With the spurt in the number of dementia cases, the department of biotechnology under the Ministry of Science and Technology has decided to set up research centres in four medical institutes of the country to diagnose and treat the disease.

The four institutes are state-run Bangur Institute of Neurology (BIN) in Kolkata, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Science (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru, All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in Delhi and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Science and Technology (SCTIMST) in Trivandrum. All the last three institutes are run by the central government.

Dementia is a disease of forgetfulness and abnormal behavior and it’s prevalent among people above 55 to 60 years. According to a senior teacher in neuro medicine attached with the BIN, the department technology officials held a meeting with the doctors and neurology experts in Delhi last week and selected the four institutes for the project that will explore the underlying reasons of dementia.

“The project will be of five years for each institute. With the sharp rise in number of dementia-affected patients the ministry of science and technology has decided to go for a thorough research work on the disease. The ministry will provide funds in lakhs to each institute,” he said requesting anonymity.

“We have an outdoor patients’ clinic for dementia cases in our BIN hospital. Our doctors will evaluate the dementia suspects in the clinic and then the cases will be referred for further neurological tests for confirmation of dementia. The ministry’s initiatives will definitely prompt the expert doctors register the dementia patients for thorough treatment and research,” he added.

“Experts of the Calcutta University will also help the BIN give their expertise on genetic part for the diagnosis and treatment of the patients in our hospital. Dementia is mainly restricted to urban area but we also keep watch on rural people showing symptoms of dementia,” a neurologist of the BIN said.

“Our institute has recently conducted a study on prevalence of dementia in Kolkata and outskirts. It reveals that around four per cent people above 55 to 60 years are getting affected with the disease of genetic disorder showing memory loss with abnormal behavior. There is no complete research centre for diagnosis and treatment of dementia patients in Bengal. The Ministry of Science and Technology’s decision will help us explore the disease,” he added.