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22nd Congress of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Sept. 12-16, 2009, Turkey
Date:7/10/2009

reakthroughs in molecular genetics have significantly enhanced the possibilities of the neurosciences. These advances have given physicians and scientists greater insight into the brain. Today neural activity in normal and pathological conditions can be monitored and measured through modern research methods. Imaging techniques have become extremely sensitive, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET) and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Contrary to previous concepts, recent research has proven that the adult brain is capable of generating new nerve cells (neurons), and that this process of neurogenesis can be influenced by positive and negative modulators the study of which may stimulate the development of new treatments for a series of neuropsychiatric disorders like depression or Alzheimers disease (Sahay & Hen, 2007; Kuhn et al., 2007). Furthermore, genetic manipulation in animal studies has elucidated mechanisms involved in mental disorders. Breakthroughs in molecular genetics shed light on hereditary diseases, i.e. Huntingtons disease and other life-threatening disorders.

The interaction between nerve cells that underlies complex mental functions such as thinking, learning, memory or emotion is mediated by a large number of chemical neurotransmitters and neuromodulators. Disturbances in neurotransmitter function are seen as the main cause of mental and certain neurological disorders. The essential knowledge of central features of neurotransmission was first gained at the end of the 20th century. By mapping the networks of neurotransmission, scientists are looking for specially tailored therapies to influence various neurotransmitter systems. The discovery of specific receptors in the brain has led to the identification of endogenous chemicals playing a crucial role in various physiological systems. For instance, the discovery of endocannabinoids has been of central importance in esta
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Contact: Sonja Mak
s.mak@update.europe.at
431-405-5734
European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Source:Eurekalert

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