Swedish Care International is the official driver of the #BeBrainPowerful campaign in Sweden. The campaign was announced at our third biennial summit Dementia Forum X in May 2019 in the presence of HM Queen Silvia of Sweden, HM Queen Sofia of Spain, Princess Takamado of Japan and Princess Sophia of Sweden.
We interviewed Sophie Lu-Axelsson, Director of Venture Development at Swedish Care International, to learn more about the history of the #BeBrainPowerful campaign and how things are coming along ahead of the Swedish launch this fall.
What is the #BBP campaign?
The #BeBrainPowerful campaign was launched in November 2018 in the United States by our partner UsAgainstAlzehimer’s. UsAgainstAlzherimer’s is a major Alzheimer’s advocacy organization. Together with their women’s network – WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s – a smart and practical consumer-focused campaign was developed to drive awareness, discussion and behavior change in how women’s brain health is approached.
The #BeBrainPowerful campaign challenges women to see, think and talk about brain health in open, dynamic forums while encouraging its prioritization as much as eating well, drinking enough water and getting enough sleep.
Who is the #BBP for?
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, a woman’s estimated lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s at age 65 is 1 in 5. In fact, women in their 60s are more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as they are to develop breast cancer. In America, two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer’s are women. With this over-representation of women in memory loss diseases, the #BeBrainPowerful campaign was created specifically to give women of all ages the knowledge and power to begin making a difference for themselves today through small, healthy habit adoptions over time; and also, for the study of the disease’s impact for future generations.
That said, there is a real gap between our growing enthusiasm to address women’s brain health and knowing how to do that concretely and practically.
A recent survey of 1001 women showed that only 12% of women believe that brain health is relevant for older people. While this is promising and demonstrates that younger women are aware of brain health, only 8% bring the topic up for discussion on a regular basis. 64% responded that they are worried about their brain health as they age and 68% said that they would like to know more about brain health care and tracking. There is even a desire amongst 67% of respondents to ask health care providers to measure brain health or ask for advice in maintaining and protecting the brain.
However, we have a long way to go. Only 45% of the women felt that they have the toolkit to take preventive and proactive measures to protect their brain health; and 17% claimed that they take steps to protect the brain health of their parents, such as encouraging them to eat healthfully, sleep well and engage socially.
#BBP was created to build a knowledge database of research and normalize the discussion around this area. It is enormously rewarding to be a part of this initiative and I’m excited to be a contributor to this change.
Sweden has a long track record of world-class neuroscience and behavior research.
SCI is extremely fortunate to have Dr. Miia Kivipelto, Professor of Clinical Geriatric Epidemiology at the Dept of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society at the Karolinska Institute, as a Board Member. She is one of the world’s most in-demand experts in the area of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Critically, and what makes this so exciting about the #BeBrainPowerful Sweden campaign, Dr. Kivipelto leads the Worldwide FINGER Study which focuses on the effectiveness of preventive measures in reducing the incidence of cognitive decline. This study was led by Dr. Kivipelto between 2013-2015 and continues to be the world’s largest multidimensional study of lifestyle interventions.
Dr. Kivipelto is one of the strongest voices for risk-reduction approaches that can and should be incorporated into our daily lives. Despite there being no disease-modifying treatments, within the cognitive decline focus, there is still much that one can do to make a difference. A reasonable diet, regular exercise, and brain training are some ways to keep our brains in shape in our later years.
We will be asking women throughout Sweden to participate in the 30 Day Health Challenge and Risk Reduction segments (based on the FINGER study) as a gauge not only for themselves but also as a contribution to the larger body of research. It is only with large amounts of data, that we will be able to understand Alzheimer’s and other memory loss diseases more clearly. Our campaign will be asking Swedish women to download an app that can provide support, guidance and validated methods to better brain health, through our partnership with Geras Solutions. This will seamlessly add to the tens of thousands of data sets FINGER has today and hopefully lead to new discovers or perhaps even a cure for dementia. Within the app, women are empowered to track their health and development and ultimately contribute to the body of knowledge for researchers meaningfully looking for a cure.
What are the next steps?
We will officially launch the Swedish version of the campaign in November 2019. The gears are rolling, and exciting initiatives are in line for the launch. On our social media channels, we will be engaging in the 30-day brain-health challenge centered around risk reduction measures. SCI is working with like-minded organizations that are committed to the prioritization of brain health within their teams and as part of their overall corporate values.
Anybody can participate in the brain-health challenge, but we encourage organizations to go one step further and become a voice for the campaign. By doing so, businesses can become change-makers to drive a positive and normalized discussion of women’s brain health. By harnessing the power of community, helping to drive research and taking concrete steps towards prioritizing brain health, we can make great strides towards healthier, empowered and more inclusive societies.
If your organization believes in the campaign’s mission to lead a movement for a better tomorrow, contact Sophie Lu-Axelsson, Director of Venture Development at +46722461096 or email@example.com to learn more about becoming a change-maker.