World Brain Day 2016 – The ageing brain


The World Federation of Neurology (WFN) invites the people to observe the World Brain Day for the third time in 2016. This year’s motto is “The ageing brain”. The focus lies on prevention of and dealing with the neurological diseases stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, since the risk to fall ill with them increases with age.

Image: Graphic of a neuron, that is connected with many other neurons via synapses. The synapses are glowing at several points; Copyright:

Neurons and synapses are very important for the brain to fully function; ©

The brain is the human control center. All decisions that we make, all information that we get –everything runs together and is processed within seconds in the brain. This is possible through approximately 100 billion nerve cells and circa 100 trillion synapses.

Thus, it has severe consequences for the patient when the human control center is damaged. Neuronal diseases like stroke, Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease can do a lot of damage. Although they can appear at every age, the probability to fall ill with them increases with age. Consequently, it is important to know how to prevent them, but also how to handle these diseases – for the patients and for the relatives.

Image: A red head that is composed of many small gearwheels. The back of the head is losing its gearwheels, so that the shape of the head is disappearing; Copyright:

With neurological diseases like Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease neurons are dying. The result: The brain is working poorly; © lightsource

Poor blood flow to the brain and other causes result in the death of the nerve cells, so that the brain’s functions become partly or completely disrupted. The consequences are for example paralysis and numbness in case of stroke, memory loss and aphasia in case of Alzheimer’s disease and muscle stiffness and tremors in case of Parkinson’s disease.

But before all of this happens, it is possible – at least partially – to prevent these diseases. This is because many other factors play a significant role, apart from proceeding age. Therefore, it is important to “train” the brain. This means to stay mentally active by reading, doing mental exercises and similar activities and to remain socially active and to engage in social and leisure activities. A healthy diet with many fruits and vegetables, but with less sugar and fat, as well as staying physically active, are likewise of significance. Continuity, variety and fun are important here.

You can find more information about the World Brain Day 2016 at the official campaign page ( and in social media with the hashtag #WorldBrainDay.

Another campaign is #UnderTheUmbrella. It wants to raise awareness of the impact and prevalence of brain disorders. You can find more information at the officicial homepage (