Your brain is amazing. Let’s keep it that way.

Your brain is amazing. Let’s keep it that way.

Your brain is who you are. It is your thoughts and feelings, your knowledge and memories. It is curious and creative, and it needs to be protected.

At Brain Health Scotland our mission is to inspire and empower everyone in Scotland to protect their brain health and reduce their risk of diseases that lead to dementia. 

We work with all ages, across the whole of Scotland, to provide all you need to protect your brain and to join the effort to understand more about this amazing part of who you are.

Brain Health Scotland logo

About brain health

Lifestyle has a profound impact on our brain health. 

If we eat, exercise and sleep well we can help keep our brains healthy and fuelled with oxygen and nutrients. No matter our age, we need to stimulate our brains by being with people and learning new skills. And it is crucial we manage stress to stay as calm
as possible at home and work.

We now understand a great deal more about what impacts our brain health than we did even ten years ago. For example, it is widely known that, for most people, the diseases that lead to dementia start in midlife. The onset of these diseases is driven by many factors – some of which we can’t change, such as family history and genetics, but many of which we can, such as our lifestyle. 

Brain Health Scotland is working to ensure this growing evidence base is applied in healthcare and public health campaigns.

What we do

Developed in partnership with Alzheimer Scotland, and funded by the Scottish Government, Brain Health Scotland provides: 

  • expert advice about brain health research, policy and healthcare 
  • promotion of positive brain health in collaboration with Public Health Scotland and other partners
  • support to ensure health professionals can provide personalised protection plans
  • opportunities to join brain health research programmes in Scotland

We promote brain health through two key programmes:

  1. Brain Health Engagement: We promote awareness of the core principles of brain health across all walks of life. We work with partners in education, nutrition and fitness, as well as employers and sports associations to promote positive brain health. 
  2. Brain Health Services: We are developing Scotland’s first brain health clinics, at which patients will access the information and interventions they need to protect their brain. We also provide opportunities to join research programmes, so everyone can join the effort to better understand brain health and disease. 

These Brain Health Services will help to detect and manage the most common brain health problem we face – namely Alzheimer’s disease. Through all our activities, we expect that in future fewer people will develop Alzheimer’s disease in Scotland, but for those who do, we will work to ensure they access the best assessments, treatments and care of anywhere in the world.

Meet the team

The concept of a national brain health initiative that would support dementia prevention was developed in partnership with the Centre for Dementia Prevention at the University of Edinburgh and Alzheimer Scotland. This was led by Professor Craig Ritchie from the University and Henry Simmons Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland. The concept received the support from the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in 2018 and in 2019 the Scottish Government commissioned Alzheimer Scotland to set up and host the new initiative Brain Health Scotland.  

Professor Ritchie and Henry Simmons remain actively involved in the delivery of this initiative alongside the ever-growing team who are responsible for its implementation as outlined below.

Who we are and what we do in the team:
Anna Borthwick, Executive Lead Brain Health Scotland

  • Member of Alzheimer Scotland Senior Leadership Team
  • Overall responsibility for BHS strategy and programme delivery
  • Strategic Liaison with Clinical Advisor and Brain Health Ambassador
  • Strategic Liaison with SG, NHS and HSCP
  • Lead contact for partnership agreements, engagement programmes and operational matters
  • Day-to-day management of BHS team

Professor Craig Ritchie, Clinical Advisor and Brain Health Scotland Ambassador

  • Providing expert advice in the development of new brain health services in Scotland, liaising with NHS and SG colleagues as required to establish both demonstrator projects and longer-term roll-out plans
  • Leading and responding to discussions on clinical elements of service, including evidence base, clinical decision-making, interventions and data requirements
  • Providing clinical expertise as necessary to embed new services and brain health mindset across clinical, research and policymaking sectors.
  • Supporting efforts to increase participation in and funding of dementia and brain health research in Scotland
  • International representation and engagement with relevant global organisations

Henry Simmons, Chief Executive Alzheimer Scotland

  • Overall Line management and supervision, contract management, implementation of grant programme and delivery
  • Financial budget 
  • External contract negotiations and agreements
  • Mainstreaming and general hosting within Alzheimer Scotland

What can you do?

There are many ways you can get involved with Brain Health Scotland. 

  • Join research – taking part in brain health research is one of the greatest ways to impact future success.
  • Learn about brain health – we run a free online learning course about Understanding Brain Health. Search ‘Brain Health’ at to find out more
  • Partner with us – we are keen to work with partners from all walks of life. We would love to hear from you if you are keen embed brain health in your work, school or community.
  • Work with us - register interest and sign up for alerts so we can let you know when we are looking for skills 
  • Data - all Brain Health Scotland data is held on the principle of open access – if you would like to know more please contact us at [email protected]