Lundbeck Magazine 2021

Brain Basics: Leveraging Our Brain Expertise to Advocate for Better Brain Health

The brain is one of the largest and most complex organs in the human body which is responsible for directing all actions in the body1 (think, do, feel).It is made of billions of nerve fibers (white matter),3 more than 85 Bn neurons (gray matter), which transmit information and communicate with various parts of the body in trillions of connections (synapses).4, 5

Did you know?

2%

The brain is a soft mass of supportive tissues and

nerves (6) which measures circa 15 cm (7), making up 2% of

a human’s body weight. (8)

75%

It is composed 75% of water, protein and fat (9), and its average weight varies between 1.1-1.3 Kg (compared to the human heart which weights 700gr, the skin which weights 4.5 Kg and like the liver which weights 1.5Kg) (10).There is no correlation between brain’s size and intelligence.(11)

20%

The brain requires about 20% of the body’s oxygen and 25% of the body’s glucose to function (12), compared to the heart which requires 11% of oxygen. (13)

20 watts

The brain runs on only about 20 watts of energy, thes ame wattage as an energy-saving light bulb. (14)

*

There are more synapses in the human brain than starsin the Milky Way galaxy. (15)

85 Bn

The brain is made of more than 85 Bn neurons, while a fruit fly has 100,000 neurons, a chimpanzee has 7 Bn neurons and an elephant has 23 Bn neurons.(16) Because of the folds in the human brain, humans have more neurons per unit volume than other animals. (17)

5

There are five brain health protective factors: healthy eating, regular exercise, keeping your brain active, getting enough sleep, and social connections. (18)

“Brain health conditions are heterogeneous with more than 600 brain diseases20 and impacting close to half of the world’s population” i
There are five risk factors of brain health conditions: accidents, alcohol intake, smoking, the improper use of medicines (e.g. medication overuse), health conditions (e.g. diabetes, heart disease, sleep problems).19
Brain health conditions impacts almost 3 Bn people worldwide.21 This is close to half of the world’s population.ii From these 3Bn, 2.659 Bn22 people are impacted by neurological conditions (e.g. migraine, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, etc), 970.1M people are impacted by mental health conditions (e.g. depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, psychoses) and 161.5M by substance abuse.
Brain disorders cost 10% of the world’s GDP23. In the US, 3 out of 5 Americans will develop a brain disease in their lifetime.24 Costing almost €800 Bn annually25 in Europe, brain diseases are the most prevalent, disabling and account for 80% of the Non-Communicable Diseases’ burden.26    

Definition of Terms

Brain Disease / Brain Health Conditions

Brain disorders include any conditions or disabilities that affect your brain. (27) Brain health conditions emerge throughout the life course and are characterized by disruptions in normal brain growth and/or brain functioning. (28)

 

Brain Health

Optimal brain health can be defined as an optimal capacity to function adaptively in the environment. (29)

 

Brain health encompasses neural development, plasticity, functioning, and recovery across the life course. Numerous interconnected social and biological determinants play a role in brain health from pre-conception through the end of life. (30)

 

Neuroscience

The scientific study of the nervous system and the brain. (31)

 

i  Taken into account that approximately 25% of people accounted to be impacted by more than one type of brain health condition, we have adjusted the total prevalence of brain disorders for estimated co-morbidity between neurological, mental health and substance abuse disorders based on analysis of the Truven Marketscan U.S. Claims database (2019).
ii  Taken into account that approximately 25% of people accounted to be impacted by more than one type of brain health condition, we have adjusted the total prevalence of brain disorders for estimated co-morbidity between neurological, mental health and substance abuse disorders based on analysis of the Truven Marketscan U.S. Claims database (2019).

 

1. Matthew Hoffman, Picture of the Brain, Human Anatomy, 2014 WebMD, accessed 30 December 2019

2. The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, Answering Your Questions About The Brain, 2016, accessed Nov 2020

3. T.Lewis, Human Brain: Facts, Functions & Anatomy, Live Science, September 28, 2018

4. T.Lewis, Human Brain: Facts, Functions & Anatomy, Live Science, September 28, 2018

5. K.Cherry, The Size of the Human Brain: The size of the brain may not always indicate a measure of intelligence, VeryWellMind.com, Updated on October 2019, accessed in December 2019

6. How the Brain Works, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Brain Tumor Center, John Hopkins Medicine, accessed December 2019

7. K.Cherry, The Size of the Human Brain: The size of the brain may not always indicate a measure of intelligence, VeryWellMind.com, updated on October 2019, accessed in December 2019

8. T.Lewis, Human Brain: Facts, Functions & Anatomy, Live Science, September 28, 2018

9. K.Cherry, 9 Quick Facts About the Brain, VeryWellMind.com, updated on June 2019, accessed in December 2019

10. Top 10: What are the heaviest organs in the human body?, Science Focus, Accessed January 2020

11. T.Lewis, Human Brain: Facts, Functions & Anatomy, Live Science, September 28, 2018

12. K.Cherry, 9 Quick Facts About the Brain, VeryWellMind.com, updated on June 2019, accessed in December 2019

13. Study.com, Which organ of the body uses the most oxygen?, accessed January 2020

14. James L. Olds, National Science Foundation, Exploring the unknown frontier of the brain, April 2015, Accessed December 2020

15. The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, Answering Your Questions About The Brain, 2016, accessed Nov 2020

16. K.Cherry and C.Chaves, How Many Neurons Are in the Brain?, VeryWellMind.com, Updated on June 11, 2019, accessed in December 2019

17. T.Lewis, Human Brain: Facts, Functions & Anatomy, Live Science, September 28, 2018

18. Administration for Community Living (ACL); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC); and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Talking about Brain Health and Ageing: the basics, , 2014 and updated in 2018

19. Administration for Community Living (ACL); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC); and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Talking about Brain Health and Ageing: the basics, 2014 and updated in 2018

20. L. Reed-Guy and Seunggu Han, Brain Disorders, HealthLine, 2017, Accessed January 2020

21. GBD 2019 Diseases and Injuries Collaborators, Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990–2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study2019, Lancet 2020; Oct 17;396(10258):1204-1222. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30925-9,accessed March 2021

22. GBD 2019 Diseases and Injuries Collaborators, Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990–2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study2019, Lancet 2020; Oct 17;396(10258):1204-1222. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30925-9,accessed March 2021

23. Henry Markram, Seven challenges for neuroscience, Funct Neurol. 2013 Jul-Sep; 28(3): 145 – 151.Accessed December 2020

24. American Heart Association, Health Topics à Brain Health accessed in December 2019, https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/brain-health

25. Olesen J et al. The economic cost of brain disorders in Europe. Eur J Neurol.2012; 19(1):155-62(ISSN: 1468-1331) Economic burden of cancer across the European Union: a population-based cost analysis (2009)

26. A.Raggi, M.Leonardi Burden of brain disorders in Europe in 2017 and comparison with other non-communicable disease groups, British Medical Journal, Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, January 2020 – Vol 91 – 1

27. L. Reed-Guy and Seunggu Han, Brain Disorders, HealthLine, 2017, Accessed January 2020

28. WHO, Health Topics, Brain Health, Accessed December 2020

29. AHA/ASA Presidential Advisory, Defining Optimal Brain Health in Adults A Presidential AdvisoryFrom the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association, Stroke DOI: 10.1161/STR.0000000000000148, 2017, Accessed January 2020

30. WHO, Health Topics, Brain Health, Accessed December 2020

31. Cambridge Dictionary, definition of Neuroscience, accessed in March 2021

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