Malta Medical Journal goes online

    The Faculty of Medicine and Surgery has just published Volume 15 of the Malta Medical Journal. In her Editorial, Dr. Josanne Vassallo considers the potential impact of EU membership on the Medical School.  She stresses the need to maintain the same high standards and excellence of academic and clinical teaching that has traditionally been characteristic of the Medical School and also augurs that as a result of being able to compete effectively for funding from the EU it should now be possible to truly establish a research centre of excellence in the medical field. The Journal also carries a message from the new Dean of the Faculty, Professor Godfrey Laferla, who envisages an overhaul in both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education involving a complete restructuring of the medical curriculum and conversion to the European Credit System.

    Issues focussed on include the development of the management of Acute Coronary Syndromes (ACS) in Malta over the past decade while another paper considers how dramatic technological advances in radiology especially in cross-sectional imaging have been of great benefit to the complex ENT patient in terms of investigation and management. In view of the post-war rise in the elderly population, Rethinking Care for the Sick Elderly looks at what is morally justified when deciding on intervention and care. Alexander Manché in Why Audit? highlights the need to establish a database of information indicating the expected norm of practice. He states: "We have the responsibility to contribute to this database by way of audit in a rigorous and honest fashion and to utilise it routinely in the management of patients."

    On a topical note, Mario Sammut evaluates the success or otherwise of smoking cessation clinics in Malta while Kevin Mulligan deals with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea from a dental perspective.  The Journal also publishes a paper on the interesting subject of population genetic studies in the Maltese Islands by the late Luis Vassallo, formerly Consultant Physician at St. Luke's Hospital.  The data was first presented some thirty years ago at the Annual Clinical Meeting of the Associations of Physicians and Surgeons of Malta but still has a contemporary relevance. In a fitting tribute, Professor J.M. Cacciottolo, Chairman of the MMJ Editorial Board, writes: "Luis Vassallo was much loved by his patients, not only for his clinical acumen but also for his genuine kindness and unaffected humility."

    The case report deals with the rare occurrence of a trichobezoar in a 13 year old male, this condition more commonly being seen in adolescent females. A semi-historical essay by Arthur Felice looks into the perhaps somewhat lopsided division between what is somatic and what is psychological stemming from the traditional seventeenth century Cartesian division.  Finally, Clinical Audit - a synopsis is a brief report by Myra Tilney of the proceedings of the Clinical Audit Seminar held in October 2002.

 The MMJ which is designed and produced by Outlook Coop is circulated free of charge to all medical practitioners in Malta and Gozo, Maltese doctors overseas and other members of the scientific community.  The Journal now has its own very smart, user-friendly website and may be viewed online at:

Communications Office

4th June 2003