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Make Treatment of Parkinsons More Affordable, Doctors Plead

te. I did most of the exams well. But I could do nothing during my Kannada paper," recalls the despondent student.

He now has to undergo a surgery – deep brain stimulation – that would reduce his tremors and make the quality of life that much better.

The surgery involves the implantation of a medical device called a brain pacemaker, which sends electrical impulses to specific parts of the brain.

But it would cost upwards of Indian Rupees five hundred thousand, something the lower middle class parents of the boy cannot afford.

Prevalence of the Parkinson's disease in India is considered lower. 60-100 per a population of one hundred thousand, while in the Western countries it is 116-197.

The relatively low incidence notwithstanding, it has been proven that at least 25 per cent of the disease is not diagnosed even in neurology clinics.

In many cases the symptoms just don't show up, other doctors have pointed out. But even in those who have obvious symptoms, the disease is not treated. Sample this, the NIMHANS study shows that 17.8 percent of the people living in old age homes had the disease but less than four per cent knew about their status. This despite doctors visiting many of these homes.

Worse, caretakers of elderly assume tremors, slowness and forgetfulness is all part of the aging process.

Neurodegenerative diseases place significant finanancial burden on patients living in developing countries, the NIMHANS team says.

An improved life expectancy among Indians has increased the number of elderly and the number of individuals with age-related diseases, such as the Parkinson’s.

India could be growing rapidly, but still its per capita income is very low, it varies between US dollars 450 and 540.

Treating the Parkinsons’ disease is expensive, while medical insurance covers only 3 per cent of the Indian population.

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