Brain :: Advances in brain research poised to dramatically change society

World-renowned scientists are convening at George Mason University to make the case for a “decade of the mind.” This event will launch what is anticipated to be a $4 billion public research initiative aimed at reaching the next levels of understanding the human brain. This research will have dramatic implications on national health and economy.

A plenary session with the presenting experts, moderated by The New York Times science writer George Johnson, will explore the future of brain study and the scientific innovations and medical breakthroughs it could make possible in the next 10 years. The Decade of the Mind event is hosted by Mason’s Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study.

In the United States, more than 5 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The number of people affected by this fatal disease will only increase over the next 10 years as early onset Alzheimer’s begins to affect the baby boomer generation. What if we could manage Alzheimer’s disease with targeted treatments in a similar manner to how HIV is treated”

One in 17 Americans currently suffer from a serious mental illness, the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for people 15-44 years old according to the National Institute on Mental Health. What if we could develop new, more effective therapies for treating mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder”

Thousands of American soldiers serving in Iraq have been injured or killed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). These devices frequently target U.S. military vehicles and convoys. What if military vehicles were able to operate unmanned and autonomously”

The “Decade of the Brain,” declared by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, produced immense advances in brain research including the development of MRI scanners and progress in our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and mental illness. With these advances and new insight into the human mind, a new dedicated 10-year research initiative would enable the scientific community an opportunity to understand more about the human mind than ever before and tackle some of society’s most pressing problems.

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