Whilst the welcome news that a recent study by Queen Mary University of London and the School of Advanced Study at the University of London has concluded that the current upper limit for folate intake is not justified by scientific evidence and should be removed, this measure will have limited impact on the hydrocephalus shunting market, according to GlobalData a leading data and analytics company.
Some congenital hydrocephalus cases – treated with the use shunts which allow excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to drain to another area of the body – can be prevented by the fortification of food with folic acid. The market for hydrocephalus shunts is explored in GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Hydrocephalus Shunts – Neurology Market Analysis and Forecast Model’, which reveals that the total global market is estimated to be worth $460.7m by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 1.7% during 2015-2025.
It is widely acknowledged that consuming sufficient folic acid prior to and in the early phases of pregnancy can prevent spina bifida and most neural tube defects – which can cause congenital hydrocephalus. As a result the fortification of flour with folic acid has been successfully implemented in 81 countries worldwide, although many countries including the UK have yet to adopt this practice.
Although this finding will remove one of the major barriers for the mandatory fortification of food with folic acid, as Alison Casey, PhD, Medical Devices Analyst at GlobalData, observes, ‘‘Whilst declines in congenital hydrocephalus incidence rates have been noted in a number of countries, evidence suggests that the majority of hydrocephalus shunting procedures are for acquired hydrocephalus which only occurs in adult patients and therefore the market should be largely unaffected by this development.’’
Casey adds, ‘‘We expect that a combination of aging populations, the increased awareness of normal pressure hydrocephalus, and improved diagnostic criteria will continue to drive growth of the hydrocephalus shunting market.’’