WCNR 2018: Experts discuss challenges in treating Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson's disease affects roughly around one lakh people in India. Health experts say that due to poor awareness among general population, this common neurodegenerative disorder goes undetected in many. This was one prime reason why Parkinson's disease remained an important topic in a public forum at the 10th World Congress for NeuroRehabilitation

WCNR 2018: Experts discuss challenges in treating Parkinson’s disease

At the WCNR 2018 conference, Dr Charulata Sankhla, consultant neurophysician at PD Hinduja Hospital gave a talk on the challenges in Parkinson’s disease treatment.

The session witnessed a huge participation by patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers, it was anchored by the NGO Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Society (PDMDS)

“Motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease are treated with appropriate pharmacotherapy and deep brain stimulation surgery (DBS). The challenges that we face now are adequate and appropriate treatment of non-motor symptoms which are resistant to medicines and DBS,” said Dr Sankhla.

The non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include dizziness, blackout, day time sleep, fatigue, difficulty in sleeping, talking in sleep, restless leg, decreased interest, lack of motivation, dazed look, feeling nervous, sadness, flat mood, difficulty in experiencing pleasure, hallucinations and delusions.

“The neuropsychiatrics symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include anxiety state, apathy, depression, dementia,” informed Dr Sankhla.

She explained that depression causes a significant negative impact on the quality of life in Parkinson’s disease.

She added, “Around 10 to 70% of patients with Parkinson’s suffer from depression. Anxiety disorders are also very common in this disease.”

WCNR 2018: Experts discuss challenges in treating Parkinson’s disease

In her talk, Dr Sankhla enlightened the audience on other non-motor Parkinson’s symptoms and said constipation is the other most common non-motor symptoms.

Dr Sankhla who is also part of PDMDS said that because of lack of awareness there is under reporting of Parkinson’s disease.

“Patients come to us very late because they don’t recognise the symptoms. Parkinson’s has to be diagnosed early and it is very important to keep the patient active to ensure he/she has longer mobility in life.”

Dr Maria Barretto, CEO of Parkinson’s disease and Movement Disorder Society (PDMDS) which has 50 centres in India agreed on poor awareness on the disease.

“Awareness on Parkinson’s disease is very poor. At PDMDS, we conduct various programs to spread awareness on the disease among both caregivers and the patients,” said Dr Barretto.

Dr Barretto revealed that the future plans of PDMDS include increasing the reach of the project to all parts of our country where no services exist.

More than 100 Parkinson’s disease patients and caregivers attended the session. The Parkinson’s disease public forum also witnessed health experts addressing questions of the Parkinson’s patients and caregivers.

It also had an interactive talk by Dr Rajvi Mehta on yoga and its role in the treatment of Parkinson’s. It also had international speakers Dr Barbara Wilson and Dr Jean-Michel Gracies.