Breaking News

Sunday, 28 May 2017

CORD BLOOD BANKING Parents Guide: What it is & Why Consider it?

Parents Guide: What it is & Why Consider it?

If you’re thinking about saving your baby’s cord blood, you probably have plenty of questions.
Which bank should you choose? Should you make the investment? Is it worth it? The fact is, cord blood stem cells are doing amazing things today. Used in the treatment of serious diseases, these cells are improving lives and helping families across the country.

#1 What is cord blood, and Why is it so special?

The term “cord blood” is used to describe the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and the placenta after the birth of a baby. It is usually discarded as medical waste. Cord blood contains precious stem cells that may be cryopreserved for later use in medical therapies such as leukaemia, thalassemia and other blood diseases. For over 20 years, cord blood stem cells have been used in transplant medicine, the infusion of stem cells into patient’s bloodstream to regenerate blood tissue and the immune system. With emerging global research and clinical trials into regenerative medicine, new future uses of cord blood stem cells will be added on to the current 80 diseases that are treatable with these cells.

#2 The decision to save your baby’s stem cells is an important one. Why? 

They are genetically unique to your baby and other family members. Banking them is a onetime opportunity at birth only as a kind of biological insurance cum investment for potential treatment possibilities.

#3 You have decisions to make. Should saving cord blood be one of them?

Today, cord blood stem cells have been used in the treatment of nearly 80 diseases, most of these diseases are genetic disorders and typically require a transplant. A sibling’s cord blood is often the best match for a transplant.

#4 Can your baby use his or her own cord blood?

Your baby can be treated using his or her own cord blood for a small number of nongenetic diseases like anaemia, bone marrow failure disorders and cancers. Leukaemia and lymphomas that develop later in life may also be treated with your own cord blood. There are a number of ongoing clinical trials to study treatments for diseases like cerebral palsy, type 1 diabetes and autism, which require the use of a child’s own cord blood.

Banking options for your baby’s cord:

It is completely up to the parents as to whether they want to donate their cord blood for public use or store with a private bank for their family future needs. There is value in both options. It is important to explore and understand the difference between the public and private banking before making a decision.


In public cord blood banking, the baby’s cord blood is donated to a cord blood bank, where it’s stored for use by anyone who may need it for a transplant. It may also be used for medical research. When parents donate their baby’s cord blood, they sign away all rights to it and the cord-blood bank owns the blood — there’s no guarantee that the cord blood will later be available to the family should they need it in later years.


In private cord blood banking, parents pay to have their baby’s cord blood banked for his or her own use in the future or for use by a family member (like a parent or sibling). The family “owns” the cord blood and can make most key decisions about how it is used. Cost of private banking varies for the initial collection of the blood, followed by annual storage fee or for 20 years advance storage until the child reaches the adult age.

Finding a reliable cord blood bank is crucial.

Pricing should not be the key factor. If a cord blood bank doesn’t have high standards for handling, shipping, and storing cord blood, your baby’s cord blood might not be usable if you ever need it. And if a bank isn’t financially stable with a high degree of corporate governance, where and how your baby’s cord blood is stored long term could be affected. So begin your search early. 

Ask yourself specific questions about the cord blood bank and once you have narrowed down your search, here are some important questions to note:

Does the cord blood bank meet all the medical requirements set by the medical board and is it fully accredited?
The Ministry of Health regulates and inspects cord blood banks nationally and regularly. All banks must comply with these federal regulations or be shut down.

Does the cord blood bank have clinical experience here in Malaysia?
Always consider the bank’s experience and success rate in releasing cord blood for transplants and other therapies.

Is the cord blood bank financially stable and transparent?
Ultimately, cord blood banking is a business. You should go with a bank that is reputable and financially sound to ensure that your baby’s cord blood future is safeguarded.


Should you need more information regarding to Cord Blood Banking, you can contact our partner at StemLife Berhad, the region's leading stem cell bank with over 50,000 families have trusted their precious baby's cord blood with them. They are internationally recognized and is the subsidiary to Cordlife Group in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Philipines, China and Thailand. 

24 Hour Careline 03-2166 3636
Headquarters Address: 
StemLife Berhad, B-7-15, Megan Avenue II, 
12 Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

Lower Back Pain Prevention During & After Pregnancy

Lower Back Pain Prevention During & After Pregnancy

By Chan Yin Keen, D.C | B.HSci (Chiro), M.Clin.Chiro
One Spine Chiropractic, D27, 3rd Floor, Center Point Sabah, Kota Kinabalu.

Lower back pain is a common problem that the majority of us have experienced before. The causes vary, whether due to lifting something heavy or repetitive stress or even sitting in a chair for too long, we have all been there at one point or another. Pregnancy is also known to cause lower back pain, sometimes lasting even after birth.

In the case of pregnancy, a woman typically gains a few extra kilograms which the back has to support. This is coupled with hormonal changes that relax and loosen the ligaments around the pelvic area to allow for the eventual birth. The same hormonal changes that allow for the loosening of the ligaments in the pelvic area can also affect the ligaments supporting the spine, which leads to instability and pain.

The other cause for lower back pain occurring during pregnancy is the shift in one’s centre of gravity as the baby grows, which will cause a change in posture as one’s body adjusts to the extra weight. Changes in our posture are a little harder to notice, but do add up as months of poor posture can lead pain and discomfort.

So what can one do to help prevent or reduce back pain while pregnant? 

Being mindful of our posture is one way. Keeping your ear lobes in line with your shoulders, pulling your stomach in, trying to not tilt your pelvis too far forward or backwards and avoiding slouching will do wonders for your posture when standing. Incidentally all this also applies when not pregnant. To avoid slouching the easiest way is to just pull your shoulder blades back, and chest forward.

In addition to putting less strain on your shoulders and back, you will look more confident and take in more air while breathing compared to when you are slouching.

The other thing I mentioned was trying to avoid having your pelvis tilted too far forward or backwards. Typically, we find a bit of anterior pelvic tilt going on, where the pelvis is rotated forward. To give us an idea of what it looks like, people with an anterior pelvic tilt will have an increased arch in their lower back, their belly jutting forward and a bum sticking out.

Now some might find the idea of an increased arch and pronounced figure appealing, but what an anterior pelvic tilt introduces is muscle imbalances, weakness and low back pain.

What we want to do is prevent swayback or anterior pelvic tilt posture from arising, and we do that with exercise. Pelvic tilt exercises, core exercises, pelvic stabilisation and gluteal strengthening exercises are the kind of exercises that should be done before pregnancy to give your body a stable base to work with. Depending on the kind of exercise, it can even be continued with during your pregnancy.

On the topic of exercise, other exercises one can do when pregnant include mostly low impact exercises like walking, swimming or using a stationary bike. These exercises keep one active, aren’t stressful for the back, and in turn help us stay healthy and pain free. As always though, seek professional medical advice if you intend to do exercise while pregnant.

Other things that can be done during pregnancy to avoid unnecessary back pain would include not bending over to lift or pick things up when pregnant. This is solid advice even for those who are not pregnant. A lot of people experience back pain due to lifting things with their back instead of their legs.

Squatting, keeping your back straight while bending at the knees and hips to pick things up is fine as it does not put a strain on our back. For those who are heavily pregnant, having someone else pick things up off the floor is also an acceptable alternative!

Having adequate rest is important for soon-to-be mothers, thus one should be getting proper sleep. Sleeping on your back is generally not the best position at the best of times, more so when pregnant. This is due to the baby’s weight possibly affecting venous flow from the lower limbs back to the heart, as well as causing lower back pain too. I think it goes without saying that lying on your stomach during pregnancy should not happen as that puts pressure on the baby and possibly reduces blood flow.

Ideally, you want to be sleeping on your side. A proper height pillow to rest your head, and your knees bent with a pillow or bolster between them will help reduce any strain in your back. All these tips should help prevent or minimize the risk of having lower back pain during pregnancy. Back pain after pregnancy can and does happen; as the hormonal changes during pregnancy that loosened the joints and ligaments did not happen overnight, likewise the return of strength to muscles and tone to ligaments will take time.

Typically if a woman has had lower back pain before or during their pregnancy, they are likely to continue to have back pain after as well. Adding the strain of pushing during delivery, bending down to pick up your newborn and even holding them to breastfeed or rocking them to sleep can cause postpartum back pain if you are not careful with your posture.

Postpartum back pain typically resolves itself after a few months; it is important to note that back pain in itself is fairly common and not something to worry about. Know when to seek professional help for your back pain, especially if it is severe pain, sudden severe pain, or having numbness or pins and needles down your extremities. When in doubt, give your local medical professional a call and seek their advice. It is better to have as much information as possible in your hands about any pain or discomfort that you may be experiencing, so you can make the best decision for your health.


Should you need more information regarding back pain in pregnancy or related topic, kindly contact Chan Yin Keen at 013-810 0373 or visit his clinic One Spine Chiropractic located on the 3rd Floor of Centre Point, Shopping Mall Sabah. One Spine Chiropractic offers chiropractic solutions for people with musculoskeletal problems.

Monday, 8 May 2017

What's Next After SPM?


Written by Jasmine Leong
Executive Director of IEC, School of English Language and Further Studies Consult

So, SPM results are out! Now what? Every year, thousands of 17 year olds all across Malaysia wait with baited breath for their SPM results, pushing aside all plans of what lies beyond, almost as if their whole life was dependant on these results and nothing else.

But guess what? There IS life after SPM! All of a sudden, students are rushing to apply for universities in haste, looking at courses available, picking their future careers, usually all within a matter of 3 months. And then they are off, leaving for the next 3 to 4 years of university study, to study, learn and become skilled citizens of the world!

Now let’s take a step back, take a big breath and see how we can unravel one of the most important decisions of a student’s life. What shall I study at university? Where should I go? What will the cost be?

The first decision the student will need to make is what he or she would like to study. Usually at this stage, we have parents on the one hand pressuring the student to decide whilst the student is bombarded with one too many choices and may feel paralysed at the decision of this magnitude. I would suggest looking at the broader perspective, especially since there is still one more step to take before embarking on a university degree.

Pre- University
Most countries including Malaysia will need the student to complete one to two more years of pre university studies before embarking on a university major degree.

1) STPM / Local Matriculation
2) A-levels
3) International Baccalaureate
4) Foundation

So which one? If you hope to enter into one of our local government universities then the STPM or local matriculation would be the best route. However, if you wish to spread your wings and look outside of Malaysia then there are a few options to consider:

Option 1>>> A-LEVELS
What are the A-levels? It is the UK curriculum exam which has been outsourced to Malaysia and typically students do either the Cambridge or Edexcel syllabus exams. The A-level programme can be studied in private colleges in Malaysia, international schools or even as a private candidate in KK.

It is an 18 month programme course and usually revolves around 3 or 4 subjects at most. It is considered quite a tough exam especially if you have not been brought up under the British IGCSE / O – levels syllabus and get thrust into the A-level system. So it is not an exam for the faint-hearted.

For students looking at studying Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Science in the UK, the A-levels is one of the few routes available. A typical 6-term A-level fees can be anywhere between £21,000 - £30,000 depending on which college you choose in the UK. Malaysian colleges A-levels are of course slightly less at around RM20,000.

The IB Diploma has been gaining popularity since it began in Europe and has been said to be a more well-rounded curriculum than the A-levels. It requires the student to be an all-rounder and has additional subjects such as the Theory of Knowledge, Extended essay and creativity, activity, service. 

It is an excellent preparation for university studies and life after university. IEC represents a few IB schools in the UK and Australia, so do connect with us if you wish to find out more. Fees for the IB overseas are around the same as the A-levels in the UK.

Option 3 >>> FOUNDATION
The Foundation programme which can be studied within Malaysian private colleges and universities overseas has been hugely popular as it is only an 8 month – 1 year duration and usually streams the student into a university degree immediately. Many parents feel that the Foundation route sometimes locks the student’s choices too early.

However, I would advise that as long as the student already has an inclination of the subjects they wish to focus on, the Foundation pathway could be a better and more direct pathway into university. It also teaches subjects which are relevant to the university degree without the unnecessary depth of A-levels or the breadth of the IB Diploma.

Typical cost of a Foundation course would be cheaper than an A-level due to the duration. In the UK Foundation fees are between £10,000 - £18,000, Australia it is typically around A$25,000 and in Malaysia around RM18,000 per year.

IEC represents ALL Foundation programmes available for international students in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. So feel free to connect with us once you have your SPM results! The options are boundless! What about the USA and Canada you ask? Yes, you can enter with SPM directly into certain US universities without the required SATs or 12 years of secondary study. 

For Canada, IEC represents two universities Simon Frasier University in Vancouver and University of Manitoba that has a special international foundation for students with SPM or IGCSEs qualifications. The cost of living and fees in USA and Canada can range anywhere from RM90,000 (in Manitoba) to about RM180,000 (in American University, Washington), depending on which part of the US or Canada you apply to. Singapore private institutions also offer a range of pathways from SPM and Malaysian private institutions offer Foundation, A-levels and Diplomas as well.

Private institution tuition fees in Singapore are about a third of Australian fees and a student can manage to live and study in Singapore with about RM90,000 per year.

So what results do I need to enter pre-university, you ask? All you need is a minimum of 5 credits in academic subjects. There are slight variations depending on which course you are taking up but 5 credits will generally get you into most Foundation programmes.

What if I do not want to study anything academic? Well then, have you thought about the hospitality line? Master Chef on TV has had a huge impact on the hospitality, tourism and culinary arts industry. Entry requirements into a Diploma of Hospitality in BHMS Switzerland or Le Cordon Bleu only require a student to be 18 years of age and have completed high school. Their courses are also structured differently, for example a student studies for 6 months, and gains practical work experience in the next 6 months. Hospitality school fees and cost of living are typically €29000 per year.

So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to your options after SPM. It is not as daunting after all right? Remember our doors are always open here at IEC if you need a calming hand and a reassurance that there is a pathway suitable for you.

About the writer>>>
Jasmine Leong is the Executive Director and Senior Education Consultant at IEC. IEC offers free advice, counselling and application procedures to over 100 colleges and universities in Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA, Canada, Switzerland, Europe, Singapore and Malaysia. Call 088 212939 for your appointment time and bring along your SPM results.

Should you need help for your children on their next education journey, do contact Jasmine Leong at IEC for consultation. She is a very helpful, not to mentioned friendly too!

Since 1981 IEC has been offering English Language courses and Further Studies Counselling and Application Services to over 100 colleges and Universities
Address: Sunny Garden, Mile 1 1/2, Tuaran Road
Telephone: 088-212 939  Website:

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Preparing Our Students For The Future World of Work

Source: Kinabalu International School


Written by Mr Alan Connah, Principal of Kinabalu International School

The workplace that our children will enter will be vastly different to the one we are used to. Emerging technologies, a trans-disciplinary approach to jobs, artificial intelligence and social changes, such as the increase in remote working from any geographical location, are just some of the areas that will affect the workplace of the next generation.

As educators at Kinabalu International School (KIS) we have a responsibility to ensure that both the core curriculum and extra-curricular activities offered by the school are giving students what they need to succeed in the future.

While the workplace of today is increasingly collaborative and often focused on solving complex problems through team work, a recent study by the World Economic Forum has cited a marked change in the top 10 skills companies will be looking for in 2020, compared with 2015.

Source: Future of Jobs Report, World Economic Forum
Complex problem solving skills, critical thinking and creativity develop over time, through practice and engaging in human interaction. Therefore, we believe our educational environment at KIS should support not just the development of academic knowledge, but also provide students with a wide variety of opportunities and scenarios in which to develop and test these skills.

In the rapidly changing world of work, employees are expected to continue learning new knowledge and gaining new skills throughout their lives. It is our responsibility to establish a love of learning in our students, from the youngest to the oldest. Students engage in lessons delivered in a variety of different styles which encourage them to develop both their knowledge and skills in ways that challenge them individually.

Source: Kinabalu International School

The highly qualified and experienced teaching team at KIS are experts in identifying how best a student learns and supporting them to build on their individual strengths and weaknesses. Students are pushed to learn resilience and persistence in order to master the challenges which they face both inside and outside of the classroom.

The leadership and teaching team at KIS benefit from the school’s membership of the Federation of British International Schools in Asia (FOBISIA) through having access to professional development opportunities in the region. Each year staff have the opportunity to attend workshops and conferences that further develop their skills and knowledge in delivering the most appropriate curriculum and using the latest teaching methods to assist our students in achieving their full potential.

Source: Kinabalu International School

Consequently, the learning environment at KIS is one where students are challenged, nurtured and supported. The students are motivated to learn and grow. This is apparent through the high levels of academic success consistently achieved throughout the school.

If you would like to find out more about our school, please contact our Admissions Officer, Tina Koroh, to arrange a tour and explore the opportunities available for your child.

Written by Mr Alan Connah, Principal of Kinabalu International School

Mr Connah joined KIS in August 2015 bringing with him over 25 years’ experience of teaching, with the past 13 spent in Leadership positions. A father with two sons at university, he is passionate in his desire to provide students with an education that enables them to develop their full potential, academically, culturally, physically, morally and aesthetically, so that they are able to engage successfully as global citizens.

Get in touch with Kinabalu International School today!

Address: Off Jalan Khidmat, Bukit Padang, Kota Kinabalu
Telephone: ++(60) 88-224 526