On Wednesday, October 6, the Indian Council of Medical Research released the Multilingual Dementia Research and Assessment (MUDRA) toolbox in five different Indian languages, including Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.
In an official statement, Dr. Balram Bhargava, Director General of ICMR, mentioned the availability of the validated MUDRA toolbox in various Indian languages Hindi, Kannada, Bengali, Telugu and Malayalam. He further explained the significance and need for undertaking uniform dementia research in the country. The ICMR Neuro-Cognitive Tool Box (ICMR-NCTB) initiative is taken to transform India's dementia and mild cognitive impairment research and clinical practices.
It is a collective effort by seven leading centres in India NIMHANS (Bengaluru), SCTIMST (Thiruvananthapuram), AIIMS (New Delhi), NIIMS (Hyderabad), Apollo Hospital (Kolkata), Manipal Hospital (Bengaluru) and Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College. The toolbox provides several features to assess various domains of cognitive tests like cognition, memory, visuospatial functions, and language. The Principal of Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, Prof Jeyaraj D Pandian, said that MUDRA toolbox is a comprehensive tool designed specifically to diagnose dementia in the Indian population. Dr. Pradhan further expressed appreciation for the hard work of the investigators over the last six years to develop and validate the tool in the Indian population, which finally yielded results. Dr. R S Dhaliwal, head of NCD, said that it is a unique tool consisting of various tests and questionnaires. It is sensitive to the factors that affect performance on cognitive tests like education, language and culture.
"ICMR commissioned a multi-disciplinary project with a team of researchers from various fields including neurologists, psychologists and speech-language pathologists to develop a culturally, educationally and linguistically relevant neurocognitive toolbox," said Dhaliwal.
A Step Towards Removing Language As A Barrier In Dementia Diagnosis
Due to low awareness and language and cultural barriers, only one in 10 people with dementia are diagnosed in India. According to the Dementia India Report 2010 by the Alzheimer's and Related disorders society of India (ARDSI), approximately 5.29 million people live with dementia in India. This number is expected to increase to 7.61 million by 2030. This initiative will undoubtedly increase the rate of diagnosis, which will eventually increase the rate of recovery.
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