A systematic review of the incidence and prevalence of long-term neurological conditions in the UK

Neuroepidemiology. 2011;36(1):19-28. doi: 10.1159/000321712. Epub 2010 Nov 17.


Background: Updated, robust estimates of the incidence and prevalence of rare long-term neurological conditions in the UK are not available. Global estimates may be misrepresentative as disease aetiology may vary by location.

Objectives: To systematically review the incidence and prevalence of long-term neurological conditions in the UK since 1988.

Search strategy: Medline (January 1988 to January 2009), Embase (January 1988 to January 2009), CINAHL (January 1988 to January 2009) and Cochrane CENTRAL databases.

Selection criteria: UK population-based incidence/prevalence studies of long-term neurological conditions since 1988. Exclusion criteria included inappropriate diagnoses and incomprehensive case ascertainment.

Data collection and analysis: Articles were included based on the selection criteria. Data were extracted from articles with ranges of incidence and prevalence reported.

Main results: Eight studies met the criteria (3 on motor neurone disease; 4 on Huntington's disease; 1 on progressive supranuclear palsy). The incidence of motor neurone disease ranged from 1.06 to 2.4/100,000 person-years. The prevalence ranged from 4.02 to 4.91/100,000. The prevalence of Huntington's disease ranged from 4.0 to 9.94/100,000. The prevalence of progressive supranuclear palsy ranged from 3.1 to 6.5/100,000.

Conclusions: The review updates the incidence/prevalence of long-term neurological conditions. Future epidemiological studies must incorporate comprehensive case ascertainment methods and strict diagnostic criteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / epidemiology*
  • Ataxia / epidemiology*
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / epidemiology*
  • Incidence
  • Multiple System Atrophy / epidemiology*
  • Postpoliomyelitis Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / epidemiology*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology