Page 1 Monday 6th May 2013 Issue 2

Project SEED Pg 4

Avicenna Success Pg 16

Earth Night Pg 4

HIV & Drugs Pg 11

Pg 2 Lecturers’ Farewell pg 13

Pg 15 Help support and raise awareness for Lysosomal Storage Diseases Your support can make a difference in fighting this illness

Malaysia Lysosomal Diseases Association


Monday 6th May 2013 | The NUMed Times

NEWS Editor’s Foreword

by Paik Hwa

A RUN FOR LIFE the various life threatening LSD. MLDA was formed in April 2011 where 8 LSD families decided that there should be increased awareness of the issue where LSD patients have difficulty accessing medical care from multiple disciplines, thereby compromising their quality of life. There is no cure for the rare inherited disorders, however, bone marrow transplantation and enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) have been tried with some success in some cases.

April 27th, Saturday - Aren’t we glad? The General Election 2013 had not taken over that fine day, 27th of April where we had determined to “Run for Life” and raise awareness about Lysosomal Storage Diseases (LSD) instead. Students started trickling in at Bell’s Court to register themselves at the event as early as 7am. There were well over 100 participants who came, most donning the event’s official t-shirts given out some days prior. Besides the NUMedians as the majority of the participants, invitations were extended to Southampton University’s students as well. A Golden Retriever and a Dachshund joined the run too. The run which was scheduled to start at 8am had to be delayed as the traffic police were missing in action. But of course, this typical phenomenon hardly affects Malaysians anymore (unless you are an international student and is still in culture shock), it did not dampen

anyone’s spirit. However, the key people to ensure our safety while runners are on the road were finally ready. With the President of the Student Council leading them in a series of loud cheer, the even more energised runners were set to go as the honk blazed! All these were clearly audible from the ISV. If it did not wake you up and excite you, we empathise that you may have had a long day at the hospital the day before ... (poor medical students...) Now that the runners have dashed out of the starting line, they cannot wait to finish the 6km route. It was estimated to take under half an hour for the competitive runners to complete the route, or under an hour for various reasons, though still achieving the day’s objective. Proceeds from the NUMed Run for Life were donated to the Malaysia Lysosomal Disease Association (MLDA), a non-profit organization that advocates for patients’ right and to educate people about

To support the MLDA in their cause, like their Facebook page (search “Malaysia Lysosomal Diseases Association) or visit for more information.

At the end of the day, MLDA received RM1228.90 in total from the event. The amount will be used to purchase a colour laser printer (to be named NUMed), an important asset to help the association print out colourful stories about LSD patients to all that are involved in the budget approval for ERT funding. The event ended before noon with the prize giving ceremony. Dr. Dominic Johnson, the Dean of Clinical Affairs, won first place for the male category, beating all other younger participants (time for reflection!). The winner of the female category was Aisyah Abdul Rahman, a Stage 3 student while Professor Bradley was the fastest over 60 runner of the day. Congratulations to all winners and cheers to MLDA who has benefitted from this event. NUMedians sincerely hoped to have assist in making a change in LSD patients’ life.

from top to bottom: Runners enjoying their day, Dr Dominic winning first place,, and students finishing the race together


The NUMed Times | Monday 6th May 2013

by Devina Siaw

Going Once, Twice ... SOLD


gressed, initial bids started at RM50 rather than RM10, and quickly rose. The highest bid on a participant was placed on a male participant at RM310, undoubtedly because he took his belt off and whipped it around, much to the excitement of the crowd.

April 19th, Friday - It was 6.30pm on the day of the event. My co-hosts and I exchanged worried looks. About 30 people were occupying the Iskandar Demonstration Theatre. 25 of them were auction participants and the organizing committee members. The past week had stretched the three of us quite thin, juggling between uni and running after 20 people for video and song choices, all the while with the underlying fear that no one would want to come for our event.

However, the highest bid of the night was placed on Professor Bradley, who had generously offered two hours of his time for a private anatomy session, which sold at RM350.

It was 6.45pm and about 20 new people had arrived. At least the poor initial turnout was simply due to Malaysian timing (or lack of), rather than people thinking our event was stupid, or hating us for spamming their Facebooks and emails incessantly to advertise this day. We began with a short introduction about the charity we planned to donate to, and began the first video.

of our participants impressed the muscles to whoever bought him. audience with their striking poses and dances during the catwalk. To our surprise, the audience was remarkably enthusiastic about Besides going out for meals and placing bids. One very popular feacademic help, participants also male member of the student body offered painting lessons, hypno- (who apparently was able to eat therapy, lap-dancing and pole- four bananas in one go) sold for dancing sessions to their high- RM245, with four serious comEach participant was asked to est bidder. One well built male petitors trying to outbid each make a video to represent them- participant also offered to dis- other for 2 hours of this lovely selves and choose a song for a play his well-defined abdominal lady’s time. As the auction procatwalk around the theatre. Many

With the entrance fees collected, bids, as well as personal donations ‘A Charitable Affair’ has managed to raise over RM4000 for the aid of the Palliative Care Association of Johor Bahru. On behalf of the organising committee, we would like to thank the twenty participants who had kindly donated their time and effort into making this a success, Dr Bradley for his support and everyone who came on the day and made personal donations.

World Health Day: Hypertension

Students are heavily involved, actively assisting in the medical checkups supervised by Dr Tin Swe Aye (above, standing most left)

by Paik Hwa

oral health promotion and so on.

April 7th, Sunday - It was the World Health Day, and in conjunction of that, a Health Tour Carnival was held at Padang Complex, Hospital Permai. This year’s theme was “Hypertension”. 9 NUMedian volunteers thus set out to the site with a mission: health screening for the population at the carnival.

The NUMedians were in luck as the Health Screening booth was just next to JOHO, who put up some great band performances.

The event started early morning with aerobic exercises to the beat of catchy Malay and Bollywood songs. There were 20 booths set up with various activities including a Quit Smoking counseling booth, treasure hunt games,

Being dedicated to a worthy cause, the volunteers had brought their stethoscopes with them. But there was no use for the ultimate equipment (of medical students or health care professionals). They soon found that going through a long list of health screening questionnaires with the public was more challenging than they thought. One of the volunteers said, “I am actually thankful for the opportunity to practice communication skills. Some things were awkward and difficult to explain.” The volunteers worked together with the nurses from Health Clinics to measure BMI, and to take blood pressure and glucose readings.


Monday 6th May 2013 | The NUMed Times


NUMed VOLTAGE“Project SEED” Promoting healthcare to the villagers

by Samuel Lee

April 20th, Saturday - Project SEED, a medical volunteer work to promote healthcare for people, was held at a small village near Gelang Petah, Johor. Around 40 students from our university took part to help the villagers to acknowledge their health state. This project involved 3 different booths including general screening booth, children’s booth, and women’s booth. In the general screening booth, villager’s weight and height (BMI), blood pressure, and blood glucose level were measured. In the children’s booth, the volunteers taught the village children how to brush their teeth and wash their hands. The children were also provided with lots of fun activities such as variety of games, watching animated movies and colouring activities. Lastly, at the women booth, the women were educated on what are breast cancer and cervical cancer and also how to self-examine for signs.

ry out such a successful event.” “I would like to thank every volunteer who took part in this big event including the university’s support and the sponsors. “Without the support, the event could not have been this successful,” said Xi Ying Soo, the president of Voltage. However, some suggestions were made such as making the event a full day event and changing the day from Saturday to Sunday which will be more available for other villagers.

An illumination of hope in the midst of darkness

At the same time to add to the enjoyment for the villagers, the NUMed students and the villagers had a 5-a-side futsal match. Also for the female vil- by Trisha Kuck lagers’ entertainment, appleeating competition was played against the NUMed volunteers. The villagers were given a bag of goodies consisting various necessities and soy milk pack provided by the sponsors at the end of the check up with a satisfied expression on their faces. The volunteers were expecting around 180 villagers for the event, however only around 140 villagers actually turned up to have their health checked.

April 21st, Sunday - 75 anxious hearts waited as the candles lit, silently questioning when the event will start; the grumbling tummies finding difficulty resisting the temptation of pizzas waiting at the table end.

Although the goal number was not met, overall the main objec- An assembly of medical students tive was achieved, which was pro- took 2 hours off their hectic schedmoting healthcare to the villagers. ule of book flipping and lecture At the end of the event, Professor Bradley praised the event by saying “You guys should be proud of yourselves to car-

Students from all stages in NUMed were involved with the project with the villagers.

Stay Green Society took the initiative to plan a gathering at the NUMed campus amphitheatre; a night of just pizzas, great music, favourable company and 400 candles. Accompanied also by the calls of nature – frogs and cricket sounds, moonlight and stars, we had our very own Earth Night ’13 on the 21st of April 2013 from 7-9pm replacing Earth Hour which fell on the 23rd of March.

As darkness drew near, the blood sucking insects began to feed on us as we come to realise with the ‘oxygen decorations chasing along with prof Reg Jor- competing’ dan, Liz Smith, Prof Philip Bradley, around us, made of perfoProf nick morris, Dr chandrika and rated recyclable cans; it gave Dr natalia with intention to fulfil a us that lit in the midst of small contribution to the society. darkness, making us feel as

though we’re actually protecting our mother earth for the very first time. It wasn’t until when the lights came back did we realize the ‘darkness’ we went through in the midst of appreciating what we let slip on the usual. It is no tremendous effort if we practice to protect and conserve what we have whilst we still have it. Earth Night ’13 was not just a mere effort of conserving energy for 2 hours but had created an epiphany in many of our hearts to slow down, take a step back and enjoy what we’ve already been gifted with. Cheers to the night of ‘lights’!


The NUMed Times | Monday 6th May 2013


Stem Cell Registration by Darshini Muralidharan March 12th, Tuesday – The Malaysian Stem Cell Registry (MSCR) made a visit to NUMED to recruit potential stem cell donors as part of their objective to increase the number of registered volunteers. The registry was founded in the year 2000 and is part of a joint project with the Ministry of Health, the National Cancer Council (MAKNA) and the Institute for Medical Research. As of today, there are 18000 registered volunteers. However, this number only forms 30% of their total target of 40000 volunteers.

quired, potential doat Baylis Lecnors will be contactture theatre for Stem cell transed and asked for bone a brief introplants are usually marrow samples. ductory talk by a team from integrated in treatMSCR. There ments for leukaemia, There was an overwhelming response, was quite an thalassaemia, lymwith a total of 120 impressive turnout as stu- phomas, immunode- samples of blood and saliva collected, dents from all ficiencies and aplastic and the event only stages filled the finishing just belecture hall. anaemia. fore 9pm. The only The team began downside to this was by introducing themselves and proceeded to that our fellow international coleducate NUMED-ians about stem leagues were not eligible to donate. NUMED-ians gathered at 5.00pm cells donation. They ended their talk in 40 minutes and handed out Miss Jamilah, a member of the registration forms for the audience MSCR team conveyed her gratitude to fill out as potential donors. We through an email to all NUMEDwere walked through the entire ians who volunteered and statprocedure from the filling up of the ed that the MSCR was proud of form to the donation of stem cells. NUMED-ians who volunteered and hope we would continue to Upon completing the forms, support the cause in the future. NUMED-ians who volunteered Well done NUMED-ians on fulfillthen piled into the clinical skills ing your social responsibilities and lab. A small blood sample of 10ml contributing to the betterment of was collected for tissue typing. the health of the Malaysian society. In the future, if there is a match and the need for a donation is reIn Malaysia, stem cell transplants are usually integrated in treatments for leukaemia, thalassaemia, lymphomas, immunodeficiencies and aplastic anaemia. Unfortunately, the chances of finding an unrelated compatible donor are very slim and rely significantly on the size of the registry. As part of their initiative to increase the size of the registry, the MSCR have been organising campaigns, typing donors, and handling search requests from hospitals within and outside the country.

Needles… Scissors… Forceps… SUTURE!!

by Cyril Lucas

March 1st, Friday - The Surgical Society of Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) organised a suturing workshop for the society’s members. It was a great success with a total of 20 members participating, the maximum number of participants set for this event. The workshop was guided by Dr Kevin Khoo, Dr Lim May An, Dr Ahmed Awil Adam, Dr Adi Bagoes Soetjipto, and Dr Harinarayan Radhakrisna. All equipments consisting of 20 suturing sets were sponsored by Ethicon Johnsons & Johnson company. Ethicon’s representative, Kristine Ten, was present during the workshop. All participants came before 3pm to register themselves and got ready in the NUMed Clinical skills labs. For every workbench, there would be 2 participants and there were 10 workbenches set by the Surgical Society then. Each workbench will have 2 complete sets of suturing kits for the participants to use.

The next round involved performing the best uninterrupted suture where only the best 4 among the final 10 are selected. The top 4 were then placed in the middle of the lab where the fastest two will be the finalist. The final round involved two finalists, Gan Chia Ee (Stage 2) and Siti Aisyah (Stage 1) where they have to stitch an elliptical laceration. The ideal method was deterSurgical Society committee, NUMed Staff and the Society’s members after the workshop mined to be stitching the middle part first then proceed outwards to Dr Kevin started by giving a lec- rupted and uninterrupted suture. the side with interrupted sutures. ture about basic surgical knowledge This was not made known to and many safety measures during The participants’ competitiveness the finalist though and the two the workshop and operating the- was put to the test with an imprompatre. He also introduced the various tu battle of surgeons. Each work- finalists had to determine for surgical suturing equipments and bench will have its two participants themselves what was the best the common sizes of needles used. going against each other where 3 method to perform. Finally, minutes was given and the best in- Gan Chia Ee triumphed against Then, he showed a video show- terrupted suture was determined. all odds and proved her potential as an aspiring surgeon. ing the proper suturing technique. After that, the particiThe winner would proceed pants had an hour of practical to the next round with the Generally, the event was a success session where the participants one who did not win becom- with participants being able to learn focused on stitching an inter- ing his/her “surgical assistant”. and practice suturing efficiently.


Monday 6th May 2013 | The NUMed Times


A Family Reunion

by Andrea Lim

Novermber 23rd, Friday - The second floor of the LRC was full of chatter and laughter as students of all stages mingled with each other over a hearty buffetstyle lunch. An event held by the Student Council and the Stage 3s, each student was asked to dress in specific colours and was seated with their individual peer families. With the passing of NUMed’s anniversary, the organisers decided to celebrate the campus’ anniversary through a local twist on the classical Newcastle University Medical Society (MedSoc) tradition; Cheese and Wine. Cheese and Wine is an annual event back in Newcastle University, UK, giving medic freshers an opportunity to meet their peer parents or mingle with other course-mates

by Andrea Lim

early into their first semester. Liz Smith, and Dr. Dominic Johnson arrived to take a look at how Hoping to enact the same tradi- the students were getting along. tions here in NUMed, the organis- Delighted at the lively atmosphere, ers had assigned students different Professor Brink was also pleased colours as their dress code (White to congratulate the student who for Stage 1s, blue for Stage 2s, red obtained the highest mark for the for Stage 3s and black for Stage Stage 1 examinations, as he not 4s) and grouped them in their only was the top scorer in NUMed, peer families during the luncheon. but also among the UK cohort. There were a total of 20 families. Professor Bradley made an apAs the event started rather late for pearance too, speaking to students a lunch, students hungrily made a and taking photos with them. beeline for the buffet table, formHalfway through the luncheon, ing a long line within minutes. Made up of both Western and the organisers began to facilitate a Asian dishes, students were satis- photography session whereby each fied with the taste of the food, as peer family had their pictures takmany went for seconds afterwards. en and received a door gift; a mug with NUMed’s arches printed on The Vice-Chancellor of New- it. Unfortunately, some students castle University, Professor Chris had to leave earlier for medical Brink, Professor Reg Jordan, Ms. check-ups and society meetings,

Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University, Prof Chris Brink

which meant that not everyone was able to be in the photos. Despite that, many enjoyed themselves, happy to be ‘reunited’ with their children, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.

Bahasa Malaysia Intermediate Class

In the seminar rooms at the Sir George Smart Building, a group of 20 students partake in a student-led class to learn Bahasa Malaysia. An hour-long session, the class aims to help students increase their fluency with Bahasa and to provide advice on clinical scenarios that are likely to be encountered by NUMed students. Starting in late January, the class provides an official session to help facilitate students to converse in Bahasa and to guide them on approaching clinical scenarios done in the national language. Unlike the beginner Bahasa Ma-

laysia class, the Intermediate class does not have a formal tutor to teach Bahasa. Instead, teachers are mostly made up of Stage 4 students who already have 2-3 years experience in the hospital, making them ideal to teach and provide assistance on any common clinical scenarios.

Tutors are divided into small groups consisting of 4-5 tutors and are assigned to a certain week. “Each week has a different theme or a topic, and one lead tutor will be chosen to be in charge of the session,” says Nafisah, a Stage 4 tutor. “We did it this way to allow us The class currently has 15 vol- to interact with the tutees so that unteer tutors and around 12 tu- we can deliver effective teaching.” tees, of which the number inSo far, the class has completed 3 creases with every session. Most of the tutees are made up of Stage sessions, which focused on basic 2 students, who will be start- topics such as family relationships ing their clinical years soon. and daily activities. “We will be Although there are more teachers conducting Clinical classes after than students, not everyone will be the Easter break, which will focus involved in teaching every week. more on actual clinical scenarios such as physical examinations and history-taking,” Nafisah says.

Malaysian students who attend the classes also find the sessions useful, as they not only help increase fluency in Bahasa, but also to receive advice and tips on how to approach common clinical scenarios in the national language. “We feel that a class like this is essential for students who believe that they need help in Bahasa,” says Afandi, another Stage 4 teacher.

With the way the course is structured, NUMed students have plenty of contact with patients, as evident from the Family/Patient studies in the first two years and in the clinical years. As students have found out, most patients do not have a good command of English Being an international student and can only converse in Bahasa. from India, he also attends the beginner Bahasa classes, but says that “Although this is an English unithe benefits provided are different versity, we have to admit that not from the Intermediate Bahasa class. every patient is able to speak English. Thus, having a good com“In the beginner Bahasa class- mand of Bahasa will surely help es, we mostly learn new words, students to get through the MBBS but not how to string them into programme,” Afandi continues. sentences,” he says. “In the Inter- The class is held every Thursday, mediate class however, we learn at 5:30PM in Seminar Room 2.11. how to put the words into senDespite the rocky first-start, attending students have found the sessions useful. “It has allowed me to gain better fluency and exposure to the language,” says Sabyasachi, a Stage 2 medical student.

Topics practised during the sessions

tences and it allows us to practice conversing rather than just learning words.” Sabyasachi also comments that the small studentto-teacher ratio has made it easier to learn new words and meanings, as well as allowing better interaction between tutor and tutee.


The NUMed Times | Monday 6th May 2013


by Khung Ming

December 12th 2012, Wednesday - NUMed’s first ever Winter Ball was held on the particularly special day of 12/12/12 before the winter break started.

one. Of course another important aspect of the ball has to be the food. Dinner was served buffet style with a wide selection of food like salads, meat dishes, vegetables and soup.

Organized by the Student’s Council, the ball was held at the KSL Resort Hotel Johor poolside hall and was a huge success with around 70 people attending.

For those with a sweet tooth, dessert was served separately from the buffet with a variety of cakes to munch on while watching the performances. Last and not least were the dances. After all, any ball is incomplete without couples or individuals hitting the dance floor.

The place was decorated accordingly to the theme of winter with snowflake cutouts decorating the ceiling and windows and Christmas lights and tinsel adorning the stage. Everyone was dressed to the nines with the guys in suits and girls in gowns which gave everyone a reason to whip out cameras and smartphones and start snapping away. The event started at 7.00pm with a welcome drink before everyone found their seats which were indicated by the wonderfully made placards at each seat. The highlight of the ball has to be the wonderful performances brought by our own extremely talented students from the Music Society who performed a variety of songs for the entertainment of every-

With guys inviting girls to dance with them for the couple dances like waltz and cha-cha, the ball took on a romantic atmosphere. That was until the floor was opened to everyone with individuals taking the advantage of the dimmed lights and popular upbeat hits played by the DJ to show off their moves. The ball then ended with a short message from the Student Council president, Teh Jin Zhe. All in all, this event was a blast with everyone having much fun and enjoying themselves. Here’s to hoping that there will be another Winter Ball this year!


Monday 6th May 2013 | The NUMed Times


Education Fair

by Sonia Susiman

March 17th, Sunday - Vanessa and Cyril, both from Stage 1 as well as There were four speakers present NUMed staffs went to Women’s on the day, two doctors, one dentist Institute of Management in Kua- and one pharmacist. Our very own la Lumpur for an education fair. Dr Ahmed was one of the speakers that day. They spoke about the The main aim was to pro- career prospects for each field. The mote the university and for education fair ended around 12pm. people who want to know more about the courses offered, they can clear their queries there.

Liberia Awareness

by Alireza Behzadnia

Prospective students were also able to personally communicate with NUMed students on how the curriculum structure is. The 2 volunteer students left the International

February 25th, Monday - Advancements in technology and media have enabled journalists to report and bring light to veiled issues in the world like never before. Global Medicine Society (GMS) of NUMed aimed to raise awareness on one of the many obscure issues in our world. GMS looked at Liberia and the problems the country is facing. They tried to raise awareness throughout the campus by giving out flyers and setting up posters. A presentation was held at Baylis Lecture Theatre where they explained the issues in greater details.

Student Village at about 4am for the event all the way in Kuala Lumpur. They set up the university’s booth in the Permata Exhibition Hall and started giving out brochures.

The awareness week was to relate public health studies, which is one of the main areas in Medicine in Community module for Stage 1 students, to real world situations.

“In light of all these, Liberia is suffering from a very bad healthcare system and is in need of help. GMS could not make any donation to Liberia, as the country has no representative in Malaysia,” Alexander from GMS explains.

Societies in NUMed are relatively young and need time to blossom. This was the Society’s second major event. Academic Medicine Society collaborated with Global GMS has received positive feed- Medicine Society in hosting the backs on this event and would like talk given by Professor Frederick to carry out similar events in the Lewis Altice from Yale University.

To add on, there was a talk organised by The News Straits Times for students to get a broad idea on their career pathway. For this particular week the main focus was on medicine, dentistry and pharmacy.

A glimpse into the past for a brighter future by Cyril Lucas

February 20th, Wednesday - The Surgical Society organised the second of the Surgical Talk series, with NUMed’s very own Dr Raja Zarina Raja Ismail as its guest speaker. The talk of that day was focused on the evolution of surgery from its humble inception to the present with a look on how surgery may evolve in the future. Approximately 60 students of all stages in NUMed took time off of their busy schedule to attend this talk in Baylis Lecture theatre. Dr Zarina started her talk with a look on the first ever known surgical method, trepanation, the drilling of skulls thought to be able to remove evil spirits to treat headaches, vertigo, epilepsy, or any similar disorder. She involved various nations and cultures in her talk ranging from older Greek and Egyptian eras, the ancient India, the impact of Barber surgeons all the way to mod-

future. When Stephanie (Stage 1), a member of GMS was asked why the society is focusing on Liberia in particular, she believes that Liberia is a very unknown country to majority of students in NUMed. Despite this, what is more shocking is the lack of awareness through media worldwide.

ern surgery. A highlight on minimally invasive surgical methods was also mentioned with its benefits in regards to the strain and recovery period for the patient. All in all, her talk opened the eyes of students regarding the importance of learning from history and ultimately, improving past mistakes for the greater good of mankind. “If the present quarrels with the past, there shall be no future.” A fundamental principle that every doctor should adapt in their role to cure, treat and educate others.

Dr Zarina (right) with Surgical Society’s President, Zaid Jasmin.

The NUMed Times | Monday 6th May 2013

by Ashmeera Sevellaraja February 23rd, Saturday - NUMed hosted its second open day. It was a day filled with new faces – some terrified and some excited, as prospective students visited the campus grounds with their parents as part of the decision making process that is characteristic of medical school.

NUMED Open Day there was the opportunity for visitors to get to know the courses a little better, and to be able to present any queries they might have to the deans and lecturers present. Many current NUMed students were available in the LRC throughout the day to answer any questions that parents or prospective students may have, or to help guide the visitors around campus. The volunteers were ever ready with a smile on their faces – whether dealing with concerned parents asking about living facilities or just to show them where the toilets were.

The Learning Resource Centre (LRC) was the hub of the event – with booths set up by the various sectors of the university, as well as external companies such as Digi, Maxis and even Ledang Heights. The Student Council was also present to help answer questions, mainly pertaining to how the course is structured and the soSouvenirs were also available in cial aspect of studying at NUMed. the LRC, ranging from t-shirts to pens to wooden key chains of Visitors began the day by regis- Bell’s Court. Though these were tering at the LRC, before embark- probably intended for the guests, ing on campus tours led by Profes- it was seen that NUMed students sor Bradley and senior lecturers. were the ones buying more items! They were taken to see the lecture halls, anatomy and clinical skills All in all, the event was seen to labs as well as most of the promi- be a great success. There was great nent facilities around campus. rapport between current students and staffs alike during the day as They were then ushered to the they strove to make visitors feel Baylis lecture theatre, and subse- at home. The friendliness, eloquently the Iskandar Demo The- quence and warmth displayed by atre for introductory talks about our people were sure to help prothe MBBS and Biomedical Sci- spective students make a firm ences courses respectively. Here, decision of coming to NUMed.

Above: Introduction to Biomedical Sciences talk. Left, Top to bottom: NUMed guard keeping the area safe, Dr Nick Morris (sitting left) attending to a parent, NUMed staffs diligently attending to the guests.




Monday 6th May 2013 | The NUMed Times


Why Do I want to become a Surgeon? by Cyril Lucas

November 12th 2012, Monday - The Surgical Society of Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) organised the society’s inaugural event entitled “Surgical Talk 1: Why Do I Want to become a surgeon?” Two guest speakers were invited, they were Mr Kevin Khoo and Mr Ahmed Awil Adam, whom are currently lecturers in NUMed. A total of 69 students from Stage 1 to Stage 4 in NUMed attended the talk. The session started with the MC welcoming the crowd in attendance. Then, the first speaker, Mr Kevin Khoo, was introduced and he promptly gave his talk. He gave a brief description of the common specialties in surgery and provided a base for students to determine

“Good surgeons know HOW to cut, better surgeons know WHEN to cut, and the BEST Surgeons know when NOT to cut.” the type of specialty they would prefer in future. He described his tough time as a surgical trainee. He also showed various pictures of surgeries he had done in Malaysia, to provide a glimpse of what medical students will see once they join the surgical departments.

After that, Mr Ahmed was introduced and he began his talk by showing various pictures of his time as a medical student. One of the main reasons why he joined surgery was because he had a lecturer that gave him a chance to expose himself more in the specialty. At the same time, he also loved the adrenaline and intoxicating feeling when performing a surgery, for he found great pleasure in doing so. He also stated that he chose surgery because of the patients, for his likes to “DO” things instead of “SAY” things. In the end, he concluded his talk with a quote, “Good surgeons know HOW to cut, better surgeons know WHEN to cut, and the BEST Surgeons know when NOT to cut.” Soon after that, a lucky draw

was made based on the name in the attendance sheet. The price given was a Newcastle University file holder, brought from the UK campus. A token of appreciation was given to both speakers that evening for their time and contribution. Light refreshments of tea, curry puffs and ‘kuih Talam’ were served at the end, sponsored by the NUMed cafeteria. Overall, the talk was as a great success. It was exciting, enjoyable and enlightening for the students that came. The Surgical Society will take heed from this success and organise more future talks to provide students more exposure on the surgical pathway.

Apples and Bookmarks by Sofia Fadzil

January 29th, Tuesday - On this day, anyone passing by the LRC was offered an apple and a bookmark for free and everyone wondered the same thing; why?

Above: Mr Ahmed Awil Adam Below: Mr Kevin Khoo

ness becomes part of something, it beautifies it.

Whenever it is taken from something, Most people guessed that it had it leaves it tarnished." something to do with Prophet This describes the Muhammad’s (peace be upon atmosphere of that him) birthday, but why give away one hour. With all apples and bookmarks? the apples, juices and bookmarks given Well, the NUMed Islamic Society away, everyone was felt that the best way to celebrate happy and content him was to follow in his teachings with the healthy bevwhich always encouraged good erages they got. deeds. So that’s what they did. For one hour, they stood by the LRC That day was a and handed people free apples great reminder that and free bookmarks with quotaProphet Muhammad tions from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was a simple (pbuh). man who called people to a way of The event was aimed to offer gifts life according to the Holy Quran; to the NUMed community and as the verse 2:215 has mentioned, to show the kind of man Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was. "They ask you (O Muhammad) Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was a what they should spend in charity. man who preached good will and practiced it throughout his life. Say: 'Whatever you spend with a good heart, give it to parents, relaImam Bukhari reported that tives, orphans, the helpless, and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) once travelers in need. Whatever good said "Be kind, for whenever kind- you do, God is aware of it.'"

Professor Bradley (right) receiving his share of bookmarks and apples

Although it’s only with apples and bookmarks, the good deed done in honor of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) would hopefully benefit us all and help us live a life the way he did; full of love and peace.


The NUMed Times | Monday 6th May 2013


HIV and Drugs: Interface by Azilleo Kristo Mozihim is a professor from Yale Un ive r s it y whose main research interest lies in the interface between infectious disease and substance abuse. He started the talk quite casually and did not consider it as a formal event which can be obviously seen from the way he casually dressed. He stated that HIV is a widespread infectious disProfessor Frederick Altice ease not only Human Immunodefiency Vi- in Malaysia but also globally. He rus, most commonly abbreviated showed a series of graphs illustratin daily conversations as HIV, is ing the prevalence of HIV based on a phrase that strikes fear into the sexual activities and demographihearts of many. The Malaysian cal parameters such as race and age. community is of no exception. He emphasised that the treatThe issue of HIV is still con- ment for HIV is not reaching sidered a taboo topic to be dis- those who needed them the most cussed but this is not the case which are the intravenous drug during a HIV talk presented by abusers. Also, the stigmatisation Professor Altice on the 18th of of HIV-infected people should be January at Baylis Theatre at 5 pm. dispelled because it deters them Professor Frederick Lewis Altice from going to healthcare profes-

“ ... treatment for

HIV is not reaching those who needed them the most which are the intravenous drug abusers. Also, the stigmatisation of HIV-infected people should be dispelled because it deters them from going to healthcareprofessionaltoseek prompt treatment. � sional to seek prompt treatment. He paid a great deal of time talking about the treatment of drug addiction particularly relating to prisoners. He stated that prisoners who were drug abusers are treated with, ironically, drugs such as naltrexone to assist in curbing their drug addiction. Based on his research, those who were part of the drug therapy had significantly less chance of relapsing into drug addiction than those who did not undergo the treatment once released from incarceration.

He also stated that prisoners are significantly more likely than the general community to contract tuberculosis and fifteen times more likely to be HIV-infected. He suggested that prisoners who are infected with tuberculosis should not be placed in closed and tight spaces with other prisoners to reduce the risk of transmission to uninfected prisoners. In a nutshell, the talk given by Professor Altice emphasised the need to dispel the stigmatisation and negative attitude surrounding HIV and substance abuse so as to not deter those involved from seeking proper medical treatment. He suggested that the healthcare system should be restructured in such a way that it prevents those needing the treatment from being unfairly judged and from being stigmatised. The talk ended around 6.30 pm with the Academic Medicine Society (AMS) committee presenting to him a souvenir of appreciation. treatment for HIV is not reaching those who needed them the most which are the intravenous drug abusers. Also, the stigmatisation of HIV-infected people should be dispelled because it deters them from going to healthcare professional to seek prompt treatment.

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SCIENCE by Muzhaffar Abdullah

Monday 6th May 2013 | The NUMed Times


The nation was saddened over the news of the death of Tee Hui Yi, 19, who made headlines in 2007 following her double heart transplant surgery. Hui Yi from Batu Pahat, Johor had a second heart transplant within 24 hours after her body rejected the first heart that was transplanted into her. It was merely a miracle that a second heart became available and the heart that previously belonged to a 15 year old stranger, became hers. The success story of the cardiothoracic team from National Heart Institute (IJN) captured the heart of millions of people around He was awaiting a suitthe country who had followed Hui Yi’s health progress since she was 13. able donor when he died. Both Hui Yi and Jakub, albeit from Tee Hui Yi passed away at the continent afar and a huge age gap between them Batu Pahat Hospital had their life deon 18th September pended on man2012, the day she made mechaniwas to have startcal structure for ed work as a kina considerable dergarten teacher. period of time. On October this Hui Yi had it year, Jakub Halik earlier when from Czech Repubshe was 13. She lic died from liver was like Jakub, failure at the age waiting for a of 37. He died afheart donor. ter surviving more

“ ... artificial hearts devices for instance is hoped to be able to sustain life for up to 18 months for patients awaiting transplants whose death is imminent ... ”

than six months without a real heart. He had his heart replaced with two mechanical pumps after an aggressive ous tumour was

cells. Success had been reported in the Unites States after the researchers in Wake Forest University, North Carolina has successfully transplanted laboratory grown bladder into a patient in 2006. Tissue engineers used a different approach in developing these bioartificial organs as compared to the more old-fashioned artificial hearts used by Hui Yi. They are trying to develop something which is considered more human. The ultimate aim is to make organs with cells, blood vessels He felt much like a healthy man. and nerves to become a living Although these stories ended and functioning part of the body. sadly, they told us how much They are trying to execute this potential artificial organs have by manipulating the body’s in the future of medicine. own natural repair mechanism. around and use the hospital gym.

With ingenious understanding of how the body functions, researchers have been able to design and produce devices that could be implanted or integrated to replace a natural organ. These devices serve the purpose of restoring the normal function of our body. The uses of current state of the art artificial hearts devices for instance is hoped to be able to sustain life for up to 18 months for patients awaiting transplants whose death is imminent, such as in the case of Hui Yi and Jakub.

The two body’s own cells that are being used are the stem cells and organ scaffolding. Stem cells has the potential to develop into any tissue in the body while organ scaffolding gives organs their shape and in which cells embed themselves to form organs.

This stem cells-seeded fibrous web (scaffolding) will keep the stem cells in the right place and this hopefully will allow the new organ to grow. The prospect with this proposition has been bright; a plastic form of artificial scaffold has been used in a pioneering windpipe replacement Artificial organs are also help- surgery for a man with cancer. ful in improving the patient's The patient is currently doing ability for self care as in the use of artificial limb. The use of co- well 15 months after the procedure. chlear implantation has become The bioartificials are also hoped to among standard proposed man- eliminate the usual risks associated agement to improve patient’s with current standard organ transability to interact socially among plant such as immune rejection as hearing impaired individuals. it will not be using foreign cells.

She had underwent a fivehour operation at the IJN to cancer- implant an external mechanical found. heart made of a 9.8kg device. The device was placed outside her abdomen and connected to the left side of her heart. For Jakub, despite being pulseless and unable to feel his own heartbeat (as he had no heart), he deCurrent progress brings even scribed his post- more exciting promises. In the surgical experi- near future, we might expect to see ence as normal. the use of bioartificial; part artificial and part our own body. This He felt that his will potentially provide us with body was func- abundant supply of ready-made tioning normally. replacement livers, kidneys and Although he had hearts, by being partly built in the to always carry lab and partly built inside the body. a battery pack to There has been ongoing research power the mechanical heart, he using tissue engineering technique was able to walk to build organs using patient’s own

This also means the use of drugs which suppress the immune system will not be needed and patient will be less prone to infection. Further expansion of the potential therapeutic uses of artificial organs has also been suggested in other areas such as vision, memory and information processing and the research is proceeding. There has even been speculation that we might be able to enhance our memory through implantation of related cells to the brain.


The NUMed Times | Monday 6th May 2013

by Eng Sze Lynn


Lecturers’ Farewell

Interviews were conducted for both Dr. Ameya and Dr. Sapna as we heard about their leaving from NUMed soon. Here are their experiences in NUMed as well as some final advice they would like to share with all of us. Their advice would be kept close to our hearts.

same time. I never studied on Friday evenings, just went on outings with friends. This is the time for you to enjoy. There should always be a good balance of fun and work.”

es in not just the number of students but also the difference in the types of assessment. This is my first time delivering such a curriculum. The NUMed students are in a good course. They are a “Thank you for the advice really good lot. The students have doctor. You will be missed. been responsive and interactive.” And thank you so much for your time doctor. Take care.” “Doctor, what would you miss most from NUMed?”

An interview with Dr. Sapna

Dr Sapna Patil (left) and Dr Ameya Hasamnis (right)

An Interview with Dr. Ameya

“Good Afternoon Dr. Ameya, I was just wondering if you could share your experience here in NUMed?” “We arrived in April, when Educity was still rather deserted. There was rarely any car that was passing by. And I was thinking, ‘Am I really going to be teaching here?’ It is really amazing how time flies and how Educity has developed to what we see as of today. It has been an enjoyable experience in both Educity and NUMed. It is really a good place to teach because the students here are really of good quality. One of the best students that I have taught was in NUMed. I feel that the NUMed curriculum is in the lead. It is in line with the global curriculum, a flagship project, that is transforming the way we look at medical education in Malaysia. There is really a lot of studentteacher interaction and I believe this is what makes NUMed different from other Universities. It has a very student centric approach, which is very different from my past experience. Asian has a very introvert-teacher centric approach that is definitely a change that I have to adapt coming into NUMed.

NUMed, although I am an expatriate working here. The NUMed family embraces the variety in cultures of both staffs as well as students. I feel that the culture here in Malaysia is not very different from the culture of India. I feel quite at home here as the Malaysians are of a pretty culturally international standard culture. Everyone is regarded the same in spite of diversity.” “It is true how wonderful that we all blend in as one even though we are of different cultural ethnicity. I believe it is our respect for one another that precipitates such culture. Doctor, I was wondering what would you miss most in Malaysia?” “Well, the food definitely. Also I would miss the infrastructure of the Malaysian Universities. It has been interesting.”

“I would definitely miss all of the students here and also the Malay“Good Afternoon Dr. Sapna, sian culture in terms of hospitality.” I was just wondering if you could share some experiences “We would miss both of you too in NUMed with the student?” doctor! Is there any advice you would like to give our students?” “Yes, sure. Well, it has been an enriching experience. I could “Hmm… This is an outcomestill remember the first time I based course. Hence, it is imporcame. The NUMed building was tant that you have a strong founempty and students were not ar- dation. It all comes down to the riving until months down the basics. You must do it as well as line. Memories would stay with possible for your learning expeme as I did witnessed the start- rience in the upcoming years to ing of NUMed from scratch be more enjoyable. The course is alongside with Professor Bradley. more that just lecture notes. You have to do your own further readI found it challenging to deliver ing. Refer to the reference books the UK teachings to the students when in doubt. There is no harm and on top of that integrate it with in knowing more than you do. It the Malaysia content. There was is important to do this early in the a lot of support given to me from course itself. Knowledge is crucial the UK. When in doubt I Skyped and it is not only about smart work my colleagues and they are very but the effort you put in as well.” helpful in clearing my doubts on matters of the curriculum. I feel “Thank you so much doctor for that there was very good team- these advice. We will keep them work in delivering the curriculum. close to our hearts. Thank you There are many differences when for you time! Take care. I hope comparing NUMed with other to see you again in the future.” universities. There are differenc-

“I see… Do you have any advice that you would like to give the students?”

“Well, keep the hard work going on. You will need patience, continuous hard work and focus by your side throughout your life as a medical student and a doctor. It would be a long journey. So you should always be goal-orientated and disciplined. Just stick to these and you’ll do fine. The road ahead will be tougher as you go along, I have never felt out of place in but don’t forget to enjoy life at the

Dr Ameya (left) and Dr Sapna (right) with their child


Monday 6th May 2013 | The NUMed Times


A Slice of Malaysia in Newcastle

by Sin Eu For the first time ever, the universities of Newcastle, Northumbria and Durham collaborated to bring a magnificent event to the Malaysian student community in the North East. The North East Malaysian Night has been a stellar achievement by the universities students of the North-East region. Not only have we endured a great time planning and executing the amazing project, we have forged a lasting, concerted relationship among the universities and Malaysians here. The event is a combination of introducing a contemporary-themed play and a sumptuous food fair. The main aim is to introduce the enriched value, culture and customs of Malaysia as well as providing a platform for Malaysian students in this region to reminiscent what they have been missing since leaving Malaysia to study in the UK.

ognise and relate to. One can empathise with the characters in the show and applying the values and morals learned in one’s life. Not only have it showed the au courant environment that we Malaysians live in, it has given a food-for-thought element that made us reflect upon the situation that we are exposed to. The Pasar Malam Malaysia is deemed as ‘Truly Asia’ for a lot of reasons. One of them, the most important one actually in my opinion, is the food.

A thing that is much appreciated and more so when you are studying in the UK, the ‘Pasar Malam’ provides the North-East England region students a nostalgic feel of the food that has been largely missed. Ranging from nasi lemak, rendang chicken, chendol, milo The Play drinks (trust me, it’s not a big thing in the UK), roti canai to the more A theme of love, friendship and modern fascination of bubble sacrifice, Adnan Rahim brought us milk tea, the audience is spoiled a play that explores the flip side of with variety of food available. the Malaysian society that was less chronicled in most Malaysian plays. Art and Dance Performance The show of true grit, survival and dilemma-laden milieu of three un- Jeffri and the Jammers brought derworld characters, Jet Kee, Vicky us a truly memorable and emand Jallelah embarked on a journey powering performance in R’n’B, that will forever change their life. Pop and Soul style; an aweIt was a portrayal of the stratified some variety of songs that Masociety which Malaysians can rec- laysians can truly connect with.

Next up, we have the power couple of Rebecca Khoo and Machi Yu who brought us a string of Latin dances. Their display of a strong, solid yet flexible performance kept the crowd asking for more. The Orchid Chinese Dancing Group meanwhile brought us Chinese traditional dance that can be seen during Chinese cultural shows in Malaysia (and other parts of the world). It is a classy performance that is much appreciated which reminds us of the multi-cultural aspects of the Malaysian community. Last but not least, we have the North-East Malaysian Dance Crew bringing us a set of modern dances that is being endorsed by the youths of today. Bringing the energy and entertainment that gave the night a strong climax, the dances are greatly pacey and enthralling. The contemporary dances kept the audience truly entertained to the end.

The NUMed Times | Monday 6th May 2013


SPECIAL by Alvin Chua

Greetings from Durham, I’m Alvin Chua, a second year student of Ancient History and Archaeology at Durham University. As requested, here is an article on the North East Malaysian Night, which was held at the Northumbria Students Union on the 24th of March 2013. Basically, the event can be divided into 3 parts – the play, ‘pasar malam’, and more performances. The Play Adnan Rahim gives a uniquely Malaysian twist to the age-old tale of star-crossed lovers in "Beautiful Pretence". Two figures from diametrically opposed backgrounds are brought together by fate. A harmony of contradictions, or a recipe for disaster…? Jet Kee, a member of the notorious “Super Sepet 808” gang, meets Nur Ain, daughter of the “minister in charge of the state police”(if one ever existed). Love blossoms between the two (obviously). Alas, “The course of true love never did run smooth.” Jet is eventually caught in a dilemma, and has to decide between loyalty to the gang and love. I missed the ending, unfortunately (duty called), but I understand that the audience is left to guess whether Jet was killed or not. In a proper tragedy, he’d be dead. In all honesty, the play was not my cup of tea, though there were many who loved it. (A more thorough piece of writing on the play

will be on the DUMAS blog.) The ‘Pasar Malam’ From what I can tell, the ‘pasar malam’ was a great success. Great Malaysian food (When you’re in the UK, more so in Durham than Newcastle, ANY Malaysian food is likely to be great.) Perhaps the only thing lacking, atmosphere-wise, was the open-air setting. With the UK weather, though, you’d think twice before selling or indulging in ‘nasi lemak’ or ‘teh tarik’ outdoors. The pleasure soon turns to pressure, I can assure you. The Other Performances Unfortunately, the last train heading to Durham was the 2145 one, so quite a few Durhamites had to leave early. From what I’ve heard, though, the various performances were spectacular. One particular act (so I’ve been told), which involved female dancers, generated a vast amount excitement amongst the audience, so much so that, to quote a spectator (not in verbatim, but more or less) “I shout until my throat sore.” Well, there’s my take on the North East Malaysian Night in about 400 words. I hope you enjoyed reading it. P.S. Durham is pronounced “Darem” and not Dar-ham. (Try inserting the former into the ‘Pink Panther’ tune, if that helps.)


Monday 6th May 2013 | The NUMed Times

SPORTS by Benjamin Oh

NUMed Nukes: The First Strike

The NUMed Nukes

February 23rd, Saturday - It was a bright, sun-kissed morning when the basketball team of Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) arrived at Ibnu Sina Residential College, Universiti Malaya, for the Avicenna Inter-Medical Varsity Debate and Sports convention. A total of ten tertiary institutions were represented at the tournament, having sent teams of their best players. We fielded two teams of five players each, with three players on the court and two as substitutes.

to cheer their compatriots. The heat was up during the finals once the NUMed Nukes went up against Melaka Manipal Medical College (MMMC). It was truly a whole different ball game in every way—while our team threw in every modicum of effort and fought tooth and nail for the court, the “Our disappoint- opposition wasted no time in maximent was temmising the adpered by our sat- vantage of their isfaction at having larger physiques and their superior lost to a worthy shooting skills.

Avicenna Futsal

by Stephanie Teh

February 23rd, Saturday - A contingent of our compatriots left ISV in the middle of the night, sacrificing sleep for the privilege of representing NuMed in the Avicenna competition. Arriving at the crack of dawn in KL, the participants competed in futsal, debate and basketball against medical students from all over Malaysia. It was a day of immeasurable pride for Newcastle University students, where the participants still managed to score remarkable results despite it being only our second year in the competition. Both our male and female futsal teams had a fantastic run in the competition. The male team consisting of Sang Hoon, Mkuzi, Lutfi, Premjeet, Ali Ilhami, Izzudin, and Nazmi managed to secure second place, and were awarded with silver. The team members of the female team were Fairuz, Miza, Adila, Khausar, Naeimah,

Afnan, Meenakshi, and Siti Aisyah who managed to perform just as strongly coming in third place. Videos posted on the NUMed Students’ Facebook group showed the exhilaration when our boys won the semis in a penalty shootout where our goalkeeper saved a remarkable 2/5 of the opponents’ penalty shots. Naeimah has this to say about the entire competition: “It was definitely an honour to win for Newcastle. Even though it was [sic] third place but [sic] we are looking forward to become champions for NUMed one day.” Our brilliant results in in the futsal category were certainly a highlight of the day. Big congratulations to all the participants for showcasing the fine quality of the students at NUMed. We’re only going to greater heights from here on.

opponent; having given our best, we gained much experience in the process.”

Though we put up a valiant fight, MMMC gained the crown. Our With speed, teamdisapp ointment work, and fluid cowas tempered by ordination, our our satisfaction at players outmaneuvered the op- having lost to a worthy opponent; position and both teams gained having given our best, we gained a clear victory in the first round. much experience in the process. Things got complicated soon. We finished third out of One consequence of our dual ten—a worthy achievement. victory was that, as both teams Our team captain Gregory Low were in the same group, they summed it up that ‘we put up a good would have to confront each oth- fight, but we could have done better.’ er. Hence, only half of our players would proceed, and our team He acknowledged that the winmembers would have to now wage ning team was superior; howa ‘civil war’ against their comrades. ever, pleased with our first taste of success, he is confident conNevertheless, our Team Captain, sistent training and committed Gregory Low, was adamant that we effort will carry our team much put up a good fight regardless, with further on our next attempt. no holding back; sportsmanship and fair play were more impor- We boarded the bus that evening, tant than any tactical advantage weary but satisfied. We had shown we would gain from ‘choosing’ our spirit on that court, and our perwinning team before the match. formance put NUMed on the map. With more committed training The team led by our cap- and effort, we hope that our next tain emerged victorious to en- attempt the coming year will also ter the next stage, as the other put NUMed on the prize podium. team retreated to the sidelines

Top: Feamle Futsal team Bottom: Male Futsal team together with NUMed Debate team

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