Brain Disorders in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Vision for Future Research and Training

Immediately following the February 2014 Frontiers in Neuroscience for Global Health: 10th Anniversary Brain Disorders symposium, the Center for Global Health Studies (CGHS) at Fogarty organized a writing retreat that brought together small groups of U.S. and scientific experts representing low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to work on articles that articulate the current scientific landscape and research priorities related to brain disorders.

During the two-day writing retreat, 28 leading researchers convened to discuss and write about emerging research priorities related to brain disorders in LMICs. Participants worked in groups to address one of these cross-cutting themes or disease-specific topics:

  • Neurodevelopmental disorders (conception to age 10)
  • Pre-adolescence to adulthood (ages 10–20)
  • Nervous system disorders that present in adult life
  • Mental health and substance abuse
  • Infections of or affecting the nervous system
  • Environmental exposures and gene environment interactions
  • Brain and peripheral nervous system trauma
  • Capacity building priorities and models
  • Regional perspectives


Articles addressing the above topics were published in Brain disorders across the lifespan: Research to achieve nervous system health worldwide, a November 18, 2015 supplement to Nature. Collectively, these articles laid out the state of the science and identified research and capacity building priorities in the field.


In 2001 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report indicating that brain disorders affected 250 million people in the developing world and projected that the number would rise as life expectancy increased. Spurred by these findings, Fogarty and its partners developed the Brain Disorders in the Developing World: Research Across the Lifespan program to support innovative and collaborative research and research training projects focused on brain disorders across the lifespan.

To commemorate the ten year anniversary of this program, Fogarty conducted a full scale evaluation of the program and held a two-day Frontiers in Neuroscience for Global Health: 10th Anniversary Brain Disorders symposium. The symposium allowed for experts to present on the research landscape in brain disorders and neurological sciences as well as highlight pressing challenges and research opportunities in the field.

Steering Committee

  • Dr. Donald H. Silberberg, University of Pennsylvania
  • Dr. Rajesh N. Kalaria, Newcastle University


  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
  • National Institute on Aging (NIA)
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
  • National Institutes of Health Office of the Director (NIH OD)

Updated March 2016