17. May 2024

Brain Economy and Research Recognized as Approaches to Achieving “One Health”

Diagram with people, animals and environmental pollution

The One Health concept takes a holistic approach to improving the health of humans, animals and the environment. (Image: Neuron / Ibáñez et al.)

Escalating environmental and social challenges underscore the imperative to understand their impacts on our brains and sustainability.

The brain-positive economic transition, aka brain economy, is a global goal to stop and reverse the loss of brain capital, an asset integrating brain health and skills. This concept advocates for a transformative societal change that benefits humans, the economy, and nature. 

This perspective paper published in Neuron “Neuroecological links of the exposome and One Health”, focused on exploring ways in which the brain economy can contribute to the objectives of the One Health framework, a long-established United Nations priority that seeks to harmonize and improve the health of humans, animals, and the environment.

Led by Agustín Ibáñez, Director of the Latin American Brain Health Institute (BrainLat) at University Adolfo Ibáñez, Chile and an international team of experts, this paper proposed a framework that brings a roadmap on the physical and social exposomes—encompassing everything from air and water pollution to socioeconomic disparities—and their significant impact on brain health.

Dr. Ibáñez, who is also a faculty at The Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) of the Trinity College Dublin explains: “The findings reveal that pollutants like fine particulate matter, heavy metals, and social factors such as stress and inequality have profound implications for brain health across the lifespan”.

For instance, exposure to air pollution has been linked to neurodevelopmental delays in children and an increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases in adults.

The paper underscores the necessity of understanding environmental impacts on earth and physical health and global populations' neurological and mental well-being. The framework advocates for a "One Health" approach, integrating human, animal, and environmental health strategies to tackle these complex challenges holistically.

The team proposes a comprehensive roadmap for future research, policy development, and technological innovation to enhance health resilience against environmental and social hazards. Key recommendations include advancing biomonitoring technologies, integrating exposome data into public health strategies, and fostering global cooperation to effectively implement environmental and health safeguards.

Burcin Ikiz, a coauthor and the Founder and Chair of the Neuro Climate Working Group, noted: “We recently launched the Neuro Climate Working Group as a global multi-disciplinary team of neuroscientists, neurologists, psychologists, epidemiologists, and public policy experts dedicated to understanding and addressing the impacts of climate change on brain health. Through interdisciplinary collaboration, innovative research, and informed advocacy, we aim to integrate neuroscience and environmental science to enhance public health outcomes globally.“

“The paper provides us with a strong science and technology policy platform leading into our September 18, 2024, United Nations General Assembly Science Summit event on this topic“, noted Harris Eyre, lead of the Brain Capital Alliance and senior fellow with Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Disclaimer: None of the organizations mentioned in this work had any influence over the conduct, findings, or recommendations of this work. The authors' views do not reflect the views of any international or governmental organization mentioned here.


Ibanez, A., Melloni, L., Świeboda, P., Hynes, W., Ikiz, B., Ayadi, R., Thioye, M., Walss-Bass, C., Güntekin, B., Mishra, J., Salama, M., Dunlop, S., Duran-Aniotz, C., & Eyre, H. A. (2024). Neuroecological Links of the Exposome and One Health. Neuron. Advance Online Publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2024.04.016


Lucia Melloni