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Unraveling the mystery of PCOS

Since its earliest description by Stein and Leventhal in 1935, PCOS has evolved as the most notorious endocrinopathy in women

Post by on Monday, November 29, 2021

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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a long-term, highly prevalent, complex endocrine disorder characterized by a multitude of metabolic and reproductive disorders. It affects 6-23% of reproductive age women globally, though the estimated frequency can rise up to 33 % depending on the diagnostic criteria used. Since its earliest description by Stein and Leventhal in 1935, PCOS has evolved as the most notorious endocrinopathy in women. Originally characterized as the simultaneous presence of hirsutism, amenorrhea, obesity and bilateral cysts in ovaries, the diagnosis of PCOS remains controversial due to the diverse spectrum of clinical and biochemical manifestations in different stages of life.

In order to dwell upon various facets of this heterogeneous and multifactorial disease and explore the latest advancements and recent trends in its timely diagnosis and effective treatment, fourth annual conference of the MPPCOS Society was held in virtual mode from November 20 to 21, 2021 and was jointly organized by Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) in collaboration with MPPCOS Society. The theme of the conference was “Metabolic syndrome, obesity ovarian dysfunction and diabetes”. This conference brought together renowned clinicians, gynaecologists, endocrinologists, dermatologists, psychiatrists, diet experts, researchers and scientists from all across India besides many other parts of the world virtually under one roof to deliberate on the growing epidemic of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and other related disorders such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, endocrine disorders during pregnancy, etc particularly in Indian context.

Chief scientist of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Soumya Swaminathan was the Chief Guest at the inaugural function of the conference. In her key note address Dr. Swaminathan highlighted recent developments in the field and said that the burden of PCOS, metabolic syndrome and related disorders is rapidly escalating in India which needs an immediate attention with a well-designed approach to identify knowledge gaps and launch innovative programmes to control the same. She congratulated the organizers of the conference for the highly informative and resourceful event and emphasized on the need to carry on the research on PCOS to explore its etiology, modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors for debunking the root causes of this disorder with a view to reduce the economic and health burden of cardiovascular diseases and other associated comorbidities.

Former Director of SKIMS and a renowned gastroenterologist, Dr. Mohammad Sultan Khuroo addressed the delegates as a special guest during the event. He applauded the efforts of MP-PCOS society and its President Prof. M Ashraf Ganie for initiating a national ICMR PCOS task force study to address the growing epidemic of PCOS and creating awareness towards better health of women in particular and larger community in general even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elaborating the vision and conception of MP-PCOS Society, Dr M. Ashraf Ganie in his presidential address described how over the past few years, MPPCOS Society has garnered the membership of more than 200 renowned experts to strengthen the battle against noncommunicable diseases. Prof. Ganie flagged his concerns about non-communicable diseases particularly metabolic syndrome, PCOS and diabetes which are emerging as global epidemics in the wake of altered lifestyle and dietary habits. With decreased physical activity and hectic work schedules the health has gone for a toss, leading to far reaching consequences at every stage of life. He further described the impact of pandemic on health as a double-edged sword particular among women with PCOS and other metabolic disorders.

Inaugural session of the conference commenced with a welcome address and conference overview by its Organising Chairperson Prof. Sarita Bajaj who opined that PCOS must be seen beyond a mere hormonal disorder of reproductive aged women as it does not terminate with reproductive age of women. Prof Bajaj described this conference as a splendid opportunity for academic progress and scientific deliberations by accomplished national faculty. Dr. Rakesh Sahay in his secretary’s report said, “PCOS is a lifestyle disorder with major prominence in current times with myriad manifestations presenting to different specialities of medicine therefore there is need to pool our thoughts and wisdom on how to deal with PCOS and its vast implications in terms of even-increasing risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancers”.

Dr. Sanjay Kalra further elaborated on diverse manifestations of PCOS and stated that purpose of such a conclave is to discuss the syndrome in the light of emerging new knowledge and research for its appropriate diagnosis and management. In spite of being in virtual mode, this virtual conference was attended by more than 300 delegates, six international speakers and more than 70 national experts from every nook and corner of the country who shared their views, opinions and knowledge on latest research, innovations and discoveries in the field.

Second day of the conference featured an oral and poster presentation session wherein young researches presented their research works, shared their experiences, scientific concepts and research findings. The conference adopted a high-quality peer review process for adjudging best oral and poster presentations. The meeting concluded with the valedictory function during which Prof. M. S. Khuroo was the Chief Guest whereas concluding remarks were presented by Dr. R S Sharma, Emeritus Professor, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi. A whole lot of thought-provoking, enlightening and enriching presentations were made on different facets of polycystic ovarian syndrome by a galaxy of experts from all over India and abroad during the two-day conference that were followed by rich interactive sessions and exchange of ideas by the delegates with their peers in the field.

Overall, the two day conference was a rich academic feast for all concerned in the field of PCOS and Diabetes that provided rich insights, in-depth analysis and critiques, latest trends and recent advancements in the subject besides a great opportunity to exchange views with the peers and veterans in the field. The conference laid a strong foundation and devised a clear roadmap for further exploration of novel therapeutic agents, timely diagnosis, better management, effective prevention and an in-depth understanding of its etiology and pathogenesis in days to come.

Department of Endocrinology of SKIMS under the supervision of Prof. M. Ashraf Ganie has taken up the diagnosis, management and prevention of PCOS in J&K in a missionary mode and has established a PCOS clinic in the year 2010 for the benefit of local womenfolk suffering from PCOS. Over the past ten years a total of 5793 women with a provisional diagnosis of PCOS aged between 18-40 years have been screened at this clinic and provided diagnosis and treatment facilities for this disorder. During this period a number of research papers have been published in high impact national and international journals of repute and a substantial quantum of financial assistance has been garnered from different funding agencies for undertaking research projects on PCOS. Eventually this department has emerged a leader in this field at the national level with its work and output being duly acknowledged and appreciated by renowned PCOS experts of the country during all the four editions of the annual conference of MPPCOS Society. Fifth annual Conference of the Society will be hosted by Guwahati next year.

(Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Conference of MP-PCOS Society organized by SKIMS, Srinagar in collaboration with MPPCOS Society)


(Author is a Professor of the Dept. of Endocrinology and Head, Dept. of Clinical Research at SKIMS. He is also the present President and one of the founding members of MPPCOS Society)

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