Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI), a Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) research institute, has recently held an interactive workshop entitled Memories Matter at the HBKU Research Complex.
The workshop, held in collaboration with Geriatric Department Hamad Medical Corporation, sought to answer questions surrounding Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and debunk any misconceptions relating to the illness with a series of activities exploring the positive outcomes of ongoing research in the field. The event also shed light on the groundbreaking research being carried out at QBRI’s Neurological Disorders Research Center with a focus on neurodegenerative diseases.
Commenting on the workshop, Dr. Omar El-Agnaf, acting executive director, QBRI, said: “Qatar Biomedical Research Institute has been long positioned as a pioneering national research institute that aims to improve healthcare through innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases. Our Memories Matters workshop aims to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and highlight QBRI’s research on the illness.”
“Our workshops are becoming increasingly popular among caregivers in Doha who are looking for real professional development opportunities. An overarching aim for this workshop and our Alzheimer’s disease campaign was to raise awareness among the general public and dispel many common myths about the disease.”
The highlight of the event was an informative workshop conducted by Dr. Mani Chandran, senior consultant geriatric psychiatrist at the Department of Geriatric Medicine at Hamad Medical Corporation. Taking the audience on a rather insightful journey, Dr. Chandran covered various aspects of AD including early signs and symptoms; real life scenarios; challenges faced by caregivers and the need to fight the associated stigma.
Ms. Noora Jaidah from HBKU’s Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute was a champion for the cause of those afflicted with AD and briefed participants on the emotional difficulties faced by family members of those affected by the condition, as well as the efforts being taken to form a support group for such families in Qatar.
QBRI’s Neurological Disorders Research Center enables various stakeholders to carry out extensive research on Alzheimer’s disease, measure the prevalence of the disease in the region, and establish more effective diagnoses and better treatments, with the hope of ultimately finding a permanent cure. The research conducted at the center is a precursor to identifying genetic and biological markers unique to the Arab population, to aid early diagnosis. Much work is also being conducted on neurological disorders that affect the younger population, in areas such as autism.
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that sees the onset of a progressive, degenerative form of memory loss often experienced by those over 65 of age. Researchers point out that potentially modifiable factors (including life style factors) contribute 35% reduction and risk if eliminated. The World Alzheimer’s Report of 2016 estimates that more than 47 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or a dementia-related illness. However, with only one in four people being clinically diagnosed, increased public awareness of the condition is crucial to ensure early diagnosis and treatment.
QBRI operations are focused on applying integrative and multidisciplinary approaches to deliver novel insights into the molecular basis of the health challenges of diabetes; neurological disorders and breast cancer, and the development of novel biomarkers, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.