HMC holds second Middle East Metabolic Dieticians workshop

Press release
Published May 6th, 2012 - 12:59 GMT

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) recently held the two-day Second Middle East Metabolic Dieticians Workshop aimed at giving the latest updates on metabolic diseases and nutritional services for people with metabolic disorders. The event was conducted at Hajar Auditorium and drew about 80 participants and 12 speakers from Qatar, the Middle East, Europe and the Hospital for Sick Children in Canada. 

“Most of the participants are metabolic doctors or dieticians. This second workshop was conducted as a result of great feedback on the first workshop, and we are planning to have it every two years, to be rotated in other Gulf countries as well as Qatar,” said Dr Tawfeg Ben Omran, Head of Clinical and Metabolic Genetics at HMC’s Department of Pediatrics, and Chairman of the workshop. 

“The idea for this workshop is to have a round table discussion so that we can explore collaboration with other Gulf countries in this field, as we share the same basics in regard to population and diseases in the region. We see mostly the same cases, and sometimes a new disorder is found that is not known in the rest of the world, or some countries develop new approaches to metabolic treatments. Through this discussion we might be able to come up with recommendations on how we can collaborate to deliver the best care for our patients,” Dr Ben Omran explained. 

A metabolic disease or disorder is characterized by problems with converting food to energy on a cellular level, and is typically hereditary. Most persons affected may appear healthy for years, or may have symptoms that are also shared by other conditions, making specialized metabolic screening necessary for early detection of the disorder. 

Most people suffering from metabolic disorders require special dietary therapy in order to avoid accumulation of toxic metabolites due to harmful substances in food, according to one of the speakers, Ms Reem Al Saadi, Acting Assistant Director for the Dietetics and Nutrition Department at Hamad General Hospital. Management of metabolic disorders should start at an early stage after a newborn baby is screened and diagnosed, in order to avoid any defects in the baby’s development. 

Metabolic screening for all newborn babies in Qatar is now conducted in-house at HMC, which partnered with the prestigious University Children’s Hospital in Heidelberg, Germany in 2003 to start providing the service. “About 160,000 babies have been screened in the last nine years, and about 270 babies have been found to have metabolic disorders,” said Professor Georg Hoffmann, Chairman of Pediatrics at Heidelberg University Hospital. He explained that compared to most countries outside of the Gulf region, there are three times as many babies affected with metabolic disorders in Qatar due to high consanguinity rates in the region. 

“Qatar has shown wonderfully how well the newborn screening works here and it should also be transported to other countries,” said Prof. Hoffmann, who also gave an overview and update on epileptic encephalopathies and was one of the moderators during the workshop. 

Experts also discussed topics such as basic principles in ketogenic diet, update on fatty acid oxidation disorders, establishing innovative services for metabolic dietary management in the region, and emergency management of inborn errors of metabolism (IEM). Practical sessions were conducted for emergency dietary protocols for common IEM, and low-protein recipes for traditional dishes.

Background Information

Hamad Medical Corporation

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is the main provider of secondary and tertiary healthcare in Qatar and one of the leading hospital providers in the Middle East.

For more than four decades, HMC has been dedicated to delivering the safest, most effective and compassionate care to all its patients.

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