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1.  Prevalence of Oral Mucosal Lesions in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Attending Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia 
Diabetes mellitus is associated with a greater likelihood of developing certain oral mucosal disorders. This study was aimed at assessing the prevalence of oral mucosal lesions (OMLs) in patients with type 2 diabetes (DM2) and to investigate the association of such lesions with metabolic control of the disease.
This cross-sectional study involved 391 patients with DM2 and 391 non-diabetic control subjects. Demographic information and data on the duration and type of diabetes, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) values, medical history, and current use of medication were obtained from medical records. Detailed oral examination was performed in accordance with international criteria.
The prevalence of OMLs was significantly higher among diabetic patients (45.5%) than among control subjects (38.4%) (P = 0.042). Patients with diabetes had a higher prevalence of geographic tongue (GT) (P = 0.017), denture stomatitis (P = 0.018), and angular cheilitis (P = 0.006) than controls. Overall, diabetic patients with poor metabolic control had a significantly higher prevalence of OMLs and xerostomia than patients with moderately and well-controlled disease (P < 0.05).
The prevalence of OMLs was significantly higher in diabetic patients than in control subjects. Higher occurrence of OMLs was significantly associated with poor metabolic control.
PMCID: PMC3773351  PMID: 24043995
diabetes mellitus type 2; prevalence; mouth mucosa; oral pathology
2.  Tooth Wear Prevalence and Sample Size Determination : A Pilot Study 
Tooth wear is the non-carious loss of tooth tissue, which results from three processes namely attrition, erosion and abrasion. These can occur in isolation or simultaneously. Very mild tooth wear is a physiological effect of aging. This study aims to estimate the prevalence of tooth wear among 16-year old Malay school children and determine a feasible sample size for further study. Fifty-five subjects were examined clinically, followed by the completion of self-administered questionnaires. Questionnaires consisted of socio-demographic and associated variables for tooth wear obtained from the literature. The Smith and Knight tooth wear index was used to chart tooth wear. Other oral findings were recorded using the WHO criteria. A software programme was used to determine pathological tooth wear. About equal ratio of male to female were involved. It was found that 18.2% of subjects have no tooth wear, 63.6% had very mild tooth wear, 10.9% mild tooth wear, 5.5% moderate tooth wear and 1.8 % severe tooth wear. In conclusion 18.2% of subjects were deemed to have pathological tooth wear (mild, moderate & severe). Exploration with all associated variables gave a sample size ranging from 560 – 1715. The final sample size for further study greatly depends on available time and resources.
PMCID: PMC3341919  PMID: 22589636
pilot study; tooth wear; prevalence and sample size determination
3.  OS-1: Prevalence of Oral Lesions and Dentition Status among Non Smoking Diabetes Patients Attending HUSM Diabetic Clinic 
To determine the prevalence of oral mucosal lesions and dentition status among non smoking diabetes patients attending the Diabetic Clinic at Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM).
Patients and Method:
This cross sectional case-control study involved 300 diabetic case and 300 non-diabetic control subjects. Data was collected from November 2007 till March 2008. Demographic information, duration and type of diabetes, glycosylated hemoglobin values (HbAc), medical complications, history and current use of medication was obtained from medical records. Detail oral examination of the oral cavity was done based on international criteria and WHO codes. The number of remaining teeth and presence of dentures were also noted.
There were more females in cases (67.7%) and controls (57.7%). Mean age in both groups was comparable. A higher percentage of subjects were in the 40–59 years age group. Most had type II diabetes (94.3%). About 42.3% had diabetes within the last five years followed by 35.5% who had diabetes between 5–10 years duration and 22.3% had diabetes for more than ten years. Most diabetic subjects were on oral treatment (64.3%) and had poor metabolic control (41.7%). About 10.7% had some form of diabetes complications. The most prevalent oral lesions among diabetics were fissured tongue (29%), denture stomatitis (13.7%), geographic tongue (3.3%) and frictional keratosis (3.0%). About one third of subjects in both groups use dentures. Diabetics have significantly higher prevalence of geographic tongue (p=0.050) and denture stomatitis (p= 0.026). They have a lower mean number of remaining teeth compared to non-diabetics (p<0.001).
Discussion and Conclusion:
Having less mean number of remaining teeth and a higher prevalence of oral lesions among diabetics is a worrying outcome. Thus diabetic patients need intensive dental care and attention to minimize the disease burden.
PMCID: PMC3481260
4.  A Cross-Sectional Study of Soft Tissue Facial Morphometry in Children and Adolescents 
The aim of this study was to determine mean values for selected linear measurements on the face of children and adolescents to demonstrate gender differences in the measurements. Cross-sectional data from 262 school children (158 male, 104 female) aged between 6 and 15 years were taken by measuring certain identified facial landmarks using a sliding caliper. The landmarks were first located by careful inspection and/or palpation of the face and a mark created on the cutaneous surface, with the subject sitting in habitual occlusion in an upright position. A sliding caliper was used to measure the distances between the points. The data was analysed using SPSS version 10.0 to determine mean values, standard deviation and gender differences in the measurements. Upper facial heights, total facial height, inter-canthal distance and eye length measurements were significantly higher in male than in female for 15-year-old group (p<0.0001). The measurement between the highest and the lowest point of attachment of external ear to the head was significantly larger in male than in female for 11 year old age group.
PMCID: PMC3347899  PMID: 22589587
facial growth; soft tissue facial morphometry
5.  PS-01: Associated Factors of Tooth Wear among 16-Year-Old Secondary School Children in Kota Bharu Kelantan 
Tooth wear is a common finding in oral examinations. Pathological tooth wear (PTW) is the amount of wear that exceeds the normal phenomena of ageing or the normal threshold value of wear. The objective of this study was to determine the associated factors of PTW among 16-year-old secondary school children.
This case-control study involved 576 participants randomly selected from eight government secondary schools. The Smith and Knight Tooth Wear Index and WHO criteria were used for charting of tooth wear and dental caries respectively. Data were analyzed using a simplified Microsoft Excel program developed based on the index, to quantify PTW. Controls were subjects with no PTW indicated by zero scores on all tooth surfaces. Cases were subjects with PTW having at least one surface scoring 1 for tooth wear. Consequently, responses were obtained from self-administered questionnaire containing socio-demographic profile of the family, general questions, oral hygiene and food and drinks practices and other associated variables for tooth wear, which was previously developed based on expert opinions.
About 40% and 57% were males were in controls and cases respectively. On performing multivariable analysis, sex, monthly household income, carbonated drinks, duration of intake of orange juices, caries experience and swimming were significantly associated with PTW.
In conclusion the factors associated with PTW were no different from those encountered in Western societies. Realizing that some significant variables were modifiable, oral health promotion should emphasize on this information. The erosive potential of some foods and drinks require further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3481253
6.  Human Adipose Tissue Derived Stem Cells as a Source of Smooth Muscle Cells in the Regeneration of Muscular Layer of Urinary Bladder Wall 
Adipose tissue provides an abundant source of multipotent cells, which represent a source of cell-based regeneration strategies for urinary bladder smooth muscle repair. Our objective was to confirm that adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) can be differentiated into smooth muscle cells.
In this study, adipose tissue samples were digested with 0.075% collagenase, and the resulting ADSCs were cultured and expanded in vitro. ADSCs at passage two were differentiated by incubation in smooth muscle inductive media (SMIM) consisting of MCDB I31 medium, 1% FBS, and 100 U/mL heparin for three and six weeks. ADSCs in non-inductive media were used as controls. Characterisation was performed by cell morphology and gene and protein expression.
The differentiated cells became elongated and spindle shaped, and towards the end of six weeks, sporadic cell aggregation appeared that is typical of smooth muscle cell culture. Smooth muscle markers (i.e. alpha smooth muscle actin (ASMA), calponin, and myosin heavy chain (MHC)) were used to study gene expression. Expression of these genes was detected by PCR after three and six weeks of differentiation. At the protein expression level, ASMA, MHC, and smoothelin were expressed after six weeks of differentiation. However, only ASMA and smoothelin were expressed after three weeks of differentiation.
Adipose tissue provides a possible source of smooth muscle precursor cells that possess the potential capability of smooth muscle differentiation. This represents a promising alternative for urinary bladder smooth muscle repair.
PMCID: PMC3773357  PMID: 24044001
adipose; stem cells; muscle cells; regeneration; bladder wall
7.  Knowledge, Practices and Attitudes Towards Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting by Private Practitioners from Klang Valley in Malaysia 
The study aimed to determine current status of knowledge, practices, and attitudes towards adverse drug reaction (ADR) reporting among private practitioners in Klang region of Malaysia.
A total of 238 private practitioners in Klang valley were distributed a questionnaire consisting of seven questions, two knowledge-related, two practice-related and three attitude-related. Each favourable and unfavourable response was given a score of 1 and 0 respectively. Total score of 70% or more for each domain was considered “satisfactory” whereas less than 70% as “unsatisfactory”.
One hundred forty-five participants completed questionnaire. Knowledge assessment showed 83.4% responses stating that ADR reporting helps to identify safe drugs and 91.7% responded that it measures ADR incidence. Regarding practices, 76.6% respondents were willing to report only if confident that reaction is an ADR. Regarding attitudes, 81.9%, 66.9% and 23.5% participants showed complacency, ignorance, and indifference respectively. Unsatisfactory knowledge, practices, and attitudes were observed in 57.2%, 56.6%, and 73.1% respondents respectively. Satisfactory knowledge was significantly higher in respondent with higher qualification with odds ratio of 2.96 with 95% confidence interval of 1.48–5.93.
The study showed unsatisfactory level of knowledge, practices, and attitudes towards ADR reporting among high proportion of private practitioners in Klang valley, Malaysia.
PMCID: PMC3744000  PMID: 23983578
adverse drug reaction reporting systems; attitudes; knowledge; pharmacovigilance; practice
8.  The impact of chimerism in DNA-based forensic sex determination analysis 
Sex determination is the most important step in personal identification in forensic investigations. DNA-based sex determination analysis is comparatively more reliable than the other conventional methods of sex determination analysis. Advanced technology like real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) offers accurate and reproducible results and is at the level of legal acceptance. But still there are situations like chimerism where an individual possess both male and female specific factors together in their body. Sex determination analysis in such cases can give erroneous results. This paper discusses the phenomenon of chimerism and its impact on sex determination analysis in forensic investigations.
PMCID: PMC3684380  PMID: 23785258
DNA; chimerism; forensic sciences; polymerase chain reaction; sex determination analysis
9.  A Study of Psychological Distress in Two Cohorts of First-Year Medical Students that Underwent Different Admission Selection Processes 
Medical training is often regarded as a stressful period. Studies have previously found that 21.6%–50% of medical students experience significant psychological distress. The present study compared the prevalence and levels of psychological distress between 2 cohorts of first-year medical students that underwent different admission selection processes.
A comparative cross-sectional study was conducted by comparing 2 cohorts of first-year medical students; 1 group (cohort 1) was selected based purely on academic merit (2008/2009 cohort) and the other group (cohort 2) was selected based on academic merit, psychometric assessment, and interview performance (2009/2010 cohort). Their distress levels were measured by the General Health Questionnaire, and scores higher than 3 were considered indicative of significant psychological distress.
The prevalence (P = 0.003) and levels (P = 0.001) of psychological distress were significantly different between the 2 cohorts. Cohort 1 had 1.2–3.3 times higher risk of developing psychological distress compared to cohort 2 (P = 0.007).
Cohort 2 had better psychological health than cohort 1 and was less likely to develop psychological distress. This study provided evidence of a potential benefit of multimodal student selection based on academic merit, psychometric assessment, and interview performance. This selection process might identify medical students who will maintain better psychological health.
PMCID: PMC3629662  PMID: 23610547
medical; psychology; school admission criteria; student
10.  Fetal Intra-Abdominal Umbilical Vein Varix in Monochorionic Twins: Is it Significant? 
A 30-years-old Taiwanese female in her second pregnancy spontaneously conceived a monochorionic twin pregnancy. A routine ultrasound at 27 weeks of gestation revealed a selective intrauterine growth restriction (sIUGR) fetus and an appropriate gestational age (AGA) fetus. The AGA fetus was found to have a fetal intra-abdominal umbilical vein (FIUV) varix. Serial ultrasounds showed no changes in the FIUV varix. 2 weeks later, the pregnancy progressed to twin–twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). Repeated amnioreductions were required at 29 and 30 weeks gestation. The babies were delivered by caesarean section at 31 weeks due to fetal distress in the sIUGR fetus. Both fetuses survived the neonatal period with problems of prematurity. The FIUV varix disappeared a few days after delivery.
PMCID: PMC3684235  PMID: 23785250
intra-abdominal; multiple pregnancies; ultrasound; umbilical vein; varix
11.  Relationship between Food Habits and Tooth Erosion Occurrence in Malaysian University Students 
Tooth erosion is a growing dental problem; however, the role of diet in the aetiology of tooth erosion is unclear. A cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the association between tooth erosion occurrence and the consumption of acidic foods and drinks among undergraduate university students.
A total of 150 undergraduate students (33 males and 117 females) aged 19 to 24 years at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia participated in this study. The Basic Erosive Wear Examination was used to assess the occurrence of tooth erosion. Information regarding dental hygiene practices, usual dietary habits, and consumption of acidic foods and drinks was obtained through a structured questionnaire.
In all, 68% of subjects had tooth erosion. Subjects who reported having received information about healthy eating were less likely to have tooth erosion (χ2 [1, N = 150] = 7.328, P = 0.007). The frequencies of milk (OR = 0.29, 95% CI = 0.13–0.67) and tea/coffee (adjusted OR = 0.42, 95% CI = 0.19–0.95) consumption were negatively associated with tooth erosion. Dental hygiene practice, the frequency and amount of acidic food and drink intake, and body mass index classification were not significantly associated with the risk of tooth erosion (P > 0.05).
A high prevalence of tooth erosion was observed among this group of students. Preventive measures, such as dietary advice and increased consumption of milk at a younger age, may reduce the occurrence of tooth erosion among this age group.
PMCID: PMC3431744  PMID: 22973138
beverages; cross-sectional study; food habits; public health; tooth erosion; young adult
12.  Pheochromocytoma and Pregnancy: A Difficult and Dangerous Ordeal 
Pheochromocytoma during pregnancy is potentially disastrous to the mother and fetus. Its ambiguous presentation is often mistaken for pre-eclampsia, although it may imitate other problems during pregnancy. Early diagnosis and timely, appropriate management reduces possible maternal and fetal complications. We identified a case of pheochromocytoma during pregnancy; the condition was initially diagnosed as pre-eclampsia complicated with gestational diabetes. Surgical intervention via left adrenalectomy was successfully performed in the second trimester. After surgery, all of the patient’s medical problems nearly subsided and she did not require further treatment. However, her fetus displayed restricted intrauterine growth, and the patient eventually had premature delivery via a caesarean section. A multidisciplinary team to identify and treat pheochromocytoma is mandatory to ensure optimal conditions for tumour removal and to anticipate any possible catastrophic events.
PMCID: PMC3436494  PMID: 22977377
gestational diabetes; gynaecologic oncology; hypertension; pheochromocytoma; pregnancy; proteinuria
13.  A Preliminary Study on the Reliability of the Malay Version of PedsQL™ Family Impact Module among Caregivers of Children with Disabilities in Kelantan, Malaysia 
No previous study has assessed the impact of childhood disability on parents and family in the context of Malaysia, and no instrument to measure this impact has previously been available. The objective of this cross-sectional study was to determine the reliability of a Malay version of the PedsQL™ Family Impact Module that measures the impact of children with disabilities (CWD) on their parents and family in a Malaysian context.
The study was conducted in 2009. The questionnaire was translated forward and backward before it was administered to 44 caregivers of CWD to determine the internal consistency reliability. The test for Cronbach’s alpha was performed.
The internal consistency reliability was good. The Cronbach’s alpha for all domains was above 0.7, ranging from 0.73 to 0.895.
The Malay version of the PedsQL™ Family Impact Module showed evidence of good internal consistency reliability. However, future studies with a larger sample size are necessary before the module can be recommended as a tool to measure the impact of disability on Malay-speaking Malaysian families.
PMCID: PMC3328932  PMID: 22589674
caregivers; disabled children; public health; psychometrics; quality of life; questionnaires; reliability and validity
14.  A Nested Allele-Specific Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction Method for the Detection of DRD2 Polymorphisms 
The dopamine D2 receptor gene (DRD2) plays a role in many diseases such as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, and addictive behaviour. Methods currently available for the detection of DRD2 polymorphisms are costly and cannot detect all 8 polymorphisms of our research interest simultaneously (Val96Ala, Leu141Leu, Val154Ile, Pro310Ser, Ser311Cys, TaqI A, A-241G, and −141C Ins/Del). Therefore, we developed a nested multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for simultaneous detection of these polymorphisms.
Genomic DNA was extracted from blood using standardised methods. Primers specific at the 3′-end for the polymorphic sites were designed. A two-step PCR method was developed. In the first PCR, a region from exon 3 to 4, exon 7, the promoter region, and the 3′-region of DRD2 were specifically amplified. The products were subsequently used as templates in the second PCR. Sequencing was performed to validate the test results.
Specific bands corresponding to the amplified product of interest were obtained. The method was reproducible and specific when used to genotype patients with schizophrenia. The amplified sequences showed 100% homology to the DRD2 sequence.
The method was found to be simple, rapid, specific, and reproducible for the simultaneous detection of the DRD2 polymorphisms.
PMCID: PMC3328935  PMID: 22589672
dopamine D2 receptor; genetics; genetic polymorphism; methods; nested PCR; reproducibility of results; specificity
15.  Influence of CYP2D6 polymorphisms on symptomatology and side-effects of patients with schizophrenia in Malaysia 
Our objective was to investigate the association of CYP2D6 polymorphisms with symptoms and side-effects of patients with schizophrenia.
The subjects were 156 patients with schizophrenia undergoing antipsychotic treatment at a psychiatric clinic. Patients with co-morbid diagnoses of substance abuse or mental retardation were excluded from the study. Psychopathology was evaluated using the Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale (PANSS). Extrapyramidal side-effects and akathisia were assessed with the Simpson Angus Scale (SAS) and the Barnes Akathisia Rating Scale (BARS), respectively. DNA was extracted from blood and subjected to PCR-genotyping.
We found that CYP2D6 polymorphisms were significantly associated with a subtotal negative PANSS score. In addition, CYP2D6 is not related to side-effects of antipsychotic therapy, or SAS and BARS scores. The results suggest that CYP2D6 polymorphisms may have implications in treatment response.
Therefore, CYP2D6 may be a predictor for treatment outcomes of patients with schizophrenia. However, further investigation is required to confirm these findings in a larger sample.
PMCID: PMC3329140  PMID: 22589660
Cytochrome P450 CYP2D6; schizophrenia; treatment outcomes; neurosciences
16.  Anterior Stabilisation of Sacroilliac Joint for Complex Pelvic Injuries 
Sacroilliac joint diasthesis from high energy trauma is always complicated with chronic pain and long term morbidity. Open anterior stabilisation with plate allow direct reduction and stabilisation with biomechanically advantages. Here we report on four cases of pelvic injury with sacroiliac joint disruption treated with anterior plate stabilisation through a surgical approach similar to that used for anterior ring fractures.
PMCID: PMC3329142  PMID: 22589666
Pelvic fracture; internal fixation; anterior; sacroiliac joint; medical sciences
17.  Evaluation of a Training Programme for Non-Health Professionals as Oral Health Educators 
Involvement of oral health educators among non-health professionals in oral health promotion is important in the prevention of oral diseases. This study was carried out to compare the level of oral health knowledge among pre-school teachers before and after oral health seminar. Pre-test data was collected by distributing questionnaire to pre-school teachers in Pasir Mas, who attended the seminar on “Oral Health” (n=33) and they were required to fill anonymously before the seminar started. The questions consisted of information on general background, perceived oral health status, oral health knowledge and the environment where they work. After two weeks, post-test data was collected using the same structured questionnaire and identification code was used to match the pre and post data. SPSS 11.5 was use for statistical analysis. Two out of 33 eligible preschool teachers were considered non-respondents due to absenteeism during the post-test data collection. The response rate was 94.0% (n = 31). The study shows a significant improvement in oral health knowledge among pre-school teachers in Pasir Mas, after seminar (p < 0.001) as compared to controls. Thus, we can conclude that the oral health programme (seminar) appeared effective at influencing oral health educator’s knowledge towards oral health.
PMCID: PMC3341887  PMID: 22589623
Pre school teachers; oral health educators; oral health promotion
18.  Profound Swim Stress-Induced Analgesia with Ketamine 
The potential of ketamine, an N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, in preventing central sensitization has led to numerous studies. Ketamine is increasingly used in the clinical setting to provide analgesia and prevent the development of central sensitization at subanaesthetic doses. However, few studies have looked into the potential of ketamine in combination with stress-induced analgesia. This study looks at the effects of swim stress, which is mediated by opioid receptor, on ketamine analgesia using formalin test. Morphine is used as the standard analgesic for comparison. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were assigned to 6 groups: 3 groups (stressed groups) were given saline 1ml/kg intraperitoneally (ip), morphine 10mg/kg ip or ketamine 5mg/kg ip and subjected to swim stress; 3 more groups (non-stressed groups) were given the same drugs without swim stress. Formalin test, which involved formalin injection as the pain stimulus and the pain score recorded over time, was performed on all rats ten minutes after cessation of swimming or 30 minutes after injection of drugs. Combination of swim stress and ketamine resulted in complete analgesia in the formalin test which was significantly different from ketamine alone (p<0.05) and saline with stress (p<0.01). There is no significant difference between ketamine stressed and morphine stressed. These results indicate that ketamine and swim stress act synergistically to produce profound analgesia in the formalin test. This suggests that in the clinical setting, under stressful situations such as operative stress, ketamine is capable of producing profound analgesia at a subanaesthetic dose.
PMCID: PMC3341893  PMID: 22589610
ketamine; morphine; formalin test; swim stress
19.  Dental Infection Presenting with Ipsilateral Parapharyngeal Abscess and Contralateral Orbital Cellulitis – A Case Report 
A 43 year-old man presented with pain on the right tooth for three days duration. Computed tomography showed left orbital cellulitis and right parapharyngeal abscess. There was also evidence suggestive of a dental abscess over right upper alveolar region. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed left superior ophthalmic vein thrombosis. Emergency drainage of the right parapharyngeal abscess was performed. Right maxillary molar extraction revealed periapical abscess. Left eye proptosis markedly reduced after initiating heparin.
PMCID: PMC3442629  PMID: 22993494
Maxillary molar abscess; cavernous sinus thrombosis; superior ophthalmic vein thrombosis
20.  Insulin Sensitivity and Secretory Status of a Healthy Malay Population 
Insulin insensitivity is a common finding in several metabolic disorders including glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia, hyperuricemia and hypertension. Most of the previous studies on insulin sensitivity were performed on diabetic or obese population. So our knowledge about insulin sensitivity of healthy population remains limited. Rising prevalence of obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome is a serious issue in Malaysia and some other rapidly developing countries. So it is important to look at the insulin sensitivity status of healthy Malaysian subjects and to compare it in future with those of diabetic, obese or metabolic syndrome patients. In this study we sampled subjects who were independent of confounding factors such as obesity (including abdominal obesity), hypertension and glucose intolerance (diabetes, IGT or IFG) which may influence insulin sensitivity. Fasting plasma glucose, fasting insulin and lipid profile were determined. Insulin sensitivity and secretory status were calculated using the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) software (HOMA%S, HOMA%B and HOMA-IR). The insulin sensitivity (HOMA%S) of healthy Malay subjects aged between 30–60 years was 155.17%, HOMA-IR was 1.05 and HOMA%B was 116.65% (values adjusted for age, sex, BMI and waist circumference). It was seen that non-obese Malaysians can prevent age related lowering of insulin sensitivity if they can retain their BMI within limit.
PMCID: PMC3349483  PMID: 22589603
insulin sensitivity; homeostasis model assessment
22.  Problem-Based Learning as Perceived by Dental Students in Universiti Sains Malaysia 
The implementation of problem-based learning started in 1969 and has spread since then throughout different parts of the world with variations in its implementation. In spite of its growth and advantages, there is continuing debate about its effectiveness over the conventional teaching learning methods. In the School of Dental Sciences (SDS), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), the Doctor of Dental Sciences (DDS) program follows a 5-year integrated curriculum. Basically the curriculum is problem-based and community oriented. This study was to explore the perception of DDS students about PBL sessions. This questionnaires-based cross sectional descriptive study were carried out on all the 110 students of the SDS who completed their second year of the course and participated in PBL sessions. Ninety five (86%) students responded to the questionnaires. Dental students found PBL session interesting and wanted to maintain PBL from the beginning of year 2 up to the end of year 3. Most students reported their participation in discussion during PBL sessions but the level of participation varied. Some of them worked hard to prepare themselves for discussion while others were relatively passive. PBL helped them with in-depth understanding of certain topics and link their basic science knowledge to clinical classes. They felt that guidance from subject specialists and well-prepared facilitators of the sessions were beneficial. The students believed that repetition of triggers from year to year discouraged their active search for learning issues. Majority of the students were undecided or disagreed about the availability of adequate learning resources Most of the students were undecided or disagreed about the availability of adequate learning resources for their self-study. Reviewing and renewing the PBL triggers, providing guidelines for searching for resource materials and briefing the students and facilitators about the philosophy and principles of PBL may make the PBL sessions more beneficial.
PMCID: PMC3347905  PMID: 22589593
Dental students; perception; problem-based learning session
23.  Usage of Traditional Medicines Among Elderly and the Prevalence of Prednisolone Contamination 
The elderly consume many medications including traditional medicines. In 1986, it was found that 29% of elderly took traditional medicines although in 1996, the National Health Morbidity survey reported a 2.3% prevalence. However, studies from other countries showed much higher percentages. The Ministry of Health in Malaysia is concerned that some of these preparations maybe contaminated with steroids, antihistamines, hormones and other poisons. The aims of the study were to determine a). the health seeking behaviour of elderly Malays living in rural areas, b). the utilization of both modern and traditional medicines and c). the steroid content of the traditional medicines used. Methodology included interviews using structured questionnaires of elderly Malays living in rural areas of Kelantan, aged above 60 years. Samples of traditional medications collected were sent to the Pharmacology Department, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, for steroid content analysis using Thin Layer Chromatography. A total of 599 elderly respondents were interviewed comprising 62.4% females and 37.6% males. The 60–69 years cohort group made up 48.7%, followed by 70–79 years at 36.1% and the remainder 15.2% were more than 80 years. There were 82% of elderly taking medicines. The trends of utilization of modern and traditional medicine in the last two weeks among elderly were 59.3% and 40.9% respectively. The utilization of traditional medicine by rural elderly Malays was therefore much higher than that reported in the previous study and nearly similar to that of France and Australian studies. There were 102 samples of traditional medications collected and analysed for steroid content. Results showed that 27.5% were positive for prednisolone, 34.3% positive for unknown steroids (a total of 61.8%) and 38.2% were negative for both steroids. The present study therefore once again confirmed the high usage of traditional medicines where some of which are contaminated with steroids.
PMCID: PMC3349401  PMID: 22605958
Rural elderly; traditional medicines; steroids; prednisolone
24.  Gallium Scan in Diagnosing Ocular Sarcoidosis 
A 40-year-old man presented with floaters and painless progressive blurring of vision in the right eye for one month duration. Visual acuity in the right eye was 6/24. There was mild anterior chamber reaction and vitritis. The optic disc was swollen and elevated with presence of granulomatous lesion in the optic disc head. Blood investigations were unremarkable. Serum angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) was normal and conjunctival biopsy showed presence of inflammatory cells. B-Scan ultrasound revealed an echo-dense lesion in the optic nerve head. There was increased uptake of the right lacrimal gland and presence of ‘Panda sign’ with Gallium scan. A diagnosis of right ocular sarcoidosis was made base on the clinical features and Gallium scan.
PMCID: PMC3349415  PMID: 22605949
Ocular sarcoidosis; Gallium scan

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