An initiative of the European Federation of Neurological Associations
In the 2019-2024 mandate, the Interest Group is focusing on the following thematic areas:
Eradicate stigma, isolation and discrimination:
Ensure equitable access to treatment, services, and support:
Promote patient empowerment for increased engagement:
Background to the MEP Interest Group on Brain Health and Neurological Conditions
The MEP Interest Group on Brain, Mind and Pain was launched in 2015 as an initiative of the European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA) and Pain Alliance Europe (PAE). Between 2015 – 2022, nearly 20 events were held, putting the Interest Group’s priorities on the EU agenda. Many other initiatives were conducted such as the Book of Evidence, surveys, policy recommendations, EP written questions etc.
The MEP Interest Group on Brain Health and Neurological Conditions – a continuation of the earlier Interest Group – is an initiative of the European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA), who will provide secretariat to the Group.
The MEP Interest Group aims to raise political awareness of the impact of neurological conditions in Europe. It encourages patient-centric policy solutions aiming to prioritise these disorders, decrease stigma, increase access to treatment, encourage research, promote patient empowerment, and improve quality of life overall. As an initiative led by a patient organisation, the Interest Group’s work and recommendations aim to ensure that its policy solutions align with patients’ preferences and that their meaningful involvement is enshrined and supported in all arising policy actions.
Brain health is an evolving concept, attracting increasing attention not only from the health sector but also from wider society. The brain and central nervous system are the command centre of the human body, controlling both conscious and unconscious body functions and thereby influencing every aspect of life. If our brains are challenged by disease or other factors, this poses significant risks not only to an individual’s overall health and well-being, but also to global development.
Neurological conditions affect the central and/or peripheral nervous system and include neuro-degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, cerebrovascular diseases including stroke, neuroinfectious/neuro-immunological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, along with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. They also encompass well known diseases such as migraine and epilepsy, as well as many rare and neglected diseases.
Neurological conditions tend to be chronic, life-long conditions. As such, they require coordinated, multidisciplinary, integrated management and rehabilitation; delivered through a stepped model of care. Across the neurological disorders there is a major lack of awareness – many are neglected and, even, contested. This leads to stigma, discrimination and limited access to treatment, services and supports.
It is estimated that 1 in 3 people will develop a neurological condition at some point in their life, making them the leading cause of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and the 2nd leading cause of death globally. In Europe, they are the 3rd leading cause of death and DALYs.
The cost of neurological conditions in Europe is €336 billion annually – and growing.
Due to their immense burden, neurological and mental health conditions were added to the list of priority non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018.
With the NCD Initiative and the Global action plan set in motion, the European community is now presented with a unique window of opportunity to provide an integrated and cross-sectorial response to neurological health. Investing in this holistic model can bring measurable health and economic gains to European countries. This includes decreasing the incidence of brain health and neurological conditions, improving survival rates, reducing complications and disability, lowering treatment costs and – ultimately – ensuring a better quality of life for all those affected.
To drive this agenda forward, the MEP Interest Group on Brain Health and Neurological Conditions will provide an advocacy platform for stakeholders from across the brain health and neurology communities, with the patient voice at its core.
Dear Members of the European Parliament,
Please register your support for the MEP Interest Group on Brain, Mind and Pain by digitally signing here.
You might also consider downloading the PDF version of our signature card to print, sign and share in a photograph on social media!
You can tag us on Twitter at @EUneurology, or send an email with your image to advocacy[at]efna.net, which we will share on your behalf.
The MEP Interest Group on Brain, Mind and Pain is co-chaired by:
- Jeroen Lenaers
- Tilly Metz, Greens
- Jaroslaw Duda
- Katarina Konecná
- Sirpa Pietikäinen
- Alex Agius Saliba
Register of Supporters for the 2019-2024 mandate:
The below events took place during the current Parliamentary term, under the Interest Group’s former title, the MEP Interest Group on Brain, Mind and Pain:
- Addressing gender related issues and bias in the prevention and treatment of neurological conditions
Nov 29th, 2022 – European Parliament, Brussels
- Turning principles into actions: best practice in reducing health inequalities
Nov 19th, 2021 – Virtual Event
- Achieving health equity after the Covid-19 pandemic
June 15th, 2021 – Virtual Event
- The future of brain, mind and pain advocacy
Nov 10th, 2020 – Virtual Event
- Ensuring equitable access to treatment, services and support
Nov 22nd, 2019 – European Parliament, Brussels
- Fighting Discrimination at Work for those affected by neurological disorders and chronic pain conditions
March 6th, 2019 – European Parliament, Brussels
Publications of the former MEP Interest Group on Brain, Mind and Pain:
The Book of Evidence – download here
The Book of Evidence (BoE) is a key policy document focusing on Brain, Mind and Pain (BMP) disorders. It is a highly valuable and important document, which points to the urgent need for more focus on the many issues surrounding BMP disorders. It is a must read for policy makers, patient groups, and the broader stakeholder community alike.
- Appendix 1 – Eradicate Stigma Isolation and Discrimination
- Appendix 2 – Access to Treatment Services and Support
- Appendix 3 – Patient Empowerment for Increased Involvement and Engagement