The purpose of this paper was to report on the delivery of a series of seminars in Sarawak, East Malaysia using a unique hands-on approach to the teaching of skills in research and evidence-based health care. These seminars proved to be a meaningful and memorable experience for both the facilitators and participants.
Medical practice is changing, and the foundations of the paradigm shift lie in the development in research over the last four decades. Today, it is no longer adequate to treat a patient purely on clinical experience alone without a clear demonstration of evidence based on research, particularly the use of randomised controlled clinical trials. What is thought to be an effective mode of treatment currently may not necessarily hold true by the time medical students begin his/her medical practice. As a consequence, many medical schools worldwide are increasingly promoting evidence-based medicine (EBM) teaching in their medical curriculum along with problem-based learning (PBL). Teaching of EBM requires a paradigm shift in itself, as students must possess additional skills that are not traditionally part of medical training. These include the ability to acquire the skills in 'means of answering questions' than just 'knowing the answer to questions'. This paper aims to describe what EBM is and to highlight the formative experience of the teaching of EBM at the medical undergraduate level in the University of Malaya. Challenges and opportunities towards successful adoption of evidence-based practice are discussed.
Design and development of novel therapeutic strategies to regenerate lost tissue structure and function is a serious clinical hurdle for researchers. Traditionally, much of the research is dedicated in optimising properties of scaffolds. Current synthetic biomaterials remain rudimentary in comparison to their natural counterparts. The ability to incorporate biologically inspired elements into the design of synthetic materials has advanced with time. Recent reports suggest that functionally graded material mimicking the natural tissue morphology can have a more exaggerated response on the targeted tissue. The aim of this review is to deliver an overview of the functionally graded concept with respect to applications in clinical dentistry. A comprehensive understanding of spatiotemporal arrangement in fields of restorative, prosthodontics, periodontics, orthodontics and oral surgery is presented. Different processing techniques have been adapted to achieve such gradients ranging from additive manufacturing (three dimensional printing/rapid prototyping) to conventional techniques of freeze gelation, freeze drying, electrospinning and particulate leaching. The scope of employing additive manufacturing technique as a reliable and predictable tool for the design and accurate reproduction of biomimetic templates is vast by any measure. Further research in the materials used and refinement of the synthesis techniques will continue to expand the frontiers of functionally graded membrane based biomaterials application in the clinical domain.
Background: Recently many medical schools have incorporated Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) as part of their undergraduate teaching. The aim is to provide a firm base of EBM to the medical students early on, so that they can understand the importance of EBM. Medical schools are encouraged to teach EBM to students but yet the education setting, learner level, modes of instruction, skills covered and teaching methods are not standardised and varies worldwide. In Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences (CUCMS), EBM was incorporated in the curriculum since 2009. EBM concepts was taught formally to the MBBS students during four weeks Research and Evidence Based Medicine Course (REBM). Students were exposed to the various thinking processes, formulation of clinical questions, searching evidence, intermediate biostatistics, research methodology and critical appraisal. Besides that, Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and research proposal development also include in the course. The objective of this paper is to describe
CUCMS experience of teaching EBM for undergraduate medical students.
Methods: This report analysed students feedback using a questionnaire which included a Likert scale and open-ended questions.
Result: Overall, three batches of students gave positive feedbacks regarding the course with constructive suggestions on room for improvement.
Conclusion: From our first three years’ experience in conducting the course, we concluded that the four-week EBM course offered was practical in instilling EBM principles.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widely used especially in Asia including for childhood asthma. The use of CAM could influence adherence to evidence-based (E-B) medicine. We explored the views of carers of Malaysian children with asthma regarding the use of CAM for childhood asthma, and its relationship with self-reported adherence to E-B medicine. We used a screening questionnaire to identify children diagnosed with asthma from seven suburban primary schools in Malaysia. Informed consent was obtained prior to the interviews. We conducted the interviews using a semi-structured topic guide in participants' preferred language (Malay, Mandarin, or Tamil). All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and coded using Nvivo. Analysis was performed thematically, informed by the Necessity-Concerns Framework. A total of 46 carers (16 Malays, 21 Indians, 9 Chinese) contributed to 12 focus groups and one individual interview. We categorised participants' as 'Non-CAM'; 'CAM'; or 'combination' user. Cultural practices and beliefs in the efficacy of CAM resulted in widespread use of CAM. Most carers used CAM as 'complementary' to E-B medicine. Concerns about dependence on or side effects of E-B treatment influenced carers' decisions to rely on CAM as an 'alternative', with an important minority of accounts describing potentially harmful CAM-use. Healthcare professionals should discuss beliefs about the necessity for and concerns about use of both E-B medicine and CAM, and provide balanced information about effectiveness and safety. The aim is to improve adherence to regular E-B preventer medication and prevent delays in seeking medical advice and harmful practices associated with CAM.
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) aims to combine the best available scientific evidence with clinical experience and individual judgment of patient needs. In the hierarchy of scientific evidence, systematic reviews (along with meta-analyses) occupy the highest levels in terms of the quality of evidence. A systematic review is the process of searching, selecting, appraising, synthesising and reporting clinical evidence on a particular question or topic. It is currently considered the best, least biased and most rational way to organise, gather, evaluate and integrate scientific evidence from the rapidly-changing medical and healthcare literature. Systematic reviews could be used to present current concepts or serve as review articles and replace the traditional expert opinion or narrative review. This article explains the structure and content of a systematic review.
Cardiovascular disease is a major public health burden worldwide. Myocardial infarction is the most common form of cardiovascular disease resulting from low blood supply to the heart. It can lead to further complications such as cardiac arrhythmia, toxic metabolite accumulation, and permanently infarcted areas. Honey is one of the most prized medicinal remedies used since ancient times. There is evidence that indicates honey can function as a cardioprotective agent in cardiovascular diseases. The present review compiles and discusses the available evidence on the effect of honey on cardiovascular diseases. Three electronic databases, namely, PubMed, Scopus, and MEDLINE via EBSCOhost, were searched between January 1959 and March 2020 to identify reports on the cardioprotective effect of honey. Based on the pre-set eligibility criteria, 25 qualified articles were selected and discussed in this review. Honey investigated in the studies included varieties according to their geological origin. Honey protects the heart via lipid metabolism improvement, antioxidative activity, blood pressure modulation, heartbeat restoration, myocardial infarct area reduction, antiaging properties, and cell apoptosis attenuation. This review establishes honey as a potential candidate to be explored further as a natural and dietary alternative to the management of cardiovascular disease.
BACKGROUND: Independent evaluation of clinical evidence is advocated in evidence-based medicine (EBM). However, authors' conclusions are often appealing for readers who look for quick messages. We assessed how well a group of Malaysian hospital practitioners and medical students derived their own conclusions from systematic reviews (SRs) and to what extent these were influenced by their prior beliefs and the direction of the study results.
METHODS: We conducted two cross-sectional studies: one with hospital practitioners (n = 150) attending an EBM course in June 2008 in a tertiary hospital and one with final-year medical students (n = 35) in November 2008. We showed our participants four Cochrane SR abstracts without the authors' conclusions. For each article, the participants chose a conclusion from among six options comprising different combinations of the direction of effect and the strength of the evidence. We predetermined the single option that best reflected the actual authors' conclusions and labelled this as our best conclusion. We compared the participants' choices with our predetermined best conclusions. Two chosen reviews demonstrated that the intervention was beneficial ("positive"), and two others did not ("negative"). We also asked the participants their prior beliefs about the intervention.
RESULTS: Overall, 60.3% correctly identified the direction of effect, and 30.1% chose the best conclusions, having identified both the direction of effect and the strength of evidence. More students (48.2%) than practitioners (22.2%) chose the best conclusions (P < 0.001). Fewer than one-half (47%) correctly identified the direction of effect against their prior beliefs. "Positive" SRs were more likely than "negative" SRs to change the participants' beliefs about the effect of the intervention (relative risk (RR) 1.8, 95% confidence interval 1.3 to 2.6) and "convert" those who were previously unsure by making them choose the appropriate direction of effect (RR 1.9, 95% confidence interval 1.3 to 2.8).
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of our participants could not generate appropriate conclusions from SRs independently. Judicious direction from the authors' conclusions still appears crucial to guiding our health care practitioners in identifying appropriate messages from research. Authors, editors and reviewers should ensure that the conclusions of a paper accurately reflect the results. Similar studies should be conducted in other settings where awareness and application of EBM are different.
BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE: Evidence based medicine is the present backbone of rational and objective, modern medical problem solving and is a meeting ground for quantitative and qualitative researchers alike as it culminates into applying the fruits of clinical research to the individual patient. A systematic enquiry into the evolving paradigms in EBM is a need of the hour.
AIMS AND METHODS: A qualitative enquiry examining the impact of different methodologies in EBM and their role in generating meaning interpretable at individual levels.
RESULTS: Present day outcome based research deals less with patients as individuals than as populations. Evidence based medicine struggles to apply the fruits of population based research to individuals who are often not as predictable as linear quantitative research would like them to be. The present EBM literature neglects a lot of events it doesn't believe to be statistically significant and perhaps here is an area that needs to be improved on - it assumes that because associations are demonstrated between interventions and outcomes in RCTs/meta-analysis, these associations are linear and causal in the real world. While they may be demonstrated repeatedly in highly controlled environments, in the real 'uncontrolled' world of clinical practice with real people, their validity breaks down.
CONCLUSIONS: One needs to make the EBM standard model patient-individual (a projection of collective patient event data) resemble the real human individual patient so that optimal EBM individual data that matches our query can be easily and quickly spotted from the dense jungle of information that has grown over the years. This hints at rethinking our entire research methodology and modifying it to suit the needs of the individual patient.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects approximately 1% of the world's population. There are a wide number of guidelines and recommendations available to support the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis; however, the evidence used for these guidelines is predominantly based on studies in Caucasian subjects and may not be relevant for rheumatoid arthritis patients in the Asia-Pacific region. Therefore, the Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology established a Steering Committee in 2013 to address this issue.
There is growing interest globally in using real-world data (RWD) and real-world evidence (RWE) for health technology assessment (HTA). Optimal collection, analysis, and use of RWD/RWE to inform HTA requires a conceptual framework to standardize processes and ensure consistency. However, such framework is currently lacking in Asia, a region that is likely to benefit from RWD/RWE for at least two reasons. First, there is often limited Asian representation in clinical trials unless specifically conducted in Asian populations, and RWD may help to fill the evidence gap. Second, in a few Asian health systems, reimbursement decisions are not made at market entry; thus, allowing RWD/RWE to be collected to give more certainty about the effectiveness of technologies in the local setting and inform their appropriate use. Furthermore, an alignment of RWD/RWE policies across Asia would equip decision makers with context-relevant evidence, and improve timely patient access to new technologies. Using data collected from eleven health systems in Asia, this paper provides a review of the current landscape of RWD/RWE in Asia to inform HTA and explores a way forward to align policies within the region. This paper concludes with a proposal to establish an international collaboration among academics and HTA agencies in the region: the REAL World Data In ASia for HEalth Technology Assessment in Reimbursement (REALISE) working group, which seeks to develop a non-binding guidance document on the use of RWD/RWE to inform HTA for decision making in Asia.
During its third year of existence, Cochrane Rehabilitation goals included to point out the main methodological issues in rehabilitation research, and to increase the Knowledge Translation activities. This has been performed through its committees and specific projects. In 2019, Cochrane Rehabilitation worked on five different special projects at different stages of development: 1) a collaboration with the World Health Organization to extract the best evidence for Rehabilitation (Be4rehab); 2) the development of a reporting checklist for Randomised Controlled Trials in rehabilitation (RCTRACK); 3) the definition of what is the rehabilitation for research purposes; 4) the ebook project; and 5) a prioritization exercise for Cochrane Reviews production. The Review Committee finalized the screening and "tagging" of all rehabilitation reviews in the Cochrane library; the Publication Committee increased the number of international journals with which publish Cochrane Corners; the Education Committee continued performing educational activities such as workshops in different meetings; the Methodology Committee performed the second Cochrane Rehabilitation Methodological Meeting and published many papers; the Communication Committee spread the rehabilitation evidence through different channels and translated the contents in different languages. The collaboration with several National and International Rehabilitation Scientific Societies, Universities, Hospitals, Research Centers and other organizations keeps on growing.