UAE, January 29, 2018- The Ministry of Health and Prevention has made a historic achievement by becoming the first institution in the world to use a smart application to help treat chronic or recurrent depression, or multiple depressive disorder, associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) for patients over 18 years old. The app was launched to provide social and psychological support to patients. The announcement was done during the Ministry's participation at this year's Arab Health Exhibition and Conference in Dubai currently running until February 1, 2018.
Using artificial intelligence (AI), the DePrexis MS app simulates functional interventions based on psychotherapy research. International organizations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CE have approved the use of app, which has been found to have the same positive effects as drugs as per the results of several medical tests involving more than 7,000 patients. The results were published in a number of international medical publications.
H.E Dr. Yousif Al Serkal, Assistant Undersecretary for Hospitals, said that the Ministry's latest achievement marks another milestone in the UAE's strategy to offer AI-based medical services. Growing investments in the latest technologies and tools, increasing application of AI, and exploring resources in a creative way are part of this strategy.
H.E. said: “We are proud to be the first in the world to use this smart application to help treat depression associated with MS. It is great to leverage the latest scientific technologies to alleviate the suffering of patients. This is also part of the Ministry's strategy to promote community health through provision of comprehensive, innovative, and world-class health services to build a happy society. The milestone will also boost our continuing initiatives to gain leadership in the global health sector, improve local health services according to the best international practices, and get the highest score on the Global Competitiveness Index in the field of health.
Dr. Kalthoum Al Baloushi, Director of Hospitals Administration, said: “The Ministry will always provide patient-focused healthcare solutions. In this case, we seek to alleviate the suffering of MS patients by helping them smoothly integrate into society and provide social, psychological and moral support through sophisticated treatment methods. These methods include the AI-based Deprexis MS app, the latest global therapeutic approach which we are applying in the Ministry-run hospitals.
Dr. Baloushi pointed out that MS is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system, causing the arms and legs to lose its strength. It also leads to numbness or a sense of light tingling in the limbs, difficulty in maintaining balance and focus, and blurred vision, among others. The disease often affects young people between 20 to 40 years old. Women are mostly affected by the disease compared to men. There are also some cases where children are diagnosed with MS.
“The leadership and efforts of the Ministry of Health and Prevention to innovate to help patients with multiple sclerosis is truly commendable,” said Jean-Paul Scheuer, Country Chair & General Manager, Sanofi Gulf Countries. “At Sanofi Genzyme, we have worked for over a decade to deliver scientific advancements that will have a significant impact on the unmet needs of people living with multiple sclerosis. We know that understanding the experiences, challenges and even triumphs of those affected by it is a way forward to tackling the disorder. Innovation and technology play an important role in that.”