Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI), a research institute under Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), recently held an interactive workshop on Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) titled Memories Matter at the HBKU Research Complex.

Dr Mani QBRI
Dr Mani Chandran

The workshop, held in collaboration with the Geriatric Department of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), sought to answer questions surrounding Alzheimer’s Disease  and debunk any misconceptions related to the illness. The event also shed light on the groundbreaking research being carried out at the QBRI Neurological Disorders Research Centre focused on neuro degenerative diseases.

Dr Omar El Agnaf, Acting Executive Director of QBRI, said the Memories Matters workshop aims to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and highlight their 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 session conducted by Dr Mani Chandran of the Department of Geriatric Medicine at HMC. 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.

Noora Jaidah from the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute is a champion for the cause of those afflicted with AD. She briefed participants on the emotional difficulties faced by family members, as well as the efforts being taken to form a support group for families with AD patients in Qatar.

Research Effort at QBRI

The QBRI Neurological Disorders Research Centre 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 centre 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 people 65 years old and above. Researchers point out that potentially modifiable factors (including lifestyle 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 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.

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