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NIMHANS and IISc to conduct joint dementia-prevention study

Aaditya Narayan

Bangalore, 27 October 2016: The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) will launch a longitudinal study on brain-ageing, in Karnataka.

The Study
A longitudinal study is one that is conducted over a large period of time to collect variations in the data over that particular period.
The aim of the study is to collect data from people over the age of 45 over a period of two decades. The study will be conducted by the NIMHANS Geriatric Services and IISc's Centre of Brain Research.

The research is significant because it aims to pinpoint the causes of dementia and ultimately, find a method to prevent dementia.
The Dementia India Report, 2015 says that 4.41 million people suffer from dementia. The report also says the number will increase to 5.29 million by 2020.

Plan of Action
Dr. V Bhadrinarayan, Medical Superintendent of NIMHANS, said, "Right now, a pilot study has been launched in Srinivasapur taluk of Kolar district. After that, it will be extended to other taluks in a phased manner."

Dr. Bhadrinarayanan added that the Srinivasapur taluk was chosen because it had ideal demographics for such a study.

Increase in Dementia rates between 2010 and 2015
Source: Dementia India Report

NIMHANS will be in-charge of the initial phase of the study, which will be to collect data and then on the clinical and imaging aspects of the study. Later, the Centre of Brain Research will focus on the genetic aspects of the study.

Dr. B.N. Gangadhar, Director of NIMHANS, said, "In Srinivasapur, 10000 people above the age of 45 will be studied over at least two decades to determine the detrimental effects that ageing can have."

Dr. Gangadhar added that the institutes have applied for a grant of Rs. 20 crores from the central government.

The need for the study
Dr. Dharmendra, consultant psychiatrist at Fortis Hospital, said that the study is a significant step to finding preventive measures for dementia.
He said, "Dementia usually sets in after an individual turns 60, but the signs are there from much earlier. With that in mind, this study could be important as it would focus on what these signs are."

According to the 2011 Census, there are 104 million senior citizens in India and with the estimates saying that the number of people with dementia is almost doubling every five years, the study marks India's first foray into drawing a national dementia-prevention strategy.


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