Burden of neurological diseases rising in Pakistan


KARACHI: The burden of neurological diseases in developing countries, like Pakistan, is rising, while more than half of the disability due to neurological diseases is related to stroke followed by Dementias, Migraine, Epilepsy and tetanus.

The World Health Organization estimated in 2006 that neurological disorders and their direct consequences affect one billion people worldwide. Neurology is a medical specialty dealing with disorders of the nervous system. Health inequalities and social stigma are major factors contributing to the associated disability and suffering. Health lifestyle is necessary to be stayed Away from neurological diseases.”

These views were expressed by Dr Muhammad Saleem Ilyas, Professor of Neurology and Director (Medical & Allied), Professional Development Centre, Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS), Karachi, while speaking at the 19th Public Awareness Seminar on “Neurological Disorders”, held at Dr. Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences, Karachi University (KU).

The seminar was jointly organised by Dr. Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), KU and Virtual Education Project Pakistan (VEPP). Health professionals, students, research scholars, NGO representatives, and general public attended the program.

Talking about the definition of neurology, Dr. Ilyas said that neurology includes disorders of brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles and is therefore a very diverse field. He said that stroke is preventable, while a stroke is an injury caused by a change in the blood supply to the brain. He said, “More than half of the disability due to neurological diseases is related to stroke followed by Dementias, Migraine, Epilepsy and tetanus.

In epilepsy, there is a problem with the electrical messages in the brain. Recurrent seizures are known as Epilepsy. Neurological infections occur when viruses, bacteria and other organisms invade the nervous system, as their types included Encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, which can be caused by either bacteria or virus; Meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, which can be caused by either bacteria or virus and HIV. These should be treated as a medical emergency as they can lead to septicaemia (blood poisoning), which can be fatal.”

Talking about the term dementia, he said that dementia is used to describe a collection of symptoms which include memory loss, difficulty with communication and reasoning. The most common causes of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular dementia, while treatable causes are Vit. B12 deficiency, hypothyroidism, NPH, he said and added that the incidence or prevalence of major neurological diseases in our country is not known.

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