WIN Magazine - Spring 2015 - (Page 29)

BY DR. ACHIM REGENAUER EMERGING RISKS: BRAIN RESEARCH B RAIN RESEARCH IS in a transitional stage between pure research and practical medical application. What risk exposures will insurers face in the future? Robot nurses, drugs that enhance brain power, high-tech devices that can read minds-is this really all about to come true? It is beyond dispute that the sharp increase in mental and psychiatric disorders plaguing our ageing society, along with the growing use of psychotropic drugs in everyday life, will pose challenges-challenges which will also impact the insurance industry. And breakthroughs in neuroscience and brain research will influence these trends. The earlier detection of dementia disorders could increase the claims burden in LTC insurance, for example, while new and better treatments for the more effective rehabilitation of stroke victims could affect health and disability insurance. Meanwhile, more widespread pillpopping in the workplace will raise new liability issues. Insurers must heed this early warning and brace themselves for these developments. With this in mind, Munich Re has been keeping a watchful eye on medical trends and the advances made in pure research, maintaining close contacts with scientific experts-for instance, with Professor John-Dylan Haynes from the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience at the Charité Hospital in Berlin, who is conducting intensive studies into functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). This is a further development of structural MRI and measures changes in blood flow in the various regions of the brain. This method allows functional brain processes to be represented in the form of cross-sectional image series and has the potential to improve the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of disorders of the central nervous system. Advances in imaging. Despite the great technical advances made in the imaging of brain structures, the use of this technology for diagnostic purposes is still in its infancy, and fMRI is not set to become a routine clinical procedure any time soon. One factor here is that with some diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, characteristic activity patterns in the brain cannot always be recognized conclusively. There have also been insufficient large-scale studies to exclude incidental fMRI findings which require checking and sometimes treatment. In the medium term, however, progress is primarily expected in the field of automated diagnostics, where computer analyses assist the radiologist's trained eye in the assessment of digitized cross-sectional images. But much more extensive databases and prediction algorithms must be developed for different brain diseases before this becomes possible. Evaluating chronic pain on the basis of brain activity measurements is problematic for another reason: a subject need only imagine the feeling of pain in order to produce the same brain activity as someone genuinely experiencing it. Even the symptoms of such fashionable mental disorders as burnout syndrome can be produced through W I N | S p r i n g 2 0 15 | 2 9

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of WIN Magazine - Spring 2015

Cover Story: Will the Excess and Surplus Lines Insurance Business Saddle Up with Standards? By CJ Ketterer
Digital Maturity—or Extinction: Your Survival Now Depends on Digital Transformation By Scott Klososky and Corey White
Emerging Trends: The Technology Side By Greg Ricker, CPCU
Emerging Trends in the Property Insurance Market By Ralph Sabbagh, ASLI
Underwriting the Exposures of Business Operations: The Impact of Tenant Leases By Craig A. Mathre, CPCU, CLU, CIC, CRM, ASLI, RPLU, AU, AIC, ARM, AAM
Emerging Risks: Brain Research By Dr. Achim Regenauer
Millennials: How Well You Attract and Keep Them Could Be Your Competitive Advantage By Teresa Vaughn, SPHR
Volcanoes, Hurricanes, Tropical Storms and Floods: Perils and Exposures in Paradise By Sharon K. Lee
“Empowering the Wholesale Nation”: AAMGA Annual Meeting Registration and Room Block Are Now Open
Index of Advertisers

WIN Magazine - Spring 2015