Like weather, diseases can now be forecast

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/Like-weather-diseases-can-now-be-forecast/articleshow/45301614.cms

Bengaluru: Imagine a world where people don't fall ill, as the likely onset of the disease has been forecast. Too good to be true?

Scientists at CSIR Fourth Paradigm Institute (C-MMACS), Bangalore, who work on discoveries in various fields, are introducing a weather-forecast module soon. This high-resolution module promises to predict diseases likely to come up in future, well in advance. Currently in the validation stage, scientists want to scale up the module before introducing it nationally.

Recent advances in meteorological monitoring and weather forecasting, integrated with components like Geoghraphic Information Systems (GIS), have gone into the making of this forecasting module.

On Wednesday, an interactive workshop under a project by UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) -- Integrating disease prediction with weather and climate models seamlessly (Indrass) -- was held to identify stakeholders can take this model to various outreach organizations. "Through very high resolution techniques, we forecast weather a few months in advance. This in turn gives a clear indication of the diseases climatic changes can cause, so respective state governments can take preventive measures," P Goswami, chief scientist at CSIR C-MMACS, Bengaluru, told TOI.

Irked by 'reactive' healthcare, which is more of damage control, based on manifestation of symptoms, scientists through this module want to aid state governments in adopting preventive measures even before the onset of a disease. This is the scientists' debut at such a powerful module.

"In a proactive healthcare system, diseases are minimized before they are ultimately eliminated," said Goswami.

"Many diseases depend on weather and environmental conditions, and these are the ones which will provide an opportunity for our module," said Andy Morse, professor of climate impacts, University of Liverpool. This foreign university has shared knowledge with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in this upcoming project.

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