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Make Treatment of Parkinsons More Affordable, Doctors Plead

A team of doctors led by Mona Raghothaman of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore in southern //India, has made a strong plea for all out nationwide efforts to detect the Parkinsons Disease at an early stage.

They have suggested that doctors working at primary health care centers and district hospitals be educated to identify Parkinsonism and refer the patients to specialty centers.

In a paper titled Direct Costs of Managing Parkinson’s Disease in India - Concerns in a Developing Country, Dr. Ragothaman and others note that the cost of treatment of debilitating disorders is prohibitive.

In the absence of universal health insurance, efforts could be made to improve the quality of Parkinson’s patients by early detection and necessary follow up treatment to the extent possible.

The Parkinson's Disease occurs when certain nerve cells in the brain, called the substantia nigra, die or become impaired. These cells produces dopamine, a chemical, which allows smooth, coordinated function of the body's muscles and movement.

When approximately 80% of the dopamine-producing cells are damaged, it results in the Parkinson disease.

Though the disease is more common in adults, even the younger lot could be affected. Take the case of Balachander of Bangalore, a 16-year-old school student, who is struggling to cope with the trauma of it all.

The disease struck him when he was in the seventh standard. Doctors put him on the drug levodopa. He was coping as best as he could, but the drug was taking its toll. He had become subject to severe tremors and hallucinations.

The tremors that shook his fragile body on the last day of his SSLC examinations proved too much for the poor Balachander. He had to be carried out.

"My school had got permission for me from the government to have an aide for the exam. I would dictate and someone else would wri
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