AGU and RCSI Bahrain Join Forces to Combat Type 2 Diabetes in Bahrain

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Professor Stephen Atkin RCSI Bahrain Left  Professor Afif Bin Saleh AGU right

In their continuous efforts to address Bahrain’s healthcare priorities, RCSI Bahrain and the Arabian Gulf University (AGU) are collaborating on a joint research project to measure the physical activity of Bahraini patients with Type 2 diabetes and explore psychological and environmental factors which influence their behaviour. With 15% of Bahrain’s population suffering from Type 2 diabetes, the ultimate goal of this project is to develop standard interventions to support in decreasing sedentary behaviour and potentially improve the incidence rate of type 2 diabetes in the Bahraini population.

Individuals with Type 2 diabetes tend to be less physically active than individuals who do not have the condition. The benefits of regular physical activity on Type 2 diabetic patients include reduced blood sugar levels, triglycerides, blood pressure, percentage of body fat and insulin resistance. Furthermore, sedentary behaviour is associated with higher risks of mortality and morbidity among Type 2 diabetics. 

Professor Afif Bin Salih, Vice Dean for Graduate Studies and Research at Arabian Gulf University (AGU), commented: “The joint research project between the two universities was launched since 2015, to study the most important diseases prevalent in Bahrain, such as heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes and other diseases. A joint budget of 130,000 Bahraini dinars has been allocated to conduct about 15 joint research projects, in response to the health care requirements of the local community, and to address the challenges associated with chronic diseases, which causes an increased rates of health and economic burdens on the Kingdom. In addition to strengthening the health system, this research program also aims to reduce the economic burden of these diseases.”

Professor Stephen Atkin, Head of School of Postgraduate Studies and Research at RCSI Bahrain, commented: “RCSI Bahrain is keen on developing patient-centered research which addresses key national health challenges. Diabetes is a key research focus at the RCSI Bahrain Clinical and Biomolecular Research Centre, and through our research collaboration with the Arabian Gulf University, and as part of the social responsibility of both universities, we aim to develop a solution that will be a major step in the lives of diabetic patients and advancing their quality of life.”

The joint research project will run for a year and will be conducted at four primary healthcare centres with specialised diabetes clinics, where the research team will track the physical activity of 340 participants and collect required medical data. Dr Ebrahim Rajab, Senior Lecturer in Biology, Director of Foundation Year at RCSI Bahrain and the Principal Investigator of this research project will be joined by Professor Randah Hamadeh, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences Professor at AGU and Dr Abeer AlSaweer, Consultant Family physician and Diabetologist at AGU, Professor Edward Gregg, School of Population Health Professor, RCSI in Dublin, and Dr Lisa Mellon, School of Population Health Lecturer, RCSI in Dublin.