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Thursday, April 5, 2007

Alzheimer's Disease in India, a huge gap to fulfill- from Times of India.

Study: Socially active life prevents Alzheimer's
Kounteya Sinha

NEW DELHI: New research conducted in the US says that staying active socially may help prevent Alzheimer's disease in the elderly. Alzheimer's, which is a progressive brain disorder that gradually destroys a person’s memory and ability to reason and make judgments, affects 5% of the population above the age of 60 in India.

According to David Bennett and his team from Rush University Medical Centre, loneliness increases the chances of having Alzheime's symptoms.

The team followed 823 people in and around Chicago with an average age of 80, none of whom had dementia at the start of the study.

Over the past four years, researchers asked the participants about their social activity — whether they felt they had enough friends, whether they felt abandoned or experienced a sense of emptiness. They were given scores between 0 (least lonely) and 5 (most lonely).

During the study, 76 people developed Alzheimer's. Those who did were more likely to have poor social networks. Those with a score of 3.2 or more (the loneliest 10%) had double the risk of those scoring below 1.4.

This study of the old man's disease proves to be of prime importance for India where by 2050, the average Indian might live from the current 64.7 years to 75.6 years.

Dr J D Mukherji, HoD (neurology) at Max Super Specialty Hospital, said, "Besides genetic factors, mental, physical and social activities are being seen as protective factors against Alzheimer’s. Symptoms such as minor forgetfulness and improper language functions aren't understood by family members, leading to the patient feeling isolated. India, which is ageing, needs to have proper caretaker groups who can understand these patients and help them through a fresh re-learning process.

" Dr Sanjay Saxena of Fortis Hospital, Noida, added, "A patient with Alzheimer's undergoes personality changes as the disease progresses. Loneliness leads to behavioural problems. Such patients are prone to go into dementia. The caretaker plays a very important part in the patient’s well-being. The patient needs to interact more and feel wanted.

" According to the 2006 World Population Prospects, by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, by 2050, the number of Indians aged above 80 will increase more than six times from the current number of 78 lakh to nearly 5.14 crore. At present, 20% of this category in India suffer from Alzheimer's. The number of people over 65 years of age in the country is expected to quadruple from 6.4 crore in 2005 to 23.9 crore, while those aged 60 and above will increase from 8.4 crore to 33.5 crore in the next 43 years.

Dr Kameshwar Prasad, professor of neurology at AIIMS, said, "Social stigma against Alzheimer's, that is rampant in India, has to be eliminated. There is tremendous lack of awareness about the disease both among the population at large and care givers. With India ageing, the number of trained care givers has to increase substantially." According to one estimate, Alzheimer's kills one out of four Indians over the age of 80. The early stage of Alzheimer's is often overlooked and incorrectly labelled as normal old age outcomes.


Sailesh said...

Dear Hendi,
Yes I agree that there is lot to be done for Alzh'r in India and S.E.Asian countries.

There is hardly any awareness about Dementia, what it is, how to tackle, where to get train caretakers, medicines etc.

Except some metro cities hardly any one knows about it. Recently some Organisation in cities have started speaking about it.

Spreading the massage and working for the cause requires total committed and dedicated people, and I think ARDSI can make difference with like-minded people. Also if HelageIndia with its vast resources can be great help.

And Iam happy that your making great effort to the people of India with your untiring effort, hope you will gain more knowledge in this unexploited field and return to India to make a difference.

I offer my self to this cause, to serve our elders. My experience with Elders and projects, is available for anyone to make better leaving conditions for Seniors of our society.

All the Best.

Warm Regards,
Sailesh Mishra

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