The Complex Nature of the Brain
Scientists claim that the brain is the most remarkable part of the human body because it controls literally every important aspect of our being, from our thoughts, memory and speech, movement of the arms and legs, to the function of many organs. They also agree that it is certainly the most mysterious thing in the universe because of its complexity. With the goal of improving our understanding of the human brain and its disorders, the European Commission recently launched a 1 billion Euro investment in the Human Brain Project, which gathers 80 European and international research institutions, including those in Canada, to integrate new and existing knowledge about the human brain to reproduce the every aspect of the brain, piece by piece, in supercomputer-based models and simulations. Last month in the US President Obama announced a $100M BRAIN Initiative that ultimately aims to help researchers find new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury.
Because of its crucial role, we must pay particular attention to both brain health as well as to the devastating effects that can arise from damage to the human brain. It is estimated that thousands of Canadians sustain a traumatic brain injury each year, the majority being young adults, resulting in memory problems, impaired reasoning skills, emotional difficulties, along with physical disabilities such as paralysis of the limbs or loss of vision and/or hearing. Neurodegenerative disorders also take a huge personal and economic toll on Canadians.
Over the past decade, CIHR has invested over $1 billion in world-class neuroscience research to improve the health of those who live with brain diseases. CIHR is committed to supporting new activities that promise to draw further benefits from past and current training initiatives, research ventures and major research collaborations. For example, with partners, CIHR is funding cutting-edge research areas through the Canadian Epigenetics, Environment and Health Research Consortium, that studies the influence of the environmental factors on our health, the International Initiative for Traumatic Brain Injury Research, research on Personalized Medicine related to brain health, the SPOR Network on Translating Research on Adolescent Mental Health (TRAM) and the Canadian Consortium for Neurodegeneration in Aging.
I am delighted to invite you to learn more about these most promising brain research projects below.
I also welcome your support as CIHR extends its commitment to ensuring healthy brains for all Canadians.
Dr. Anthony Phillips
CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction
Take a closer look at evidence from research on the brain: a list of Cochrane reviews
Read studies and facts about this crisis
Link to other brain resources
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