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Nevin Al Sukari - Abu Dhabi - Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
An epidemiological study of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) is being scheduled in Abu Dhabi as everyone has yet to fully understand the mystery of these set of conditions, which, among its complications, if undiagnosed or misdiagnosed is colorectal cancer.
“If all goes as planned, we will expand this venture further to include the entire country,” Dr. Talha Aziz Malik told Gulf Today recently, adding that while many inconsistencies in collated studies have to be corrected, IBD rates in other parts of the globe, other than among the Caucasians in North America, Europe and Australia, have spiked tremendously.
“Epidemiological studies allow us to understand occurrence, distribution and risk factors of a certain disease in a certain area and represent a first key step to helping prevent when possible and managing that disease,” the Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology specialist/assistant professor affiliated with the USA-headquartered Mayo Clinic, UAB Highlands Hospital and Alabama University Hospital.
On Monday, Malik was announced as the new Sheikh Shakhbout Medical Centre (SSMC) IBD Centre director. SSMC is a joint venture partnership of the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company and Mayo Clinic. Its IBD Centre will pursue the comprehensive patient-centred approach wherein among the multidisciplinary team of medical practitioners are colorectal surgeons as well as experts in chromosome colonoscopy and chromoendoscopy.
Malik mentioned the Abu Dhabi IBD research study when interviewed in connection with the annual May 19 “World IBD Day.” Like former Emirates Gastroenterology and Hepatology Society president Dr. Maryam Al Khatry, founder/president of the recently launched patient-focused UAE IBD Society, Malik pointed out the absence of a well-conceptualised national registry and the serious need for in-depth research works: “There has not been any sound epidemiological data published for IBD in the UAE thus far. We know however that in general, IBD epidemiological data from Africa and the Middle East reveal similar trends to that in North America. We will start off with our patients (at SSMC) then expand the research to include other Abu Dhabi residents.” Malik with 22 years of work experience, said the SSMC-initiated Abu Dhabi IBD Epidemiological Study will help clarify many inconsistent conclusions: “We actually do not know the cause of IBD. What we do know is that IBD describes two disease entities: Crohn’s Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis. These result from an uncontrolled immune-mediated inflammatory response in genetically-pre-disposed individuals to a still unknown environmental trigger that interacts with the intestinal flora and primary affects the gastrointestinal tract.”
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