Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI) hosted the First Autism Symposium at the Qatar National Convention Center in Education City recently. The two-day event focused on raising awareness about autism through constructive dialogue aimed at finding new techniques and breakthroughs in the prevention and diagnosis of the condition.

Dr Omar El Agnaf, Acting Executive Director of QBRI, said:

Our goal with this event has been to continue raising awareness of autism, which included its medical, social, and economic implications. The symposium has been a platform for medical experts, scholars and researchers to share knowledge and expertise, with the goal of transforming healthcare through innovation in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of autism.’

QBRI’s inaugural symposium saw leading medical experts from the research institute join forces with representatives from the Cleveland Clinic, Autism Speaks, the Oregon Health & Science University, and several other recognised global authorities in autism research, with researchers and scholars using the symposium as a valuable opportunity to hear from global thought leaders in the field and to share their insights and expertise with their peers.

Dr Fouad Al Shaban, Senior Scientist at QBRI and the event organiser, noted the level of interest the event generated from the medical community.

Discussion and exposure to the latest research and trends help bring this issue into the mainstream by reducing the social stigma often associated with autism. Acknowledging this as a healthcare issue is the first step in addressing autism head-on.’

Conversation at the event revolved around innovative diagnostic tools being developed to identify autism, differences between types of disorders categorised under autism, and potential genetic and environmental causes that can lead to these disorders. The event also addressed diagnostic and treatment options for autism, along with related medical services, now available in Qatar at QBRI and other healthcare providers.

To find out more about the work done by QBRI and its research centres, visit qbri.org.qa.