• Richard Aiken

The Importance of Neuropsychiatric Health (Video)

Updated: Aug 12


Text of video:

While the importance of cardiovascular health is well-recognized, even more devastating are disorders associated with neuropsychiatric health.

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has created the world’s first and largest catalog of health-related data, the Global Health Data Exchange. Here’s the data that appeared in a JAMA article April of 2018 referenced toward the bottom of this slide.

The impact that diseases have on one’s life can be illustrated by the years of life lost (abbreviated YLL) due to death by various diseases, shown on this slide on the ordinate. YLL is calculated by multiplying the numbers of death at each age by the difference between that age and a reference life expectancy. To get an idea of the numbers here, YLL for heart disease per year is 1651 per 100,000 people.

As expected, heart disease is the number one cause of years of life lost with lung cancer second. Less expected is road injuries as third, suicide fourth, cerebrovascular disease fifth, drug use sixth, and dementia seventh.

Note the last four categories of YLL are neuropsychiatric in nature. Therefore, if they are aggregated as a single category -click- , the YLL becomes as illustrated here. From this perspective, the number one category of years of life lost is due to neuropsychiatric illness, not heart disease. But we wish to not only increase years in our lives, we also want to have life in our years.

A measure of this is “years lost to disability” (abbreviated YLD) calculated by multiplying prevalence by the disability weight (based on population-based surveys); “disability” refers to any significant short- or long-term loss of health and function.

The graph shows the leading global YLD in 2010, reference given at the bottom of the slide.

Over three-quarters of a billion years are lost annually due to disabilities. Of these, mental disorders are the major cause of disability in the world.

If one includes neurologic and cerebrovascular diseases, – click – the importance of this category is further magnified.

Cardiovascular diseases contributed less than 5% of global YLDs, mental disorders being 20 times as important.

Therefore neuropsychiatric disorders are both leading causes of death and of disability in the world.


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