Brain awareness week

This March, from the 11th till 17th, extra attention is being paid to the brain because it is Brain Awareness Week! This is an international campaign to raise awareness about the importance of healthy brains and research into brain disorders. Multiple universities, hospitals, research institutes, patient associations, and other organizations worldwide are drawing extra attention to these themes.

Brain Awareness Week has several goals: firstly, to provide people with information about the brain, brain diseases, brain research, and mental disorders. This can range from lectures to workshops and/or exhibitions. Additionally, this campaign promotes the importance of healthy brains and encourages healthy lifestyles to maintain brain health and reduce the risk of brain disorders such as dementia. As a third focal point, the campaign promotes collaboration between scientists, educators, healthcare professionals, policymakers, and society to discuss progress in brain research and find solutions to challenges in brain research. This ensures that scientists are engaged in research that is in the interest of patients and aligns with the needs of caring for people with brain disorders. The campaign also advocates for funding for brain research and ensures better available care for people with brain disorders.

The Dutch Brain Foundation (Hersenstichting) their mission is 'Healthy brains for everyone!'. The goal is to prevent, treat brain disorders, and enable people to participate in society. They do this by funding research and innovations, providing information, and putting the importance of our brains on the agenda everywhere. They also note that the number of people with a brain disorder will increase in the coming years: "For example, the RIVM predicts a doubling of the number of people with dementia by 2040. And 54% more strokes." [Hersenstichting Goal and Mission].

The Hersenstichting and Alzheimer Netherlands also provide a lot of information on what you can do yourself to reduce the risk of a brain disorder by looking at your own lifestyle. Basically, the rule of thumb is; what is good for your heart is also good for your brain and vice versa [Alzheimer Netherlands]. This includes sufficient exercise [Hersenstichting], reducing stress, getting enough sleep, adopting healthy eating habits, reducing salt intake, using medication to lower high blood pressure if you have it, avoiding obesity and preventing type 2 diabetes, quitting smoking, reducing or quitting alcohol use, using medication to lower cholesterol if you have high cholesterol, challenging and stimulating your brain with new things, and ensuring you have enough meaningful social contacts. In short, you can try to keep your brain healthy in several ways.

It's great that with Bike Labyrinth, you're training on multiple fronts; you stimulate your circulation and engage in physical activity by cycling. You are mentally engaged because with each new route and discovery, you provide new stimuli to your brain, and with routes through a nostalgic environment, you stimulate your brain by recalling memories. And when you cycle with others and chat about what you see while cycling, you also work on your social contacts. So, it's hitting three birds with one stone!