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NZ has the highest mortality rate due to motor neuron disease

A global study reveals that New Zealand has the highest mortality rate in the world due to motor neuron disease

New data on neurological disorders from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study show that New Zealand now has the highest rate of mortality due to motor neuron disease in the world, with 2.2 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, just ahead from Australia and the United Kingdom.

Research is required to determine the contributing factors. Although it may be linked to genetic predisposition, particularly among Maori and Pacific peoples. In 10 percent of cases, it is known that the disease is inherited.

In New Zealand, two people die from motor neuron diseases each week. The risk of developing the disease is one in 300 and most will die within 15 to 20 months of diagnosis.

More than 800 people are currently living with motor neuron diseases in the country.

The GBD is the world's largest scientific and systematic effort to qualify the magnitude of health loss of more than 300 major diseases, injuries and risk factors, by age, sex and population. With 3,600 employees in 145 countries, the study has helped transform health policy. It is coordinated by the Institute of Metrics and Health Assessment (IHME) of the University of Washington.

Professor Valery Feigin is a world-renowned neurologist and director of the National Institute of Brain Injuries and Applied Neurosciences at Auckland University of Technology (AUT). He also co-chairs the neurology section of the GBD, helping to coordinate six panels of experts with more than 400 members around the world.

"GBD identifies trends in the loss of health. While it does not tell us why New Zealand has the highest mortality from motor neuron disease, it helps set priorities for research and health financing around the world, "says Professor Feigin.

"We knew that neurological disorders were frequent, but we did not realize how big the problem was or how fast it was growing." That's why we decided to host the Brain Summit, because the latest GBD estimates surprised us a lot. "

Today, neurology experts from around the world are meeting for the World Summit on the Brain Disease in Auckland. The one-day event is a collaboration between AUT, GBD and The Lancet Neurology. It is the first time that this global community has been collectively discussing and discussing GBD estimates of neurological disorders, including a special series of articles in The Lancet Neurology that will be published at the summit.

"Neurological disorders are the leading cause of disability and the second leading cause of death worldwide. And, the problem will only increase, due to the aging of the population and the growth of the population, "says Professor Feigin." Health services are overloaded. In New Zealand, the waiting time for a neurology consultation could be more than a year, we currently have 36 full-time equivalent neurologists, but according to our estimates, we need 86 full-time equivalent neurologists. "

"Without global cooperation in research, treatment and prevention of neurological disorders, we will not see any significant improvement. And, without urgent action, the entire health system could be under threat, "says Professor Feigin.

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