Neurological disorder incidence has doubled in Punjab: ICMR study


Chandigarh Neurological disorders like stroke, headaches, and epilepsy have doubled in Punjab over the past 30 years, experts in field have found after research.

The empirical result that has been established is that in 1990, 4% of all disorders were neurological disorders; in 2019, this percentage doubled to 8%. Neurological disorders affect the brain and nerves, especially in the spinal cord.

The Indian Council of Medical Research and the Public Health Foundation of India conducted the research.

Their findings have been published under the title ‘The burden of neurological disorders across states of India: the Global Burden of Disease Study 1990–2019’ in one of the leading global medical journals, Lancet Global Health, on July 14 (Wednesday), under the name of India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative.

The study aimed at increasing awareness about these disorders, early identification, cost-effective treatment, and rehabilitation.

Speaking on the trend of neurological disabilities in Punjab, Dr Gagandeep Singh, professor, Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana, said, “The burden of non-communicable neurological disorders is increasing across the country. In Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh, these spread mainly due to the ageing population. Communicable diseases contributed to the majority of total neurological disorders burden in children younger than five years, non-communicable neurological disorders were the highest contributor in all other age groups.”

“Among other neurological disorders — stroke, headache, and epilepsy are the leading contributors in Punjab. The state has lower disability burden due to stroke, when compared to the national average, but residents of Punjab have higher incidence of headache and epilepsy disorders, as compared to the national average,” he said.

“There is, however, a need to scale up the treatment coverage of epilepsy in governmental schemes such as the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram and Ayushman Bharat. Policies and practices focusing on safe births, preventing head injury and stroke would help in averting a substantial proportion of epilepsies,” Dr Gagandeep added.

He cautioned that high blood pressure, air pollution, dietary risks, high-fasting plasma glucose, and high body-mass index are increasing the risk of neurological problems in adults.

Dr Dheeraj, professor, department of neurology, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, who was also part of the study, said, “Hypertension is very common among Punjab residents, as a result of which neurological disorders have also doubled. The state is making efforts to create awareness about stroke due to which, lower number of deaths were reported due to this disease.”

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