SABRI'S INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATIONS
Despite funding obstacles SABRIs seminal scientific work has given rise to two projects overseas in Europe and North America .
SOUTH AFRICAN PROGRESS
There have been a number of important and exciting developments on the local front.
-As our donors are aware the PAN therapy pioneered and researched by SABRI has been officially accepted since January 1992 and listed by SAMA (S.A. Medical Association) and the medical aid movement (BHF) as a recognised standard treatment for addictive withdrawal states (tariff codes 0203/0204). The gas therapy has been used successfully in more than 50,000 patients world-wide. Since 1990 when it was introduced to Finland , it has been used in other countries including Germany and U.S.A.
When PAN is used the majority of patients can be treated on an out-patient basis. It has another advantage, patients that do not respond within a few minutes of the treatment, a small minority, require intensive in-patient therapy. Thus the therapy is a unique screening test which divides the vast majority that respond rapidly and positively from those requiring more intensive therapy. Thus, the majority of patients receiving it do not need to be absent from work and can continue contributing to the economy, while receiving out-patient treatment. On the other hand, the small minority that do not respond can be hospitalised and receive more intensive therapy. For these reasons the PAN therapy is much more economical than the patented expensive and addictive sedative drug therapies, as well as eliminating costly and often unnecessary bed occupations, saving public health services millions of Rands .
Although the PAN therapy is being used in a number of centres in South Africa , there has been particular interest in the Eastern Cape .
SABRIs other research work continues, including investigations on the underlying mechanisms of addiction and craving, the hyperalgesic opioid system (which could lead to almost ideal pain killing drugs, without the side effects of morphine). The new biological principle of gaseous neurotransmission, which may be at the crux of the most basic of lifes functions i.e. respiration, continues to broaden mans understanding of the wonders of life. The principle of gaseous neurotransmission, a method by which chemical messages are passed from nerve to nerve is probably the most important scientific discovery by SABRI investigators. This, because discovering a new biological principle is regarded by most scientist as one of the Holy Grails of science. This breakthrough was confirmed in numerous prestigious scientific journals including Nature and Science.
SABRI'S ROLE IN MEDICAL EDUCATION
For many years now, SABRI has been training health professionals in the use of the PAN therapy. At first only at the Rand Aid Alcoholic Facility near Johannesburg , where the therapy was discovered and pioneered. However, more recently the demand has been increasing and the Executive Director has been travelling throughout South Africa training nurses and doctors in the technique. Many of these training courses have been recognised for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points, which enables health professionals to retain their registration with the Health Professionals Council. This vital function of SABRI is likely to expand as more and more health professionals begin to utilise the therapy. Thus SABRI is gaining increasing recognition as a training resource, both in South Africa and abroad. SABRI has trained more than 100 health professionals.
It is with sadness that we report the death of a SABRI founding Director, Mrs R. Deats. Mrs Deats had been on the SABRI's Board since its founding, 21 years ago. Her interest, support and valued counsel will be sorely missed. The Board and staff of SABRI wish her family sincere condolences.
Rand Aid Associations, assistance has been invaluable, particularly through Mr Leon Gavhalas, the director. Numerous other individuals have provided assistance and valuable expertise, including Ms Heidi Pryer and Mrs Nadine Harker from SANCA PE . For want of space many others who have provided invaluable assistance are unfortunately not named. Mr Eddie Maduna who has acted with distinction in many roles at SABRI and more particularly as Administrative Head must be mentioned. Of course, without the generous and continued support of our prestigious corporate and individual sponsors, our vital work would not have been possible. We thank everyone who has assisted.
Dr Mark A Gillman
LIST OF SPONSORS SUPPORTING SOUTH AFRICAN BRAIN
RESEARCH INSTITUTE AS AT 31 MARCH 2000