On 18 November in Warsaw the first „European Day of the Brain. Ageing, Stroke and Alzheimer’s Disease - Finding Innovative Solutions” is taking place. The expert conference is organised by the Polish Ministry of Health in cooperation with the European Brain Council. The conference is dedicated to the implementation of the second health priority of the Polish Presidency, i.e. the prevention of brain and neurodegenerative diseases – including Alzheimer’s.
As the President of the Council of the EU, Poland draws attention to the threat to the health of European societies posed by the rising incidence of brain diseases – particularly in the context of the constantly ageing society.
The priority related to combatting ageing-associated diseases, including brain diseases, aims at demonstrating the need to face the challenges of the ageing society to the financial stability of healthcare systems.
Polandis of the opinion that it is necessary to increase expenditure on brain research and the better use and improved accessibility to research outputs, and innovation in diagnostics and treatment. It is also very important to constantly remind ourselves of the demographic and health challenges constituted by ageing-associated diseases.
In developing a strategy of combatting health problems in old age, it is necessary to combine the issue of demographic ageing with the necessity to ensure proper and adequate healthcare and social assistance. This mainly concerns a multisectoral approach to the problem, based on integrating activities in the field of health, social policy, science, and innovation.
Europe’s ageing societies constitute a serious threat to the good state of health and well-being of EU citizens. Great progress has recently been made in medicine in the field of treating metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, but at the same time dementia and brain diseases in old age are the greatest threats to dignified, peaceful, and independent life.
The increasing number of elderly people, the chronic course of dementia complexes and post-stroke disabilities make treatment and care not just a medical, but a social and economic problem.
About 70,000 people suffer from strokes in Poland every year, and there are about 400 thousand cases of dementia. The most common cause of dementia in old age is Alzheimer’s. 250 thousand people suffer from this disease in Poland (it is expected that by 2020 the incidence will reach about 1 million).
These numbers show that it is necessary to adopt measures to prevent the quality of life of ageing people from deteriorating. The implementation of this objective should lead to increased public understanding and awareness of ageing-associated diseases, thereby limiting stigmatisation, marginalisation, and social exclusion of elderly people.
The objectives related to the abovementioned problems include, in particular, the improvement of the still unsatisfactory quality of healthcare of people with ageing-associated diseases, especially brain diseases, as well as psychological, social, and organisational assistance provided to families and guardians, and the prioritisation of ageing-associated diseases.
The implementation of the priority primarily consists in an information campaign at the national and European levels, related to improving social awareness of the health and social needs of elderly people and the continuation of work on EU documents concerning the combatting of brain diseases.
As part of the work of the Polish Presidency, a summary will be provided of the measures carried out to date and submitted suggestions of new solutions based on European standards, and connected in particular with the health aspect of care over elderly people with neurodegenerative disorders or those who have suffered a stroke – for example in the form of a strategy for combatting ageing-associated diseases. Important objectives within the framework of the priority also include actions aimed at declaring 2014 the European Year of the Brain. Participants in the conference will also adopt a special post-conference conclusion (draft conclusion attached). Information and conclusions arising from the conference will also be presented during the EPSCO Council of EU Health Ministers in December.
Draft post-conference conclusion