On Tuesday doctors from the All India Medical Institute of Sciences (AIIMS) confirmed to help establish a national registry for multiple sclerosis (MS), a rare autoimmune disease.
"The neurology centre at AIIMS has today is seeing more MS patients residing in tier I and tier II cities from across the country. Therefore efforts are being made to collate the data and understand the disease from an Indian perspective, which as of now, is not the case as the disease is considered more predominant in the western countries," said Rohit Bhatia, an additional professor of neurology at AIIMS.
"In this regard, the AIIMS is keen to set up of a National MS Registry for maintenance of epidemiological data of MS patients from across the country for evidence based research, treatment, and education," he added.
Since 2011, the department of neurology at AIIMS began collecting data of MS patients undergoing counselling and treatment at the institute to track their demographic profile, medical condition, quality of life, disability stage and post treatment outcome.
Relatively rare in the country, multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease affecting brain and spinal cord. With the body attacking its own cells and tissues, common symptoms include numbness, weakness in the limbs, sudden loss of balance, blurred vision and paralysis. MS affects youth in the age of 20-40 years.
"A three year national programme 'reaching out' pilot project has been initiated since February across cities in Uttar Pradesh to gather more data on MS patients. The final structured project will be implemented in all other states of India in the coming years," said Bipasha Gupta, national secretary, Multiple Sclerosis Society of India.