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Undergraduate medical education requires ongoing improvement in order to keep pace with the changing demands of twenty-first century medical practice. Problem-based learning is increasingly being adopted in medical schools worldwide. We review its application in the specialty of ENT, and we present our experience of using this approach combined with more traditional methods.
We introduced problem-based learning techniques into the ENT course taught to fifth-year medical students at Al-Ahsa College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia. As a result, the teaching schedule included both clinical and theoretical activities. Six clinical teaching days were allowed for history-taking, examination techniques and clinical scenario discussion. Case scenarios were discussed in small group teaching sessions. Conventional methods were employed to teach audiology and ENT radiology (one three-hour session each); a three-hour simulation laboratory session and three-hour student presentation were also scheduled. In addition, students attended out-patient clinics for three days, and used multimedia facilities to learn about various otolaryngology diseases (in another three-hour session). This input was supplemented with didactic teaching in the form of 16 instructional lectures per semester (one hour per week).
From our teaching experience, we believe that the application of problem-based learning to ENT teaching has resulted in a substantial increase in students' knowledge. Furthermore, students have given encouraging feedback on their experience of combined problem-based learning and conventional teaching methods.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is one of the commonest peripheral vestibular causes of vertigo. The particle repositioning manoeuvre (Epley's manoeuvre) has become the ‘gold standard’ treatment for this disorder. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo can affect any age group but is commoner in older patients. Cervical spine problems (e.g. spondylosis and disc prolapse) are commoner in this age group. Epley's manoeuvre necessitates passive neck movements. Such movements may not be wise in patients at risk of cervical spine fracture.
Patients and methods:
This study included 40 patients complaining of vertigo and diagnosed as having benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. A new particle repositioning manoeuvre was designed for these patients, as an alternative to Epley's manoeuvre.
At one week review, 36 patients (90 per cent) reported total relief from vertigo. Three patients reported a major improvement in their vertigo, and their residual vertigo was relieved by performing the new manoeuvre again after two weeks. Further clinical reviews at one month, three months, six months and one year found that seven patients had suffered minor attacks of typical benign paroxysmal positional vertigo after three months. All seven were relieved of their symptoms after undergoing the new particle repositioning manoeuvre again.
The proposed new manoeuvre is simple, effective and safe for treating patients with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and cervical spine problems.
Computer-based medical simulation has recently been adopted as a new method of medical education. This paper reviews the uses of medical simulation within the ENT specialty, and reports how such simulation is used in Al-Ahsa College of Medicine, Saudi Arabia.
We review our use of a simulation laboratory in ENT training. Students are taught ENT anatomy using physical models, ear diseases using physical models, and ENT examination by watching video recordings, and are taught the principles of common ENT surgery using a computerised mannequin (for laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy). A haptic temporal bone surgery simulator is used for mastoidectomy and functional endoscopic sinus surgery training, and a mannequin for cricothyrotomy and tracheotomy training.
The use of such simulation methods has greatly improved our students' perception and comprehension.
To assess the long-term efficacy of Epley's manoeuvre performed to treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.
Patients and methods:
Two hundred and sixty-nine patients suffering benign paroxysmal positional vertigo were offered Epley's manoeuvre. After five years, follow up was arranged. One hundred and three patients attended for follow up (58 women and 45 men; age range 19–65 years). As mentioned 269 patients were offered the EM and 103 of them were available for follow up. Prior to initial Epley's manoeuvre treatment, these patients' duration of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo had ranged from four to 96 weeks.
Five years after treatment of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo with Epley's manoeuvre, 65 per cent of patients reported no further attacks. Kaplan–Meier testing showed that the time to recurrence was significantly longer in patients aged less than 40 years, those with a duration of attacks of less than three years prior to initial Epley's manoeuvre treatment, and those suffering less than six exacerbations prior to initial Epley's manoeuvre treatment. Gender had no effect on time to recurrence. Duration of illness before receiving Epley's manoeuvre was the only independent predictor of recurrence.
Epley's manoeuvre remains an effective modality for treatment of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. A patient age of less than 40 years and duration of attacks of less than three years are good prognostic factors. Exacerbation number and gender do not affect the probability of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo recurrence after five years; however, these factors do affect the duration of time free from the condition.
To evaluate the efficacy of pure natural honey as prophylaxis against radiochemotherapy-induced mucositis, through clinical scoring of oral and oropharyngeal mucositis, and culturing of pathogenic oral and oropharyngeal microbes.
Patients and methods:
The study was done in Assiut University Hospital, Egypt, between January 2005 and July 2006. Forty patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer were entered into the trial. Enrolled patients were randomised to either the treatment group, receiving concomitant chemotherapy and radiotherapy (with a significant area of directly visible oral and/or oropharyngeal mucosa included in the radiation fields) plus prior topical application of pure natural honey, or the control group, receiving concomitant chemotherapy and radiotherapy without honey. Patients were evaluated clinically every week to assess development of radiation mucositis. Aerobic cultures and candida colonisation assessment were undertaken, via oral and oropharyngeal swabs, prior to and at the completion of irradiation, and when infection was evident.
In the treatment group, no patients developed grade four mucositis and only three patients (15 per cent) developed grade three mucositis. In the control group, 13 patients (65 per cent) developed grade three or four mucositis (p < 0.05). Candida colonisation was found in 15 per cent of the treatment group and 60 per cent of the control group, either during or after radiotherapy (p = 0.003). Positive cultures for aerobic pathogenic bacteria were observed in 15 per cent of the treatment group and 65 per cent of the control group, during or after radiotherapy (p = 0.007).
This study shows that prophylactic use of pure natural honey was effective in reducing mucositis resulting from radiochemotherapy in patients with head and neck cancer.
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