by Eveline Sipido
The European Brain Council (EBC), as a co-ordinating body representing European organisations in neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry, basic brain research (neuroscience) as well as patient organisations and industry, is ideally positioned to champion and promote brain research in Europe. Equally, it is perfectly placed to drive the agenda in improving the quality of life for all those affected by brain diseases.
For the EBC, 2011 was momentous and a perfect launch pad for tackling the challenges ahead.
Over the past 12 months, EBC’s activities have attracted more attention and media coverage than ever before.
Two major European Presidency meetings were supplemented by two benchmark publications, the Consensus Document on European Brain Research and the Cost of disorders of the brain in Europe – CDBE 2010, the latter accompanied by a hugely successful launch in the European Parliament.
More National Brain Councils have been established, while plans for the 2014 European Year of the Brain continue to gather both support and momentum.
During the European Union’s Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) from 1998-2002 – before the EBC was established – 85 million Euros were spent on research into brain diseases. That has since risen to 260 million during FP6, and 381 million Euros during the first three calls of FP7.
The EBC has clearly had a massive role to play in this upward trend and will continue to do so.
During 2011, its voice has become increasingly loud and influential, to the point, where it is coming to be regarded as the primary commentator on the areas in which it operates.
EFNS has been a key contributor to EBC activities from its very start and pivotal to what has been achieved. The present EFNS delegates to EBC are Prof. Jes Olesen (Denmark), past president of EFNS and founding president of EBC, and Prof. Marianne De Visser (The Netherlands).
Eveline M. Sipido is Liaison Officer to the EFNS and EBC
Comment by Gian Luigi Lenzi
The EBC statement tells us that EBC “…is ideally positioned to champion and promote brain research in Europe. Equally, it is perfectly placed to drive the agenda in improving the quality of life for all those affected by brain diseases. …”.
The Editor of Neuropenews would be very grateful, if the EFNS Representatives may explain in practical terms what this means for neurological researchers and EFNS neurologists. Just to pose an example: at the Editor’s Department there is an active group working on dysphagia, a problem affecting nearly half of the stroke patients from the acute phase on, and with important effects on mortality.
Could EBC be a vehicle for bringing this research to the attention of EEC Authorities?
Or for helping to establish an EEC network of neurologists working on this item?
The Editor guesses that in many Neurological Departments there are many similar research groups that are not linked to an established network of neurologists, and therefore not in the position to have access or to compete for EEC funds.
Gian Luigi Lenzi is Head of the Neurology Department, La Sapienza University Rome, Italy and Editor of Neuropenews