Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 173 in total

  1. Loh, Li-Cher
    Academic performance is still primarily judged on publications. Not surprisingly, pressure to publish for the purpose of academic standing or promotion can be huge. People have been put off from an academic career simply because of this necessity. This is unfortunate because publishing our research findings or knowledge is our core business and why we become academicians. The notion that teaching is the academician’s chief duty is only half correct. We should and can enjoy publishing if we accept this as an inseparable part of our job. (Copied from article).
  2. Ismail A. Hamid, Marzida Mansor, Siok, Gracie Yan Ong, Kumar, N.M.
    Since the outbreak of the novel influenza H1N1 in April 2009 in Mexico, more then half a million cases have been recorded with more then 6000 deaths.In contrast to seasonal flu, this virus appears to have a predilection for the young, obese and pregnant.It’s most important and almost fatal complication is Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Intensive care units (ICU) around the world have scrambled to upgrade various treatment modalities including high frequency oscillation ventilation, inotropes, antivirals and antibiotics in an effort to reduce the mortality arising out of this complication. More importantly, this complication appears reversible if adequate and early therapy is instituted. In particular, rescue therapies that allow the lung to rest appear to have brought success in some clinical settings. This article describes the experiences of seven centers that have used various modalities as rescue therapy in patients having Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). The experiences in 13 patients at the University of Michigan, 58 in Mexico, 168 in Canada, 180 patients at Leicester UK, 194 in Australia and New Zealand and case reports from Hong Kong and Singapore are described.
  3. S. Sulaiha S.A., Wee, Yun Ling, Lie, Joo Chin, Eow, Wei-Liang, Muhamad Faiz, S., Chien, Noris Fook Tan
    Background: Nosocomial infection is among the leading problem in many major hospitals resulting in soaring cost expenditure in managing its affect.Hand washing practice is a crucial preventive way to contain such mischief but many ignored its importance. This is perhaps due to lack of appropriate role modeling from senior practitioners.
    Subjects and methods: Our study examined the prevalence of hand washing practice among medical students from year 3 to 5 and compared it to their knowledge and level of awareness on its importance in clinical practice. 142 students were randomly observed during their clinical work in the wards on this practice and questionnaires were later distributed to 268 students from all semesters on their knowledge on the technique and awareness on its importance.
    Results: Out of 142, almost 80% washed their hands but only 41.6% performed effective hand washing. In contrary, 80 to 90% showed good level of knowledge and awareness as well as perception about its importance in clinical practice.
    Conclusions: The contradictory findings between the actual practice of hand washing and knowledge as well as awareness suggest that enforcement on the practice is necessary. This requires motivation and cooperation from all health alliances and higher authority in the health system. Remedial measures are much needed in order to contain high incidence of nosocomial infection in our local practice.
  4. Wong, Rebecca Shin Yee
    Bacillus thuringiensis is an anaerobic, spore forming bacterium that produces various toxic proteins both during its vegetative stage and sporulative stage. During its sporulative stage, it produces parasporal proteins that have long been used in the agriculture fields as insecticides. Although anticancer effect of Bacillus thuringiensis parasporal proteins can be dated back to the 1970s, research in this area went through a giant leap in the late 1990s, with much of the work being done in Japan. It has been found that some strains of non-insecticidal Bacillus thuringiensis produce parasporal proteins that exhibit anticancer activity. Due to their selectivity against human cancer cells but not normal cells, some of these proteins have been extensively studied for their anticancer effect and the mechanism of action by which these proteins kill cancer cells have also been widely explored in Japan and Malaysia with sporadic reports from other parts of the world. The abundance of these bacilli in nature and their selectivity have made them potential candidates for cancer treatment. However, literature on the in vivo effect of these proteins is scarce. Since different Bacillus thuringiensis strains produce different cytotoxic proteins with wide variations in their anticancer effect and mechanism of action, further investigations are necessary and their effect in vivo must be well established before they can be used in human subjects.
  5. Chin, Yow-Wen, Loh, Li-Cher, Wong, Thim-Fatt, Abdul Razak Muttalif
    Introduction: To review the sputum bacteriology and its in-vitro antibiotic susceptibility in patients hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in a state tertiary-referral Hospital (Penang hospital, Malaysia) in order to determine the most appropriate empiric antibiotics.
    Methods: From September 2006 to May 2007, 68 immunocompetent adult patients [mean age: 52 years (range 16-89); 69% male] admitted to respiratory wards for CAP with positive sputum isolates within 48 hours of admission were retrospectively identified and reviewed.
    Results: 62 isolates were Gram(-) bacilli (91%) & 6 were Gram(+) cocci (9%). The two commonest pathogens isolated were Pseudomonas aeruginosa (n=20) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (n=19) together constituted 57% of all positive isolates. Among the Pseudomonas isolates, 84.2% were fully sensitive to cefoperazone and cefoperazon/sulbactam; 95% to ceftazidime, cefepime, piperacillin/tazobactam, ciprofloxacin and amikacin, and 100% to gentamycin, netilmycin, imipenem and meropenem. Among the Klebsiella isolates, 5.3% were fully sensitive to ampicillin; 84.2% to amoxicillin, ampicllin/sulbactam, cefuroxime and ceftriazone; 89.5% to piperacillin/ tazobactam; 93.3% to cefoperazon/sulbactam and 100% sensitive to ceftazidime, cefepime, ciprofloxacin, all aminoglycosides and carbopenems.
    Conclusion: In view of the high prevalence of respiratory Pseudomonas aeruginosa, ampicillin/ sulbactam, currently the most prescribed antibiotic to treat CAP in our respiratory wards, may not be the most appropriate empiric choice. Higher generation cephalosporins with or without beta-lactamase inhibitors, ciprofloxacin or carbapenem may be the more appropriate choices. The lack of information on patients’ premorbidities such as recent hospitalization and prior antibiotic exposure, limits the interpretation of our findings and may have biased our results towards higher rates of Gram negative organisms.
  6. Selvarajah, V.S., Samudram, S., Chua, L.T., Yuhana, D. Siti, Lim, B.K., S. Wan Yusuf, et al.
    To determine the degree of resolution in pleural effusions treated with anti-tuberculosis treatment alone without thoracentesis, 62 eligible adult cases [mean age (SD), 46 (17) yrs; 77% male] of tuberculosis pleural effusions treated in two urban-based university teaching hospitals were retrospectively reviewed for changes in effusion size at 2, 6 and 12 months after initiation of treatment. The proportions of patients in whom resolution were complete, partial and unchanged were 64.5%, 27.4% and 8.1%. Effusions with size smaller than three tenth of hemithorax were at three-fold increased likelihood of complete resolution, compared with those with larger effusions [Odds ratio (95% CI): 3.295 (1.033 to 10.514); p=0.04]. Consideration for thoracentesis is therefore still important in certain patients.
  7. Sinniah, Davendralingam
    Talc’s softness, whiteness, lamellarity, inertness and affinity for organic chemicals make it valuable for industrial and domestic applications. The largest consumers are the paper and ceramic industry; only 5% is used as cosmetics. It is also used for preserving animal feed, and a carrier for drugs, insecticides, pesticides and chemicals. Talc was introduced as baby powder in 1894 and advertised aggressively worldwide. Widespread and indiscriminate use soon raised concerns about its implications for health. The IARC found that talc containing asbestiform fibres is carcinogenic to humans, but inadequate evidence to implicate talc not-containing asbestiform fibres. Pulmonary manifestations of talc inhalation include talcosis, talcosilicosis, and talcoasbestosis. Drug-users administering talc-adulterated oral medications intravenously develop pulmonary granulomas, fibrosis and irreversible pulmonary hypertension. Worldwide reports reveal talc inhalation is fatal to infants; it coats and dries mucus membranes, causes hemorrhage, edema, desquamation of bronchial epithelium, and clogs and compromises mucociliary clearance; larger quantities completely obstruct airways. Progressive diffuse pulmonary fibrosis is a recognized sequel to massive aspiration of baby powder. IARC has classified perineal use of talcum powder as a possible ovarian carcinogen, while a recent study has found that perineal talcum powder increases the risk of endometrial cancer among postmenopausal women. There is a need to raise public awareness of the serious risks associated with the use of talcum powder and for legislation to protect the health of the uninformed who represent the poorer segment of the community, and infants and young children. The dangers associated with cosmetic use of talc outweigh any possible benefits.
  8. Yap, Ivan K.S.
    Metabonomics can be used to quantitatively measure dynamic biochemical responses of living organisms to physiological or pathological stimuli. A range of analytical tools such as high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and mass spectrometry (MS) combined with multivariate statistical analysis can be employed to create comprehensive metabolic signatures of biological samples including urine, plasma, faecal water and tissue extracts. These metabolic signatures can reflect the physiological or pathological condition of the organism and indicate imbalances in the homeostatic regulation of tissues and extracellular fluids. This technology has been employed in a diverse range of application areas including investigation of disease mechanisms, diagnosis/prognosis of pathologies, nutritional interventions and drug toxicity. Metabolic profiling is becoming increasingly important in identifying biomarkers of disease progression and drug intervention, and can provide additional information to support or aid the interpretation of genomic and proteomic data. With the new generation of postgenomic technologies, the paradigm in many biological fields has shifted to either top down systems biology approaches, aiming to achieve a general understanding of the global and integrated response of an organism or to bottom up modelling of specific pathways and networks using a priori knowledge based on mining large bodies of literature. Whilst metabolic profiling lends itself to either approach, using it in an exploratory and hypothesis generating capacity clearly allows new mechanisms to be uncovered.
  9. Toh, Peng Yeow, Wai, Sun Choo, Amir S. Khir, Li, Cher Loh
    Background: Clinical clerkship in a busy hospital environment forms an important part of undergraduate medical training. Regular objective assessment of this activity with feedback would be expected to improve outcome.

    Methods: We implemented fortnightly clinical assessments using modified OSLER (Objective Structured Long Examination Record), and over a 6-week clinical rotation. Modifications included provision of individualized feedback. The assessment process was evaluated by both students and teachers via a questionnaire measuring their perceived educational impact, feasibility and acceptability.

    Results: Students agreed that the patient spectrum was appropriate and fair, resulting in improved history taking and presentation skills (96.6%), clinical examination skills (89%) and clinical reasoning skills (90.7%). It was graded to have helped learning “tremendously” and “moderately” by 64.7% and 32.8% of students respectively. Perceived improvement was attributable mainly to the repetitive nature of the assessments since only 63% of students were provided with feedback. 96.6% of students and 94.1% of assessors perceived the format created a stressful but positive learning environment. 52.9% of assessors agreed that the exercise consumed significant time and resources but 88.2% rated it as manageable and supported its continuation.

    Conclusion: Frequent and regular in-course clinical assessments with emphasis on individual feedback is feasible, acceptable and has significant positive educational impact.
  10. Anthony, Leela, Ambu, Stephen, Lokman Hakim, Lee, Nagarajah
    Background: Database on hospital records like discharge data, birth and death certificates are widely used for epidemiological and research studies. However there are a very few validation studies on these data. The aim of this study was to validate and assess the accuracy of the ICD 10 database on congenital anomalies in the state of Penang. This study was carried out for three years, from 2002 to 2004.

    Methods: The list of cases coded under the general coding “Q” was extracted and approximately 30% of cases were randomly selected from the list. Medical records for the selected cases were checked and discrepancies for the diagnoses between the medical records and the ICD 10 data base were recorded for three years. Verification was done for basic demographic variables and the coding of the diseases. Discrepancies, sensitivity and specificity were calculated.

    Results: The ICD 10 database for congenital anomalies are classified into two types: Type 1 and Type 2. Discrepancies on demographic information were found among the age of patients (babies with congenital anomalies). In Type 1, there was a discrepancy of about 0.02 % to 0.05% probability that a congenital anomaly case can be recorded as non congenital anomaly in the ICD 10. In Type 2 there was a discrepancy that a non-congenital anomaly was classified as congenital anomaly and this ranged from 26.7% to 50.0%. The sensitivity ranged from 96.85% to 97.98%, thus it can be concluded the ICD 10 database is highly sensitive while the specificity ranged from 50.00% to 78.57 %. In other words the ICD 10 is not accurate when classifying the non- congenital anomaly cases. A fair percentage of non-congenital anomaly cases were classified as CA in the ICD 10 database.

    Conclusion: Even though hospital databases are used as a baseline data for a number of research and epidemiological studies it cannot be used at face value. Validation of these data is necessary before any conclusions can be drawn or intervention measures are undertaken.
  11. Ambu, Stephen, Yin, Evelyn Synn Yeoh, Joon, Wah Mak, Chakravarthi, Srikumar
    The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of Sarcocystis infection in wild and peri-urban rodents in some states in Peninsular Malaysia. The thigh muscle from these rodents were formalin preserved, sectioned and stained with hematoxylin and eosin and examined under light microscopy. Of the 146 muscle tissue examined only 73 were positive for Sarcocystis infection.
    Morphological identification showed the presence of some new morphological types to be present. Different species of Sarcocystis were seen in the sections but more extensive studies are needed to identify them to species level.
  12. Ambu, Stephen
    Climate change is a product of human actions. The extreme events such as flash floods, droughts, heat waves, earthquakes, volcano eruptions and tsunamis seen in the world today are the result of indiscriminate human intrusion into the environment. Vulnerable countries and populations are the most affected by these climatic events. This places a burden on the resources of these countries. The Kyoto Protocol is a milestone in environmental management and the impetus created by it must be maintained by carrying out the much needed research into appropriate mitigating measures that will alleviate the climate
    change impact globally. A paradigm shift is needed in addressing the associated risks on human health to assess socioeconomic determinants and the related impacts on disease burden. Some wealthy nations emphasize economic benefits and downplay sustainability goals, health and equality. However the rising cost of energy is beginning to influence their outlook towards this issue. The implications on economics, human health and wellbeing are implicit. In order to strike a balance between disadvantaged and privileged nations, many
    international agencies are spearheading various research agenda to improve adaptation programmes on effects of changing climatic conditions on health. Malaysia too has such programmes initiated under its 5-year development plans.
  13. Chiew, Eng Wooi, Lim, Susan Lee Hong, Ambu, Stephen
    Introduction: Kelantan, an east coast state of Peninsular Malaysia is rich in culture and supports a population that is dependent on agriculture. The crops cultivated are mainly paddy and rubber but in recent years tobacco is beginning to gain importance over paddy. We centered our study around Bachok District which is about 25 kilometers east of Kota Bharu, the state capital.
    Methods: Based on case reports we focused our study on cercarial dermatitis and also recorded the socioeconomic status of the people in the four study villages.
    Result: The ducks and cows were the common livestock kept by the farmers and these were found to be significantly associated (P=0.05) with the occurrence of dermatitis. Cercariae shedding by snails were found in waters used for irrigation.
    Conclusion: The results indicate that cercarial dermatitis is occupation specific, and its debilitating effect was having an influence on the socioeconomic status and general wellbeing of the population in these villages. The dermatitis occurred only during the field preparation and transplanting stages of paddy and was found to be significantly associated (P=
  14. Mak, Joon-Wah
    Developing and adult worms of the human lymphatic filarial parasites (Wuchereria bancrofti,
    Brugia malayi, and Brugia timori) are located mainly in the lymphatic system and occasionally in aberrant sites like subcutaneous and conjunctival cysts. Lymphatic
    pathology ranging from dilatation of lymphatic channels and lymphangiectasia are detected on ultrasonography in apparently healthy, amicrofilaraemic, but filarial antigen positive individuals in endemic areas. Microfilariae are distributed in various organs and may be associated with immune mediated pathology at these sites; tropical pulmonary eosinophilia is characterized by intense immune mediated destruction of microfilariae in the lung parenchyma. In the spleen and other sites, nodular granulomatous lesions can occur where microfilariae are trapped and destroyed. The finding of Wolbachia endosymbionts in all stages of lymphatic filarial parasites has provided new insight on the adverse reactions
    associated with anti-filarial chemotherapy. Inflammatory molecules mainly lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-like molecules released from endosymbionts on death of the
    parasites are largely responsible for the adverse reactions encountered during anti-filarial chemotherapy. Prenatal tolerance or sensitization to parasite derived molecules can immune-modulate and contribute to both pathology and susceptibility/resistance to infection. Pathological responses thus depend not only on exposure to filarial antigens/infection, but also on host-parasiteendosymbiont factors and to intervention with antifilarial treatment. Treatment induced or host mediated death of parasites are associated with various grades of inflammatory response, in which eosinophils and LPS from endosymbionts play prominent roles, leading to death of the parasite, granulomatous formation, organization and fibrosis. The non-human primate (Presbytis spp.) model of
    Brugia malayi developed for the tertiary screening of anti-filarial compounds has provided unique opportunities for the longitudinal study of the pathology associated with lymphatic filariasis. The pathology in this non-human primate model closely follows that seen in
    human lymphatic filarial infections and correlates with clinical evidence of lymphatic pathology as detected with ultrasonography. These studies also show that successful treatment as detected by loss of motility and calcification of worms on ultrasonography is associated with reversal of early dilatations of lymphatic channels.
  15. Babar, Muneer Gohar, Gonzalez, Ma Angela
    Background: The importance of tooth sectioning is realized in disasters such as earthquake, airplane crash investigation, terror, micro leakage studies, age estimation etc. The objective of this study was to develop a simple method to make thin sections (approximately 100 mm) from freshly extracted teeth.

    Methods: One hundred and twenty human premolars recently extracted for orthodontic purpose were used for this study. The teeth were stored in 0.5% chorlaramine for 2 weeks and were not allowed to dry at any stage of the experiment. The teeth were thoroughly washed in distilled water teeth and then were sectioned buccolingually from crown to the root portion.

    Results: A detailed embedding-cutting-mounting procedure is described. The prepared thin ground sections were then examined under a Polarised light microscope for the enamel and the dentine, as well as the caries lesions can clearly be distinguished.

    Conclusion: This is an effective and efficient method for preparation of ground sections in which the hard tissue details are preserved.
  16. Wai, Nyunt, Thing, Sze Wei, Liing, Ting Ngiik
    Morning surge in blood pressure is an independent cardiovascular risk factor in the middleaged and the elderly. Whether such a surge occurs in young subjects is not known. Eighty normotensive subjects (age: 21.8 ± 1.3 yr) measured their own blood pressure (BP) using an automatic device (Omron HEM-7080,) on going to bed and on waking up, for 2 consecutive days. In contrast to large morning BP surges reported for older age groups, there was much smaller but significant (P
  17. Chin, Ramon Beng Ong, Kim, Patricia Chooi Lim, Joon, Wah Mak
    Background: Many proteins released by cells to the blood and other fluids are glycoproteins. One set of glycoproteins carry the ABO blood group determinants and glycoproteins have been shown to be vital in determining the structure and organization of plasma membranes. There is evidence suggesting their important role in cell-to-cell contact, adhesion, hormone interaction and vital transformation. Differences in proteins and glycoproteins in the different human blood groups may influence the invasion process of Plasmodium falciparum. The objectives of the study were to determine whether there are any changes in proteins and glycoproteins of red blood cells upon infection by P. falciparum and whether these protein and glycoprotein changes differ in the various ABO blood groups.

    Methods: A Malaysian strain of P. falciparum was cultured in vitro in red blood cells from A, B, O and AB blood groups. Protein and glycoprotein profiles of uninfected and P. falciparum- infected red blood cells from the different human ABO blood groups were analyzed by SDS-PAGE. For protein bands, the gels were stained with Coomassie blue while glycoproteins were visualized following staining of gels using GelCode ® Glycoprotein Staining Kit.

    Results: Cell membranes of P. falciparum infected erythrocytes from different ABO blood groups have different glycoprotein profiles compared to uninfected cells. All the infected samples showed a prominent protein band of molecular weight 99 kDa which was not present in any of the uninfected samples while a 48 kDa band was seen in four out of the seven infected samples. The erythrocyte cell membranes of A and AB blood groups showed different glycoprotein profiles upon infection with P. falciparum when compared to those from blood groups B and O.

    Conclusion: The two glycoproteins of molecular weights 99 kDa and 48 kDa should be further studied to determine their roles in the pathogenesis of malaria and as potential targets for drug and vaccine development.
  18. Nalliah, Sivalingam, Wijesuriya, Lionel, Venugopal, Subramani
    Acute appendicitis is an infrequent yet the commonest surgical emergency in pregnancy occurring in about 1:1500 pregnancies. The classical abdominal pain in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen is the only reliable clinical sign. Delay in diagnosis is attributed to presence of symptoms commonly seen in pregnancy like nausea and vomiting and difficulty in localizing abdominal pain due to displacement of the appendix with advancing gestation. Perforated appendix and generalized peritonitis impacts adversely on pregnancy contributing to increases in miscarriage, pre-term delivery, fetal loss and even maternal mortality. Imaging studies like abdominal ultrasonogram, helical computerized tomography and magnetic imaging have been utilized to complement clinical suspicion and decrease ‘negative appendectomies’ but robust data on their routine use is awaited. Although the laparoscopic approach is a useful diagnostic and therapeutic tool in early pregnancy, its use as the primary approach for appendicectomy in pregnancy requires further evaluation as increases in the incidence of fetal loss of 5.6% has been reported compared to 3.1% in open access surgery
  19. Joon Wah Mak
    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.
  20. Koh KC, George SRK, Pak JW, Liow YT, Khor JX
    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.
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