Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 251 in total

  1. Goh KL
    Ann Acad Med Singap, 2015 Jan;44(1):34-9.
    PMID: 25703498
    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.
  2. Chia PL, Earnest A, Lee R, Lim J, Wong CP, Chia YW, et al.
    Ann Acad Med Singap, 2013 Sep;42(9):432-6.
    PMID: 24162317
    INTRODUCTION: 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.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective descriptive study. We identified 1041 patients (810 Chinese, 139 Malays, 92 Indians) without previous history of cardiovascular disease who underwent cardiac computed tomography for atypical chest pain evaluation. A cardiologist, who was blinded to the patients' clinical demographics, reviewed all scans. We retrospectively analysed all their case records.

    RESULTS: Overall, Malays were most likely to be active smokers (P = 0.02), Indians had the highest prevalence of diabetes mellitus (P = 0.01) and Chinese had the highest mean age (P <0.0001). The overall prevalence of patients with non-calcified plaques as the only manifestation of sub-clinical coronary artery disease was 2.1%. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of CAC, mean CAC score or prevalence of non-calcified plaques among the 3 ethnic groups. Active smoking, age and hypertension were independent predictors of CAC. Non-calcified plaques were positively associated with male gender, age, dyslipidaemia and diabetes mellitus.

    CONCLUSION: The higher MI rates in Malays and Indians in Singapore cannot be explained by any difference in CAC or non-calcified plaque. More research with prospective follow-up of larger patient populations is necessary to establish if ethnic-specific calibration of CAC measures is needed to adjust for differences among ethnic groups.

  3. Yasin SM, Retneswari M, Moy FM, Taib KM, Ismail N
    Ann Acad Med Singap, 2013 Aug;42(8):401-7.
    PMID: 24045376
    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.

  4. Gopalai AA, Lim SY, Aziz ZA, Lim SK, Tan LP, Chong YB, et al.
    Ann Acad Med Singap, 2013 May;42(5):237-40.
    PMID: 23771111
    INTRODUCTION: 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.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: Eight hundred and twenty-eight subjects (404 PD patients, and 424 age and gender-matched control subjects without neurological disorders) were recruited. Genotyping was done by Taqman® allelic discrimination assay on an Applied Biosystems 7500 Fast Real-Time PCR machine.

    RESULTS: The heterozygous A419V genotype was found in only 1 patient with PD, compared to 3 in the control group (0.4% vs 1.3%), giving an odds ratio of 0.35 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.01 to 3.79; P = 0.624).

    CONCLUSION: A419V is not an important LRRK2 risk variant in our Asian cohort of patients with PD. Our data are further supported by a literature review which showed that 4 out of 6 published studies reported a negative association of this variant in PD.

  5. Chong SA, Abdin E, Vaingankar JA, Heng D, Sherbourne C, Yap M, et al.
    Ann Acad Med Singap, 2012 Feb;41(2):49-66.
    PMID: 22498852
    INTRODUCTION: Mental illnesses are not only a growing public health concern but also a major social and economic issue affecting individuals and families throughout the world. The prevalence of mental disorders, the extent of disability caused by these disorders, and services utilisation of these patients has been well studied in developed countries. The aim of this study was to establish the prevalence of select mental disorders and their associated sociodemographic correlates in the adult Singapore resident population.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a cross-sectional, populationbased, epidemiological study of adult Singapore residents aged 18 years and above. The subjects were randomly selected using a disproportionate stratified sampling method. The diagnoses of selected mental disorders including major depressive disorder (MDD), dysthymia, bipolar (bipolar I & II) disorders, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence were established using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, which is a fully structured diagnostic instrument that assesses lifetime and 12-month prevalence of mental disorders.

    RESULTS: Among the 6616 respondents (response rate of 75.9%), 12.0% had at least one lifetime affective, anxiety, or alcohol use disorders. The lifetime prevalence of MDD was 5.8% and that of bipolar disorder was 1.2%. The combined lifetime prevalence of the 2 anxiety disorders, GAD and OCD was 3.6%, with the latter being more common than GAD (0.9% and 3.0% respectively). The lifetime prevalence of alcohol abuse and dependence were found to be 3.1% and 0.5% respectively. Age, gender, ethnicity, marital status and chronic physical illnesses were all significant correlates of mental disorders.

    CONCLUSION: The identified associated factors would help guide resource allocation, policy formulation and programme development in Singapore.

  6. Picco L, Subramaniam M, Abdin E, Vaingankar JA, Chong SA
    Ann Acad Med Singap, 2012 Aug;41(8):325-34.
    PMID: 23010809
    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.

  7. Mejia Mohamed EH, Tan KS, Ali JM, Mohamed Z
    Ann Acad Med Singap, 2011 Apr;40(4):186-91.
    PMID: 21678004
    INTRODUCTION: The functional point mutation C677T in the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene, has been reported to contribute to hyperhomocysteinaemia which is a risk factor for atherothrombotic ischaemic strokes. This study evaluated the prevalence of the C677T polymorphism of the gene in Malaysian ischaemic stroke subjects of Malay, Chinese and Indian ethnicities, and its association with homocysteine levels (tHcy).

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 292 subjects were recruited, comprising 150 ischaemic stroke patients and 142 control subjects who were age and sex matched. Plasma homocysteine, serum folate and vitamin B12 were measured in all subjects. Genotyping was carried out using PCR-RFLP.

    RESULTS: The homocysteine levels were significantly higher (P = 0.001) in the stroke group (11.35 ± 2.75 μmol/L) compared to the control group (10.38 ± 2.79 μmol/L). The MTHFR C677T genotype distribution for the stroke group was 46%, 40% and 14%, respectively for CC, CT and TT genotypes and 59.9%, 33.8% and 6.3%, respectively for the control group. The genotype and allelic frequencies were significantly different between the 2 groups, with P = 0.02 and P = 0.004 respectively. No significant difference was seen in the genotype distribution inter-ethnically. An increasing tHcy was seen with every additional T allele, and the differences in the tHcy for the different genotypes were significant in both the control (P <0.001) and stroke groups (P <0.001).

    CONCLUSION: This study shows that TT genotype of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase C677T polymorphic gene is an important determinant for homocysteine levels in Malaysian ischaemic stroke patients.

  8. Abdullah MF, Nor NM, Mohd Ali SZ, Ismail Bukhary NB, Amat A, Latif LA, et al.
    Ann Acad Med Singap, 2011 Apr;40(4):168-78.
    PMID: 21678002
    INTRODUCTION: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a chronic disease that is prevalent in many countries. The prevalence of DM is on the rise, and its complications pose a heavy burden on the healthcare systems and on the patients' quality of life worldwide.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: This is a multicentre, cross-sectional study involving 5 Health Clinics conducted by Family Medicine Specialists in Malaysia. Convenience sampling of 100 respondents with DM were selected. The International Classifi cation of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) based measures were collected using the Comprehensive Core Set for DM. SF-36 and self-administered forms and comorbidity questionnaire (SCQ) were also used.

    RESULTS: Ninety-seven percent had Type 2 DM and 3% had Type 1 DM. The mean period of having DM was 6 years. Body functions related to physical health including exercise tolerance (b455), general physical endurance (b4550), aerobic capacity (b4551) and fatiguability (b4552) were the most affected. For body structures, the structure of pancreas (s550) was the most affected. In the ICF component of activities and participation, limitation in sports (d9201) was the highest most affected followed by driving (d475), intimate relationships (d770), handling stress and other psychological demands (d240) and moving around (d455). Only 7% (e355 and e450) in the environmental category were documented as being a relevant factor by more than 90% of the patients.

    CONCLUSION: The content validity of the comprehensive ICF Core set DM for Malaysian population were identified and the results show that physical and mental functioning were impaired in contrast to what the respondents perceived as leading healthy lifestyles.

  9. Saif-Ali R, Muniandy S, Al-Hamodi Z, Lee CS, Ahmed KA, Al-Mekhlafi AM, et al.
    Ann Acad Med Singap, 2011 Nov;40(11):488-92.
    PMID: 22206064
    INTRODUCTION: Type 2 diabetes (T2D) candidate gene: potassium voltage-gated channel, KQT-like subfamily, member 1 (KCNQ1) was suggested by conducting a genome wide association study (GWAS) in Japanese population. Association studies have been replicated among East Asian populations; however, the association between this gene and T2D in Southeast Asian populations still needs to be studied. This study aimed to investigate the association of KCNQ1 common variants with type 2 diabetes in Malaysian Malay subjects.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: The KCNQ1 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs): rs2237892, rs2283228, and rs2237895 were genotyped in 234 T2D and 177 normal Malay subjects.

    RESULTS: The risk allele of the rs2283228 (A) was strongly associated with T2D (OR = 1.7, P = 0.0006) while the rs2237892 (C) was moderately associated with T2D (OR = 1.45, P = 0.017). The recessive genetic models showed that rs2283228 was strongly associated with T2D (OR = 2.35, P = 0.00005) whereas rs2237892 showed a moderate association with T2D (OR = 1.69, P = 0.01). The haplotype block (TCA), which contained the protective allele, correlated with a protection from T2D (OR = 0.5, P = 0.003). Furthermore, the diplotype (CAA-TCA) that contained the protective haplotype was protected against T2D (OR = 0.46, P = 0.006).

    CONCLUSION: The KCNQ1 SNPs, haplotypes and diplotypes are associated with T2D in the Malaysian Malay subjects.

  10. Thumboo J, Seah A, Tan CT, Singhal BS, Ong B
    Ann Acad Med Singap, 2011 Feb;40(2):67-73.
    PMID: 21468459
    INTRODUCTION: The Multiple Sclerosis International Quality of Life questionnaire (MusiQoL) is a self-administered, multi-dimensional, patient-based health-related quality of life (HRQoL) instrument. With increasing prevalence of multiple sclerosis (MS) in Asian countries, a valid tool to assess HRQoL in those patients is needed. The aim of this study was to evaluate patient acceptability, content validity and psychometric properties of an Asian version of the English MusiQoL in Singapore, Malaysia and India.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: English speaking patients older than 18 years of age with a defi nite diagnosis of MS were included. The self-administered survey material included the adapted HRQoL questionnaire, a validated generic HRQoL questionnaire: the short-form 36 (SF-36), as well as a checklist of 14 symptoms. We assessed the internal and external validity of the adapted MusiQoL.

    RESULTS: A total of 81 patients with MS were included in the study. The questionnaire was generally well accepted. In the samples from Malaysia and Singapore, all scales exhibited good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha >0.70). Correlation to SF-36 was generally good, demonstrating high construct validity (P <0.001) in some aspects of the MusiQoL.

    CONCLUSION: The Asian adaptation of the English version of the MusiQoL in evaluating HRQoL seems to be a valid, reliable tool with adequate patient acceptability and internal consistency.

  11. Su LL, S K TC, Lim SL, Chen Y, Tan EA, Pai NN, et al.
    Ann Acad Med Singap, 2010 Sep;39(9):675-5.
    PMID: 20957301
    INTRODUCTION: Breast milk fatty acids play a major role in infant development. However, no data have compared the breast milk composition of different ethnic groups living in the same environment. We aimed to (i) investigate breast milk fatty acid composition of three ethnic groups in Singapore and (ii) determine dietary fatty acid patterns in these groups and any association with breast milk fatty acid composition.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a prospective study conducted at a tertiary hospital in Singapore. Healthy pregnant women with the intention to breastfeed were recruited. Diet profile was studied using a standard validated 3-day food diary. Breast milk was collected from mothers at 1 to 2 weeks and 6 to 8 weeks postnatally. Agilent gas chromatograph (6870N) equipped with a mass spectrometer (5975) and an automatic liquid sampler (ALS) system with a split mode was used for analysis.

    RESULTS: Seventy-two breast milk samples were obtained from 52 subjects. Analysis showed that breast milk ETA (Eicosatetraenoic acid) and ETA:EA (Eicosatrienoic acid) ratio were significantly different among the races (P = 0.031 and P = 0.020), with ETA being the highest among Indians and the lowest among Malays. Docosahexaenoic acid was significantly higher among Chinese compared to Indians and Malays. No difference was demonstrated in n3 and n6 levels in the food diet analysis among the 3 ethnic groups.

    CONCLUSIONS: Differences exist in breast milk fatty acid composition in different ethnic groups in the same region, although no difference was demonstrated in the diet analysis. Factors other than maternal diet may play a role in breast milk fatty acid composition.

  12. Dayangku Norsuhazenah PS, Baki MM, Mohamad Yunus MR, Sabir Husin Athar PP, Abdullah S
    Ann Acad Med Singap, 2010 Jul;39(7):565-4.
    PMID: 20697675
    INTRODUCTION: In laryngectomised patients, tracheoesophageal speech is the gold standard for voice rehabilitation. This study evaluated complications related to the tracheoesophageal puncture (TEP) and the success rate in voice prosthesis after total laryngectomy at our institution over a 10-year period.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: A retrospective review of 22 TEPs was performed between January 1998 and December 2008. The timing of TEP, type of voice prosthesis, surgical and prosthesis-related complications, and TEP closure were noted.

    RESULTS: Eighteen percent of the patients underwent primary and 82% secondary TEP. Our patients were predominantly males (95.4%) of Chinese descent with a mean age of 62.1 years. The types of voice prostheses used were ProvoxTM (n = 15), Voicemasters (n = 6), and Blom-Singer (n = 1). Prosthesis- related complications occurred in 77.3%. Notable complications were leakage (82.5%), prosthesis displacement (41.2%), intractable aspiration (29.4%), and aspiration of prosthesis (23.5%). The most common surgical-related complication was tracheostomal stenosis. An array of interventions comprising resizing or changing prosthesis type, nasogastric catheter insertion, stomaplasty, purse string suturing, and bronchoscopic removal of bronchial aspirated prosthesis were implemented to address encountered complications. In a mean follow-up of 34.8 months, 68.2% of patients achieved functional tracheoesophageal speech (75% of primary TEP and 67% of secondary TEP). There were 7 TEP closures indicated by persistent leakage, recurrent dislodgement, phonatory failure and, in 1 patient, persistent pain.

    CONCLUSIONS: TEP has become an integral part in the rehabilitation of a laryngectomee. However, management of the frequent complications related to TEP requires specific efforts and specialistic commitments in order to treat them.

  13. Win MK, Chow A, Chen M, Lau YF, Ooi EE, Leo YS
    Ann Acad Med Singap, 2010 Jun;39(6):448-52.
    PMID: 20625620
    INTRODUCTION: Outbreaks of acute respiratory illness occur commonly in long-term care facilities (LTCF), due to the close proximity of residents. Most influenza outbreak reports have been from temperate countries. This study reports an outbreak of influenza B among a highly immunised resident population in a welfare home in tropical Singapore, and discusses vaccine efficacy and the role of acute respiratory illness surveillance for outbreak prevention and control.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: During the period from 16 to 21 March 2007, outbreak investigations and active case finding were carried out among residents and nursing staff at the welfare home. Interviews and medical notes review were conducted to obtain epidemiological and clinical data. Hospitalised patients were tested for respiratory pathogens. Further genetic studies were also carried out on positive respiratory samples.

    RESULTS: The overall clinical attack rate was 9.4% (17/180) in residents and 6.7% (2/30) in staff. All infected residents and staff had received influenza immunisation. Fifteen residents were hospitalised, with 2 developing severe complications. Genetic sequencing revealed that the outbreak strain had an 8.2% amino acid difference from B/Malaysia/2506/2004, the 2006 southern hemisphere influenza vaccine strain, which the residents and staff had earlier received.

    CONCLUSIONS: A mismatch between the vaccine and circulating influenza virus strains can result in an outbreak in a highly immunised LTCF resident population. Active surveillance for acute respiratory illness in LTCFs could be implemented for rapid detection of antigenic drift. Enhanced infection control and other preventive measures can then be deployed in a timely manner to mitigate the effect of any outbreaks.

  14. Asha'ari ZA, Yusof S, Ismail R, Che Hussin CM
    Ann Acad Med Singap, 2010 Aug;39(8):619-24.
    PMID: 20838703
    INTRODUCTION: Allergic rhinitis (AR) is a prevalent disease worldwide but is still underdiagnosed in many parts of Asia. We studied the clinical profiles of AR patients in our community based on the new ARIA classification and investigated the aetiological allergens using a skin prick test.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: In 2008, 142 newly diagnosed patients with AR were seen and underwent skin prick testing with 90 patients completing the study.

    RESULTS: Intermittent mild and moderate/severe AR were evident in 10% and 21.1% of the patients, while persistent mild and moderate/severe were seen in 20% and 48.9%, respectively. Rhinitis and asthma co-morbidity occurred in 28.8% with asthma incidence significantly higher in persistent AR (P = 0.002). There was no significant association between AR severity, city living and asthma co-morbidity. Nasal itchiness and sneezing were the main presenting complaints and were more common in intermittent AR (P <0.05). Sleep disturbance was associated with moderate-severe AR (P <0.05). Polypoidal mucosa was associated with asthma co-morbidity (P <0.05). Monosensitivity reaction occurred in 12.2% of patients and was associated with fungi sensitivity (P <0.05). Majority of patients were oligosensitive (52.8%) and polysensitive (34.4%) and were significantly associated with moderate-severe persistent AR (P <0.01). The highest positive skin prick reaction and the largest average wheal diameter were for the house dust mites and cat allergen (P <0.05).

    CONCLUSION: Our results reflected the AR profiles in our country, which was comparable with typical profiles of the neighbouring country and other Mediterranean countries with a similar temperate climate.

  15. Lee WS, Chai PF
    Ann Acad Med Singap, 2010 Aug;39(8):648-54.
    PMID: 20838708
    INTRODUCTION: This study determined any clinical features which may help to differentiate biliary atresia (BA) from other causes of neonatal cholestasis (NC).

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: A prospective and observational study was conducted on consecutive infants with NC referred to the University of Malaya Medical Centre, Malaysia, between November 1996 and May 2004.

    RESULTS: The 3 most common causes of cholestasis among the 146 infants with NC studied were idiopathic neonatal hepatitis (n = 63, 43%), BA (n = 35, 24%) and congenital cytomegalovirus hepatitis (n = 13, 9%). Common clinical features at presentation were jaundice (100%), hepatomegaly (95%), splenomegaly (52%) and pale stools (47%). Three clinical features noted to be sensitive for BA were the presence of acholic or variably acholic stools on admission, a liver which was firm/hard in consistency and a palpable liver of ≥4 cm (sensitivity of 77%, 80% and 94%, respectively), but the corresponding specificity was poor (51%, 65% and 39%, respectively). The stools of 2 children with BA were pigmented initially but became acholic subsequently.

    CONCLUSIONS: We did not find any single clinical feature with sufficient sensitivity and specificity to differentiate BA from other causes of NC. Repeated inspection of stools colour is necessary as occasionally, patients with BA may have initial pigmented stools. Biochemical assessment and imaging studies are important in the assessment of any infant with NC.

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