The size, burden and cost of disorders of the brain in the UK

Authors: Naomi A Fineberg, Peter M Haddad, Lewis Carpenter, Brenda Gannon, Rachel Sharpe, Allan H Young, Eileen Joyce, James Rowe, David Wellsted, David Nutt, Barbara J Sahakian

Aim: The aim of this paper is to increase awareness of the prevalence and cost of psychiatric and neurological disorders (brain disorders) in the UK.
Method: UK data for 18 brain disorders were extracted from a systematic review of European epidemiological data and prevalence rates and the costs of each disorder were summarized (2010 values).
Results: There were approximately 45 million cases of brain disorders in the UK, with a cost of €134 billion per annum. The most prevalent were headache, anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, mood disorders and somatoform disorders. However, the five most costly disorders (€ million) were: dementia: €22,164; psychotic disorders: €16,717; mood disorders: €19,238; addiction: €11,719; anxiety disorders: €11,687. Apart from psychosis, these five disorders ranked amongst those with the lowest direct medical expenditure per subject (<€3000). The approximate breakdown of costs was: 50% indirect costs, 25% direct non-medical and 25% direct healthcare costs.
Discussion: The prevalence and cost of UK brain disorders is likely to increase given the ageing population. Translational neurosciences research has the potential to develop more effective treatments but is underfunded. Addressing the clinical and economic challenges posed by brain disorders requires a coordinated effort at an EU and national level to transform the current scientific, healthcare and educational agenda.

Aiming to make holes in the head a thing of the past

Constant, chronic headaches are more than just painful; they’re a sign that something may be seriously wrong with your head. One test that may be run in such cases is an intracranial pressure procedure, a test that generally requires doctors to drill a hole in the skull and place a catheter or screw inside to let them check the pressure.


Euronews: Deep inside the brain (noninvasive intracranial pressure measurement)


The brain controls our thinking, feelings and movements and a new exhibition in southern France aims to reveal some of its secrets.

European researchers are trying to unlock the brain’s deepest mysteries – and its amazing capacities.

Visual Impairment Intracranial Pressure Project

Frey MA. Research Progress Reports from the NASA Human Research Program: visual impairment intracranial pressure project. Aviat Space Environ Med 2013; 84:163–4.

These summaries are written for NASA and prepared for the journal by Mary Anne Frey, Ph.D., with the support of NASA’s Human Research Program Office and are intended to alert the scientific community to ongoing work in Space Medicine. Original sources for the material may include journal articles, NASA Technical Reports, internal NASA documents, and personal communications from Principal Investigators.

Since the earliest human spaceflights, it has been known that when exposed to the microgravity environment, astronauts experience a shift of fluids from their lower body (more than a liter from each leg) to the chest and head. Evidence includes signs and symptoms such as reduced size of the legs, puffy faces, distended jugular veins, increased stroke volume and cardiac output, headaches, nasal stuffiness, and a feeling of head fullness. This microgravity-induced fluid shift is reversed on return to gravity, causing orthostatic intolerance, a consequence that has been well studied. Recently, evidence is accumulating that the cephalad fluid shift may have more serious consequences for spaceflight crewmembers than previously recognized, especially for crewmembers on long-duration spaceflights. As mission duration on ISS has lengthened, reports of changes in astronauts’ vision during spaceflight have increased and NASA Space Life Sciences Medical Operations has instituted greater pre-, in-, and postflight visual testing. As a result, varying degrees of anatomic and functional changes were identified in 10 astronauts who completed long-duration missions. Degradation in near vision, which in some cases continued for longer than 1 yr post mission, has also been identified in other astronauts with long- and/or short-duration flights. The ophthalmic findings in the long-duration crewmembers may be related to idiopathic intracranial hypertension, a syndrome identified on Earth, which suggests that an increase in intracranial pressure (ICP), caused by the headward fluid shift that occurs with exposure to microgravity, may be involved. The syndrome has been designated “visual impairment intracranial pressure” (VIIP). This report describes the evidence for this syndrome and efforts to understand the causes and underlying physiology and to develop effective countermeasures and treatment.



NASA’s Visual Impairment & Intracranial Pressure Risk: Utilizing the ISS for Risk Reduction

1St Annual ISS Research & Development Conference
Denver Marriot City Center, CO
Tuesday June 26, 2012.

Presentation of "NASA’s Visual Impairment & Intracranial Pressure Risk: Utilizing the ISS for Risk Reduction"


Interpreting Brain Waves

The result of Canadian researchers using a novel method of interpreting electroencephalograms suggested that the “vegetative” patients in fact might be hearing and understanding. In late 2011 they asked 16 patients in an irreversible “vegetative” state to move their hands or toes. In three people, the scientists found brain activity similar to that of healthy people given the same instructions. 



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