• Research in the area of Neuroinfections in particular stroke and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis in Brunei Darussalam
Research in the area of Neuroinfections in particular stroke and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis in Brunei Darussalam

Research Teams from PAPRSB Institute of Health Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam has partnered with Brunei Neuroscience Stroke and Rehabilitation Centre (BNSRC) together with Krankenhaus Nordwest and University of Heidelberg in Germany to conduct research  in the area of Neuroinfections in particular stroke and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis in Brunei Darussalam. 

This research is headed by Professor Datin Seri Laila Jasa Dr Uta Meyding-Lamadé's and her  team  at BNSRC together with Dr Siti Hanna Muharram, Dr Suwarni Hj  Mohd Diah, Mr.  Agong Lupat,  Dr Anita Binurul Zahrina binti POKLW DSS Hj Awang Abdul Aziz,  Dr Hjh Parveen Hashmet from PAPRSB Institute of Health Science, UBD and Prof. Heiko Becher, University of Heidelberg, Germany.

Stroke is the most common neurological condition causing long-term disability and has enormous emotional and socioeconomic consequences in patients, their families and health services. Stroke is the 2nd common cause of death and the permanent leading cause for disability in western Industrial countries. In 2011, WHO reported that 6.15 million people suffer from stroke worldwide. Meanwhile multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. The initial symptom of MS is often blurred vision, red-green color distortion or even blindness in one eye, and sensory and/or brainstem/cerebellar symptoms. Many MS patients experience also muscle weakness in their extremities and difficulty with coordination and balance. In the worst case, MS can produce partial or complete paralysis and/or severe coordination problems.

 The epidemiological data of these serious diseases are not available for Brunei population. The first study led by Mr Agong Lupat and his team will help to identify epidemiological data and risk groups in Brunei Darussalam. Therefore the objectives of this first study are; a) To develop a Brunei national Database for neurological diseases, in particular for stroke  and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and b) to identify stroke and multiple sclerosis cases by door-to-door survey so that prevalence,  incidence, mortality data can be estimated for the study population.

Since the approval of this project on the June 2012, the study has been progressing well and meeting between researchers from Universiti Brunei Darussalam and it’s collaborator from Krankenhaus Nordwest, Frankfurt, Germany  has been held frequently through in-house meeting and video conferencing on numerous occasion in-order to make sure the smooth running of the project. With the approval from the ethic committee and the completion of a pilot study, the main study is expected to start at the end of the September 2013. Raising awareness among the public about this project has been achieved through press release and press conference that was held recently. The house to house interviews amongst the residents in Brunei-Muara district will take two to three hours, including a health screening. Interviewers wearing blue and red UBD shirts will go door-to-door to interview people on whether they have experienced stroke or related symptoms.

Positive cases by the questionnaire (screen-in cases) will be arranged to meet a clinician (neurology specialist) researcher at the Brunei Neuroscience, Stroke and Rehabilitation Centre (BNSRC), Brunei Darussalam to investigate their neurological condition. If the person is truly having neurological disease, the person will be referred to relevant hospital or clinic (as appropriate) under the National Health Care System to provide necessary care.

The second study led by Dr Siti Hanna Muharram and Dr Suwarni Diah together with their team will investigate neurological disorders caused by infections in particularly in stroke and dengue patients. Investigations will also be done to increase understanding on the mechanisms underlying neurological diseases caused by infections by looking at the blood coagulation profile of patients using specialized equipment. Researchers have been trained to use the specialized equipment, ROTEM ® at Krankenhaus Nordwest, Germany in February 2013.  Currently, this study is currently awaiting ethics approval before the commencement of the project.

In conclusion, both studies will improve the awareness of the public about the disease of stroke and other neurological disorders through the survey. Databases developed by this study will help to get statistical data for stroke and multiple sclerosis and will be very helpful to define new quality standards in neurological health care comparing with world standards.

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