Three leading medical experts spoke at the recent Grand Rounds at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) to discuss gestational diabetes, the links between gum disease and gestational diabetes, and how doctors deal with terminally ill children and their families.

Dr Christina Vlahos of the Department of Psychology at Sidra Medicine gave a presentation on ‘The Dying Child: Special Considerations in Working with Terminally Ill Pediatric Patients and their Families’, where she spoke about the emotionally challenging task of speaking honestly and sensitively about mortality to minimise distress.

Addressing an audience of physicians, pharmacists, nurses and allied health professionals, Dr Vlahos explained existing research into the different levels of understanding that children of different ages have of mortality and discussed how to talk with children about the issue.

It is very important to be very straightforward when speaking about death with children, and to avoid euphemisms. It is also very important to take it slow in order to let the child absorb what they are hearing, to invite questions, and to provide reassurance that they will be cared for.’

WCM-Q Grand Rounds
Dr Goran Petrovski and Dr Christina Vlahos

Visiting expert Dr Hatem Algraffee, a specialist periodontist based in London, presented on ‘Periodontal gum disease and systemic conditions; does a relationship really exist?’. Dr Agraffee said that the risk factors that make gum disease more likely, included smoking, poor oral hygiene, poor nutrition, certain medications, genetic predisposition, and a number of systemic diseases. He then discussed the links between gum disease and diabetes.

There is a direct relationship between the severity of gum disease and diabetes complications. So, if I have a patient who has unstable diabetes, it will negatively affect their gum disease, and if I have a patient who has stable diabetes, the chances are that they will react to treatment in exactly the same way as someone who is non-diabetic.’

Dr Algrafee then went on to outline possible associations between gum disease and a variety of conditions, including pregnancy complications, diabetes, respiratory disease, chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. He said that while associations between gum disease and these conditions have been observed, little evidence of causal links have been established.

Dr Goran Petrovski, a diabetes consultant and endocrinologist from Sidra Medicine, gave a presentation on ‘Gestational Diabetes: Insights and Thoughts’. The presentation included a detailed discussion of gestational diabetes, including case studies of pregnant women, management of the condition, and the different characteristics of the disease before, during and after pregnancy.

All three lectures were accredited by Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners-Accreditation Department (QCHP-AD) and by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).

To learn more about the WCM-Q Grand Rounds, visit their website at