ibnlive » Health

Apr 11, 2012 at 10:48am IST

Parkinson's disease remains largely misunderstood

Mumbai: India has an estimated 1 million patients suffering from Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's affects 1 in 1000 people, but remains largely misunderstood. It's mainly recognised by tell-tale tremors.

Though you wouldn't be able to tell by looking at 56-year-old Harpreet Vich, that he has this de-generative disorder. He was diagnosed 11 years ago and suffered with constant shaking, and rigidity of limbs.

Harjeet Vich says, "I could barely sit on the chair for 5 mins, moved so much, it looked like I'm dancing on the chair."

Vich opted for surgery. Dr Paresh Doshi at Jaslok Hospital has pioneered the use of deep brain stimulation surgery for movement disorders.

Dr Paresh Doshi, NeuroSurgeon, Jaslok Hospital, says, "Nowadays patients should not be scared of Parkinson's. It has reached such a scale of manageability and controllability that patients can lead a normal life upto 20 years. It doesn't cut short lifespan."

There has been an increasing awareness about Parkinson's in the West, thanks to celebrities who have the disorder, like boxer Mohammad Ali and actor Michael J Fox.

But the estimates are troubling. According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation of India:

-The number of those over 50 years of age who have Parkinson's will double from 4.6 million in 2005 to 9.3 million in 2030.

-Once considered an old age disease, 10 per cent of all the Parkinson's patients are below the age of 40.

There is still no cure to the disorder but experts are hopeful that Science will catch up.

Doshi says, "With gene trial, stem cell therapy, we hope, that in the coming future there will be a complete cure."