It’s time we started to Think Brain Health. Here’s why.
What is Think Brain Health?
Think Brain Health is a public awareness and engagement campaign from Alzheimer’s Research UK developed from late 2019 and launched in January 2021. The campaign is designed to build an appreciation among the public – particularly those in their 40s and 50s – about the importance of good brain health, and how taking positive steps can help reduce the risk of dementia later on.
Why is this campaign needed?
In developing the campaign, we undertook research with the public through both extensive polling and discussion group work. We know from our Dementia Attitudes Monitor that awareness of the potential to reduce dementia risk is relatively low. Only 34% of people think it’s possible to reduce their risk, compared to 81% of people who realise it’s possible to reduce their risk of diabetes and 77% for heart disease. But the opportunity for dementia risk reduction is huge, with the 2020 Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention finding that 40% of worldwide cases could be down to risk factors that we may be able to influence.
Further research, in partnership with the Royal Society of Public Health, revealed that, although only a third of people realise they can influence their dementia risk, over two thirds of people believe they can influence their brain health. At Alzheimer’s Research UK, we see good brain health as making the most of your brain and helping to reduce some risks to it as you age, including the risk of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s. So we’ve developed our campaign around brain health to speak to people in a way in which they might be more ready to engage.
What are you trying to achieve?
Ultimately, we want everyone to know the key ingredients to good brain health and to empower them to act on that knowledge. But we know that kind of change takes time and scale. In the first instance, we just want to help people understand that dementia is not inevitable and that we may be able to influence our risk of developing it.
We know that 60% of dementia cases are linked to risk factors including our age and genes, which sadly, we can’t change. But the remaining 40% represents millions of people worldwide having a chance of avoiding the heartbreak of dementia in their future. That’s worth all of our efforts to realise.
We will roll out Think Brain Health over time, learning as we go, and working with likeminded partners who want to celebrate and protect the nation’s brain health. We also plan to introduce more signposting and resources on this site over the time.
Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Think Brain Health campaign is distinct from the Think Brain Health Global initiative, which is advocating internationally for greater public awareness, clinical and research action around brain health. As our missions are aligned, Alzheimer's Research UK sits on the steering committee, with developments and findings shared in both directions.