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1.  The status of Vitamin D in medical students in the preclerkship years of a Saudi medical school 
The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency has recently been recognized in different parts of the world, even affecting healthy populations. The deficiency of vitamin D can lead to rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Few studies have been done to evaluate the status of vitamin D in the medical community. The objective of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of low levels of vitamin D in healthy Saudi medical students.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional study was carried out in November 2009 on male and female students in the preclerkship years of medical school at the King Faisal University, Dammam. Data on age, consumption of dairy products and seafood, and exposure to sunlight were collected. The body mass index was calculated. Approximately, 15 ml of blood was extracted for the measurement of serum calcium, serum albumin, serum phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase, fasting parathyroid hormone, and vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency was defined as serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D < 50 nmol/l. Comparison between groups was done for statistical significance using an unpaired t-test. Significance was set at P < 0.05 using 95% CI for all comparisons.
The data from 95 male and 103 female students were analyzed. The mean age for all students was 19.54 years. In 100% of the students, the vitamin D level was low. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in all students was 96.0% (92.64% in males and 99.03% in females), while the remaining 4% had vitamin D insufficiency. The mean 25-hydroxy vitamin D level was 26.83 ± 12.60 nmol/l in males and 16.03 ± 8.28 nmol/l in females (P-value = 0.0001). Males had a statistically significant higher body mass index as well as consumption of dairy products, while the consumption of seafood was significantly higher in females. There was no difference between the two groups in terms of exposure to the sun.
Vitamin D deficiency was highly prevalent among medical students included in this study. An urgent action has to be taken in order to prevent adverse consequences of low vitamin D in the young, otherwise healthy populations.
PMCID: PMC3410172  PMID: 22870413
Insufficiency; medical students; Saudi; vitamin D deficiency
2.  Simulation-based medical teaching and learning 
One of the most important steps in curriculum development is the introduction of simulation- based medical teaching and learning. Simulation is a generic term that refers to an artificial representation of a real world process to achieve educational goals through experiential learning. Simulation based medical education is defined as any educational activity that utilizes simulation aides to replicate clinical scenarios. Although medical simulation is relatively new, simulation has been used for a long time in other high risk professions such as aviation. Medical simulation allows the acquisition of clinical skills through deliberate practice rather than an apprentice style of learning. Simulation tools serve as an alternative to real patients. A trainee can make mistakes and learn from them without the fear of harming the patient. There are different types and classification of simulators and their cost vary according to the degree of their resemblance to the reality, or ‘fidelity’. Simulation- based learning is expensive. However, it is cost-effective if utilized properly. Medical simulation has been found to enhance clinical competence at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It has also been found to have many advantages that can improve patient safety and reduce health care costs through the improvement of the medical provider's competencies. The objective of this narrative review article is to highlight the importance of simulation as a new teaching method in undergraduate and postgraduate education.
PMCID: PMC3195067  PMID: 22022669
Clinical skills; medical education; medical simulation; simulators
The main objective of the medical curriculum is to provide medical students with knowledge, skills and attitudes required for their practice. A decade ago, the UK Medical Council issued a report called “Tomorrow's Doctors”1 which called for the reduction in the factual content of the medical course with the promotion of problem-based and self-dedicated learning. This report was the basis for a move toward an extensive reform of the medical and nursing curricula. The new reformed curricula enhanced the integrated medical teaching and emphasized the teaching and learning of clinical skills. However, there were still concerns about the standards and appropriateness of the skills of new medical graduates.2
The changes in the teaching and learning methods, the radical changes in the health care delivery and the rapid growth of technology challenged the traditional way of clinical skills development and led to the emergence of clinical skills laboratories (CSLs) in the medical education of many medical and nursing schools. With the proliferation of the CSLs, it is important to evaluate and introduce the reader to their applications, bearing in mind the paucity of information on this subject particularly over the last couple of years. This article is based on literature review.
PMCID: PMC3410147  PMID: 23012147
Clinical; Skills; Laboratories; Centers; Units
The purpose of the study was to measure serum leptin in normal weight and obese individuals, and assess its relation to anthropometric measures and metabolic indices.
The study was conducted at King Fahd Hospital of the University, Saudi Arabia, from January 2003 to June 2004. Subjects included in the study were all non-diabetic normotensive adults. Variables measured were body mass index (BMI), waist to hip ratio (WHR), blood pressure, serum leptin, insulin, glucose, and lipids.
Included were 43 non-obese subjects (20 men and 23 women) with the mean age of 25.8 + SD 5.3 y for men and 23.9 + SD 1.9 y for women and their mean BMI was 23.1 ± 1.4 for men and 23.0 ± 1.8 for women. Serum leptin was significantly higher in women 8.8 + SEM 2.10 than men 2.2 + SEM 0.26 ng /ml.Also included were 46 obese subjects (25 men and 21 women) with a mean age of 29.4 + SD 7.6 y for men and 28.8 + SD 6.2 y for women and a mean BMI of 35.5 ± 5.7 for men and 35.6 ± 4.4 for women. Serum leptin was significantly higher in women 23.0 + SEM 3.98, than men 12.5 + SEM 2.24 ng /ml. Serum leptin was significantly higher in obese men and women compared to non-obese subjects. Serum leptin significantly, and positively correlated with BMI (r 0.440), hip circumference (r 0.425), serum insulin (r 0.334), and HOMA IR (r 0.334).There was no correlation with mean age, mean systolic BP, mean diastolic BP, or WHR.
Serum leptin increased with obesity, and was higher in women than men, both lean and obese. Serum leptin correlated positively with BMI and hip circumference. Though, correlation between leptin and insulin resistance was found, they probably reflect two different metabolic compartments.
PMCID: PMC3410062  PMID: 23012127
Leptin; insulin; anthropometry; obesity; body fat distribution; body mass index

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