SHINES to begin at USJP in September 2018

The Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit University of Cambridge is to begin their study: Strengthening Health systems by Improving Noncommunicable disease Epidemiology in Sri Lanka (SHINES) in September 2018. Key officials of this project visited the University of Sri Jayewardenepura on the 26th of July 2018 to review how the Department of Community Medicine of the Faculty of Medical Science, USJP is setting up the location to start the SHINES project.

The key officials of the project includes Dr Rajiv Chowdhury, Dr. Kumudu Wijewardene, Dr. Emanuele Di Angelantonio, Prof. John Danesh (joint Principal Investigators), Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Dr. Virginie Mallawarachchi, Dr. T. Kumanan, Dr. Subramniam Shivaganesh, Nimal Gamagedara (co-investigators, clinical, public health and epidemiological sciences), Dr. Karen Heasley (project coordinator), Ms. Catherine Perry, Mr Steve Ellis (statistical sciences and data management), Dr. Richard Houghton, Ms. Beth Collins, Ms. Binder Kaur (administration)

The SHINES project will be looking into Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) that are the leading causes of death and disability in Sri Lanka and elsewhere in South Asia. The project has been designed as a prospective study with the resource of 10,000 community-based people from Sri Lanka.

“SHINES study includes several inter-related components to study potential environmental, biochemical and hereditary risk factors of cardiometabolic and other NCDs in Sri Lanka and serves as a population platform for next-generation NCD prevention trials” the officials said.

The key objectives of the SHINES prospective cohort study are to:

(1) Assess reliably the burden of environmental and metabolic risk factors in Sri Lanka, by population subgroups (eg rural vs urban; by ethnicity) [“burden”]
(2) Quantify any synergistic impact of these risk factors on incident NCDs [“aetiology”]
(3) Help monitor discrepant risk factor patterns unique to this population (high metabolic dysfunction; coconut oil consumption) [“monitoring trends”]
(4) compare risk profiles between various population (eg, across other South Asians regionally; local vs. immigrant Sri Lankans through joint analyses with the existing cohorts) [“health transition”]
(5) Serve as a bio resource to determine the complex interplay between genes and environmental factors among South Asians and between different genes on disease risk [“interplay”]
(6) Contribute in developing a “South Asian” risk score to predict future CVD risk and to compare with the established risk stratification approaches [“risk prediction”]
(7) Use this population platform to design and assess simple, scalable and cost-effective interventions that can improve NCD prevention in Sri Lanka (eg, those to reduce metabolic dysfunction in this population) [“trial platform”] and
(8) Help enhance the general scientific and public health infrastructure and capacities in Sri Lanka [“capacity building”].

Senior Professor Sampath Amaratunge, Vice Chancellor of the University stated that the University will provide its utmost support for the research study conducted through this project.

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