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Xjenza Online Vol. 6 Iss. 1 - September 2018
Xjenza Online Vol. 6 Iss. 1 - September 2018 ISSUE: Xjenza Online Vol. 6 Iss. 1 - September 2018



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Editorial
My First Editorial
Cristiana Sebu
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Article
The Oral Health Status of the Gozitan Community
Anne-Marie Agius, Ethel Vento Zahra, Emad Alzoubi, Maria Luisa Gainza-Cirauqui, Gabriella Gatt, Nikolai Attard
Pages: 3 - 11
Abstract | View full article | PDF
Abstract:
The objectives of this study is to assess the oral health status and treatment needs of Gozo residents { a geographically isolated community. A crosssectional study of 332 Gozitan attendees on the Mobile Dental Unit was carried out during a three-month period in 14 localities in Gozo. The participants attended for a dental check-up and indices were used to record caries, plaque, calculus, erosion, soft tissue pathologies and number of dental functional units. Of the 332 participants 76.8% presented with plaque deposits, 78% require either restorative or periodontal treatment while signs of erosive wear were present in 28% of participants. In younger age bands (0{9 and 10{19) untreated carious lesions amount to 1.34 and 1.0 (DT portion of DMFT) respectively, care index FT ( lled teeth)/DMFT was 0.37 overall. Most participants in 50+ age bands had less than 10 remaining functional units. Thus, the oral health status of the Gozitan community shows a high level of unmet dental treatment needs. This underscores the need for provision of better dental services in Gozo, re-orientation of existing services to focus on prevention, and introduction of evidence-based preventive strategies in school-children.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2018.1.01
Article
Road Courtesy: A Prerogative of Gender, Age and Car Size
Edward Attard-Montalto, Simon Attard-Montalto
Pages: 12 - 15
Abstract | View full article | PDF
Abstract:
This study addressed the hypothesis that courtesy on busy Maltese roads was dependent on, or in uenced by, independent factors relating to the driver and car, or both. Courtesy was de ned when a driver with the right of way `allowed access' to another car onto a main road leading to a congested roundabout, whereby `courteous passage' was the only reasonable means of access for the second car. `Allowed' access to the same car (British Vehicle Classi cation [BVC] class 2, 17.5 years old in poor condition), with one driver aged 50+ and one passenger aged 17 years, approaching the same junction between 07:15 and 07:45 on school days was assessed. Details of all cars including BVC group that refused or allowed access, their drivers' gender and age ( 10 years), any accompanying passengers and the pre- vailing weather was recorded onto a standardised pro- forma. Data from 88 schooldays over 6 months resulted in 141 refusals plus 44 courteous passes (analysed), and 46 access events through gaps in trac (not analysed). The weather conditions and presence/absence of any co- passengers, whether adult or children, had no bearing on road courtesy. Courtesy was signi cantly enhanced with family saloons (BVC Groups 4{6) when compared with small cars (Group 1{3, p = 0:04), and luxury or work vehicles (Group 7{11, p = 0:0065), especially in those with male drivers aged 40+ (p = 0:022). Drivers of large and work vehicles, almost exclusively male (92%), were signi cantly less courteous (p = 0:025).

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2018.1.02
Article
Examining the Structural Validity of the Strengths and Diculties Questionnaire (SDQ) in a Multilevel Framework
Lara Marie Azzopardi, Liberato Camilleri, Fiona Sammut, Carmel Cefai
Pages: 16 - 24
Abstract | View full article | PDF
Abstract:
The Strengths and Diculties Question- naire (SDQ), proposed by Goodman (1997), has been used by many researchers to measure the social, emo- tional and behaviour diculties in children. The SDQ comprises four diculty subscales measuring emotional, conduct, hyperactivity and peer problems. It also in- cludes a fth subscale measuring prosocial behaviour. A sample of 5200 Maltese students who were aged between 6 and 16 years was used to investigate the multilevel factor structure underlying the teachers' version of the SDQ. Statistical analysis in this study was conducted using Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA), Con rmatory Factor Analysis (CFA), Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) and Multilevel Structural Equation Modelling (MSEM). The study nds that a two-level three-factor model ts the data marginally better than a single-level three-factor model.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2018.1.03
Article
Xenophobic and Homophobic Attitudes in Online News Portal Comments in Malta
Stavros Assimakopoulos, Rebecca Vella Muskat
Pages: 25 - 40
Abstract | View full article | PDF
Abstract:
In this paper, we present part of the re- search carried out at the Institute of Linguistics and Language Technology of the University of Malta under the auspices of the EU-funded C.O.N.T.A.C.T. project1. The present study, which followed the common method- ology of the C.O.N.T.A.C.T. consortium, focuses on the verbal expression of discrimination in Malta. Employ- ing both quantitative and qualitative methods, we seek to identify the extent to which comments posted online in reaction to news reports in local portals can be found to encompass discriminatory attitudes towards two tar- get minorities: migrants and members of the LGBTIQ community. The obtained results indicate that, while both xenophobia and homophobia can be detected in some of the comments, the former is a much more pre- valent than the latter. In an attempt to further probe into the reasons for the emergence of such discrimin- atory discourse online, we additionally administered an online questionnaire and conducted focus group inter- views, which provided us with some insight as to why discriminatory attitudes appear to have recently been on the rise in relation to migrants, while, at the same time, have correspondingly been contained in the case of the LGBTIQ minority group.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2018.1.04
Article
Maltese Study of Intracranial Vascular Malformations
Theresia Dalli, Charmaine Chircop, Maria Mallia
Pages: 41 - 45
Abstract | View full article | PDF
Abstract:
Intracranial vascular malformations (IVMs) are responsible for 49% of spontaneous intraparen- chymal brain haemorrhage in patients under 40 years of age. IVMs may cause recurrent intracranial bleeds, focal neurological de cits, seizures and chronic disabil- ity. The aim was to study the incidence of arterio-venous malformations (AVMs) and cerebral cavernous malform- ations (CCMs) in the Maltese population, assess mode of presentation, patterns of interventions, outcomes and follow-up of the lesions. A word search through the ra- diology information system was carried out, identifying cases of IVMs between 2008 and 2016 at Mater Dei Hos- pital. Brain or dural AVM, carotid-cavernous stulae and CCM were included in the study. A participant was identi ed as the incident" case at the time of the rst diagnostic image. Interventions, follow-ups and com- plications were noted. 47 patients had AVM and 35 had CCM. The majority of patients with AVM presented with headaches. MRI was the prevalent imaging mod- ality used at diagnosis. 42.6% of patients received ra- diosurgery. Haemorrhage was the commonest complic- ation. In the CCM group, seizures and focal signs were common presenting symptoms. 65.7% of patients with a CCM were followed-up with further imaging within one year of diagnosis. The majority of patients received no intervention. IVMs may cause signi cant morbid- ity in patients and timely recognition is essential. The risk of haemorrhage in patients with AVMs is 1{4% per annum and this risk directs management. Presently, decisions regarding CCMs are made on a case-by-case basis. There is a need for guidelines, to help direct clini- cians on the evidence-based management of IVMs.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2018.1.05
Article
An Analysis of Trade Union Membership in Malta
Manwel Debono
Pages: 46 - 58
Abstract | View full article | PDF
Abstract:
Despite their crucial social role, trade unions in Europe are su ering from challenges relating to a widespread trend of declining membership levels. Public information on trade union membership levels in Malta is mainly obtained from reports compiled annually by the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations through administrative records provided by the trade unions. This study, the rst of its kind in Malta, o ers an alternative and more detailed examination of membership levels through a survey carried out among a representative national sample of 781 employees. This study reveals a lower trade union membership level than what is ocially reported. In line with foreign research, this study also indicates that the likelihood of being a trade union member increases among older employees, those who are in full-time or inde nite contracts, and those employed in the public sector. On the other hand, contrary to European trends, employees holding tertiary quali cations and higher level occupations are more likely to be unionised in Malta. Besides, male and female employees are equally likely to be unionised. This study concludes that, in order to prevent further decline in trade union density and membership, Maltese trade unions need to reorganise themselves, refocus their strategies and become more e ective in attracting and retaining non-traditional members.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2018.1.06
Article
Bridging the Gap Between Yoga and Science: A Mini Review
Shimul Sujit Sen, Gabriele Deidda
Pages: 59 - 61
Abstract | View full article | PDF
Abstract:
Yoga is an ancient tradition arising from the evolving cultures of ancient India originating from a variety of sources like primeval texts, oral transmissions through lineages, iconography and songs. It has a com- plex history of spiritual exploration, philosophical re- ection and creative expression. Yoga has evolved over time to suit the needs of the current population. At present, humanity at large views things, especially the mystical arts, through the lens of the sceptical scient- ist. Despite countless bene ts of yoga and meditation to the overall health and mind of a person that have been documented over time, they have mostly been seen as informal and only a few studies using a rigorous sci- enti c methods have been performed. Most recently, through the advent of cutting-edge scienti c tools (i.e., electroencephalogram, EEG), the gap between the sub- jective and objective has been bridged. Nevertheless, the path to scienti c inquiry supporting yoga is a work in progress. In this minireview, we will make a short historical resume of the scienti c studies carried out to investigate the e ect of yoga in the physiology of the body and the brain, and its possible use to ameliorate pathological conditions.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2018.1.07
Article
Cannabis Medicine Offers Hope for Severe Paediatric Epilepsies
Giuseppe Di Giovanni
Pages: 62 - 64
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Article
Malta Becomes the New Hub for the Inverse Problems Community
Cristiana Sebu
Pages: 65 - 67
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