Session I: Genetics and Prevention | Session II: Information Communication Technology Enabled Services | Session III: Types of Disabilities | Session IV: Therapeutics | Session V: Policies and Programme

Session I: Genetics and Prevention

Prof. Eyal Schejter, Prof. B K Thelma, Dr. S C Girimaji and Dr. V Viswanathan some speakers of Session I on dais.

Dr. M. Pappakumari, Additional Professor of Psychiatry (Retd.), Madras Medical College, Consultant Psychiatrist and Head of the Child Psychiatry Department, Inst. Of Child Health (Retd.), Chennai and Dr. V. Jayanthini, Additional Professor of Psychiatry, Madras Medical College, Chennai, chaired the session.

The first presentation was by Prof. Eyal Schejter, Department of Molecular Genetic, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. He spoke on the advantages of using model genetic organisms (mouse, fish, worm & fly) in research, facilitating genetic experimentation, enable extraction of timely and enlightening information and improving the scope for generalization. He spoke of the similarity in the genome sequencing in human and animals as a consequence of a common genetic origin. He concluded saying that the advancements in science and technology in genetics, there are ways to understand the genome patterns with model organisms and transfer this learning to understand human genome

Prof. B.K. Thelma of the Department of Genetics, University of Delhi spoke on the Human Genome Project in the context of mental retardation. She discussed about the various types of chromosomal aberrations and their association with the probable cause for mental retardation. Fragile X Syndrome is one of the common causes of familial mental retardation. She provided a clinical checklist for diagnosis for physical, behavioural abnormalities and cognitive dysfunction. She emphasized the need for new born screening, early detection and prevention for chromosomal and metabolic disorders.

Dr. Satish Chandra Girimaji, Additional Professor, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Unit, NIMHANS, Bangalore, spoke on the genetic advances related to mental retardation in India. He discussed the prevalence of the common types of genetic disorders in India and emphasized the importance of genetic counseling towards increasing the awareness and better parental acceptance.

Dr. V. Viswanathan, Pediatric Neurologist, Consultant, Child Trust Hospital, Chennai, spoke on the medical trends towards prevention in mental retardation. He discussed the various stages and the causes of mental retardation in a child. He emphasized early detection to prevent further damage and spoke about the need for government intervention in the process of prevention and management of disabilities in children.

Dr. T P Jayanthini speaking on the RCH project.

Dr. T.P. Jayanthini of the RCH Project of the government of Tamil Nadu, spoke on the projects of the government in the area of prevention of mental retardation. The initiatives in the Reproductive Child Health (RCH) project include universal immunisation programme, child survival and safe motherhood, family welfare programme and management of reproductive tract infections in adolescents.