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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Huge Global Burden Of Neuropsychiatric Disorders among 10 To 24 Year-Olds


27% of the world's population, a total today of 1.8 billion people, are aged 10 to 24 years. The authors warn that by 2032 this population will rise to around 2 billion.

Unipolar depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and alcohol use are among the neuropsychiatric disorders that represent 45% of the disease burden among teenagers and young adults worldwide. Unfortunately, these disorders are glaringly absent from too many health programs, researchers from the World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, reported in the medical journal The Lancet.

The authors added that the main worldwide risk factors impacting on health later in life include unsafe sex, iron deficiency, lack of
contraception and alcohol use.

The 10-to-24 year age group is more and more driven by conditions that cause disability instead of death. There is a growing need to concentrate resources on prevention of, and health promotion against non-communicable and non-lethal causes of illnesses in adolescence.

The authors say that their findings will pose a serious challenge to the political willingness of those in charge to invest heavily on long-term prevention programs that do not give instant results, such as levying extra taxes on tobacco products, and promoting the vaccination of adolescent girls with the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination.

27% of the world's population, a total today of 1.8 billion people, are aged 10 to 24 years. The authors warn that by 2032 this population will rise to around 2 billion.

Risk factors for disease can emerge later in life from behaviors and other factors during adolescence and early adulthood, even though these years are generally seen as healthy ones for most humans. Not enough is being done to protect them from injury and subsequent diseases.

Most reports on young people have generally focused on global patterns of death, rather than risk factors that start during one's teenage years and can have an impact on future disability risk.


Fiona Gore and team gathered data from the 2004 Global Burden of Disease to work out the cause-specific DALSYS (disability-adjusted life-years) for those aged 10-24 years. They wanted to specify what major worldwide and regional risk factors for the burden of disease might be. DALYs are a "combined measure of Years of Life Lost due to premature deaths (YLLs) and Years Lost due to Disability (YLDs), with one DALY representing the loss of the equivalent of 1 year of full health."

They estimated that the total DALYs for the global 10-24 year aged group were approximately 236 million - about 15.5% of DALYs for all age groups. Africa's rate of DALYs is 2.5 times higher than industrialized nations'. The disease burden on girls globally is 12% higher than for boys 15-19 years of age.

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