Hamdan Medical Award trains students on using CTGA database
In collaboration with Ras Al Khaima Medical and Health Sciences University, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences' Centre for Arab Genomic Studies (CAGS) organized a workshop entitled "Best practices on the Catalogue for transmission genetics in Arabs (CTGA)" at the computer lab in the university's headquarter, which was attended by 50 faculty members and final year students.
Prof. Najeeb Al Khaja, Secretary General, Hamdan Medical Award, and President of CAGS, said that the workshop comes within the framework of an integrated training program, designed by CAGS, with the aim of encouraging the professionals in that field of science all over the seven Emirates to take advantage of the extensive information provided by CTGA, which is posted online and free of charge.
"Over the years, CTGA, the largest Ethnic-Specific updated Database worldwide, has managed to assert its importance as a good scientific tool used by specialists to diagnose and treat genetic disorders in Arabs", Al Khaja said.
Dr. Kannan Murugesan, Dean of Faculty of Medical Sciences, RAK Medical and Health Sciences University, opened the workshop by delivering a word during which he welcomed all forms of mutual cooperation between the University and the prestigious Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, which flows always in the favor of upgrading the future doctors, the nucleus of the future health sector all over the region.
The workshop began its agenda with an introduction by Dr. Ghazi Tadmouri, Assistant Director, CAGS, on the importance of bioinformatics in developing health policies and planning medical practices.
Pratibha Nair and Tasneem Obaid, Research Assistants, CAGS, explained the main features of CTGA database, the merits of usage, and the strategies required to carry out relevant and meaningful searches within it. They talked about 1016 Genetic Disorders monitored by CTGA, 34% of which include 'Congenital Malformations & Chromosomal Abnormalities, followed by 'Metabolic Disorders' (19%), 'Nervous System Disorders' (11%), and 'Disorders of the Blood & the Immune Mechanism' (6%).
Also, they explained the wealth of information provided by CTGA on clinical diseases, its diagnosis and treatment, along with 418 records of genes responsible for its occurrence, and information about many genetic mutations of common Genetic Disorders.
The workshop was characterized by its practical side. The participants worked on exercises that brought forward the salient features of the database, and introduced them to its practical usage, including finding in-depth information on genetic disorders in the Arab population, aiding in diagnosis of suspected genetic disorders, understanding the mutation spectrum of a particular gene in Arabs, and locating information on genetic diseases in hard-to-access local journals.
It should be noted that CTGA database was launched online by CAGS on the 30th of November 2004, and includes information on genetic disorders among the peoples of 23 Arab countries namely; United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan, Mauritania, Djibouti, Eritrea, Comoros and Somalia.
Recently, CTGA celebrated the millionth visitor to the website. Most visitors to the database have been from West Asia, North Europe, North America and North Africa, which is really a good evidence of the success of the database in terms of worldwide access, and an indicator to the need of Arabs for such databases.