To mark World Brain Day (July 22), the World Federation of Neurology (WFN) has called for greater collaboration to tackle age-related neurological conditions, such as stroke, dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
The day, which is this year titled ‘Brain Health in an Ageing Population’, aims to increase awareness about treatment and prevention, as well as improve understanding of how the brain works in younger generations, so to limit future burden on health and social services.
It is estimated that the global share of older people (aged 60 or over) will exceed 2 billion (or 21% of the global population) by 2050, while older people are expected to exceed the number of children by 2047. The growing burden of disease and disability, combined with reduced financial and social support, will be a huge challenge for society in the coming years, the Federation asserts.
The most common neurological conditions facing older people are stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. More than 30% of 80-year-olds suffer from a neurological disease, while 20% of 60-year-olds require support for daily living.
As a result, the intention of this year’s Word Brain Day is to increase awareness about the management and prevention of brain and neuromuscular diseases affecting older people. The first step of prevention is to improve concepts and understanding of brain health among the younger population in order to help prevent brain disease later in life and to improve the quality of life for older persons.
To support this, the WFN is also targeting healthcare authorities and policy makers, urging for a shift at national and local level to improve outcomes for older people, as well as targeting general practitioners, nurses and paramedics, with the aim of raising awareness and encouraging training in this area.