Alzheimer's disease develops slowly. At first, there is mild forgetfulness names, important details and the ability to follow directions. But as time progresses, irreversible structural and chemical changes in the brain rob people of their dignity, unable to function or recognize even their closest family members.
It is estimated that 5.1 million Americans are living with this debilitating, life-threatening brain disorder. And it is only expected to get worse as the population ages.
This neurological disorder is only one of many that underscore the complexity of the brain and what happens when it doesn't function properly. The challenge of understanding the mysteries of the mind has prompted scientists and physicians from Rutgers University and its two new medical schools to launch a neuroscience consortium. Working together to gain more information about the mechanisms underlying basic brain function will serve as a strong foundation for better understanding disease processes.
The consortium is the first step in an initiative by Rutgers to establish a teaching, learning, and research environment where resources and knowledge are readily available across all academic and medical disciplines and where neuroscientists are better equipped to compete for dwindling government research dollars.
"This consortium is as important to developing our universitywide neuroscience program as having a travel guide when you are on the highway," says Stephen Jos Hanson, director of the Rutgers University Brain Imaging Center (RUBIC) in Newark. "Not having one would be like being in the middle of a foreign country and not realizing it because you don't have a guide or landmark familiarity that connects you to your surroundings."
Hanson is a leading researcher on memory, learning, and brain function and is among a group of 25 neuroscientists who began meeting in the spring. The neuroscientists came together to discuss the best way to
|Contact: Robin Lally|