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MMSA (14)

HealthFest is one of the Malta Medical Students Association’s (MMSA) biggest annual events. Its aim is to celebrate our health with the general public and promote and overall healthy lifestyle.

The theme of this year’s HealthFest is: „Health; Our Greatest Wealth“. This year’s event starts off on the 18th and 20th of March at the University of Malta, where students are encouraged to participate in interactive competitions involving physical activity, where they could have the chance to win great prizes. They may also take part in leisurely activities from which all proceeds will go to Puttinu Cares. Also, students can have their blood pressure, blood glucose and BMI measured, and also have the opportunity to become organ donors.

On the 19th of March, being a Public Holiday, a competition is going to be organized in the limits of Rabat, Dingli and Buskett, where students team up to take part in a walk in the Maltese countryside, with health-oriented challenges along the way. This serves as a fun way to spend a day off outdoors and empowering their knowledge about public health issues.

HealthFest reaches its peak on the final day, on Saturday the 21st of March, where the celebrations are moved to the De Valette Square in Valletta, to target the general public. Apart from our usual free blood glucose, blood pressure and BMI testing, the public also has the opportunity to get to know more about our various health campaigns, held all year round. OS4U, a supplier of healthy food products will also be present to promote their products to the public, especially targeted to those with specific food requirements. An interactive Taekwondo demonstration will also take place to promote the sport and encourage people to enrol and promote physical activity. A children’s area will also be present for children to learn more about their health.

Between the 16th and 21st of March, a „Healthy Lifestyles Conference is also taking place. The conference involves daily 2-hour sessions (excluding the 19th of March), where participants get to know more about different health issues, the governments‘ position on these issues and debate together what can be done regarding these issues. A policy paper will then be drafted from the outcome of these sessions, which will be presented on the final day of the conference.


The topics will be as follows:
16th March - Alcohol and Substance Abuse
17th March - Smoking ·
18th March - Youth Pregnancies ·
20th March - Mental Health and the Youth ·
21st March - Life is Worth Living – A Youth’s Perspective to a Healthy Life.


The sessions between the 16th and 20th of March will take place at the University of Malta Campus, while the last session will take place at the De Valette Square. Apart from presenting a policy paper, the MMSA is also presenting another project which has been initiated this term.

 

Wednesday, 04 February 2015 21:00

Truly Restless & Daring Seminar

Written by

Rachel Gatt First Year Medical Student

The Malta Medical Students' Association is closely observing developments in the discussion on the proposed changes in the legal age of consent for sexual activities in Malta.
As the leading body representing all the medical students studying in our island, the MMSA recognises the social changes which the Maltese community is going through. This recognition is further strengthened by our continuous contact with patients and with the medical profession.

Friday, 19 December 2014 21:20

My Experience in the MMSA

Written by

Gianluca Fava

Gabriel J. Ellul

Thursday, 02 October 2014 19:58

What is Epilepsy?

Written by


Epilepsy is a neurological condition characterized by a continuing predisposition to generate epileptic seizures; it may be diagnosed after at least two unprovoked seizures (not caused by a known medical condition such as very low blood sugar) occurring more than 24 hours apart or after one unprovoked seizure if a person has a condition that places him/her at risk of having further seizures.

By Amy Chircop, 

Reviewer: Dr. Justine Farrugia Preca 

First described by Sato et al. in 1990 in Japan, Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy (TCM) is a cardiac phenomenon where the patient presents with features of acute coronary syndrome in the absence of obstructive coronary artery disease1.
Although not frequently encountered, TCM may be responsible for up to1-2% of admission for acute coronary syndromes in industrialised countries2. Patients present mainly with abrupt onset of chest pain and dyspnoea, and are admitted to hospital where a workup for acute coronary syndrome is usually started. In the majority of patients with TCM, initial investigations point towards an ischemic event, with characteristic ECG changes such as ST segment elevation and T wave inversion, further supported with increased cardiac biomarkers: Troponin T and Troponin I3. However, on echocardiography, there is characteristic hypokinesia or akinesia of mid-segment and apex of the left ventricle extending beyond the distribution of any single coronary artery (See Fig 1). This is confirmed by a coronary angiography which shows intact coronary arteries and characteristic apical ballooning, and a left ventriculography which shows characteristic wall motion and reduced ejection fraction4. Guidelines have been developed by Kawai et al. which give 4 diagnostic criteria which the patient must meet in order to be diagnosed with TCM5. These include:


  • Transient hypokinesia, dyskinesia, or akinesia of the left ventricular mid-segments, with or without apical involvement; the regional wall-motion abnormalities extend beyond a single epicardial vascular distribution, and a stressful trigger is often, but not always, present
  • Absence of obstructive coronary disease or angiographic evidence of acute plaque rupture
  • New electrocardiographic abnormalities (either ST-segment elevation and/or T-wave inversion) or modest elevation in cardiac troponin level
  • Absence of pheochromocytoma or myocarditis


The aetiology of TCM has been linked to multivessel coronary artery spasm, impaired cardiac microvascular function, impaired myocardial fatty acid metabolism, acute coronary syndrome with reperfusion injury, and endogenous catecholamine-induced myocardial stunning and microinfarction6. The vast majority of cases have been reported to occur after a severely stressful or emotional event or else with other physical stressors such as trauma, surgery, severe hypoglycemia or asthma; events which result in a high surge of adrenaline release. In fact, studies have shown that patients diagnosed with TCM have a higher level of cathecholamines than patients with myocardial infarction7. The apex of the left ventricle has the highest portion of sympathetic innervation hence this might explain why this phenomenon predominantly affects this region of the heart8.
The greater number of patients diagnosed with TCM are post-menopausal women, and interestingly a study by Pilgrim et al. done in 2008 found that patients with TCM have a lower incidence of cardiac risk factors such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia and diabetes4. TCM is a transient condition and left ventricular function is regained within 7 to 37 days. Initial management should be that for acute coronary syndrome due to the identical presentation and due to the fact that initial investigations are unable to differentiate between the two9. If the patient is haemodynamically unstable, then intra-aortic balloon pump counterpulsation is recommended. There are no current randomized control trials about the chronic management of TCM, however treatment with beta-blockers appears beneficial by preventing excessive sympathetic activation10.



References
1. Satoh H, Tateishi H, Uchida T, Dote K, Ishihara M. Takotsubo-type cardiomyopathy due to multivessel spasm. Clinical Aspect of Myocardial Injury: From Ischemia to Heart Failure. Tokyo: Kagakuhyouronsya Co., 1990: 56-64.
2. Banning AP. Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy. BMJ 2010; 340:1272
3. Jain SKA, Larsen TR, Sougiyyeh A, David SW. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy: reversible stress-induced cardiac insult- a stress protective mechanism. Am J Cardiovasc Dis. 2013; 3(1):53-59.
4. Pilgrim TM, Wyss TR. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or transient left ventricular apical ballooning syndrome: A systematic review. Int J Cardiol. 2008; 124 (3):283-292.
5. Kawai S, Kitabatake A, Tomoike H. Guidelines for diagnosis of takotsubo (ampulla) cardiomyopathy. Circ J. 2007;71(6)990-992
6. Afonso L, Bachour K, Awad K, Sandidge G. Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy: pathogenic insights and myocardial perfusion kinetics using myocardial contrast echocardiography. Eur J Echocardiogr. 2008; 9(6):849-854.
7. Buchholz S, Rudan G. Tako-tsubo syndrome on the rise: a review of the current literature. Postgrad Med J. 2007;83(978):261-264.
8. Dorfman TA, Iskandrian AE. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy: State-of-the-art review. J Nucl Cardiol. 2009;16(1):122-134
9. Kolkebeck TE, Contant CL, Krasuski RA. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy: an unusual syndrome mimicking an ST- elevation myocardial infarction. Am J Emerg Med. 2007;25(1):92-95.
10. Palacek T, Kuchynka P, Linhart A. Treatment of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Current Pharm Des. 2010; 16(26):2905-2909.


The Malta Medical Students' Association (MMSA) wishes to express its concern for the news regarding the setting up of a new Barts medical school in Gozo.
The MMSA welcomes the fact that Barts Medical School is known for its excellence in the teaching of medicine and surgery and agrees that it would be an asset to the country's teaching resources.

Shafia Khanum, Dr Azra Pachenari (Middlesex University, London) 

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Highlights

  • Postgrad course on exercise as medicine is being proposed

    Dear prospective applicant,

    A proposal for a postgrad course on physical activity (PA) as a therapy for non-communicable diseases is currently being evaluated. Hereunder, a two-question survey is being forwarded for your attention in order to assess whether the idea sounds appealable or not.

    Proposed award

    M.Sc in Therapeutic Physical Activity (TPA), with postgrad certificate (PgC) and postgrad diploma (PgD) exit routes

    Proposed specialisation titles[1]

    Holders of PgC, TPA can claim the title of: ‘Clinical exercise prescriber’.

    Holders of PgD, TPA can claim the titles of: ‘Advanced exercise prescriber’ or ‘Clinical and public health exercise prescriber’.

    Holders of M.Sc, TPA can claim the title of: ‘Physical activity - health specialist’.

    Are you sure you know why physical activity is so important?

    Everyone is aware that physical inactivity is a major health concern but, do you know that through the right type of exercise you can prevent or treat at least 35 chronic conditions? In 2007 the American College of Sports Medicine officially declared an important statement: ‘Exercise is medicine’. Moreover, health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA) is important in today’s world not only in view of improving health and wellbeing but also for its economic values. For example, a lifestyle intervention involving 150 minutes of weekly PA was scientifically shown to be significantly more effective than the administration of metformin.

    Possibilities of further career development in exercise prescription

    Exercise prescription, that is, being qualified to professionally recommend the right type of exercise for health does not stop on a one-to-one basis. Do you think you are qualified to: (a) conduct research on PA interventions, and (b) develop, implement and evaluate community or population programmes involving PA strategies? Unfortunately, many wide-scale programmes that are implemented undergo no evaluation to determine how they have worked or what their effects may be. Have you ever imagined the possibility of attending a tertiary course which would be designed to: (a) give you the ability to design a project for the generation of new knowledge and be able to publish it internationally, or (b) train you on how to evaluate wide-scale interventions and how to apply strategies to sustain their continuities?


    A glimpse of the proposed programme of studies

    Intended for:

    The programme of studies is aimed at a wide and diverse cohort of students wishing to pursue any careers in HEPA sectors mainly: exercise prescription; health promotion (policies and practice); general health and fitness industry; and to further their studies (e.g. PhD). It can also serve as an adjunct to enrich one’s knowledge of his / her established profession or career. Examples include: medical practitioners; pharmacists; nurses; physiotherapists; nutritionists; public health specialists; sport medicine specialists; sport psychologists; teachers of physical education (PE); coaches; gym instructors; and personal trainers. Fitness and sport enthusiasts are also encouraged to apply.

    Duration:

    Three years part-time leading to an M.Sc in PA as an effective therapy, with postgrad certificate and postgrad diploma exit routes after the first and second years respectively.

    Mode of delivery:

    Seventy per cent will be delivered online and the rest of the thought units will be offered on a once weekly two-hour evening basis starting at 18.00hrs.

    Admission criteria:

    You should provide evidence of higher educational qualification(s) - normally, a diploma or a degree related to health and / or PA / sport. An award in PE is also ideal. Mature students without these basic qualifications would be required to present evidence of experience related to PA and health.

    Mode of assessment:

    Units will be assessed through the submission of coursework. These will vary from short assessments to long essays. If you would like to progress at Masters’ level, a traditional dissertation or paper in the format for journal publication and a final presentation (in the form of slides or poster) of your research findings will have to be undertaken.

    Round-up

    Unlike other under- and postgrad courses which only cover a fraction from the whole science of HEPA, this comprehensive programme of studies would lead to a specialization specifically on TPA. For careers in promotion, prescription and research of PA, the proposed programme of studies is a must.

    Important notice

    All the above information is subject to change and would eventually have to be approved by the Programme Validation Committee of the University of Malta. Needless to say, your feedback in the next two questions is extremely important.

    Yours in health & exercise,

    Charles Micallef B.Pharm (Hons), M.Sc PAPH (Staff)                                                8th August 2017

    The two questions hereunder.

    1. In view of the above information, would you be interested in applying for this particular postgrad course leading to a specialisation in physical activity with respect to health, that is, a qualification that gives you the right to prescribe exercise for health, even at population levels?

    Yes or No: 

    1. What would you change from or suggest to what is being proposed?

    Please state your name & surname:

    Your current job / profession:

    Please save your changes and forward your reply to Charles Micallef on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.


    [1] In order to professionally recommend exercise for health, you may need to be registered in the appropriate regulatory board and be in possession of a warrant to operate with the respective titles.

    University of Malta

    Written on August 19, 2017
  • Take up the Creative Challenge and win with Servier!

    servier challenge

     

    Interested in helping us explain to patients the pathophysiology of Chronic Venous Disease whilst also learning more about it  yourself? Join the group by clicking the link below for further info!

    Written on April 27, 2017 Read more...

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