Voices @ Research: Application of Non-Technical Skills (Human Factor) Principles in the Operating Theatre
Ms Loh Huey Peng, Assistant Director of Nursing, Operating Theatre, at Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) is currently pursuing a part-time Doctoral of Philosophy studies at the Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies (ALCNS), and is investigating the application of Non-Technical Skills (NTS) training principles for clinicians in the operating theatre (OT) for her PhD. Her research focus is on situation awareness, a key component of NTS. Read her motivations behind this novel research area to improve patient safety in the OT, and the importance of human factors in healthcare.
Cracking Open the Durian’s DNA
A team of researchers from National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) and Duke-NUS Medical School have deciphered the complete genetic map of durian - a prized tropical fruit delicacy known in Asia as the “king of fruits”. The team’s efforts were driven by both innate scientific curiosity and a love of the fruit. Their research was done on a particular durian variety of Durio zibethenus - the only durian species sold commercially - called Musang King (Mao Shan Wang in Chinese) and found that a durian has some 46,000 genes, double that of humans. The team hopes that its effort will pave the way for researchers to create new durian species that are drought-resistant or low-sugar varieties suitable for diabetics, for instance.
New Drug to Aid in Cholesterol Fight
International clinical trials, which involved researchers from Singapore, have found that a new drug alirocumab was effective in reducing cholesterol in people when statins (a typically prescribed drug) alone could not do the job. The study involved 29,000 people from 58 countries. The new drug was approved by the Health Sciences Authority in April, and is estimated to reach public hospitals within the year. Besides being prescribed as a complement to statins, alirocumab can also be given as an alternative to the cholesterol-busting drug. “This is for those who are already on the maximum amounts of statins that they can tolerate”, Adjunct Assistant Prof Jack Tan, Deputy Head, Cardiology Department, National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS).
Apps Sets Sights on Addressing Myopia in Kids
Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) – Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC)’s Ophthalmic Technologies Incubator Programme has released a new app, named Plano, which can be used to keep track of a child’s smart device use and usage habits to address the alarming rise in myopia among the young. Assoc Prof Audrey Chia, Head and Senior Consultant, Paediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Department, SNEC said: “Based on our knowledge of near work and myopia, we are suggesting to parents to limit time on handheld devices, to (remind children to) take eye breaks and to encourage children to go outdoors and play.”
SingHealth Duke-NUS AMC & GSK Partnership to Conduct Large-scale Study on Asthma and COPD
A team of clinicians and researchers from the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre (AMC) and pharmaceutical firm GSK, with GSK funding the study, are embarking on a three-year local research study that aims to create electronic dashboards that will enable healthcare professionals to predict the outcomes and risks of patients who suffer from asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Each year, data from about 13,000 respiratory patients from Singapore will be collected for the study, which is SingHealth Duke-NUS Health Services Research Institute's first large-scale public-private research collaboration.
Immunotherapy Drug Changing the Prognosis for Advanced Liver Cancer
The National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), together with institutions from 10 other countries, conducted a multi-centre trial to assess the efficacy and safety of nivolumab in 262 patients with advanced liver cancer or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Nivolumab, an immunotherapy drug, is currently approved in other cancers like non-small cell lung, melanoma and kidney cancers. “While nivolumab does not work in everybody, when it does, the durability of response is particularly impressive… We have seen prolonged responses whether with actual shrinkage of tumours or stability of tumours,” Dr Choo Su-Pin, co-author and Senior Consultant, Division of Medical Oncology, NCCS.