Improving brain health at every stage of life, from a person’s earliest years of development to their oldest years, is the focus of a new national effort by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals. To mark this effort, the AAN worked with U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) and Morgan Griffith (R-Virginia) to introduce a resolution to designate September 15, 2022, as “National Brain Health Day,” the same day top neurologists and health officials are gathering at the first-ever AAN Brain Health Summit.
A special editorial about the AAN Brain Health Summit, published in the September 14, 2022, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the AAN, explains how the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated concerns about brain health due to the many neurologic complications with long COVID, as well as a growing public interest in how to keep a healthy brain.
“You only get one brain—and how to keep it healthy over your lifetime—is at the core of a newly evolving field of preventative neurology,” said Orly Avitzur, MD, MBA, FAAN, President of the American Academy of Neurology. “Neurologists who treat diseases and disorders like brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, migraine, epilepsy and stroke, are uniquely positioned as brain health experts to evolve the field of preventative neurology and help the nation improve brain health.”
The editorial explains the AAN Brain Health Summit will convene leading experts, key public and private sector stakeholders and policymakers in the United States to shape the future of care and develop a collaborative approach to ensure brain health as a key component of the overall health of individuals and communities. Participants will discuss brain health over the lifespan and outline current and future needs for research, education and advocacy to achieve a future of optimal brain health for all.
Since its founding in 1948, the AAN has demonstrated its commitment to brain health, most notably through its award-winning magazine, Brain & Life®, which has engaged nearly 100 celebrities, such as Michael J. Fox, Gloria Estefan, Sharon Stone and Renée Zellweger, to share their personal stories about the effects of brain disease or how they support brain health. Along with its suite of products—the website BrainandLife.org, Brain & Life® en Español, the Brain & Life® Books series and the Brain & Life Podcast—it has reached an estimated two million people worldwide in 2022.
“Designed as a call to action to raise awareness and improve understanding of brain diseases and the importance of maintaining a healthy brain, the American Academy of Neurology Brain Health Summit is intended to set the stage to enable the public to become better educated in brain health during every stage of life,” said Avitzur. “Despite a growing number of local, national and global brain health initiatives created to promote disease prevention and advance research, no singular medical or allied profession has ever been able to curate whole brain health. We believe that neurology, bolstered by the vast experience of the AAN in public education, is the ideal profession to lead this effort.”