As a scientific field of study, neuroepidemiology encompasses more than just the descriptive study of the frequency, distribution, determinants and outcomes of neurologic diseases in populations. It also includes experimental aspects that span the full spectrum of clinical and population science research. As such, neuroepidemiology has a strong potential to inform implementation research for global stroke prevention and treatment. This review begins with an overview of the progress that has been made in descriptive and experimental neuroepidemiology over the past quarter century with emphasis on standards for evidence generation, critical appraisal of that evidence and impact on clinical and public health practice at the national, regional and global levels. Specific advances made in high-income countries as well as in low- and middle-income countries are presented. Gaps in implementation as well as evidence gaps in stroke research, stroke burden, clinical outcomes and disparities between developed and developing countries are then described. The continuing need for high quality neuroepidemiologic data in low- and middle-income countries is highlighted. Additionally, persisting disparities in stroke burden and care by sex, race, ethnicity, income and socioeconomic status are discussed. The crucial role that national stroke registries have played in neuroepidemiologic research is also addressed. Opportunities presented by new directions in comparative effectiveness and implementation research are discussed as avenues for turning neuroepidemiological insights into action to maximize health impact and to guide further biomedical research on neurological diseases.
© 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.