Neurological Diseases

Neurological diseases are disorders of the brain, spinal cord and nerves throughout the body. Every year one person out of 3 (-4) is affected by a disease of the nervous system. Major types include:

  • Migraines & other types of headache such as cluster headache & tension headache, neuropathic pain: > 10% of the population
  • Sleep disorders (e.g. insomnia, hypersomnia, restless legs syndrome): > 10 % of the population
  • Lower back and neck pain: 10 % of the population
  • Dizziness and vertigo: 10% of the population
  • Movement disorders (e.g. Parkinson`s disease, tremors, tics) : 5-10% of the population
  • Dementias (e.g. Alzheimer`s disease): 1% of the population (> 20-30% if > 80 years)
  • Seizure disorders such as epilepsy: 1% of the population
  • Stroke (CVA, cerebrovascular attack) 0.1-0.3% (>1% if > 80 years) new cases every year among the population
  • Injuries to the spinal cord and brain: 0.1 – 0.3 % new cases every year among the population
  • Multiple Sclerosis: 0.1 % of the population
  • Neuromuscular disorders (e.g. motor neuron disorders: ALS)
  • Peripheral neuropathies, (e.g. myasthenic syndromes)
  • Cancer, such as brain tumors

Every year, neurological diseases are responsible for 1 in 9 deaths. Stroke is currently the second leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in adults.

Nervous system diseases can have a devastating impact on the quality of life of patients, especially when they affect cognitive capabilities and independency of the individual.

Thanks to the achievements of modern research, excellent results have been obtained in the neuroscience sector, especially in diagnosis and therapy of neurological diseases.
The main achievements of collaborative research between fundamental and clinical neuroscience research were the following:

  • The development of drugs (thrombolytic) and mechanical technologies to remove clots and recanalize the cerebral vessels obstructed in acute stroke
  • The creation of “Stroke Units” and Neurointensive care unit for patients with stroke and other acute and severe nervous system diseases
  • Deep-brain stimulation in the treatment of neurological disorders like, for example, Parkinson’s Disease, tremor, other movement disorders and neuropsychiatric disorders
  • The development of new drugs and neurosurgery interventions in order to cure drug-resistant epilepsy
  • Discovery of new drugs (immunomodulators) with effect on delaying progression and reducing disease severity in Multiple Sclerosis
  • To define new diagnostic approaches (e.g. in neuroradiology, neurophysiology, laboratory, genetics, etc.) for the diseases mentioned above but also for sleep-wake disorders, dementia, headache and diseases of the peripheral nervous system

The cost (direct and indirect) of nervous system diseases in Switzerland was approximately CHF 25 billion in 2010. The highest total costs (approximately > CHF 40 per capita per year) refers to (in descending order): dementia, ictus, headaches, sleep disorders and head trauma.