Tuesday, January 17, 2017

SSUET Orientation Day on Jan 18

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

All arrangements have been finalized for the traditional Orientation Day to be organized for the entry of 2017 of newly enrolled students of the Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET), Karachi. The Orientation programme will be held on January 18 at 10 am at the Karachi Expo Centre.

The orientation programme is arranged for the newly enrolled students to educate them about the engineering disciplines they opted for their future career. 

The day's salient feature is mainly the address to students by the SSUET Chancellor, Jawaid Anwar, besides speeches by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Dr Jawaid H Rizvi and Dean Faculty of Engineering. 

The chairpersons of the various departments will apprise the new university entrants about their respective disciplines. 

According to the university notification the regular classes for first semester will commence from January 19 and for the remaining batches of 2014, 2015 and 2016 from January 23. 

The SSUET's Planning and Development department has carried out renovation work to welcome the new entrants. 

The arrangements for Orientation Day were reviewed at length at a meeting held under the chairmanship of Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Jawaid H Rizvi and attended, among others, by Dean, Associate Dean, Registrar Syed Sarfraz Ali and chairpersons of the various departments.

Pakistan’s newborns face rising risk of non-communicable diseases

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Stress, unhealthy lifestyle habits, and the prevalence of chronic diseases in adults are leaving Pakistan’s newborns more vulnerable to the threat of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), according to speakers at a recent event at the Aga Khan University (AKU) in Karachi.

Experts at the International Conference on Stress and Conditioning: Impact on Maternal and Generation Health noted that economic, social and psychological pressures lead to stress and high levels of stress hormones affect the baby in the womb. 

These chemicals can trigger genetic changes which stall the development trajectory of the brain and heart of a fetus resulting in lifelong effects on the fetus’s learning capability, social functioning and ability to fight disease. 

Pakistan has approximately 80 million people who suffer from NCDs or life-style related illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, chronic lung and kidney disease and mental illnesses. 

The number of Pakistanis with these diseases is increasing by approximately 10 per cent a year and speakers noted that prospective parents with NCDs are also more likely to pass on their illness to the next generation. 

“Our healthcare system is geared towards treating those suffering from NCDs now. But there isn’t enough attention paid to the inter-generational effects of disease. By focusing on early interventions in the period between conception and birth we can reduce the lifelong risk of neurocognitive, metabolic and cardiac disease and ensure that every child achieves their full potential,” Dr Nuruddin Mohammad, director of maternal and fetal medicine at AKU’s division of women and child health, remarked. 

During the conference speakers shared how innovations in neurosonographic imaging, advanced ultrasounds of a fetus’s heart and brain, are enabling the early detection of delays in brain and heart development. 

New technology is also helping identify biomarkers (chemical indicators) that can predict developmental delays that may lead to disease in adulthood. This makes the first 2,000 days of a child’s life extremely important and investing in healthcare during this period could result in the greatest returns for society in terms of health and wellbeing. 

The speakers on the day noted that in many cases of NCDs, screening and interventions in adults was significantly less effective as irreversible genetic modifications have already taken place. 

Dr Rehan Ali, associate professor in paediatrics at AKU said: “The link between nourishment and lifelong health has been long established. Insights into the developmental origins of health and disease are clearly showing the importance of environmental factors on maternal and fetal health. This research is making a strong case for conducting healthcare initiatives earlier in life to help achieve targets under Sustainable Development Goal 3.” 

The one-day conference was preceded by three workshops which enabled the exchange of skills in areas relating to disease management during pregnancy and the sharing of knowledge on ethical issues in obstetrics. 

The other speakers at the conference included Dr Stephen Lye, Executive Director, Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development, Canada; Marleen Temmerman, Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Aga Khan University’s Medical College in Nairobi; and Professor George Chrousos from the Athens University Medical School in Greece.