Asian and Oceanian Section

On-tour Parkinson's disease Meetings in Thailand by the Parkinson's Society

Natlada Limotai, MD.
Roongroj Bhidayasiri, MD, FRCP.
On behalf of the Thai Parkinson's Disease Society

It has been clearly established that the risk for Parkinson's disease (PD), ranked second only to Alzheimer's disease in overall community prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases, increases markedly in the older populations. The disease usually begins at ages 60 to 65, but it also occurs occasionally in younger age groups as "young-onset PD" with somewhat different characteristics. According to the recent preliminary Thailand PD registry reports of the prevalence in Thai populations, age-adjusted prevalence of PD was 424.57 cases per 100,000 population (1). Of this number, the prevalence of PD in urban areas was 126.83 per 100,000 and 90.82 per 100,000 in rural areas (p<0.001). Regional comparisons revealed a higher prevalence of PD in residents of the central plain valley of Thailand. These prevalence data may, in fact, be low estimates for some locations due to lack of movement disorder specialists in rural areas and small cities who can competently diagnosis PD. Most of these specialists are concentrated in the big cities, particularly the university hospitals in Bangkok.

In light of this deficiency in PD diagnostic, as well as appropriate treatment, skills, the Thailand Parkinson's Society is committed to educating physicians who practice in the various regional hospitals regarding PD diagnosis and state-of-the-art treatment regimens. On-tour PD education sessions have taken place twice a year for several years in the rural areas. In addition to physicians, paramedics and other public health professionals also are invited (Figure). It is anticipated that this will increase public awareness of PD as well as appropriate care for PD patients.

During these training sessions, movement disorder specialists, PD nurses, and rehabilitation staff work as multidisciplinary teams to provide up-to-date knowledge through interactive communication with the audience. In the past more than 100 people typically attended these sessions, including physicians, patients, caregivers and the general public. Answering questions on a case-by-case basis is also employed to directly respond to the concerns of the audiences.

Although there is a limited budget for these sessions and they require a huge time investment, positive feedback from the audiences indicates that they are meeting a real need and we plan to continue them. The feedback indicates that the participants are able to take care their PD patients with greater confidence following these sessions. We plan is to extend the sessions to wider areas outside Bangkok, particularly the areas that are far away from the big cities.

Ref:

1) Bhidayasiri R., Wannachai N., Limpabandhu S., Choeytim S., Suchonwanich Y., Tananyakul S., et al. on behalf of the Thai PD Registry Collaborative Network. A National registry to determine the distribution and prevalence of Parkinson's disease in Thailand: implications of urbanization and pesticides as risk factors for Parkinson's disease. Neuroepidemiology 2011;37(3-4):222-30.