Staff Reporter

Neurology conference begins in Kochi today

KOCHI: Snoring is abnormal, most of the epilepsies are treatable or manageable and how the functions of the brain are being interpreted in the neurological as well as psychiatric sense were the crux of the sessions titled ‘Brain and Mind in Movement Disorders and Epilepsy’ held here on Thursday.

At a pre-conference workshop to the Indian Academy of Neurology Conference IANCON 2009 that begins on Friday, the three sessions were a pointer to how modern medicine is beginning to converge two very important streams of specialisation to understand the complexity of brain.

Neurologist K. Radhakrishnan, Director of Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Science and Technology and president-elect of the IAN, told the media that snoring was not a healthy sign unlike the myth attached to it.

“It is the obstruction in the respiratory tract or lack of oxygen during sleep that leads to snoring.”

People who snore have abnormal breathing during sleep and are more prone to develop high blood pressure, diabetes and other problems like obesity.

Sleep disorders

About 10 per cent of the population will be suffering from sleep disorders or what is termed sleep apnoea, said Dr. Radhakrishnan.

“A person spends about 30 per cent of one’s life sleeping but we still do not know why we need to sleep so much,” he quipped. Sleeplessness for about a week continuously can also be fatal, he added.

Dr. Mohan Kumar and Dr. Asha Latha from Thiruvananthapuram, Dr. Suresh Iyyar from Chennai, Dr. Garima Sukla from New Delhi and Dr. Sibi Gopinath from Kochi were the main speakers at a session during the workshop on ‘sleep disorders and polysomnography.’

Dr. Radhakrishnan led the workshop on epilepsy that discussed various symptoms of epileptic syndromes and diagnosis of each.

Dr. C. Rathore, Dr. Jayanthy Mani from Mumbai and Dr. Rajesh B. Iyer from Bangalore were among those who presented papers.

Taking epilepsy and movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease as examples of brain-mind interaction, Prof. Perminder Sachdev, past-president of the International Neuropsychiatry Association and professor at the University of New South Wales, led a session on ‘brain and mind’.

The workshop brought together two specialties for greater scientific dialogue. Organised by the Kerala Association of Neurologists and the Neurosciences India Group, the workshop concluded with a lecture on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation by Prof. Sachdev.

In his lecture, he explained how magnetic stimulation, which is more focussed, is replacing the electroconvulsive therapy in the treatment of various disorders.