Opinion & Special Article: Preventive Neurology: An Emerging Field Toward Brain Health

With the rapid aging of populations, neurologic disorders have become among the leading causes of disability and mortality worldwide. Most neurologic conditions have a prolonged prodromal phase—even if they tend to manifest with an acute syndrome such as stroke—and can lead to a relentless, often deleterious course creating a major burden on patients, caregivers, and society. This unique nature of neurologic diseases signifies the strong need for equally effective primary and secondary prevention strategies and focus on brain health before brain diseases ensue. The field of preventive neurology applies both universal and selective primary prevention strategies to promote brain health both at the public and personal levels. The preventive neurology approach aims to identify and target high-risk individuals and protect them from reaching a critical point where overt clinical symptoms are present and disease progression is irreversible. Universal and selective prevention training, along with dovetailed clinical and public health research, are 3 essential pillars of preventive neurology. The burgeoning field of preventive neurology aims to assess neurologic care needs in a society, promote the participation of neurologists in restructuring of the health care policies to promote brain health, and identify medium- and high-risk individuals to prevent or delay future neurologic events.

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