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16 March, 2016
in FENS News
R. G. M. Morris, W. Oertel, W. Gaebel, G. M. Goodwin, A. Little, P. Montellano, M. Westphal, D. J. Nutt, M. Di Luca
The brain is the most complex organ of the human being. It provides and controls virtually every function of the body including rational thinking, emotions, heart beat, breathing, food and fluid intake, sex, etc. Disorders of the brain are more complicated to analyse, diagnose and treat than other diseases. These brain disorders (to name just the most common ones - depression, Alzheimer's dementia, schizophrenia, stroke, migraine, sleep disorders, Parkinson's disease, pain syndromes in particular back pain, addiction to alcohol and other substances) give rise to a far higher level of disability, including admissions to hospitals and nursing homes, than is widely recognised. Health economists have calculated that brain disorders may cost as much as 45% of the annual health budget of Europe, totaling around Euro 800 billion (Gustavsson et al., 2011; DiLuca & Olesen, 2014). With an aging population in Europe the prevalence of the most common neurological and psychiatric disorders will dramatically increase and we have not found cures or means to delay or reduce their burden and economic impact, as well as the burden of care-givers and the loss of productivity and employment associated with this.
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