Brain Health

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Brain Health Over Life Stages

Poor brain health is linked with low socioeconomic status and poverty and could lead to stunted growth, depression, and health decline in children, adolescents, and adults.

CHILDHOOD

  • Poor brain health has been associated with poverty and low socioeconomic status. An article by Scientific American revealed that the lifestyle associated with growing up under impoverished conditions reduces the size of some parts of the cortex more than others. As such, children living under such conditions usually experience severe losses in brain development.
  • It also showed that the children displayed better cognitive skills when living under a higher socioeconomic status. This study thus associates poor brain health and losses in brain development with poverty.
  • In the same light, Shahria Hafiz Kakon's brain imaging study in Dhaka, Bangladesh, revealed that children with smaller sizes in some regions of their brains experienced stunted growth. Kakon and her team surveyed two and three-month-old kids.

ADOLESCENCE

  • Poor brain health has been associated with adolescent emotional depression. An increasing number of studies revealed that exposure to increased early life stress, or susceptibility to stress as a result of a lack of care, support, and social bonding (mostly associated with poverty and trauma) harms the central nervous system (CNS).
  • This detrimental development increases the risk of depression onset in adolescents.
  • "Adolescent depression is characterized by an enhanced amygdala response to emotional stimuli, which may further impede the frontolimbic development of cognitive control mechanisms and contribute to increased emotional and social reactivity in depressed teenagers."

ADULTHOOD

  • A study found that for adults aged between 25-35 years, activities, and emotional stress leading to poor brain health affected their ability to perform tasks negatively.
  • The research considered the impact of reduced income levels on the brain health of young adults. While it does not suggest that reduced income levels are the primary cause of brain health decline, the tests conducted showed that people in that category executed tasks slower than others.
  • The study's results also established the risk of thinking problems and middle-age health decline due to drops in the income levels of young adults up to 25%.

MID-LIFE AND OLD AGE

  • Low socioeconomic status, typically associated with reduced brain health in children, also has similar effects of middle-aged people (between 35 and 64 years).
  • A study showed a more disorganized brain network and thinner cortical gray matter for this age category.
  • The research suggests that people of this age and within this category would likely experience cognitive decline faster, as well as more vulnerability to age-related diseases. However, the correlation faded out for the elderly.
  • According to The Atlantic, "a child who grows up in a low-income household could have a worse memory after the age of 50 years."

RESEARCH STRATEGY

Our findings from several reports and studies linked poor brain health with poverty and low socioeconomic status. There were no reports that expressly stated the effect of poor brain health on the life of humans at different stages. As such, we leveraged articles that established a relationship between poverty and low socioeconomic status with poor brain health and correlated our findings to provide the impacts.

Subsequently, we utilized some sources and studies from reports that are beyond Wonder's standard two-year timeframe. However, we used them as the information for this topic relied mostly on studies conducted years ago. Also, we correlated most findings from the older sources with more recent articles.
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Brain Health Research

Research on brain health appears to be widespread across the globe with funding coming from a variety of resources. Much of the research focuses on dementia and Alzheimer's, but there have been thousands of research projects on brain health funded over the years.

IADRP

  • The International Alzheimer's and Related Dementias Research Portfolio (IADRP) is a "joint initiative between NIA, the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, and the Alzheimer’s Association." The database is a compilation of global research and resources that includes information on over 40 public and private funding organizations; more than 10,000 research projects and resources; 8,000+ researchers; and over $8 billion in research funding.
  • The IADRP database shows over 2,200 projects related to dementia and brain health in 2019 alone.

Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders

  • In November 2018, the Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders initiative was announced. This is a competitive funding program sponsored by the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI), the Alzheimer’s Association US, and the UK-based Alzheimer’s Society that targets "outstanding researchers and professionals whose activities are set to have real world impact." Funded projects will be those that are attempting to discover prevention strategies, as well as those aimed at improving the care and support for people living with dementia.
  • In 2019, 27 awards were given to researchers in 14 countries, with a total funding amount of $675,000.

BRAIN

  • The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative was launched in 2013 to provide funding for research related to brain function. In 2019, the total budget for research funding was $424 million which provided funding for 180 BRAIN Initiative awards.
  • The initiative is managed by 10 institutes: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Eye Institute, National Institute on Aging, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institute of Mental Health, and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

One Mind

  • One Mind is one of the executive sponsors of the Healthy Brains Financing Initiative (HBFI), along with the National Academy of Medicine. HBFI makes research investments based on a combination of factors including funding need, potential for improving lives, and the opportunity presented by the research.
  • In 2018, One Mind contributed $1.5 million to the AURORA study which focuses on trauma-related brain illness.
  • One Mind raised over $6 million in 2018 to support their various initiatives including AURORA, ASPIRe, and One Mind at Work.

Major Brain Findings in 2019

  • A study found that 9 people who spent over a year alone in Antarctica had slightly smaller brains when they returned.
  • A few women who did not have the olfactory bulbs necessary for the sense of smell were found to still be able to smell. This led scientists to hypothesize that another part of the brain took over the role usually played by the olfactory bulbs. This demonstrated the brain's ability to remold itself when necessary.
  • Research found that the cerebrospinal fluid flow can be used as a marker of whether someone is asleep or awake. The findings may lead to insights surrounding brain-related problems of aging.

Alzheimer's Research

  • The U.S. produces more research on Alzheimer's than any other country in the world.
  • Only 44.2% of U.S. Alzheimer's research is done in collaboration with other countries, while the UK collaborates internationally on 68.8% of research and China collaborates on 29.4%. Research that is based on international collaboration is cited and used more frequently than research from a single country.
  • From 2014 through 2018, there were 50,614 items published on Alzheimer's.
  • From 2012 to 2018, Alzheimer's research accounted for between 0.35 and 0.4% of all global research.
  • Harvard produces the most research on Alzheimer's.
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Positive Brain Health Personal and Societal Impact

A healthy brain improves personal well-being in multiple ways; first it helps people be more optimistic, as well as avoid depression and mental stress. Also, it improves social interactions between people. Some parts of the brain are directly involved in language and communication. If these brain parts are healthy, the interactions are likely to end with a positive outcome.

Brain Health, Purpose Life and Dementia

  • The United States Health and Retirement Study correlates a healthy brain with optimism and life purpose. It was found that persons with a healthy brain showed the following: great optimism, positive attitude in life, positive effects on other persons, life satisfaction and purpose in life.
  • A healthy brain greatly reduces the risks of dementia in older ages. This is supported with long-term studies done in the United States and Israel.
  • The study "ACTIVE looked at 2,802 healthy adults, aged 65 to 94, who received training in memory, reasoning or speed of processing. Researchers found that those in the speed-of-processing group had a 29% lower risk of developing dementia 10 years later".

Brain Health and Mental Health

  • According to the Canadian Mental Health Association: "When we are mentally healthy, we enjoy our life and environment and the people in it. We can be creative, learn, try new things, and take risks. We are better able to cope with difficult times in our personal and professional lives".
  • Having a healthy brain can help people prevent physical illnesses with roots in the brain. Illnesses caused by negative situations, like bad managing of stress.

Brain Health: Reduction of Depression and Stress

  • According to Kelly Mille, a provider in positive psychology coaching services; a healthy brain greatly reduces chronic stress, risk of depression, anxiety, it improves mood, it gives a clearer thinking and it improves relationships.
  • A healthy brain requires a functioning metabolic system, an imbalance in the level of chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain can contribute to others factors like genetic predisposition and stress to cause depression. A healthy brain helps prevent depression.

A Healthy Brain is Key to Social Interaction

  • According to Dr. Jane Gilbert; a healthy brain is crucial as we age. It is very important to use the skills of memory, understanding, communication and emotion in the process of socialization. At the same time, socializing with other people keeps the brain active and healthy.
  • According to Peter Pressman, MD and former professor in neurology; a healthy brain can help do some crucial functions in social interaction. Some of which are observation of detailed facial expressions and recognition of faces. Each of these functions relies on a unique region of the brain.
  • For example, the fusiform gyrus located near the base of the brain is in charge of recognizing faces. The right superior temporal sulcus is responsible for being aware when someone else is talking. The amygdala regulates human emotions. A healthy brain is crucial to success in social interactions.

Brain Health and Language

  • A healthy brain allows people to transform signals and ideas into language. A neural network on the left side of the brain is devoted to this job. A different neural network In the right side of the brain is in charge of deciphering prosody (the patterns of stress and intonation in a language).
  • Another important brain process which allows people to have an overall functioning social interaction is the assignment of emotional value to different stimuli. For instance: the insula of the brain is the part in charge of deciding if something is disgusting or not. Having a healthy brain increases the likelihood of having positive social interactions.

Research Strategy

Your research team began research in websites specialized in brain health like AARP, Harvard Medical School, Positive Psychology and the Canadian Mental Health Association. These websites provided relevant insights about how brain health relates to personal wellbeing. Some other articles written by professionals in the field such as Kelly Mille, Dr Jane Gilbert and Peter Pressman corroborated crucial information. Lastly, we found information regarding brain health and how its characteristic improve social interaction in the websites: Very Well Health and My Home Touch.
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Poor Brain Health Personal and Societal Impact

Poor brain health affects both an individual and society. The impacts of poor brain health can either be social, mental, or physical. Some impacts of poor brain health on individuals and society include poor brain-body connection, low cognitive functions, inadequate brain-sleep connection impinge on physical health, and high costs in care.

1. Poor Brain-Body Connection

  • Individuals suffering from poor brain health have a poor brain-body connection. The brain-body connection aids one in making inferences of their thoughts, actions, and emotions.
  • For individuals having poor brain health, they are prone to lacking a purpose in life, thereby increasing their chances of having dementia. Advanced cases of dementia result in Alzheimer's disease, and the individual loses their brain-body connection.

2. Low Cognitive Functions

  • Brain plasticity, the capacity of the brain to adapt to ever-changing conditions, is typical through the aging process. This means that with age, a person is more likely to lose a particular volume of their cognitive functions.
  • Increased brain plasticity could result in higher levels of poor brain health, which could affect a person's ability to think and process information. Motor, emotional, and sensory functions are some cognitive functions that are affected as a result of poor brain health.

3. Inadequate Brain-Sleep Connection

  • As individuals age, their sleep pattern is altered. This means that they might experience fewer sleeping hours, which causes adverse effects in the future.
  • A survey conducted by AARP shows that 33% of adults aged 50 and older have less than 8 hours of sleep, which affects their memory and executive function. Additionally, poor brain health can contribute to sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and insomnia, especially for aging adults.

4. Impinge On Physical Health

  • Poor brain health influences an individual's lifestyle. For instance, an individual suffering from poor brain health is less likely to engage in healthier lifestyles. Examples of healthy lifestyles include social networking, eating a healthy diet, and taking part in physical activities.
  • These individuals find it hard to socialize or take part in a particular activity as they cannot maintain a clear and active mind. As a result, they might jeopardize their physical health and expose themselves to unhealthy lifestyles. Therefore, poor brain health is detrimental to physical health.

5. High Costs in Care

  • Poor brain health contributes to high costs in both health and social care. Poor brain health cost the UK GDP Euro 5.4 billion, as most people leave the workforce to care for the patients. As the trend progresses, there is an increase in the loss of labor force necessary for a growing society.
  • In a report published in 2018, 1.84% per capita growth decline and a loss of $53 billion in income. This trend increases dependency levels. High dependency levels create extra stress for families, as they have to dedicate more resources to take care of their dependents.

Research Strategy

In analyzing the insights on how poor brain health impacts a person's well-being and the societal impact, we sourced through various brain health publication such as Mentalhealth, NCBI, AARG, and NIA. We then found that brain health was associated with lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise. We sought to find how lack of a proper lifestyle choice would affect a person and the society. Some impacts on individuals and the society included the brain-body connection, cognitive functions, brain-sleep connection, physical health, and costs in care. We then explored each factor and aligned it to the impacts of poor brain health.


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Brain Health Challenges

Some key challenges for the brain health sphere include lack of access to care in developing countries, many conditions are still unresponsive to therapy, finding modifiable risk factors, understanding how exactly to use research to diagnose and prevent brain disease and the current research bias against women.

Lack of Access to Care in Developing Countries

  • A recent Congressional Bill identifies that people in developing countries suffer disproportionately from brain health conditions and disorders.
  • In children, this can be due to a lack of educational support.
  • For aging adults, lack of health care access and options affects their ability to live with and treat brain health conditions.
  • Additionally, without defined modifiable risk factors, governments and organization like the WHO struggle to change the understanding of non-communicative diseases like brain health.

Many Conditions Still Unresponsive to Therapy

  • For example, up to 40% of patients with epilepsy do not respond to medication.
  • Medication adherence can also be a challenge, as older persons with cognitive impairment struggle with non-adherence.
  • Alzheimer's is the number one form of dementia in older persons, yet no current medications can stop the progression of the disease.

Finding Modifiable Risk Factors and Their Implementation

  • Many of the risk factors for brain diseases are not modifiable, such as genetics, gender, age, TBI, epilepsy and depression.
  • This makes it difficult to promote any kind of "combating" the disease, as people may feel they cannot control whether they develop poor brain health or not.
  • One trial of a promotional program for identifying dementia early in general practice raised concerns on "the lack of appropriate care in the community, fragmented health and social care, and the lack of effective treatment options."
  • Therefore, some people criticize work in risk factor advocacy and instead would prefer to focus on early diagnosis in a public health setting.

Understanding How to Use Research To Diagnose and Prevent Brain Disease

  • Scientists are optimistic about their abilities to research and understand what makes brains unique and seeing how the brain solves complex problems, but it is a challenge to figure out how to use this information to actually help diagnose and prevent brain diseases.
  • This new knowledge needs to be able to be translated to improve clinical decision-making.
  • Better infrastructure to increase collaboration can help overcome these challenges.

Research Bias and Women

  • Dementia and other aging disorders disproportionately affect women, yet most scientific research focuses on or uses men. In Canada, the number is around 2/3rds of all clinical research on brain and heart health.
  • Up until recent years, there had been no movement or coordination among research organizations or world leaders to promote research on women's brain health.
  • Women's Brain Health Day, declared by Canada, is an initiative to increase awareness of brain health in women and call for increased research.
  • Brain Canada is investing more money into sex/gender specific brain health research.
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Brain Health Innovations

Some recent innovations in brain health include Neuralink, owned by Elon Musk, achieving relative success in brain health, where the company was able to use BMI with electrodes on a monkey in testing out its technology, a synthetic vocal tract, where speech clarity was attained using electrocorticography device, and memory boost implants funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. Others included neurotech startups such as Kernel and NeuroPace, who raised $100 million and $208 million, respectively, for their brain tech innovations, a coalition by Baycrest and Direct Supply, and a product launch by Reckitt Benckiser for its Neuriva dietary supplement.


Neuralink's Implants

Synthetic Vocal Tract

Memory Boost Brain Implants

Kernel

NeuroPace

New Coalition

  • According to a PRNewswire report from June 6, 2019, the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI), led by Baycrest, and U.S.-based senior living solutions distributor Direct Supply officially announced a partnership agreement to advance the testing and commercialization of innovative products that will analyze the requirements of people living with dementia in North America.
  • The new partnership's goals were aimed at establishing distribution opportunities for proven innovations in the CABHI pipeline by including them in the Direct Supply product catalog to add more trial sites for testing and validating innovations across North America, and to provide early-stage support for Direct Supply projects through leveraging CABHI expertise in the validation space.
  • Also, the partnership sought to help establish a joint approach that will bring end-user input to the test, design, and dissemination stages of innovation commercialization and development.

Product Launch: Neuriva

Research Strategy

We were able to identify seven key news stories/innovations in brain health from 2018 to 2019. This was achieved by accessing relevant data reports, news releases, and industry reports. All of our findings were readily available and well enumerated.
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Brain Health Key Government Agencies

Some of the biggest government health organizations making strides in supporting brain health in the United States and globally, include the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Laboratory of Brain and Cognition (LBC), the Alzheimer’s Association (ALZ), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON AGING (NIA)

  • The National Institute on Aging (NIA) was established in 1974 to prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat disease and disability related to aging.
  • The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is managing a brain health awareness campaign launched in 2015 by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) titled 'What is Brain Health?' with a focus on older adults.
  • The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is part of the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the main Federal agency for scientific research on Alzheimer's and related dementia led by various university scientists, hospitals, medical centers, and private organizations.
  • Research findings of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) show that brain training techniques have a lasting effect on reasoning and speed of processing tasks of up to 5 and 10 years, respectively.
  • Research done by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) has proven that symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia appear years before the diagnosis.
  • 25 genes involved in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia were discovered by the National Institute on Aging (NIA).
  • The National Institute on Aging (NIA) holds its annual Butler-Williams Scholars Program at the National Institute of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, Maryland designed for junior faculty scientists and researchers specializing in biology, genetics and early stages of Alzheimer's disease and aging.
  • The research findings of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) are shared with patients, families, health care providers, advocates and policymakers via their online publications.
  • According to the agency's Budget Graphs, funding for the fiscal year 2019 was $1,988,200,000.
  • Due to increased budgetary demands since 2015, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) will be submitting a 'bypass budget' report in 2025.
  • The National Institute on Aging (NIA) has 10 administrative offices, and 14 laboratories (brain physiology and metabolism; neurogenetics; epidemiology, demography, and biometry; and others) as well as several programs (aging biology; behavioral and social research; geriatrics and clinical gerontology; neuroscience; and others) in its Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore locations.

THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH (NIMH)

  • The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is one of the main federal agencies for research on mental disorders, including anxiety, autism spectrum, attention deficit and hyperactivity (ADD/ADHD), post-traumatic stress (PTSD), depression, and eating disorders.
  • A large part of their research is focused around finding brain areas responsive to therapeutics, discovering therapeutics to effectively treat mental disorders, and repurposing compounds shown to be effective.
  • Research is conducted by scientists, physicians, and clinicians, and involves collaborative clinical trials, and educational and training programs.
  • Currently highlighted research initiatives place an emphasis on accelerating treatment effectiveness.
  • Since its Strategic Plan (2008) to support the science of mental health and control the costs associated with mental illness, the institute's goal has been to "transform the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of these devastating illnesses".
  • The BRAIN Initiative (2013), lead by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), is a project designed to better monitor and manipulate brain circuitry.
  • One of the institute's research agencies is the Laboratory of Brain and Cognition (LBC) which focuses on neurocircuitry, cognitive neuropsychology, and learning and plasticity, among others.
  • According to its website, The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is "the largest funder of research on mental disorders in the world".
  • The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) supports 2,000 research grants and contracts, and 500 scientists worldwide.
  • The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) consists of multiple offices and divisions covering neuroscience and behavioral science; global mental health; and translational and intervention research.
  • The institute's total budget for 2019 was $1,612,192,000.

THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION (CDC)

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is part of the United States Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).
  • The mission of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to track and research diseases, protect Americans from acute, preventable and chronic diseases, and to stop outbreaks globally.
  • The Alzheimer’s Association (ALZ), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has developed the Healthy Brain Initiative (2018-2023) for state and local communities to create changes in policies for cognitive impairment patients, families and health professionals.
  • The Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map serves to integrate and prioritize cognitive health, promote prevention, improve access to mental health treatment, and foster continuing education among public health professionals.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) budget request for 2020 is at $6,594,000,000.

THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO)

  • The World Health Organization (WHO), created in 1948 and headquartered in Geneva, has 7,000 employees in 150 offices spread over 150 countries.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is a United Nations (UN) partner with the mission to promote health on a global scale.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) issued the Risk Reduction of Cognitive Decline and Dementia WHO Guidelines (2019), which recommends healthy lifestyle changes.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) issued the WHO Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020, which emphasized community-based mental health services and mental health prevention, promotion, and research.
  • The WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) seeks to improve mental health services for low-income individuals around the world.

EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION ON MENTAL HEALTH

  • The EU-Compass for Action on Mental Health and Well-being (2015-2018) is a joint effort put in place to share and analyze mental health policies and developments among European Union member states.
  • The project includes good practices in mental health, annual surveys and reports, forum events, and mental health workshops in individual member countries.
  • The focus is on preventing mental health issues, including depression and suicide as well as improving access to mental health services.

Research Strategy

We conducted our research by looking at the above-noted organizations and the contents on their respective websites pertaining to their size, popularity, activities, visions, goals, achievements (recent past/present), locations, and annual budgets. We searched for any special projects, programs, and events relating to current and near-future efforts to optimize mental health care, accessibility and management; advancements in research and application; and prevention.


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Brain Health Key Non-Profits

Five key non-government non-profit agencies addressing brain health in the EU and the US combined are OneMind, the Dana Foundation, the International Brain Research Organization, the Society for Neuroscience, and the International Brain Initiative. The mission, programs, and major funders of each organization are highlighted in the findings below.

OneMind

  • OneMind's mission is "to radically accelerate cures for brain illnesses and injuries by funding and fostering scientific collaborations and initiatives. " OneMind is a non-government non-profit agency.
  • The programs of OneMind include ASPIRe (Application for Serious Psychiatric Illness Recovery), the AURORA study, Rising Star Awards, Music Festival for Brain Health, One Mind at Work Charter, Psyber Guide, the HBFI (Healthy Brains Financing Initiative), and among others.
  • While the ASPIRe program was first launched in California "to build partnerships to expand Coordinated Specialty Care throughout the US," the Rising Star Awards (which started in 2005) "is awarded each year to draw attention to and financially support pioneering research on brain injuries and mental illness." The 2019 recipient was Carl Sellgren, a Stockholm-based researcher.
  • The HBFI is globally focused, and it is endorsed by leading global organizations like the World Bank and the World Health Organization. On January 23, 2020, the HBFI annual meeting was held in Davos, Switzerland, and the EU Commission President graced the occasion.
  • Major funders of this non-profit agency are government, philanthropic donors like the peer-to-peer fundraising, and the "industry for patient-centered brain research."

The Dana Foundation

  • The mission of the Dana Foundation is "to advance understanding about the brain in health and disease through research grants and public outreach." The Dana Foundation is a non-government non-profit organization and supports brain health in the EU and the US combined
  • Programs of the Dana Foundation include Brain Awareness Week, Brain Bee Competition held in New York, Successful Aging and Your Brain, Scouts Healthy Brain Initiative, and the Dana Foundation Named Lecture.
  • While the Brain Bee Competition and the Dana Foundation Named Lecture are local events held in the US, other programs are either global or online-based. These programs are all commonly geared towards addressing brain health.
  • The Dana Foundation created a worldwide membership organization known as the "Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives (DABI)." The DABI became a global organization in 2015 but before then, it was known as the European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB). Membership of the organization consists of 44 countries from across the world, including North America and Europe
  • Some partners of one of the Foundation's major programs include private corporations, government agencies, and professional associations. Although they were not listed as funders, it is assumed that the above-mentioned institutions help in funding this program.

International Brain Research Organization (IBRO)

  • The missions of IBRO are "(i) to develop, support, coordinate and promote scientific research in all fields concerning the brain; (ii) promote international collaboration and exchange of scientific information on brain research throughout the world; and (iii) provide for and assist in education and dissemination of information relating to brain research." The organization has regional committees both in the EU (Pan-Europe Regional Committee) and the US (US/Canada regional Committee).
  • Programs of the IBRO are outreach and advocacy activities, which include the Global Advocacy Initiative, the Global Advocacy Seed Grants, the International Brain Bee, and the European Brain Council.
  • The Global Advocacy Initiative is a collaborative effort of leading brain health advocacy groups across the world’s regions, focusing on promoting awareness for brain research and other allied activities. On the other hand, the European Brain Council is an outreach program gathering major brain-related societies and patient associations "to promote brain research to improve the quality of life of those living with brain disorders in Europe."
  • Major funders of the organization include neuroscience societies that make up its Governing Council, and other allied societies such as the IBE-UNESCO.

The Society for Neuroscience (SfN)

  • The focal mission of the Society for Neuroscience is "to advance the understanding of the brain and the nervous system by bringing together scientists of diverse backgrounds, by facilitating the integration of research directed at all levels of biological organization, and by encouraging translational research and the application of new scientific knowledge to develop improved disease treatments and cures."
  • Programs of the SfN include its annual scientific meeting, peer-reviewed journals, Brainfacts, Brain Awareness Campaign, and the FENS Member Travel Awards. The latter is a collaboration between SfN and Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) to "encourage scientific exchange between North America and Europe."
  • The highlight of the BrainFacts outreach project is to educate the public on their brain status, while the Brain Awareness Campaign is a Week program that "brings together scientists, families, schools, and communities in a worldwide celebration of the brain."
  • One of the major funders of the SfN is the US government. Although a non-profit society, the Society seeks "to secure Congressional and Administration support for consistent and robust funding for biomedical research."

The International Brain Initiative (IBI)

  • The mission of the International Brain Initiative is couched in its vision, which is "catalyzing and advancing ethical neuroscience research through international collaboration and knowledge sharing, by uniting diverse ambitions to expand scientific possibility, and disseminating discoveries for the benefit of humanity."
  • Programs of the IBI are carried out via its working groups. These programs include brain projects inventory, community building for neuroethics, training, and education, and workshops and events.
  • While the brain projects inventory is meant to put together significant brain initiatives around the world, the motive behind the training and education program is "to empower future generations of neuroscientists through innovative transdisciplinary training that embraces a global research perspective and the benefits of neuroscience for all."
  • Since the IBI was formed as a non-government non-profit agency by representatives from Europe, the US, and other countries, its major funders include the EU-sponsored Human Brain Project, Brain Initiative, the US-based KAVLI Foundation, and the IBRO.

Research Strategy

Our research started by identifying five key non-government non-profit agencies addressing brain health in the EU and the US combined. The five agencies identified above are key because they are recognized globally. More so, they enjoy the platform of collaboration and partnership with other leading agencies. For the International Brain Initiative (IBI), it was given a life of its own in December 2017 after "a meeting of representatives from some world’s major brain research projects." As with the other four non-government non-profit agencies mentioned above, the Initiative addresses brain health in the EU and the US combined.

For each agency, we also highlighted the mission, programs, and major funders. In some instances, based on the context of use, we assumed the word 'partners' was used instead of 'funders.' Besides, many of the organizations were not too open to disclose their major funders.
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Brain Health Key Companies

Five key companies that are addressing brain health as part of their core business include Emotiv Systems Inc, Dreem, Halo Neuroscience, Elevate Labs, and Thync. Details of each company have been provided below.

Emotiv Systems Inc

  • Emotiv Systems is a bioinformatics company located in San Francisco, California that uses electroencephalography to better understand brain functions using "interactive television, everyday computer interactions, hands-free control system, smart adaptive environments, art, accessibility design, market research, psychology, learning, medicine, robotics, automotive, transport safety, defense, and security." The company offers solutions for individuals, enterprises, researchers, and developers.
  • The company offers brain health science research, solutions, and products.
  • Solutions that the company offers include the following:
  • Products that the company offers include the following:
  • The company offers partnerships with developers through their brain health program using Cortex, an API powerhouse which allows companies to create "personalized experiences and activations using real-time brain data."
  • According to news publications from the last 3 years and the company website, the company has not invested into any philanthropic support, however, they have participated in the Experiential Technology Conference & Expo 2017, the Augmented World Expo 2016, Disney Accelerator 2015 Demo Day. In addition, they sponsored the Experiential Technology Conference & Expo 2017 and HackingEDU.

Dreem (Formerly Rythm)

  • Dreem is a New York and Paris based neurotechnology company that produces wearable technology that stimulates brain potential and enhances the quality of deep sleep.
  • The company produces sleep aid products including the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) which used the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) to track effects before and after use and Dreem Hardware which uses sleep tracking technology.
  • The company has coaching programs that track insomniac sleep and address thinking and modifies actions to improve sleep quality. According to research, 71% of participants have had positive results.
  • According to news publications from the last 4 years and the company website, Dreem has not invested in philanthropic support, however, they have participated in and sponsored the Vivatech event in Paris for 4 years straight.

Halo Neuroscience

  • Halo Neuroscience is a neuroscience company based in San Francisco, California and Paris that develops and markets Neuropriming technology products that improve user performance.
  • The company currently has one brain health product called Halo Sport which is used to improve athletic training speed and quality by stimulating muscle memory and activating hyperlearning. Initial results show 15% increase in athletic performance. The product uses transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to stimulate skill, strength, and endurance.
  • The company does not have any active brain health programs, however, they do have 2 mobile apps including Halo Sport and Team Halo — Partner App.
  • According to news publications from the last 5 years and the company website, the company has not invested in any philanthropic support, however, they have participated in the CES 2018, Experiential Technology Conference & Expo 2016 and 2017, TechCrunch Startup Battlefield NY Disrupt 2016, and sponsored Experiential Technology Conference & Expo 2017.

Elevate Labs

  • Elevate Labs, located in San Francisco, California, uses cognitive training tools through gaming to improve user "productivity, earning power, and self-confidence in skills like math, reading, writing, speaking, and listening."
  • The company has improved brain health through cognitive training in their mobile app that allows for flexible training through over 35 cognitive games with unlimited access to performance tracking.
  • The company does not have any brain health programs.
  • According to news publications from the last 5 years and the company website, the company has not invested in any philanthropic support or participated in any brain health programs or events.

Thync

  • Thync is a neuroscience start-up that was founded in 2011 in Los Gatos, California. The company creates wearable technology that is used in neurobiology, neuroscience and consumer electronics. The company focuses on pioneering treatments for mental health and autoimmune disorders.
  • The company has invested 5 years of research, over 5,000 testing sessions, and 2.5 million minutes of use into their wearable therapeutic platform that is for "non-invasively modulating the autonomic nervous system."
  • The company does not have any specific brain health programs, however, they do have 3 mobile apps that promote brain health including Thync Edition One, Thync Relax Pro, and Use Your Head.
  • According to news articles about the company from the last 5 years, the company has not invested in any philanthropic activity, however, they did participate in the Worlds Fair Nano, and e2e — The Hardware Startup Conference as well as Sponsored the Ask a VC Silicon Valley: Investors + Panels + Lightning Round + Venture Fair in 2015.

Research Strategy

In order to identify five key companies that are addressing brain health as part of their core business in Europe and the United States we analyzed lists of top brain health companies and well as brain health start-ups that are considered industry leaders. Through this search we found lists of top companies on sites like Angel.co, Venture Radar, and CBInsights. We cross-referenced the results of each list to provide the top companies across all sources.
Part
10
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Part
10

Brain Health Key Conferences

Some top 5 key conferences for brain health in the US and Europe include the Mental Health America Conference, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America Conference, the National Alliance for Mental Illness, the 28th European Congress of Psychiatry, and the World Conference on Psychiatry and Mental Health (WCPM).

Mental Health America Conference

  • Every year the Mental Health America Conference brings together providers, patients, consumers, affiliates, advocates, and family members, to talk about and discuss the latest emerging and important mental health issues.
  • Located in Washington, D.C. on June 11-13th this year, the conference's theme is "From Resilience to Recovery," and this year's program will focus on adverse childhood experiences, childhood trauma, and recovery models.
  • Major programs at the Mental Health America Conference include programs such as "Helping the Helpers: Addressing Vicarious Trauma in the Workplace," and "Fostering Resiliency in Bereaved Children and Families," among many more, with a broad range of keynote speakers.
  • Key sponsors for the Mental Health America Conference in 2018 were Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Alkermes, and Otsuka.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America Conference

  • The ADAA brought over 1,400 clinicians and researchers from the US and around the globe to Chicago, IL in 2019, to network, collaborate, and share knowledge on treatment-resistant anxiety and depression, and other related disorders of the mind.
  • With over 140+ sessions and programs, the conference learning objectives are listed as: 1. "Understand the meaning of resilience, as demonstrated through translational models, human subjects research, and clinical applications. 2. Identify the genetic, epigenetic, neurobiological, developmental, and psycho social underpinnings of resilience. 3. Be exposed to preventive and treatment interventions aimed at enhancing resilience across the life span."
  • 2020's conference will be hosted in San Antonio, Texas.
  • Key sponsors for the 2019 ADAA Conference were Rogers Behavioral Health, Sage Therapeutics, VistaGen Therapeutics Inc., American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Houston OCD Program, and Janssen Pharmaceutical Company, among others.

National Alliance for Mental Illness

  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness National Convention (NAMI) is one of the largest community mental health gatherings of advocates in the US. Every year, they connect people looking for research, resources, support services, and recovery. This year's theme is "Together Toward Tomorrow."
  • The NAMI 2020 National Convention will be held in Atlanta, Georgia on July 15-18th.
  • Some of this year's agenda includes top researchers and clinicians providing information and knowledge, patient stories and perspectives on recovery, with experience from people with mental illness and their families, and some of the country’s best minds and policymakers offering strategies and ideas to improve the mental health system.
  • Key sponsors for the NAMI National Convention include Alkermes, A&E Network, Facebook, and Instagram.

28th European Congress of Psychiatry

  • The 28th European Congress of Psychiatry (EPA 2020) brings together psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, social workers, researchers, and students, to discuss key aspects and information on treatment and diagnosis in psychiatry and mental health.
  • The European Congress of Psychiatry in 2020 will be held in Madrid, Spain on March 28-31st.
  • The 2020 EPA Conference will focus on solutions and clinical issues such as anxiety disorders, addictive behaviors, adolescent psychiatry, and bipolar disorders, among many others.
  • Key sponsors for the EPA include Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Reordati, Gedeon Richter, and Angelini.

World Conference on Psychiatry and Mental Health (WCPM)

  • The World Conference on Psychiatry and Mental Health o(WCPM) serves as a platform to bring neuroscientists and other disciplines together to share their knowledge and experiences, as well as scientific research and innovative ideas.
  • The WCPM conference brings together clinicians, neuroscientists, neurologists, psychiatrists, medical doctors, specialists, professionals and students from all over the world in an interest toward understanding genetic pathways underlying neurological disorders, techniques to identify those genetic pathways, and the use of genetics and genomics as tools to develop therapeutics. The program entails talks on mental illness and healthcare, neurology, and clinical neurophysiology among others.
  • This year's WCPM conference will be held on March 23-24th, in London, UK.
  • Key sponsors of the 2019 conference included Pulsus Group.

Research Strategy

With so many influential and important global conferences held in the US and Europe for brain health, narrowing it down to the top 5 most important and key conferences was not possible as there is difference of opinion among which conferences deserve to be ranked so highly. As this measurement of the top key conferences is subjective in nature, stats such as the amounts of attendees and the number and range of speakers were considered through the conference websites themselves, as well as the years it has been running, the amount of recognition and attendance it receives by experts in the field and the press, as well as websites such as Healthline that ranked the top mental health conferences to attend in the world based on size and credibility. This research led to a consistent agreement upon which conferences were considered key and influential at the top of the field.





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From Part 07
From Part 08
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  • "is awarded each year to draw attention to and financially support pioneering research on brain injuries and mental illness."
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  • "to radically accelerate cures for brain illnesses and injuries by funding and fostering scientific collaborations and initiatives"
  • "to build partnerships to expand Coordinated Specialty Care throughout the U.S."
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  • "industry for patient-centered brain research."
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  • "to advance understanding about the brain in health and disease through research grants and public outreach"
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  • "Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives (DABI)"
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  • "(i) to develop, support, coordinate and promote scientific research in all fields concerning the brain; (ii) promote international collaboration and exchange of scientific information on brain research throughout the world; and (iii) provide for and assist in education and dissemination of information relating to brain research."
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  • "to promote brain research in order to improve the quality of life of those living with brain disorders in Europe."
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  • "to advance the understanding of the brain and the nervous system by bringing together scientists of diverse backgrounds, by facilitating the integration of research directed at all levels of biological organization, and by encouraging translational research and the application of new scientific knowledge to develop improved disease treatments and cures."
  • "to secure Congressional and Administration support for consistent and robust funding for biomedical research."
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  • "brings together scientists, families, schools, and communities in a worldwide celebration of the brain."
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  • "encourage scientific exchange between North America and Europe."
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  • "catalyzing and advancing ethical neuroscience research through international collaboration and knowledge sharing, by uniting diverse ambitions to expand scientific possibility, and disseminating discoveries for the benefit of humanity"
  • "a meeting of representatives from some of the world’s major brain research projects."
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  • "to empower future generations of neuroscientists through innovative transdisciplinary training that embraces a global research perspective and the benefits of neuroscience for all."