Descriptive Epidemiology of Neurodegenerative Diseases: What Are the Critical Questions?

Giancarlo Logroscino, Daniele Urso, Rodolfo Savica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The field of neurodegenerative diseases is a major challenge faced by public health and is still in need of robust preventive measures and disease-modifying treatments. Population-based studies can offer the framework in the context of primary and secondary prevention of neurodegenerative diseases. The epidemiology of neurodegenerative disorders in the last decades has focused on descriptive studies mainly based on the use of clinical criteria. However, clinical definition is basically insufficient both to well-characterize different phenotypes and to make an early diagnosis. Descriptive epidemiology needs a new framework to update the area of neurodegenerative research, based on the advancement of both clinical and biological diagnostic criteria and the urgency for an early diagnosis of the disease. In here, we address the present and future of population-based studies in neurodegenerative disorders and discuss the shift of paradigms in the diagnosis of disease and disease definition. We further debate the changes in biomarker implementation models and type of biomarkers used in population-based studies. Descriptive epidemiology of neurodegenerative disorders is rapidly evolving. These implementations will improve the future design and outcome of population-based studies and policy-making in public health intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-318
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022


  • Aging-related diseases
  • Alzheimer s disease
  • Biomarkers
  • Dementia
  • Epidemiology
  • Parkinson s disease
  • Populationbased studies
  • Public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical Neurology


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