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Concept: House of Saud


The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of admissions criteria at King Saud University (KSU), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to predict students' early academic performance at three health science colleges (medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy). A retrospective cohort study was conducted with data from the records of students enrolled in the three colleges from the 2008-09 to 2010-11 academic years. The admissions criteria-high school grade average (HSGA), aptitude test (APT) score, and achievement test (ACT) score-were the independent variables. The dependent variable was the average of students' first- and second-year grade point average (GPA). The results showed that the ACT was a better predictor of the students' early academic performance than the HSGA (β=0.368, β=0.254, respectively). No significant relationship was found between the APT and students' early academic performance (β=-0.019, p>0.01). The ACT was most predictive for pharmacy students (β=0.405), followed by dental students (β =0.392) and medical students (β=0.195). Overall, the current admissions criteria explained only 25.5% of the variance in the students' early academic performance. While the ACT and HSGA were found to be predictive of students' early academic performance in health colleges at KSU, the APT was not a strong predictor. Since the combined current admissions criteria for the health science colleges at KSU were weak predictors of the variance in early academic performance, it may be necessary to consider noncognitive evaluation methods during the admission process.

Concepts: Cohort study, Evaluation methods, Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, House of Saud, Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, King Saud University, Aptitude



During March-May 2014, a Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreak occurred in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, that included many persons who worked or received medical treatment at King Fahd General Hospital. We investigated 78 persons who had laboratory-confirmed MERS during March 2-May 10 and documented contact at this hospital. The 78 persons with MERS comprised 53 patients, 16 healthcare workers, and 9 visitors. Among the 53 patients, the most probable sites of acquisition were the emergency department (22 patients), inpatient areas (17), dialysis unit (11), and outpatient areas (3). Infection control deficiencies included limited separation of suspected MERS patients, patient crowding, and inconsistent use of infection control precautions; aggressive improvements in these deficiencies preceded a decline in cases. MERS coronavirus transmission probably was multifocal, occurring in multiple hospital settings. Continued vigilance and strict application of infection control precautions are necessary to prevent future MERS outbreaks.

Concepts: Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, United Arab Emirates, Middle East, Jordan, House of Saud, Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, Fahd of Saudi Arabia


BACKGROUND: The role of vitamin D in breast cancer prevention is equivocal. Saudi Arabian women may be at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency because of a darker skin type and a greater likelihood of reduced ultraviolet B radiation exposure. Data regarding the vitamin D status of Saudi Arabian women and its relation to breast cancer risk are lacking. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this research was to evaluate the association between circulating concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] and breast cancer risk in Saudi Arabian women. DESIGN: A case-control study was conducted among 120 breast cancer cases and 120 controls. The study population was drawn from patients admitted to King Fahd Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from June to August 2009. Participants completed questionnaires on diet and medical history, and serum samples were collected from all women to measure circulating 25(OH)D concentrations. RESULTS: The participants had a mean age of 47.8 y and a mean body mass index (BMI; in kg/m(2)) of 30.0. Breast cancer cases had significantly lower (mean ± SD) serum concentrations of 25(OH)D (9.4 ± 6.4 ng/mL) than did controls (15.4 ± 12.3 ng/mL; P = 0.001). In comparison with those in the highest category of vitamin D status for this population (≥20 ng/mL), the adjusted ORs (95% CIs) for invasive breast cancer were 6.1 (2.4, 15.1) for women with a serum 25(OH)D concentration <10 ng/mL and 4.0 (1.6, 10.4) for women with a serum concentration of ≥10 to <20 ng/mL (P-trend = 0.0001). CONCLUSION: An inverse association exists between serum 25(OH)D concentrations and breast cancer risk in Saudi Arabian women. This trial was registered at as NCT01817231.

Concepts: Vitamin D, Cancer, Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, House of Saud, Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, Fahd of Saudi Arabia


To assess hospital emergency nurses' self-reported knowledge, role awareness and skills in disaster response with respect to the Hajj mass gathering in Mecca.

Concepts: Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Riyadh, Mecca, Jeddah, House of Saud, Medina, Masjid al-Haram


Low Back Pain (LBP) is the commonest musculoskeletal disorder and an important occupational hazard among healthcare workers (HCWs) that peaks among Operating Room (OR) staff. This cross-sectional study aimed to assess the prevalence, characteristics, and risk factors of low back pain among operating room (OR) staff in a tertiary healthcare center in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

Concepts: Medicine, Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Riyadh, Mecca, Tertiary referral hospital, Jeddah, House of Saud


BACKGROUND: To determine hand hygiene compliance before and after an intervention campaign in critical care units, this study was carried out in the Intensive care unit (ICU), Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), Burns unit (BU) and the Kidney unit of the King Abdul Aziz Specialist Hospital, Taif, Saudi Arabia. The observation using the WHO hand hygiene protocol took place in four phases with phase I, between April 24-May 06 2010 and phase II from May 29-June 09 2010. An educational intervention took place between the Phases I and II. Follow-up Phases III and IV were from 01–15 October 2010 and 15–30 March 2011 respectively. FINDINGS: 1,975 hand hygiene opportunities comprising of 409 in Phase I, 406 in Phase II, 620 in Phase III and 540 Phase IV were observed. Compliance rate was 67% pre-intervention, 81% in phase II, declining to 59% and 65% in phases III and IV. Increased compliance in the ICU from 39% in Phase I to 81% in Phase IV (p < 0.05) was sustained throughout the study. Highest compliance rates were recorded among nurses in all phases. The improved compliance for physicians observed in the post-intervention phase was lost in follow-up phases. Missed opportunities for hand hygiene were before patient contact, after touching patient's surrounding and before aseptic techniques. Team-work and leadership were identified as enhancing factors for compliance. CONCLUSION: The WHO hand hygiene strategy combined with health education, continuous evaluation and team approach resulted in increased compliance but this was not sustained in certain critical care areas.

Concepts: Health, Intensive care medicine, Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Mecca, World Health Organization, Neonatal intensive care unit, House of Saud


BACKGROUND Brain training games (BTG) are believed to play a major role in improving cognitive functions. The current study evaluated if BTG showed positive impact on attention and memory functions compared with baseline visit in healthy subjects. MATERIAL AND METHODS The study was carried out from October 2015 until April 2016 in the Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, King Saud University and in King Khalid University Hospital (KKUH), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. We enrolled 51 normal healthy subjects to use a computerized cognitive training game (Lumosity) for exercises that target a range of cognitive functions, including attention, processing speed, visual memory, and executive functions for about 15 min per day, at least 7 days per week, for 3 weeks. The control (n=21) group did not perform the training. Both groups took the CANTAB test before and 3 weeks after training for various cognitive functions (flexibility, memory, attention, speed, and problem solving). Serum samples were used to study the brain-derived growth factor (BDNF) and apolipoprotein (Apo) E (APOE) levels. RESULTS A significant improvement in Lumosity performance index was observed in the active group compared to the control group by the end of training (p-value 0.001). After the training, a statistically significant difference in most of the CANTAB measures, such as attention-switching task (AST), mean correct latency, AST switching cost, AST mean correct latency (congruent), AST mean correct latency (incongruent), AST mean correct latency (blocks 3 and 5) [non-switching blocks], AST mean correct latency (block 7) [switching block], and MOT mean correct latency (all P=0.000). However, in the control group, significant improvements were not observed. A positive correlation between pattern recognition memory (PRM) and APOE was found and people who had higher ApoE levels had faster response. CONCLUSIONS An improvement in different cognitive domains was noted, including attention and motor speed. However, this study warrants further research to determine the long-term effect on other cognitive functions and in different groups (e.g., elderly vs. adults).

Concepts: Psychology, Statistics, Cognitive psychology, Cognition, Memory, Saudi Arabia, Cognitive neuroscience, House of Saud


ABSTRACTFor this study, we adapted the Montgomery Borgatta Caregiver Burden Scale, used widely in the United States, to the Saudi Arabian context. To produce an Arabic, culturally sensitive version of the scale, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 Saudi family caregivers. The Arabic version of the scale was tested, and participants were asked to comment on the appropriateness of items for the construct of “caregiver burden” using the repertory grid technique and laddering procedure - two constructivist methods derived from personal construct theory. From interview findings, we examined the content of the items and the caregiver burden construct itself. Our findings suggest that the use of constructivist methods to refine constructs and quantitative instruments is highly informative. This strategy is feasible even when little is known about the investigated constructs in the target culture and further elucidates our understanding of cross-cultural variations or invariance of different versions of the scale.

Concepts: United States, Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Mecca, Yemen, Iraq, House of Saud, Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia


To investigate the etiologies and outcomes of rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis (RPGN) in pediatric patients at King Abdulaziz University Hospital (KAUH) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Concepts: Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, Mecca, Rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis, Jeddah, House of Saud, Medina, King Abdulaziz University