Students at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) have published a series of papers investigating the efficacy of microbiome-modulating therapeutics such as probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics for managing type 2 diabetes.

Over a period of two years from 2021 to 2023, medical and pre-medical students at WCM-Q screened more than 10,000 scientific publications to collect, summarize and present results from randomized control trials.

The resulting papers were published in world-renowned, peer-reviewed scientific journals in the fields of metabolism, nutrition and pharmacology, and have already amassed a total of 37 citations in a very short space of time.

The studies were prompted by research in recent years which has shown that some microbiome-modulating therapies, such as supplements of probiotics (helpful gut bacteria) and prebiotics (non-digestible fibers that help probiotics to grow), can help with management of type 2 diabetes by improving glycemic control and lipid profile, and reducing inflammation. Synbiotics are combinations of probiotics and prebiotics.

The students led the projects themselves and formed to draw upon the expertise of faculty and staff in various WCM-Q departments, including the Health Sciences Library and the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Group (IDEG). In addition, the students forged an international collaboration with researchers at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans.

Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Ali Chaari said: "The students not only performed well and contributed useful insights to the overall body of knowledge in an important area of research, but also showed great commitment over a long period of time, excellent organizational, critical thinking and communication skills, and first-rate leadership and mentorship qualities towards their junior peers. I am sure these experiences will help to enhance their profiles as physician-scientists and open many doors for them in their future careers."

In addition to publishing the research in scientific journals, the students also presented their findings at national conferences in Doha, with support from Qatar National Library, the WCM-Q Health Sciences Library, and the WCM-Q Pre-medical Division.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the most pressing health concerns both regionally and globally, with incidence rising rapidly in both developed and developing countries. Modulating the gut microbiome has emerged as a promising area of research for managing the condition. (QNA)
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