thE Brain, mind and Pain ProgrammE The aim of the Brain, Mind and Pain programme is to raise political awareness of the impact of neurological and chronic pain disorders in Europe and to encourage policy solutions aiming to prioritise these disorders, encourage research, increase access to innovative treatment, improve quality of life and decrease stigma. It is an initiative of the European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA) and Pain Alliance Europe (PAE) which are umbrella organisations representing national and European patient advocacy groups. The cross-party, cross-national MEP Interest Group on Brain, Mind and Pain is co-chaired by Marian Harkin (Ireland - ALDE), Jeroen Lenaers (Netherlands - EPP) and Daciana Octavia Sârbu (Romania - S&D). The Book of Evidence is a report commissioned by EFNA & PAE in order to inform and support the activities of the MEP Interest Group. It summarises evidence in each of the four focus areas, along with case studies of positive activities from around Europe, and recommendations for action. More information can be found on the website: www.brainmindpain.eu.
Background: What arE nEurological and Pain disordErs? Neurological disorders are conditions arising from illness or injury to the brain, spinal cord or nerves. Some, like cerebral palsy, are present from birth, while others such as Alzheimer’s diseases affect older people. Some disorders, like migraine, typically give intermittent symptoms, while others such as Parkinson’s disease involve a progressive deterioration and loss of independence. neurological disorders. It can arise directly from damage to the nervous system or as a result of musculoskeletal pain caused by the symptoms of a neurological disorder or an injury or it can be of unknown origin. These are long-term conditions that severely impact quality of life, often leading to considerable disability and sometimes to reduced life expectancy. As a result they have an enormous impact on European economies, as well as on patients and their families. Neurological and pain disorders are a huge problem: each year, approximately 1 in 3 Europeans are affected by a brain disorder1 and 1 in 5 by chronic pain2. This includes 153 million people suffering migraine or other disabling headaches, 200 million musculoskeletal disorders, 100 million people experiencing chronic pain, 8 million living with stroke, 6 million with dementia and 4 million with traumatic brain injury2-4. Many others suffer from one of a vast number of rare neurological conditions, each of which affects relatively few patients but which together have an enormous impact on families and society.
The economic impact of brain, mind and pain conditions
The World Health Organisation estimates that brain disorders cause one-third of the burden of all diseases5.
€295 billion a year is spent directly on healthcare for neurological and brain disorders3, making them “the number one economic challenge for European health care, now and in the future” 6.
Including the effect of non-medical costs such as nursing homes, and indirect costs such as lost work productivity, the total cost of brain disorders in Europe is estimated to be around €800 billion each year3, about 6% of GDP.
Musculoskeletal disorders are estimated to cost the EU €240 billion a year4 and chronic pain conditions overall around 1.5-3% of GDP7,8.