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Survey targets Alzheimer's and Parkinson diseases

CHINA will soon start a big survey on chronic noncontagious diseases like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease to study the development of the diseases and collect information for health policies.

Local medical experts said yesterday that Shanghai is doing an epidemiological study on Alzheimer's disease in Jing'an District.

"With a growing elderly population in China, Alzheimer's sufferers are also on the increase," said Dr Hong Zhen, director of Shanghai Huashan Hospital's department of neurology.

"Health authorities want to conduct a survey on the latest development of diseases that affect old people as their number is growing," Hong said

China now has the largest number of Alzheimer's patients -- 6 million, accounting for a quarter of the world's total. However, only 15 percent of the patients visit hospital for treatment due to low awareness.

The incidence of Alzheimer's disease is 4 to 8 percent for Chinese aged at 60, 10 percent for those above 65, and 30 percent for people at 80 or older.

Alzheimer's disease is now the fourth killers to the elderly, after cardiovascular diseases, cancer and stroke.

In addition, people suffering Parkinson's disease are putting a big burden on their family. More than 2 million of them in China depend on medication.

Apart from drugs, Shanghai doctors have started using deep brain stimulation surgery on some patients and achieved good results, said Dr Sun Bomin from Ruijin Hospital's neurosurgery department.


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