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Concept: Mecca

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PURPOSE: Epilepsy is very common in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with a prevalence of 6.54 per 1000. The present study was conducted to investigate the level of public awareness, and the attitudes and knowledge regarding epilepsy in the Saudi population in Riyadh - capital city of Saudi Arabia. METHODS: A survey consisting of 19 questions pertaining to epilepsy awareness was distributed to Saudi citizens living in Riyadh older than 15 years of age in malls, supermarkets, health clubs, mosques, universities and schools. RESULTS: Of the 7078 respondents who completed the questionnaire, 6756 (95.5%) had heard about epilepsy, 3024 (42.7%) had witnessed what they believed to be a seizure and 5164 (73%) would allow their children to interact with an individual who had epilepsy. However, 5382 (76%) respondents would not want their children to marry an individual with epilepsy, 1004 (14.2%) believed that epilepsy was infectious and 574 (8.1%) believed that epilepsy was a type of mental illness. A total of 1509 (21.3%) respondents were not aware of a single potential cause of epilepsy, 3493 (50.6%) would not seek medical advice if one of their relatives had epilepsy, 2221 (31.4%) did not know how to deal with an individual experiencing an epileptic episode and 6554 (92.6%) did not know that surgery was a treatment option for individuals with epilepsy in Saudi Arabia. Of the 7078 respondents, 3237 (45.7%) would not abide by a physician’s advice not to operate a motor vehicle because of their illness, of whom 1631 (50.4%) cited problems with the public transportation system as a reason for disregarding the doctor’s advice. The effect of age and level of education were statistically significant on most of the study variables. CONCLUSION: The level of epilepsy awareness in the Saudi population needs improvement.

Concepts: Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Riyadh, Mecca, Jeddah, Ha'il, Dammam, Medina

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Dinosaur remains from the Arabian subcontinent are exceedingly rare, and those that have been documented manifest indeterminate affinities. Consequently the discovery of a small, but diagnostic, accumulation of elements from Campanian-Maastrichtian (∼75 Ma) deposits in northwestern Saudi Arabia is significant because it constitutes the first taxonomically identifiable dinosaur material described from the Arabian Peninsula. The fossils include a series of possible lithostrotian titanosaur caudal vertebrae, and some isolated theropod marginal teeth that share unique character states and metric parameters (analyzed using multivariate statistical methods) with derived abelisaurids - this is the first justifiable example of a non-avian carnivorous dinosaur clade from Arabia. The recognition of titanosaurians and abelisaurids from Saudi Arabia extends the palaeogeographical range of these groups along the entire northern Gondwanan margin during the latest Cretaceous. Moreover, given the extreme paucity of coeval occurrences elsewhere, the Saudi Arabian fossils provide a tantalizing glimpse into dinosaurian assemblage diversity within the region.

Concepts: Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, United Arab Emirates, Mecca, Qatar, Yemen, Dinosaur, Iraq

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Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have been linked to an increased risk of health and social problems throughout life. Studies on gender differences from developing countries are scarce. In this paper, we will examine gender variations in the types of reported ACEs and gender-specific relationships between cumulative ACEs and physical and mental health, and Risky Health Behaviors (RHB) in adulthood in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

Concepts: Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Riyadh, United Arab Emirates, Mecca, Developing country

41

A previously unknown coronavirus was isolated from the sputum of a 60-year-old man who presented with acute pneumonia and subsequent renal failure with a fatal outcome in Saudi Arabia. The virus (called HCoV-EMC) replicated readily in cell culture, producing cytopathic effects of rounding, detachment, and syncytium formation. The virus represents a novel betacoronavirus species. The closest known relatives are bat coronaviruses HKU4 and HKU5. Here, the clinical data, virus isolation, and molecular identification are presented. The clinical picture was remarkably similar to that of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 and reminds us that animal coronaviruses can cause severe disease in humans.

Concepts: Cell, Pneumonia, Severe acute respiratory syndrome, Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Riyadh, United Arab Emirates, Mecca

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Crowd safety is a major concern for those attending and managing mass gatherings, such as the annual Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca (also called Makkah). One threat to crowd safety at such events is crowd density. However, recent research also suggests that psychological membership of crowds can have positive benefits. We tested the hypothesis that the effect of density on safety might vary depending on whether there is shared social identification in the crowd. We surveyed 1,194 pilgrims at the Holy Mosque, Mecca, during the 2012 Hajj. Analysis of the data showed that the negative effect of crowd density on reported safety was moderated by social identification with the crowd. Whereas low identifiers reported reduced safety with greater crowd density, high identifiers reported increased safety with greater crowd density. Mediation analysis suggested that a reason for these moderation effects was the perception that other crowd members were supportive. Differences in reported safety across national groups (Arab countries and Iran compared with the rest) were also explicable in terms of crowd identification and perceived support. These findings support a social identity account of crowd behavior and offer a novel perspective on crowd safety management.

Concepts: Mecca, Hajj, Muhammad, Masjid al-Haram, Zamzam Well, Abraham, Al-Safa and Al-Marwah, Umrah

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 In spring 2014, a sudden rise in the number of notified MERS-Coronavirus infections occurred across Saudi Arabia with a focus in Jeddah. Hypotheses to explain the outbreak pattern include increased surveillance, increased zoonotic transmission, nosocomial transmission, changes in viral transmissibility, as well as diagnostic laboratory artifacts.

Concepts: Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Riyadh, Mecca, Jeddah, Ha'il, Dammam, Medina

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Abstract Background: Saudi Arabia has a declining rate of breastfeeding and increasing levels of childhood asthma and atopic disease. In highly economically developed countries, breastfeeding of children at high risk of atopic disease reduces the likelihood of atopic dermatitis, wheezing associated with respiratory infections, and possibly asthma. This study investigated the prevalence of breastfeeding and its association with wheezing/asthma and atopic disease in 1-3-year-old children in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Subjects and Methods: A cross-sectional study of children attending routine “well-baby” clinics in three Saudi State Hospitals in Riyadh. An interviewer administered a questionnaire to collect data on sociodemographics, breastfeeding, wheezing symptoms, asthma, and atopic disease. Results: In total, 622 children 1-3 years old were recruited. Of these, 75% of children were ever breastfed, and 36% of children were fully breastfed, with 20% of children being fully breastfed for ≥3 months. Increasing duration of full breastfeeding was associated with a reduced likelihood of maternal reporting of her child having “ever wheezed,” “wheezed' in the last 12 months,” and “ever having asthma,” with adjusted odds ratio for full breastfeeding ≥12 months versus never breastfed of 0.51 (95% confidence interval 0.29-0.90), 0.48 (0.26-0.88), and 0.46 (0.22-0.94), respectively. No associations were demonstrable between full or ever breastfeeding and atopic dermatitis/eczema, irrespective of family history of atopic disease. Conclusions: Although breastfeeding does not protect children from developing eczema in Riyadh, full breastfeeding is associated with reduced childhood wheezing and possibly asthma. Further efforts should be made to promote breastfeeding in Saudi Arabia.

Concepts: Asthma, Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Riyadh, Mecca, Atopy, Jeddah, Ha'il

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Dengue remains a major health problem in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. A surveillance system was initiated to detect new cases in 2006. The study aims to examine these data for detection of space-time clustering and identify target areas for effective interventions.

Concepts: Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, Mecca, Jordan, Jeddah, Medina

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The management of giant prolactinomas remains a major challenge, despite dopamine agonists being the first line of treatment, owing to its efficacy to normalize prolactin levels and reduce tumor volume. The aim of this study is to characterize the therapeutic aspects, manifestations and outcomes of 16 cases of giant prolactinomas admitted at a single tertiary center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Concepts: Prolactin, Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, Mecca, Middle East, Prolactinoma, Jeddah, Ha'il