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Parkinson’s Disease: A chronic neurological degenerative disorder

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Dr. Aditya Gupta
Busting the myths surrounding Parkinson’s disease and to celebrate World Parkinson Day 2022, doctors at Artemis Agrim Hospital organized an awareness session. This year the theme is ‘Parkinson Is’ which aims to increase the understanding of Parkinson’s disease as a serious condition, which in the Post COVID era has received overwhelming response to mental health care by every individual.
Present on the occasion were Dr. Aditya Gupta, Director – Neurosurgery & CNS Radiosurgery & Co-director CyberKnife centre, Artemis Hospital, and Dr. Sumit Singh, Director – Neurology, Parkinson’s Specialist and Co-director Stroke unit, Artemis Hospitals who emphasized on the fact that timely treatment helps in controlling the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease and enables the person to lead an improved quality of life.
The main aim of the session was to provide information on myths that tremors and other symptoms of involuntary body movements are not a part of aging only. With advanced treatment modalities available, there is a dire need to raise public awareness about the management options available to improve the quality of life.
Timely intervention in movement disorders like PD, not only improves the clinical outcomes but also improves the quality of life. With several management options available, timely medications help significantly to improve the symptoms.
In some cases when the effects of the medications diminish frequently, other options like Deep Brain Stimulation surgery plays a vital role in the treatment. Even though surgeries are the last resort, and not many primary care physicians who manage tremors through medications, excel in performing such surgeries. Thus it is important to visit a neurologist early, not only to diagnose the condition but also to rule out other causes for such symptoms.
Usually diagnosis of PD is mainly clinical, and other imaging tests like MRI, CT scan of the brain, and PET scan may be used only to help rule out other disorders but aren’t particularly helpful for diagnosing Parkinson’s disease.
DBS surgery is a highly safe and well tolerated surgical procedure that has established itself as a highly effective therapy for advanced Parkinson’s Disease over the last decade. Such procedures have changed the lives of thousands of patients by allowing them to reduce their medications.
Just like a heart pacemaker, DBS surgery involves placing an electrode in the targeted area of the brain connecting it to a pacemaker like implant (under the chest skin). The device is programmed to deliver electrical signals to the specific areas of the brain, thereby regulating the abnormal signals that were causing the tremors. The beauty of DBS is that stimulation can just be turned up to improve symptom relief.
Parkinson’s being a chronic neurological degenerative disorder, being progressive in nature degenerates the nerve cells that produce dopamine in the part of the brain that controls the movements. The condition is very rare but usually affects 1 in 100 people aging over 60 years of age.
(The author is Director – Neurosurgery & CNS Radiosurgery & Co-director CyberKnife centre, Artemis Hospital)

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