On the Eve of World Parkinson Day (11 April) Association of Studies for Mental Care, Executive Member-Dr Purohit stated that there is a serious lack of awareness about Parkinson’s disease or its management in India.
Caused by progressive damage to parts of brain over many years, the disease shows symptoms of involuntary shaking of body, parts of the body shows slowing movement, and stiffness in muscles. People suffering from Parkinson’s disease also experience depression and anxiety, have the sense of losing balance, memory, and sleep.
It remains the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and most common movement disorder, and its onset usually is seen in people older than 60 years of age.
Parkinson’s disease itself does not increase the risk of catching Covid-19. However, older adults are at the highest risk of developing a severe case of covid-19, and because most patients with Parkinson’s disease are typically older, they should take extra precautions to protect themselves.
Dr Purohit averred that mental health issues are underrated, stigmatized and unaddressed in our society; and such conditions could be linked to more serious complications like Parkinson’s disease. It is important we take a sympathetic approach to the victims of Parkinson’s disease, and the social circle around such individuals promptly identifies these symptoms and provides help in improving the overall quality of life of these individuals
Elaborating on the symptoms, Acclaimed Epidemiologist averred that though Parkinson’s disease causes slowing of overall body movements, mental health issues are quite common (70-80%) in such patients.
Not infrequently, the disease manifests with mental disorders (anxiety, depression) rather than physical slowing.
These mental disorders have a greater impact on the overall quality of life then the physical disability. Depression is the commonest mental disorder, along with feeling sad, reduced interest on surroundings, phobia of socializing, among Parkinson’s disease victims.
According to the renowned Disaster Mental Health Expert, while there are no vaccines for Parkinson’s disease, scientists are working on methods to administer antibodies that target affected areas of the brain, thereby halting disease progression.
He pointed that there is growing interest in bio-electronic medicine - techniques to stimulate or inhibit critical brain circuits, thereby modulating the effects of disease on the whole brain.
While deep brain stimulation has been used to treat Parkinson’s for over 20 years, novel applications of the technology continue to be developed in conjunction with the imaging tools.
These developments are important, but all require further investigation. (UNI)