Neurology Central

World Brain Day 2017: an interview with Wolfgang Grisold, World Federation of Neurology Secretary General

In celebration of World Brain Day, spearheaded by the World Federation of Neurology (WFN), Lauren Pulling, Editor of Neuro Central, spoke to Wolfgang Grisold, Professor at the Medical University of Vienna (Austria) and Secretary General of the WFN.

July 22nd marks World Brain Day (WBD) and this years theme is Stroke is a brain attack prevent it and treat it’ – what will the WFN be doing to mark this?

The WFN introduced WBD at the World Congress of Neurology in Vienna in 2013. The date for this awareness day was not chosen at random: the WFN was founded on 22 July 1957. Since then, we have carefully chosen a yearly topic and cooperated with experts and expert societies in the field. Previous topics were epilepsy – held in partnership with the International League Against Epilepsy and the International Bureau for Epilepsy – and the aging brain last year.

We encourage our national member societies to use WBD for local information and awareness activities and use the opportunity to promote and underline the role of neurology. We provide our members with promotional material, which can be adapted to local needs, help with press releases and dissemination of the messages relating to WBN through numerous communications channels, also on the global level.

Finally, this year we will also have a webinar press conference, which will be interactive and will permit media representatives around the globe to interact live with the speakers and post questions. The webinar will be held on Thursday, 20 July 2017 at 12:00 UTC: a link to the online meeting room will be provided at

Why was stroke chosen as the theme this year?

Stroke is the most frequent of neurologic diseases, and the past years have shown a progressive improvement on diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. 16 to 17 million people worldwide suffer strokes each year, six million of whom do not survive. There are a greater number of stroke-related deaths each year than deaths linked to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria put together. More than one in ten deaths are attributable to stroke, making this cerebrovascular condition the second-largest cause of death in the world among people over 60 years of age.

As far as the field of therapy is concerned, the success of endovascular intervention is an important milestone and adds to our already existing tools such as stroke units and thrombolysis.

From a more general perspective, the move of stroke from cardiovascular diseases to neurology in ICD 11 is the overarching event and will not only affect resources provided for stroke, but will also statistically make us aware of how frequently stroke occurs.

It was only natural to use choose this topic, and to partner with the World Stroke Organization, who are doing a tremendous and detailed job in their mission to treat stroke worldwide.

In your opinion, what are the most promising avenues at present for the prevention and treatment of stroke?

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