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National Dental Research Institute Singapore establishes new global research consortium for birth cohort studies in oral diseases
Singapore, 25 July 2023 – National Dental Centre Singapore's research arm, the National Dental Research Institute Singapore (NDRIS) has established an international collaborative research consortium known as the Global Consortium of Oral Health Birth Cohort Studies (GLOBICS).
A birth cohort study refers to a study of a group of individuals born during a similar period of time and following up with them throughout their lives. The consortium aims to generate and disseminate scientific evidence from Oral Health Birth Cohort Studies (OHBCS) on chronic oral conditions. The information can be used to inform and work closely with policymakers and health professionals influencing relevant transformation in the promotion, prevention, and treatment of chronic oral diseases.
The research consortium aims to enable data pooling to make comparing findings from OHBCS easier, enhance statistical power, and enrich collaboration and harmonisation of methods. One of the objectives of GLOBICS is to provide assistance based on the best scientific evidence for the promotion and prevention of the main oral diseases in the population.
Based on the results obtained from a global analysis of birth cohort data, simulations can be performed in Singapore to analyse the impact of new oral health measures at the population and individual levels.
The consortium's multidisciplinary executive committee, led by Principal Investigator, Associate Professor (A/Prof) Karen G Peres from NDRIS, comprises of both local and international oral health researchers. These international researchers include A/Prof Benjamin Chaffee from the University of California, San Fransicso (USA), Emeritus Professor Andrew Rugg-Gunn from The Borrow Foundation (UK), A/Prof Carlos Feldens from Lutheran University (Brazil), and Professor Aluisio Barros, leader of the International Center for Equity in Health (Brazil).
The GLOBICS initiative was born after an international workshop in Bangkok, Thailand, in early November 2019. Supported by The Borrow Foundation, a foundation that seeks to promote the improvement of oral health, primarily in children, through the prevention of oral diseases, the meeting brought together more than 15 researchers representing the most prominent and oldest OHBCS from low, middle, and high-income countries. Countries as diverse as Australia, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Uganda, the USA, and Thailand, participated in this event. This alliance was a strategy for the scientific strengthening of the findings from this nature's studies.
GLOBICS also serves to provide training for future generations of researchers. The consortium aims to help more recently established OHBCS teams learn from more long-standing studies' experiences, identify possibilities, and facilitate new oral health-related birth cohort studies in low- and middle-income countries.
"The GLOBICS initiative will not only explore opportunities for pooled data analyses to answer pressing research questions but also facilitate the development of the next generation of OHBCS researchers and provide a platform to disseminate the collaboration's findings through scientific meetings and journal articles. By working globally, we can deliver accurate information in assisting the creation of guidelines for clinical practice, policy, or public information. Also, brief, simple, and actionable messages can be released, helping health professionals establish a 2-way conversation about risks and benefits of oral health in their patients". Said Associate Professor Karen Peres, Principal Investigator of the GLOBICS consortium from the National Dental Research Institute Singapore.
Preliminary findings identified more than 120 OHBCS across the globe as potential collaborators for the GLOBICS initiative. The first pooled analysis is already in place and includes more than 10 OHBCS. The group want to respond, 'What is the optimal global exposure to breastfeeding that protects against Early Childhood Caries and if sugar intake modifies this effect'. The preliminary findings are expected to be announced by the end of 2023.