Gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy has evolved tremendously from the early days when candlelight was used to illuminate scopes to the extent that it has now become an integral part of the practice of modern gastroenterology. The first gastroscope was a rigid scope first introduced by Adolf Kussmaul in 1868. However this scope suffered from the 2 drawbacks of poor illumination and high risk of instrumental perforation. Rudolf Schindler improved on this by inventing the semiflexible gastroscope in 1932. But it was Basil Hirschowitz, using the principle of light conduction in fibreoptics, who allowed us to "see well" for the first time when he invented the flexible gastroscopy in 1958. With amazing speed and innovation, instrument companies, chiefly Japanese, had improved on the Hirschowitz gastroscope and invented a flexible colonoscope. Walter McCune introduced the technique of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) in 1968 which has now evolved into a sophisticated procedure. The advent of the digital age in the 1980s saw the invention of the videoendoscope. Videoendoscopes have allowed us to start seeing the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) "better" with high magnification and resolution and optical/digital enhancements. Fusing confocal and light microscopy with endoscopy has allowed us to perform an "optical biopsy" of the GI mucosa. Development of endoscopic ultrasonography has allowed us to see "beyond" the GIT lumen. Seeing better has allowed us to do better. Endoscopists have ventured into newer procedures such as the resection of mucosal and submucosal tumours and the field of therapeutic GI endoscopy sees no end in sight.
Insulin resistance in latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) patients is controversial. The aim of this study was to evaluate insulin resistance and its related factors (metabolic syndrome parameters) among subjects with LADA and glutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies (GADA) negative diabetes, as well as the impact of these factors on insulin resistance.
In Singapore, the age-standardised event rates of myocardial infarction (MI) are 2- and 3-fold higher for Malays and Indians respectively compared to the Chinese. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence and quantity of coronary artery calcification (CAC) and non-calcified plaques across these 3 ethnic groups.
INTRODUCTION: This study aims to identify the predictors of a 6-month quitting success among employees involved in workplace smoking cessation with low-intensity smoke-free policy.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A multicentre prospective cohort study was conducted among employees from 2 different public universities in Malaysia. Interventions include at least 2 sessions of behavioural therapy combined with free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for 8 weeks. Participants were followed up for 6 months. Independent variables assessed were on sociodemographic and environmental tobacco smoke. Their quit status were determined at 1 week, 3 months and 6 months.
RESULTS: One hundred and eighty- five smokers volunteered to participate. Among the participants, 15% and 13% sustained quit at 3 months and 6 months respectively. Multivariate analysis revealed that at 6 months, attending all 3 behavioural sessions predicted success. None of the environmental tobacco exposure variables were predictive of sustained cessation.
CONCLUSION: Individual predictors of success in intra-workplace smoking cessation programmes do not differ from the conventional clinic-based smoking cessation. Furthermore, environmental tobacco exposure in low intensity smoke-free workplaces has limited influence on smokers who succeeded in maintaining 6 months quitting.
The G2385R and R1628P LRRK2 gene variants have been associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's disease (PD) in the Asian population. Recently, a new LRRK2 gene variant, A419V, was reported to be a third risk variant for PD in Asian patients. Our objective was to investigate this finding in our cohort of Asian subjects.
Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of human immunodefi ciency virus (HIV) is a devastating consequence of HIV infection during pregnancy and is largely preventable. Evidence-based interventions such as universal antenatal screening, provision of antiretroviral therapy, delivery by elective caesarean section and avoidance of breastfeeding have ensured that the rates of MTCT remain low in Malaysia. This review discusses the most recent advances in the management of HIV infection in pregnancy with emphasis on antiretroviral treatment strategies and obstetric care in a middle income country.
INTRODUCTION: Smoking is one of the leading preventable causes of death throughout the world and can lead to nicotine dependence, particularly when initiated at a young age. This paper describes the prevalence of smoking and nicotine dependence in the adult Singapore resident population, whilst also exploring rates among the major ethnic groups (Chinese, Malay and Indian), different education levels and those with chronic psychiatric and physical comorbidities.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The Singapore Mental Health Study (SMHS) is a cross-sectional epidemiological study that was conducted between December 2009 and December 2010. Information on smoking status was assessed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview version 3.0 (CIDI 3.0) and the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence measured nicotine dependence. Socio-demographic information was also collected.
RESULTS: In total, 6616 respondents participated in the SMHS giving a response rate of 75.9%. We found that 16% of the population were current smokers and 4.5% had nicotine dependence. Current smokers were more likely to be younger (18 to 34 years old), males, Malay and have lower education, whilst males had a 4.6 times higher risk of nicotine dependence to that of females. The prevalence of nicotine dependence was also higher in those with alcohol abuse and those experiencing chronic pain.
CONCLUSION: The results from this study highlight the important differences in the prevalence of smoking and nicotine dependence among different age groups, gender and ethnicity in Singapore and are important for developing future health policies and targeted preventive strategies.
Treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) using intensive chemotherapy has resulted in high cure rates but also substantial morbidity. Infective complications represent a significant proportion of treatment-related toxicity. The objective of this study was to describe the microbiological aetiology and clinical outcome of episodes of chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropaenia in a cohort of children treated for ALL at our institution.
Intensive care unit (ICU) prognostic models are predominantly used in more developed nations such as the United States, Europe and Australia. These are not that popular in Southeast Asian countries due to costs and technology considerations. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the suitability of the acute physiology and chronic health evaluation (APACHE) IV model in a single centre Malaysian ICU.
The Orthopaedic specialty service in Singapore began in 1952 with the appointment of J A P Cameron to the chair of Orthopaedics at the University of Malaya and the simultaneous establishment of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the General Hospital, Singapore. A second department--a government department of orthopaedic surgery was established in 1959, under the headship of Mr D W C Gawne also at the General Hospital, Singapore to cater to the increasing workload. Although orthopaedic services were already available at Alexandra Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Toa Payoh Hospital from as early as 1974, the formal establishment of a Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in these hospitals took place only in 1977. The pioneering local orthopaedic surgeons--Mr W G S Fung, Mr K H Yeoh, and Mr V K Pillay--joined the orthopaedic service in 1961. In 1967, Prof Pillay and Mr Fung took the leadership role at the University Orthopaedic Department and Government Orthopaedic Department, General Hospital, Singapore, respectively. Subspecialty services in orthopaedic surgery began in the late 1970s, and currently, at least 7 subspecialties have developed to divisional status at one or more hospitals. In 2001, there were 92 registered Orthopaedic specialists and just over a third were in private practice.
Cardiovascular diseases have progressively increased in importance as a major contributor of morbidity and mortality in Asia. However, many countries in Asia do not have nationwide systematically-collected and standardised data on myocardial infarction (MI). To accurately document the extent of atherosclerotic coronary heart disease in Singapore, a nationwide myocardial infarct registry was established in the mid-1986. Possible myocardial infarct events were identified through daily national lists of cardiac enzymes, hospital discharge codes, mortuary records and the national death registry. Data obtained from clinical history, cardiac enzymes and 12-lead electrocardiogram Minnesota codes were entered into an algorithm based on the WHO MONICA study. Cases identified as "definite" MI were included in the decade's review for this study.
INTRODUCTION: Acute pulmonary thromboembolism (PE) has been considered rare among Asians. We aim to describe the frequency and clinical features of this condition in a hospital in Singapore. Among patients admitted by the Emergency Department (ED), comparisons were made between those primarily diagnosed in the ED and those who were not.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Retrospective review of all cases of radiologically proven acute PE over a 20-month period.
RESULTS: Sixty-two patients were identified. The mean age was 61.5 +/- 18.0 years with a female to male ratio of 1.8:1. There were more Malays compared to other races. There were also more Caucasians, given the proximity of the hospital to the airport and the inclusion of tourists. The commonest symptoms were dyspnoea and chest pain, while the commonest signs were tachycardia and tachypnoea. Prolonged immobilisation was the commonest risk factor. Electrocardiographic S1Q3T3 pattern was seen in more patients compared to Western studies. Cardiomegaly was the commonest chest X-ray finding. Thirty-two patients were identified to have a source of embolisation. Overall mortality rate was 21%. The ED diagnosed 36% of the cases. Alternative admitting diagnoses were predominantly ischaemic heart disease and pneumonia. The group diagnosed in the ED were notably female (P = 0.044), Caucasian (P = 0.002) and had prolonged immobilisation (P = 0.025) prior to the onset of PE.
CONCLUSION: Acute PE is not as rare here as previously thought. Clinical features reveal more similarities than differences compared to other studies in the literature. We advocate a high index of suspicion for earlier diagnosis in the ED.
OBJECTIVE: To determine norms for assessing Health-related Quality of Life (HRQOL) in Singapore using the Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Mean SF-36 scores were calculated for 24 population subgroups (categorised by age, gender, ethnicity and questionnaire language) and for subjects with self-reported co-morbid conditions using data from a community-based survey in Singapore.
RESULTS: The English and Chinese SF-36 was completed by 4122 and 1381 subjects, respectively, 58% (n = 3188) of whom had self-reported co-morbid conditions. SF-36 scores varied in subgroups differing in age, gender and ethnicity. In general, subjects with self-reported co-morbid conditions had lower SF-36 scores than those without these conditions, the magnitude of which exceeded 20 points in several instances. A method for calculation of SF-36 scores adjusted for age, gender, ethnicity and questionnaire language is described.
CONCLUSION: We present norms for English and Chinese SF-36 versions in Singapore and describe potential uses for these data in assessing HRQOL in Singapore.
INTRODUCTION: This is a review of sexual knowledge, behaviour and the extent of sexually transmitted infections (STI), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, in Singapore adolescents.
METHODS: Data were retrieved from relevant studies, reports and statistics concerning STI and HIV in Singapore.
RESULTS: For many reasons, adolescents are at a higher risk of acquiring STI and HIV infections. Adolescents in Singapore are still relatively conservative in their sexual attitudes and behaviour. Most of those who had sex never used condoms. Fortunately, the incidence of STI and HIV infections among adolescents is relatively low. However, this may be changing, and there is a proportion of individuals who exhibit higher risk behaviours.
CONCLUSIONS: In this age of rapidly changing morals and values, accurate information and skills need to be provided to young people to ensure that they are adequately prepared to protect themselves from acquiring STI/HIV infection.