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Burden of brain disorders in Europe in 2017 and comparison with other non-communicable disease groups
  1. Alberto Raggi,
  2. Matilde Leonardi
  1. Neurology, Public Health and Disability Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milano, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alberto Raggi, Neurology, Public Health and Disability Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milano 20133, Italy; alberto.raggi{at}

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Brain disorders, together with other non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disorders and tumours, are leading burdensome diseases. These four groups in fact account for 65.5% of the burden associated with NCDs, and 40.7% of the all-cause burden.1 As shown in the recently published Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2017 estimates, the burden of mental and neurological conditions increased by 13.5%–20.5% between 1990 and 2017, mostly because of population ageing.1

However, research into brain disorders is fragmented, and the appreciation of their size and burden is still limited.2 3 In Europe, brain disorders accounted for 35% of the burden in 20002 and for 26.6% in 2010.3 These figures need to be updated given European population ageing (see online supplementary materials) and because some leading burdensome conditions, for example, stroke and dementias, typically occur in older age.

Supplemental material


The aims of this paper are to present the updated burden of brain disorders in Europe relying on GBD 2017 data, and to compare it to that of other burdensome diseases, namely tumours, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular.


We used the GBD 2017 data made available by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (available at referred to EU-28 with the addition of Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. The overall population of these countries comprised 521.4 million citizens, 441.0 million aged 15+ years (see online supplementary table 1). …

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  • Contributors AR contributed to the conception of the study, analysis and interpretation of data, and wrote the first draft; ML contributed to the conception of the study, interpretation of data and revised the manuscript. Both the authors approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.