Welcome to the CSA BrainHealth
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
DLR Project Management Agency
phone: +49 228 3821-1126
fax: +49 228 3821-1257
On Tuesday, November 7th, 2023 the CSA BrainHealth held its kick-off meeting in Bonn, Germany, and online.
More than 90 attendees witnessed the formal opening and start of the CSA BrainHealth. The program comprised presentations by EU Commission representatives and partners of the CSA project. Representatives of European and international countries, the European Brain Council (EBC), the digital infrastructure EBRAINS, and the patient organization European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA) entered into a lively discussion with the broad audience about the scope of the project, the meaning of the term ‘brain health’ and the role of social sciences therein.
The coordinator, Dr. Marlies Dorlöchter (DLR on behalf of BMBF, Germany) summarized: “In preparation of the envisaged European Partnership on Brain Health, the CSA BrainHealth is ready to start the complex process, and I am glad to rely on such strong partners. Brain health as a common and global challenge requires collaborative and integrative efforts.”
Why a CSA BrainHealth?
“Brain health is the state of brain functioning across cognitive, sensory, social-emotional, behavioural and motor domains, allowing a person to realize their full potential over the life course, irrespective of the presence or absence of disorders.” - WHO
Diseases of the brain and nervous system represent a major societal and economic burden in Europe, causing more than 800 billion euros per year.
More than 540 million Europeans suffered from neurological diseases in 2017. The associated mortality was near 2 million cases with stroke as the leading cause (Eur. J. Neurol., 19:155, 2012; Lancet Public Health, 5:e551, 2020).
During the pandemic situation, mental disorders became a prominent brain health issue, when the infections as well as the means to fight them caused severe socio-psychological and psychiatric disturbances. Symptoms of depression among young people more than doubled in several European countries, as evidenced by the OECD-EC “Health at a Glance: Europe 2022” report (Health at a Glance: Europe 2022 - OECD). Mental health issues are also rising in times of political conflicts and climate change, migration and forced displacement.
Notwithstanding, neurodegenerative diseases remain a major challenge in European countries. Moreover, with technological developments in neurological and psychiatric treatments questions arise about risk and benefit related to their impact on brain function. Ethical concerns and debates are becoming increasingly prominent, such as e.g. questions of neuro-rights, deep brain stimulation in mental and neurological disease, or brain-computer-interfaces.
The CSA BrainHealth is the result of a common vision of a European Partnership on Brain Health and its goal towards promoting brain health in populations in Europe and worldwide as well as towards restoring the health of citizens living with both mental or neurological brain diseases. This vision has been supported by the main players in the field for many years - JPND, NEURON, EBC and EBRAINS- sharing a common objective towards "Designing a European brain health landscape".