QBRI and QCRI Jointly Publish Risk Tool to Fight Diabetes | HBKU
Hamad Bin Khalifa University

Innovation HBKU’s Qatar Biomedical Research Institute and Qatar Computing Research Institute Jointly Publish Risk Tool to Fight Diabetes

PRISQ is first-ever risk score based on Qatari data to screen for prediabetes in Middle East

Scientists from Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI) and Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) have jointly published the first risk score to screen for prediabetes in the Middle East, where prevalence is one of the highest in the world. 

The research team was led by QBRI’s Dr. Abdelilah Arredouani, a scientist at QBRI’s Diabetes Research Center, and Dr. Halima Bensmail, a principal scientist at QCRI. Using machine learning techniques, the researchers analyzed the associations between prediabetes and data of approximately 8,000 participants from the Qatar Biobank (QBB), which included Qatari citizens and long-time residents. The team developed a tool called PRISQ (Prediabetes Risk Score Qatar), which uses risk factors measured non-invasively instead of a blood test to screen for prediabetes.

PRISQ uses body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, age, gender, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure to calculate a score that indicates the risk of having prediabetes. PRISQ can, therefore, easily be used in clinical or community settings by primary health care personnel and even by the public. The tool will be available as a standalone webserver as well as an application that can be downloaded onto any smart phone.

Commenting on the outcome of the joint research, Dr. Arredouani said: “Our multidisciplinary collaboration with QCRI has allowed us to make swift progress on developing the first tool of its kind in the Middle East and the first to be developed using data from the Qatari population. PRISQ is set to become very important for the early detection of individuals with prediabetes and, ultimately, in curbing the diabetes epidemic in the region. It is an affirmation of our shared commitment to tackling challenges that impact on the lives of people in Qatar and across the Middle East.” 

Dr. Bensmail, said: “We are honored to be engaged with our peers at QBRI to advance research into prediabetes. Our collective efforts have generated a crucial solution for a problem that is endemic to the region, clearly showing how much more we can achieve collectively. It is our hope that this new cost-effective tool will help people to make the necessary lifestyle changes to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.” 

Prediabetes dramatically raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Indeed, every year, 5 to 10% of people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes. Additionally, for every 100 healthy individuals, only five will develop type 2 diabetes within six years. However, for every 100 individuals with prediabetes, 33 to 65 will develop type 2 diabetes within six years. 

Recent scientific evidence has demonstrated that the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes can be prevented, or at least delayed, in a large number of individuals with prediabetes in response to intensive lifestyle intervention. Those findings make the early identification of individuals with prediabetes particularly crucial and highlights PRISQ as a significant, highly cost-effective step toward curbing the type 2 diabetes epidemic sweeping the Middle East region. The joint QBRI-QCRI study has been published in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation and can be accessed online at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33075216/

For more information on the work of Qatar Biomedical Research Institute, please visit qbri.hbku.edu.qa and to learn more about Qatar Computing Research Institute, please visit qcri.hbku.edu.qa.


Hamad Bin Khalifa University

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