Burden and cost of neurological diseases: A European North-South comparison

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Objectives: To address the relationship between years lived with a disability (YLDs), prevalence and cost of neurological diseases, and to test whether there is a European North-South gradient for national health expenditure, disability, costs and prevalence of neurological diseases. Materials and methods: Information on costs, prevalence and YLDs referred to 2010 were taken from the Study on the Cost of Disorders of the Brain and from the Global Burden of Disease study; data on health expenditure were taken from OECD reports. Selected conditions were as follows: brain tumours, stroke, dementia, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, migraine and tension-type headache; selected countries were from North (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden) and South (Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain) Europe. The association between the variables for each condition was tested using Spearman's correlation; Wilcoxon signed ranks test was used to test North-South Europe differences. Results: Correlations were largely non-significant (except for stroke). YLDs and cost were generally lower in South-European countries, and prevalence was lower in North-European countries, but no significant differences were found. Conclusions: Health expenditure, YLDs, costs and prevalence of neurological conditions were generally not correlated across the eight countries. A clear North-South gradient was found for health expenditures, and partially for YLDs, costs and diseases' prevalence. We hypothesized that this is a consequence of the expansion of morbidity of neurological conditions connected to ageing, that health and welfare systems of selected countries were not prepared to face.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Burden
  • Cost of disorders
  • Disability
  • Europe
  • Health expenditure
  • Years lived with a disability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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