Prof. Grisold reviews the impact of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) update, brain health, and World Brain Day


Prof. Wolfgang Grisold delivering his address on brain health at the Camera dei Deputati in Rome

Prof. Wolfgang Grisold delivering his address on brain health at the Camera dei Deputati in Rome

By Wolfgang Grisold

The Global Burden of Disease

The release of the new version of the GBD will have a strong impact on the neurological community [Collaborators 2024]. It enlarges the spectrum of neurological conditions from 15 to 37, and includes other disease entities and disciplines, which are affected by neurological symptoms and often disability. See an overview in these infographics ⧉.

I was privileged to add a comment to the new release of the GBD (Grisold 2024).

Brain Health

The process of inserting “brain health” in the agenda of neurological societies, and in the further process on political agendas, is important. In addition to the European EAN efforts ⧉ and the efforts of the AAN ⧉, brain health has been put on the political agendas of some countries, such as Norway ⧉, Switzerland, and recently Italy. These advances help to promote the concept of brain health, and once in a political agenda, it can be assumed that the idea and concept will be developing, surpass attention and awareness, and result in practical advances.

The implementation of brain health in the agenda of scientific societies is essential. The centerpiece is the adoption of brain health into the political agenda of a country.

After Switzerland, the most recent example of taking brain health into the political agenda is Italy, where on March 12, the Strategia Italian per la Salute del Cervello 2024-2031 was held in the Camera dei Deputati (Chamber of Deputies) in Rome, which is at the highest political level.

It was orchestrated by the Italian Society of Neurology (SIN). The importance of brain health was acknowledged, and during the meeting several Italian societies involved in neurology at all levels participated. Orazio Schillaci, the Italian minister of health, gave an inaugural speech. From the international neurology community, Prof. Paul Boon from the EAN and I (from the WFN) were invited for short speeches of introduction on the importance of brain health. Prof. Matilda Leonardi advised us on the importance of brain health for Italy and was involved in the development of the event.

My address pointed out that the WFN is actively engaged in brain health and has devoted the recent World Brain Days (WBDs) to the topic of brain health. The upcoming WBD is on brain health and prevention, following the previous WBDs on brain health, and brain health and disability. I also emphasized that within brain health, the implementation of IGAP will need increased efforts and promotion as the spectrum of persons needing neurological care is likely to increase after the release of the new GBD.

The WFN wants to congratulate SIN and Italian politics for taking up and engaging in this important matter of brain health.

Education in Neurology

Education Is one of the WFN’s core missions. We are happy to announce that the number of applications for WFN training sites, consisting of training centers and department visits, is increasing. In Africa, we currently have four training centers, and in Mexico, we have one training center.

In Africa, we have a full four-year training position in Senegal and Cape Town, and in Rabat, there is a four- year training position starting up, in addition to two neuromuscular fellowships. 

Encouraged by our experience with the Virtual WCN 2021, the hybrid WCN in Montreal 2023, and our successful educational days with AFAN and AOAN, we will launch a two-day WFN Digital Neurology Updates ⧉ (WNU) 2024 meeting. The WNU will be virtual, will take place Sept 26-27, 2024, and will consist of plenary lectures regarding the most frequent neurological conditions, followed by a series of teaching courses in the afternoon. In between the scientific parts, we will also have industry-sponsored symposia. We hope this series of update lectures will be exciting and useful, and our outreach will be as intense as it was for the WCN 2023 in Montreal.

World Brain Day 2024

The theme for World Brain Day 2024 is “Brain Health and Prevention.” It will be organised by the WBD committee and the WFN regions, and will create an attractive program to emphasise and stress the importance of brain health worldwide and selectively emphasise prevention.


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Collaborators, G. B. D. Nervous System Disorders. 2024. Global, regional, and national burden of disorders affecting the nervous system, 1990-2021: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2021. Lancet Neurol.

Grisold, W. 2024. The expanding burden of neurological disorders. Lancet Neurol 23 (4):326-327.

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World Neurology  | Mar-Apr 2024, Volume 39, No. 2