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Aga Khan University Seminar

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Aga Khan University Seminar
« on: March 20, 2010, 10:44:53 AM »
Aga Khan University Seminar

 Karachi:Nearly 1.7 million people in Pakistan are epileptic, said a neurologist while discussing the causes and treatment for common brain disorders at a seminar at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) to commemorate the Brain Awareness Week.

AKUH’s Consultant Neurologist Dr Mughis Sheerani said because the general public does not understand that patients’ seizures and that the jerky movements are caused by physical reactions to sudden and brief electrical discharges in the brain, patients are often labelled as ‘possessed’ or ‘retarded’.

“Unfortunately, between 60 to 90 per cent of epilepsy cases in developing countries do not get appropriate treatment even though it can be treated at an affordable cost,” said Dr Sheerani. According to him, almost three-quarters of all epileptics can manage their condition with medication, while some cases may require long-term treatment and a small number needs surgery.

Speaking about other brain conditions, Consultant Neurologist Dr Ayesha Kamal described stroke as a chronic disease that is prevalent in Pakistan. During a stroke, a person may suddenly lose control of their body, their ability to speak, or even see, due to a lack of blood flow to the brain.

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of abnormal memory decline that is increasingly being seen in developing countries, according to Consultant Neurologist, Dr Saad Shafqat. Treatment for the disorder is available but its benefits are not dramatic, making the situation stressful for families, he added.

Dr Shafqat also pointed out that not all memory loss is a result of Alzheimer’s disease. Memory function tends to decline with age, but it may not interfere with independent individual and social functioning. “When memory loss begins to interfere with one’s ability to carry out the routine activities of daily life - such as eating, going to the toilet and handling personal affairs - it reflects a neurological illness,” said Dr Shafqat.

Stressing the importance of sleep, Consultant Neurologist Dr Bhojo Khealani said that a normal adult requires approximately eight hours of sleep to function efficiently and foster growth and memory. Insomnia, the inability to fall asleep, and sleep apnoea, when breathing stops during sleep, are the most common sleep disorders. Insomnia may be treated by avoiding long daytime naps, caffeinated drinks, smoking or eating heavy meals before bedtime.

“Maintaining a regular sleep cycle in a comfortable environment, waking up and sleeping at about the same time every day also helps improve the sleep cycle,” said Dr Khealani.

While introducing the brain and its functions, Consultant Neurologist, AKUH, Dr Sarwar Jamil Siddiqui said that over the last 20 years, there has been remarkable scientific advancement in our understanding of how our brain works, especially with the invention of new brain scanning technologies, including CTs and MRIs. “Despite these inventions, we probably still understand only a tiny fraction of human brain function,” said Dr Siddiqui.The news