08 Dec 2021
If you’re listening to this and you are of South Asian descent, this episode might be a bit of an uncomfortable listen. Because what we’re chatting about today is why, despite the advances in medicine, people of south asian origin are twice as likely to suffer cardiovascular disease, three times more likely to have diabetes as well as many other related diseases that you can think of including cancer and dementia. And I know the title of this pod is “Why south asians are at worse risk”, but the honest answer as you’ll hear from my guest today, is still “we don’t have a good idea”.
This is why, if you are between the ages of 18-85 and of South Asian heritage, no matter if you are of mixed background or whatever, look at the description in the podcast notes on your pod player right now. There is a link right at the top of this episode for the BIOBANK study at sabiobank.org. Click on the link, stop listening to this pod for 5 minutes and book an appointment immediately at https://www.sabiobank.org/
My guest today is Professor Jaspal Kooner, who is leading the South Asia Biobank Research study. Professor Kooner is one of the leading cardiologists in the country with over 30 years’ experience in the treatment of general cardiovascular disorders. He is a Consultant at Imperial College Healthcare Trust, and an active researcher who has pioneered some major discoveries and published numerous times in journals such as Nature including research revealing novel genetic variants that underlie coronary heart disease, type-2 diabetes, obesity, and other highly prevalent disorders.
I think this podcast is going to be a real inspiration particularly for young medics out there, or even people thinking about medicine. Prof shares his stories of his upbringing in Nairobi and his move to Kent in England, plus his journey to medicine, his thoughts on medical education today, when he first learnt of the disparity between health in certain populations as well as how he navigated the system.
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Professor Jaspal Singh Kooner is one of the leading cardiologists in the country with over 30 years’ experience in the treatment of general cardiovascular disorders. He is a Consultant Cardiologist at Imperial College Healthcare Trust and Professor of Clinical Cardiology at Imperial College London. An active researcher, Professor Kooner has pioneered some major discoveries and has published numerous papers in leading medical journals. His research has led to the discovery of novel genetic variants underlying coronary heart disease, type-2 diabetes, obesity, and other highly prevalent disorders. Professor Kooner is currently leading the South Asia Biobank Research study, a ground-breaking international health study designed to prevent the high risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer amongst the South Asian Community. The absence of South Asians in research studies has added to unacceptable health disparities, and raises the question of whether new diagnostics, and treatments derived from research will benefit all populations equally. South Asia Biobank is designed to bring together the largest world-wide resource of biological data in-order to address critical questions, such as why South Asians remain at X3 risk of diabetes and x 2 risk of cardiovascular disease and other life-threatening illnesses. South Asia Biobank aims to recruit over 200,000 South Asian men and women aged 18 – 85 years, living in the UK and South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka) to collect detailed health and lifestyle information and biological samples to help gain critical knowledge in tackling health challenges affecting the community.