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Neurology and Public Health
July 2002

Nervous System Disorders: A Global Epidemic

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush-Presbyterian-St Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, Ill, and the World Federation of Neurology, London, England (Dr Bergen); and the Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia (Dr Silberberg).



Arch Neurol. 2002;59(7):1194-1196. doi:10.1001/archneur.59.7.1194

Major new epidemiological analyses are focusing attention on disorders of the nervous system as important causes of death and disability around the world. One in every 9 individuals dies of a disorder of the nervous system. Stroke outweighs all other neurological disorders combined as a cause of mortality. Most disorders of the nervous system occur in developing countries. Developmental disability due to malnutrition, and cognitive dysfunction associated with parasitic infections are the most common neurological disorders. As the world's population ages and the effects of infectious disease decline, the relative effects of many disorders of the nervous system, including stroke and dementia, are increasing. The disorders of the nervous system causing the highest rates of death and disability are preventable and treatable. Increased awareness of the global effects of neurological disorders should help health care planners and the neurological community set appropriate priorities in research, prevention, and management of these conditions.

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