On the preparation of the national Brain Health Programme
The Board of Directors of the Finnish Brain Association, which turns 45 this year, decided at the end of last September to launch preparations for the national Brain Health Programme. The preparation coordinated by the Finnish Brain Association and utilising a joint development approach is guided and described by the notion: “What the brain likes and what it needs”.
In the preparation of the programme, the subject is not approached through traditional risk factor thinking, but the emphasis is placed on the importance of protective factors and factors promoting the well-being of the brain and, therefore, particularly on health. At the same time, a balance between the chosen approach and the more traditional thinking involving, for example, risk factors is naturally sought, to come up with a programme that is as concrete and feasible as possible and creates added human and social value – along with measurable impact objectives and outcome objectives required to achieve them.
On the basis of the work done so far, the idea is that, at least in this process, brain health could be defined along the lines of WHO’s updated definition as follows: “Brain health encompasses the perspectives of neural development, brain plasticity, brain function and recovery throughout life. The promotion of brain health enhances an individual’s ability to cognitively, emotionally and functionally increase their control over their life.” In this context, the suitability/usability of the concepts of well-being and health will also be considered.
It has been decided that, during spring 2022, the practical work will be continued from three complementary perspectives: children/young people (families), the working-age population and the elderly population. (In addition, there is a kind of option of a cross-sectional perspective of diagnosis/treatment/rehabilitation.) Working groups focusing on each perspective consisting of Finnish brain health experts have been called together. Their work is coordinated by the Finnish Brain Association in cooperation with its coordination partners and their task is to draw up a proposal on the programme’s impact and outcome objectives from the perspective of the age group in question. The coordination partner of the Finnish Brain Association for the children/young people working group is the Itla Children’s Foundation, for the working-age population group, Tampere Universities’ Sustainable Brain Health research group and for the elderly population group GEREC Gerontology Research Center. In addition, E2 Research has prepared an international survey on “How brain health has been studied” to complement the working groups’ work.
The work on the programme’s implementation plan is scheduled to start at the end of May after the final decision on the programme’s impact and outcome objectives has been made on the basis of the proposals of the three working groups mentioned above. The programme is expected to be completely finished by the end of 2022 and its implementation period is expected to last until the end of 2029.