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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 69  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 302--303

Prevalence of Major Mental and Neurological Disorders in India

Kanwaljeet Garg 
 Associate Professor, Neurosurgery, AIIMS, Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Kanwaljeet Garg
Associate Professor, Neurosurgery, AIIMS, Delhi

How to cite this article:
Garg K. Prevalence of Major Mental and Neurological Disorders in India.Neurol India 2021;69:302-303

How to cite this URL:
Garg K. Prevalence of Major Mental and Neurological Disorders in India. Neurol India [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Jun 23 ];69:302-303
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Dhiman et al. conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to find the prevalence of mental and neurological disorders like Epilepsy, Dementia, Headache, and Parkinson Disease in India.[1] This meta-analysis included 50 studies [epilepsy (n = 22), dementia (n = 19), headache (n = 6), and PD (n = 3)] including a total of 179,1541 participants of which 5,890 were diagnosed with epilepsy, 1,843 with dementia, 914 with headache, and 121 were diagnosed with PD [1]. Many similar attempts have been made to estimate the worldwide prevalence of these disorders, but this is the first such attempt from India.[2],[3]

A meta-analysis is a form of systematic review in which results of individual studies are pooled together mathematically. The basic advantage of meta-analysis is that it overcomes the shortcoming of small sample sizes in individual studies and enhances the precision of the treatment effect estimate.[4],[5]

There is no concrete data on the prevalence of these disorders available from India. Unlike in many other countries, there is no universal health care system in India. This makes it extremely difficult to get the true prevalence of various diseases. Pooling the prevalence rates from different studies to get a prevalence rate from a larger sample size overcomes this problem to some extent.

With the advancement of the economy and basic health care services in India, non-communicable diseases are becoming a greater challenge than communicable diseases. It is important for the health care planners of a country to have a correct estimate of the prevalence of a disease in order to plan various healthcare programs. This is required in order to improve the access to health facilities, plan training of personnel apart from the opening of public-funded hospitals. It is all the more important for developing countries like India where many patients residing in rural areas do not have access to medical care due to ignorance, poverty, sociocultural belief, and shortage of trained personnel [2].

Headache and epilepsy are the two most common reasons for consultations in neurology and are highly prevalent disorders. The pooled prevalence of epilepsy in India was estimated to be 4.7 per 1,000 population (95% CI: 3.8–5.6) in this study [1]. A recent meta-analysis of international studies included a total of 222 studies to estimate the worldwide prevalence of epilepsy [3]. This article estimated the point prevalence of active epilepsy to be 6.38 per 1,000 persons (95% confidence interval 5.57-7.30), while the lifetime prevalence was 7.60 per 1,000 persons (95% confidence interval 6.17-9.38) [3]. The authors also observed that the incidence and prevalence of epilepsy were higher in low to middle-income countries.

The pooled prevalence of dementia in India was estimated to be 33.7 per 1,000 population (95% CI: 19.4–49.8) in this study.[1] A recent study from the USA observed that the prevalence of dementia increased with increasing age, from 5% for people in the eighth decade of life to 37.4% for people who are over 90 years.[6] An earlier study published in 2008 estimated the rate of dementia in India to be 1 to 3%.[7] It has also been projected that the number of patients with dementia will increase in developing countries, perhaps due to the risk factors like illiteracy and comorbidities.[8]

The pooled prevalence of PD was found to be 0.8 per 1,000 population (95%CI: 0.4–1.3) in this study.[1] The prevalence of PD in industrialized countries has been estimated to be 0.3% in the general population, and it increases to 1% and 3% in people older than 60 years and 80 years respectively.[9] Another study estimated the prevalence of PD to vary from 1 to 2 persons per 1000 in unselected populations.[10] A general estimate states that PD affects 1% of people who are older than 60 years of age and 4% of those in the highest age groups.[11],[12]

The pooled prevalence of headache was found to be 0.8 per 1,000 population (95%CI: 0.4–1.3) in this article.[1] An international review estimated the mean 1-year prevalence of headache to be 46%.[13] Hence there is a significant difference in the prevalence rates described in this study and the international literature.

This article provides estimates of the prevalence of various neurological disorders by pooling results from many other studies. This article can be a good guide for neurologists and epidemiologists in India.


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