Parkinson’s disease on the rise in young adults

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Stress and lifestyle are largely contributing to the rise of the neurodegenerative Parkinson’s disease in young adults. City doctors say cases are on the rise, though the disease is mostly seen in elderly aged above 50. 

Dr N K Venkataramana, founder and chief neurosurgeon, SSNMC-Brains Neurosciences Centre of Excellence says a group of autoimmune and genetic disorders trigger the early onset. Taking care of such patients is becoming difficult due to lack of knowledge about therapeutic treatment, he explains.

Lately, a 29-year-old mechanic was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The Bangladeshi national visited BGS Gleneagles Global hospital in Kengeri last year after progressive difficulty in walking, frequent falls, slurred speech, excessive salivation and difficulty in swallowing.

The man was unable to perform daily activities and was chair-bound for over two years. He had no history of head injury, drug abuse or brain infection. It wasn’t hereditary either.

However, the genetic testing was positive for a rare mutation causing the early onset. Considering the advanced nature of the disease at an early age and the erratic response to medication, doctors discussed deep brain stimulation, a functional neurosurgery to improve the motor symptoms.

The patient underwent the procedure and made significant improvement in just two weeks after the surgery. Medication came down to 30% and he was sent back to Bangladesh with advice on physiotherapy and rehabilitation. The case underlines the importance of early diagnosis and proper selection of patients for deep brain stimulation.

Dr Suryanarayana Sharma, the consultant neurologist who treated the patient says early diagnosis, judicious medication, regular physiotherapy, choosing right patients for deep brain stimulation are key in the management of Parkinson’s disease.  “A neurologist should differentiate Parkinson’s plus syndrome from Parkinson’s disease as management approach for both the conditions are different,” he notes.

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