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Brain Capital: A new economic and investment approach

Brain Capital is a new model for economic and investment thinking developed by an inter-disciplinary team of 33 experts and published in Molecular Psychiatry.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, USA, October 26, 2020 / -- Brain health disorders cause trillions of dollars of economic losses in our society each year. The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these losses. Brain health is essential to ensure that people have the brain skills to flourish in the modern globalised and digitalised economy. Brain skills include self-control, emotional intelligence, creativity, compassion, altruism, systems thinking, collective intelligence and cognitive flexibility. Unfortunately, despite the critical role these skills play, we do not know enough about the impact of these brain health disorders on our workplaces, communities, economies and societies. How can we address this and effectively provide a supportive policy environment, invest in solutions and track outcomes? Enter Brain Capital, a new model for economic and investment thinking developed by an inter-disciplinary team of 33 experts and published in Molecular Psychiatry, a prominent neuroscience journal.

“Brain Capital is a form of capital relevant to a complex, interconnected and fragile global economy which puts a premium on brain skills and brain health,” noted Marion Leboyer MD PhD, CEO of Fondation FondaMental and co-author of the paper. “Brain health disorders - including depression, anxiety, addiction and dementias – touch everyone either personally or indirectly.”

“Brain Capital needs to be integral to a new narrative of growth and progress which puts people at the centre of our economic system – their well-being, their interaction with others and their psychological resilience to shocks,” suggested William Hynes, Senior Advisor to the Secretary General and Co-ordinator of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC) Unit and co-author of the paper.

“In this paper, we developed a Grand Strategy for Brain Capital,” mentioned Harris Eyre MD PhD, senior author and Co-Founder of the PRODEO Institute. “The Grand Strategy a multi-pronged effort to define and operationalise Brain Capital in public policy, underpinned by an investment plan and a Brain Capital Index™.” Eyre went on to note the novel investment approaches for the enhancement of Brain Capital, “These include restructuring taxation, venture capital, social impact investing and philanthropy.”

“Brain Capital defines an asset that policymakers and funders have struggled to prioritize. We traditionally think about the many, individual systems that affect brain health and functioning separately without considering the potential boon or risks to productivity, health, and well-being. Consideration of Brain Capital will require a holistic policy approach inclusive of health, education, women’s affairs, multiculturalism and immigration, military and veterans affairs, climate and environment, and criminal justice,” stated Cara Altimus, Director of Neuroscience for the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy and co-author of the paper.

“Brain Capital is the economic benefit that accrues from keeping our brains powered at the highest level,” said Sandra Bond Chapman PhD, founder and Chief Director of the Center for BrainHealth® and co-author of the paper. The BrainHealth Index, a holistic measure of the brain’s performance created by scientists at the Center for BrainHealth, provides a new way of understanding brain health in an economy where jobs demand strong cognitive, emotional and social skills. The BrainHealth Index will be a critical metric in calculating Brain Capital and will help guide the policies and investments that form the Grand Strategy. “The BrainHealth Index could be a predictor of when a community, corporation or country have the wherewithal to be resilient in the midst of massive change,” added Chapman.

“Our Brain Capital is a critical consideration for spurring the innovation behind future brain health initiatives that seek to not only improve health and wellbeing but also economic prosperity and other major societal issues,” noted Husseini Manji MD FRCPC, Global Lead of Science for Minds at Johnson & Johnson.

Publication details
Smith E et al (2020) A Brain Capital Grand Strategy: Towards Economic Reimagination. Molecular Psychiatry. Accepted and In Press.

Harris Eyre
PRODEO Institute
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