Publication - Strategy/plan

Neurological care and support: framework for action 2020-2025

Published: 18 Dec 2019

The framework sets out a vision for driving improvement in the care and support for those with neurological conditions in Scotland.

Neurological care and support: framework for action 2020-2025
Annex B Definition of Neurological Conditions

Annex B Definition of Neurological Conditions

The simplest definition of neurological conditions might be any condition, which leads to neurological symptoms. Such a broad definition is problematic, as neurological symptoms are so common, and many entirely compatible with normal health. Restricting the definition to specific conditions is too narrow, as some patients with disorders of the nervous system remain undiagnosed with a specific entity. In addition, there are many developmental disorders, which result in neurological symptoms but are not traditionally thought of as neurological disorders.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines neurological conditions as follows (2016):

Neurological disorders are diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system. In other words, the brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, peripheral nerves, nerve roots, autonomic nervous system, neuromuscular junction, and muscles. These disorders include epilepsy, Alzheimer disease and other dementias, cerebrovascular diseases including stroke, migraine and other headache disorders, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, neuroinfections, brain tumours, traumatic disorders of the nervous system due to head trauma, and neurological disorders as a result of malnutrition. Many bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections can affect the nervous system .

Thus defining what constitutes a neurological condition is less straightforward than it might at first appear, and may explain why many different specialties overlap in the care of people with such conditions.

Estimated prevalence in Scotland based on Scottish Burden of Disease project has been published. This is not exhaustive and reflects limitations of current data.