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Qatar- Sidra Medicine saves life of young Kuwaiti boy with intractable epilepsy

(MENAFN – Gulf Times) * QF entity performs complex epilepsy surgery for first time on an international patient

Sidra Medicine, a Qatar Foundation (QF) entity, has performed a complex epilepsy surgery for the first time on an international patient.

Salem is a 10-year-old boy from Kuwait who used to suffer from at least 15-30 seizures a day. Each seizure could last from a few seconds to up to four minutes, increasing the danger to his physical health.

Salem was transferred to Sidra Medicine in Qatar, after his family in Kuwait sought a second expert opinion with the hospital’s renowned specialist treatment programme for children with intractable epilepsy.

Salem’s father, Dr Abdulrahman Abdullah, said: ‘Due to the nature of Salem’s epilepsy, we had to have someone monitoring him all the time as he would have an uncontrollable seizure any minute, with the added risk of hurting himself. And while he was on a good therapy programme, including anti-epileptic medications, in Kuwait, we had reached a stage where he was no longer responding to conventional treatment or medication.

‘Our decision to bring my son Salem to Sidra Medicine was based on several recommendations within the international and regional pediatric medical faculty. The specialist and advanced therapies that Sidra Medicine offers competes with centres of excellence that are in the US or Europe. My family and I are extremely impressed with the care our son received here, Salem’s father continued.

Dr Husam Kayyali, acting division chief of Neurology at Sidra Medicine, said: ‘Salem’s case was brought to our attention when his father reached out to our international office about saving his son’s life. Intractable epilepsy can be a heavy burden, especially on children as they need constant monitoring and care. Studies have shown that only 3-4% of patients with intractable epilepsy would respond to treatment with antiepileptic medications. Cutting-edge advanced therapies such as epilepsy surgery might be the only answer in such cases. After a thorough evaluation of Salem’s case at Sidra Medicine, we decided to proceed with epilepsy surgery.

Salem was cared for at Sidra Medicine by a multidisciplinary team of experts from neurology, neurophysiology, radiology, nuclear medicine, neuro-psychology and neurosurgery. He was also extensively supported by a wider team from occupational health, physical therapy, rehabilitative medicine and ophthalmology to ensure a comprehensive pre- and post-operative care programme, a press statement noted.

Sidra Medicine is “one of very few children’s hospitals in the Middle East” to have dedicated paediatric experts overseeing the entire spectrum of care for children with complex diseases or health challenges, including epilepsy, the statement points out.

‘Salem’s treatment programme at Sidra Medicine started with a thorough assessment and investigations at the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit with Video-Electroencephalographic monitoring and advanced neuroimaging such as high-resolution Brain MRI imaging and (positron emission tomography) PET scans. It was determined that Salem had suffered a stroke when he was a fetus inside his mother. This explained how he started getting refractory epileptic seizures when he turned five, which had progressively damaged the left

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Sidra Medicine saves life of young Kuwaiti boy with intractable epilepsy

* QF entity performs complex epilepsy surgery for first time on an international patient

Sidra Medicine, a Qatar Foundation (QF) entity, has performed a complex epilepsy surgery for the first time on an international patient.

Salem is a 10-year-old boy from Kuwait who used to suffer from at least 15-30 seizures a day. Each seizure could last from a few seconds to up to four minutes, increasing the danger to his physical health.

Salem was transferred to Sidra Medicine in Qatar, after his family in Kuwait sought a second expert opinion with the hospital’s renowned specialist treatment programme for children with intractable epilepsy.

Salem’s father, Dr Abdulrahman Abdullah, said: “Due to the nature of Salem’s epilepsy, we had to have someone monitoring him all the time as he would have an uncontrollable seizure any minute, with the added risk of hurting himself. And while he was on a good therapy programme, including anti-epileptic medications, in Kuwait, we had reached a stage where he was no longer responding to conventional treatment or medication.”

“Our decision to bring my son Salem to Sidra Medicine was based on several recommendations within the international and regional pediatric medical faculty. The specialist and advanced therapies that Sidra Medicine offers competes with centres of excellence that are in the US or Europe. My family and I are extremely impressed with the care our son received here,” Salem’s father continued.

Dr Husam Kayyali, acting division chief of Neurology at Sidra Medicine, said: “Salem’s case was brought to our attention when his father reached out to our international office about saving his son’s life. Intractable epilepsy can be a heavy burden, especially on children as they need constant monitoring and care. Studies have shown that only 3-4% of patients with intractable epilepsy would respond to treatment with antiepileptic medications. Cutting-edge advanced therapies such as epilepsy surgery might be the only answer in such cases. After a thorough evaluation of Salem’s case at Sidra Medicine, we decided to proceed with epilepsy surgery.”

Salem was cared for at Sidra Medicine by a multidisciplinary team of experts from neurology, neurophysiology, radiology, nuclear medicine, neuro-psychology and neurosurgery. He was also extensively supported by a wider team from occupational health, physical therapy, rehabilitative medicine and ophthalmology to ensure a comprehensive pre- and post-operative care programme, a press statement noted.

Sidra Medicine is “one of very few children’s hospitals in the Middle East” to have dedicated paediatric experts overseeing the entire spectrum of care for children with complex diseases or health challenges, including epilepsy, the statement points out.

“Salem’s treatment programme at Sidra Medicine started with a thorough assessment and investigations at the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit with Video-Electroencephalographic monitoring and advanced neuroimaging such as high-resolution Brain MRI imaging and (positron emission tomography) PET scans. It was determined that Salem had suffered a stroke when he was a fetus inside his mother. This explained how he started getting refractory epileptic seizures when he turned five, which had progressively damaged the left side of his brain,”

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Sidra Medicine marks World Prematurity Day

November 22 2020 01:47 PM

Sidra Medicine - in purple
* The QF entity lights up hospital in purple in recognition of premature and sick babies

Sidra Medicine marked World Prematurity Day on 17 November in support of raising awareness about preterm birth.  The hospital hosted several information sessions with staff and parents and also lit up its main building in purple, the official color for the observance. World Prematurity Day is observed on 17 November each year to raise awareness of preterm birth and the concerns of preterm babies and their families worldwide.
Dr. Charlotte Tscherning, the Division Chief of Neonatology at Sidra Medicine said:
 

Dr. Charlotte Tscherning – Div. Chief of Neonatology

“Approximately 15 million babies are born preterm each year, accounting for about one in 10 of all babies born worldwide. In addition, premature birth is the leading cause of death globally in children under the age of five. For preterm babies who survive, the additional burden of prematurity-related disability may affect families and health systems. Observing this important day is a major step towards raising awareness, educating families and

 

Baby Winifred at Sidra Medicine NICU

healthcare professionals of the milestones and advancements in the field and what we can all do in not only continually improving the quality of care but also saving the lives of preterm babies. We also wanted to acknowledge the role of our own Neonatal ICU staff and their tireless efforts in saving the lives of premature and sick babies at our hospital.”

On 17 November, the NICU team from Sidra Medicine gathered with families whose babies were NICU patients to mark the occasion along with senior leadership, including Mr.
 

Baby Winifred and Eme

Mohammed Khalid Al Mana, the Managing Director and Member of the Board of Governors at Sidra Medicine and Prof. Ziyad M. Hijazi, Acting Chief Medical Officer.


The agenda included presentations about the challenges of giving complex neonatal care to the babies, along with making sure that the sensorial inputs to the babies are controlled and also supporting the  parents to connect with their newborn baby. The day ended with a
 

One year old Winifred 

walk around the main hospital building with staff and guests sporting purple glow sticks in support of families everywhere.


The program also featured the stories from three mothers, who each shared the journeys of their sick babies and the challenges they overcame. Eme, whose daughter Winifred was born premature last year, shared her experience as a NICU parent and the care that was provided at Sidra Medicine following her daughter’s surgery to treat Short Bowel Syndrome.
Eme said: “Thank you to everyone at Sidra Medicine who took such good care of us. We spent seven months in the NICU ward and we could feel the love and care for our little fighter Winifred.  We are truly grateful for the amazing care and for saving her life. There were some very hard and challenging days however the team at Sidra Medicine were wonderful in supporting us every step of the
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Sidra Medicine ‘test’ to aid the call for immunity passports

Scientists at Qatar Foundation’s Sidra Medicine are working on developing a better antibody test that provides more detailed information than existing commercial assays for Covid-19 antibodies.

This is expected to make life easier during the pandemic times by identifying and certifying people who have developed immunity to the virus, making them safer candidates for travel and work.
“Immunity passports” is a huge area of interest for governments and researchers alike .The idea is that someone who has already recovered from Covid-19 develops antibodies to the virus that will remain in their body for at least a few months. This means they are much less likely to be re-infected and develop symptoms from the virus, making them safer candidates for travel and work.
However, the use of immunity passports has been hampered partly by inaccurate testing. A false positive antibody test in a person who is not immune may lead that individual to believe that they are immune and engage in high-risk activities that may lead to a true infection. A false negative antibody test may cause an individual, who is already immune, to be unnecessarily re-screened for the virus for travel or work-related purposes.
The test that scientists at Sidra Medicine are working looks at multiple types of antibodies against the different protein components of the Covid-19 virus, as well as against the other common human coronaviruses.
The test is also high-throughput and, because it has been developed locally, less expensive than all commercially available tests. The preliminary results show that the test developed by Sidra Medicine is much more accurate than the currently available antibody tests and provides more detailed information about each person’s immune response.
But does this mean that those who test positive for antibodies against other coronaviruses could also be immune to Covid-19? Or potentially face milder symptoms or be asymptomatic? “That’s the million-dollar question,” says Dr Jean-Charles Grivel, director at the Deep Phenotyping Core at Sidra Medicine whose team is working on the new serology assay.
“There are seven human coronaviruses. Our assay measures reactivity against all of them, unlike most commercial assays. We are working with other entities in Qatar to figure out if antibodies to other coronaviruses impacts immunity and how it affects the clinical trajectory of infected patients.”
Dr Grivel’s team at the Deep Phenotyping Core consists of Igor Pavlovski and Selma Maacha who have been instrumental in conducting the research for Sidra Medicine’s serological tests.
Dr Patrick Tang, division chief, Pathology Sciences at Sidra Medicine said that if this test can be applied to a larger population, it would definitely improve the accuracy of the results.
“Commercially available serology tests have an accuracy rate of about 85 to 90%. If we had a more accurate serology test, we have a greater degree of assurance about who is immune and not likely to become symptomatic if exposed to the virus again. This would mean that these people would be safe for customer-facing duties, or to travel or participate in public gatherings and

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Qatar- Registration open for Sidra Medicine’s precision medicine symposium

(MENAFN – The Peninsula) Doha: Sidra Medicine is pleased to announce that registrations to its virtual Precision Medicine and Functional Genomics Symposium (PMFG 2020) are now open. The symposium will be hosted online from December 5 to 7.

PMFG 2020 Organizing Co-Chair, Dr. Bernice Lo, Investigator at Sidra Medicine said: ‘We have finalised some very topical discussions this year, including precision medicine solutions for managing COVID-19. We are also going to cover the large-scale discoveries that drive precision medicine as well as lessons from industry and biotechnology sectors.

Attendees to PMFG 2020 will receive 14.25 hours learning credits as approved by the Qatar Council of Healthcare Practitioners. Speakers to PMFG 2020 include Sir Mark Caulfield from Genomics England; Dr. Adolfo Garcia-Sastre from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Dr. Ingrid Scheffer from the University of Melbourne; Dr. Paul Thompson from the University of Southern California and Dr. Virginia Pascual from Cornell University.

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Registrations open for Sidra Medicine’s precision medicine symposium

Sidra Medicine has opened registrations for its virtual Precision Medicine and Functional Genomics Symposium (PMFG), to be held online from December 5 to 7.

PMFG 2020 Organising co-chair, Dr Bernice Lo, investigator at Sidra Medicine said, “We have finalised some very topical discussions this year including precision medicine solutions for managing Covid-19. We are also going to cover the large-scale discoveries that drive precision medicine as well as lessons from industry and biotechnology sectors.”

International speakers to PMFG 2020 include Mark Caulfield from Genomics England; Dr Adolfo Garcia-Sastre from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Dr Ingrid Scheffer from the University of Melbourne; Dr Paul Thompson from the University of Southern California and Dr Virginia Pascual from Cornell University.

In addition, attendees will also have access to presentations from Dr Alan Shuldiner from Regeneron Genetics Centre; Dr Stuart Tangye from the Garvan Institute and Dr Lara Mangravite from Sage Bionetworks.

Dr Damien Chaussabel, organising co-chair of PMFG 2020 and director of Sidra Medicine’s Immunology Programme said, “Our cohort of renowned speakers will share their insights about the advancements in precision medicine through data-driven science and research. We are excited that Sidra Medicine is in a very unique position to highlight its own precision medicine journey so far. We look forward to welcoming delegates online from all over the world for this year’s symposium.”

PMFG 2020 will feature live and on-demand programming from invited speakers, as well as provide opportunities for talks from competitive abstract submissions. It will bring together researchers, academics, healthcare professionals, policy makers, partners and the community, to explore the latest developments and innovations in genomics research and how they translate into precision medicine solutions.

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Sidra Medicine highlights importance of mental health in families

Sidra Medicine has reiterated the importance of mental health in families as part of its ongoing commitment to support the development and advancement of mental health services in Qatar.

Dr Felice Watt, division chief, Adult Psychiatry for Women’s Mental Health at Sidra Medicine said, “Mothers are the key to a family’s mental health and we need our mothers to be physically and emotionally well. It is important that pregnant women and mothers feel supported and empowered. We can ask them “How are you feeling?” and “What can I do to help you?” and offer support and company. It is also important to listen without judgment. If you feel that you are unable to support, then help her get professional assistance.”
Mental health not only affects the woman but also impacts the pregnancy, the child and the family. This highlights the importance of fathers’ and infants’ mental health and wellbeing.
Infant Mental Health describes the capacity of a baby to form close relationships; to recognise and express emotions and to explore and learn about their environment. Every interaction contributes to the child’s brain development and lays the foundation for later learning.
To reach their full potential, children need support of their physical and mental health and an environment of nurturing care. This includes responsive caregiving whereby their caregivers notice, understand and respond to the child’s signals in a timely and appropriate manner. Opportunity for early learning is also encouraged.
Fathers also play a unique and important role in their children’s development and in supporting their wife.     
Dr Zainab Imam, psychiatrist from Sidra Medicine said, “According to research featured in the Wiley Online Library, about 10% of new fathers experience depression, especially if their wives are depressed; while up to 18% of fathers suffer from anxiety. Since most new mothers look to their husbands as the main source of support, poor paternal support can worsen a mother’s mental health.”
“We advocate that there needs to be stronger support systems for fathers, encouraging them to be involved, and giving them an opportunity to talk about their experiences as fathers and to learn how to support their children’s development And most importantly, fathers need support to access professional help when needed, without the stigma that sometimes stops many new fathers from seeking help,” continued Dr Imam.
Qatar has set up a helpline (16000) to support people of all ages and nationalities who are looking for advice on coping with stress, anxiety and depression and other mental health disorders. The helpline is available from 8 am to 7pm Sundays to Thursdays, and 8am to 3pm on Saturdays.

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Sidra Medicine joins hands with MoPH in ‘Are you ok’ campaign

Sidra Medicine, a Qatar Foundation entity, has partnered with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in its national mental health and wellness campaign ‘Are you ok’ to highlight the support services available for women, children and young people in Qatar.

“The (coronavirus) pandemic has changed the landscape regarding the critical need for robust mental health support systems. It is very assuring and speaks of the calibre of the healthcare services in Qatar, to see how the Ministry of Public Health and Sidra Medicine have rapidly mobilised to keep mental health on top of the country’s service agenda,” Professor Muhammed Waqar Azeem, the chair of Psychiatry at Sidra Medicine said.

“At Sidra Medicine, we remain committed to supporting the people of Qatar, particularly children, young people and perinatal women in meeting their mental healthcare needs. In addition to world class mental health services, our Department of Psychiatry has started a number of educational and training programmes and is also involved in various leading-edge mental health-related research projects.”

Sidra Medicine offers Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Adolescent Medicine and Perinatal Mental Health services in Qatar. The services are either referral-based (in the case of children) or self-referral/ direct (perinatal mental health services).

Sidra Medicine’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is available for children aged 5 to 18 years and includes outpatient, inpatient, consultation liaison and emergency care.

The service can be accessed via referral from Primary Health Care Centres, private clinics, schools and other sources.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to strengthen mental health support services, we have focused on patient care, education to build local human resources, research and building community models of care in Qatar. The success of our programme is based on the collaboration of patients, their relatives and our staff, who all work to help achieve patient goals to live their lives as fully possible. I am also proud of our team’s achieving accreditation for the world’s first Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education International (ACGMEI),” Dr Ahsan Nazeer, division chief of CAHMS at Sidra Medicine, said.

“Our advice to parents dealing with children with anxiety, especially during this time, is to encourage their children to share their concerns and have frank and open discussions about their fears and concerns. It is also important that children obtain accurate information from reliable sources. We also encourage parents to focus on instilling a sense of hope and optimism in their children by role modelling appropriate positive behaviuors,” Nazeer said.

Dr Alanoud al-Ansari, division chief of Adolescent Medicine whose clinic provides developmentally appropriate mental health and medical care for adolescents aged 12 to 18 years, has seen a rise in anxiety in teenagers.

“Teenagers are manifesting their anxiety around loss of control and unpredictability through eating disorders, depression and cutting themselves. Many of them have not been able to cope with being back at school. Despite families being in lockdown and opting to stay home during the pandemic, many families while

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Sidra Medicine highlights mental health services for children, young people and perinatal women

Sidra Medicine, has partnered with the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) in its national mental health and wellness campaign “Are you ok” to highlight the support services available for women, children and young people in Qatar.

Professor. Muhammed Waqar Azeem, the Chair of Psychiatry at Sidra Medicine said, “The pandemic has changed the landscape regarding the critical need for robust mental health support systems.  It is very assuring and speaks to the caliber of the healthcare services in Qatar, to see how the Ministry of Public Health and Sidra Medicine have rapidly mobilized to keep mental health on top of the country’s service agenda. At Sidra Medicine, we remain committed to supporting the people of Qatar, particularly children, young people and perinatal women in meeting their mental health care needs. In addition to world class mental health services, our Department of Psychiatry has started a number of educational and training programs and is also involved in various leading-edge mental health related research projects.”

Sidra Medicine, a QF entity, offers Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Adolescent Medicine and Perinatal Mental Health services in Qatar. The services are either referral based (in the case of children) or self-referral/ direct (perinatal mental health services).

Sidra Medicine’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is available for children ages five to eighteen (5-18) years and includes outpatient, inpatient, consultation liaison and emergency care.  The service can be accessed via referral from Primary Health Care Centers, private clinics, schools and other sources.

Dr. Ahsan Nazeer, Division Chief of CAHMS at Sidra Medicine said: “As part of our ongoing efforts to strengthen mental health support services, we have focused on patient care, education to build local human resources, research and building community models of care in Qatar.  The success of our program is based on the collaboration of patients, their relatives and our staff, who all work to help achieve patient goals to live their lives as fully possible. I am also proud of our team’s achieving accreditation for the world’s first Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education International (ACGMEI).”

“Our advice to parents dealing with children with anxiety, especially during this time, is to encourage their children to share their concerns and have frank and open discussions about their fears and concerns.  It is also important that children obtain accurate information from reliable sources.

We also encourage parents to focus on instilling a sense of hope and optimism in their children by role modelling appropriate positive behaviours,” continued Dr. Nazeer.

Dr. Alanoud Al Ansari, Division Chief of Adolescent Medicine whose clinic provides developmentally appropriate mental health and medical care for adolescents aged 12 to 18 years old, has seen a rise in anxiety in teenagers.

“Teenagers are manifesting their anxiety around loss of control and unpredictability through eating disorders, depression and cutting. Many of them have not been able to cope being back at school. Despite families being in lock down and opting to stay home during the

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Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam visits Sidra Medicine

Sidra Medicine recently welcomed Mohamed Bahrin Abu Bakar, the Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to the State of Qatar and Norfazerne Md Jaafar, the Second Secretary to its hospital.

The Ambassador and Md. Jaafar were welcomed by Mohammed Al Mana, managing director and member of the board of governors at Sidra Medicine;  Prof. Ziyad M. Hijazi, acting chief medical officer and executive chair of pediatric medicine and Hamza Al Kuwari, chief of administrative services.  They were taken on a tour of Sidra Medicine’s specialist pediatric and women’s services wards including the Heart Center. Both parties discussed Sidra Medicine’s role in welcoming patients from Brunei to Qatar and medical tourism. 

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