Bhopal 23.09.2021. The lifespan in India is now around 60 years and in the next 25 years, Alzheimer’s is estimated to become a serious problem. The disintegration of joint families and proliferation of nuclear families will only aggravate the problem as there would be no one to look after the senior citizens. Those above 70 will have a risk of 10 to 15% and those above 80 will have 20 to 25% risk, said Dr Naresh Purohit , Executive Member of the Indian Academy of Neurosciences.
Noted Epidemiologist Dr Purohit presented a scientific report titled “Agony of Dementia ” at a seminar organised by Bhopal based AllMS on the occassion of World Alzheimer’s Day that keeping the mind active in old age is very important. Post-retirement from service, if a person remains inactive or doesn’t use his/her brain actively for long, the risk of Alzheimer’s increases. Playing board games like chess, walking, jogging and physical exercises apart from consuming high-protein diet will go a long way in keeping the disease at bay.
Citing his recent research study published in the International Journal Dementia, Disaster Mental Health Expert Dr Purohit averred that cholesterol manufactured in the brain appears to play a key role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The cholesterol produced by cells called astrocytes is required for controlling the production of amyloid beta, a sticky protein that builds up in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s. The protein accumulates into insoluble plaques that are a hallmark of the disease. Many efforts have targeted these plaques in the hope that removing or preventing them could treat or prevent Alzheimer’s.
He pointed in his research that neurodegeneration can occur in the absence of amyloid plaques due to aberrant calcium signalling and subsequent mitochondrial calcium, oxidative stress, and dysregulated autophagy.
Dr Purohit also advisor for National Mental Health Programme stated that according to association of studies for mental care recent scientific report
given the long period of illness, the costs for dementia & Alzheimer’s treatment and management can be extremely high, even pushing some families into poverty. The annual household cost of caring for a person with dementia in India can be as high as Rs 2,02,450 in urban areas and Rs 66,025 in rural areas. This includes intangible costs — such as the loss of productivity or opportunities for the carer — and the cost of medication, consultation and hospitalisation.
He said that Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory, ability to carry simple tasks and thinking skills. Brain imaging after clinical suspicion helps in confirming diagnosis. There are various biomarkers for diagnosing Alzheimer’s at an early stage.
He opined that one should choose new activities, instead of continuing his old profession or work, like learning a new language and developing multi-lingual skills. Each language stimulates some part of the brain. Indian studies have revealed that post-65, the risk of Alzheimer’s doubles after every five years.
No treatment can stop the disease. However, some drugs may help keep symptoms from getting worse for a limited time.