Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Singapore


This study was initiated to determine the psychometric properties of the Smart Phone Addiction Scale (SAS) by translating and validating this scale into the Malay language (SAS-M), which is the main language spoken in Malaysia. This study can distinguish smart phone and internet addiction among multi-ethnic Malaysian medical students. In addition, the reliability and validity of the SAS was also demonstrated.

Concepts: Psychometrics, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Constitution of Malaysia, Malay language, Jawi script


The Malay people are an important ethnic composition in Southeast Asia, but their genetic make-up and population structure remain poorly studied. Here we conducted a genome-wide study of four geographical Malay populations: Peninsular Malaysian Malay (PMM), Singaporean Malay (SGM), Indonesian Malay (IDM) and Sri Lankan Malay (SLM). All the four Malay populations showed substantial admixture with multiple ancestries. We identified four major ancestral components in Malay populations: Austronesian (17%-62%), Proto-Malay (15%-31%), East Asian (4%-16%) and South Asian (3%-34%). Approximately 34% of the genetic makeup of SLM is of South Asian ancestry, resulting in its distinct genetic pattern compared with the other three Malay populations. Besides, substantial differentiation was observed between the Malay populations from the north and the south, and between those from the west and the east. In summary, this study revealed that the genetic identity of the Malays comprises a mixed entity of multiple ancestries represented by Austronesian, Proto-Malay, East Asian and South Asian, with most of the admixture events estimated to have occurred 175 to 1,500 years ago, which in turn suggests that geographical isolation and independent admixture have significantly shaped the genetic architectures and the diversity of the Malay populations.

Concepts: Southeast Asia, Asia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesian language, Malaysian Malay, Malay language


Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a commonly diagnosed cancer in Southeast Asia. Many studies have examined the risk factors for NPC, yet the roles of some risk factors remain inconclusive. The purpose of this study was to examine associations between modifiable lifestyle factors and the risk of NPC in the Singaporean population.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Case-control study, Singapore, Nasopharyngeal carcinoma, Bangkok


Whole-genome sequencing across multiple samples in a population provides an unprecedented opportunity for comprehensively characterizing the polymorphic variants in the population. Although the 1000 Genomes Project (1KGP) has offered brief insights into the value of population-level sequencing, the low coverage has compromised the ability to confidently detect rare and low-frequency variants. In addition, the composition of populations in the 1KGP is not complete, despite the fact that the study design has been extended to more than 2,500 samples from more than 20 population groups. The Malays are one of the Austronesian groups predominantly present in Southeast Asia and Oceania, and the Singapore Sequencing Malay Project (SSMP) aims to perform deep whole-genome sequencing of 100 healthy Malays. By sequencing at a minimum of 30× coverage, we have illustrated the higher sensitivity at detecting low-frequency and rare variants and the ability to investigate the presence of hotspots of functional mutations. Compared to the low-pass sequencing in the 1KGP, the deeper coverage allows more functional variants to be identified for each person. A comparison of the fidelity of genotype imputation of Malays indicated that a population-specific reference panel, such as the SSMP, outperforms a cosmopolitan panel with larger number of individuals for common SNPs. For lower-frequency (<5%) markers, a larger number of individuals might have to be whole-genome sequenced so that the accuracy currently afforded by the 1KGP can be achieved. The SSMP data are expected to be the benchmark for evaluating the value of deep population-level sequencing versus low-pass sequencing, especially in populations that are poorly represented in population-genetics studies.

Concepts: Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, Malay Peninsula, Malay language


OBJECTIVE.-: We describe the epidemiology and clinical features of scorpion stings presenting to an emergency department in Singapore, including that of the venomous species Isometrus maculatus. A management approach to scorpion stings is proposed. METHODS.-: A retrospective study was done for patients from 2004 to 2009. Cases were identified by searching through emergency department records with ICD code E905, inpatient records, and the hospital toxicology service records. Identification of species was assisted by the Venom and Toxin research program at the National University of Singapore. RESULTS.-: A total of 13 cases of scorpion stings were identified. Eleven stings occurred locally, and the remaining 2 stings occurred in neighboring countries. The most common presenting symptoms were pain (92%), numbness (31%), and weakness (23%) confined to the region of the sting. The most common clinical signs recorded were redness (77%), tenderness (77%), and swelling (46%). Only 2 patients had significant alterations of vital signs: 1 had hypertension and the other had hypotension from anaphylaxis. Three patients experienced complications (abscess formation, anaphylaxis, cellulitis) requiring inpatient management. There were no fatalities, and all patients made a good recovery. Three cases were identified to be stings from I maculatus. These cases occurred locally, and mainly had clinical features of pain, redness, and mild regional numbness. CONCLUSIONS.-: Scorpion stings are uncommon presentations to the emergency department. Most stings cause local reactions that can be managed with supportive treatment. Stings by I maculatus were observed to cause mild, self-limiting effects.

Concepts: Hospital, Blood pressure, Symptom, Medical signs, Singapore, Medical sign, Venom, Scorpion


From Plato to Pinker there has been the common belief that the experience of a smell is impossible to put into words. Decades of studies have confirmed this observation. But the studies to date have focused on participants from urbanized Western societies. Cross-cultural research suggests that there may be other cultures where odors play a larger role. The Jahai of the Malay Peninsula are one such group. We tested whether Jahai speakers could name smells as easily as colors in comparison to a matched English group. Using a free naming task we show on three different measures that Jahai speakers find it as easy to name odors as colors, whereas English speakers struggle with odor naming. Our findings show that the long-held assumption that people are bad at naming smells is not universally true. Odors are expressible in language, as long as you speak the right language.

Concepts: Olfaction, Odor, Singapore, Smell


One Health (OH) is an interdisciplinary collaborative approach to human and animal health that aims to break down conventional research and policy ‘silos’. OH has been used to develop strategies for zoonotic Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID). However, the ethical case for OH as an alternative to more traditional public health approaches is largely absent from the discourse. To study the ethics of OH, we examined perceptions of the human health and ecological priorities for the management of zoonotic EID in the Southeast Asia country of Singapore.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Public health, Health, Epidemiology, Infectious disease, Southeast Asia, Singapore


One of the biggest obstacles to developing policies in cancer care in Southeast Asia is lack of reliable data on disease burden and economic consequences. In 2012, we instigated a study of new cancer patients in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region - the Asean CosTs In ONcology (ACTION) study - to assess the economic impact of cancer.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Oncology, Southeast Asia, Philippines, Asia, Singapore, ASEAN


The Singapore Integrative Omics Study provides valuable insights on establishing population reference measurement in 364 Chinese, Malay, and Indian individuals. These measurements include > 2.5 millions genetic variants, 21,649 transcripts expression, 282 lipid species quantification, and 284 clinical, lifestyle, and dietary variables. This concept paper introduces the depth of the data resource, and investigates the extent of ethnic variation at these omics and non-omics biomarkers. It is evident that there are specific biomarkers in each of these platforms to differentiate between the ethnicities, and intra-population analyses suggest that Chinese and Indians are the most biologically homogeneous and heterogeneous, respectively, of the three groups. Consistent patterns of correlations between lipid species also suggest the possibility of lipid tagging to simplify future lipidomics assays. The Singapore Integrative Omics Study is expected to allow the characterization of intra-omic and inter-omic correlations within and across all three ethnic groups through a systems biology approach.The Singapore Genome Variation projects characterized the genetics of Singapore’s Chinese, Malay, and Indian populations. The Singapore Integrative Omics Study introduced here goes further in providing multi-omic measurements in individuals from these populations, including genetic, transcriptome, lipidome, and lifestyle data, and will facilitate the study of common diseases in Asian communities.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Biology, Southeast Asia, China, Ethnic group, Singapore


Diabetes mellitus has been linked to liver cirrhosis-related mortality in Western populations, but less is known about this relationship in Asian populations. We studied the impact of diabetes on the risk of cirrhosis mortality in a population-based cohort among Chinese in Singapore.

Concepts: Nutrition, Insulin, Diabetes mellitus, Glucose, Demography, Actuarial science, Singapore, Overseas Chinese