Neurologists need no persuasion that the brain is the most important organ in the body and neurology and its allied specialties, including psychiatry, the most important in medicine. Just occasionally we need to remind the world of these truths. We now have the opportunity to do just that because the European Commission has declared May as the official European Month of the Brain 2013.
The Commission is organising two conferences. The first in Brussels on 14 May is open to all and will showcase European brain projects and outline future scientific challenges:
It will cover understanding, preventing and treating brain disease, involvement of industry and large scale international collaborations. I shall be going. It might not be too late for you to sign up.
The second in Dublin, under the Irish EU presidency, on 27-28 May 2013 is for invited policy makers and will discuss future European policy for brain research and healthcare: http://ec.europa.eu/research/conferences/2013/brain-month/index_en.cfm?pg=conference-dublin&sub=general
This conference aims to encourage coordination and optimisation of European and national brain research and healthcare strategies. It seeks to lift taboos associated with some brain diseases; emphasize the value of screening and early diagnosis; promote coordination; highlight the need for the right infrastructures and regulatory environment to be in place; and facilitate the integration of research results into policy and practice. Laudable aims.
Neurologists have not been behindhand in organising events to help showcase the European Month of the Brain. The diary reads like this:
Meetings organised by European Scientific Societies:
May 9 – 12: EFNS Spring School: Staré Splavy, Czech Republic
May 16 – 18: EFNS Regional Teaching Course: Ohrid, FYRO Macedonia
May 23: Scientific Conference – new challenges and opportunities for the treatment of brain diseases: Riga, Latvia
May 25 – 27: European Society of Neurosonology and Cerebral Hemodynamics: Porto, Portugal
May 28 – 31: European Stroke Congress: London, UK
University Foundation of the University of Amsterdam: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Meetings organised by national neurological societies:
May 9 – 10: Irish Society of Neurology
May 15 – 18: Romanian Society of Neurology
May 16 – 19: Bulgarian Society of Neurology
May 21 – 24: Association of British Neurologists
May 23 – 24: Belarus Scientific Society of Neurologists
The costs of brain diseases in Europe have reached 800 billion dollars a year, more than those of diseases of any other organ or system. We should persuade governments, charities and citizens that the European, national and voluntary contributions to care of research into neurological and psychiatric disease should at least match those for other diseases. The anatomy and physiology of the body combine to protect the nervous system. The Month of the Brain provides the opportunity to make sure that our political and societal policies focus on protecting the brains of Europe.