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Pursuing a targeted dream specialty and a research career: Opinions and observations from a fifth-year medical student’s perspective

Letter to Editor
  • Gehad Mohamed Tawfik,
  • Pages 1-4

With our fast-pacing life, numerous learning and scientific sources and information are available and required for medical students to boost their skills since their early life to accommodate with the great knowledge they take. Medical students should re-elaborate what they studied and exploit knowledge clinically. A good doctor is a good observer, so eyes should be kept on while mentor managing patients in order to add more to our medical notions. A seed to become a great future doctor starts by searching for a specialty that fits your personality, to practice it as a volunteer, to gain its skills earlier. So when you graduate, you have more time to gain other learning experience. As long as you practice it, the more chance to become one of its experts. Managing your patient as a relative, not as a bag of money, is very important to be applied. Inability to diagnose a patient is not a shame, so never let a patient go home without referring him to another doctor who has more experience than you. Having a background in other medical specialties will help you recognize common signs of other related medical conditions that could lead you to refer him to right specialty doctor. Joining a research lab will keep you updated with new inventions, drugs, algorithms, and guidelines, which will help you become more acknowledged with medical problems that you were unaware of. Time management is the key to success as a researcher without affecting your daily life activities and study requirements.

Graphical abstract

Translation and cross-cultural adaptation of the Vietnamese version of the Diabetes Distress Scale

Original Research
  • Ong Phuc Thinh, Huynh Ngoc Van Anh, Do Thanh Tung, To Gia Kien,
  • Pages 5-11

Background: The Diabetes Distress Scale (DDS) is a valid instrument to measure diabetes distress included in American Diabetes Association and Canadian Diabetes Association guidelines but not available in Vietnamese. This study translated and culturally adapted the DDS to assess diabetes distress of Vietnamese type 2 diabetics and evaluated its internal consistency, face and content validity.

Methods: The translation process followed standard guidelines for adaptation of an instrument: forward translation, back translation, synthesis, evaluation by an expert panel and pretest. The expert panel included three English specialists as linguistic experts and six content experts in multidisciplinary areas relevant to the study. The pretest was conducted on a sample of 31 type 2 diabetics in the Endocrinology outpatient clinic at Trung Vuong hospital. Content validity was determined based on experts’ concurrence using content validity index for items (I-CVI). Face validity is assessed by participants in pretest. Internal consistency was measured using Cronbach’s alpha.

Results: Final version was equivalent with the original English version and easy to understand. I-CVI of 17 items were 1.00 in linguistic experts and greater than 0.83 in content experts. All 31 participants involved in the pretest commented that the items were very clear and acceptable regarding their socioeconomic background. Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was 0.76 – 0.93 for each subscale and 0.94 for the overall.

Conclusion: Vietnamese version of the DDS was reliable, face and content-valid to assess diabetes distress in type 2 diabetics among Vietnamese.

Graphical abstract

Directed Acyclic Graphs: Alternative tool for causal inference in epidemiology and biostatistics research and teaching

Review
  • Tran Ngoc Dang, Khuong Quynh Long, Huynh Thi Hong Tram, Le Huynh Thi Cam Hong, Tuan Minh Vo,
  • Pages 12-16
  • 27/10/2018
  • 162
  • 723
  • Free

The issue of causation is one of the major challenges for epidemiologists who aim to understand the association between an exposure and an outcome to explain disease patterns and potentially provide a basis for intervention. Suitably designed experimental studies can offer robust evidence of the causal relationships. The experimental studies, however, are not popular, difficult or even unethical and impossible to conduct; it would be desirable if there is a methodology for reducing bias or strengthening the causal inferences drawn from observational studies. The traditional approach of estimating causal effects in such studies is to adjust for a set of variables judged to be confounders by including them in a multiple regression. However, which variables should be adjusted for as confounders in a regression model has long been a controversial issue in epidemiology. From my observation, the adjustments using only "statistical artifacts" methods such as the p-value<0.2 in univariate analysis, stepwise (forward/backward) are widely used in research and teaching in Epidemiology and Statistics but without appropriated notice on the biological or clinical relationships between exposure and outcome which may induce the bias in estimating causal effects. In this mini-review, we introduce an interesting method, namely Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs), which can be used to reduce the bias in estimating causal effects; it is also a good application for Epidemiology and Biostatistics teaching.

Graphical abstract

Endoscopic submucosal dissection by using Clutch cutter and IT knife 2 for early gastric cancer with severe submucosal fibrosis: a case report

Case Study
  • Le Quang Nhan, Mai Vien Phuong, Le Quang Nghia,
  • Pages 17-21

Introduction: Gastric cancer is one of the highly malignant gastrointestinal cancers and the third leading cause of cancer death. In the last decade, early gastric cancer (EGC) has been reported by using narrow-band imaging (NBI) magnifying endoscopy. Advances in endoscopic techniques, such as endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD), have enabled the en bloc resection of these EGC. Although ESD is performed for early gastric cancer, there are still many difficult problems in technique of this procedure. The difficulty of gastric ESD depends on the size and location of a tumor, presence of severe submucosal fibrosis, presence of ulceration... We report a case of our successful ESD by using Clutch cutter and IT knife 2 in treatment of EGC with severe submucosal fibrosis.

Case presentation: A 62-year-old man felt an epigastric discomfort two months ago. The narrow-band imaging (NBI) magnifying endoscopy revealed a suspected early gastric cancer type 0 - IIa + IIc (Japanese classification of early gastrointestinal cancers) at the incisura angularis, the size of this lesion was 15 mm in diameter, and pathological result of endoscopic biopsy was a well-differentiated adenocarcinoma. ESD was performed and we found there was severe submucosal fibrosis which was dissected safer and faster by using Clutch cutter and IT knife 2. There were no complications such as severe bleeding and perforation. The size of resected specimen was 60 x 35 mm and the time of procedure was 150 minutes. After ESD, the pathological result was a well differentiated adenocarcinoma, pT1a, UL(-), LY(-), V(-), no cancer cell in vertical and horizontal margins. The healing time of ESD-induced ulcer was 5 weeks without local recurrence.

Conclusion: Through this case, we aim to emphasize the importance of using Clutch cutter and IT knife 2 as a modified technique which makes ESD a safe procedure in treatment of EGC with severe submucosal fibrosis.

Graphical abstract

Budd-Chiari syndrome due to segmental obstruction of the inferior vena cava successfully managed with endovascular stenting

Case Study
  • Vo Pham Phuong Uyen, Quach Trong Duc, Dang Minh Luan, Luu Hieu Thao, Nguyen Dinh Luan,
  • Pages 22-26

Budd–Chiari syndrome (BCS), a rare and life-threatening disorder due to hepatic venous outflow obstruction, is occasionally associated with hypoproteinemia. We herein report the first case of BCS with segmental obstruction of the intrahepatic portion of inferior vena cava (IVC) and hepatic veins (HVs) successfully treated by endovascular stenting in Vietnam. A 32-year-old female patient presented with a 2-month history of massive ascites and leg swelling. She refused history of oral contraceptives use. Hepatosplenomegaly without tenderness was noted. Laboratory data showed polycythemia, mild hypoalbuminemia and hypoproteinemia, slightly high total bilirubin and normal transaminase level. The serum ascites albumin gradient was 1.9 g/dL and ascitic protein level was 1.1 g/dL. The other data were normal. BCS was suspected because of the discrepancy between mild liver failure and massive ascites; and the presence of hepatosplenomegaly and polycythemia. On abdominal magnetic resonance imaging, the segmental obstruction of three HVs and IVC was 2-3 cm long without thrombus. Cavogram revealed the severe segmental stenosis of intrahepatic portion of IVC with no visualized HV and extensive collateral veins. A Protégé stent was deployed to IVC. Leg swelling and ascites were completely resolved within 3 days after stenting. During 1-year follow-up, edema was not recurred and repeated laboratory results were all normal.

Graphical abstract

Effect of fluid bolus triggers and their combination on fluid responsiveness in optimization phase of severe sepsis and septic shock resuscitation

Original Research
  • Le Huu Thien Bien, Huynh Quang Dai, Mai Anh Tuan, Phan Vu Anh Minh, Pham Thi Ngoc Thao, Do Quoc Huy, Tuan Minh Vo, Dang Van Phuoc,
  • Pages 27-32

Objectives: to evaluate the fluid responsiveness according to fluid bolus triggers and their combination in severe sepsis and septic shock.

Design: observational study.

Patients and Methods: patients with severe sepsis and septic shock who already received fluid after rescue phase of resuscitation. Fluid bolus (FB) was prescribed upon perceived hypovolemic manifestations: low central venous pressure (CVP), low blood pressure, tachycardia, low urine output (UOP), hyperlactatemia. FB was performed by Ringer lactate 500 ml/30 min and responsiveness was defined by increasing in stroke volume (SV) ≥15%.

Results: 84 patients were enrolled, among them 30 responded to FB (35.7%). Demographic and hemodynamic profile before fluid bolus were similar between responders and non-responders, except CVP was lower in responders (7.3 ± 3.4 mmHg vs 9.2 ± 3.6 mmHg) (p 0.018). Fluid response in low CVP, low blood pressure, tachycardia, low UOP, hyperlactatemia were 48.6%, 47.4%, 38.5%, 37.0%, 36.8% making the odd ratio (OR) of these triggers were 2.81 (1.09-7.27), 1.60 (0.54-4.78), 1.89 (0.58-6.18), 1.15 (0.41-3.27) and 1.27 (0.46-3.53) respectively. Although CVP < 8 mmHg had a higher response rate, the association was not consistent at lower cut-offs. The combination of these triggers appeared to raise fluid response but did not reach statistical significance: 26.7% (1 trigger), 31.0% (2 triggers), 35.7% (3 triggers), 55.6% (4 triggers), 100% (5 triggers).

Conclusions: fluid responsiveness was low in optimization phase of resuscitation. No fluid bolus trigger was superior to the others in term of providing a higher responsiveness, their combination did not improve fluid responsiveness as well.

Graphical abstract

Antitumor-Promoting Effect of Ethanolic Extract from Leaves of Perilla frutescens var. crispa (Benth.) In Mouse Skin

Original Research
  • Vuu Thanh Tu Quyen, Huynh Ngoc Thuy, Ha Minh Hien, Huynh Ngoc Trinh,
  • Pages 33-40

This study aimed to investigate the antitumor-promoting effects of total ethanolic extract from Perilla leaf (PLE) in a two-stage chemical carcinogenesis protocol in mice. Quantitative analysis active compounds in PLE were performed by thin layer chromatography with normal phase of silica gel F254 and HPLC-PDA with reversed phase of C18 column at UV 300 nm. The cutaneous tumors were initiated by a single application by 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) on the dorsal shaved skin, then promoted by repeated applications of croton oil during 20 weeks. PLE was topically applied daily until the end of the experiment. The results observed from thin layer chromatogram highlighted the presence of rosmarinic acid and luteolin in PLE. By means of HPLC-PDA analysis, the total content of rosmarinic acid and luteolin were found in amounts of 1.178 ± 0.011 % (w/w) and 0.105 ± 0.001 % (w/w), respectively. The PLE-treated group prolonged the latency period of tumor appearance up to 2 weeks and also significantly reduced tumor volume in dorsal skin of mice as compared to untreated group. In conclusion, the total ethanolic extract from leaves of Perilla frutescens demonstrated promising antitumor-promotion activity in mouse skin.

Graphical abstract