World Brain Day prepares for launch on 22 July

The World Federation of Neurology (WFN) is launching the first "World Brain Day" on 22 July, the organization said.

Brain disorders, which include mental, neurological, and substance-use conditions, constitute 13% of the global burden of disease, surpassing both cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to the WFN. Many of them are preventable and treatable, but diagnostic and therapeutic resources are unequally distributed around the world.

Brain disorders are costly, the WFN said. In Europe alone, figures published by the European Brain Council and the Cost of Disorders of the Brain in Europe (CDBE) 2010 study group estimated the annual costs of brain diseases for EU economies at 798 billion euros ($1 trillion U.S.), of which 60% was attributable to direct costs and 40% to lost productivity. Neurological disease alone accounted for 336 billion euros ($454 billion U.S.).

"Introducing World Brain Day is also meant as a wake-up call to political decision-makers," said WFN President Dr. Raad Shakir. "Despite the huge burden they cause, neurological conditions are largely absent from the national and international health agendas. Not only do neurological diseases cause individual suffering, they also have much greater social and economic relevance than people often assumed."

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