Parkinson's in men

 New researches have indicated that Parkinson’s disease is expected to rise more commonly among men, notes Dr Vinay Goyal.

Parkinson’s disease, commonly associated with the elderly, is expected to rise among men, more strongly than among women. According to Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, men are 1.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease as compared to women. 

Even though we need to conduct more research on this to come up with a rational explanation, some studies indicate that probably oestrogen hormone is protecting women from the degenerative disease.

There are certain diseases like coronary heart disease or osteoporosis which have been found to be unevenly prevalent among the sexes and are addressed accordingly. Scientific evidences and difference in male and female physiology have been a good rationale behind this gender-specific prevalence of diseases. However, now experts implicate that Parkinson’s is fast becoming the next male disease.Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system, which primarily affects movements and speech, usually starting with tremors, stiffness and slowing of movement.

 Many a time, patients are not capable of controlling their movements, despite various combinations of medications.

Conventionally, medication in Parkinson’s disease is used to improve motor functions. But considering the degenerative nature of the disease, it is likely that they lose their effectiveness over time, cause side effects, or both. The traditional bread-earning role played by men makes it important that we find a solution to this problem. 

Fortunately, improved treatment modalities have come up that help manage symptoms of Parkinson’s disease rather effectively. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Therapy becomes a good option. 

In DBS Therapy, specific cells in the brain are stimulated by putting in a lead. The lead is connected to a pacemaker that delivers continuous stimulation to the brain cells. Stimulation of these areas enables the brain circuits that control body movements to function better. Moreover, it is an adjustable and reversible treatment modality, minimising most risks. 

It is important to understand that Parkinson’s disease need not be as dreadful as it sounds. Appropriate medication or therapies, coupled with good diet and exercise can go a long way in restoring normalcy to the lives of patients struggling with the disease. 

So, with new evidence indicating the rise in Parkinson’s disease among men, we need to take some concrete measures. For starters, identify the reasons behind the condition and then, handle them efficiently. Apart from that, we also need to acknowledge the disease and go in for the medical options already in place in order to manage its symptoms effectively.
(The writer is a professor, Department of Neurology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi)

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