Professor Parvez Haris

Job: Professor of Biomedical Science and Head of Research for the School of Allied Health Sciences

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Allied Health Sciences

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH.

T: +44 (0)116 250 6306

E: pharis@dmu.ac.uk

W: https://www.dmu.ac.uk/hls

 

Publications and outputs

  • Can a healthy “water cycle” in the body prevent or delay dementia ?
    Can a healthy “water cycle” in the body prevent or delay dementia ? Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.) Several factors that have been shown to be beneficial for protection against Alzheimer’s disease and other type of dementia appears to have in common the enhancement of water movement in the body through a cycle of “water loss” and “water gain”. Factors that contribute to this “water loss” and “water gain” cycle include physical exercise, sleep, Mediterranean diet, coffee, green tea, sauna, diuretic medications, etc. There is a link with water in all of these factors. Physical exercise leads to loss of water through breathing and sweating. This loss is compensated by drinking water after exercise and often water is also consumed before exercise. Sleeping leads to greater water loss, compared to the awake state, due to abstinence from food and water. This causes mild dehydration leading to shrinking of cells which increases the volume of the interstitial space enhancing the clearance of wastes from the brain. Water is consumed after waking up and this leads to swelling of cells and this circadian rhythm of cell shrinking and cell swelling may act like a “pump” that enhances waste clearance from the body. The Mediterranean diet contains water-rich foods which is beneficial for hydration. Coffee and green tea contain caffeine that has diuretic properties which assists in removing water from the body. Taking sauna enhances water loss (sweating) which is followed by “water gain” (drinking of water). Research have shown that those who take the diuretic medication, bumetanide, have significantly lower prevalence of Alzheimer's disease. According to the arguments presented here, this is also due to removal of water from the body that enhances a healthy movement of water in the body. A daily cycle of healthy “water gain” and “water loss” through sleep, physical activity & diet may offer a strategy for prevention and treatment of dementia. Haris, P.I. (2022) Can a healthy “water cycle” in the body prevent or delay dementia ? Scottish Dementia Research Consortium, 7th Annual Conference, Glasgow, May 2022
  • A NOVEL HYPOTHESIS FOR PREVENTION OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND OTHER DISEASES: A DAILY CYCLE OF HYDRATION AND “DEHYDRATION”, INDUCED BY SLEEP, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND DIET TRIGGERS CELL SWELLING AND CELL SHRINKING THAT IMPROVES CIRCULATION AND DRIVES CLEARENCE OF TOXIC WASTES AND PREVENTS DISEASE
    A NOVEL HYPOTHESIS FOR PREVENTION OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND OTHER DISEASES: A DAILY CYCLE OF HYDRATION AND “DEHYDRATION”, INDUCED BY SLEEP, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND DIET TRIGGERS CELL SWELLING AND CELL SHRINKING THAT IMPROVES CIRCULATION AND DRIVES CLEARENCE OF TOXIC WASTES AND PREVENTS DISEASE Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.) A study using real-time assessments of tetramethylammonium diffusion and two-photon imaging in live mice revealed that natural sleep or anesthesia is associated with a 60% increase in the interstitial space [1]. This causes an increase in convective exchange of cerebrospinal fluid with interstitial fluid. This was suggested to be responsible for increased clearance of β-amyloid peptide, the accumulation of which in the brain is linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. This was used to explain the beneficial role of good quality sleep for the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases. The authors suggested that the brain sleep-awake dependent changes of the interstitial space volume is unlikely to be due the circadian rhythm as anesthesia also increased glymphatic influx and efflux [1]. However, this explanation is at best incomplete since the authors did not consider the hydration status of the animals during awake, sleep and anesthetised states. Information regarding water consumption, food intake and hydration was absent from the discussion and was also absent in the methodology section. Under sleeping and anesthetized conditions, the mice will not be drinking or eating and therefore they will be more “dehydrated”. “Dehydrated” refers to lower water status during sleep compared to the awake state where the animals will have access to water and foods. It is well known that body weight decreases during sleep and Magnetic Resonance Imaging studies have shown that brain volume also decreases during sleep. The change in body weight and brain volume during sleep can be attributed to lower water status due to insensible water loss, sweating and of course the absence of water ingestion and food intake. This makes the sleeping state more dehydrated leading to an increase in osmolality of extracellular fluids, such as in the interstitial space, which cause the cells to shrink increasing the volume of the interstitial space. This dehydration/reduction in water status will induce cell shrinking and increase in interstitial volume enhancing convective exchange of cerebrospinal fluid with interstitial fluid leading to removal of the toxic wastes from the brain. During the awake state, drinking to quench thirst and eating to quell hunger leads to a more hydrated state that causes cell swelling and therefore a reduction in interstitial space. This prevents greater clearance of wastes during the awake state compared to the sleeping state. The theory presented here is more comprehensive since it provides a scientifically sound mechanism for protection against Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and indeed other types of diseases where accumulation of toxic wastes and their inefficient clearance triggers disease. In contrast, to the theory provided Nedergaard and colleagues [1], the novel theory presented here does not restrict enhanced waste clearance to the sleep state only as enhanced waste clearance during the day can be achieved through physical exercise, diet and fasting that creates opportunity for a hydration-“dehydration” cycle or higher water-lower water status induced swelling and shrinking of cells and changes in the volume of the interstitial space. Thus for example, physical exercise leads to higher loss of water due to deep breathing and sweating. This causes “dehydration” or reduction in water status leading to cell shrinking which in turn will increase the volume of the interstitial space leading to greater clearance of wastes. The hypothesis presented here suggests that not only good sleep but a daily pattern of physical exercise as well as consumption of water-rich foods and diuretic foods/fluids, along with drinking water, is good for triggering a cycle of hydration-“dehydration” induced cell swelling and cell shrinking. This will act like a “pump”, working in synchrony with the beating of the heart, to clear wastes, improve circulation and thereby preventing the accumulation of harmful toxins. This will prevent or delay the development of disease. The theory presented also suggests that one of the most important reasons for the beneficial effects of sleep, exercise and fasting is due to these conditions creating a temporary low water status in the body that enables shrinking of cells for removal of wastes. The theory has been inspired by observation of plants where loss of water through the stomata in the leaves not only cools the plant but provides the necessary force to drive the movement water from the roots, embedded in the ground, to the top of the trees. This follows a circadian rhythm. Likewise in humans and indeed in other animals, water loss through the skin, such as through sweating, is suggested to not only serve in cooling the human body but it also acts to drive water circulation, nutrient delivery and waste clearance. These are novel ideas and the theory presented provides a realistic public health guidance for preventing, delaying and even reversing neurodegenerative diseases and other diseases. It suggests a healthy “water cycle” in the body driven by a rhythmic pattern of hydration-“dehydration” that works in harmony with the circadian rhythm and other systems in the body. A regular pattern of good sleep, exercise, fasting, water-rich diet, fluid intake and other activities are vital for maintenance of this cycle for good health and disease prevention. Keywords: hydration, “dehydration”, water, sleep, amyloid, Alzheimer’s [1] Xie, L., Kang, H., Xu, Q., Chen, M.J., Liao, Y., Thiyagarajan, M., O’Donnell, J., Christensen, D.J., Nicholson, C., Iliff, J.J. and Takano, T., Deane, R., and Nedergaard, M. (2013). Sleep drives metabolite clearance from the adult brain. Science, 342(6156), pp.373-377. Haris, P.I. (2022) A NOVEL HYPOTHESIS FOR PREVENTION OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND OTHER DISEASES: A DAILY CYCLE OF HYDRATION AND “DEHYDRATION”, INDUCED BY SLEEP, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND DIET TRIGGERS CELL SWELLING AND CELL SHRINKING THAT IMPROVES CIRCULATION AND DRIVES CLEARENCE OF TOXIC WASTES AND PREVENTS DISEASE. International Turkish Congress on Molecular Spectroscopy, 26-27 March, 2022
  • A novel hypothesis to explain why the prevalence of Behçet disease is highest in Turkey and other Silk Route countries
    A novel hypothesis to explain why the prevalence of Behçet disease is highest in Turkey and other Silk Route countries Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.) The pathogenesis of Behçet disease remains unknown although it is suggested that exposure to an infectious agent or an environmental antigen triggers an autoimmune response in genetically predisposed people. However, genetic predisposition does not fully explain why the disease is highest in Turkey and the ancient Silk Route countries. Here, detailed analysis of cultural, historical and medical data was conducted to identify environmental factor(s) that may be responsible for Behçet disease. These countries share common cultural habits such as hygiene practices including use of herbal products like rose water and Kolonya (Cologne) that may contain methanol of natural origin or from adulteration. Herbal distillates including rose water and essential oils have been used in Silk Route countries since ancient times. Studies from Iran (herbal distillates) and Turkey (Kolonya) have shown that methanol concentration in some of these products are high. Higher exposure to methanol in Turkey and other Silk Route countries, due to greater use of such products, may cause microbiome dysbiosis, immunotoxicity and other toxic effects leading to Behçet disease. Methanol, on its own or in conjunction with natural compounds from plants, may trigger inflammatory response directly or through dysbiosis of the microbiome. The hypothesis is supported by the fact methanol toxicity shares remarkable similarities with Behçet disease including neurological and ophthalmological effects (vision loss). The FDA (USA) warned the public not to use some brands of hand sanitisers due to contamination with methanol and recommends washing hands with soap and water. On the basis of the theory presented, an increase in the incidence of Behçet disease is predicted in coming years due to greater use of hygiene and herbal medicine products, during the COVID-19 pandemic, some of which may be contaminated with methanol. Research on this topic is needed and preventive steps taken to reduce exposure to methanol. Haris, Parvez I. (2022) A novel hypothesis to explain why the prevalence of Behçet disease is highest in Turkey and other Silk Route countries. 8th International Hippocrates Congress on Medical and Health Sciences · 4 - 5 March 2022
  • Was Hippocrates the first to describe an epidemic caused by methanol poisoning?
    Was Hippocrates the first to describe an epidemic caused by methanol poisoning? Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.) During the COVID-19 pandemic, the world witnessed an increase in deaths and hospitalisations due to methanol poisoning associated with accidental exposure to this toxic form of alcohol. Fake news spread through the social media that drinking alcohol or hand sanitizers can be protective against COVID-19 infection. As a consequence, in Iran 6,000 people were hospitalised and as many as 800 people lost their lives due to methanol poisoning. Some of the victims were children and teenagers. Drinking methanol contaminated alcoholic beverages kills thousands of people each year. Methanol is deliberately added to beverages as it is cheaper than ethanol. However, methanol can also be produced naturally in foods such as wines and fruit juices and its concentration in wine and spirits is strictly regulated in many countries around the world. To the authors best knowledge, there are no description of ancient epidemics caused by methanol poisoning. Here it is suggested that Hippocrates is the first person to describe a methanol poisoning epidemic. In his first book of Epidemics, Hippocrates describes the following symptoms that fits perfectly well with what is currently known about methanol poisoning. The following is taken from the translation by Francis Adams (Book I, Section II): “Pains about the head and neck, and heaviness of the same along with pain, occur either without fevers or in fevers. Convulsions occurring in persons attacked with frenzy, and having vomitings of verdigris-green bile, in some cases quickly prove fatal. In ardent fevers, and in those other fevers in which there is pain of the neck, heaviness of the temples, mistiness about the eyes, and distention about the hypochondriac region, not unattended with pain, hemorrhage from the nose takes place, but those who have heaviness of the whole head, cardialgia and nausea, vomit bilious and pituitous matters; children, in such affections, are generally attacked with convulsions, and women have these and also pains of the uterus; whereas, in elder persons, and those in whom the heat is already more subdued, these cases end in paralysis, mania, and loss of sight”. Nearly all of the symptoms described are those seen with methanol poisoning that are currently well known. The source of methanol could be wine which was not only drunk for pleasure but was also an important medicine used by Hippocrates and others in ancient Greece. It is well known that methanol can be produced from grapes during fermentation and its concentration can increase when it is produced from grapes contaminated with fungus. It is possible, that the epidemic described by Hippocrates in his first and third book relates to poisoning from unusually higher levels of methanol in wine and other beverages produced from contaminated grapes. Over 25 centuries after his death, detailed observations made by Hippocrates continues to influence modern medicine and medical history in diverse ways. Haris, P.I. (2022) Was Hippocrates the first to describe an epidemic caused by methanol poisoning? History of Medicine within the Medical Humanities Online Workshop, Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (NOS-HS).
  • Impact of COVID-19 on Children and Young Adults With Type 2 Diabetes: A Narrative Review With Emphasis on the Potential of Intermittent Fasting as a Preventive Strategy
    Impact of COVID-19 on Children and Young Adults With Type 2 Diabetes: A Narrative Review With Emphasis on the Potential of Intermittent Fasting as a Preventive Strategy Elmajnoun, Hala K.; Faris, Mo'ez Al-Islam E.; Uday, Suma; Gorman, Shaun; Greening, James E.; Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.); Abu-Median, Abu-Bakr Background: The world is still struggling to control the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The level of uncertainty regarding the virus is still significantly high. The virus behaves differently in children and young adults. Most children and adolescents are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. They generally have a very good prognosis. However, it is not well known whether children and young adults with type 2 diabetes are at risk of getting a severe infection of COVID-19 or not as it has only been reported among adults with diabetes. Many children with type 2 diabetes have been performing dawn to dusk fasting during the month of Ramadan, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact of this on their health has not been well investigated. Previous studies with adults have suggested that intermittent fasting may be beneficial in different ways including reversal of type 2 diabetes and prevention of COVID-19 infection. Objective: The primary aim of this narrative review is to summarise the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and young adults with type 2 diabetes, and to identify the knowledge gaps in the literature. It also explores the importance of intermittent fasting in reversing the pathogenesis of diabetes and highlighting the effects of Ramadan fasting on these patients. Methods: This narrative review has been produced by examining several databases, including Google Scholar, Research Gate, PubMed, Cochrane Library, MEDLINE (EBSCO), and Web of Science. The most common search terms used were “COVID-19 AND Children”, “SARS-CoV-2 AND/OR Children”, “COVID-19 AND Diabetes” “COVID-19 Epidemiology”, “COVID-19 AND Ramadan fasting”, “COVID-19 and Intermittent fasting”. All the resources used are either peer-reviewed articles/reports and/or official websites, such as the BBC and GOV.UK. Results: Having reviewed the currently limited evidence, it has been found that the incidence of COVID-19 among children with type 2 diabetes seems to be not much different from children without diabetes. However, these patients are still vulnerable to any infection. Several studies have reported that prevention programmes such as intermittent fasting are effective to protect these groups of patients from developing any complications. Moreover, observing Ramadan fasting could be beneficial for some children with established diabetes and people at risk. Conclusion: Children and young adults with type 2 diabetes are not at risk of severe COVID-19 infection as the case in adults with diabetes. More research is needed to identify the impact of COVID-19 and to investigate the efficacy and safety of intermittent fasting, including Ramadan fasting, among these age groups. Implementing these cost-effective programmes may have a great impact in minimising the incidence of diabetes among these age groups during the current pandemic. open access article Elmajnoun, H.K. et al. (2021) Impact of COVID-19 on Children and Young Adults With Type 2 Diabetes: A Narrative Review With Emphasis on the Potential of Intermittent Fasting as a Preventive Strategy. Frontiers in Nutrition, 8: 756413
  • Occupational exposure explains the higher COVID-19 deaths amongst the Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic groups in the United Kingdom
    Occupational exposure explains the higher COVID-19 deaths amongst the Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic groups in the United Kingdom Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.) Occupational exposure explains the higher COVID-19 deaths amongst the Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic groups in the United Kingdom Parvez I. Haris Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, De Montfort University, Leicester, United Kingdom, E-Mail: pharis@dmu.ac.uk COVID-19 mortality data from the UK office of National Statistics (ONS) reveals that the Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities were not only adversely affected during the first and second waves but also showed the largest increase in mortality in the second wave. In the second wave, there was a 60% reduction for black Africans (men and women) but a dramatic increase by 124% and 97% for men and women from Pakistani ethnicity, respectively. As yet, this alarming increase in deaths during the second wave has not been explained although multiple factors are likely to have been responsible. The Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic groups suffered economically due to the lockdown as a large proportion of the people from these communities’ own restaurants and takeaways and also work in this sector. To support this badly affected sector, a “eat out to help out” scheme was introduced by the government with the price of meals discounted by 50%. This was a great incentive for the businesses and the community to generate income and also for the public to enjoy meals at discounted prices during the summer of 2020. During the period of the scheme, long queues were seen outside restaurants throughout the country, especially in areas with a high concentration of Bangladeshis and Pakistanis. People from these ethnicities have the highest percentage of people working in the sector that was most directly connected to the “eat out to help out” scheme. According to the ONS data, over 30% of Bangladeshis and Pakistanis work in the distribution, hotels and restaurants sector. This is two-fold higher compared to the Black ethnic group and it is also higher than any other ethnic groups. Furthermore, the Bangladeshis and Pakistanis have the highest percentage of people (17.8%) working in the transport and communication sector compared to the Black ethnic group (11.1%). This category of workers, especially taxi and mini-cab drivers, would have been more active during the “eat out to help out” scheme taking customers to and from restaurants. Small kitchens in restaurants and fast-food outlets were packed with staff serving unusually high number customers taking advantage of heavily discounted meals. Wearing masks, at least properly with the nose and mouth fully covered, in a hot kitchen environment, during busy periods and over several hours of continuous work, is unlikely to have been easy. Social distancing in a kitchen environment is virtually impossible due to space limitation and the need to move around. Furthermore, the ventilation systems in kitchens vary widely and may not have been adequate enough to eliminate virus-laden water droplets exhaled by the restaurant workers. Exposure of virus between workers and customers is likely to have been higher during the “eat out to help out scheme” compared to other periods. All of this may have created an ideal environment for the transmission of the virus between restaurant workers and customers and thereafter being transmitted to family members and others in the community. In the UK, 43.9% of the Black ethnic group work in the public administration, education and health sectors. In contrast, 25.2% of Bangladeshis and Pakistanis work in this sector. The decrease in COVID-19 deaths amongst the Black ethnic groups (both Black African and Black Caribbean) during the second wave is probably due to the fact that a greater percentage of them work in the more well-regulated and financially well supported sectors such as the NHS and education sectors, where risk assessment and adherence to COVID-19 health and safety measures were strongly implemented, especially after the first wave. In contrast, small businesses such as restaurants, which many Bangladeshi and Pakistanis either own and/or work in, may not have sufficient resources for implementing strict health and safety measures such as social distancing, for example in a small kitchen with 5-6 people working in close contact to each other for many hours for 6-7 days a week. This difference in employment environment of Blacks, compared to Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, may explain why the COVID-19 mortality decreased for the Blacks in the second wave but increased for Bangladeshis and Pakistanis. Taxi and mini-cab drivers were badly affected by COVID-19. During the “eat out to help out” this sector will have been very busy taking passengers to and from restaurants. Thus a combination of working in restaurants and driving taxis may explain the higher mortality from COVID-19 in Bangladeshi and Pakistanis and this increased substantially in the second wave due to higher activity in these sectors caused by the “eat out to help out” incentive. To conclude, the key factor responsible for the higher COVID-19 deaths in the Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities is due to higher risk of exposure to the virus as they have higher percentage of people working in restaurants, takeaways and driving taxis and mini-cabs. The frequency and dose of exposure to the virus is likely to be high due to duration of time spent in overcrowded kitchens, taxis and mini-cabs. The well intentioned “eat out to help out” scheme turned out to be an opportunity for making more money for businesses and their staff as well as greater enjoyment for the customers but it created an ideal environment for exposure to COVID-19. Adequate risk assessment and necessary support is needed to protect the health and safety of workers and customers in restaurants, fast-food outlets and those working as taxi and mini-cab drivers. This is particularly urgent as prevention strategies, such as wearing of masks and social distancing, are lifted from 19 July 2021. Haris, P. I. (2021) Occupational exposure explains the higher COVID-19 deaths amongst the Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic groups in the United Kingdom. International Festival of Public Health, 19-23 July
  • The elephant in the room: is misuse of Eau de Cologne the missing link in the death of Napoleon ?
    The elephant in the room: is misuse of Eau de Cologne the missing link in the death of Napoleon ? Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.) The elephant in the room: is misuse of Eau de Cologne the missing link in the death of Napoleon ? Parvez I. Haris Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH, E-Mail: pharis@dmu.ac.uk Conspiracy theories about Napoleon Bonaparte’s death started immediately after his death on the 5th of May 1821. A publication in Nature suggested he was murdered by arsenic poisoning due to detection of high arsenic levels in his hair [1] although this was refuted by later research. The ‘elephant in the room’ is Napoleon’s misuse of Eau de Cologne that has not been discussed in terms of its toxic effects. He consumed 2-3 bottles daily. It was rubbed on his body, poured on his head, and he drank and inhaled it as medication. After his death, Napoleon’s body was washed with Eau de Cologne [2] which contains 2-5% essential oils from citrus fruits and other plants dissolved in alcohol. Essential oils can act as endocrine disruptors [3] and many of the symptoms displayed by Napoleon can be attributed to this, including him developing breasts and having a hairless body. His suffering from seizures and feeling cold all the time can also be attributed to endocrine disrupting effects of the essential oils. Many years of exposure to excessively high concentrations of essential oil may have led him to develop gastric cancer. There are studies linking essential oil and endocrine disrupting chemicals to gastrointestinal cancer. Eau de Cologne was a double-edged sword for Napoleon. Due to its high alcohol content, its antiseptic property protected him from bacterial and viral infections during his military campaigns but the endocrine disrupting property of essential oils caused changes in his physical appearance, leading to illness and eventually death. References: [1] Forshufvud, S., Smith, H. and Wassén, A., 1961. Arsenic content of Napoleon I's hair probably taken immediately after his death. Nature, 192(4798), pp.103-105. [2] Weider, B. and Hapgood, D., 1998. The murder of Napoleon. iUniverse., pp. 4 [3] Henley, D.V., Lipson, N., Korach, K.S. and Bloch, C.A., 2007. Prepubertal gynecomastia linked to lavender and tea tree oils. New England Journal of Medicine, 356(5), pp.479-485. Haris, P. I. (2021) The elephant in the room: is misuse of Eau de Cologne the missing link in the death of Napoleon ?. Nature,
  • Covid-19 Pandemic and Mental Health Impact in Low, Middle Income Countries
    Covid-19 Pandemic and Mental Health Impact in Low, Middle Income Countries Illingworth, Paul; Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.) Major events impact on societies throughout the world in many forms. All disasters, earthquakes, pandemics etc. have an impact on a society’s mental health, an area not as well supported as the physical health. That support is also not universally available, for example in low- and middle-income countries (LIMC) where the COVID-19 pandemic is adversely affecting the lives of millions of people. Many of these countries have poor health care infrastructure and have pre-existing health and economic challenges that can be further exacerbated by the pandemic. In 2015, for example, an earthquake, magnitude 7.8, hit Nepal, which resulted in extraordinary damage and loss in the mountain and hill regions of central Nepal. There was devastation of buildings and much work has been done to rebuild but the infrastructure to support people’s mental health problems resulting from the earthquake were not in place at the time. There is evidence from Nepal that people affected by the earthquake are now experiencing additional mental health issues due to COVID-19 related challenges. Mental health symptoms can be one area often neglected when such events occur. The problems can last long after a disaster occurs. Gaining access or even having mental health care in primary care settings is essential to help individuals and communities recover in both the short and long term and never more so in LMIC countries. The aim of this paper is to explore any associated public mental health need resulting from a major event, such as the Covid-19 pandemic. open access journal Illingworth, P. and Haris, P. (2021) Covid-19 Pandemic and Mental Health Impact in Low, Middle Income Countries. Mental Health: Global Challenges Journal.
  • Ramadan 2020 and Beyond in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Scientific Evidence For Action
    Ramadan 2020 and Beyond in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Scientific Evidence For Action Elmajnoun, Hala K.; Elhag, Mohammed R. A.; Mohamed, Hatem; Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.); Abu-Median, Abu-Bakr Background: Ramadan is a sacred month in Islam, which involves 29–30 days of dawn-till-dusk dry-fasting. Millions of Muslims observed Ramadan fasting (RF) this year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Certain ethnic groups worldwide, including Muslims, have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, raising fears that fasting could bring additional health risks. This directly impacted on the current challenges faced by health professionals. The COVID-19 virus is expected to become seasonal. Therefore, the evidence presented in this review is valid beyond Ramadan as intermittent fasting is practiced more widely, irrespective of religion, throughout the year as a therapeutic and prophylactic means for several conditions. Methods: A wide range of literature databases were searched for the effects of RF and intermittent fasting on human health and then linked to COVID-19 impact to generate the evidence. Results: This review presents a body of evidence proving RF is safe and beneficial for healthy people who adopt a balanced diet, drink plenty of fluids, and engage in regular physical activity. Fasting reduces levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β and IL-6), which are associated with severe COVID-19. Furthermore, increased handwashing and hygiene during Ramadan may reduce infection risks. For some, social isolation, physical inactivity, reduced access to food and stress – linked to the pandemic – may minimize the benefits that is achieved during a “normal” Ramadan. Conclusions: RF during the COVID-19 pandemic is not a cause of concern for healthy people. However, people who are ill are exempt from fasting and should seek medical advice if they wish to fast. RF during the COVID-19 pandemic is a unique experience and future research will reveal its impact on human health. open access article Elmajnoun, H.K., Elhag, M.R.A., Mohamed, H., Haris, P.I., Abu-Median, A-B. (2020) Ramadan 2020 and Beyond in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Scientific Evidence For Action. Sudan Journal of Medical Sciences (SJMS), 15(5), pp.85-110.
  • Global Sourcing of Low-Inorganic Arsenic Rice Grain.
    Global Sourcing of Low-Inorganic Arsenic Rice Grain. Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.) Arsenic in rice grain is dominated by two species: the carcinogen inorganic arsenic (the sum of arsenate and arsenite) and dimethylarsinic acid (DMA). Rice is the dominant source of inorganic arsenic into the human diet. As such, there is a need to identify sources of low-inorganic arsenic rice globally. Here we surveyed polished (white) rice across representative regions of rice production globally for arsenic speciation. In total 1180 samples were analysed from 29 distinct sampling zones, across 6 continents. For inorganic arsenic the global x~ was 66 μg/kg, and for DMA this figure was 21 μg/kg. DMA was more variable, ranging from < 2 to 690 μg/kg, while inorganic arsenic ranged from < 2 to 399 μg/kg. It was found that inorganic arsenic dominated when grain sum of species was < 100 μg/kg, with DMA dominating at higher concentrations. There was considerable regional variance in grain arsenic speciation, particularly in DMA where temperate production regions had higher concentrations. Inorganic arsenic concentrations were relatively consistent across temperate, subtropical and northern hemisphere tropical regions. It was only in southern hemisphere tropical regions, in the eastern hemisphere that low-grain inorganic arsenic is found, namely East Africa (x~ < 10 μg/kg) and the Southern Indonesian islands (x~ < 20 μg/kg). Southern hemisphere South American rice was universally high in inorganic arsenic, the reason for which needs further exploration. open access article Carey, M., Meharg, C., Williams, P. et al. (2020) Global Sourcing of Low-Inorganic Arsenic Rice Grain. Exposure and Health,

Click here to view a full listing of Parvez Haris' publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

  • Application of diverse biophysical techniques such as FTIR, NMR, CD, MALDI-TOF, ICP-MS, Fluorescence as well as Synchrotron based spectroscopic methods, for characterisation of medically important peptides, proteins, macromolecular interactions including protein-protein and protein-membrane interactions.  Studies are also performed on cells, tissues and biofluids.
  • Development of spectroscopic and bioinformatics tools for application in the fields of proteomics, metabolomics, disease diagnosis, screening and treatment.
  • Structure-function studies of novel antimicrobial agents, based mainly on peptides and proteins, to counter antibiotic resistance.
  • Role of metals in health and disease through analysis of metals in the environment, diet and the human body.
  • Understanding the complex relationship between diet, exposure to pollutants, nutrition, life-style, ethnicity and health through human biomonitoring studies.
  • Improving human health and the environment through development of novel, environmental friendly, strategies for removal of toxic contaminants from water and the food-chain.
  • Studies of migrant health with particular focus on the relationship between health and practices such as betel quid chewing, geophagy.

Areas of teaching

  • Biochemical Disease Processes
  • Biomedical Techniques
  • Protein Structure-Function
  • Advanced Topics in Biomedical Science
  • Bioinformatics

Qualifications

PhD, BSc (Hons.)

Courses taught

  • BSc Biomedical Science
  • MSc Biomedical Science
  • MPharm Pharmacy
  • MSc Pharmaceutical Biotechnology

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC, CChem)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health (FRSPH)
  • Member of the Biochemical Society (since 1986)

Professional licences and certificates

Chartered Chemist (CChem)

Current research students

  • First Supervisor: 5 PhD students
  • Second Supervisor: 5 PhD students

Externally funded research grants information

Funding for research has been obtained from various sources including the UK Research Councils (EPSRC, BBSRC), the British Council, the European Union etc. For example, principal investigator, from DMU, on a research consortium consisting of 15 leading European Universities (awarded EU grant of €3.15 million of which €198490.46 is allocated to De Montfort University) investigating the human health impact of geogenic elements in groundwater and soils in the European Union. This was a 4 year project that started in January 2007.

Professional esteem indicators

  • Editor-in-Chief: Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging
  • Editorial Advisory Panel Member: Bio-Medical Materials and Engineering
  • Editor: Biochemical Journal (until 2008)
  • Editor: Analytical Cellular Oncology
  • Editorial Advisor: Molecular Membrane Biology
  • Committee Member and treasurer of the Protein and Peptide Science Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
  • Committee Member of the Molecular Structures Theme Panel of theBiochemical Society (until March 2012)