Scientists at Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI) and Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) have published the first risk tool to screen for prediabetes in the Middle East.

The Prediabetes Risk Score Qatar (PRISQ) tool uses risk factors measured non-invasively rather than a blood test for screening.

Using body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, age, gender, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure, the tool calculates a score that specifies the risk of having prediabetes.

To be available as a standalone web server and a smartphone application, PRISQ can easily be used in clinical or community settings by primary healthcare personnel and by the public.

The tool was developed by a team led by QBRI Diabetes Research Center scientist Dr Abdelilah Arredouani and QCRI principal scientist Dr Halima Bensmail.

With the help of machine learning techniques, the researchers evaluated the links between prediabetes and data of approximately 8,000 subjects from the Qatar Biobank (QBB).

Arredouani said: “Our multidisciplinary collaboration with QCRI has allowed us to make swift progress on developing the first tool of its kind in the Middle East and the first to be developed using data from the Qatari population.

“PRISQ is set to become very important for the early detection of individuals with prediabetes, and ultimately, in curbing the diabetes epidemic in the region.”

Estimates show that prediabetes can potentially raise the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Recent scientific data showed that the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with intensive lifestyle intervention.