EBC Policy Documents

European Brain Council Statement on Animal Research

EBC Statement

A recent European Citizens’ Initiative, ‘Save cruelty free cosmetics – Commit to a Europe without animal testing’, calls for the ‘phasing out of the use of animals in science’ and urges the European Commission to ‘commit to a legislative proposal plotting a roadmap to phase-out all animal testing in the EU before the end of the current legislative term’.

The brain community would like to moderate these demands: a complete ban of the use of animals in biomedical research is premature. Although considerable progress has been made using alternatives, most of what can be learned about the brain and behaviour still depends directly, or indirectly, on research in animal models.

Brain Health in Europe: Fostering Innovation, Improving Outcomes

Policy Roadmap

A European brain health strategy and implementation plan is critical to foster innovation to address the high disease burden and to improve the lives of those affected by brain disorders. It is essential to have a joint approach for all brain disorders. The roadmap highlights the need to create an enabling environment which promotes brain health in Europe.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Brain Health

EBC Statement

As stressed in many scientific articles and in most of the health authority reports, the impact of COVID-19 on brain health during the last months has been a major and dramatic one, with severe mental and neurological consequences.

EBC Response to Horizon Europe Consultation

Horizon Europe should support robust measures for accelerating brain health research and decreasing the burden of diseases still ailing European citizens, without many effective cures at hand. For example, the global population is ageing and with this comes the steady increased risk and incidence of brain, i.e. neurological and psychiatric, conditions. Addressing health—in particular, brain health—must be a priority for Europe & an example for the rest of the world in addressing the biggest global challenges.

EBC Horizon Europe Statement – “Counting down to zero”

We, as representatives of the undersigned organisations, welcome the current European Commission’s proposal for a new Framework Programme for Research & Innovation, “Horizon Europe”. We acknowledge the budget increase — in spite of the currently challenging financial context — and applaud the many important imp

Election Manifesto

The human brain is complex. As the control centre of our body, this organ directly affects every function, ranging from rational thinking, emotions, heartbeat, breathing, food and fluid intake, sleep and sexual functions. A healthy brain is the ultimate prerequisite for quality of life and sustainable well-being: yet, in Europe alone, 179 million citizens of all ages with brain disorders, neurological and mental alike, with these numbers increasing steadily. For a continent and Union that strives to build and maintain healthy and prosperous lives for all citizens, disorders of the brain lack the awareness
and recognition they are due. Europeans are growing older and with

Brain Mission

The brain is the most complex human organ. It provides and controls virtually every function of the body, ranging from rational thinking, emotions, heart beat, breathing, food and fluid intake, sleep or sex. In a vision of high quality of life and wellbeing, keeping our brain functioning and healthy is a clear prerequisite. Disorders of the brain are extremely complicated to analyse, diagnose and treat in comparison to other diseases. These brain disorders – to name just the
most common ones: depression, Alzheimer’s/dementia, schizophrenia, stroke, migraine, sleep disorders, Parkinson’s disease, pain syndromes (back pain, in particular), addiction to alcohol and other substances- give rise to a far higher level of disability, including admissions to hospitals and nursing homes, than is widely recognised. Health economists have calculated that brain disorders amount to ca. 45% of the annual health budget of Europe, totaling around €800
billion every year.

Consensus statements

In 2006 EBC published a Consensus Document on European Brain Research, describing needs and achievements of research in Europe and presenting proposals for future research programs. The document underwent a major revision in 2011 and another one in 2015. The present document represents an update elaborated to reflect changes in research priorities and advances in brain research that have taken place since 2006.

Consensus Document on European Brain Research 2015
Consensus Document on European Brain Research 2011
Consensus Document on European Brain Research 2006

Call to Action

The human brain is the most complex living structure known in the universe. This single organ controls every aspect of our bodies, ranging from heart rate to emotion, learning and memory. The brain has enabled humans to achieve breathtaking milestones: walking on the moon, mapping the human genome, or composing masterpieces of literature, art and music. It is the home of our personalities, thoughts, feelings and other human characteristics. It is the ability of the brain to perform all of these functions that makes us human. The brain is a true wonder that needs to be nurtured, protected and cared for.

EBC position on animal research in neuroscience (2017)

Though recognizing the limits of animal research, animal models often provide unique insights in the functioning of the human nervous system. Fully stopping animal research would therefore harm the efforts of neuroscientists to develop medicines for people living with brain disorders. The EBC thus supports Directive 2010/63/EU that provides a robust and solid framework for animal research.

Suicide in Europe: Facts and Recommendations

Though recognizing the limits of animal research, animal models often provide unique insights in the functioning of the human nervous system. Fully stopping animal research would therefore harm the efforts of neuroscientists to develop medicines for people living with brain disorders. The EBC thus supports Directive 2010/63/EU that provides a robust and solid framework for animal research.

EBC contribution to the Green Paper: from challenges to opportunities, towards a common strategic framework for EU Research and Innovation funding

There are many potential benefits from the incorporation of the various EU research and innovation funding initiatives into a single programme. EBC believes that the establishment of the framework would help to ensure that the EU supports high quality research across its Member States, of which Brain disorders plays a major part, but that there should be Green Paper – “From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation Funding” greater clarity regarding the prioritisation of the research agenda, which should reflect the needs of society and the citizens from across all of Europe and its’ changing demographics.

EBC Position Paper on its relationship with its member organisations and National Brain Councils

When the European Brain Council was being formed, one of the primary concerns was how such an organisation would maintain its focus and governing principles. As a coalition of other organisations with their own membership, rules and objectives, there were several issues to be considered. The first of these was to decide which of the many European organisations whose aims are compatible with those of the EBC should become members.

EBC position paper on counterfeit and substandard medicines

The 2008 data from the European Commission showed that 34 million fake medicines were found by European customs authorities in just 8 weeks during 2008. This demonstrates the explosion in counterfeiting when compared to the 2.7 million fake medicines seized during 2006. The European Brain Council believes that counterfeit and substandard medicines represent a serious threat to European Public health and that action is needed to ensure that the legitimate supply chain is secure.

EBC position paper on the protection and use of animals in research (2008)

The EBC has followed closely the revision of the Directive 86/609 and, in particular, the European Parliament’s Written Declaration requesting an immediate ban on the use of great apes and wild caught monkeys as well as a timetable for the phasing out of all use of non-human primates. The EBC approves of well-considered efforts to implement the reduction, refinement and replacement (3Rs) of animals in biomedical research in general, and to develop scientifically-based alternatives that have the potential to provide alternative or superior information to that obtained from animals.

Contributions from the community

Labels Matter: Is it stress or is it Trauma?

In neuroscience, the term ‘Stress’ has a negative connotation because of its potential to trigger or exacerbate psychopathologies. Yet in the face of exposure to stress, the more common reaction to stress is resilience, indicating that resilience is the rule and stress-related pathology the exception. This is critical because neural mechanisms associated with stress-related psychopathology are expected to differ significantly from those associated with resilience.

The contribution of invertebrates to the understanding of the vertebrate 1 nervous system, its mechanisms, functions and pathological dysfunctions (2019)

Novel analyses of the nervous 13 systems of vertebrates allow retracing the occurring evolutionary changes with unprecedented 14 precision using new technical tools from molecular biology, immunocytochemistry or molecular 15 genetics. These analyses reveal the evolution of particular brain structures in new environments and 16 their relation to different life styles, something that biologists call an “ecological niche”.

Nutritional psychiatry: Towards improving mental health by what you eat

The French Brain Council Advocacy for 10 priorities regarding the National Brain and Mental Health plan in Europe

The French Brain Council, which has a balanced representation of Neurology, Psychiatry and Neurosciences, participated in the launch of a survey on the current status of care for patients suffering from brain diseases with the aim to identify 10 consensual priorities to be emphasized in the building the National Brain Plan in all European member states. This National Brain and Mental Health plan was approved by the National Brain Councils of 17 European member states. The present report details the 11 responses that obtained a consensus, the top five (over 90% of agreement) being the needs to: (1) improve multidisciplinary integrated home care and structures of coordinated health care, (2) increase homogeneity within regions for current state of prevention, (3) develop evidence based and socially responsible policy by collecting data from ongoing clinical trials and basic research to optimally address unmet needs, (4) promote education on innovative technologies, and (5) facilitate translational research.

Archive— European Brain Policy Forum

EBC European Brain Policy Forum 2010

A focus on persons with schizophrenia and the european society

The 3rd European Brain Policy forum, entitled “A Focus on Persons with Schizophrenia and the European Society” was jointly organised by the Spanish Brain Council (SBC) and the European Brain Council (EBC) at the Instituto de Salud Carlos III in Madrid on February 23rd and 24th 2010.

EBC European Brain Policy Forum 2009

Depression and the European Society

The 2nd European Brain Policy Forum, entitled “Depression and the European Society” took place in Brussels over 25-26 February 2009.

EBC European Brain Policy Forum 2008

A focus on Parkinson’s Disease and the European Society

The first of a series of annual, multidisciplinary forums launched by the European Brain Council (EBC) to bring stakeholders together to discuss a major brain disease took Parkinson’s disease (PD) as its theme. The goal of the forum was to highlight the imbalance between the societal and individual costs of brain disease, and the resources allocated to dealing with the problem, and to help build a coordinated European research strategy to tackle it better in future. Each forum will open with an analysis of the burden and cost of the disease in question, and will then allow patients, policymakers, scientists, doctors and industry representatives—all those with a stake in disease-related research—to have their say.