15 Aug 2018 IMU Staff and Student Shine at NSM Scientific Conference

24-26 July 2018 – The Nutrition Society of Malaysia (NSM) recently held its 33rd Scientific Conference with the theme on “Investing in Nutrition: Act Now”. This theme was specifically chosen in recognising the severity and urgency of the situation in Malaysia with the rising prevalence of non-communicable diseases and at the same time, addressing the undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies among specific segments of the population. The conference was well organised with platforms for all stakeholders to share research and intervention activities, including several awards given to and sessions presented by faculty members and students from International Medical University (IMU).

Name of Winner Prize Paper Presented
Dr Yang Wai Yew
(Lecturer in the Division of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Health Sciences, IMU)
NSM’s Publication Prize for 2018 in the category of maternal nutrition “Parent-child Feeding Practices in a Developing Country: Findings from the Family Diet Study”

This paper is published in the international peer-reviewed journal based on the research collaboration between IMU and University of Newcastle (UON) Australia. Results from the current research can enhance the understanding of the ways in which family environment may foster the development of childhood obesity in the context of developing countries, such as Malaysia.

“It has been a rewarding journey so far, so the award is a true blessing and recognition of my work in the field of maternal child nutrition. I am very thankful to my team from IMU and UON for their continuous support and am motivated to translate this into my teaching and future research,” Dr Yang said

Name of Winner Prize Paper Presented
Chan Chee Shan
(IMU’s Master of Science (MSc) in Medical and Health Sciences (by Research) graduate)
NSM Master’s Thesis Award Metabolic Responses to Isomaltulose by Malaysian Chinese Adults: A Pilot Study

High intakes of sugar is linked to diabesity. Therefore, food industries are on the look-out for a sugar substitute – that is healthy, tastes like sugar and has similar cooking properties. Isomaltulose is one such sugar alternative. In Malaysia, isomaltulose is currently used in diet food, growing-up milk for infants and sports drinks. Chan Chee Shan investigated the health effects of isomaltulose in a group of Malaysian participants and found that a drink with even as much as 20 tsp of isomaltulose caused no major discomfort in her participants. She also confirmed that it had slower and lower blood sugar spike compared to sucrose. More interestingly, her study suggested that isomaltulose could have prebiotic effects that promote gut health! These results could help in formulating health foods.

Chee San says that the biggest learning point from her Masters journey was “To be patient, positive and persistent about what you do; because there is no shortcut in research”

Name of Winner Prize
Melissa Leong En Ying
(IMU’s Master of Science (MSc) in Medical and Health Sciences (by Research) student)
Second prize in the NSM Young Researcher’s Symposium

Vitamin D insufficiency is a nutritional concern in many countries including Malaysia. The current lifestyle which promotes indoor activities limit the exposure to sunlight and vitamin D insufficiency is further exacerbated by having a low intake of vitamin D rich food sources. Melissa Leong En Ying’s postgraduate Master research investigated the vitamin D status of Malaysian women and the effect of 16 weeks supplementation on serum 25 hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] in a randomised control trial. Ninety percent of the women in the study were found to be having vitamin D insufficiency at baseline.  After the trial, mean serum 25(OH)D increased significantly in all groups receiving various dosages of vitamin D supplements. However, only the group which received the highest 4000 IU vitamin D per day achieved the vitamin D sufficiency level. These findings suggest that Malaysian women having vitamin D insufficiency may need a higher requirement than the current RNI 2017 recommendation of 600IU/d to sustain a healthy vitamin D level. Melissa’s research was funded by the Ministry of Higher Education Fundamental Research Grant Scheme.

Name of Winner Prize Paper Presented
Ho Wan Hui
(Undergraduate final year student from the IMU Bachelor of Science (Hons) Nutrition programme)
Consolation Prize under the category of Poster Competition “Association between Dietary Intake, Physical Activity and Macronutrient Composition of Breast Milk among Lactating Women in Klang Valley”
Tan Ying Chien
(Undergraduate final year students from the IMU Bachelor of Science (Hons) Nutrition programme)
Consolation Prize under the category of Poster Competition “Effect of Cooking Methods (conventional rice cooker and draining method) on Amylose, Amylopectin, Resistant Starch and Total Starch Content of Selected Brown Rice”

Both students, who competed against 110 posters from more than 10 institutions locally and internationally, are very appreciative of the support and encouragement provided by their supervisors along the journey in completing the research. They felt very fortunate to see their hard work has finally been turned into something memorable in this prominent scientific gathering.

“I would like to thank IMU Nutrition and Dietetics Department for providing me the opportunity to participate in this conference and competition. It was a treasured and memorable experience for me to win one of the “Best Poster Award”. It was totally beyond my expectation as I was so nervous while presenting my research poster. I have gone through hardships while conducted my research project but I appreciated the support and reassurance from my teammates and supervisors Dr Tan, Dr Safiah and Dr Sue. Without their supervision, I wouldn’t have gone this far. Last but not least, I also would like to thank Nutrition Society of Malaysia (NSM) for organising the NSM Conference as it was an eye-opening opportunity for me.” – Ho Wan Hui

“Conducting a research was always my greatest fear during my studies in IMU. Everything started from a scratch which required me to do a lot of reading of journal articles, planning and of course critical thinking. However, my research would not be smoother without the guidance of my supervisors and assistance from colleagues as well as the great platform that IMU provided. After carrying out my research, it also made me realise the crucial need for further learning and exploring of new information in order for advancement in nutritional knowledge. Besides that, it was pleasure to receive one of the Best Poster Award from NSM which indicated my hard work in research was recognised and it paid off. Last and not least, attending NSM conference allowed me to understand the importance of upholding my passion and enthusiasm in becoming a competent nutritionist for the better future.”  – Tan Ying Chien

Related article: IMU MSc Graduate Wins NSM Postgraduate Thesis Prize 2018

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