27,500 took part in brain health survey
The survey was translated into 14 languages and conducted online to reach as many respondents as possible. The first research results are expected in spring 2021.
Brain health is about our ability to function cognitively and mentally and take care of our brain, and is important to live a healthy life.
The Lifebrain project and seven organisations are responsible for the survey, led by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
"We are delighted with the response. We received many more responses than we expected, and this is probably the largest ever survey on brain health," says the leader of the study, Dr Isabelle Budin Ljøsne at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
Increased knowledge triggers interest
While cardiovascular disease and cancer have received enormous attention in recent decades, brain diseases and brain health have been neglected, even though brain diseases account for a large share of the burden of disease in society.
"As we learn more about how the brain works, and with brain disorders accounting increasingly in the global burden of disease, I expect that brain health will receive more attention in the future. In that sense, our survey is timely and can provide useful information on how to promote brain health in a way that fits into people’s daily lives," explains Dr Budin Ljøsne.
First study of its kind
The Global Brain Health Survey is the first to collect data from around the world on people's perceptions of brain health and their willingness to care for their brain by changing their lifestyle (1).
Participants were asked, among other things, what motivates them to care for their brain health, and which public health measures can help people adopt lifestyle changes that are positive for the brain.
"The study also looked at what people purposefully do for their brain health, how motivated they are to take tests to learn about their brain health, which activities they are willing (or not willing) to engage in for their brain health, and what kind of support they would need to make lifestyle changes. We hope that the data from this survey will help us develop useful recommendations," says Dr Budin Ljøsne.
165 million Europeans have a brain disease
In Europe alone, it is estimated that 165 million people live with a brain disease (2). Diseases such as dementia, stroke, Parkinson's disease, depression, anxiety and schizophrenia cause enormous suffering worldwide and represent a significant burden on families and societies.
"Research shows that it is possible to prevent brain diseases through diet, physical activity and sleep to a certain extent," says Dr Budin Ljøsne (3).
Task in the Lifebrain project
The Global Brain Health Survey is part of the Lifebrain project (4) and is carried out in collaboration with national brain councils in Norway, Germany and Belgium, the Swedish Brain Foundation, Brain Foundation Netherlands, the Women's Brain Project and the National University of Ostroh Academy in Ukraine. Isabelle Budin Ljøsne from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health is leading the study.
The Lifebrain project is a 5-year EU research project in the Horizon2020 program, which combines data from 11 European research databases. The project aims to explore factors that affect brain health: environment, social conditions, work and lifestyle. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health is a partner in the Lifebrain project.