In the framework of the Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union, the European Brain Council (EBC) will organize an event in the Senate of Spain this coming November 2023.
Among its list of priorities, the healthcare agenda of the Spanish Presidency places a strong emphasis on improving health outcomes and addressing pressing challenges within the European Union, including building towards the creation of a European Health Data Space (EHDS) to improve healthcare policies and research, disease prevention, health promotion, and tackling prevalent health issues, including mental illness.
Across the European Union and beyond, society is facing health-related challenges like never before. This is particularly true for brain disorders, neurological and mental alike, which are widespread, disabling, and difficult to treat. Improving the health and well-being of citizens has become the top priority for many governments and brain health should not be left behind. In fact, it is estimated that up to one billion people worldwide live with a neurological condition and 970 million people around the world were living with a mental health disorder as of 2019, with anxiety and depressive disorders the most common1. In Europe alone, approximately 60% of the population lives with a neurological condition2 and one in six citizens is affected by mental ill-health.
However, although in the last half century, the field of neuroscience and our knowledge of the brain has advanced considerably, many important aspects remain extremely elusive. Clearly, without a substantial increase in efforts and resources to promote fundamental understanding of the mechanisms that generate proper brain function, it will be impossible to design treatments that address the real pandemic of brain health, currently affecting a substantial part of world’s population. Moreover, Europe cannot ignore that this field of research holds immense appeal for a growing number of young minds, as the brain is one of the last unexplored frontiers.
The time to act is now and the Spanish Presidency priorities are a first concrete step towards increased awareness and action. Europe must take a central position in the global effort to unravel the mysteries of the brain, both through promoting fundamental scientific research and the practical and clinically beneficial application of the knowledge that basic research generates. Enhancing collaboration in the space can fast track us towards better understanding the brain through basic research, innovation in clinical research and treatment methods and effective outcomes to the benefit of people living with and affected by brain conditions.
The European Brain Council and its wide community of members and partners has served as a convener for experts in the brain research area and health space to raise awareness, share best practices, exchange ongoing work, align priorities and advocate for a real change: recognizing and prioritizing urgent intervention on the burden of brain disorders and building towards a brain healthy future for Europe and beyond.
This event will demonstrate just how important this prioritization is. Crucial elements in the complex chain from basic neuroscience to patient improved outcomes will be broken down and explored. Research into the space remains crucial yet underfunded and often misunderstood and neglected, which has a massive impact on the lives of patients. With greater prioritization and overhaul of brain research in Europe, we have the opportunity to foster a personalized approach when developing innovative therapeutic options and better address patient relevant outcomes.
This event will be bilingual. Sessions will take place in both English and Spanish – interpreters will be available for translation.