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Mapping genetic research in non-communicable disease publications in selected Arab countries: first step towards a guided research agenda

  • Jamaluddine, Zeina1
  • Sibai, Abla Mehio2
  • Othman, Shahd2
  • Yazbek, Soha1
  • 1 American University of Beirut, Medical Laboratory Sciences, Riad El Solh, Beirut, 1107 2020, Lebanon , Beirut (Lebanon)
  • 2 American University of Beirut, Epidemiology and Population Health, Beirut, Lebanon , Beirut (Lebanon)
Published Article
Health Research Policy and Systems
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Nov 10, 2016
DOI: 10.1186/s12961-016-0153-9
Springer Nature


BackgroundIn the Arab world, intervention and policy response to non-communicable diseases (NCD) has been weak despite extensive epidemiological evidence highlighting the alarmingly increased prevalence of chronic diseases. Generating genetic information is one key component to promote efficient disease management strategies. This study undertook a scoping review to generate the profile of the undertaken research on genetics of NCD publications in selected Arab countries. An analysis of the research produced examined the extent, range, nature, topic and methods of published research. The study aimed at identifying the gaps in genetic NCD research to inform policy action for NCD prevention and control.MethodsThe scoping review was conducted based on the five-stage methodological framework and included countries in Arab region selected to represent various economies and epidemiological transitions.ResultsThe search identified 555 articles that focus on genetics-NCD research in the selected Arab countries over the duration of this study (January 2000 to December 2013). The most commonly conducted research was descriptive and clinically focused, rather than etiologically focused. Country-specific carrier and risk screening studies were not among the top research designs. The genetic component of certain highly heritable diseases, as well as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, chronic lung dysfunction and metabolic syndrome were all under investigated.ConclusionsThis scoping review identified gaps for further research in the context of bioinformatics and genome-wide association studies. Genetic research in the Arab region has to be redirected towards NCDs with the highest morbidity, heritability and health burden within each country. A focused research plan to include community genetics is required for its proper integration in the Arab community.

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