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World Parkinson’s Day: Researchers urged to focus on causes of disease in Ghana

April 12, 2024
World Parkinson’s Day Researchers urged to focus on causes of disease in Ghana

Dr. Vida Obese, a Neurologist at the (KATH), has called on scientists and researchers to focus their studies on the causes of Parkinson's disease in Ghana. Currently, Parkinson's accounts for 12 per cent of cases recorded at various neurology clinics in the country.

Speaking at a conference in to mark World Parkinson's Day, Dr. Obese emphasized the need for public awareness and understanding of the factors that expose individuals to the disease. She highlighted the lack of prevalence studies in communities and the concerning trend of Parkinson's affecting individuals as young as 30 years old, whereas in the past, it primarily affected those over 60.

The conference, organized by the Anidaso Parkinson's Disease Foundation, aimed to raise awareness and encourage early reporting of symptoms for timely treatment. Dr. Obese stressed the importance of distinguishing Parkinson's from other conditions, such as stroke, and the need for patients to seek medical attention promptly.

Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurological disorder globally, and cases are expected to rise significantly across Africa in the coming years. Dr. Obese highlighted the need to address misconceptions, stigma, and lack of awareness surrounding the disease in Africa.

Parkinson's affects the part of the brain responsible for movement and can impact other functions such as learning, behaviour, sleep, and memory. While the exact cause is uncertain, genetic factors and environmental exposures are suspected to play a role.

Symptoms of Parkinson's include tremors, slow movement, rigidity, cognitive difficulties, and mood disorders. Dr. Obese emphasized the Anidaso Parkinson's Disease Foundation's efforts in raising awareness, educating clinicians, and conducting research to improve treatment options.

Dr. John Paul Omuojine, a Psychiatrist at KATH, highlighted the prevalence of mental disorders among individuals with Parkinson's and stressed the importance of collaborative care for early intervention.

Additionally, Dr. Ishaak Ahmed Yussif, a Pharmacist at KATH, called on the government to consider adding Parkinson's medications to the due to their high cost, which poses a significant financial burden on patients and their families.

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