Neurological disorders are the top cause of disability globally, according to a recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Research suggests that in 2016 these disorders were the second largest cause of death worldwide.
The most common neurological disorders are strokes, migraines, dementia, meningitis and epilepsy. The WHO is particularly concerned about the poor treatment of these disorders in many under-developed countries. However, in developed countries, there is no shortage of expertise in the neurological field.
Neurologists focus on disorders affecting the central nervous system, that is the brain and spinal cord, and by extension the peripheral nervous system composed of nerves and muscles. There are more than 5000 neurological diseases. Some of the more well-known are Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, motor neuron disease, myasthenia gravis and brain tumours.
A Neurosurgeon performs surgeries on areas such as the spinal cord and peripheral nerves, including removing tumours, fixing prolapsed discs, and dealing with aneurysms. They may also implant electrodes in the brain to provide deep brain stimulation (DBS), reducing tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease. Cerebro-spinal problems in babies such as hydrocephalus and spina bifida can also be treated.
The US current affairs publication Newsweek has published a list in 2021 of what it considers the best neurology hospitals worldwide with the finest doctors and facilities. We’ve highlighted the top 10 leading Neurological centers here:
1. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, United States
The Mayo Clinic has one of the largest neurological practices in the world, with 200 doctors caring for more than 100,000 adults and children annually. The Clinic has experience with complex and rare conditions.
US News and World Report ranked the Clinic amongst the best Neurology & Neurosurgery Hospitals in the nation for 2021-2022.
2. Hôpital Universitaire Pitié Salpêtrière, Paris, France
The ICM Institute at the University Hospital is the first-ever neurology centre in France founded in 2010. It combines scientific creativity with therapeutic purpose and has more than 700 researchers and clinicians, ten cutting-edge core facilities and a dedicated space for nurturing start-up innovations in neurology.
3. National Hospital For Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN), London, UK
The NHNN is the UK’s largest dedicated neurological and neurosurgical hospital and is part of the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH). The hospital and its neighbour, the Institute of Neurology, together form a major international centre for research and training in neurology.
4. Charité Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany
Charité incorporates CharitéCentre 15, the leading centre for Neurology, Neurosurgery, Psychiatry and Pediatric Neurosurgery in Germany. From 2004 to 2006, the centre attracted more than 23.5 million Euros of funding, paying for 130 staff members to undertake research projects.
The Hospital plays the lead role in forming the NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence in Berlin. This undertakes pioneering research in the field with doctors and scientists from other disciplines. The breadth of neurological research and care delivery at Charité is unparalleled throughout Germany.
5. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, United States
The Massachusetts General brings together neurology, psychiatry, and neurosurgery leaders to create essential therapies for patients. It includes a specialised stroke clinic in Massachusetts and handles more than 1200 Teleneurology cases each year. Almost one-third of Mass General’s NIH funding is used for neuroscience-based research.
6. Fondazione I.R.C.C.S. Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy
A central part of the University of Milan since 2017, the Institute is a leading centre for rare neurological diseases. There are 180 neurology hospital beds, more than 5,500 annual admissions, and 100,000 outpatient appointments every year.
7. Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, United States
Cleveland Clinic is ranked as one of the nation’s best neurology hospitals by US News & World Report. The Clinic’s Neurological Institute has more than 300 medical, surgical and research specialists to deal with adults and children with neurological and psychiatric disorders. Neurological experts are accessible worldwide at the Clinic’s international campuses in Cleveland Clinic London and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
8. Asan Medical Centre, Seoul, South Korea
The Asan Centre has a dedicated Stroke Centre and specialist clinics covering abnormal movement disorders, Parkinson’s, sleep disorders and even Botox. It has been chosen as the most respected hospital in Korea for 14 consecutive years by the Korean Management Association Consulting (KMAC) (2007 to 2019).
9. The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, United States
The Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery at John Hopkins are more than 130 years old, and were part of the original hospital. Neurology surgeons perform more than 40,000 operations annually and treat 30,000 outpatients.
The hospital pioneered the first dedicated neurological critical care unit (NCCU) in the country.
10. Juntendo University Hospital, Tokyo, Japan
The hospital, split across several campuses, provides 3,200 neurology beds, while the main hospital deals with around 1000 inpatients a year. Another 600 patients are admitted directly via the emergency department.
JUH was the first Japanese medical facility to be awarded accreditation by the Joint Commission International, an American not-for-profit organisation that ranks safety and quality care standards.
Ongoing research in the field of neurology is becoming more crucial as the age profile of countries changes.
The prevalence of major disabling neurological disorders steeply increases with age, so as populations age, governments will face an increasing demand for treatment, rehabilitation, and support services for neurological disorders.
Four years ago, neurological diseases cost the US government around $800 billion annually. It is estimated that one in three people in the European Union will suffer from a neurological or psychiatric disorder at some point in their lives. These figures are set to increase as more of us live longer, potentially falling victim to age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.