Tag Archives: European Parliament

Brain Awareness Week 2020

Brain Awareness Week is the global campaign to foster public enthusiasm and support for brain science. Every March, partners host imaginative activities in their communities that share the wonders of the brain and the impact brain science has on our everyday lives. In 2020, Brain Awareness Week will take place on March 16-22.

Brain Awareness Week was founded by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives (DABI) and the European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB), and is coordinated by the Dana Foundation.

Annually, EBC partners with EDAB, FENS and others to organise at least one major Brain Awareness Week event in the European Parliament, highlighting the importance of brain research in Europe through various topics involving the brain. More details regarding the 2020 event will follow.

To learn more about previous BAW events, please see the following links:

2019 – “Mood and Food: Exploring the gut-brain connection”
2018 – “Expanding Brain Research in Europe: Education, Behaviour and Brain Development”
2017 – “Expanding Brain Research in Europe: A societal Need?”

Brain Health as a Global Priority – Time for the EU to Act Now

On 18 February 2020, EFNA together with EBC and EAN, will hold the event “Brain Health as a Global Priority – Time for the EU to Act Now” in the European Parliament, Brussels from 11am to 1pm in Room 6Q1, hosted by Jarosław Duda, EPP.

Click here to REGISTER.

The event is held under the patronage of Members of the European Parliament [EP]:

  • Ewa Kopacz, Vice President of the EP, European People’s Party [EPP]
  • Mairead McGuinness, Vice President of the EP, European People’s Party [EPP]
  • Frédérique Ries, Vice-Chair, Renew Europe [RE]
  • Kateřina Konečná, European United Left–Nordic Green Left [GUE/NGL]
  • Tilly Metz, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance [EFA]

The event looks to explore the following:

Is brain health a global priority?
In the Political Declaration on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), which arose from the United Nations (UN) High-Level Meeting on NCDs in 2018, all Governments recognized that ‘mental disorders and other mental health conditions, as well as neurological disorders, contribute to the global burden of NCDs. It resulted in adding mental and neurological health as the ‘5th NCD’, complementing global efforts to combat cancer, CVD, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases. This has been reinforced in the recent 2019 UN Declaration on the Universal Health Coverage, where ‘mental disorders and other mental health conditions as well as neurological disorders have been identified as an ‘essential component of UHC’. Additionally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is also now building a new Brain Health team to operate from its headquarters in Geneva. The question now is how can we ensure this progress can be translated into policy action at EU and member state level?

How do we make brain health an EU priority?

It is clear that we can no longer afford to soft-pedal the agenda of brain health, which has been largely neglected in the Union’s efforts in addressing NCDs. We need to follow the data and work together towards effective and implementable solutions. We will discuss these issues at the event, with key actors engaged in health promotion and disease prevention at the global and EU level. This will include representatives from WHO, EU Member States, NCD global and European advocacy groups, patient organizations, clinicians and more, along with Members of the European Parliament and European Commission. It will allow for an expert-led, action orientated discussion aimed at identifying challenges and opportunities laying ahead of EU in the years to come.

The draft agenda is available below:

Brain Health as a Global Priority - Latest Agenda 24.1.20

RETHINKING MS project presented at European Parliament

On 6 November 2019, the European Brain Council (EBC) and The Health Policy Partnership (HPP) were able to present preliminary reports from the RETHINKING MS project during a meeting of the MEP Interest Group on Brain, Mind and Pain.

Attendees were welcomed by Joke Jaarsma, European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA), and Deirdre Ryan, Pain Alliance Europe (PAE) – the group’s coordinating organisations. Two of the group’s MEP co-chairs addressed the audience: Tilly Metz MEP (Greens, Luxembourg) and Jaroslaw Duda MEP (EPP, Poland). They both stressed their personal and professional interest in this topic – and referenced figures which highlight why these disease areas are such a cause for concern. MEP Duda reference a recent study which estimated neurological disorders to be the world’s largest cause of disability in 2015 and the second largest cause of global death. He also spoke of how 179 million people in Europe live with a brain disorder, and an additional 150 million with chronic pain. MEP Metz acknowledged that member states retain large competencies in the area of health, but she stressed that EU action can provide much added value.

EBC and HPP have been working together to create RETHINKING MS, a new project calling for change in how MS care and support is organised. The project began in 2018. EBC and HPP collaborated with experts from across Europe to build an interdisciplinary consensus around practical and sustainable policy responses to MS at the European level. Building on the findings from the 2017 Value of Treatment report, this pan-European policy narrative identifies key challenges in MS care and makes recommendations for how they can be addressed.

As different countries face specific challenges, it is important to consider the national context when advocating for policy change. For this reason, RETHINKING MS also takes an in-depth look at Denmark, Italy, Romania and Spain. The dedicated reports on each country, now available for Denmark, Italy and Spain, provide a more specific analysis of MS policy, care and support available for people with MS in each country.

Opening presentations on European disparities in access to neurological and pain treatment were from Neil Betteridge, European Alliance for Patient Access (EAFPA) and Donna Walsh, EFNA. Both explained how access issues are increasingly focused on appropriate services, as well as access to innovative but expensive therapies.

The country profiles were presented with the support of the speakers previewing the findings of the RETHINKING MS project. Pedro Carrascal (President, European Multiple Sclerosis Platform), Prof. Per Sorensen (Neurologist from Denmark) and Prof. Jenny Freeman (Rehabilitation Specialist from the UK) presented individual case studies in MS, highlighting the disparities in MS care and support across the EU and what possible policies could be put in place to help achieve equitable access to care.

Following these presentations on the MS case study, a moderated discussion was opened by EBC Executive Director, Frederic Destrebeq, with discussion with a wide group of key stakeholders: Professor Mario Battaglia, President of the Italian Association of MS [AISM]; Valentina Polylas, Director of the European Regional and Local Health Authorities; Moira Tzitzika, MS Psychologist in Greece and expert for the RETHINKING MS project; Dr Brona Fullen, President Elect, European Pain Federation; Dr Stanimir Hasardzhiev, Secretary-General, Patient Access Partnership [PACT]; and Sylvain Giraud, Head of Unit, DG SANTE B1, Health Systems, at the European Commission.

The full detailed event report is available on the Brain Mind Pain Interest Group website.

 

 

EBC launches Election Manifesto for 2019 European Elections

The next European elections take place on 23-26 May 2019, when 350 million EU citizens will again have their chance to elect the 751 members of the European Parliament (EP).

In light of these elections, EBC has joined many like-minded organizations in producing its own Election Manifesto, a call and reminder to MEPs, old and new, for an improved quality of life for Europeans living with brain conditions.

What many may not realize is that 179 million Europeans live with brain conditions and that these brain conditions put a heavy strain on citizens and healthcare systems across the European Union.

Read the full Manifesto here.

EBC holds Brain Awareness Week event on “Mood and Food: Exploring the gut-brain connection”

Though Brain Awareness Week is still approaching, held next week on March 11-15, the European Brain Council held its annual event early this year, ensuring access to the European Parliament in Brussels and an audience of policymakers and the general public.

This year, the event focused on “Mood and Food: Exploring the gut-brain connection”, examining the connection between mood and food, exploring the relationship between what you eat and how it can affect your mood and daily function.

Host MEP Marian Harkin welcomes the room

Our host, MEP Marian Harkin (ALDE, IE) opened the event with a warm welcome and supportive words for the work of EBC  and like-minded organisations, having hosted a few brain-related events in the European Parliament that day and throughout the week in light of Brain Awareness Week next week, as well as support for the work being done to raise awareness on the subject of brain disorders and brain research.

“I think when we speak about research, sometimes it can be quite narrowly focused or maybe on a particular disease, but the research in this field [gut-brain axis] affects every single one of us here, our families, our communities, in fact, every citizen in the European Union.” Ms Harkin stated, continuing with sharing her own personal interest in the field of research.

“As we are in the European Parliament, it is important also to mention the role that Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe funds can play in prioritizing brain research.”

MEP Jose Inacio Faria (EPP, PT) also joined us for the event, adding that he, too, has an interest in the field and learning more from the speakers. “I always say: what we can spend on prevention we can save on treatment and also ensure healthier citizens.”

EBC Vice-President, Prof. Patrice Boyer, echoed Ms Harkin’s welcome on behalf of EBC and spoke a few words on the current work of EBC and the importance of such awareness raising events. He also alerted the room to the official launch of the EBC Election Manifesto, which was first available that evening and the continued dissemination of the Brain Mission call for Horizon Europe.

Our first speaker was Alejandro Arias Vasquez,  who leads a research group that aims to identify the biological mechanisms underlying the way the brain functions in health and disease, with strong emphasis on neurodevelopmental disorders at Radboud University Medical Centre in the Netherlands. Alejandro spoke on the role gut bacteria can play in the risk of psychiatric diseases and described the results of some of the studies he is carrying out to investigate this. He is the coordinator of the H2020 Eat2beNICE consortium on the effects of nutrition and lifestyle on impulsive, compulsive and externalizing behaviours.

Alejandro Arias speaks on his current research on biological mechanisms underlying the way the brain functions in health and disease

“The project I’m involved in is trying to determine, scientifically – with robust evidence – which type of dietary interventions affect your brain. We’re working towards identifying how, for example, restriction-elimination diets work for ADHD, how the Mediterranean diet works for cognitive performance in people 55 years plus, how probiotics affect the risk of aggressive behaviour in adolescents or how nutritional supplements can help people with impulse control problems. These are all very relevant societal problems. And there’s already some interesting data; already testing if you should eat rice, or potatoes, or greens, or maybe reds? The data is out there. We’re still not completely there in order to answer clinically, but the progress is amazing.”

 

Kimberley Wilson wants to encourage the general public to improve understanding of their own brain and how their lifestyles play a role in their brain health

 

 

Our second speaker, Kimberley Wilson, is a nutrition trained Chartered Psychologist, specialising in Whole Body Mental Health.  Kimberley spoke on the need for increased public engagement  in the field of nutrition, wellbeing and how they affect our brain and minds, as well as how we translate research to clinical practice.

“We really need to start getting people thinking about their brains much earlier in life. We need to start engaging younger people in thinking about their brains. It’s not about flat abs, it’s about strong minds. In essence, somehow, we need to make the brain more ‘sexy’. My personal campaign is to engage people with good quality research and to empower people to use their lifestyle factors to improve their brain health.”

Her clinical work looks at the role nutrition and lifestyle play in our mental health, including disordered eating, functional disorders of the gut-brain axis (IBS) and our emotional relationships with food. Her private clinic, Monumental Health, integrates psychological therapy with evidence-based nutrition and lifestyle advice to effectively treat mental health concerns.

It was clear the audience was up for a discussion, with many questions being fielded to the two speakers after both had spoken, with the conversation being led by Prof. Boyer.

Thank you to all who attended the event and to our partners in organization, the European Dana Alliance for the Brain. For further information on the event, please contact Stephanie Kramer (projects@braincouncil.eu)

 

 

 

BAW’ 19 Event – “Mood and Food: Exploring the gut-brain connection”

One of EBC’s annual activities is to hold an outreach event for Members of the European Parliament and the general public during the Brain Awareness Week (BAW). This global campaign is held in March every year and aims to increase public awareness on the progress and benefits of brain research.

This year we focus on “Mood and Food: Exploring the gut-brain connection”. Join us in the European Parliament in Brussels (JAN 3Q Brasserie) on the 6th of March from 18:00 to 20:00.

This Brain Awareness Week event will focus on the connection between mood and food, exploring the relationship between what you eat and how it can affect your mood and daily function. Held as a reception this year, the event will combine food, informal presentations and discussion with experts in this growing field of research.

This event is kindly hosted by MEPs Marian Harkin (ALDE, IE) and held in partnership with the European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB) and the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS).

We look forward to welcoming our speakers, Dr. Alejandro Arias-Vasquez (New Brain Nutrition Project),  Kimberley Wilson (Monumental Health, NHS Mental Health Trust Governor) and moderator Prof. Patrice Boyer (EBC Vice President).

 

 

 

Registration is now closed*

*Entry is still possible for those with European Parliament access badges

 

 

 

 

 

Registration now open for BAW 2019 event: “Mood and Food: Exploring the gut-brain connection”

One of EBC’s annual activities is to hold an outreach event for Members of the European Parliament and the general public during the Brain Awareness Week (BAW). This global campaign is held in March every year and aims to increase public awareness on the progress and benefits of brain research.

This year we focus on “Mood and Food: Exploring the gut-brain connection”. Join us in the European Parliament in Brussels (JAN 3Q Brasserie) on the 6th of March from 18:00 to 20:00.

This Brain Awareness Week event will focus on the connection between mood and food, exploring the relationship between what you eat and how it can affect your mood and daily function. Held as a reception this year, the event will combine food, informal presentations and discussion with experts in this growing field of research.

This event is kindly hosted by MEPs Marian Harkin (ALDE, IE) and Jose Inacio Faria (EPP, PT) and held in partnership with the European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB) and the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS).

We look forward to welcoming our speakers, Dr. Alejandro Arias-Vasquez (New Brain Nutrition Project),  Kimberley Wilson (Monumental Health, NHS Mental Health Trust Governor) and moderator Prof. Patrice Boyer (EBC Vice President).

CLICK HERE to register your attendance!

Launch of ‘Sustainable Approach To Depression’ policy report

Today, the European Parliament Interest Group on Mental health, Well-being and Brain Disorders (with co-hosting MEPs Tomas Zdechovsky and Nessa Childers), EBC, GAMIAN-Europe, the European Psychiatric Association (EPA), EUFAMI, the Expert Platform on Depression, Eurocarers, the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP), the UEMS – Sector of Psychiatry and the International Federation for Psychotherapy launch a joint policy paper on major depression, entitled ‘A sustainable approach to depression: moving from words to actions’, at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Today, over 35 million people are estimated to be living with depression in Europe Its cost is 30% higher than that of stroke. Yet as a society, we lack understanding of depression and empathy for those affected. Policies focused on depression exist, but implementation is variable and suffers from significant under-resourcing. This in turn contributes to significant gaps in diagnosis and care: only 25% of people diagnosed with depression receive appropriate and timely care.

These gaps need to be remedied – and require a comprehensive, sustainable policy response, looking at how to prevent and manage depression across all aspects of society.

The organisations listed above joined forces to address this need; they agreed to produce a report aimed at providing policymakers with concrete ways to better address the full spectrum of depression and its impact on our societies.  The report drew from the practical experiences of a variety of innovative projects addressing different aspect of depression across the EU. Key factors and lessons learnt were identified which can help policymakers develop and put in place concrete, relevant and sustainable policies and initiatives.

Today’s event aims to:

  • Present the key findings of this report;
  • Showcase examples of successful projects addressing depression;
  • Exchange views on how depression can be prioritized on the EU and national policy agendas;
  • Forge links between relevant stakeholders and explore ideas for future cooperation to ensure better management of depression.

A summary of the report is available below and the full report can be read and downloaded HERE.

A_sustainable_approach_to_depression_Summary

Launch of “Driving policy to optimise care for people with Alzheimer’s Disease in Europe today and tomorrow” white paper

EBC endorses joint Alzheimer’s white paper setting out strategic vision on policy action to deliver better care for people with Alzheimer’s, their families and their carers in Europe

The white paper,  Driving policy to optimise care for people with Alzheimer’s disease in Europe today and tomorrow, launched today in the European Parliament, outlines clear priorities for change and proposes ideas for specific policy actions, which, if implemented, would significantly improve the care for people living with AD and the experience of their families and carers across Europe by supporting more patient-focused and sustainable care. The paper was developed collaborative by a number of stakeholders including EBC, European Federation for Neurological Associations and MSD.

Of today’s publication of the white paper, Frédéric Destrebecq, EBC Executive Director, says: The European Brain Council (EBC) endorses this white paper on Alzheimer’s Disease [AD] and its key areas for actions and policy recommendations. Alzheimer’s is one of the largest public health crises facing Europe; yet in the face of this growing challenge, and despite AD and dementia being high on the health policy agenda at EU level and across Member States, there are still concerns that the current level of action is not sufficient. EBC thus emphasizes the fact that it is now time to challenge the status quo and refresh the European policy debate on Alzheimer’s, come together to recognize the consequences of the burdens of AD in society and encourage multi-stakeholder-driven policy”.

The priorities for change and ideas for actions presented in the paper stem from the What if series of three policy roundtables hosted by leading MEPs in Alzheimer’s from September 2017 to October 2018. The roundtables were based on the following three keys areas for action:

Ethics: Overcoming the ethical challenges of early detection and diagnosis

Medical science and our understanding of AD and dementia are progressing. Evolving biomarker research in particular has increased the likelihood of identifying lesions of AD type even at the asymptomatic stage. As this asymptomatic stage has become a major focus of research, the ethics of early detection and diagnosis have been thrust into the spotlight.

The right to dignity: Overcoming the stigma, discrimination and inequalities faced by people with Alzheimer’s disease

AD is often a difficult diagnosis for the individuals affected and for their families. In addition to the uncertainty around how the disease might progress in the future, the lives of people with the condition and their carers are all too often marked by debilitating stigma, discrimination and inequality in access to care and treatment – all of which impact people’s fundamental human rights.

The “silver economy”: The socioeconomic impact of Alzheimer’s disease in Europe

The social and economic cost of AD has been well documented and currently amounts to some €251bn in Europe. Total costs in AD result from direct costs (e.g. money spent on diagnosis, follow-up or treatment) and indirect costs, which are harder to quantify and related to resources (ie. money and time) lost because of the disease. Costs increase as AD grows in severity.

Each area for action concludes with a set of policy recommendations endorsed by the collaborative parties of the paper to advance progress in a particular area and deliver a better today and tomorrow for people with Alzheimer’s, their families and their carers. A set of overall policy recommendations is also included in the pursuit of policy change across the key areas for action.

As we approach the 2019 EU elections, the white paper and its policy recommendations provide a valuable resource to inform the health policy agenda and policy action on national and EU level. In keeping with the paper’s stress on ensuring a better future for people with AD, their families and carers, the paper will be launched today,  Wednesday, 21 November meeting of the Brain, Mind and Pain MEP Interest Group – Future of Healthcare in Europe – What next for brain, mind & pain?

Read the full paper below:

Driving policy to optimise care WEB