Publications by authors named "Cheong Sm"

28 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Prevalence and correlates of physical inactivity among older adults in Malaysia: Findings from the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2015.

Arch Gerontol Geriatr 2019 Mar - Apr;81:74-83. Epub 2018 Nov 26.

Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence Based Practice, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Electronic address:

Malaysia has an increasingly aging population. Despite the substantial benefits of physical activity for healthy aging, older adults are considered the most physically inactive segment of the Malaysian population. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of physical inactivity among older adults in Malaysia and its correlates. We analysed data on adults aged ≥60 years (n = 3790) from the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2015, a cross-sectional, nationwide population-based survey covering information on socio-demographic characteristics, physical activity and other lifestyle-related variables, health conditions, and functional limitations. Individuals included in this study were classified as physically active or physically inactive. Logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with physical inactivity. The overall prevalence of physical inactivity among older adults aged ≥60 years old was 48.8%. Physical inactivity was significantly more prevalent among females, older age groups, Indians, those being single/widowed/divorced, those with no formal education, those who reported high sedentary time (≥7 h/day), those with diabetes, anaemia, and functional limitations (p < 0.001). In fully adjusted analyses, females, older age, high household income (≥MYR4000), inadequate fruits and vegetables consumption (<5 servings/day), high sedentary time, having diabetes, and having mobility impairment were all associated with physical inactivity. Approximately half of the Malaysian older population are physically inactive. Identifying the correlates of physical inactivity among Malaysian older adults will help to develop public health policies and interventions that encourage active living among older people and promote healthy aging in Malaysia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.archger.2018.11.012DOI Listing
January 2020

An update on obesity research pattern among adults in Malaysia: a scoping review.

BMC Womens Health 2018 07 19;18(Suppl 1):114. Epub 2018 Jul 19.

Institute for Public Health, National Institutes for Health, Ministry of Health Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Background: Obesity is a global health burden in the non-communicable diseases and much efforts have been implemented in the past decade in response to the rise of obesity prevalence among the Malaysian population. These include the development of the national policies, health programmes and research activities. The main aim of the scoping review was to identify obesity research pattern among adults in Malaysia in terms of the scopes, topics and the research designs.

Methods: The scoping review was conducted based on the framework by Arksey and O'Malley. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta Analysis (PRISMA) diagram was used as a guide to record the review process. Articles from year 2008 until 2017 on overweight and obesity among adults aged 18 years and above were retrieved based on the keywords using electronic databases (Embase/Ovid, Pubmed, Cochrane library and Google Scholar). Local journals, Nutrition Research in Malaysia Biblography (2011 and 2016), online local theses databases, virtual library databases were also included in the searches. Consultations with relevant key informants from the National Institutes of Health and local universities were also conducted. Search activities were managed using Endnote software and MS Excelsheet.

Results: The characteristics of the results were described based on the objectives of the review. A total of 2004 articles and reports were retrieved, and 188 articles related to obesity in Malaysia were included in the final review. Scopes and topics of obesity research based on the Nutrition Research Priorities in Malaysia (NRPM) for 11th Malaysia Plan were obesity prevalence, weight loss intervention, association of physical activities and dietary factors with obesity. The majority of obesity research among adults in Malaysia was cross sectional studies and only a small number of intervention studies, qualitative studies and systematic review were indentified. Research gaps were identified in order to make useful recommendations to the stakeholders.

Conclusions: In the past decade, there has been an emerging evidence on obesity research among adults in Malaysia. More obesity research needs to be conducted particularly on obesity intervention among specific gender, qualitative studies, economic cost and genetic factors of obesity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12905-018-0590-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6069511PMC
July 2018

Improvement of health literacy and intervention measurements among low socio-economic status women: findings from the MyBFF@home study.

BMC Womens Health 2018 07 19;18(Suppl 1):99. Epub 2018 Jul 19.

Institute for Public Health, National Institutes of Health, Ministry of Health Malaysia, Centre for Nutrition Epidemiology Research, Jalan Bangsar, 50590, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Background: Health literacy (HL) consists of different components and associates with several health outcomes, including obesity. It is linked to an individual's knowledge, motivation, competencies, behavior, and application to everyday life. The present study aimed to determine the change of HL scores and to investigate the difference of intervention outcomes at the weight loss (WL) intervention and WL maintenance phase between the HL groups.

Methods: A total of 322 participants from the MyBFF@home study completed the Newest Vital Sign (NVS) test at baseline. However, only data from 209 participants who completed the NVS test from baseline to WL intervention were used to determine the HL groups. Change of the NVS scores from baseline to WL intervention phase was categorized into two groups: those with HL improvement (increased 0.1 score and above) and those without HL improvement (no change or decreased 0.1 score and more). Independent variables in this study were change of energy intake, nutrient intake, physical activity, anthropometry measurements, and body composition measurements between baseline and WL intervention as well as between WL intervention and WL maintenance. An Independent sample t-test was used in the statistical analysis.

Results: In general, both intervention and control participants have low HL. The study revealed that the intervention group increased the NVS mean score from baseline (1.19 scores) to the end of the WL maintenance phase (1.51 scores) compared to the control group. There was no significant difference in sociodemographic characteristics between the group with HL improvement and the group without HL improvement at baseline. Most of the dietary intake measurements at WL intervention were significantly different between the two HL groups among intervention participants. Physical activity and body composition did not differ significantly between the two HL groups among both intervention and control groups.

Conclusion: There was an improvement of HL during the WL intervention and WL maintenance phase in intervention participants compared to control participants. HL shows positive impacts on dietary intake behavior among intervention participants. New research is suggested to explore the relationship between HL and weight loss behaviors in future obesity intervention studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12905-018-0596-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6069691PMC
July 2018

Head formation requires Dishevelled degradation that is mediated by March2 in concert with Dapper1.

Development 2018 04 10;145(7). Epub 2018 Apr 10.

Department of Life Sciences, Pohang University of Science and Technology, 77 Cheongam-Ro, Nam-Gu, Pohang, Gyeongbuk, 37673, Korea

Dishevelled (Dvl/Dsh) is a key scaffold protein that propagates Wnt signaling essential for embryogenesis and homeostasis. However, whether the antagonism of Wnt signaling that is necessary for vertebrate head formation can be achieved through regulation of Dsh protein stability is unclear. Here, we show that membrane-associated RING-CH2 (March2), a RING-type E3 ubiquitin ligase, antagonizes Wnt signaling by regulating the turnover of Dsh protein via ubiquitin-mediated lysosomal degradation in the prospective head region of We further found that March2 acquires regional and functional specificities for head formation from the Dsh-interacting protein Dapper1 (Dpr1). Dpr1 stabilizes the interaction between March2 and Dsh in order to mediate ubiquitylation and the subsequent degradation of Dsh protein only in the dorso-animal region of embryo. These results suggest that March2 restricts cytosolic pools of Dsh protein and reduces the need for Wnt signaling in precise vertebrate head development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dev.143107DOI Listing
April 2018

Physical activity and overweight/obesity among Malaysian adults: findings from the 2015 National Health and morbidity survey (NHMS).

BMC Public Health 2017 09 21;17(1):733. Epub 2017 Sep 21.

Institute for Public Health, Ministry of Health Malaysia, Jalan Bangsar, 50590, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Background: Overweight and obesity are growing health problems both worldwide and in Malaysia due to such lifestyle changes as decreased physical activity (PA), increased sedentary behavior and unhealthy eating habits. This study examined the levels and patterns of PA among normal-weight and overweight/obese adults and to investigate the association between PA level and overweight/obesity in Malaysian adults.

Methods: This study used data from the 2015 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS), a nationwide cross-sectional survey that implemented a two-stage stratified random sampling design. Respondents aged 18 years and above (n = 17,261) were included in the analysis. The short version of International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) was administered to assess the respondents' PA levels. The respondents' height and weight were objectively measured and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. The respondents were categorized according to BMI as either normal-weight (18.5-24.9 kg/m) or overweight/obese (≥ 25 kg/m). Descriptive and complex sample logistic regression analyses were employed as appropriate.

Results: Overall, approximately 1 in 2 respondents (51.2%) were overweight/obese, even though the majority (69.0%) reporting at least a moderate level of PA (total PA ≥ 10 MET-hours/week). In both normal-weight and overweight/obese groups, a significantly higher prevalence of high PA (total PA ≥ 50 MET-hours/week) was observed among men than women (p < 0.001), but women reported a significantly higher prevalence of low and moderate PA than men (p < 0.001). Men reported significantly higher activity levels (in MET-hours/week) than women with regard to walking, vigorous-intensity PA and total PA (p < 0.001). Overweight/obese men reported a significantly lower level of vigorous-intensity PA and total PA than normal-weight men (p < 0.001). A low level of PA was associated with the risk of overweight/obesity (Adjusted OR = 1.14; 95% CI: 1.01-1.30) compared to a high level of PA among men but not among women.

Conclusions: The levels of PA were inversely related to the risk of overweight/obesity in men but not in women. Programs designed to reduce overweight/obesity rates should encourage the practice of moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA. Future research should consider using longitudinal and prospective approaches that simultaneously measure dietary intake, PA and BMI among Malaysian adults to investigate the actual relationship between PA and overweight/obesity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-017-4772-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5609047PMC
September 2017

Prevalence of smoking and its associated factors with smoking among elderly smokers in Malaysia: findings from a nationwide population-based study.

Tob Induc Dis 2016 21;14. Epub 2016 Mar 21.

Faculty of Medicine and Defence Health, University of Defence, Kem Sg. Besi, 57000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Background: The determination of smoking prevalence and its associated factors among the elderly could provide evidence-based findings to guide the planning and implementation of policy in order to will help in reducing the morbidity and mortality of smoking-related diseases, thus increase their quality of life. This paper describes the rate of smoking and identifies the factor(s) associated with smoking among the elderly in Malaysia.

Methods: A representative sample of 2674 respondents was obtained via a two-stage sampling method in proportion to population size. Face-to-face interviews were conducted using a set of standardized validated questionnaire. Data was weighted by taking into consideration the complex sampling design and non-response rate prior to data analysis. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression were used to determine the factor/s associated with smoking.

Results: The prevalence of non-smokers, ex-smokers and current smokers among Malaysians aged 60 years and above were 36.3 % (95 % CI = 32.7-39.8), 24.4 % (95 % CI = 21.2-27.5) and 11.9 % (95 % CI = 9.5-14.3), respectively. Current smokers were significantly more prevalent in men (28.1 %) than in women (2.9 %), but the prevalence declined with advancing age, higher educational attainment, and among respondents with known diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia. Multivariable analysis revealed that males (aOR, 18.6, 95 % CI 10.9-31.9) and other Bumiputras (aOR 2.58, 95 % CI 1.29-5.15) were more likely to smoke. in addition, elderly with lower educational attainment (aOR, 1.70, 95 % CI 1.24-7.41) and those without/unknown hypertension also reported higher likelihood to be current smokers (aOR 1.98, 95 % CI 1.35-2.83). However, there were no significant associations between respondents with no/unknown diabetes or hypercholesterolemia with smoking.

Conclusions: In short, smoking is common among elderly men in Malaysia. Therefore, intervention programs should integrate the present findings to reduce the smoking rate and increase the smoking cessation rate among the elderly in Malaysia and subsequently to reduce the burden of smoking-related disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12971-016-0073-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4802631PMC
March 2016

Outcomes of peripherally inserted double lumen central catheter in very low birth weight infants.

J Neonatal Perinatal Med 2016 ;9(1):99-105

Department of Neonatology, Maternal and Perinatal Center, Tokyo Women's Medical University, Tokyo, Japan.

Objective: In order to evaluate safety and usefulness of peripherally inserted double lumen central catheter (PIDLCC) in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants, outcomes of VLBW infants who had PIDLCC was studied.

Subjective: Thirty-nine VLBW infants who were admitted to our NICU in 2013 were retrospectively analyzed.

Results: Mean birth weight and gestational age was 1042.7 gram and 28.5 weeks, respectively. Total duration of indwelling PIDLCC was 1121 days (mean 28.5+18.2 days) with 85 PIDLCCs used. Dressing at the insertion site was done twice weekly with 10% povidone iodine. Four (10.3% with mean of 48 days) infants had catheter-related blood stream infection (CRBSI), with a 3.57 infection per 1000 catheter-day. The mean for days of PIDLCC in 35 infants without CRBSI was 26.5 days. Organisms isolated were Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus capitis ureolytic. Our study showed significant difference in the duration of indwelling catheter (p = 0.023) and intraventricular hemorrhage (p = 0.043) between the CRBSI group and non-CRBSI group. Five (12.8%) infants had abnormal thyroid function test, in which two infants required thyroxine supplementation upon discharge. However, duration of PIDLCC and abnormal thyroid function test was not statistically significant (p = 0.218). One (2.5%) infant died (death was not related to CRBSI). There was no serious adverse effects secondary to PIDLCC.

Conclusion: It is concluded that the use and maintenance of PIDLCC is safe for VLBW infants, but close monitoring should be observed to detect early signs of infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/NPM-16915054DOI Listing
May 2017

Barriers and Solutions to Smart Water Grid Development.

Environ Manage 2016 Mar 25;57(3):509-15. Epub 2015 Nov 25.

Smart Water Grid Research Group, 738 Dongchun-dong, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon, Korea.

This limited review of smart water grid (SWG) development, challenges, and solutions provides an initial assessment of early attempts at operating SWGs. Though the cost and adoption issues are critical, potential benefits of SWGs such as efficient water conservation and distribution sustain the development of SWGs around the world. The review finds that the keys to success are the new regulations concerning data access and ownership to solve problems of security and privacy; consumer literacy to accept and use SWGs; active private sector involvement to coordinate SWG development; government-funded pilot projects and trial centers; and integration with sustainable water management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00267-015-0637-3DOI Listing
March 2016

Smoking among Secondary School Students in Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia--Findings from a Cross-Sectional Study.

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev 2015 ;16(11):4563-70

Institute of Public Health, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia E-mail :

Background: Smoking is a learnt behavior during adolescence and understanding the factor/s associated with smoking will assist in identifying suitable measures in combating the rising prevalence of smoking among adolescents. This research aimed to identify the factor/s associated with smoking among form four students in Kota Tinggi, Johor. Multistage sampling was used to select a representative sample of students in 2008 and data were collected using a self-administered validated questionnaire. This study revealed that the overall smoking prevalence was 19.0% with a significantly higher proportion of male smokers (35.8%) as compared to females (3.15%). Adolescents who were male (aOR 6.6, 95%CI 2.61-16.4), those who had peer/s who smoked (aOR 4.03, 95% CI 1.31-12.4), and those who studied in rural areas and Felda Settlements ( aOR 4.59, 95 CI 1.11-18.0; aOR 9.42, 95%CI 3.91-29.1) were more likely to smoke in the past one week. On the other hand, adolescents with better knowledge on the hazards of smoking and negative attitudes towards smoking were less likely to smoke (aOR 0.51, 95%CI 0.37-0.72; aOR 0.67, 95%CI 0.46-0.99). Future promotional and interventional programmes on smoking should be considered and the above identified risk factors integrated to reduce smoking prevalence among students of school-going ages in Kota Tinggi. Johor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7314/apjcp.2015.16.11.4563DOI Listing
March 2016

Notum is required for neural and head induction via Wnt deacylation, oxidation, and inactivation.

Dev Cell 2015 Mar 12;32(6):719-30. Epub 2015 Mar 12.

Department of Neurology, The F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Electronic address:

Secreted Wnt morphogens are essential for embryogenesis and homeostasis and require a lipid/palmitoleoylate modification for receptor binding and activity. Notum is a secreted Wnt antagonist that belongs to the α/β hydrolase superfamily, but its mechanism of action and roles in vertebrate embryogenesis are not fully understood. Here, we report that Notum hydrolyzes the Wnt palmitoleoylate adduct extracellularly, resulting in inactivated Wnt proteins that form oxidized oligomers incapable of receptor binding. Thus, Notum is a Wnt deacylase, and palmitoleoylation is obligatory for the Wnt structure that maintains its active monomeric conformation. Notum is expressed in naive ectoderm and neural plate in Xenopus and is required for neural and head induction. These findings suggest that Notum is a prerequisite for the "default" neural fate and that distinct mechanisms of Wnt inactivation by the Tiki protease in the Organizer and the Notum deacylase in presumptive neuroectoderm orchestrate vertebrate brain development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2015.02.014DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4375027PMC
March 2015

Prevalence and correlates of depression among adolescents in Malaysia.

Asia Pac J Public Health 2014 Sep 28;26(5 Suppl):53S-62S. Epub 2014 Jul 28.

Ministry of Health, Putrajaya, Malaysia.

Depression among adolescents has been recognized as a major public health issue. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and correlates of depression among school-going adolescents in Malaysia. Data from the Malaysia Global School-based Health Survey (GSHS) 2012 were analyzed with additional data from the validated DASS21 (Depression, Anxiety, and Stress) questionnaire. The study revealed that 17.7% of respondents had depressive symptoms. Multivariate analysis further showed that feeling lonely (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 2.99; 95% CI = 2.57-3.47), Indian ethnicity (aOR = 2.00; 95% CI = 1.63-2.44), using drugs (aOR = 1.85; 95% CI = 1.21-2.82), and being bullied (aOR = 1.79; 95% CI = 1.60-1.99) were significantly associated with depressive symptoms. Lack of parental supervision, alcohol use, and tobacco use were also significant risk factors. Addressing depressive symptoms among adolescents may have implications for managing their risks of being bullied and substance use. This study also highlights the need to further investigate depressive symptoms among adolescents of Indian ethnicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1010539514544356DOI Listing
September 2014

Factors associated with physical inactivity among school-going adolescents: data from the Malaysian School-Based Nutrition Survey 2012.

Asia Pac J Public Health 2014 Sep 28;26(5 Suppl):27S-35S. Epub 2014 Jul 28.

Institute for Public Health, Ministry of Health, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The importance of physical activity to health is well recognized. Good health habits should begin from a young age. This article aims to explore physical activity among Malaysian school adolescents and factors associated with it. Data from the Malaysian School-Based Nutrition Survey (MSNS), comprising a nationally representative sample of school-going children aged 10 to 17 years, were used. The overall prevalence of physically inactive adolescents was 57.3%. Age in years (adjusted odds ratio = 1.2; 95% confidence interval = 1.16-1.23), gender - females (adjusted odds ratio = 2.9; 95% confidence interval = 2.66-3.10), afternoon school session, breakfast consumption (no breakfast and irregular breakfast), body mass index status (obese and underweight), and body weight perception (underweight perceivers) were significant factors associated with physical inactivity among Malaysian adolescents. Thus, there is evidence that programs to promote physical activity in this group should consider the combination of the aforementioned factors at the household, school, and community levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1010539514543682DOI Listing
September 2014

Self-perception of body weight status and weight control practices among adolescents in Malaysia.

Asia Pac J Public Health 2014 Sep 28;26(5 Suppl):18S-26S. Epub 2014 Jul 28.

Institute for Public Health, Ministry of Health, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents is rising rapidly in many countries, including Malaysia. This article aims to present the associations between body mass index-based body weight status, body weight perception, and weight control practices among adolescents in Malaysia. The Malaysia School Based Nutrition Survey 2012, which included a body weight perception questionnaire and anthropometric measurements, was conducted on a representative sample of 40 011 students from Standard 4 until Form 5, with a 90.5% response rate. Comparing actual and perceived body weight status, the findings show that 13.8% of adolescents underestimated their weight, 35.0% overestimated, and 51.2% correctly judged their own weight. Significantly more normal weight girls felt they were overweight, whereas significantly more overweight boys perceived themselves as underweight. The overall appropriateness of weight control practices to body weight was 72.6%. Adolescents attempting to lose or gain weight need to have better understanding toward desirable behavioral changes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1010539514542422DOI Listing
September 2014

Self-perception of body weight status and weight control practices among adolescents in Malaysia.

Asia Pac J Public Health 2014 Sep 28;26(5 Suppl):18S-26S. Epub 2014 Jul 28.

Institute for Public Health, Ministry of Health, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents is rising rapidly in many countries, including Malaysia. This article aims to present the associations between body mass index-based body weight status, body weight perception, and weight control practices among adolescents in Malaysia. The Malaysia School Based Nutrition Survey 2012, which included a body weight perception questionnaire and anthropometric measurements, was conducted on a representative sample of 40 011 students from Standard 4 until Form 5, with a 90.5% response rate. Comparing actual and perceived body weight status, the findings show that 13.8% of adolescents underestimated their weight, 35.0% overestimated, and 51.2% correctly judged their own weight. Significantly more normal weight girls felt they were overweight, whereas significantly more overweight boys perceived themselves as underweight. The overall appropriateness of weight control practices to body weight was 72.6%. Adolescents attempting to lose or gain weight need to have better understanding toward desirable behavioral changes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1010539514542422DOI Listing
September 2014

Prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of diabetes mellitus among the elderly: The 2011 National Health and Morbidity Survey, Malaysia.

Malays Fam Physician 2014 31;9(3):12-9. Epub 2014 Dec 31.

Lim Kuang Hock BSc, MSc Institute for Public Health, Malaysia Email:

Diabetes mellitus is an important cardiovascular risk factor. The objective of this study was to provide population-based estimates on the prevalence, awareness, treatment and control rate of diabetes among the older persons in Malaysia. Analysis of secondary data from a cross-sectional national population-based survey was done, which was conducted in 2011 throughout Malaysia. A total of 2764 respondents (15.5%) were older persons. The overall prevalence of diabetes among older persons was 34.4% in which 65.2% were aware of their diabetes status. Out of those who were aware, 87.5% had been treated. Only 21.8% of those treated had their diabetes controlled. The results of multiple logistic regression showed that the factors associated with higher awareness rates were women, Indians and higher income groups; factors associated with higher treatment rates were urban residents and those who were married and widow/widower/ divorcee. There was a high overall prevalence, awareness and treatment rate of diabetes among older persons in Malaysia but with suboptimal control rate.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4568721PMC
October 2015

Lost ecosystem services as a measure of oil spill damages: a conceptual analysis of the importance of baselines.

J Environ Manage 2013 Oct 25;128:43-51. Epub 2013 May 25.

Department of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, MSN 5F2, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA.

The assessment and quantification of damages resulting from marine oil spills is typically coordinated by NOAA, and has historically utilized Habitat Equivalency Analysis (HEA) to estimate damages. Resource economists and others have called for the damage assessment process to instead estimate injuries through the valuation of lost ecosystem services. Our conceptual analysis explores ecosystem service valuation from the perspective of "baselines," which are a fundamental component of both primary and compensatory restoration activities. In practice, baselines have been defined in ecological terms, with minimal consideration of the socioeconomic side of ecosystem service provision. We argue that, for the purposes of scaling compensatory restoration, it is more appropriate to characterize baselines in value terms, thereby integrating non-market valuation approaches from the onset of the damage assessment process. Benefits and challenges of this approach are discussed, along with guidelines for practitioners to identify circumstances in which socioeconomic variables are likely to be important for baseline characterization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2013.04.035DOI Listing
October 2013

Identification and characterization of a small-molecule inhibitor of Wnt signaling in glioblastoma cells.

Mol Cancer Ther 2013 Jul 25;12(7):1180-9. Epub 2013 Apr 25.

Corresponding Author: Massimiliano Salerno, Siena Biotech Medicine Research Centre, Via del Petriccio e Belriguardo 35, 53100, Siena, Italy.

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and prognostically unfavorable form of brain tumor. The aggressive and highly invasive phenotype of these tumors makes them among the most anatomically damaging human cancers with a median survival of less than 1 year. Although canonical Wnt pathway activation in cancers has been historically linked to the presence of mutations involving key components of the pathway (APC, β-catenin, or Axin proteins), an increasing number of studies suggest that elevated Wnt signaling in GBM is initiated by several alternative mechanisms that are involved in different steps of the disease. Therefore, inhibition of Wnt signaling may represent a therapeutically relevant approach for GBM treatment. After the selection of a GBM cell model responsive to Wnt inhibition, we set out to develop a screening approach for the identification of compounds capable of modulating canonical Wnt signaling and associated proliferative responses in GBM cells. Here, we show that the small molecule SEN461 inhibits the canonical Wnt signaling pathway in GBM cells, with relevant effects at both molecular and phenotypic levels in vitro and in vivo. These include SEN461-induced Axin stabilization, increased β-catenin phosphorylation/degradation, and inhibition of anchorage-independent growth of human GBM cell lines and patient-derived primary tumor cells in vitro. Moreover, in vivo administration of SEN461 antagonized Wnt signaling in Xenopus embryos and reduced tumor growth in a GBM xenograft model. These data represent the first demonstration that small-molecule-mediated inhibition of Wnt signaling may be a potential approach for GBM therapeutics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-12-1176-TDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3707945PMC
July 2013

Tiki1 is required for head formation via Wnt cleavage-oxidation and inactivation.

Cell 2012 Jun;149(7):1565-77

The F. M. Kirby Neurobiology Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Secreted Wnt morphogens are signaling molecules essential for embryogenesis, pathogenesis, and regeneration and require distinct modifications for secretion, gradient formation, and activity. Whether Wnt proteins can be posttranslationally inactivated during development and homeostasis is unknown. Here we identify, through functional cDNA screening, a transmembrane protein Tiki1 that is expressed specifically in the dorsal Spemann-Mangold Organizer and is required for anterior development during Xenopus embryogenesis. Tiki1 antagonizes Wnt function in embryos and human cells via a TIKI homology domain that is conserved from bacteria to mammals and acts likely as a protease to cleave eight amino-terminal residues of a Wnt protein, resulting in oxidized Wnt oligomers that exhibit normal secretion but minimized receptor-binding capability. Our findings identify a Wnt-specific protease that controls head formation, reveal a mechanism for morphogen inactivation through proteolysis-induced oxidation-oligomerization, and suggest a role of the Wnt amino terminus in evasion of oxidizing inactivation. TIKI proteins may represent potential therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2012.04.039DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3383638PMC
June 2012

Dab2 is pivotal for endothelial cell migration by mediating VEGF expression in cancer cells.

Exp Cell Res 2012 Mar 14;318(5):550-7. Epub 2012 Jan 14.

Department of Life Science, Pohang University of Science and Technology, San 31, Hyoja Dong, Pohang, Kyungbuk, 790-784, Republic of Korea.

Although angiogenesis is crucial for tumor growth and metastasis, the molecular mechanisms controlling this process are not clearly understood. Here, we explore the role of Dab2 in tumor angiogenesis. We found that Dab2 is expressed in several cancer cells, including A549 lung cancer cells, but it is hardly detectable in SW480 colon cancer cells. Migration and Erk phosphorylation were enhanced in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) treated with the conditioned medium obtained from Dab2-overexpressing SW480 stable cells. In addition, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) protein was strongly detected in conditioned medium derived from Dab2-overexpressing SW480 cells, and Erk phosphorylation enhanced by Dab2(+) CM was restored by VEGF inhibition. Moreover, Dab2 depletion in A549 cells led to a decrease in HUVEC migration and Erk phosphorylation. Furthermore, we show that Dab2 is required for the TGFβ-induced gene expression of angiogenic factors such as VEGF and FGF2. Taken together, these results suggest that Dab2, which is expressed in cancer cells, is pivotal for endothelial cell migration by affecting VEGF expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yexcr.2012.01.013DOI Listing
March 2012

A comparison of the effect of epidural patient-controlled analgesia with intravenous patient-controlled analgesia on pain control after posterior lumbar instrumented fusion.

J Korean Neurosurg Soc 2011 Sep 30;50(3):205-8. Epub 2011 Sep 30.

Department of Neurosurgery, The Spine and Spinal Cord Institute, Gangnam Severance Spine Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Objective: Retrospective analysis to compare the effect and complication of epidural patient-controlled analgesia (epidural PCA) with intravenous patient-controlled analgesia (IV PCA) for the treatment of the post-operative pain after posterior lumbar instrumented fusion.

Methods: Sixty patients who underwent posterior lumbar instrumented fusion for degenerative lumbar disease at our institution from September 2007 to January 2008 were enrolled in this study. Out of sixty patients, thirty patients received IV PCA group and thirty patients received epidural PCA group. The pain scale was measured by the visual analogue scale (VAS) score.

Results: There were no significant difference between IV PCA group and epidural PCA group on the PCA related complications (p=0.7168). Ten patients in IV PCA group and six patients in epidural PCA group showed PCA related complications. Also, there were no significant differences in reduction of VAS score between two groups on postoperative 2 hours (p=0.9618) and 6 hours (p=0.0744). However, postoperative 12 hours, 24 hours and 48 hours showed the significant differences as mean of reduction of VAS score (p=0.0069, 0.0165, 0.0058 respectively).

Conclusion: The epidural PCA is more effective method to control the post-operative pain than IV PCA after 12 hours of spinal fusion operation. However, during the first twelve hours after operation, there were no differences between IV PCA and epidural PCA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3340/jkns.2011.50.3.205DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3218179PMC
September 2011

Prevalence of obesity and factors associated with it in a worksite setting in Malaysia.

J Community Health 2010 Dec;35(6):698-705

Department of Health, Pahang, Malaysia.

Socio-economic status, lifestyle behaviors, and psychosocial factors have been implicated in the development of overweight and obesity. This study aims to observe the prevalence of overweight and obesity in an academic worksite and to examine the possible association between variables such as socio-economic characteristics, work factors, psychosocial factors, and weight control behaviors and obesity. In this study, the target population were full-time academic and non-academic staff. Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) were computed to determine obesity. A pretested self-administered questionnaire was used to obtain information on socio-demographic factors, work related factors, psychosocial factors, and weight control behaviors. Data were obtained on 367 adults of whom 39.2% were males and 60.8% females. Overweight was seen in 31.9% of males and 26.5% of females while 16.1% of them were obese, irrespective of gender. Central obesity was noted in about 37% of males and 39% of females. The results showed that socio-demographic factors (age, gender, and education) and psychosocial factors (perceived health status, body weight perception, and weight-control goals) were significantly associated with BMI. Working hours were also significantly associated with BMI. However, weight control practices (diet-control practices and physical activity practices) were not significantly associated with BMI. In conclusion, this study found a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity among employees of a selected public university in comparison to the general population. Socio-demographic, psychosocial factors, and working hours were found to contribute to obesity in this sample of adults.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10900-010-9274-1DOI Listing
December 2010

Identification of a novel negative regulator of activin/nodal signaling in mesendodermal formation of Xenopus embryos.

J Biol Chem 2009 Jun 22;284(25):17052-17060. Epub 2009 Apr 22.

From the Department of Life Sciences, Pohang University of Science and Technology, San 31, Hyoja Dong, Pohang, Kyungbuk 790-784, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

Phosphotyrosine binding (PTB) domains, which are found in a large number of proteins, have been implicated in signal transduction mediated by growth factor receptors. However, the in vivo roles of these PTB-containing proteins remain to be investigated. Here, we show that Xdpcp (Xenopus dok-PTB containing protein) has a pivotal role in regulating mesendoderm formation in Xenopus, and negatively regulates the activin/nodal signaling pathway. We isolated cDNA for xdpcp and examined its potential role in Xenopus embryogenesis. We found that Xdpcp is strongly expressed in the animal hemisphere at the cleavage and blastula stages. The overexpression of xdpcp RNA affects activin/nodal signaling, which causes defects in mesendoderm formation. In addition, loss of Xdpcp function by injection of morpholino oligonucleotides leads to the expansion of the mesodermal territory. Moreover, we found that axis duplication by ventrally forced expression of activin is recovered by coexpression with Xdpcp. In addition, Xdpcp inhibits the phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of Smad2. Furthermore, we also found that Xdpcp interacts with Alk4, a type I activin receptor, and inhibits activin/nodal signaling by disturbing the interaction between Smad2 and Alk4. Taken together, these results indicate that Xdpcp regulates activin/nodal signaling that is essential for mesendoderm specification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M109.007443DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2719343PMC
June 2009

Xenopus Wntless and the retromer complex cooperate to regulate XWnt4 secretion.

Mol Cell Biol 2009 Apr 17;29(8):2118-28. Epub 2009 Feb 17.

Division of Molecular and Life Sciences, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang, Kyungbuk 790-784, Republic of Korea.

Wnt signaling is implicated in a variety of developmental and pathological processes. The molecular mechanisms governing the secretion of Wnt ligands remain to be elucidated. Wntless, an evolutionarily conserved multipass transmembrane protein, is a dedicated secretion factor of Wnt proteins that participates in Drosophila melanogaster embryogenesis. In this study, we show that Xenopus laevis Wntless (XWntless) regulates the secretion of a specific Wnt ligand, XWnt4, and that this regulation is specifically required for eye development in Xenopus. Moreover, the Retromer complex is required for XWntless recycling to regulate the XWnt4-mediated eye development. Inhibition of Retromer function by Vps35 morpholino (MO) resulted in various Wnt deficiency phenotypes, affecting mesoderm induction, gastrulation cell movements, neural induction, neural tube closure, and eye development. Overexpression of XWntless led to the rescue of Vps35 MO-mediated eye defects but not other deficiencies. These results collectively suggest that XWntless and the Retromer complex are required for the efficient secretion of XWnt4, facilitating its role in Xenopus eye development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/MCB.01503-08DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2663306PMC
April 2009

Xenopus Dab2 is required for embryonic angiogenesis.

BMC Dev Biol 2006 Dec 19;6:63. Epub 2006 Dec 19.

Division of Molecular and Life Sciences, Pohang University of Science and Technology, San 31, Hyoja Dong, Pohang, Kyungbuk, 790-784, Republic of Korea.

Background: The molecular mechanisms governing the formation of the embryonic vascular system remain poorly understood. Here, we show that Disabled-2 (Dab2), a cytosolic adaptor protein, has a pivotal role in the blood vessel formation in Xenopus early embryogenesis.

Results: Xenopus Disabled-2 (XDab2) is spatially localized to the blood vessels including the intersomitic veins (ISV) in early embryos. Both antisense morpholino oligonucleotide (MO)-mediated knockdown and overexpression of XDab2 inhibit the formation of ISV, which arise from angiogenesis. In addition, we found that activin-like signaling is essential for this angiogenic event. Functional assays in Xenopus animal caps reveal that activin-like signals induce VEGF expression and this induction can be inhibited by XDab2 depletion. However, XDab2 MO has no effects on the induction of other target genes by activin-like signals. Furthermore, we show that the disruption of the sprouting ISV in XDab2-depleted embryos can be rescued by coexpression of VEGF.

Conclusion: Taking together, we suggest that XDab2 regulates the embryonic angiogenesis by mediating the VEGF induction by activin-like signaling in Xenopus early development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-213X-6-63DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1766927PMC
December 2006

Congenital rubella syndrome with positive serology and virus isolation.

Med J Malaysia 2006 Jun;61(2):248-50

Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah, Klang, Selangor.

An effective live attenuated rubella vaccine was available since 1969 and congenital rubella syndrome can be prevented with appropriate vaccination. We report a baby with congenital rubella syndrome born in Klang valley to indicate that the Universal Rubella Vaccination Programme adopted by the Ministry of Health Malaysia since 2002 has yet to achieve its effect of eliminating transmission of rubella and preventing congenital rubella infection in the community. To our knowledge, the virus isolate represents the first successful isolation of rubella virus in this country and will serve as the reference strain for future comparison in molecular epidemiological tracking of rubella virus activity this country.
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June 2006

Depleting fish resources, declining fishing communities, and the state revitalization project in Korea.

Authors:
So-Min Cheong

Environ Manage 2003 Sep;32(3):382-90

Department of Geography, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.

This paper reviews recent declines in fish resources and fishing communities in Korea, evaluates major factors of declines, and examines a subsequent community-based revitalization project. Factors leading to depleting fish resources include global regulations, technological advances in fishing, national economic development policies, land reclamation projects, and pollution. The negative economic and societal impact of depleting fish resources is addressed using demographic and income levels of the communities. In response, the state initiated revitalization projects and invested in local fishing cooperatives promoting community-based management. The result has been less than effective as it led to mismanagement of investment and created an attitude of dependence on the government for financial assistance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00267-003-0074-6DOI Listing
September 2003

[Is immunohistochemistry for MLH1 and MSH2 proteins a useful method for detection of microsatellite instability in sporadic colorectal cancer?].

Korean J Gastroenterol 2003 Nov;42(5):369-76

Department of Internal Medicine, ChungAng University School of Medicine, Yongsan Hospital, 65-207 Hankangro 3-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, 140-757, Korea.

Background/aims: In order to identify microsatellite instability (MSI), the test based on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can be used. However, PCR is not routinely performed in all hospital laboratories. Recently, immunohistochemistry (IHC) for MLH1 and MSH2 proteins has been reported as a rapid and useful method for MSI. However, the efficacy of IHC in the detection of the MSI has not been well established. The aim of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of IHC in the detection of the MSI by comparing it with the test results using PCR in colorectal cancer (CRC).

Methods: Paraffin-embedded normal and tumor tissues from seventy-five patients who underwent surgical resection of CRC were used. Abnormal expression of MLH1 and MSH2 protein was determined by IHC using MLH1 and MSH2 antibodies. Normal and tumor DNAs were obtained from thirty CRC tissues that showed abnormal expression of MLH1 and MSH2 proteins by IHC. The MSI status was confirmed by PCR using five markers.

Results: Thirty tumors showed abnormal expression of MLH1 and MSH2 proteins by IHC, but only three tumors out of them were confirmed to have MSI by PCR.

Conclusions: This result suggests that IHC with MLH1 and MSH2 antibodies does not seem to be a useful method to identify MSI in CRC, therefore PCR is required for detection of the MSI.
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November 2003