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If you have any concern for your mental health and wellbeing, it is imperative that you go for a brain scan from age 55 years onwards, at least once in five years, to check for signs of mental deterioration. This is according to leading scientist Pravat Mandal, a professor at the National Brain Research Centre (NBRC) in India, who noted that medication can prevent deterioration and reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, if the condition is diagnosed early.
Mandal, who is also the senior editor of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and guest editor of the American Journal of Neuroradiology, has developed a state-of-the art imaging technology to detect early signs of dementia, which is available, free-of-charge, for the first time in India at the NBRC. He noted that at least 300 people have benefited from the test since it was introduced about a year and half ago.
Mandal explained, ‘Before any manifestation of brain disorder, certain chemical changes occur in the specific regions of the brain. In some cases, structural changes are also observed in the brain prior to the clinical symptoms. For instance, in the case of pre-Alzheimer’s, hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in the processing of memory and spatial navigation, becomes alkaline; in normal aged persons this is acidic.’
‘The test could easily detect the abnormalities in the early stage of any disorder. The MRI scans offered by the centre are safer and easier as they do not require radiation, drugs and surgery,’ Mandal, a post-doctoral Fellow at the University of California-Davis and an assistant professor in the psychiatry department of University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, commented, adding that the test takes just 13 minutes to complete.
If your wellness is affected by dementia, you progressively lose your cognitive functions. You tend to forget things like what you ate yesterday or your own address, and you can also develop hallucinations. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the number of people living with such diseases worldwide was estimated to be 35.6 million in 2010, and this could double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050.