FOR MEDIA INFORMATION:
Simon Vane Percy / Sarah Roberts
Vane Percy & Roberts
|(T)||+ 44 (0) 1737 821890|
|(M)||+ 44 (0) 7710 005 910 /
+ 44 (0) 7717 823 991
|(F)||+ 44 (0)1737 821899|
|(e)||firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com|
CDBE 2010: Backgrounder
4 October 2011
"Cost of disorders of the brain in Europe 2010"1 is the direct successor of a benchmark study of the same title published in 2005.
The success of the 2005 study2, in alerting European politicians and policy makers to the prevalence and high cost of brain diseases as well as the low levels of associated research funding, demanded the publication of a follow-up report.
Both studies were commissioned by the European Brain Council (EBC)3, a co-ordinating body consisting of numerous organizations in neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry and basic brain research (neuroscience) as well as patient groups and industrial partners.
In representing this large network of patients, doctors and scientists, the EBC is perfectly placed to work in partnership with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as other decision-making bodies.
Its mission is simple – to promote brain research in Europe, which the EBC believes is seriously underfunded compared to other major diseases, while also improving the treatment and quality of life of those affected by brain diseases.
As Jes Olesen, a founding member of the council and the then-President of the organization, put it in the preface of the 2005 study: "The human brain is not only the site of our personality, thoughts, feelings and other human characteristics; it is also the seat of many chronic disabling diseases. These diseases have not received the attention that has been devoted to heart disease, cancer or AIDS, but in recent years there has been a growing awareness of their importance."
The first study - which estimated that 127 million adults were affected by disorders of the brain in the EU member states, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland in 2004, at a total cost of 386 billion euros - undoubtedly contributed significantly in increasing that awareness.
Presented to the European Commission and European parliamentarians, it was labelled a benchmark study because it was the first to attempt to combine available epidemiologic and economic evidence of disorders of the brain in an effort to estimate their total cost within a common methodological framework.
By demonstrating the large societal cost associated with brain diseases, it underlined the vital importance of developing new strategies to alleviate the burden. It also spawned a whole series of disorder-specific and country-specific reports. In 2005, indeed, according to Thomson Reuters, about 400 studies were published which included the key words "cost" "brain".
Many important disorders and cost items, however, had not been included in the initial report due to lack of data.
The evidence base has grown appreciably over the past five years, allowing for a more accurate, thorough and wider-ranging study. The 2010 report examines 19 major groups of disorders of the brain rather than the previous 12, and also covers 514 million people in all compared to 466 million following Bulgaria's and Romania's accession to the European Union.
It estimates the total direct and indirect costs to European society of brain disorders has risen to 798 billion euros, affecting more than a third of the continental population.
Mood disorders – including major depression and bipolar disorder – are estimated to be the most costly diagnostic group, requiring resources of 113.405 billion euros each year, with 33.3 million sufferers.
Dementia is a close second at 105.163 billion, with more than 88 billion of that total coming in direct non-medical costs (e.g. social services, special accommodation, informal care).
Neuromuscular disorders, however, covering a wide range of condition including muscular dystrophies, cost the most per patient, at 30,052 euros annually, with each multiple sclerosis patient costing 26,974 euros.
Headaches and sleep disorders, meanwhile, only cost 285 and 348 euros respectively - but 152.8 million people are badly affected by headaches and miraines annually, while 44.9 million struggle with sleeping patterns.
The EBC, founded in 2002, is confident the updated 2010 findings will continue to inform policy-makers about the need for a continuous focus on disorders of the brain and a continuous reappraisal of pan-European and national levels of research funding to combat the rising costs associated with brain diseases.
- Gustavsson, A., et al.
- Andlin-Sobocki et al., 2005
- The EBC's ordinary or voting member organisation are made up of The European Federation of Neurological Sciences (EFNS), The European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS), The European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP), The European Psychiatric Association (EPA), The Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), The European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA) and The Global Alliance for Mental Illness Advocacy Networks (GAMIAN-Europe). The pharmaceutical industry in Europe does not have a representative body for brain research and drugs for the brain. The EBC has therefore created a panel of industrial partners from the pharmaceutical and other sectors.