Decreasing water pollution is a big problem in coastal waters. Coastal health of ecosystems can be affected by high concentrations of suspended sediment. In this work, a Modified Hopfield Neural Network Algorithm (MHNNA) was used with remote sensing imagery to classify the total suspended solids (TSS) concentrations in the waters of coastal Langkawi Island, Malaysia. The adopted remote sensing image is the Advanced Land Observation Satellite (ALOS) image acquired on 18 January 2010. Our modification allows the Hopfield neural network to convert and classify color satellite images. The samples were collected from the study area simultaneously with the acquiring of satellite imagery. The sample locations were determined using a handheld global positioning system (GPS). The TSS concentration measurements were conducted in a lab and used for validation (real data), classification, and accuracy assessments. Mapping was achieved by using the MHNNA to classify the concentrations according to their reflectance values in band 1, band 2, and band 3. The TSS map was color-coded for visual interpretation. The efficiency of the proposed algorithm was investigated by dividing the validation data into two groups. The first group was used as source samples for supervisor classification via the MHNNA. The second group was used to test the MHNNA efficiency. After mapping, the locations of the second group in the produced classes were detected. Next, the correlation coefficient (R) and root mean square error (RMSE) were calculated between the two groups, according to their corresponding locations in the classes. The MHNNA exhibited a higher R (0.977) and lower RMSE (2.887). In addition, we test the MHNNA with noise, where it proves its accuracy with noisy images over a range of noise levels. All results have been compared with a minimum distance classifier (Min-Dis). Therefore, TSS mapping of polluted water in the coastal Langkawi Island, Malaysia can be performed using the adopted MHNNA with remote sensing techniques (as based on ALOS images).
The present study investigated the biosorption capacity of live and dead cells of a novel Bacillus strain for chromium. The optimum biosorption condition was evaluated in various analytical parameters, including initial concentration of chromium, pH, and contact time. The Langmuir isotherm model showed an enhanced fit to the equilibrium data. Live and dead biomasses followed the monolayer biosorption of the active surface sites. The maximum biosorption capacity was 20.35 mg/g at 25 °C, with pH 3 and contact time of 50 min. Strain 139SI was an excellent host to the hexavalent chromium. The biosorption kinetics of chromium in the dead and live cells of Bacillus salmalaya (B. salmalaya) 139SI followed the pseudo second-order mechanism. Scanning electron microscopy and fourier transform infrared indicated significant influence of the dead cells on the biosorption of chromium based on cell morphological changes. Approximately 92% and 70% desorption efficiencies were achieved using dead and live cells, respectively. These findings demonstrated the high sorption capacity of dead biomasses of B. salmalaya 139SI in the biosorption process. Thermodynamic evaluation (ΔG⁰, ΔH⁰, and ΔS⁰) indicated that the mechanism of Cr(VI) adsorption is endothermic; that is, chemisorption. Results indicated that chromium accumulation occurred in the cell wall of B. salmalaya 139SI rather than intracellular accumulation.
The study aimed to provide estimates of the prevalence and psychosocial correlates of unintentional injury among school-going adolescents in Malaysia. Cross-sectional data from the Global School-Based Health Survey (GSHS) included 21,699 students (predominantly ≤13 to ≥17 years) that were selected by a two-stage cluster sample design to represent all secondary school students in Forms 1 to 5. The percentage of school children reporting one or more serious injuries in the past year was 34.9%, 42.1% of boys and 27.8% of girls. The two major causes of the most serious injury were "fall" (9.9%) and motor vehicle accident or being hit by a motor vehicle (5.4%), and the most frequent type of injury sustained was cut, puncture, or stab wound (6.2%) and a broken bone or dislocated joint (4.2%). In multivariable logistic regression analysis, sociodemographic factors (being male and low socioeconomic status), substance use (tobacco and cannabis use), frequent soft drink consumption, attending physical education classes three or more times a week, other risky behavior (truancy, ever having had sex, being bullied), psychological distress, and lack of parental or guardian bonding were associated with annual injury prevalence. Several factors were identified, which could be included in injury prevention promotion programs among secondary school children.
Study name: Global School-Based Student Health Survey (GSHS)
BACKGROUND: In recent years, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have generated considerable interest and debate on the implications for tobacco control and public health. Although the rapid growth of e-cigarettes is global, at present, little is known about awareness and use. This paper presents self-reported awareness, trial and current use of e-cigarettes in 10 countries surveyed between 2009 and 2013; for six of these countries, we present the first data on e-cigarettes from probability samples of adult smokers.
METHODS: A cross-sectional analysis of probability samples of adult (≥ 18 years) current and former smokers participating in the International Tobacco Control (ITC) surveys from 10 countries. Surveys were administered either via phone, face-to-face interviews, or the web. Survey questions included sociodemographic and smoking-related variables, and questions about e-cigarette awareness, trial and current use.
RESULTS: There was considerable cross-country variation by year of data collection and for awareness of e-cigarettes (Netherlands (2013: 88%), Republic of Korea (2010: 79%), United States (2010: 73%), Australia (2013: 66%), Malaysia (2011: 62%), United Kingdom (2010: 54%), Canada (2010: 40%), Brazil (2013: 37%), Mexico (2012: 34%), and China (2009: 31%)), in self-reports of ever having tried e-cigarettes (Australia, (20%), Malaysia (19%), Netherlands (18%), United States (15%), Republic of Korea (11%), United Kingdom (10%), Brazil (8%), Mexico (4%), Canada (4%), and China (2%)), and in current use (Malaysia (14%), Republic of Korea (7%), Australia (7%), United States (6%), United Kingdom (4%), Netherlands (3%), Canada (1%), and China (0.05%)) [corrected].
CONCLUSIONS: The cross-country variability in awareness, trial, and current use of e-cigarettes is likely due to a confluence of country-specific market factors, tobacco control policies and regulations (e.g., the legal status of e-cigarettes and nicotine), and the survey timing along the trajectory of e-cigarette awareness and trial/use in each country. These ITC results constitute an important snapshot of an early stage of what appears to be a rapid progression of global e-cigarette use.
Childhood obesity is related to low physical activity level and a sedentary lifestyle. The aim of this study was to assess the physical activity level and sedentary behaviour of Malaysian children aged 7 to 12 years and to examine their association with body mass index (BMI), BMI-for-age Z-score (BAZ), body fatness (%BF) and waist circumference (WC). A total of 1736 children, representing all ethnic groups were recruited from six regions of Malaysia. Anthropometric measurements included body weight, height and waist circumference. Body fat percentage (%BF) was assessed using bioelectrical impedance. Physical activity was assessed by a physical activity questionnaire (PAQ) in all children and by pedometers in a subsample (n = 514). PAQ score and pedometer step counts were negatively associated with BMI, BAZ, %BF and WC after adjusting for covariates. Screen time was positively associated with BAZ and WC. However, other sedentary activities were not significantly related with any anthropometric indicators. Strategies to promote active living among children in Malaysia should focus not only on increasing physical activity but also emphasise reduction in sedentary behaviours.
MESH: screen time
AIM: To determine the influence of physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior (SB) on obesity profiles of 454 Malaysian adolescents aged 12 to 19.
METHODS: Validated PA and SB questionnaires were used and body composition assessed using anthropometry and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA).
RESULTS: Gender-specific multivariate analyses showed boys with high levels of total PA and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) exhibited significantly lower levels of total body fat, percent body fat and android fat mass compared with low PA and MVPA groups, after adjusting for potential confounders. Girls with high SB levels showed significantly higher BMI, waist circumference and DXA-derived body fat indices than those at lower SB level. Multiple logistic analyses indicated that boys with low levels of total PA and MVPA had significantly greater obesity risk, 3.0 (OR 3.0; 95% CI, 1.1-8.1; p < 0.05) and 3.8-fold (OR 3.8; 95% CI, 1.4-10.1; p < 0.01), respectively, than more active boys. Only in girls with high SB level was there a significantly increased risk of obesity, 2.9 times higher than girls at low SP levels (OR 2.8; 95% CI, 1.0-7.5; p < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: The present findings indicate that higher PA duration and intensity reduced body fat and obesity risk while high screen-based sedentary behaviors significantly adversely influenced body fat mass, particularly amongst girls when the PA level was low.
The number of dengue cases has been increasing on a global level in recent years, and particularly so in Malaysia, yet little is known about the effects of weather for identifying the short-term risk of dengue for the population. The aim of this paper is to estimate the weather effects on dengue disease accounting for non-linear temporal effects in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, Malaysia, from 2008 to 2010. We selected the weather parameters with a Poisson generalized additive model, and then assessed the effects of minimum temperature, bi-weekly accumulated rainfall and wind speed on dengue cases using a distributed non-linear lag model while adjusting for trend, day-of-week and week of the year. We found that the relative risk of dengue cases is positively associated with increased minimum temperature at a cumulative percentage change of 11.92% (95% CI: 4.41-32.19), from 25.4 °C to 26.5 °C, with the highest effect delayed by 51 days. Increasing bi-weekly accumulated rainfall had a positively strong effect on dengue cases at a cumulative percentage change of 21.45% (95% CI: 8.96, 51.37), from 215 mm to 302 mm, with the highest effect delayed by 26-28 days. The wind speed is negatively associated with dengue cases. The estimated lagged effects can be adapted in the dengue early warning system to assist in vector control and prevention plan.
As populations continue to grow older, efforts to support the process of aging well are important goals. Various synonyms are used to cover aging well, such as active aging. The World Health Organization published in 2002 the report Active Ageing: A Policy Framework that according to the call for papers, has brought active ageing to the forefront of international public health awareness. The 2010 Toronto Charter for Physical Activity: A Global Call for Action was singled out in the call for papers as a key document promoting physical activity one goal of the 2002 WHO active aging policy framework. Media are to report to the public topics of importance to them. We investigated the newspaper coverage of aging well and synonymous terms such as active aging through the lens of the 2002 WHO active aging policy framework and the 2010 Toronto Charter for Physical Activity. As sources we used the following newspapers: China Daily, The Star (Malaysia), two UK newspapers (The Guardian, The Times), a database of 300 Canadian newspapers (Canadian Newsstand) and a US newspaper (The New York Times). The study generated data answering the following four research questions: (1) how often are the 2002 WHO active aging policy framework and the 2010 Toronto Charter for Physical Activity mentioned; (2) how often is the topic of active aging and terms conveying similar content (aging well, healthy aging, natural aging and successful aging) discussed; (3) which of the issues flagged as important in the 2002 WHO active aging policy framework and the 2010 Toronto Charter for Physical Activity are covered in the newspaper coverage of active aging and synonymous terms; (4) which social groups were mentioned in the newspapers covered. The study found a total absence of mentioning of the two key documents and a low level of coverage of "active aging" and terms conveying similar content. It found further a lack of engagement with the issues raised in the two key documents and a low level of mentioning of socially disadvantages groups. We posit that reading the newspapers we covered will not expose the reader to the two key documents and the issues linked to aging well including the need to increase physical activity.
Groundwater chemistry of small tropical islands is influenced by many factors, such as recharge, weathering and seawater intrusion, among others, which interact with each other in a very complex way. In this work, multivariate statistical analysis was used to evaluate the factors controlling the groundwater chemistry of Kapas Island (Malaysia). Principal component analysis (PCA) was applied to 17 hydrochemical parameters from 108 groundwater samples obtained from 18 sampling sites. PCA extracted four PCs, namely seawater intrusion, redox reaction, anthropogenic pollution and weather factors, which collectively were responsible for more than 87% of the total variance of the island's hydrochemistry. The cluster analysis indicated that three factors (weather, redox reaction and seawater intrusion) controlled the hydrochemistry of the area, and the variables were allocated to three groups based on similarity. A Piper diagram classified the island's water types into Ca-HCO3 water type, Na-HCO3 water type, Na-SO4-Cl water type and Na-Cl water type, indicating recharge, mixed, weathering and leached from sewage and seawater intrusion, respectively. This work will provide policy makers and land managers with knowledge of the precise water quality problems affecting the island and can also serve as a guide for hydrochemistry assessments of other islands that share similar characteristics with the island in question.
A steam autoclave was used to sterilize bacteria in clinical solid waste in order to determine an alternative to incineration technology in clinical solid waste management. The influence of contact time (0, 5, 15, 30 and 60 min) and temperature (111 °C, 121 °C and 131 °C) at automated saturated steam pressure was investigated. Results showed that with increasing contact time and temperature, the number of surviving bacteria decreased. The optimum experimental conditions as measured by degree of inactivation of bacteria were 121 °C for 15 minutes (min) for Gram negative bacteria, 121 °C and 131 °C for 60 and 30 min for Gram positive bacteria, respectively. The re-growth of bacteria in sterilized waste was also evaluated in the present study. It was found that bacterial re-growth started two days after the inactivation. The present study recommends that the steam autoclave cannot be considered as an alternative technology to incineration in clinical solid waste management.
The objective of this research was to compare the response of adult smokers in Malaysia to newly proposed pictorial cigarette warnings against the current text-only warnings. The study population included 140 adult male smokers who were enrolled in a randomized trial to view either the new pictorial warnings (intervention) or the old text-only warnings (control). Participants completed pre-exposure and post-exposure questionnaires that assessed their awareness of the health risks of smoking, response to the package warnings, and interest in quitting smoking. Exposure to the pictorial warnings resulted in increased awareness of the risks of smoking, stronger behavioral response to the warnings and increased interest in quitting smoking. The new warnings in Malaysia will increase smokers' knowledge of the adverse health effects of smoking and have a positive effect on interest in quitting.
The present study was undertaken to determine the bacterial agents present in various clinical solid wastes, general waste and clinical sharp waste. The waste was collected from different wards/units in a healthcare facility in Penang Island, Malaysia. The presence of bacterial agents in clinical and general waste was determined using the conventional bacteria identification methods. Several pathogenic bacteria including opportunistic bacterial agent such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella spp., Klebsiella pneumoniae, Serratia marcescens, Acinetobacter baumannii, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Enterococcus faecalis, Streptococcus pyogenes were detected in clinical solid wastes. The presence of specific pathogenic bacterial strains in clinical sharp waste was determined using 16s rDNA analysis. In this study, several nosocomial pathogenic bacteria strains of Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus mirabilis, Lysinibacillus sphaericus, Serratia marcescens, and Staphylococcus aureus were detected in clinical sharp waste. The present study suggests that waste generated from healthcare facilities should be sterilized at the point of generation in order to eliminate nosocomial infections from the general waste or either of the clinical wastes.
This study investigated the capability of a biosurfactant produced by a novel strain of Bacillus salmalaya to enhance the biodegradation rates and bioavailability of organic contaminants. The biosurfactant produced by cultured strain 139SI showed high physicochemical properties and surface activity in the selected medium. The biosurfactant exhibited a high emulsification index and a positive result in the drop collapse test, with the results demonstrating the wetting activity of the biosurfactant and its potential to produce surface-active molecules. Strain 139SI can significantly reduce the surface tension (ST) from 70.5 to 27 mN/m, with a critical micelle concentration of 0.4%. Moreover, lubricating oil at 2% (v/v) was degraded on Day 20 (71.5). Furthermore, the biosurfactant demonstrated high stability at different ranges of salinity, pH, and temperature. Overall, the results indicated the potential use of B. salmalaya 139SI in environmental remediation processes.
Osteoporotic drugs are used to prevent fragility fractures, but their role in fracture healing still remains unknown. Thus, alternative agents with suitable mode of delivery are needed to promote fracture healing. This study was performed to investigate the effects of direct deliveries of lovastatin and tocotrienol to fracture sites on ossification-related gene expression in fracture healing in a postmenopausal osteoporosis model. Forty-eight Sprague Dawley female rats were divided into six groups. Group I comprised the sham-operated rats, while Groups II-VI were ovariectomized rats. After 8 weeks, the right tibiae of all rats were fractured and stabilized. Group I and Group II were given two single injections of lovastatin and tocotrienol carriers. Group III was given an estrogen preparation at 64.5 µg/kg daily via oral gavages. Group IV was injected with lovastatin particles (750 µg/kg), while Group V was injected with tocotrienol particles (60 mg/kg). Group VI received two single injections of 750 µg/kg lovastatin particles and 60 mg/kg tocotrienol particles. After 4 weeks, the gene expressions were measured. Group VI showed significantly higher gene expressions of osteocalcin, BMP-2, VEGF-α, and RUNX-2 compared to Group II. In conclusion, combined treatment of lovastatin and tocotrienol upregulated the expression of genes related to fracture healing.
In September 2005 Thailand became the first Asian country to implement a complete ban on the display of cigarettes and other tobacco products at point-of-sale (POS). This paper examined the impact of the POS tobacco display ban in Thailand, with Malaysia (which did not impose bans) serving as a comparison. The data came from the International Tobacco Control Southeast Asia Survey (2005-2011), a prospective cohort survey designed to evaluate the psychosocial and behavioral impacts of tobacco control policies. Main measures included smokers' reported awareness of tobacco displays and advertising at POS. At the first post-ban survey wave over 90% of smokers in Thailand were aware of the display ban policy and supported it, and about three quarters thought the ban was effective. Noticing tobacco displays in stores was lowest (16.9%) at the first post-ban survey wave, but increased at later survey waves; however, the levels were consistently lower than those in Malaysia. Similarly, exposure to POS tobacco advertising was lower in Thailand. The display ban has reduced exposure to tobacco marketing at POS. The trend toward increased noticing is likely at least in part due to some increase in violations of the display bans and/or strategies to circumvent them.
Male osteoporosis in Malaysia is a largely neglected problem. Therefore, a bone health study in men using quantitative ultrasonometry was launched as part of the Malaysian Aging Men Study in 2009-2012. This review aimed to summarize the findings of the aforementioned bone health study. The study examined the bone health of Chinese and Malaysian men aged 20 years and above living in Kuala Lumpur using a quantitative ultrasound device. Participants answered a questionnaire on their demographic details and physical activity status. Body anthropometry of the participants was measured and their blood collected for biochemical analysis. Results showed that a significant proportion of the Malaysian Chinese and Malay men had suboptimal bone health indicated by calcaneal speed of sound and vitamin D status. Age-related decline of the calcaneal speed of sound in these men was gradual and biphasic without ethnic difference. Body anthropometry such as height, weight, body mass index, and body fat percentage contributed to the variation of the calcaneal speed of sound in Malaysian men. Age-related changes in testosterone, insulin-like growth factor 1, and thyroid stimulating hormone also influenced the calcaneal speed of sound in these men. This study serves as a reminder that male osteoporosis in Malaysia should be an issue of concern. It is also a basis for a more comprehensive study on bone health in men in the future.
The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between self-reported leisure time physical inactivity frequency and sedentary behaviour and lifestyle correlates among school children in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. The analysis included 30,284 school children aged 13-15 years from seven ASEAN countries that participated in the Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS) between 2007 and 2013. The measure asked about overall physical activity, walking or biking to school, and on time spent sitting. Overall, the prevalence of physical inactivity was 80.4%, ranging from 74.8% in Myanmar to 90.7% in Cambodia and sedentary behaviour 33.0%, ranging from 10.5% in Cambodia and Myanmar to 42.7% in Malaysia. In multivariate logistic regression, not walking or biking to school, not attending physical education classes, inadequate vegetable consumption and lack of protective factors (peer and parental or guardian support) were associated with physical inactivity, and older age (14 and 15 years old), coming from an upper middle income country, being overweight or obese, attending physical education classes, alcohol use, loneliness, peer support and lack of parental or guardian supervision were associated with sedentary behaviour. In boys, lower socioeconomic status (in the form of having experienced hunger) and coming from a low income or lower middle income country were additionally associated with physical inactivity, and in girls, higher socioeconomic status, not walking or biking to school and being bullied were additionally associated with sedentary behaviour. In conclusion, a very high prevalence of leisure physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour among school going adolescents in ASEAN was found and several factors identified that may inform physical activity promotion programmes in school-going adolescents in ASEAN.
Study name: Global School-Based Student Health Survey (GSHS)
Staphylococcus aureus is one of the leading causes of food poisoning. Its pathogenicity results from the possession of virulence genes that produce different toxins which result in self-limiting to severe illness often requiring hospitalization. In this study of 200 sushi and sashimi samples, S. aureus contamination was confirmed in 26% of the food samples. The S. aureus isolates were further characterized for virulence genes and antibiotic susceptibility. A high incidence of virulence genes was identified in 96.2% of the isolates and 20 different virulence gene profiles were confirmed. DNA amplification showed that 30.8% (16/52) of the S. aureus carried at least one SE gene which causes staphylococcal food poisoning. The most common enterotoxin gene was seg (11.5%) and the egc cluster was detected in 5.8% of the isolates. A combination of hla and hld was the most prevalent coexistence virulence genes and accounted for 59.6% of all isolates. Antibiotic resistance studies showed tetracycline resistance to be the most common at 28.8% while multi-drug resistance was found to be low at 3.8%. In conclusion, the high rate of S. aureus in the sampled sushi and sashimi indicates the need for food safety guidelines.
The disposal of industrial paper mill sludge waste is a big issue and has a great importance all over the world. A study was conducted to determine the chemical properties of recycled paper mill sludge (RPMS) and assess its possibilities for land application. RPMS samples were collected from six different paper mills in Malaysia and analyzed for physical and chemical properties, heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, (13)C-NMR spectra and for the presence of dioxins/furans. The RPMS was dewatered, sticky with a strong odour, an average moisture of 65.08%, pH 7.09, cation exchange capacity (CEC) 14.43 cmol (+) kg(-1), N 1.45, P 0.18, K 0.12, Ca 0.82, Mg 0.73, Na 0.76 and Al, 1.38%. The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heavy metals levels were below the standard Class 2 limits. The dioxin and furan were in below the standard concentration of Class 1. The most prominent peak in the (13)C-NMR spectra of RPMS was centered at 31 ppm, proving the presence of methylene (-CH2) groups in long aliphatic chains, with lipids and proteins. The signal at 89 ppm and highly shielded shoulder at 83 ppm were due to presence of cellulose carbon C-4, and the peak at 63 and 65 ppm was due to the cellulose carbon spectrum. The RPMS therefore contains significant amount of nutrients with safe levels of heavy metals and PAHs for environment and can be used as a fertilizer and soil amendment for land application.