Officials at the Chronic Disease Research Centre (CDRC) are hoping their research will help to nip one of the island’s major health problems – diabetic foot – in the bud.
Celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Edmund Cohen Vascular Research Laboratory today, director Professor Clive Landis told reporters one of the main goals of the CDRC was to help patients and care providers identify early signs and how much at risk they were of diabetic foot. He said the intervention would come from that knowledge and trigger a change in behaviour, although he acknowledged that behavioural change was one of the hardest to undertake.
The professor said based on a study being carried out in association with the American-based Sullivan Alliance, diabetes “jumped out” as being a disease which had a higher mortality rate in Caribbean persons of West African origin, compared to Americans of African origin.
“And the leading cause of early mortality in the Caribbean is diabetes,” he added.
“That is a big difference that is emerging. That is what we call a disparity between populations that we think are quite comparable and are valid to compare. So we have an interest not just in diabetes from a genetic and molecular level and individual level but at a population level as well.”
Landis said it was yet to be confirmed what accounted for the shift. He said while the Caribbean had made gradual imrpovement over the past two decades, when compared to other places such as the United States and Latin America, the improvement has been slower, creating a health gap.
During the ceremony, a commemorative plaque was unveiled in recognition of Edmund Cohen, after whom the laboratory was named. Cohen, originally from Britain, passed away about a year ago.
His son Peter Cohen expressed gratitude, saying his family had a strong connection with the Caribbean over the years and he would ensure that connection remained strong.
“Visiting here for the first time at the laboratory I am impressed with what I have seen and the work that is gong on. I am delighted to support it in the way my family has been doing,” he said.