Media ReleaseFrom: University of Washington
New Neurology Studies a ‘Wakeup Call’ for Global Health
Health experts convene for Global Brain Summit in New Zealand this week
‘Greatest challenge of the 21st century’
One in four people worldwide suffered from headaches in 2016
SEATTLE – Neurology experts from around the world will convene November 27 in Auckland, New Zealand, for a conference on “brain health,” examining what one calls “the greatest challenge of societies in the 21st century.”
Among the neurological disorders to be discussed at the Brain Summit are stroke, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and migraine and other headaches.
The topics are covered in a new series of 11 papers on neurological disorders in The Lancet Neurology. As part of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD), the studies assess death and disability from 15 neurological disorders between 1990 and 2016 in 195 countries and territories by age and by sex. It is the most extensive study ever conducted on neurological disorders.
“As populations continue to age worldwide, neurological disorders will place even more pressure on health care services in the near future,” said Dr. Theo Vos, Professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, and a senior author on all of the studies. “Yet current intervention strategies for reducing non-communicable neurological disorders have low effectiveness or are not sufficiently deployed, as is the case with many prevention approaches for stroke. More research is needed and urgently to better understand how to address many of these disorders.”
According to Dr. Elena Becker-Barroso, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet Neurology, “Brain health is the greatest challenge of societies in the 21st century. These articles should be a wakeup call for health care systems and research funding agencies, as the data show that neurology and neurosciences must be at the top of their agendas.”
Study authors found one in four people worldwide suffered from headaches in 2016, with 1.89 billion people estimated to have experienced a tension-type headache, and 1.04 billion people a migraine.
They also found Parkinson’s disease is the fastest growing of all neurological disorders. The number of individuals with Parkinson’s disease has more than doubled since 1990, increasing from 2.5 million that year to 6.1 million in 2016.
“These findings are integral to making the Global Burden of Disease study more accessible to clinicians,” said Vos. “Medical personnel who care for those with neurological diseases have long wanted a comprehensive roadmap to improve their understanding of neurological disease burden. This series of articles is a helpful first step.”
The Global Burden of Disease Brain Summit is a collaboration between Auckland University of Technology (AUT), The Lancet Neurology journal, and the Global Burden of Disease study, which is coordinated by IHME.
“We need worldwide cooperation in the research, treatment and prevention of neurological disorders, which is grossly underfunded,” said Professor Valery Feigin, Director of the National Institute for Stroke and Applied Neurosciences at AUT and a senior author on the studies. “Neurological care within the public health system needs to be strengthened, and effective primary prevention is essential to help curb this global health crisis.”
The studies and additional information are available at www.healthdata.org.