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14/02/2023

Dr. Rafael Simó receives the Joaquín Barraquer Award from the Royal Academy of Medicine of Catalonia

Dr. Rafael Simó
Dr. Rafael Simó a la Reial Acadèmia de Medicina de Catalunya

14/02/2023

The recognition means the admission of the current head of the Endocrinology and Nutrition Service of Vall d'Hebron University Hospital and of the Diabetes and Metabolism research group of VHIR as a member of the RAMC.

Last January, the Royal Academy of Medicine of Catalonia (RAMC) presented the Professor Joaquín Barraquer 2022 award to Dr. Rafael Simó Canonge, head of the Endocrinology and Nutrition Service at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital and head of the Diabetes and Metabolism research group at VHIR. The recognition highlights the best work in ophthalmology during the two years prior to the call.

This year, the awarded publication is an expert position paper published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology on screening for diabetic retinopathy, led by Dr. Simó. This award also values his career in the field of diabetic retinopathy, in which his contributions in pathophysiology and the discovery of new therapeutic targets stand out.
In recent years, cases of visual impairment or blindness caused by diabetic retinopathy have increased around the world due to the increase in type 2 diabetes. There were an estimated 6.4 million people with diabetic retinopathy in Europe in 2019, and this number is expected to reach 8.6 million by 2050.

"Screening for diabetic retinopathy is essential to detect cases that require more exhaustive ophthalmological follow-up and prioritization in the optimization of treatment", assures Dr. Simó as a European leader in the field along with other international experts. This follow-up is especially relevant in people with a higher risk of vision loss, for example, in patients with poor glycemic control or hypertension.

Despite the importance of screening systems, resources to carry out large-scale programs are limited in some countries. In order to find new cost-effective strategies, new technologies are being developed. These include the use of artificial intelligence, telemedicine or portable devices to obtain retinal images. In addition, the need for trained professionals, economic resources and adequate access to treatment to reduce the social and healthcare costs associated with diabetic retinopathy is highlighted.

The winner of the Joaquín Barraquer Award is also awarded the title of Corresponding Academician of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Catalonia. During the academic year 2023, Dr. Rafael Simó will be admitted as a new member of the RAMC.

The awarded publication is an expert position paper on screening for diabetic retinopathy.

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