Neurological conditions leading cause of illness – study

Published: March 15 2024
Last updated: March 26 2024

Grace Wood | According the to the study, in 2021 3.4 billion people had a neurological condition

According the to the study, in 2021 3.4 billion people worldwide had a neurological conditionThe number of people living with, and dying from, neurological conditions has increased globally by 18% in the last 30 years, according to research published in The Lancet Neurology.

The research included conditions such as epilepsy, stroke, dementia, migraines and nervous system cancers.

According the to the study, in 2021 3.4 billion people worldwide had a neurological condition – the leading cause of illness worldwide.

The paper, titled: Global, regional, and national burden of disorders affecting the nervous system, 1990–2021: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2021, was published on March 14, 2024.

The authors concluded that effective prevention, treatment and rehabilitation strategies for neurological disorders were needed.

The study’s lead author, Dr Jaimie Steinmetz, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (a global health research organisation based at the University of Washington in Seattle), told PA News: “We hope that our findings can help policymakers more comprehensively understand the impact of neurological conditions on both adults and children to inform more targeted interventions in individual countries, as well as guide ongoing awareness and advocacy efforts around the world.”

According to The Neurological Alliance, one in six people in the UK lives with a neurological condition.

Epilepsy Action’s deputy chief executive Rebekah Smith said: “These findings highlight the urgent need for epilepsy and other neurological conditions to be prioritised by government and the department of health and social care.

“All too often we have seen that epilepsy has been left behind, as seen when neither epilepsy, nor other neurological conditions, were included in the government’s Major Conditions Strategy.

“With an election due to be called this year we will be urging all parties to ensure that epilepsy health services, and the impact the condition has, and given the urgent attention they need.”

Last month, The Neurological Alliance launched a report into the economic impact of neurological conditions in the UK. Its authors said there were three challenges that stop the UK healthcare system from improving neurology services: a lack of overarching strategy, a lack of human resources and a lack of access.

Epilepsy Action is a member of The Neurological Alliance, which is a coalition of more than 90 organisations that support people with these conditions. This week (11-17 March) the group is marking #BrainAwarenessWeek.

To read more about Epilepsy Action’s campaigning work, go to: