26.07.2015

The weekend was very long! In contrary to the saying that good times pass quickly, I achieved a lot in this weekend and it did not pass quickly! The reason is that on Saturday I remaind in my apartment. I did the groceries shopping on Friday afternoon.

What did I do in the weekend? I re-activated Facebook and then looked a little bit in some of the profiles of my friends, then deactivated it again! I read 3-4 papers over evolutionary psychiatry and read many Wikipedia articles related to evolution and philosophy. Moreover I read almost half of the simplified philosophy book “Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar”. It was intereseting, particularly the jokes in it! Philosophy is interesting. Shall I do a master in philosophy? Are there English master programs in philosophy in Germany? I searched quickly for that a few weeks ago and did not find any! In addition, I washed my clothes for 2,5 Euro! Finally, I bought this certain membership to satisfy my curiosity about something. I think it is too expensive but it, for example, encouraged me today to publish a video about talking history in German. I think it would be a famous video! It is one of its kind on YouTube! Aber speaking about my German grammar, it was horrible! I did not hear myself speaking so long before.I think this is because when I talk in every day life, I try to be quick rather than concentrating about what I am saying. I should correct that! This video helped me realise that very clearly.

Prof. Jean Decety visits Jordan. He mentioned that in a comment adressing me on Facebook 🙂 His lecture in Amman influenced me a lot. Will it influence me more?

I looked into the exam of the MRCPsych. It is not hard. But the question is: Should I remain in the psychiatry? Psychotherapy was very difficult for me. Should I now change the deparment and work with addiction patients? I think so. This seems a good option. I can leran more German and it is not “dangerous” and stressful to work in such a department.

What also? Yes, for the next three weeks I would be working alone in my ward. My senior physician is in holiday for three weeks 🙂

When should I take a holiday?

I should register for CME events!

I habe 4 hours of driving lessons next weeks. They costs a total of 140 Euro! Very expensive! I must learn quickly and get the driving license. Without a car is it a hell here!!!

I was about to sleep and then turned on the laptop and wrote the above. I think it is worth it! I should write more! If I still want to stick to my adolescense fantasy of being a famous writer! Easily just write!

25.07.2015

I passed last Monday the theoretical driving license exam.And now I am blogging in English? Why? To reach the largest possible audience? In the last 4-6 weeks I contemplated a lot about improving my German langauge. But this improvement happens very slowly. When I go into bookshops, and they are everywhere here in German, I still could not read and understand what is written in the books. German is very hard! How much more one needs to learn German? Probably a lot! But the problem, when I want to publish a research, or read about any thing then reading in English provides me with a lot more information. Wikipedia articles, for example, the English versions of articles are 3-5 times longer and more detailed than the German versions talking about the same topic.

So, if my aim to acquire information and then to publish it, then why learn a new langauge? English is everywhere now in science and in everyday life!

Therefore, I think that I am now more and more going to use and read only English! Investing time in any other langauge in our current time requires a lot of time and effort… And the information and the ability to communicate is the best in English!

“Knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about epilepsy and their predictors among university students in Jordan” by Jameel Khaleel Hijazeen et al.

"Knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about epilepsy and their predictors among university students in Jordan" by Jameel Khaleel Hijazeen et al.

• Article title: “Knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about epilepsy and their predictors among university students in Jordan”.

– Jameel Khaleel Hijazeen, MD*; Munir Ahmad Abu-Helalah, MPH, PhD; Hussam Ahmad Alshraideh, MS, PhD; Omar Salameh Alrawashdeh, MS, PhD; Fady Nather Hawa, Tareq Dalbah, MD; Fadi W. Farah, MD.
• Journal title: Epilepsy & Behavior, Imapct Factor 2.061, PubMed-Indexed.
—-
Thanks to Prof. Mona Mohamed and Prof. Amal Abdelrazeq for their feedback about the study questionnaire and all the research assistants who helps us in data collection (Of note, Ahmad Al-Zu’bi). All respect for all.

—–
• Study was started in ~October 2012 and final version published online today (5-NOV-2014).
• Full bibliographic details: Epilepsy & Behavior (2014), pp. 238-243
• DOI information: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2014.10.010
*Correspoinding author at: P.O. Box: 61245, Smakieh, Karak, Jordan.

—-

Abstract

The aim of this cross-sectional study was to assess the knowledge about epilepsy and the attitudes toward people with epilepsy (PWE) and their predictors among university students in Jordan. A self-administered questionnaire was distributed in three of the largest public universities in Jordan, and a total of 500 questionnaires were collected from each university. The number of students who reported that they had heard or read about epilepsy was 1165 (77.6%), and their data were analyzed. A significant proportion of students thought that epilepsy could be caused by the evil spirit (31.5%) and the evil eye (28.1%) or that it could be a punishment from God (25.9%). Epilepsy’s most commonly reported treatment methods were the Holy Quran (71.4%), medications (71.3%), and herbs (29.3%). The most common negative attitudes toward PWE were that the students would refuse to marry someone with epilepsy (50.5%) and that children with epilepsy must join schools for persons with disabilities (44.4%). Male students, students of humanities, and students with a low socioeconomic status tended to have more negative attitudes toward PWE. In conclusion, many students have misconceptions about the causes, treatment, and nature of epilepsy, and students have moderate negative attitudes toward PWE. Universities should have health promotion programs to increase awareness of their students about major public health problems such as epilepsy.

This is not how to do it! According to Arab Media, Arab scientists cured Alzheimer, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancers, HIV… Only to mention a few!

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I am an Arab and no one can deny his origin. I do not! I am just sick about the situation of scientific research in the Arab World. To not take part in the scientific advancement of humanity is something. But what is most distressing in my opinion is that the majority of my fellow Arabs do not seem to criticize what they read, hear and watch in the media! I believe this is particularly problematic in science. They sit as “negative” receivers of many inventions and cures that are reported to be done by Arab scientists. Arabs read them and are very happy about them. The problem is that such achievements are almost always related to diseases or problems that the most advanced countries in the world could not cure or solve. At the end, a “scientist” from a country that cannot invest in science (or can and do not),  comes up and says that he cured diabetes or hypertension, and of course cancer. An Arabic saying says: “How did you know it is a lie? Because of how big it is! كيف عرفت إنها كذبة؟ من كبرها!”. I am not beign pessimistic or trying to let anyone down. But conducting researches of the kind that will result in a cure for diabetes or cancer, require millions of dollars and at least tens of scientists. This research environemnt is almost always not avaialbe in third world countries! And no, I do not believe that some huamns are not capable of making discoveries!

To clarify things, I do not blame the people who are happy about these achivements without scrutinizing them. The way they think is the result of societies and poor educational system  that repress “doubting” and even sometimes forbid asking certain scientific questions, because they are considered to contradict the belief in God and religions. For example, evolution is still frawned upon and almost all of my colleagues whom I talk with about evolution, regard it as something “unproven” and “unscientific” (Read how a discussion about the validity of evolution almost wasted a lecture I attended in Amman by an extremely famous professor, whose mistake was that he only mentioned evolution a few times in his lecture: Prof. Jean Decety in Amman and an interesting Lecture about the Neurobiological Mechanisms of Empathy and Caring for Others). Moreover, almost all of my colleagues never read a book, or even an article, discussing evolution neturally. They based their judgement on views of religious people. For example, back in my Catholic school, the religious Christian teacher skipped a whole chapter in Biology that talks about scientific theories on the origin of life on earth. These theories are of course easily considered to be  contadictory to the biblical story, and to God in general. Although if they were proven one day correct, religious people can easily say, “We just interpreted the scriptures wrongly!” What I can also expect, is that some peoople would start saying that their Holy Book even predicted and talked about these theories hundreds of years ago! Back to my teacher, she certainly did  not listen to such theories, and protected us, her students, from them! What do students know about what is best for them?!

Returnig back to these scientists who claim such large discoveries. Their evidence is almost always not more than few allegedly cured patients, and in some cases even only “one” patient! One patient might be enough as such “scientists” would, for example, bring this patient to a “conference” in which the achivement is announced. Moreover, as you can see in the examples below, interviews are made with the cured patients, like if bringing their testimony is a “scientific evidence”. An example is the second video below from a Al-Jazzera channel, which is a an Arabic report about a Yemeni “scientist” (Abd Al-Majeed Al-Zendani), with no medicine-related university degree (he studied pharmacy for two years and then continued in religious studies, source: wikipedia), curing AIDS and the evidence for this cure are “interviews” with patients whose faces were hidden. This video is of particular interest to me as one of my colleagues in medical school is the one who brought my attention to it. My colleague told me something like, that because Al-Zendani is a Muslim, the USA never allowed his discovery to be spread. Before researching him and his achievment, I certainly told my friend that AIDS is hard to be cured that easy by a scintist from a third world country. My friend was so confident, mainly, because Al-Jazeera made an interview with him! And partly, because the not rare belief that the west is responsible for the miseries of Arabs.

Examples of cured disease by Arab scientists, that developed countries still think cannot be cured:
• It is true that medical text books still teach that diabetes has no cure, but it was “cured”, along with all of its complications, by a professor called “Awad Mansour” from the Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) in 2003:

An Arab scientist could find a treatment for DM. This costed 20 million dollar. The characteristic of this medication is that it cannot only treat DM by decreasing blood sugar level, but treating other conditions resulting from it like renal failure, hypertension, sexual dysfunction, weak sight, destruction of retina, heart attacks, and others.

(الجزيرة نت) نجح باحث عربي في التوصل إلى علاج لمرض السكري يستند إلى الطب البديل(الأعشاب) بعد أبحاث وتجارب استمرت أكثر من تسع سنوات وكلفت حوالي 20 مليون دولار… إن ميزة هذا العلاج أنه لا يعالج السكري عبر تخفيض نسبة السكر في الدم فقط، وإنما أيضا معالجته للأمراض الأخرى الناجمة عنه مثل الفشل الكلوي وارتفاع ضغط الدم والضعف الجنسي وضعف الإبصار والتلف في شبكية العين وجلطات القلب وغيرها.

http://www.aljazeera.net/news/healthmedicine/2003/8/20/%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A-%D9%8A%D9%83%D8%AA%D8%B4%D9%81-%D8%AF%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D9%8A%D8%AD%D8%AF%D8%AB-%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%82%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B9%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%AC-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%83%D8%B1%D9%8A

• The above professor also cured hypertension in 2006: The following article, published in one main daily Jordanian newspaper, speaks about patients who stopped using drugs after using his medication:

وقال خالد جولاق اردني مقيم في الامارات العربية المتحدة ان والدته كانت تعاني من الضغط المرتفع وبعد استخدام زيت الضغط اصبح وضعها جيدا وحاليا لاتتناول اي نوع من العلاجات .
خالد المدني من الدمام يقول ان ثلاثة اشخاص من المقربين كان اثنان منهم يعانيان من ارتفاع ضغط الدم ويتناولان علاجات الضغط وبعد استخدامهما للعلاج تخلصا من الضغط وهما في حالة صحية جيدة .

المصدر: جريدة الدستور.

• HIs achivements continued with him in 2009 curing Swine Flu. The following article debunks his achivements and speaks that he also claimed to treat cancers, AIDS, and multiple sclerosis. This article explains how he exploited the people to generate money, how law suits were filed against him in Jordan and in Canada, how the Jordanian Food and Drug Administration warns from him, and unfortunately, how this “great” scientists resignated from his univeristy in Jordan and migrated to the USA. What a loss!

أعاد زعم باحث أردني مقيم في ولاية شيكاغو الأميركية اكتشاف أحدث علاج (خلطة عشبية طبيعية) تقضي على فيروس إنفلونزا الخنازير…  ويعتبر البروفسور منصور (58 عاما)، الذي هاجر إلى أميركا بعد استقالته من الجامعة، في حديث إلى “الغد” أنه يتعرض لـ”حرب” من علماء أردنيين بسبب اكتشافاته العشبية “العبقرية” في علاج الأمراض المستعصية (السرطان والإيدز والتصلب اللويحي، بهجت، وغيرها) في وقت عجز العلم عن اكتشاف أدوية شافية لها… ويعتبر البروفسور منصور (58 عاما)، الذي هاجر إلى أميركا بعد استقالته من الجامعة، في حديث إلى “الغد” أنه يتعرض لـ”حرب” من علماء أردنيين بسبب اكتشافاته العشبية “العبقرية” في علاج الأمراض المستعصية (السرطان والإيدز والتصلب اللويحي، بهجت، وغيرها) في وقت عجز العلم عن اكتشاف أدوية شافية لها.

http://www.factjo.com/pages/fullnews.aspx?id=11980

• It is true that medical text-book teach that Alzheimer is not cured, but it was cured by a Jordanian doctor in 2012. This is an Arabic interview in which he speaks about curing it in 20 patients:

 

The following ist most problematic and saddening.  The discovery news was and ist still published in the website of Jordan’s official news agency (Petra):

طبيب اردني يتوصل الى علاج مرض الزهايمر

A Jordanian doctor could discover a treatment for Alzheimer
http://www.petra.gov.jo/Public_News/Nws_NewsDetails.aspx?lang=1&site_id=2&NewsID=55684&Type=P

– Following is an Arabic article of me a few weeks about the announcement of that discovery. What prompted me to write this article was reading a piece of news by Reuters (link) that the “US government, [despite the Jordanian doctor’s announced cure weeks before,] sets 2025 as a deadline for discovering a cure… And still, some scientists say that it is too optimistic“. I discussed the news in Reuters and while writing the article, discovered how he was warned against indirectly as a “fabricator” by the Jordanian Medical Association and that no cure for Alzheimer was discovered in Jordan. Interestingly, this time, my mother was the one “believing” in this scientisit. Why? Because he was interviewed on Jordanian TV to talk about his “cure” (برنامج يسعد صباحك)!

الحكومة الأمريكية تحدد عام 2025 كحد أقصى لإكتشاف دواء لعلاج لمرض الزهايمر أو للوقاية منه… ولكن في نفس الوقت، طبيب عربي يتوصل إلى العلاج حسب الخبر الذي نشر في مئات لا بل آلاف الصحف والمواقع الإلكترونية العربية؟

• The following “scientist” should be respected the most, as his lists of achievements does not stop with mutliple sclerosis or diabetes, but also include multiple hereditary, viral, and cancers in all of their types. Yes, all of these diseease were cured in 2006. Wait a minute, is there anything that he does not treat? I used to see this doctor on TV and this is the manuscript of one of his episodes on New TV (Lebanon):

Dr. Abu Baker provided considerable services… in the treatment of multiple hereditary disease … Immune disease… Rheumatoid arthritis… psoriasis…
Then multiple interviews are made with patients who were cured from  Behjet disease, multiple sclerosis, Rheumatoid arthritis, cancer…

قدم الدكتور أبو بكر خدمات جليلة… أمراض وراثية مثل مرض الدوشين و فردريج و بيكر ، و أمراض مناعية مثل التصلب اللويحي ( M S ) و الروماتويد و الصدفية و غيرها من الأمراض التي وصفها الدكتور أبو بكر و العلماء في العالم بأنها أحادية الإتجاه و متزايدة و لا يمكن لها أن تنعكس لتصبح في الإتجاه الإيجابي

http://www.tbeeb.net/ask/showthread.php?t=10337

• AIDS in 2008: A Yemeni “scientists”- Abd Al-Majeed Al-Zendanee

 

A friend of mine published today a Facebook post about a Jordanian doctor “curing” a child with type I diabetes. Actually, this is what promoted me to write this post. I wrote to my friend after posting the above links about the Arabic achievements:

“In science, there is no democracy”. There is evidence. And evidence, should be published in scientific Journals before being announced in newspapers, press conferences, and in Aljazeera.net and Saraynews.com. In science, one should always “doubt”. And this does not mean that you are decreasing the respect of the person in front of you or that you have a problem in your personality by being “envious” of others’ achievements. This “achievement” might be true, but “one” case is never “evidence-based medicine”. Maybe this girl was diagnosed wrongly with DM. Could not this be an explanation for her one-of-its-kind cure? If this treatment works, why would not they try it on tens, not to mention hundreds of patients before this doctor, and the example above, go to the media? Of course, such “innocent” way of announcing CURES, would cause an influx of not “one” but tens and hundreds of desperate patients. And certainly, these patients are ready to pay thousands of dinars or dollars, simply because conventional medicine tells that there is “no cure”!

Based on the above, what is the possibility that this one case you saw is really correct and can be followed by others?

At the end, I think the situation of Arabs is scientifically miserable (hopefully it will stop here! But I am afraid it does not). They should start working seriously to improve the situation of research, and in many countries, education. The media amplifying and spreading news such as the above might show that there is an “inferiority complex” that is tried to be solved by saying that this and that Arab was able to make this achivement. So, we Arabs can do it. This is on the large scale. On an individual level, of course, the people who make such claims gain a lot of fame… and money! Money mostly from despearate patients!

Arab and third world countries can firstly improve educational systems… Then achivements and “cures” can flow! This is the true “cure”!

Not a dream: Take online courses from famous universities for FREE!!!

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Will the poor one day have free access to high quality education from the most famous universities in the world? A website called “coursera” is a step in this direction.

A colleague of mine, Hamzeh Itum (Thanks a lot 🙂 ), sent me a link to an online English course that covers research basics for medical professionals (See the course description and the link at the end of post). It is taught by doctors from the University of California, San Francisco. There are online lectures 2-3 times weekly with homework and online quizzes. I thought that it would cost at least tens of dollars. At the end, it turned out that this course, and all courses in this website, even from famous universities, are all FREE! There are thousands of courses that take place in this website in more than ten languages and in different branches of knowledge. However, to get a verifiable certificate at the end of the course, you need to finish assignments before deadlines and pay 60$. Attendance is again FREE.

A lot of respect to whoever came up with this idea and I hope that humanity will invest more money and effort in such websites!

Coursera:

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Understanding Research: An Overview for Health Professionals

 

About the Course:
This course looks at the various aspects of research as it pertains to health.

The course objectives are as follows:

  • Summarize the format of research articles and the research methods included in each section of an article.
  • Analyze and critique research questions, study design, methods including sample selection, bias, data collection procedures, measures, and analysis plan, results, discussion and interpretation of findings.
  • Compare and contrast different quantitative study designs.
  • Analyze the validity and reliability of measures.
  • Understand the ethical and cultural issues related to research methods.

Source: https://www.coursera.org/course/researchforhealth

 

Update 21.08.2014:

Thanks to a Facebook comment by another colleague of mine, Hamza Ayman Arabiyat, I discovered that another website offers “great online courses from the world’s best universities”. It called edX (www.edx.org).

Jordanian researcher [Dr. Munir Abu-Helalah] wins best cancer research award in the Arab world د. منير أبو هلالة يفوز بجائزة أفضل بحث سرطان في الوطن العربي

Congratulations my dear doctor and supervisor in more than five researchers 🙂

Source: QS News2WOWU, QS Asia, August 2014, http://www.qs-asia.com/main/index.php/news2wowu-latest

 

News in Arabic:

• موقع قناة العربية، 9/4/2014، “سعود بن نايف يدشن جائزة أمير الشرقية لأبحاث السرطان”، الرابط.

• موقع عمون نيوز، 13/4/2014، “الدكتور منير أبو هلاله يحصل على المركز الأول لابحاث السرطان”، الرابط.

• وكالة سرايا الإخبارية، 20/4/204، “د.أبو هلالة يفوز بالمركز الأول لجائزة سعود بن نايف لأبحاث السرطان”، الرابط.

• صحيفة الرياض اليومية، 14/4/2014، “وزارتا الصحة والحرس الوطني تقرران بحث الآثار النفسية على مرضى السرطان بالسعودية”، ، الرابط.

• جريدة الغد الأردنية اليومية، 15/4/2014، “أستاذ في مؤتة يفوز بجائزة الأمير سعود لأبحاث السرطان في الوطن العربي”،  الرابط.

… وهناك أيضاً العشرات من المواقع التي نشرت الخبر. هذا رابط لبحث جوجل عن “منير أبو هلالة” جائزة أبحاث السرطان.

 

An interview with Dr. Munir about the prize on Al-Jazeera Channel: