A population-based neuroepidemiological survey of 102,557 individuals in urban and rural Bangalore in Southern India was conducted to determine the prevalence and pattern of neurological disorders. The study population included subjects from urban (51,502) and rural (51,055) areas, identified through a two-stage stratified random sampling method. Trained social workers administered the screening questionnaire, which had been tested and validated in an earlier pilot study and a neurologist examined the individuals who screened positive. Adults, children (<15 years) and elderly adults (>60 years) constituted 61, 34 and 5% of the study group, respectively. There was a distinct difference in education, occupation and income levels between urban and rural areas with all these parameters being lower in the rural population. In the surveyed population, 3,206 individuals with neurological disorders were detected resulting in crude and age-adjusted prevalence rates of 3,126 and 3,355 per 100,000 population, respectively. The prevalence rate among children, middle-aged (31-40 years) and elderly adults was 2,653, 3,932 and 5,012 per 100,000 population, respectively. The prevalence of neurological disorders among women (3,617) was higher compared with men (2,657). The prevalence rate in urban and rural populations was 2,190 and 4,070/1,00,000, respectively, implying that neurological disorders were twice as frequent in rural areas as in urban areas. The prevalence rates per 100,000 population of the most frequent disorders in the descending order of frequency were: headache (1,119), epilepsy (883), febrile convulsions (330), cerebrovascular disorder (150), and mental retardation (142). This large-scale population-based survey provides data that will be crucial for developing hospital and community-based neurological services in India and other developing countries.
2004 S. Karger AG, Basel