Academic journal article South African Journal of Psychiatry

Neurological Disorders and the Public Health Challenges

Academic journal article South African Journal of Psychiatry

Neurological Disorders and the Public Health Challenges

Article excerpt

Neurological disorders, including dementia, epilepsy, headache disorders, multiple sclerosis, neuroinfections, neurological disorders associated with malnutrition, pain associated with neurological disorders, Parkinson's disease, stroke and traumatic brain injuries, affect up to one billion people worldwide, according to a new survey by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Of these, some 50 million people suffer from epilepsy and 24 million from Alzheimer's or other dementias, and together these disorders, along with Parkinson's disease, are estimated to have accounted for 1.3% of total global DALYs in 2005. This number is expected to rise to 1.5% in 2015 and more than 1.8% by 2030--an increase brought about by a demographical transition from predominantly youthful populations to older and ageing ones as a result of increased life expectancy and reduced fertility.

These disorders are found among all age groups and in all geographical regions.

Despite the fact that effective, low-cost treatments are available, large numbers of people go untreated for reasons including inadequate health delivery systems, lack of trained personnel, the absence of essential drugs and the prevalence of traditional beliefs and practices. …

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