All roads lead to the brain. Depression and anxiety, loneliness,
Alzheimer’s disease, learning disorders, substance misuse disorder,
long-haul COVID (i.e., “brain fog”), the toxic effects of air pollution on
the brain, and even deaths of despair are all brain-based challenges.
These issues typically fall through the proverbial cracks given they cut
across policy areas and sectors of government. We need a
coordinated approach to manage and ultimately prevent these issues:
Such an approach will boost economic dynamism through reduced
suffering, optimized brain performance and productivity, and new
Brain-based challenges all involve brain health and wellness at an individual and societal
level. They all represent internal or external disruptions whether biological, economic,
structural, environmental, or social. Collectively, they were reducing life expectancy in the
United States, long before the SARS-COV-2 pandemic.1-10 The pandemic, in turn, has made
all of these brain-based issues profoundly worse.
Brain function and the myriad of conditions that influence it are rarely considered in
current economic or public policy approaches. This may in part be due to scientific
advancements in the brain sciences outpacing economic and policy change. It is also a
result of the siloed and growing knowledge of the brain and economics rarely converging
to inform the development and implementation of policy.

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