Brain and Mental Health For All: A Manifesto

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We want precision medicine for brain and mental diseases.
We are the Women’s Brain Project.

We are here to transform healthcare.
We are the Women’s Brain Project.

Brain and mental health for all is not a utopia but a necessity – and in our belief, a realistic goal. But to achieve it, the current approach will not work. We need a fundamental paradigm shift. We launched the Women’s Brain Project in 2016 to bring sex and gender differences in mental health to the centre of scientific debate, but also to the general population. We are convinced that the scientific world has so far dealt too little with this issue, just assuming that a one-size-fits-all approach would benefit all. In fact, it doesn’t, and it might even harm some – according to one report, 8 out of 10 drugs are withdrawn from the market because they cause more severe effects in women than men.

Health begins with human beings, individuals – Men and women are different when it comes to brain and mental disease frequency, severity, symptomatology and even response to treatments. Men and women also differ in the way they experience or are exposed to health risks. Thanks to our efforts, the scientific community is starting to take note. We have shown the world that in diseases like Alzheimer’s for instance, women progress faster than men and show different levels of biomarkers. Our goal is to clearly identify such differences in diseases, diagnostic, and treatments, as well as novel technologies, and leverage them for better solutions. We ask for better clinical outcomes, better care, and innovative artificial intelligence (AI)-based solutions. Sex and gender differences are the first steps towards precision medicine, which acknowledges the specific needs of each patient.

Brain and mental health are not a luxury – Everyone should receive the treatment and care that is necessary for him/her/them as a person. However, stigma and taboo often prevent people from getting the right support, and often, this happens because of gendered stereotypes. For instance, women’s pain symptoms often go untreated and are attributed to generic anxiety; men might not want to seek treatment for migraine as this is perceived as a ‘female’ disease. We want to change that.

Brain and mental health form the basis of all social and economic development – and precision medicine will make is sustainable. Brain and mental diseases currently affect 450 million individuals (that’s 1 in 4 worldwide!) and will cost $16 trillion by 2030! For several diseases, like Alzheimer’s, there is no cure, and treatments are merely symptomatic. We propose a completely new approach, based on precision medicine and powered by AI, to change the way patients are diagnosed and treated.

That’s why we want to create the first Sex and Gender Precision Medicine Institute in Switzerland. We want to advance the studies in this field, and collaborate with drug developers, innovators, policy makers, patients, and regulators to move towards a more sustainable and inclusive healthcare system.

We, the Women’s Brain Project, dedicate ourselves to brain and mental health.

Join us, join WBP, join the movement for better brain and mental health for all.

 

Tell us in the comments below why brain & mental health matters to you, and so we know you’re on board!

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