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Big D Can Be Davos for the Brain Economy

Three-dimensional, computer-generated image of the human brain.

Dallas Innovates

Harris Eyre, Sanjiv Das and Kacie Kelly

Brain health is at the forefront of an economy that's increasingly knowledge intensive. With innovation spanning precision diagnostics and treatment matching to economic policies and innovative investment models, there's a "golden opportunity" to lead the brain health revolution."Dallas is uniquely positioned to lead the way for the state, the country, and the world," according to these science, policy, and finance experts.Dallas-Fort Worth has a golden opportunity to lead the world in the 21st-century brain health revolution—but will it rise to accept it?  There is a groundswell of innovation spanning precision diagnostics and treatment matching to economic policies and innovative investment models that put brain health at the forefront. Dallas is uniquely positioned to lead the way for the state, the country, and the world.Meanwhile, seemingly out of nowhere, Davos, a small Swiss ski town, has come to lead the world in economic thinking as convener and host of the yearly World Economic Forum. This forum integrates the best from economics, finance, policy, and tech across public and private sectors. It fosters a collision of free and diverse thinkers that drive innovation in global business and public-private partnerships across all sectors. To get there, it took a galvanized effort with strong leadership to build and consolidate a new forum of this magnitude.What does it take for a city to galvanize stakeholders to be a leader in brain health? It needs a city with existing, intimately connected, brain health-aware and open-minded public, private, academic, and non-profit entities. It needs leading scientists, clinicians, economists, policy thinkers, businesses, and investors. It needs a city that has the motivation to engineer new local and regional policies and industries—a place that is warm and welcoming and can pull its weight in state, national, and global arenas.

The Problem

The 21st century has given rise to an alarming and unprecedented collision of “brain challenges” that we face as individuals, families, communities, and nations.As our economy is becoming increasingly knowledge intensive, there is pressure to stay flexible, creative, curious, and motivated to keep up with changes in technology, globalization, and business practices. Indeed, the emerging cerebral economy has been labeled a “brain economy.”Meanwhile, rates of depression and anxiety are rapidly rising. Social media and gaming are generating serious psychological challenges for our youth, including computer addiction, body image- and eating disorders. Rates of dementia are on the rise due to population aging. We are increasingly understanding the negative effects of air pollution and microplastics on our delicate brains. Deaths of despair, such as from opioid overdoses and alcoholism, are reducing our life expectancy here in the United States for the first time in decades. COVID-19 brain fog is plaguing many individuals. Our health system can’t keep up with the demand for mental health and brain health care. As a result, brain and mental health often go unaddressed until they result in a crisis scenario.Read more in Dallas Innovates

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