The value of action: mitigating the global impact of neurological disorders

October 05, 2022


Neurological Disorders

October 05, 2022

Dr Chrissy Bishop

Former Associate, Health policy and clinical evidence

Chrissy currently serves as a Strategy and Policy Senior Manager with NHS England but was formerly an associate in Economist Impact's Health Policy and Clinical Evidence team. During her tenure at Economist Impact, Chrissy’s role involved rapid reviews of scientific papers and underlying health news reports as well as critical appraisals of scientific papers for audiences such as NHS commissioners, and the European Food Information Council. Chrissy also designed and worked on longer-term research assignments across the health market from industry to academia, regulators and payers, uniting specialist methods in both epidemiological and economic modelling.

Chrissy has an undergraduate degree in Occupational Therapy from York St John University, and two MSc degrees. The first MSc in Professional Health and Social Care from York St John University and the second in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of Leeds. Chrissy was awarded a National Institute for Health Research scholarship to pursue a doctorate investigating the healthcare needs of children with chronic conditions in multi-ethnic communities. She received her doctorate in March 2019 from the University of Bradford. Chrissy worked as a Senior Occupational Therapist in the NHS and an Operations Manager for a private health care company before joining the Health Policy and Clinical Evidence team.

Neurological disorders are the leading cause of disability and the second-leading cause of death worldwide.

The impact of neurological diseases is most felt in low- and middle- income countries, where 70% of the global burden is concentrated. Yet the burden of neurological disorders is also significant in wealthier regions—the direct costs in Europe, for example, are greater than those for cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes combined. As populations increase and grow older, the burden will only increase, presenting a significant challenge to health systems and national economies.

Strategies and programmes that reduce the burden of neurological disorders are desperately needed. Yet the provision of neurological care, including efforts to enable equitable access, is insufficient. A further, unfortunate truth is that data on the burden of neurological are scarce, even in high-income countries, and especially in comparison to other non-communicable diseases. We do know that urgent action is needed to drive prevention, improve care effectiveness, and leverage policymaking and funding to reach achievable advances in outcomes. But the first step is developing a clear understanding of the issue and the significant nuances involved. 

A new Economist Impact programme, The Value of Action: Mitigating the Global Impact of Neurological Disorders, seeks to break down existing silos by assessing the epidemiological burden, economic impact and current policy landscape on a multi-regional and disorder-specific basis. One of the first of its kind, this programme quantifies the value of action from an added angle: the indirect costs that would be avoided by reducing the substantial caregiver burden and productivity losses that arise from neurological disorders. Building a detailed economic picture spanning several conditions, our analysis finds that 50% the total cost of neurological disorders is due to these indirect costs. We also found that scaling-up prevention, treatment and rehab to adequate levels for the top 10 neurological disorders would save over US$4trn by 2030, across the 11 countries that we studied.

Executive Summary:

Findings Report:

Methodology Appendix:

Download the infographics now:

Steven Cramer, Professor of Neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles, discusses gaps and opportunities around stroke in the US.


Dr. Muthoni Gichu, head of the Health and Ageing Unit at the Ministry of Health, Kenya, highlights the landscape of neurological disorders in Kenya, including epilepsy.


Frédéric Destrebecq, Executive Director at European Brain Council, lays out the impact and need for policy action on brain disorders in Europe.


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