norris SA, Ho JC, Rashed AA, Vinding V, Skau JK, Biesma R, et al.
    BMC Public Health, 2016 11 17;16(1):1167.
    PMID: 27855663
    BACKGROUND: Malaysia is experiencing a nutrition transition with burgeoning obesity, particularly in women, and a growing prevalence of non-communicable disease. These health burdens have severe implications not only for adult health but also across generations. Pre-conception health promotion could address the intergenerational risk of metabolic disease. This paper describes the development of the "Jom Mama" intervention using Intervention Mapping (IM). The Jom Mama intervention aims to improve the health of young adult couples in Malaysia prior to conception.

    METHODS: IM comprises of five steps prior to the last one, which involves the evaluation of the intervention. We used the five steps to develop the Jom Mama intervention.

    RESULTS: Both the process and evidence is documented providing the rationale to the selection of the key objectives of the intervention: (i) increasing healthy dietary practice; (ii) increasing physical activity levels, (iii) reducing sedentary activity; and (iv) improving social support to offset stressful lifestyles. From the IM process, Jom Mama will be health-system centred approach that uniquely combines both community health promoters and an electronic-health platform to deliver the complex intervention.

    CONCLUSION: IM is an iterative process that systematically gathers "best" evidence, selects appropriate theories of behaviour change, and facilitates formative research so as to develop a complex intervention. Though the IM process is time consuming, complex, and costly, it has enriched the Jom Mama intervention with a number of notable advantages: (i) intervention fashioned on formative work with stakeholders and in the target group; (ii) intervention combines research evidence with theory; (iii) intervention acknowledges multiple dynamics of influence; and (iv) intervention is embedded within health service priorities in Malaysia for greater scale-up possibility.
  3. Price D, David-Wang A, Cho SH, Ho JC, Jeong JW, Liam CK, et al.
    J Asthma, 2016 09;53(7):761-9.
    PMID: 27096388 DOI: 10.3109/02770903.2016.1141951
    OBJECTIVE: We examined the physician perspectives on asthma management in Asia.

    METHODS: An online/face-to-face, questionnaire-based survey of respiratory specialists and primary care physicians from eight Asian countries/region was carried out. The survey explored asthma control, inhaler selection, technique and use; physician-patient communications and asthma education. Inclusion criteria were >50% of practice time spent on direct patient care; and treated >30 patients with asthma per month, of which >60% were aged >12 years.

    RESULTS: REALISE Asia (Phase 2) involved 375 physicians with average 15.9(±6.8) years of clinical experience. 89.1% of physicians reporting use of guidelines estimated that 53.2% of their patients have well-controlled (GINA-defined) asthma. Top consideration for inhaler choice was asthma severity (82.4%) and lowest, socio-economic status (32.5%). Then 54.7% of physicians checked their patients' inhaler techniques during consultations but 28.2(±19.1)% of patients were using their inhalers incorrectly; 21.1-57.9% of physicians could spot improper inhaler techniques in video demonstrations. And 79.6% of physicians believed combination inhalers could increase adherence because of convenience (53.7%), efficacy (52.7%) and usability (18.9%). Initial and follow-up consultations took 16.8(±8.4) and 9.2(±5.3) minutes, respectively. Most (85.1%) physicians used verbal conversations and least (24.5%), video demonstrations of inhaler use; 56.8% agreed that patient attitudes influenced their treatment approach.

    CONCLUSION: Physicians and patients have different views of 'well-controlled' asthma. Although physicians informed patients about asthma and inhaler usage, they overestimated actual usage and patients' knowledge was sub-optimal. Physician-patient interactions can be augmented with understanding of patient attitudes, visual aids and ancillary support to perform physical demonstrations to improve treatment outcomes.

  4. Price D, David-Wang A, Cho SH, Ho JC, Jeong JW, Liam CK, et al.
    J Asthma Allergy, 2015;8:93-103.
    PMID: 26445555 DOI: 10.2147/JAA.S82633
    PURPOSE: Asthma is a global health problem, and asthma prevalence in Asia is increasing. The REcognise Asthma and LInk to Symptoms and Experience Asia study assessed patients' perception of asthma control and attitudes toward treatment in an accessible, real-life adult Asian population.
    PATIENTS AND METHODS: An online survey of 2,467 patients with asthma from eight Asian countries/regions, aged 18-50 years, showed greater than or equal to two prescriptions in previous 2 years and access to social media. Patients were asked about their asthma symptoms, exacerbations and treatment type, views and perceptions of asthma control, attitudes toward asthma management, and sources of asthma information.
    RESULTS: Patients had a mean age of 34.2 (±7.4) years and were diagnosed with asthma for 12.5 (±9.7) years. Half had the Global Initiative for Asthma-defined uncontrolled asthma. During the previous year, 38% of patients visited the emergency department, 33% were hospitalized, and 73% had greater than or equal to one course of oral corticosteroids. About 90% of patients felt that their asthma was under control, 82% considered their condition as not serious, and 59% were concerned about their condition. In all, 66% of patients viewed asthma control as managing attacks and 24% saw it as an absence of or minimal symptoms. About 14% of patients who correctly identified their controller inhalers had controlled asthma compared to 6% who could not.
    CONCLUSION: Patients consistently overestimated their level of asthma control contrary to what their symptoms suggest. They perceived control as management of exacerbations, reflective of a crisis-oriented mind-set. Interventions can leverage on patients' trust in health care providers and desire for self-management via a new language to generate a paradigm shift toward symptom control and preventive care.
    KEYWORDS: asthma control; attitudes; perception
  5. Thompson PJ, Salvi S, Lin J, Cho YJ, Eng P, Abdul Manap R, et al.
    Respirology, 2013 Aug;18(6):957-67.
    PMID: 23730953 DOI: 10.1111/resp.12137
    BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: The Asthma Insight and Management (AIM) survey was conducted in North America, Europe, the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America to characterize patients' insights, attitudes and perceptions about their asthma and its treatment. We report findings from the Asia-Pacific survey.
    METHODS: Asthma patients (≥12 years) from Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand were surveyed. Patients answered 53 questions exploring general health, diagnosis/history, symptoms, exacerbations, patient burden, disease management, medications/treatments and patient's attitudes. The Global Initiative for Asthma guidelines were used to assess asthma control. The survey was conducted by random digit telephone dialling (Australia, China and Hong Kong) or by random face-to-face interviews (India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand).
    RESULTS: There were 80 761 households screened. Data from 3630 patients were collected. Wide disparity existed between objective measures of control and patient perception. Reported exacerbations during the previous year ranged from 19% (Hong Kong) to 67% (India). Reported unscheduled urgent/emergency visits to a doctor's office/hospital/clinic in the previous year ranged from 15% (Hong Kong) to 46% (Taiwan). Patients who reported having controlled asthma in the previous month ranged from 27% (South Korea) to 84% (Taiwan). Substantial functional and emotional limitations due to asthma were identified by 13% (South Korea) to 78% (India) of patients.
    CONCLUSIONS: Asthma has a profound impact on patients' well-being despite the availability of effective treatments and evidence-based management guidelines. Substantial differences across the surveyed countries exist, suggesting unmet, country-specific cultural and educational needs. A large proportion of asthma patients overestimate their level of control.
    Study site: random digit telephone dialling or by random face-to-face interviews at pre-selected locations.
  6. Kwong A, Shin VY, Ho JC, Kang E, Nakamura S, Teo SH, et al.
    J. Med. Genet., 2016 Jan;53(1):15-23.
    PMID: 26187060 DOI: 10.1136/jmedgenet-2015-103132
    Approximately 5%-10% of breast cancers are due to genetic predisposition caused by germline mutations; the most commonly tested genes are BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. Some mutations are unique to one family and others are recurrent; the spectrum of BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations varies depending on the geographical origins, populations or ethnic groups. In this review, we compiled data from 11 participating Asian countries (Bangladesh, Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), and from ethnic Asians residing in Canada and the USA. We have additionally conducted a literature review to include other Asian countries mainly in Central and Western Asia. We present the current pathogenic mutation spectrum of BRCA1/BRCA2 genes in patients with breast cancer in various Asian populations. Understanding BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations in Asians will help provide better risk assessment and clinical management of breast cancer.
  7. Chung WH, Chang WC, Lee YS, Wu YY, Yang CH, Ho HC, et al.
    JAMA, 2014 Aug 6;312(5):525-34.
    PMID: 25096692 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2014.7859
    The antiepileptic drug phenytoin can cause cutaneous adverse reactions, ranging from maculopapular exanthema to severe cutaneous adverse reactions, which include drug reactions with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and toxic epidermal necrolysis. The pharmacogenomic basis of phenytoin-related severe cutaneous adverse reactions remains unknown.
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