European Dana Alliance for the Brain
The European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB) is an organization of 260 eminent brain scientists, including five Nobel laureates, from 31 countries.
Launched in 1997, and modelled on the US-based Dana Alliance for the Brain Initiatives, EDAB is committed to enhancing the public's understanding of why brain research is so important.
EDAB brings the excitement of scientific progress to the general public and opinion-formers by working in partnership with charities, universities, schools, hospitals, the arts, the media and professional organizations.
Every March, EDAB coordinates Brain Awareness Week, during which hundreds of public events in dozens of countries celebrate the progress of brain research.
Prior Events, Awards, News
Ninth Annual Staying Sharp Event presented on 22 May at the Royal Society
On May 22, EDAB presented a Staying Sharp program, organized by Sylvie Hammerson, in collaboration with University of the 3rd Age (U3A) at the Royal Society. Professor Tom Kirkwood, Newcastle University Institute for Aging and Health, gave a lecture on Enriching Your Future to an audience of over 200 people at the Royal Society. This was the ninth annual Staying Sharp event presented by EDAB.
The Brain Prize
The Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Foundation’s € 1 million Brain Prize recognizes highly original advances in research on the nervous system. The Prize was awarded for the third year in 2013 to Ernst Bamberg, Germany, Ed Boyden, USA, Karl Deisseroth, USA, Peter Hegemann, Germany, Gero Miesenbock, Austria and Georg Nagel, Germany whose work led to the field of optogenetics. [Read more... ]
EDAB Member Rita Levi-Montalcini Dies - Shared Nobel for Work on How Neurons Grow
Italian neuroscientist Rita Levi-Montalcini’s 1952 discovery of nerve growth factor, a molecule that promotes the survival and differentiation of neurons, was key to understanding how diseases such as tumors and dementia develop. [Read more... ]
The William Safire Seminar on Neuroethics at the FENS Forum of European Neuroscience in Barcelona
In recognition of his early involvement and support for the field of neuroethics, EDAB renamed its neuroethics seminar at the July 2012 Barcelona meeting of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), The William Safire Seminar on Neuroethics.
Jointly presented by EDAB and the International Neuroethics Society, the seminar’s topic was “Invading the Brain: What Are the Ethical Issues on Invasive Treatments for Brain Disorders?” Panelists included: Helen S. Mayberg, M.D., Emory University; professor John Rothwell, University College London; Damaan Denys, University of Amsterdam; Roger Barker, University of Cambridge; and EDAB executive committee member Carlos Belmonte, who served as the moderator.
The speakers, experts in the fields of deep brain stimulation, cell transplantation, and gene therapy, discussed the potential for these techniques in treating debilitating brain diseases as well as the ethical issues that can arise from their use.
If you are interested in learning more about the William Safire Seminar in Neuroethics further information is available in the resources below:
Neuroscientists and the Law
The Royal Society recently released a report, entitled Neuroscience and the Law, that focuses on the impact of neuroscience research on the practice of law. Several members of the European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB) were members of the Working Group that produced the report, including Professor Alan Baddeley, Sir Michael Rutter, and EDAB Executive Committee member Professor Wolf Singer. The report is part of a larger project called Brain Waves, which aims to investigate advances in neuroscience and their effects on society and public policy. Brain Waves is overseen by a Steering Group, chaired by EDAB Executive Committee member Professor Colin Blakemore.
FINANCIAL TICKING TIMEBOMB FOR BRAIN DISORDERS IN EUROPE
For some years we have known that we are living longer and Governments have long been warned about the social and economic consequences of an ageing population. A new report by the European College on Neuropsychopharmacology and the European Brain Council talks of a financial ‘ticking time-bomb’ across Europe. And the problem is now: one in three people in 2010 suffered a brain disorder or was caring for somebody with one - and the figure is rising.
The report, entitled, ‘The size and burden of mental disorders and other disorders of the brain in Europe 2010’, was published in European Neuropsychopharmacology (2011 21, 655–679). Hans-Ulrich Wittchen and colleagues from 19 European centres carried out a study covering 30 countries (the European Union plus Switzerland, Iceland and Norway) with a combined population of 514 million people. They investigated all major mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders, insomnia, addiction and schizophrenia, and several neurological disorders, including stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Previous studies underestimate the burden of brain disorders in the EU which currently costs Europe almost €800 billion a year.
The true size of “disorders of the brain” is considerably larger yet less than one third of all cases receive any treatment. The cost of treating brain disorders, such as depression, insomnia, Parkinson's and stroke, has more than doubled in just six years, according to the study.
Lead author of the report, Professor Wittchen, from the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, said: “We have to address two high priority issues. First, the immense treatment gap for mental disorders has to be closed. Because mental disorders frequently start early in life, they have a strong malignant impact on later life. Second, both groups of disorders share many common mechanisms and have reciprocal effects on each other. Only a joint approach covering the spectrum of disorders of the brain across the lifespan will lead to an improved understanding of the causes and improved treatments”.
The most frequent disorders are anxiety disorders (14 percent), insomnia (seven percent), major depression (almost 7%). More than four percent are alcohol and drug dependent. Attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorders occur in five percent of young peoole, and one percent of people aged 60-65 has dementia, rising to 30 percent among those aged 85 and above.
The ECNP and the EBC are calling for action to be taken as a priority to include substantially increased funding for basic, clinical and public health research in order to identify better strategies for improved prevention and treatment for disorders of the brain as the core health challenge of the 21st century.
Free Resources from the European Dana Alliance
The European Dana Alliance for the Brain offers a wide range of free publications on topics about the brain as well as health awareness and patient information resources.
The publications produced are available in several languages including English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Recently, Hungarian, Czech, and Polish have been added to the EDAB publication list. All are available to download in PDF form.
Our Staying Sharp Series provides information for patients, carers, health professionals and families. Topics covered in this series touch on Chronic Health Issues, Depression, Learning Throughout Life, Memory Loss and Aging and Quality of Life.
For interests in Brain Research our Annual Report on Brain Research describes and interprets important advances in neuroscience of the previous year.
We also have resources for teachers and secondary school students with Mindboggling and More Mindbogglers which is packed with information for the brain in fun format of games, riddles and puzzles.
For those who wish to have those common questions about brain research answered there is our pamphlet Q&A: Answering your Questions About Brain Research. This will provide answers to commonly asked questions about the brain and its disorders e.g. how brain-imaging techniques have affected neuroscience research.