Increasingly important to manage neurological diseases with ageing population: Gan Kim Yong

This year's congress is a joint meeting of the 11th Biennial Convention of the Asean Neurological Association and the 16th Asean Congress of Neurological Surgery.
This year's congress is a joint meeting of the 11th Biennial Convention of the Asean Neurological Association and the 16th Asean Congress of Neurological Surgery.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The ability to effectively manage neurological diseases such as dementia, stroke and Parkinson Disease will be increasingly important with an ageing population, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

Speaking on Thursday at the Asean Neuroscience 2015 congress, Mr Gan said there will be a growing need to work in an interdisciplinary way to provide the most appropriate treatment.

This year's congress is a joint meeting of the 11th Biennial Convention of the Asean Neurological Association and the 16th Asean Congress of Neurological Surgery. Held at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, it brings together both neurologists and neurosurgeons for the first time.

Neurologists and neurosurgeons are similarly concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of patients with diseases or injuries to the brain and nervous system, but differ in their scope of treatment.

The congress hence provides an opportunity for participants to learn together and update themselves with the current issues surrounding both medical and surgical neuroscience, Mr Gan said.

He added that the Ministry of Health has ramped up facilities to treat and care for people suffering from dementia by expanding the capacity of memory clinics at acute hospitals.

Around 10 per cent of people aged 60 years here suffer from dementia.

The Health Ministry will also be expanding the capacity of dementia nursing homes and community-based dementia care services. It will also develop more Eldersit teams, which is a home-based service that engages people with dementia in cognitive activities while providing respite for their caregivers.

Even so, he noted that disease prevention is key. "As healthcare professionals, you are well placed to help your patients with lifestyle modifications, and encourage regular follow-ups and adherence to medication in patients who already have chronic condition," he said, addressing participants.

Over two days, medical professionals, researchers and scientists from the field of neuroscience will be attending a range of symposiums on the latest advances in the management of clinical neuroscience conditions.

The congress is organised by the Asean Neurological Association and the Asean Neurosurgical Society.

samboh@sph.com.sg