Karachi: The Department of Physiology at the University of Karachi (KU) recently organized a three-day conference under the banner of Physiology Resonates and Ozonizes Biological Existence (PROBE) 2020. The event was chaired by The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Haripur, Professor Dr Anwar ul Hasan Gilani. Vice-Chancellor, University of Karachi, Professor Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi also graced the occasion. Chairman, Department of Physiology, KU, Professor Dr Taseer Ahmed was also present in the event.
The 2nd PROBE Conference aimed to enhance the knowledge and understanding pertaining to health-related issues and their therapeutic approaches. It also provided young researchers with the resources to continue research with much higher standards. The conference was held in partnership with the Pakistan Physiological Society and the South Asian Association of Physiologists. The event was supported by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan Science Foundation, Office of Research Innovation and Commercialization, and the World Poultry Science Association.
Professor Dr Anwar, while addressing the conference noted that despite the advancement in the field of pharmaceutical medicine, the disease burden had not been curtailed. He mentioned that mortality due to infectious diseases had reduced; however, there has also been an increase in the global morbidity and mortality trends due to non-communicable diseases, primarily obesity.
“Obesity is now considered a global epidemic and the growing cause of many chronic diseases including hypertension, atherosclerosis, diabetes, osteoarthritis, low back pain, menstrual disorders, impotence and urinary, respiratory, psychological, stomach disorders as well as some forms of cancer. Still, a large number of people are unaware that being obese increases the risk of developing diseases, most of which cannot be cured with the help of pharmaceutical medicines,” Professor Gillani added.
“What you eat is not the only thing you should be concerned about. How you eat and when you eat is equally as important. He further noted that a diet based on natural foods rich in fiber, legumes, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, olives, and fish helps in controlling obesity and restore physiological functions coupled with a physically active lifestyle and reduced stress,” stated Dr Anwar.
Quoting a World Health Organization report, Dr Gillani mentioned that more than 1.9 billion adults across the globe were overweight, and over 650 million people were obese. He added that more than 340 million children aged 5 to 19 were overweight or obese, and over 41 million children under the age of five years were overweight or obese. Obesity had nearly tripled since 1975, and after analyzing statistics from the last four decades, predictions stated that one-fifth of the world’s population would be affected by obesity by 2025.
Professor Dr Khalid observed that participants should share their ideas and information related to innovations in biological sciences at various levels from undergrads to PhD.
Dr Iraqi mentioned that Physiology was essential because it formed the foundation upon which we build our knowledge of life, how to treat disease, and how to cope with the stresses imposed on our bodies by different environments. The study of normal biological functions provided the basis for understanding the abnormal functions observed in the form of various diseases and developing new methods for treating those diseases, he added.
“I respect Physiology, for it is the keystone of biological and medical knowledge, offering a comprehensive understanding of the complex human-machine hard and software.”
Professor Dr Taseer, said that their faculty members were currently running six National Research Programs for university projects funded by the Higher Education Commission, and had completed various local and international funded projects in the past.
Dr Taseer said, “Out of the 16 faculty members, 11 of them hold PhD degrees, which makes the KU Physiology Department the largest doctorate faculty in the subject of Physiology under one roof in a general university. The department is the backbone that nurtured Physiology in medical colleges initially and then stretching the spectrum of Physiology in every institute where basic medical sciences are involved from nursing schools, pharmacy education, physiotherapy institutes, to nutrition studies.”
Professor Ahmed urged that the Pakistan Medical Commission should consider re-allowing graduates of the Physiology Department to serve as faculty members in medical institutes as in the past. He mentioned that students and intellectuals from institutions across Pakistan, including the Bahauddin Zakria University (Multan), Islamia University (Bahawalpur), University of Health Sciences (Lahore), University of Sindh (Jamshoro), participated in PROBE 2020. Seven plenary, ten invited lectures, and 64 oral and 44 posters presentations were presented on the second and the third day of the conference.