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Neuropharmacology. 2008 Sep;55(3):250-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2008.05.031. Epub 2008 Jun 5.

The cost of cerebral ischaemia.

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Stroke Studies Centre, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, Scotland, UK.


Cerebral ischaemia is a major cause of disability and death globally and has a profoundly negative impact on the individuals it affects, those that care for them and society as a whole. The most common and familiar manifestation is stroke, 85% of which are ischaemic and which is the second leading cause of death and most common cause of complex chronic disability worldwide. Stroke survivors often suffer from long-term neurological disabilities significantly reducing their ability to integrate effectively in society with all the financial and social consequences that this implies. These difficulties cascade to their next of kin who often become caregivers and are thus indirectly burdened. A more insidious consequence of cerebral ischaemia is progressive cognitive impairment causing dementia which although less abrupt is also associated with a significant long-term disability. Globally cerebrovascular diseases are responsible for 5.4 million deaths every year (1 in 10 of total). Approximately 3% of total healthcare expenditure is attributable to cerebral ischaemia with cerebrovascular diseases costing EU healthcare systems 21 billion euro in 2003. The cost to the wider economy (including informal care and lost productivity) is even greater with stroke costing the UK 7-8 billion pound in 2005 and the US $62.7 billion in 2007. Cerebrovascular disease cost the EU 34 billion euro in 2003. From 2005 to 2050 the anticipated cost of stroke to the US economy is estimated at $2.2 trillion. Given the global scale of the problem and the enormous associated costs it is clear that there is an urgent need for advances in the prevention of cerebral ischaemia and its consequences. Such developments would result in profound benefits for both individuals and their wider societies and address one of the world's most pre-eminent public health issues.

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