We are pleased to present you the second issue of the newsletter of the Centre for Arab Genomic Studies. The first issue of the CAGS Newsletter reached more than 3000 members. However, the real size of targeted audience exceeded 4000 readers. In this regard, we express our gratitude to all those who transmitted the word of CAGS to their societies, institutes, and newsgroups; in particular, we acknowledge the University of Sharjah - College of Health Sciences, the Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors, and others.
Over the last few months, the Centre for Arab Genomic Studies achieved important steps forward. One of these steps is the rapid growth of the CTGA database for genetic disorders in Arabs. The database now includes detailed information on more than 180 of 212 genetic disorders in the United Arab Emirates. This phase is approaching its completion and soon we will start collecting detailed information about genetic disorders in another Arab population.
We hope you enjoy reading the content of this issue. We also invite all readers to contribute to future issues of the newsletter.
Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a group of autosomal recessive inherited disorders of the epithelial basement membrane zone that manifest with blistering of the skin and mucous membranes after minor trauma. The disease appears to be one of the most frequent monogenic causes of infant mortality among Arabs. EB is traditionally classified into three groups according to the level of cleavage within the skin: EB simplex results from separation of the skin above the basement membrane, junctional EB is caused by blister formation within the basement membrane, and in the dystrophic form of EB, blisters appear below the basement membrane.
The genetic basis of all major clinical variants of epidermolysis bullosa has been delineated. Specific mutations have been demonstrated in 10 different genes expressed within the dermoepidermal adhesion zone, with at least six different genes being involved in the pathogenesis of junctional epidermolysis bullosa. The current mutation detection strategy followed in the United States and Europe entails analysis of patient samples for the recurrent R635X and R42X mutations in Laminin B3 (LAMB3) gene followed by sequential screening of LAMB3, LAMC2, and finally LAMA3.
The "Catalogue for Transmission Genetics in Arabs" (CTGA) currently reports on the occurence of epidermolysis bullosa letalis in Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates.
The Catalogue for Transmission Genetics in Arabs (CTGA)
The Faculty of Medicine, University of Gezira (FMUG) was established in 1975 in Wad Medani, the Capital of Gezira State. It is the second oldest medical college in Sudan. FMUG is the first school adopting the community-oriented, community based and problem-solving strategies in the country and is a pioneer in this innovative type of education all over the globe. The school has an Institute of Nuclear Medicine, Molecular Biology and Oncology with a primary health care and health education centre. At any given time, FMUG has over 1000 students on its roll. The school plays two key roles in the community: to train high quality physician and provide health care to the community. FMUG makes a remarkable contribution to the health care delivery in Sudan through a clearly defined and stated partnership with the Ministry of Health. The faculty and students are actively involved in providing services to remote rural areas.
Since its inception, FMUG collaborated with the World Health Organization and also became a main participant in the Blue Nile Research and Training Institute. In addition, FMUG is a founding member of “The network – partnership for health through innovative education, service and research”. FMUG boast a long list of published and unpublished papers. In 2002, FMUG received the Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences as the best medical institution in the Arab World.
The Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal (EMHJ) is the official health journal published by the Eastern Mediterranean Regional office of the World Health Organization. It is a forum for the presentation and promotion of new policies and initiatives in health services; and for the exchange of ideas, concepts, epidemiological data, research findings and other information, with special reference to the Eastern Mediterranean Region. EMHJ is registered on the Cochrane Collaboration's Master List and is indexed in Index Medicus, MEDLINE, Index Medicus for the Eastern Mediterranean Region (IMEMR), the Cummulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), ExtraMed-Full text on CD-ROM, CAB International, and Lexis Nexis.
EMHJ aims to be a forum for the publication of research papers on a diverse range of medical topics and for the presentation of new initiatives in public health with special reference to the Eastern Mediterranean region. It addresses all members of the health profession, medical and other health educational institutes, interested NGOs, WHO-Collaborating centers, and individuals within and outside the Region.
Science. 2005 Jun 3; 308(5727): 1416-8.
Author: Maziak W.
Address: Syrian Center for Tobacco Studies, Aleppo, Syria.
Of all its accomplishments, the West is perhaps most proud of its scientific revolution, which has been unfolding for the past half-millennium. Only students of history remain consistently mindful of the pivotal and catalytic role that the Arab world played in the early phases of this revolution… Science and technology… can help to reduce societal tensions and build international bridges for badly needed dialogue and mutual understanding. To usher science and technology more thoroughly into Arab culture and society, … the Arab world needs to stop dwelling on its golden past by also embracing lessons about science and technology that the West learned long ago…
The Tunisian Medical Server, also known as MaghrebMed, is the portal of medical, dental, pharmaceutical, and veterinary resources in the Maghreb countries: Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. It aims at reinforcing the bonds of cooperation between medical practitioners in the region. The portal is hosted on the Ibn Sina server and includes detailed information on the professional health syndicates, health faculties, specialties, associations, medical centers, clinics, medical equipment, and laboratories in the region. The portal has an in-depth interest in the trade of medicine, its history and jurisdiction.
The most important weak point of the portal is the imbalance of content in the French version compared to the English copy. Besides, the English copy of the website is not reachable from the index page and access is offered in some subsequent pages in the portal. Additionally, some functions are not active such as the option to suggest a link to a new site.
However, MaghrebMed boasts many strong points. It offers detailed medical information to a wide range of visitors. It is an informative site for doctors on current projects and active organizations in the area. It also offers an updated calendar of congresses and extensive links to medical web resources. For students, MaghrebMed offers the latest information on medical faculties in the region, existing specialties, as well as course offerings. The portal also offers a monthly newsletter of the Tunisian Association of Medical Sciences and free access to the ADM (Assistance of Medical Diagnosis) encyclopedia.