A new study is underway across the borough to improve the understanding of different healthcare issues that are affecting South Asian communities.

The study aims to ensure that everyone in Bolton has access to the care they need no matter their background or heritage.

South Asian people have some of the highest rates of heart disease, diabetes, and poor health in the UK, according to the study’s researchers.

And by looking more closely at how genes work, and how diseases develop, researchers at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust are hoping to identify better treatments to cure or help prevent them.

The study is taking place in Greater Manchester, Bradford and East London, with 24 volunteers recently recruited to take part in Bolton.

Dr Harni Bharaj, Deputy Medical Director and Lead Investigator for the study at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We want to make sure that every single person living in and around Bolton has access to the care they need, no matter what their background and heritage.

“Research tells us that our South Asian communities typically experience poorer health outcomes compared to the rest of the UK when it comes to conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

“This study will help us to investigate why that might be, to improve understanding about different diseases affecting South Asian people, and to identify ways in which we can improve their quality of life.”

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The Genes and Health study is one of the world’s largest community-based genetics studies to try and improve health among people of Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage by analysing the genes and health of 100,000 people.

Waheeda Abbass, Cultural Liaison Midwife at the trust, is an advocate for how analysing genetics can benefits patient care, she said: “The success of the genes and health programme was down to having engagement with the community and discussing why genes and health project is pertinent in improving health of Pakistani and Bangladesh communities, presenting information in the language the community understands, being visible and approachable to any questions or myths they have about genetics.

“In addition, the session facilitated generated awareness among the community on the long term benefits of the study that include better understanding, prevention, and treatments for diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.”

Taking part is easy and quick and involves providing a saliva (spit) sample and completing two short forms.

To find out more information, or to sign up and volunteer, visit the Genes and Health study website here: https://www.genesandhealth.org/about-study.

The research team at Bolton aim to attend community based events throughout the year to give the south Asian population of Bolton the opportunity to take part in the study.

For more information or details of upcoming events, contact 01204 390 445.

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