Understanding the societal and economic impact of neurological conditions globally

By building the foundations with leading organisations, we are quantifying and communicating the burden of brain health conditions around the world.

Neurological disorders are the leading cause of disability worldwide1 and the second leading cause of death globally, accounting for approximately 9 million deaths per year2. The global toll of neurological conditions now exceeds that of all other diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases.3 As global populations continue to grow and age, the impact is set to increase. The World Health Organization estimates that half of the worldwide economic impact of disability will be due specifically to brain-related conditions by 2030 if we do not change this trajectory.

Neurological conditions have been the most complex to understand and treat, and the impact of these conditions is creating new challenges for health systems, economies, patients, caregivers and their families across the globe. To drive effective change and tackle the societal burden head on, data generation is essential to provide a clear and measurable understanding of the global and local burden of disease across the world.

Our collective work to close the data gap

To address these challenges and make a meaningful impact, we have committed to a journey of discovery that involves collaborating with equally passionate advocates, coalitions, institutions and industry.

Last year, we partnered with the Economist Impact to develop a report calledResearch took a multi-country, multi-condition approach and the report sets out the amenable impact of 10 neurological conditions across 11 countries, including gaps in current neurological policies, the value of action and potential solutions.

Economist Impact – Neurological conditions remain a low priority for most countries despite the significant social and economic consequences.

70% of the global burden of neurological disorders are in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), but only 28% of these countries have neurological policies with specific plans outlined by governments to manage neurological conditions.

Click here to gain a better understanding of the global impact of neurological disorders

Economist Impact – In 2020, the total cost of neurological disorders in Europe was $1.06tn, equivalent to the cost of heart diseases, cancer and diabetes combined.

Click here to read more on the value of action for the top 10 neurological disorders

Economist Impact – Expanding access to interventions can reduce the economic impact of neurological disorders on individuals and families, carers, employers and wider society.

Click here to read more on the value of action for the top 10 neurological disorders
What’s next?

Based on the findings of the Economist Impact report it became clear that more data is needed combined with a collaborative, multi-sector approach. 

We are now building the foundation with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) on the Brain Health Collaborative – a multi-year effort to develop a holistic view of the current and future burden of brain health conditions, helping to fill the data gap on the health and economic impact around the world. 

The Brain Health Collaborative hopes to bring together influential organisations from a range of different sectors including tech, philanthropy, health and research and professional medical societies. Together, this group will play a vital role in gathering the evidence needed to turn the tide on understanding the impact, innovation and value involved in managing neurological conditions.

The Brain Health Collaborative was launched at an event in October 2022, where IHME hostedwith a diverse range of leading experts to discuss the value of data generation for brain health conditions - watch key highlights from the panel discussion here:

What are the key challenges faced to address neurological disorders on a global scale and what can be done?
What sort of real-evidence is needed to bridge the evidence gap in neurological disorders?
The World Health Organization have a global action plan to prioritise brain health over the next decade. Is that sort of target going to make a difference and are we close to achieving those goals?

Simona Skerjanec, Head for Neuroscience and Rare Diseases, Global Product Strategy at Roche, also spoke at the event and shared her thoughts on why we are building the foundation with IHME and are part of the Brain Health Collaborative:

Making a meaningful impact across neuroscience requires committing to a journey of discovery that involves collaborating with equally passionate advocates, coalitions, and academic, institutions and industry. We believe that through strong collaboration we can find solutions to tackle the greatest challenges in neuroscience today. 

Our hope is to create a tomorrow where neurological conditions no longer limit human potential – to preserve what makes us who we are.


  1. World Health Organization. Launch of first WHO position paper on optimizing brain health across life. [Online]. Available at:Last accessed: October 2022

  2. World Health Organization. Brain Health. [Online]. Available at:Last accessed: October 2022

  3. Global, regional, and national burden of neurological disorders, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. Available at:Last accessed: October 2022 

  4. Mathers C. D., Loncar D. (2006). Projections of global mortality and burden of disease from 2002 to 2030. PLoS Med. 3:e442. 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030442

  5. Economist Impact. The value of action: mitigating the global impact of neurological disorders. [Online]. Available at:Last accessed: October 2022

Discover more

More stories of

See all stories

This website contains information on products which is targeted to a wide range of audiences and could contain product details or information otherwise not accessible or valid in your country. Please be aware that we do not take any responsibility for accessing such information which may not comply with any legal process, regulation, registration or usage in the country of your origin.

ContactLocationslinkedinfacebooktwitterinstagramyoutubeCovid-19Pharma solutionsRoche careersMedia libraryAnnual Report 2023Privacy policyLegal statement