Focus research on non-communicable diseases, expert urges scientists

Special Correspondent

Projections indicate they will form a chunk of the total burden

CHENNAI: Researchers and scientists must focus attention on a newer burden, non-communicable diseases, Director-General, Indian Council for Medical Research, N.K. Ganguly, said on Thursday.

With projections for the future indicating that non-communicable diseases would form a large percentage of the total disease burden, it was essential to turn the attention of the research community towards the problem.

There would be a high incidence of cardiovascular disease, affecting a far younger population, he said.

Finding ways to handle diabetes and hypertension and reaching these to the level of the primary health centre was essential.

Dr. Ganguly was speaking at the inaugural meeting of Heart Research 2006, organised by the Indian chapters of the International Society of Heart Research (ISHR) and International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences (IACS) at Madras Medical Mission here on Thursday.

Responsive system

He called for a political system responsive to research in science and development and stressed the need for such research to be in tandem with the changes in culture and society.

A cross fertilisation of ideas between different specialties was essential to find solutions and manage problems such as urbanisation, maintaining environmental and health standards and ensuring good nutrition.

The best way to handle all issues in a comprehensive manner was to bring together a group of people comprising neonatologists, paediatric cardiologists, diabetologists, public health specialists and epidemiologists to work out joint strategies, Dr. Ganguly said.

He urged cardiologists to maintain ethics and equity in practice.

A platform

K.K. Talwar, president of the Indian section of ISHR, said the organisation aimed at creating a platform to bring cardiovascular scientists, practitioners and researchers in basic sciences together on a single platform.

S.K. Gupta, secretary, ISHR/IACS, presented the annual report of both organisations.

Usha Titus, Registrar, Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, said the conference had initiated a significant collaboration among physicians, engineers, and geneticists for research on cardiovascular diseases. IIT-Madras had started a two-year M.Tech course in Medical Biology along with Frontier Lifeline this year.

R. Suresh Kumar, organising secretary, provided an overview of the conference. M.S. Valiathan, chairman, organising committee; Mukesh Doble, joint organising secretary, and Naranjan S. Dhalla and Pawan Singal from the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, St. Boniface Research Center, Winnipeg, Canada, spoke.

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