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ColSanitas’ Laboratory Group winner of Juan Jacobo Muñoz 2016 award

The Colsanitas Clinic’s Clinical Laboratory Research Group integrated by Dr Johanna Echeverry Coral (Specialist Bacteriologist and candidate to Magister in Epidemiology), Claudia Carolina Colmenares Mejía (Epidemiologist at Fundación Universitaria Sanitas) and Zuli Ximena Yepes Molina (Specialized Bacteriologist at the Specialized Laboratory of Colsanitas Clinic) were obtained the International Award in Health Sciences Research 2016 - Juan Jacobo Muñoz.

The work entitled Detection of hemoglobinopathies through an institutional screening program in Colombia achieved this prices after analyzing 27.869 newborns’ data collected between 2000 and 2014 in eight Colombian cities. The jury considered this best research due to its condition of being the first study performed in various Colombian cities and with general population.  

Following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines, the results of this research present Colombia as ‘an endemic country in terms of hemoglobinopathies: ‘a pathology that affects the structure and synthesis of the hemoglobin, the protein that transport the oxygen along the organism’. In this sense, the study concludes the importance of establishing national neonatal screening programs to obtain a correct diagnostic and provide suitable treatment and attention to those children who are suffering from this disease. 

The second place was for the work ‘Neural network in diabetic macular edema’, developed by the National Ophthalmological Foundation and the Doctorate area of Systems Engineering of the National University of Colombia. This research developed a software that allows to take photos of the back of the diabetic patient’s eye, which at the same time, it can be programmed for the automatic detection of diabetic macular edema cases, demonstrating telemedicine’s usefulness for a timely diagnosis of the disease, a medical problem whose late identification may end in irreversible blindness.

Furthermore, Francisco José Rodríguez (Ophthalmologist specialized in Retina and Vitreous at the National Ophthalmological Foundation), Óscar Julián Perdomo (Engineering Systems and Computation PhD student at the National University of Colombia), Flor Edith Gómez (Ophthalmologist specialized in Retina and Vitreous at the National Ophthalmological Foundation), Shirley Rosenstiehl (Epidemiologist, first year resident), Hernán Andrés Ríos (Ophthalmology second-year resident) and Fabio Augusto González and Claudia Rosa Carvajal (Research area of the National Ophthalmological Foundation) received a recognition.

The third position was for the research group of Fundación Valle de Lili and Icesi University (Cali, Colombia), author of ‘Functional imaging in schizophrenia’. Schizophrenia constitutes a serious mental illness that damages person’s condition. In this sense, functional imaging constitutes a technique that allows the capture of brain images. Consequently, this research tries to understand, using functional imaging, the changes that schizophrenia patients experiment. Moreover, the report demonstrated that thanks to functional imaging support, psychiatrists’ diagnostic on mental illness and schizophrenia can be duly detected, which at the same time, enables the improvement of the treatments provided to patients.  

Finally, the work of César Augusto Arango Dávila (Physician Psychiatrist doctorated in Neurosciences), Ana María Granados (Neuroradiologist) and Juan Felipe Orejuela Zapata (Biomedical Engineer) was also recognized. In this case, the institutions that took part in the research were the Valle de Lili Foundation and the Icesi University (both in Cali, Colombia).