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Govt should make regulations to support people with movement disorders: Neurologists

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Tuesday, November 29, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Neurologists in the country are apprehensive about medication induced & age-related and neuro-degenerative disorders diagnosed in the productive age-groups.  They contend that government needs to make regulations to support such people with movement disorders. Many a time, proper disability benefits are not accessible to patients, as many movement disorders are still not recognized and do not get disability benefits like work space modifications.

Further, there is a lack of systematic epidemiological studies to understand the prevalence of various movement disorders in India. It is important to increase research on these disorders in the country.

The number of cases of ageing-related movement disorders are set to explode in India in the coming years due to increasing life expectancy and overall changes happening to general health of people, neuro experts have said ahead of the first-ever World Movement Disorders Day.

The International Parkinson and Movement Disorders Society is observed on November 29 to commemorate with the birth anniversary of Jean-Charcot Martin, -Father of modern neurology and to create awareness about Movement Disorders. Movement disorders are a large variety of diseases, which are under acknowledged, but commonly present in the population.

According to Dr. Prashanth LK, Parkinson's Disease & Movement Disorders Specialist, Center for Parkinson's Disease & Movement Disorders, Manipal Hospitals Covid-19 infections caused a significant immune response in most people, accelerating the ageing phenomenon and burning out of normal cells or neurons in the brain.

This can possibly lead to an outbreak of ageing-related and neuro-degenerative disorders in near future. Combined with increasing life expectancy, this may trigger a major spike in movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, Parkinsonism with dementia over the next decade in India.

The spectrum of movement disorders has widened now, with various Parkinsonism syndromes, drug/medication-induced movement disorders, ataxic syndromes, Chorea, dystonias such as cervical dystonia, task-specific dystonia such as writer’s cramp, and autoimmune movement disorders becoming more common.

The primary challenge is creating awareness about movement disorders among the public and at the level of various medical specialties. Many patients visit different doctors for months before they get properly referred to a movement disorders specialist.

“There is clear lack of systematic epidemiological studies to understand the prevalence of various movement disorders in India. It is important to increase research on these disorders in the country. Many of these disorders require India-specific research, which would help possible breakthroughs in treatment. Support from various funding agencies would help increase collaborative work in India for treatment of many of these disorders. For example, a disorder like Spinocerebellar ataxia type 12 (SCA12) is almost exclusively found in the Aggarwal community and nowhere else in the world. There is need for research on India-specific disease, as the probability of Western countries looking for its cure is highly unlikely,” said Dr Prashanth.

Movement disorders would become one of the major sub-specialities of neurology in India over the next few years. About 15-20 years ago, only a handful of movement disorders specialists in the country, and that too, concentrated only in bigger cities and major medical institutes.

Awareness is and comprehensive care along with cross-specialty care systems covering medications, surgeries, rehabilitative measures, and palliative care. Most therapies available worldwide for management of movement disorders are also available in India, that too at a lesser cost, said Dr Prashanth.


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