Murder is the most notorious crime that violates religious, social and cultural norms. Examining the types and number of different killing methods that used are pivotal in a murder case. However, the psychological traits underlying specific and multiple killing methods are still understudied. The present study attempts to fill this gap in knowledge by identifying the underlying psychological traits of different killing methods among Malaysian murderers. The study adapted an observational cross-sectional methodology using a guided self-administered questionnaire for data collection. The sampling frame consisted of 71 Malaysian male murderers from 11 Malaysian prisons who were selected using purposive sampling method. The participants were also asked to provide the types and number of different killing methods used to kill their respective victims. An independent sample t-test was performed to establish the mean score difference of psychological traits between the murderers who used single and multiple types of killing methods. Kruskal-Wallis tests were carried out to ascertain the psychological trait differences between specific types of killing methods. The results suggest that specific psychological traits underlie the type and number of different killing methods used during murder. The majority (88.7%) of murderers used a single method of killing. Multiple methods of killing was evident in 'premeditated' murder compared to 'passion' murder, and revenge was a common motive. Examples of multiple methods are combinations of stabbing and strangulation or slashing and physical force. An exception was premeditated murder committed with shooting, when it was usually a single method, attributed to the high lethality of firearms. Shooting was also notable when the motive was financial gain or related to drug dealing. Murderers who used multiple killing methods were more aggressive and sadistic than those who used a single killing method. Those who used multiple methods or slashing also displayed a higher level of minimisation traits. Despite its limitations, this study has provided some light on the underlying psychological traits of different killing methods which is useful in the field of criminology.
Deaths due to blunt force trauma to the head as a result of assault are some of the most common cases encountered by the practicing forensic pathologist. Previous studies have shown inflicting injury to the head region is one of the most effective methods of murder. The important factors that determine severity of trauma include the type of weapon used, type and site of skull fracture, intracranial haemorrhage and severity of brain injury. The aim of this study was to determine the characteristics of blunt force trauma to the skull produced by different instruments. Nine adult monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) skulls were used as models. Commonly found blunt objects comprising of Warrington hammer, hockey stick and open face helmet were used in this study. A machine calibrated force generator was used to hold the blunt object in place and to hit the skulls at forces of 12.5N and 25N. Resultant traumatic effects and fractures (linear, depressed, basilar, comminuted, and distastic) were analyzed according to type of blunt object used; surface area of contact and absolute force (N/cm(2)) delivered. Results showed that all investigated instruments were capable of producing similar injuries. The severity of trauma was not related to the surface area of contact with the blunt objects. However, only high absolute forces produced comminuted fractures. These findings were observational, as the samples were too small for statistical conclusions.
Alpha (Α) thalassaemia is the most common inherited disorder in Malaysia. The clinical severity is dependant on the number of Α genes involved. Full blood count (FBC) and haemoglobin (Hb) analysis using either gel electrophoresis, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) or capillary zone electrophoresis (CE) are unable to detect definitively alpha thalassaemia carriers. Definitive diagnosis of Α-thalassaemias requires molecular analysis and methods of detecting both common deletional and non-deletional molecular abnormailities are easily performed in any laboratory involved in molecular diagnostics. We carried out a retrospective analysis of 1623 cases referred to our laboratory in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre (UKMMC) for the diagnosis of Α-thalassaemia during the period October 2001 to December 2012. We examined the frequency of different types of alpha gene abnormalities and their haematologic features. Molecular diagnosis was made using a combination of multiplex polymerase reaction (PCR) and real time PCR to detect deletional and non-deletional alpha genes relevant to southeast Asian population. Genetic analysis confirmed the diagnosis of Α-thalassaemias in 736 cases. Majority of the cases were Chinese (53.1%) followed by Malays (44.2%), and Indians (2.7%). The most common gene abnormality was ΑΑ/--(SEA) (64.0%) followed by ΑΑ/-Α(3.7) (19.8%), -Α(3.7) /--(SEA) (6.9%), ΑΑ/ΑΑCS (3.0%), --(SEA)/--(SEA) (1.2%), -Α(3.7)/-Α(3.7) (1.1%), ΑΑ/-Α(4.2) (0.7%), -Α(4.2)/--(SEA (0.7%), -Α(3.7)/-Α(4.2) (0.5%), ΑΑ(CS)/-- SEA) (0.4%), ΑΑ(CS)/ΑΑ(Cd59) (0.4%), ΑΑ(CS)/ΑΑ(CS) (0.4%), -Α(3.7)/ΑΑ(Cd59) (0.3%), ΑΑ/ΑΑ(Cd59) (0.1%), ΑΑ(Cd59)/ ΑΑ(IVS I-1) (0.1%), -Α(3.7)/ΑΑ(CS) (0.1%) and --(SEA) /ΑΑ(Cd59) (0.1%). This data indicates that the molecular abnormalities of Α-thalassaemia in the Malaysian population is heterogenous. Although Α-gene deletion is the most common cause, non-deletional Α-gene abnormalities are not uncommon and at least 3 different mutations exist. Establishment of rapid and easy molecular techniques is important for definitive diagnosis of alpha thalassaemia, an important prerequisite for genetic counselling to prevent its deleterious complications.
Soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1) and placental growth factor (PlGF) contribute in the development of preeclampsia and are suggested as prediction markers in healthy pregnant women but limited data is available in women with major preeclampsia risk factors. This study aimed to determine the role of sFlt-1 and PlGF in predicting preeclampsia among high risk pregnant women. This was a prospective study and samples were collected for a period of ten months. Blood samples were obtained from 84 pregnant women who had at least one risk factor for preeclampsia at 25 to 28 weeks and at 29 to 36 weeks of gestation. SFlt-1 and PlGF concentrations were determined by immunoassay method. There were significantly higher median sFlt-1 and sFlt-1:PlGF ratio at gestational interval 25 to 28 weeks and sFlt-1:PlGF ratio at 29 to 36 weeks in high risk women who developed preeclampsia. Significant lower median serum PlGF levels at 25 to 28 weeks and 29 to 36 weeks were observed in this group of women. In conclusion, the concentrations of these markers were altered in high risk preeclamptic women, a similar pattern seen in low risk preeclamptic women. However the predictive value of these markers could not be established clearly.
Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women worldwide. The incidence of breast cancer in Malaysia is lower compared to international statistics, with peak occurrence in the age group between 50 to 59 years of age and mortality rates of 18.6%. Despite current diagnostic and prognostic methods, the outcome for individual subjects remain poor. This is in part due to breast cancers' wide genetic heterogeneity. Various platforms for genetics studies are now employed to determine the identity of these genetic abnormalities, including microarray methods like high density single-nucleotide-polymorphism (SNP) oligonucleotide arrays which combine the power of chromosomal comparative genomic hybridization (cCGH) and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in the offering of higher-resolution mappings. These platforms and their applications in highlighting the genomic alteration frameworks manifested in breast carcinoma will be discussed.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are multipotent, self-renewing cells that can be found mainly in the bone marrow, and other post-natal organs and tissues. The ease of isolation and expansion, together with the immunomodulatory properties and their capability to migrate to sites of inflammation and tumours make them a suitable candidate for therapeutic use in the clinical settings. We review here the cellular mechanisms underlying the emerging applications of MSC in various fields.
Strongyloides stercoralis is an intestinal nematode infecting humans. The actual prevalence of infestation with this parasite in our setting is not well established. Thus, this study was conducted to determine the age, sex and co-morbid conditions among patients with S. stercoralis infestation as well as to study the common manifestations of strongyloidiasis in our patients. Records of patients with positive S. stercoralis larvae from January 2000 to December 2012 in Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kubang Kerian, Kelantan were reviewed. Ten patients were male and two were female. Their ages ranged from 19 to 78 years old. The majority (92%) of cases, presented with intestinal symptoms and 50% with moderate to severe anaemia. Thirty percent of cases had extraintestinal manifestations such as cough, sepsis and pleural effusion. Ninety-two percent of the patients had a comorbid illness. Most patients were immunocompromised, with underlying diabetes mellitus, retroviral disease, lymphoma and steroid therapy contributing to about 58% of cases. Only 58% were treated with anti-helminthic drugs. Strongyloidiasis is present in our local setting, though the prevalence could be underestimated.
Bone cement implantation syndrome (BCIS) is characterized by hypoxia, hypotension, cardiac arrhythmias, increased pulmonary vascular resistance and cardiac arrest. It is a known cause of morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing cemented orthopaedic surgeries. The rarity of the condition as well as absence of a proper definition has contributed to under-reporting of cases. We report a 59-year-old woman who sustained fracture of the neck of her left femur and underwent an elective hybrid total hip replacement surgery. She collapsed during surgery and was revived only to succumb to death twelve hours later. Post mortem findings showed multiorgan disseminated microembolization of bone marrow and amorphous cement material.
Post mortem changes are important in estimating post mortem interval (PMI). This project's aim was to study the effect of burial and type of clothing on rate of decomposition, which can contribute to estimating PMI for victims. 12 rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) carcasses were separated into 3 groups: no clothing, light clothing and heavy clothing. Control subjects were placed on the ground surface while test subjects were buried at 30 cm depth graves. Soil samples prior and after decomposition were collected for soil pH and moisture analysis. Post mortem change was assessed using a Total Body Score system. The head, neck and limb regions were found to decay faster than the body trunk region. Mummifi cation occurred on body parts that were exposed directly to the atmosphere while adipocere formed on some buried subjects. Burial delayed decomposition due to lower insect activity and lower soil temperature. The soil layer also blocked the accessibility of majority of the arthropods, causing further delay in decomposition. Clothing enhanced decay for bodies on ground surface because it provided protection for maggots and retained moisture on tissues. However, clothing delayed decomposition in buried bodies because it physically separated the bodies from soil and arthropods. Higher sun exposure and repetitive exhumation showed acceleration of decomposition. The decomposition process increased soil pH and moisture percentage values. Soil pH initially increased until pH 8.0-8.4 followed by a slight decrease while soil moisture percentage changed inconsistently. Burial was significant in affecting post mortem change, F(1,11)=12.991, p<0.05 while type of clothing was not significant, F(2,9)=0.022, p=0.978 and combination of both type of clothing and burial factors were also not significant, F(2,3)=0.429, p=0.686. For validation, an accuracy of 83.33% was achieved based on soil pH and soil moisture percentage analysis.
Prolactin (PRL) exists in different forms in human serum. The predominant form is monomeric PRL (molecular mass 23 kDa) with smaller amounts of big PRL (molecular mass 50-60 kDa) and at times macroprolactin (molecular mass 150-170 kDa). Macroprolactin, generally considered to be biologically inactive, accounts for the major part of prolactin in some patients. Different immunoassays for prolactin differ in reactivity with this macromolecular complex.
Malignant transformation from normal colonic mucosa to carcinomas may be accelerated by genetic loss or inactivation of genes of the DNA mismatch repair system. The aim of the study was to determine the local incidence and pattern of immunohistochemical expression of mismatch repair proteins namely: hMLH1, hMSH2 and hMSH6 in a series of colorectal carcinomas (CRCs) and correlate this to their clinical and pathological features. Forty-three out of 298 cases of CRCs (14.4%) showed abnormal staining pattern for mismatch repair proteins with a majority (65.1%) showing single hMLH1 loss. Tumours with mismatch repair defect (MMR-d) were frequently found at the right side of colon (p<0.001), poorly differentiated carcinomas (p<0.001), produced more mucin (p=0.007), exophytic growth (p=0.007) and were bigger (p=0.002) than tumours with no mismatch repair defect. Immunohistochemical stains for mismatch repair proteins could be done in local laboratories on these selected cases before referring for the expensive molecular test.
The presence of antiphospholipid antibodies (aPLs) is closely associated with thrombotic events and pregnancy complications such as recurrent pregnancy loss, preeclampsia and placental insufficiency. We investigated the presence of aPLs and its frequency among female patients with a history of fetal loss in a Malaysia population. Serum samples were collected from 108 patients who had (1) one or more unexplained deaths of morphologically normal fetuses at or beyond the 22nd week of gestation, or (2) one or more premature births of morphologically normal neonates at or before the 24th week of gestation due to eclampsia or preeclampsia, or recognized features of placental insufficiency, or (3) three or more unexplained, consecutive, spontaneous miscarriages before the 20th week of gestation. Serum was tested for aPLs subtypes: anticardiolipin (aCL), anti-beta-2- glycoprotein I (aβ2GPI), anti-beta-2-glycoprotein I dependent cardiolipin (aβ2GPI dependent CL), anti-phosphatidylcholine (aPC), anti-phosphatidylethanolamine (aPE), anti-phosphatidylinositol (aPI), anti-phosphatidylserine (aPS) and anti-sphingomyeline (aSph) by using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method. The mean age of patients was 30±5. Four patients (3.7%) were found positive for at least one aPLs subtype. Four aPLs subtypes were detected. The most common subtypes was aβ2GPI dependent CL (3.7%), followed by aCL (2.7%), aβ2GPI (0.9%), and aPE(0.9%). In conclusion, frequency of aPLs among women with fetal loss (3.7%) in Malaysia was low with subtype aβ2GPI dependent CL being the most prevalent aPLs.
Ewing sarcoma (ES)/ primitive neuroectodermal tumour (PNET) is an aggressive malignant neoplasm affecting mainly children and young adults. The tumour is included with other primitive neoplasms under the category of small round cell tumour. Cytokeratin expression in ES/PNET has been described in sporadic case reports as well as a few systemic series. We studied this feature in Malaysian patients diagnosed in University Malaya Medical Centre on the basis of typical morphology and immunohistochemical assays. Immunohistochemical staining for AE1/AE3 and MNF116 were performed in 43 cases. Cytokeratin was expressed in 17 cases (39.5%) in focal, intermediate or diffuse patterns. There was no significant association between cytokeratin immunoreactivity and the following parameters: patient age, sex, skeletal and extraskeletal primary location as well as primary, metastastic or recurrent tumours or chemotherapy treatment. A significant association between cytokeratin and neuron specific enolase (NSE) expression was demonstrated. Our study supports evidence of epithelial differentiation in ES/PNET and emphasizes that the expression of cytokeratin does not exclude ES/PNET in the differential diagnosis of small round cell tumours.
The effects of spaceflight on cardiovascular health are not necessarily seen immediately after astronauts have returned but can be delayed. It is important to investigate the long term effects of spaceflight on protein and gene expression of inflammation and endothelial activation as a predictor for the development of atherosclerosis and potential cardiovascular problems. The objectives of this study were to investigate the (a) protein and gene expression of inflammation and endothelial activation, (b) expression of nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB), signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT-3) and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) 3 months post-space flight travel compared to ground controls. HUVEC cultured on microcarriers in fluid processing apparatus were flown to the International Space Station (ISS) by the Soyuz TMA-11 rocket. After landing, the cells were detached from microcarriers and recultured in T-25 cm(2) culture flasks (Revived HUVEC). Soluble protein expression of IL-6, TNF-α, ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and e-selectin were measured by ELISA. Gene expression of these markers and in addition NFκB, STAT-3 and eNOS were measured. Spaceflight induced IL-6 and ICAM-1 remain elevated even after 3 months post spaceflight travel and this is mediated via STAT-3 pathway. The downregulation of eNOS expression in revived HUVEC cells suggests a reduced protection of the cells and the surrounding vessels against future insults that may lead to atherosclerosis. It would be crucial to explore preventive measures, in relation to atherosclerosis and its related complications.
Experiments involving short-term space flight have shown an adverse effect on the physiology, morphology and functions of cells investigated. The causes for this effect on cells are: microgravity, temperature fluctuations, mechanical stress, hypergravity, nutrient restriction and others. However, the extent to which these adverse effects can be repaired by short-term space flown cells when recultured in conditions of normal gravity remains unclear. Therefore this study aimed to investigate the effect of short-term spaceflight on cytoskeleton distribution and recovery of cell functions of normal human osteoblast cells. The ultrastructure was evaluated using ESEM. Fluorescent staining was done using Hoechst, Mito Tracker CMXRos and Tubulin Tracker Green for cytoskeleton. Gene expression of cell functions was quantified using qPCR. As a result, recovered cells did not show any apoptotic markers when compared with control. Tubulin volume density (p<0.001) was decreased significantly when compared to control, while mitochondria volume density was insignificantly elevated. Gene expression for IL-6 (p<0.05) and sVCAM-1 (p<0.001) was significantly decreased while alkaline phosphatase (p<0.001), osteocalcin and sICAM (p<0.05) were significantly increased in the recovered cells compared to the control ones. The changes in gene and protein expression of collagen 1A, osteonectin, osteoprotegerin and beta-actin, caused by short-term spaceflight, were statistically not significant. These data indicate that short term space flight causes morphological changes in osteoblast cells which are consistent with hypertrophy, reduced cell differentiation and increased release of monocyte attracting proteins. The long-term effect of these changes on bone density and remodeling requires more detailed studies.