Neurological disorders: facts

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 350 million people are suffering from depression worldwide.

Professor Thomas Insel, Head of the National Institute for Mental Health in the United States and the World Council on Mental Health of the World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, says accordingly to a joint study with Harvard University that in twenty years, the economic weight of mental illness will be higher than cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases together.

Excerpt from "The Neurosciences at the heart of Davos" by Olivier Oullier on

Read more on neuroscience in Davos in 2015 on the


What are neurological disorders?
How many people suffer from them today?

Neurological disorders are diseases of the central or peripheral nervous system. In other words, they affect the brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, peripheral nerves, nerve roots, autonomic nervous system, neuromuscular junction, and muscles.

These disorders include: epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, cerebrovascular diseases, including strokes, migraine and other headaches, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, infections of the nervous system, brain tumors, traumatic disorders of the nervous system such as brain traumas and neurological disorders associated with malnutrition.

However, mental disorders are psychiatric illnesses or diseases which appear primarily as abnormalities of thought, feelings and behavior, causing distress or dysfunction.

Hundreds of millions of people worldwide suffer from neurological disorders.
Approximately 6.2 million people die from stroke each year, more than 80% in low- and middle-income countries.

More than 50 million people worldwide suffer from epilepsy and it is estimated that 35.6 million people suffer from dementia, with 7.7 million new cases each year -Alzheimer's disease being the most involved prevalent dementia, which represent 60% to 70% of cases.

The global prevalence of migraine is greater than 10%.

Direct and indirect health costs amount to about $60 billion annually: €28 billion for neurological diseases and €32 billion for psychiatric diseases.

Alzheimer's disease and related syndromes hit about 860 000 people and more than 225,000 new cases occur each year.

Parkinson's disease affects more than 150 000 people and over 500 000 people suffering form epilepsy.