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The National Dental Research Institute Singapore (NDRIS) has taken a major step forward in the fight against chronic oral diseases by launching a Global Consortium of Oral Health Birth Cohort Studies (GLOBICS).
GLOBICS aims to enhance international collaboration on research studies. Thereafter, it will allow experts from around the world to pool their data for a more comprehensive analysis.
The Objective of GLOBICS
GLOBICS intends to work alongside policymakers and health professionals to instigate crucial changes in the promotion, prevention, and treatment of chronic oral diseases. The consortium aims to generate and disseminate robust scientific evidence from Oral Health Birth Cohort Studies (OHBCS) on chronic oral conditions.
Implementing Global Studies to Local Context
By gathering and analysing data from these global studies, Singapore can develop more effective oral health measures, tailor-made to suit the local population. This international collaborative effort will also provide invaluable insights that could revolutionise treatment methodologies at both the population and individual levels.
The GLOBICS executive committee is led by Associate Professor Karen G Peres from NDRIS. The contingent includes both local and international oral health researchers. This team comprises top experts from various countries, including the USA, UK, Brazil and others. The diversity ensures a global perspective in the study of chronic oral diseases.
Birth Cohort Studies and Oral Health
Oral health is greatly influenced by early-life exposures and health conditions. Therefore, Birth Cohort Studies will follow a group of individuals from birth to adulthood. This provides a unique opportunity to examine the lifelong impacts of these factors. For example, an early childhood diet can be linked to tooth decay risk and chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes in adulthood.
Building a Healthier Future
GLOBICS will also play a key role in training the next generation of researchers. Also. it will equip them with the knowledge and skills required to continue the battle against chronic oral diseases. The consortium has several objectives. They include assisting newly established OHBCS teams, learning from existing studies, and facilitating new OHBCS in low- and middle-income countries.
The consortium's research has immense potential to influence health policies and practices. Preliminary findings from their research could inform discussions on sugar-sweetened beverages. These beverages are a major source of added sugars and has a direct impact on health. Conseuqently, this could spark a two-way conversation with industries and health boards. Subsequently, it could lead to beneficial changes in health promotion and public health programmes.
Associate Professor Karen Peres, the Principal Investigator of the GLOBICS consortium, has expressed her optimism about the initiative. She believes that the collaboration can provide accurate information to assist in creating guidelines. These guidelines can be for clinical practice, policy or public information. "GLOBICS aim to globalize findings from the Consortium research agenda and follow its impact on changes in health promotion and public health programmes globally. For instance, in Singapore, we intend to train the next generation of researchers, whether biostatistics, epidemiologists, social psychologists, social anthropologists, dentists, or scientists seeking to work in population oral health."
She added, "As a long-term goal, we intend to work closely with Singapore's policymakers and health professionals to influence relevant transformation in promoting, preventing, and treating chronic oral diseases based on our research findings".
In summary, the establishment of the GLOBICS consortium represents a landmark moment in the fight against chronic oral diseases. By bringing together international experts, facilitating large-scale data sharing, and promoting preventative measures, it has the potential to make a significant impact on oral health both in Asia and around the world. Lastly, the first set of results from the consortium's pooled analysis is eagerly awaited and is expected to be announced by the end of 2023.