Kuwait's Dasman Diabetes Institute signs agreement with the Forsyth Institute

October 12, 2010

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., October 12, -- In the face of a dramatic worldwide increase in adolescent obesity and Type 2 diabetes, The Forsyth Institute today announced a research alliance with the Dasman Diabetes Institute of Kuwait to initiate studies that could lay a scientific basis for prevention. This collaboration, called The Kuwait Healthy Life Study, will examine conditions in children that predispose them to obesity and Type 2 diabetes. In this five-year research alliance, Forsyth will work with the Dasman Diabetes Institute to conduct studies that are directed toward maintaining metabolic health in children and thereby preventing the consequences of obesity and diabetes.

The Forsyth scientists, world leaders in oral health research, will focus on using saliva as a source of non-invasive biomarkers of metabolic disease that are suitable as early warning risk indicators of developing diabetes.

Currently, diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. The major recent change in this trend is that Type 2 diabetes (formerly called "adult-onset diabetes") has now become common in children. Complications of diabetes, which contribute to a shortening of lifespan, include cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, eye disease, nerve damage and foot infections. The percentage of people with diabetes in Kuwait is one of the highest worldwide.

The Forsyth team, led by J. Max Goodson, DDS, PhD, is developing diagnostic tools suitable for conducting a large-scale investigation of the disease conditions in children that lead to diabetes and testing the effectiveness of intervention based on life-style changes.

Forsyth has been working to safeguard the health of the children of Kuwait for 27 years (http://www.schooloralhealthkw.com/main_e.htm). Forsyth organizes and runs a dental care program that provides education, prevention and treatment to approximately 270,000 school children each year. This program is conducted in partnership with the government of Kuwait under the leadership of Dr. Sabiha Al-Mutawa, Superintendent of Oral Health, and Dr. Pramod Soparkar, Forsyth Senior Clinical Investigator. This initiative, the Kuwait-Forsyth School Oral Health program, offers an ideal source of participants for a longitudinal health study. The goals of the new Kuwait Healthy Life Study are: to develop methods for non-invasive detection of developing metabolic disease in children; to suggest potential mechanisms by which metabolic diseases develop; and to lay a scientific basis for prevention of Type 2 diabetes in children.

"The Dasman Diabetes Institute is at the forefront in creating global collaborations to improve the health of the people of Kuwait," said Dr. Kazem Behbehani, Director General of the Dasman Diabetes Institute. "This agreement is a natural extension of the long-standing relationship between Forsyth and Kuwait. We feel that that the key to control of obesity and type 2 diabetes may lay in recognizing and controlling the earliest symptoms of disease in children. This study should be of major benefit both to the people of Kuwait and the rest of the world that suffers from an epidemic increase in metabolic disease prevalence."

"We have worked with the public health and scientific communities in Kuwait for nearly three decades," said Dr. Philip Stashenko, President and CEO of The Forsyth Institute. "Our team is thrilled for the opportunity to expand our programs in Kuwait and work with leading scientists at the Dasman Diabetes Institute. Together, we have a great opportunity to create a paradigm shift in knowledge and improve health."

A unique characteristic of the Forsyth/Dasman alliance is that clinical research management will be largely by Kuwaiti scientists. To accomplish this, staff of the Kuwait University Faculty of Dentistry will participate in the studies being conducted at the Dasman Diabetes Institute. The alliance combines collaborations among three organizations, The Forsyth Institute, the Dasman Diabetes Institute and the Kuwait Dental School.
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The vision of the Dasman Diabetes Institute (www.dasmaninstitute.org) is to be one of the leading comprehensive research and treatment facilities in its field, and to contribute to the improvement of the health of future generations in Kuwait and the entire Middle East. The Institute will achieve this vision by conducting research in the field of diabetes to find better treatment modalities and possible solutions to slow down the development of the disease in the region.

The Forsyth Institute is the world's leading independent organization dedicated to scientific research and education in oral health and related biomedical sciences. Established in 1910, Forsyth's mission is to lead the discovery, communication and application of breakthroughs in oral health and disease prevention that will significantly improve the health and well-being of the nation and the world. For more information about Forsyth visit its Web site at www.forsyth.org

Forsyth Institute

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