Underfunding of stroke research: a Europe-wide problem.
Pendlebury ST., Rothwell PM., Algra A., Ariesen MJ., Bakac G., Czlonkowska A., Dachenhausen A., Krespi Y., Kõrv J., Krolikowski K., Kulesh S., Michel P., Thomassen L., Bogousslavsky J., Brainin M.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Previous studies in the United States and the United Kingdom have shown that stroke research is underfunded compared with coronary heart disease (CHD) and cancer research despite the high clinical and financial burden of stroke. We aimed to determine whether underfunding of stroke research is a Europe-wide problem. METHODS: Data for the financial year 2000 to 2001 were collected from 9 different European countries. Information on stroke, CHD, and cancer research funding awarded by disease-specific charities and nondisease-specific charity or government- funded organizations was obtained from annual reports, web sites, and by direct communication with organizations. RESULTS: There was marked and consistent underfunding of stroke research in all the countries studied. Stroke funding as a percentage of the total funding for stroke, CHD, and cancer was uniformly low, ranging from 2% to 11%. Funding for stroke was less than funding for cancer, usually by a factor of > or =10. In every country except Turkey, funding for stroke research was less than that for CHD. CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms that stroke research is grossly underfunded, compared with CHD and cancer, throughout Europe. Similar data have been obtained from the United States suggesting that relative underfunding of stroke research is likely to be a worldwide phenomenon.