Background: Sensitisation to house dust mite (HDM) has been regarded as a major risk factor for development of asthma. This study was carried out to investigate the profiles of HDM sensitisation among Malaysian children with asthma.
Material and Methods: The association between HDM sensitisation and control and severity of asthma was investigated. The salivary HDM specific IgE levels were quantified in different grades of control and severity of asthma in 125 unselected asthmatic children aged 5-12 years old attending the asthma follow-up clinic in Hospital Tuanku Ja’afar Seremban. An additional 29 non-asthmatic patients were selected as control. The skin prick test to assess sensitisation to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (DP) and Dermatophagoides farinae (DF) was performed on all the participants. A questionnaire regarding the control and severity of asthmatic symptoms of the subject was administered. Saliva was collected by voluntary spitting and ELISA was used to quantify the IgE specific to HDM antigen.
Results: There was a significant association between sensitisation to DP and DF and the control of asthma. The association between DP sensitisation and severity of asthma just failed to reach a significant level although there is a clear trend for this. Significant association was found between DF sensitisation and severity. The HDM specific IgE in the saliva was significantly higher in asthmatic patients compared to non-asthmatic patients. There was no significant difference between the specific IgE levels in patients with different severity status of asthma.
Conclusion: Salivary IgE levels may not be an appropriate indicator of the patients’ asthmatic condition in this study. However, it can be concluded that there is significant association between the sensitisation of HDM and the control and severity of asthma.
Study site: Asthma clinic, Hospital Tuanku Jaafar, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
Background: Misinterpretation of abbreviations by healthcare workers has been reported to compromise patient safety. Medical students are future doctors. We explored how early medical students acquired the practice of using abbreviations, and their ability to interpret commonly used abbreviations in medical practice.
Method: Eighty junior and 74 senior medical students were surveyed using a self-administered questionnaire designed to capture demographic data; frequency and reasons for using abbreviations; from where abbreviations were learned; frequency of encountering abbreviations in medical practice; prevalence of mishaps due to misinterpretation; and the ability of students to correctly interpret commonly used abbreviations. Comparisons were made between senior and junior medical students.
Results: Abbreviation use was highly prevalent among junior and senior medical students. They acquired the habit mainly from the clinical notes of doctors in the hospital. They used abbreviations mainly to save time, space and avoid writing in full sentences. The students experienced difficulties, frustrations and often resorted to guesswork when interpreting abbreviations; with junior students experiencing these more than senior students. The latter were better at interpreting standard and non-standard abbreviations. Nevertheless, the students felt the use of abbreviations was necessary and acceptable. Only a few students reported encountering mishaps in patient management as a result of misinterpretation of abbreviations.
Conclusion: Medical students acquired the habit of using abbreviations early in their training. Senior students knew more and correctly interpreted more standard and non-standard abbreviations compared to junior students. Medical students should be taught to use standard abbreviations only.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Background: At the International Medical University (IMU), a half day cardiac life support teaching session was provided to fourth year medical students which included training on the use of the defibrillator machine, how to handle cardiac or respiratory arrest and drugs used for resuscitation. A new CLS (cardiac life support) training session was introduced and increased to a oneday course where students were given practical training first, which included 5 stations (airway equipment, mega codes, drugs for resuscitation, defibrillator use and cardiac rhythm identification) , MCQ (multiple choice questions) test and a mega code (practical)assessment. Objective: To evaluate the students’ knowledge on cardiac resuscitation after a change in the delivery of the cardiac life support training (CLS).
Methodology: Group I, consisted of 82 students taught using the traditional teaching and Group II consisted of 77 students taught using hands on simulation. The students in both groups had an online manual to read prior to the session, were given an identical written exam six months after the CLS training. Group II, however, had an online pre-test.
Results: There was a statistical difference in the final mean marks between the two groups with group II scoring higher (67.3) than group 1 (62.1). No significant marks difference was noted between male and female students for both the cohorts.
Conclusion: There is a significant difference in medical students’ knowledge when cardiac life support is taught using simulation. IMU has adopted the new teaching method with simulated training for the cardiac life support courses with plans to implement higher fidelity and technology to the existing simulated teaching in other areas of medicine.
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: 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 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.
Background: This cross sectional study was done to identify the areas of lack of knowledge, practice and awareness of students about the effective use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Methods: A total of 40 students were selected when they were posted to the accident and emergency unit (A&E) in Seremban Hospital; all of them answered a questionnaire and were observed unaware on the effective use of PPE in the A&E.
Results: We found that 17.5% of students were unaware of the right technique of removing the gloves after a procedure and 25% of students were unaware of safety of hand washing. During invasive procedures, 12.5 % of students did not wash their hands before invasive procedures, 65% did not wear aprons and 57.5% did not wear masks. During non- invasive procedures more than 25% of students did not wash hands before or after the procedures.
Conclusion: There is still significant lack of knowledge in students about the effective use of PPE that needs to be addressed.
Keywords: PPE, Personal protective equipment, effective practice of PPE, A&E
This study examined the trend of major congenital anomalies (CA) in the state of Penang using the ICD 10 database from 1999 to 2004. The data was collected from various health centres and hospitals. The aim was to study the magnitude of the problem for congenital anomalies in the state of Penang in terms of trends and also to calculate the incidence rate by districts. If a trend was noticed, this in turn will determine whether to carry out further in-depth studies in the future and to find out the linkages to the environment if any.
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.
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.
Pain and anxiety management is of paramount importance in dentistry especially for child patients. The term “Medicated Oxygen” or “Magic Air” refers to a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen gases that is commonly used for partial sedation in pediatric dental populations. The gas is colorless and virtually odorless with a faint, sweet smell. Nitrous oxide sedation is administered by inhalation, absorbed by diffusion through the lungs, and eliminated via respiration. In children, sedation may accelerate the delivery of dental treatment that requires patient serenity and may allow the patient to tolerate unpleasant procedures by reducing anxiety, discomfort, or pain.
Consent is defined as the “voluntary agreement to or acquiescence in what another person proposes or desires”. In the context of medical practice it is now universally accepted that every human being of adult years and of sound mind has the right to determine what shall be done with his or her own body. Informed consent is now a central part of medical ethics and medical law. There has been a change in the public’s expectations of their role in medical decision making. The paternalistic approach by doctors is no longer acceptable. Today the patient has the right to receive and the doctor the obligation to give sufficient and appropriate information so that the patient can make an informed decision to accept or refuse a treatment option. This has led to higher standards of practice in the process of informed consent taking. Consent taking is both a legal and moral requirement. Failure to comply with standards of practice can result in criminal prosecution, civil litigation or disciplinary action by the relevant professional authority. Consent taking is a process and not merely a one-off affixation of the patient’s signature on consent form. It involves a continuous discussion to reflect the evolving nature of treatment from before the treatment is given to the post-operative or discharge period. The regulatory authorities in many countries have established standards for consent taking which would include the capacity of the patient, the person who should seek consent, the information to be provided and the necessary documentation.
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.
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.
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.