Tag Archives: European Parliament

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 705 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

Event Report: “The Socioeconomic impact of Alzheimer’s in Europe”

On the 25th of September, EBC held its latest event in the European Parliament, this time building on the Value of Treatment‘s work on Alzheimer’s and The Socioeconomic impact of Alzheimer’s in Europe. This event was an opportunity to further present the EBC Value of Treatment project, particularly the work and findings of the Alzheimer’s Disease working group.

The event was kindly hosted by MEPs Heinz K. Becker (EPP, AT) and Marian Harkin (ALDE, IE), both members of the European Alzheimer’s Alliance, moderated by Geoff Meade and chaired by EBC President, Prof. Monica Di Luca, and hosted an excellent line-up of expert speakers and roundtable participants, who each presented and led fruitful conversation around the future of Alzheimers research, patients and carers as well as the impact the disease has and will have on society.

Dr. Ron Handels and Prof. Philip Scheltens, members of the VoT Alzheimer’s Working Group, presented their work on the potential health-economic impact of treating Alzheimer’s and the patient journey for people living with Alzheimer’s. Mr Nis Peter Nissen then continued with a national insight, speaking on the cost of informal care of Alzheimer’s in Denmark.

The roundtable brought together key stakeholders in the Alzheimer’s and neurology communities, including leading academic and policy experts on the socioeconomic burden of Alzheimer’s from organisations such as the OECD and the European Commission.

The full agenda can be looked back on HERE.

The event also marked the conclusion of the “What if” series of policy roundtables, which launched in the European Parliament in September of last year with an event on the The Right to Dignity: Overcoming the stigma and inequalities faced by people with Alzheimer’s and a second meeting in January 2018 on Overcoming the ethical challenges of early detection and diagnosis.

The discussion and policy recommendations of last week’s and previous roundtables will now be captured in a White Paper on driving the policy agenda to optimise care for people with Alzheimer’s disease in Europe today and tomorrow. The White Paper, collaboratively developed and endorsed by MSD, EBC, EFNA and other stakeholders, will be launched at the meeting of EFNA’s Brain, Mind and Pain MEP Interest Group on 21 November 2018. As we enter campaigning season for the European Parliament 2019 elections, the White Paper will be a valuable tool to support advocacy activity focused on delivering better policy today and tomorrow for people with Alzheimer’s on EU and national level.

More can be read about the Value of Treatment, the Alzheimer’s findings (Posters / Report), and follow the launch of the white paper and all the latest EBC news and events here online and on Twitter.

©EPPGroup/Lahousse

 

 

 

BAW 2018 Event Report: “Expanding Brain Research in Europe: Education, Behaviour and Brain Development”

On 15 March 2018, EBC held its annual Brain Awareness Week event at the European Parliament (in Strasbourg, France) in partnership with FENS, EDAB, BBC, University of Strasbourg-Neuropole and the Bureau Grand Est. The event is designed for outreach to the general public and policymakers, to give an insight into the world of neuroscience and communicate just how important the work of neuroscientists is for society. This year’s event was co-hosted by MEPs Anne Sander (France, EPP), Daciana Sârbu (Romania, S&D), and Lieve Wierinck (Belgium, ALDE), who all gave powerful talks about the need for continued support of neuroscience and research, as well as the need for scientists to be empowered to communicate their work to the general public and how their research has an impact on lives. The event was officially opened by co-moderators EBC President Prof. Monica Di Luca and EBC Treasurer Ms Joke Jaarsma.

The first speaker was Prof. Albert Gjedde of the University of Copenhagen. His talk covered “The predictive brain and the future: to boldly go where no one has gone before” which explored how the most fundamental questions about the brain still remain unanswered despite the great advances in neuroscience over the recent years. More than ever before, neuroscientists must engage in efforts to test and apply this novel insight into the key functions of the human brain, as part of neuroscience’s continuing mission to explore the challenges that humans face when their brains age.

The second speaker was Prof. Steven Laureys, Director of the Coma Science Group at the GIGA Research and Neurology Department of the University and University Hospital of Liège, Belgium. He spoke freely to the room on his work in consciousness and coma science, and how understanding consciousness remains one of the greatest mysteries for science to solve. He also made the case for continued but starker support from the EU institutions for science and research, asking for continuity in funding and the work being done- breaking free from project-based restraints, allowing for consistency and longer-term research.

The final speaker was Prof. Gaia Novarino, neuroscientist who investigates the genetic and molecular basis of neurodevelopmental disorders at IST Austria, and spoke on how scientists work to find treatments for pediatric neurological disorders. Neurodevelopmental disorders affect millions of individuals from very young ages, and are often refractory to treatments, and despite decades of intensive research disorders such as autism and epilepsy remain poorly treatable. However, in the last years, researchers have found that autism spectrum disorders, epilepsy and mental retardation are often caused by tiny mistakes in the patient’s DNA; genetic information, therefore, may retain the key to reveal potential
treatment options.

A discussion with the audience follow the speakers, and was a great display of interest and curiosity from the full room. Attending neuroscientists and MEPs alike posed questions to our three speakers, the panel and discussants Prof. Roland Pochet and EBC Vice-President Prof. Patrice Boyer.

EBC would like to thank all its partners and collaborators for making this Brain Awareness Week 2018 outreach event an excellent success, as well as all the attendees who took the time out of their day to travel to the Parliament to make the event. We also extend a special thank you to all MEPs that attended the event and took part in the lively discussion.

The full programme with speakers biographies and abstracts can be found here
The event was livestreamed here

Brain Awareness Week 2018: Expanding brain research in Europe – Education, Behaviour and Brain Development

On 15 March 2018, EBC will once again hold an event at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the occasion of Brain Awareness Week 2018. Based on our highly successful outreach event at the Parliament last year, which included a good showing of policymakers, researchers and the general public who openly interacted with each other and the speakers during the hour of open discussion following the presentations, we will bring a similar event to Strasbourg once again.

This event is organised in cooperation with the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), the European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB), the Belgian Brain Council (BBC), with support from Neuropôle de Strasbourg and Le Bureau Europe Grand Est.

Co-hosted by MEPs Anne Sander (France, EPP), Daciana Sârbu (Romania, S&D) and Lieve Wierinck (Belgium, ALDE), the event will focus on the continued need for expansion of brain research in Europe, this time with specific focus on education, behaviour and brain development. The speakers list consists of highly-lauded scientists from the various fields of expertise: Prof. Albert Gjedde –  University of Copenhagen, Prof. Steven Laureys – University of Liège and Prof. Gaia Novarino – FENS Kavli Scholar, Institute of Science and Technology Austria.

Please see the Save the Date below for further information, and CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW!

The event will take place in the European Parliament, Room LOW N3.3 from 10:00-12:00.

 

BAW 2018 Invitation – FINAL