AIM. The European Brain Council (EBC) is a co-ordinating council formed of European organisations in psychiatry, neurology, neurosurgery and basic neuroscience, as well as of European patient organisations in psychiatry and neurology. The EBC has analysed the burden and cost of brain disorders in Europe. The aim of the present study was to provide the best possible estimate of the cost of brain disorders in Estonia on the basis of available literature.
MATERIAL AND METHODS. The study is based on the methodology of the European cost study. Twelve different brain disorders were selected. The data are the aggregated results for Estonia which are in most cases imputed from the data obtained in other European countries.
RESULTS. The total number of persons with any brain disorder in Estonia was 370 000 in 2004. The most costly per case were brain tumours and multiple sclerosis, which have a relatively low prevalence. Anxiety disorders and migraine, on the contrary, had a very low cost per case but were highly prevalent. The total cost of all included brain disorders in Estonia was 264 million euros. Affective disorders were the most costly brain disorders, followed by dementia and stroke. Brain disorders consume 2% of the gross domestic product and cost each citizen of Estonia 194 euros per year.
CONCLUSIONS. Brain disorders are extremely costly and cause a huge burden to the Estonian society. The data of the present study are probably grossly underestimated. The main difficulty was lack of high level studies in Estonia and even in all of Europe, making imputations relatively uncertain. However, cost data are extremely important
for decision makers to analyse the effects of intervention and to calculate whether an increased research effort or an increased clinical effort would pay off. There is a need to conduct direct prospective studies to estimate the actual cost of brain disorders in Estonia.