Saudi Arabia lacks specialists who could diagnose and manage an “epidemic” of brain disorders among young people, a leading neurologist has reportedly said.
Saeed Bohlega, professor and senior neurology consultant at the department of neurology at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh and Saudi Neurology Society president, told the Arab News there were more young people with diseases such as multiple disorders, muscles diseases and genetic-related problems than older people with Alzheimer’s and other old-age diseases.
Speaking at the Brain Forum in Jeddah, he said it was worrying because children and young adults made up 50 percent of the country’s population.
Bohlega said mental and neurological disorders were on the rise, which he attributed to changes in lifestyle because of the wealth of the country.
He reportedly said there appeared to be an “epidemic” of these illnesses with almost 15,000 individuals affected. He said genetic disposition caused one-third of the problems, with environmental factors responsible for the other two-thirds.
“This means that the lifestyle of the people, food intake, Vitamin D-deficiency or maybe other reasons are responsible,” he said.
“We don’t know exactly what the major reasons are but the prevalence of brain diseases among 20-year-olds has increased tenfold between 1986 and 2013.
“It’s not that easy, we have to look at early diagnosis and treatment which is very important in all the cases for better treatment. Spreading awareness is also very important. The medication is expensive but available for citizens.”
Bohlega praised the efforts of Walid Juffali, founder of W-Science and a pioneering businessman in the Kingdom, who had spearheaded efforts to tackle the issue.
“The Brain Forum is a global idea because it has brought experts together from all around the world, which has helped to highlight the advanced treatment and research in this area,” he said.