Parkinson’s disease, the neurological movement disorder, which is known to affect one in 1,000 people worldwide, is increasing its footprint in India. A disease once considered to be affecting only the elderly is found to be increasingly affecting people well below 40 years of age. The mean age of the onset of Parkinson’s is about 65.
However, more number of people are being diagnosed with neurological disorders under the age of 40 and there are some cases of Parkinson’s disease diagnosed even in the age group of 25-30 years.
The disease has its quirks too, for which medical science has no explanations as yet. One of them being the alarming increase of Parkinson’s disease among the younger age group and among members of the Parsi community. Jaslok Hospital also becomes the first hospital to acquire an intra-operative monitoring machine, which ensures better results for Parkinson’s surgery.
Dr Paresh Doshi, an expert in neurological surgery said, “There are no known reasons for Parkinson’s. Genetic factors are reasons for only a small proportion of cases. Once identified, a clinical diagnosis is needed to establish Parkinson’s disease. And as far as the unusual prevalence of the disease in the Parsi community is concerned, one of the speculations is that consanguinity is one of the reasons, but there is no evidence to establish it because such a practice is prevalent among Muslims as well. And Parkinson’s is not as rampant in the community.”
With medical advancements, the disease can now be controlled to an extent, but there is no cure. Even surgical procedures, which have given many Parkinson’s patients a better life. But this can only be carried out after the patient has lived with the disease for five years on medication. The “five-years’ for surgery is almost a PD treatment protocol. However in medical world there are differences on the same. Dr Doshi said, “A research is underway to assess if PD patient can undergo surgery under five years of suffering from the disease. As far as I think it cannot be done because if the patient has stopped responding to medication under five years then no surgical intervention can help. It’s a lost case then.”