The impact of brain disorders and mental illness
In the Netherlands, one in four people has been diagnosed with a brain disorder or mental illness. This includes migraines, anxiety disorders, epilepsy and less common disorders. Many of the conditions in which the brain plays a role arise early in life and can cause lifelong problems for those concerned. But brain disorders can also arise later in life. These disorders include acquired brain injury and neurodegenerative disorders. More research is needed in this area to improve brain health.
Acquired brain injury
People with acquired brain injury suffer from a variety of symptoms, such as memory problems or behavioural changes. Illness, an accident, or a stroke are examples of causes of acquired brain injury. To be able to improve the support for people with acquired brain injury, we now offer professionals 5 products as part of the Gewoon Bijzonder (Simply Special) programme.
Neurodegenerative disorders are marked by the loss of nerve cells. Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson' s disease are the most common neurodegenerative disorders.
In Parkinson's disease, there is a loss of neurons that make dopamine, which can result in problems with movement and mental processes. We hope that our research will help us to improve our understanding, the treatment and the care of Parkinson's disease. Our research is conducted within the national Parkinson's disease programme (in Dutch) and the international JPND Programme.
The brain and mental health
The brain and mental health are inseparable. The environment always plays a part in the onset of problems, but mental illness also has its origins in the brain, as is sometimes the case in depression or autism. This is why we can also look for a solution in the brain. Traditionally, there is a division between neurology and neuroscience for the brain, and psychiatry and psychology for mental health. But the Nationaal Plan Hoofdzaken (in Dutch) (National Brain Plan) does away with this division and focuses on links. It is a programme with synergy between disciplines and domains. In this way, we aim to better understand, prevent, treat and, if possible, cure brain and mental disorders.
Supporting brain health through lifestyle
How can you improve your brain health through healthy living, and in doing so, prevent diseases such as dementia? This was the key question in a successful campaign in the Dutch province of Limburg. The campaign reached one in four Limburgers through the Mijn Breincoach (in Dutch) (My Brain Coach) app, which was filled with fun lifestyle and brain facts. Read more about preventing dementia.
Medicines for brain disorders
How effective is the medication that you are taking? And is it safe and appropriate? Research is needed to answer these questions. See the projects on medicines and the brain (in Dutch).
Participating in brain research
Would you be interested in helping solve brain disorders by participating in research? Or are you looking for participants for your research? The hersenonderzoek.nl platform (in Dutch), funded by the Memorable programme, can offer a solution. The platform helps researchers find their test subjects more quickly, which means that the research projects are less likely to be delayed. In this way, we can create impact faster for people with brain disorders.