Qatar Biobank, a member of Qatar Foundation (QF) has announced adding two new tests to the existing list of investigations done on its participants. Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI) and Cognitive Function Testing will be introduced from April, said Dr Nahla Afifi, Director of Qatar Biobank, yesterday.
As part of the Qatar Biobank cohort study eligible participants who have completed their initial visit are being invited to participate in an additional phase involving MRI scanning and Cantab cognitive function testing, an invaluable method to help researchers to understand the role of specific brain functions.
“The results of each test will be presented in a report which will be available to each participant. Any further proceeding and checks up will be done by Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) after Qatar Biobank gives referral to the participants,” said Dr Afifi.
In April, the Qatar Biobank will also start inviting first 3000 participants of 2013, as part of its follow up process.
The Qatar Biobank recently welcomed the 20,000th participant, which is a major milestone in its efforts to recruit 60,000 participants from across Qatar to take part in the medical research initiative.
A regular visit to the Qatar Biobank includes standard medical tests, such as blood pressure and lung function. However, the tests carried out also include new screenings that are not included in other large-scale biobanks, such as advanced imaging techniques that measure whole-body composition and the health of carotid arteries, and a treadmill test to measure physical fitness.
“Vitamin D deficiency, diabetes, hypertension and high blood cholesterol are common problems seen in participants. Around 50% of participants were not aware of their conditions and they get referred to the HMC,” said Dr Afifi.
“Among the 20,000 participants we had only 20 people with undiagnosed life threatening and chronic illnesses. It is called incidental findings which are not so common,” she added.
The most up-to-date results from analysis of more than 15,000 participants’ samples, including data about diabetes, obesity, lifestyle behaviours, and other health aspects of the local community will be share at the upcoming International Biobanking Conference 2019, next week.
Internationally renowned health practitioners and biomedical experts are set to address the International Biobanking Conference 2019. The conference, taking place from March 25-27 under the titled ‘Quality Matters: A Global Discussion in Qatar.’
“Research into the risk factors for major health challenges for the Qatari population is vital to enhance the applications of precision medicine, enable for better healthcare and clearly establish Qatar as a world leader in this area of medical research,” said Dr Richard O’Kennedy, Vice-President of the Research, Development and Innovation Council at QF.
“The International Biobanking Conference will be an incredible opportunity for our researchers, experts and scientists to share ideas with delegates from around the world,” he added.
Ooredoo is the Official Telecommunications Sponsor of the conference. “At Ooredoo, our corporate social responsibility strategy fully commits us to supporting healthcare, research and education, and this event gives us the opportunity to provide our support to all three,” said Manar Khalifa Al Muraikhi, Director, PR at Ooredoo.