Volume 5, Issue 2

  • 2020, April

    original research

    Alcohol Consumption Patterns and Associated Risk Behaviors in Three Ethnic Groups of Malaysian MillennialsOpen Access

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    Abstract [+]

    Objectives

    To gain further insights into factors associated with harmful alcohol consumption patterns and other associated behaviours among Malaysians millennials.

    Methods

    The United States Centre for Disease, Control, and Prevention (CDC) Youth Risk Behaviour Survey was adapted and translated into Bahasa Malaysia language. The self-administered questionnaire collected information on socio-demographic characteristics and risk behaviours associated with alcohol consumption. Multi-facet sampling was used to recruit participants across six sites in the Klang Valley, Malaysia. There were 326 respondents: 103 Malays, 111 Chinese and 112 Indians; with 171 (52%) male and 155 (48%) female.

    Results

    Mean age of the respondents was 21-years. Twenty percent of the millennials surveyed were binge consumers: 79% of binge drinkers were male. More than half (54%) of the binge drinkers were Indians followed by Chinese at 39% and Malays at 8%. Binge consumers were at increased odds (OR=7.58: 95% CI=3.88-14.80) of driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and at increased odds (OR=6.88: 95% CI=3.40-13.90) of being driven by someone drunk. Those who were binge drinkers were also at higher odds than non-drinkers of being forced into sexual intercourse (OR=3.16: 95% CI=1.25-7.97) or other sexual acts (OR=3.84: 95% CI=1.74-8.47). Binge drinkers were also more prone to smoking compared to current drinkers (OR=10.82 9% CI=4.85-24.12).

    Conclusion

    Binge consumption among millennials was associated with a myriad of behavioural risk factors and harmful alcohol-related consequences. Multiple strategic approaches are needed that address respective cultural norms, enhancement of millennials socialisation and engagement skills within communities to improve the efficacy of preventive interventions.

    Keywords

    Alcohol; Communities; Malaysia; Risky behaviours; Social; Youth.


  • 2020, June

    original research

    Targeting Bacterial Biofilms Using Probiotics and Medicinal Plant Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion) Extract: A Comparative StudyOpen Access

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    Introduction

    Biofilms are a significant threat to public health as they form on medical devices, wastewater pipes, human tissue, and stagnant water bodies. The primary reason biofilms are hard to combat is the bacterial interactions that take place within the biofilm through quorum sensing (QS), a form of cell-to-cell communication that plays a crucial role in the formation of biofilms. The QS controls biofilm formation to increase cooperation and stabilize the biofilm and increased interactions between the bacterial cells, make the biofilms harder to destroy. The aggregates of cells in the biofilm are not susceptible to drugs. The slow dividing cells are less susceptible to antibiotics.

    Objectives

    The aim of this comparative study is to research the potential and effectiveness of treatments to combat the growth of biofilm formed by Escherichia coli and Enterobacter aerogenes by using two approaches: medicinal plant extract of Taraxacum officinale and probiotics.

    Methodology

    This was a comparative study in which bacterial biofilms of E. coli and E. aerogenes were grown. Each biofilm was treated with a probiotic solution or Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) extract. The effectiveness of each treatment was measured through zones of isolation.

    Results

    A standard t-test was run to compare the results of two groups of means for each bacteria. For E. aerogenes, the probiotic solution was more effective than dandelion extract with a t-value of 5.5 and a p-value of 0.0003, which is less than a p-value of 0.05. For E. coli, the probiotic solution was more effective than dandelion extract with a t-value of 6.5, and the p-value is less than 0.05. Results show that the probiotics treatment was more effective in destroying the biofilms than the Taraxacum officinale extract, but both treatments showed effective bactericidal properties.

    Conclusion

    Data from the trials were compared to traditional antibiotics for each of the bacteria, E. coli and E. aerogenes. These two methods of destruction are possible solutions to the threat the biofilms pose. If these research methods prove to be effective, they will be instrumental in combating the biofilms that lead to complications. These are promising solutions for reverting the threat that biofilms pose to public health and ecosystems.

    Keywords

    Bacteria; Biofilms; Extract; Public health; Quorum sensing.


  • 2020, June

    mini review

    Improving Health Equity for Black Communities in the Face of Coronavirus Disease-2019Open Access

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    Abstract [+]

    The impact of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S. to date is staggering and Blacks across the country are being infected and dying at rates far in excess of Whites. Although health disparities have been part of America’s reality for decades, the pandemic has exposed the failure of the healthcare system to adequately serve minority patients. There are immediate solutions that can help to balance the inequity now and position us well for the future. Five suggested solutions are described which focus on greater inclusion of Blacks in activities such as clinical trials, encouraging community-based resources and providing comprehensive racial data on COVID-19 cases. We are not all in the fight against COVID-19 together. Solutions must be adopted to help to address the current disparities now as well as beyond the immediate crisis.

    Keywords

    Health disparities; COVID-19; Minorities; Health equity; Black communities.