For December 2020, we have selected the following paper: Deuschl et al. The burden of neurological diseases in Europe: an analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Lancet Public Health 2020; 5: e551-e567. doi: 10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30190-0.
Neurological disorders represent a significant cause of premature mortality and transient or permanent disability in survivors.
Our paper of the month reports the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017, which aimed to compare the burden of neurological disorders (including dementias, epilepsy, headache, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, brain cancer, motor neuron diseases, neuroinfectious diseases, and stroke) in the EU in 2017 with those of the WHO European region and worldwide totally and separately.
The authors calculated the following data: incidence, prevalence, mortality, disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), years of life lost and years lived with disability.
The study found that the total number of DALYs attributable to neurological disorders was 21.0 million in the EU and 41.1 million in the WHO European region (13.3%) with stroke, dementias, and headache as the three commonest causes.
Moreover, the total number of deaths was 1.1 million in the EU and 1.97 million in the WHO European region (19.5%).
These results lead to the conclusion that neurological disorders are the third most common cause of disability and premature death in the EU, after cardiovascular diseases and cancers.
Importantly, the prevalence and burden of neurological diseases is expected to increase with the progressive ageing of the European population. Therefore, the global burden due to these illnesses will become even a more significant health issue in the next few years compared to 2017. Consequentially, it is mandatory to develop strategies of prevention and care in all EU countries with different priorities on the base of specific unmet needs for each individual country.