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World Alzheimer’s Day: Stressed in Exile, Kashmiri Migrant Pandits Had Higher Dementia Than Other Indians

Kashmiri Pandits who have been at the receiving end of the exodus unleashed after insurgency in valley reportedly have the highest rate of the Alzheimers when compared to other parts of the country.

Representative Image. (Image :ANI)

New Delhi: On the World Alzheimer’s Day, India falls among the nations where dementia led by this disease is causing a great havoc. A past study by renowned researcher and neurologist Sushil Razdan has flagged how stress has been an added factor to its worsening.

As per the research conducted by him and two other scholars, dementia in India has been largely higher among Kashmiri migrant population. While the research on causes of Alzheimer’s are very hazy, stress has been seen as a factor aggravating the process of forgetting, as per many researches.

As Covid wrecked devastation among autistic children with a lockdown led pandemic depression, Alzheimer’s in most patients also either worsened due to de-socialisation or those who were quarantined after being infected. Stress has thus acted as a catalyst for this degradation of brain cells.

Dementia led by Alzheimer’s disease is a very chronic ailment and is characterized by an increasing degradation in the intellect. From memory to learning to comprehension, everything gets affected. At times people even struggle to maintain their long-lived language and judgment powers due to this very degradation of the brain cells.

Kashmiri Pandits who have been at the receiving end of the exodus unleashed after insurgency in valley reportedly have the highest rate of the Alzheimers when compared to other parts of the country.
A research by Razdan carried out a “cross-sectional survey among the elderly population of the Kashmiris living in a migrant camp in Jammu”.

“A sample comprising 200 subjects (95 males and 105 females) were evaluated. The prevalence of dementia is 6.5% among the Kashmiri Pandit population aged 60 years and above, which is higher than that reported from other parts of India,” the research paper reported.

It added that ”dementia appears to be very rare in the native Kashmiri population. “However, our study revealed dementia in a substantial population of the Kashmiri migrant population”.

The research added that the differences between this study of Kashmiri migrants and that of other social groups in India about dementia prevalence may be a function of a “valid regional difference”. However, it also noted that besides this there are many other factors at play.

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“Adverse social outcomes such as social disengagement, stress associated with migration from native homes and hearths, differences in lifestyle, longer life expectancy, health awareness and healthcare delivery systems may be the factors contributing to this difference,” the research noted.

Largely a nightmare for older people, about 2% of the cases of Alzheimer’s begin before the age of 65 years. However, after this, researches suggest that the prevalence of this disease is doubled every five years. When it comes to India as per the Dementia India Report by the Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI), evidence of dementia in India has increased considerably.