The 2nd World Congress on Interventional Therapies for Type 2 Diabetes, recently held in New York and supported by Qatar Foundation (QF) and the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), has recommended weight-loss surgery as an effective treatment option.
Qatar, among other Gulf states, has one of the highest per capita rates of Type 2 diabetes in the world and QF is supporting Qatar on its journey against this deadly disease.
In a statement presented in the three-day event, the International Diabetes Federation - an umbrella organisation of more than 200 diabetes associations in more than 160 countries – has advocated gastric bypass, lap-band, and gastric sleeve surgeries for eligible patients with Type 2 diabetes.
The statement called for bariatric surgery to be considered earlier in the treatment of eligible patients, to help stem the serious complications that can result from diabetes.
The statement, which was written by experts in diabetes and bariatric surgery, has recommended the use of weight-loss surgery as a cost effective treatment option for severely obese people with Type 2 diabetes.
QF’s support of the conference came as part of its quest for options to treat Type 2 diabetes, a devastating disease in Qatar and the region.
“The Middle East region has a long battle to fight against diabetes. At Qatar Foundation we are facing this challenge head-on, for the benefit of Qatar and the region,” president Dr Fathy Saoud said at the Congress.
The increased prevalence in the Middle East, especially among the more wealthy oil-producing countries, can be attributed to new lifestyle patterns in recent decades such as changes in nutrition, less physical activity, increased obesity and more smoking.The diabetes situation in the Middle East is now at crisis levels, with six of the worst 10 effected countries in 2010 being in the Middle East. These are: Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Qatar dedicates as much as 2.8% of its GDP to research efforts in diverse fields such as biomedicine, environmental science, energy, and information technology.
Qatar National Research Fund, a member of QF, allocates these funds to projects that involve Qatar-based scientists working with peers from around the world.
Dr Saoud pointed out that QF is funding large-scale multilateral research projects and establishing strategic centres of excellence to address diabetes.
“Our strategy is to build on what has already been done elsewhere through the establishment of partnerships with global leaders in the fields of medical education and research,” he said.
Current diabetes-related projects at QF are aimed at improving the accuracy and efficacy of the diagnosis, screening and treatment of the disease.
One such project, in partnership with Qatar University and Georgetown University in the US, uses molecular profiling tools to better understand the causes of diabetes, while another project aims to identify the genetic causes responsible for the disease’s development in the Qatari population.
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, also based at QF, recently became home to biomedical research centre that focuses among other things on the mechanism and proper management of diabetes and other related diseases.
This builds on QF’s overall strategy of complementing Qatar-based research efforts with expertise from abroad to develop regional and global solutions.
Qatar Diabetes Association (QDA), a QF member, works to develop innovative programs aimed at diabetes management, prevention and education.
QDA is also dedicated to raising awareness of major diabetes risk factors such as obesity, and holds educational programmes on the subject throughout the Qatari school system.
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