While in attendance at Neuroscience 2022 in San Diego, we launched our audio guestbook project. In an effort to kick start conversations and get to know more about our booth visitors, we asked one of five questions to everyone who stopped by. One of the prompts that seemed fitting was “Tell us about the problem your research solves”. This is what we learned.
Degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and schizophrenia are among the most complex and challenging health issues of our time. But despite their prevalence and devastating effects, researchers are making progress in understanding the underlying causes of these diseases and developing new treatments.
At the forefront of these efforts are the scientists and medical researchers working tirelessly to understand the intricacies of the human brain and how it functions in health and disease. Through their research, they are discovering new ways to treat and manage these debilitating conditions, and to improve the lives of those who suffer from them. For example a researcher we spoke to had this to say about their research, “Our research is focusing on Lewy Body Dementia. Specifically we want to solve the issue about the cognitive and mood symptoms that are really understudied and yet they're usually the ones that affect a patient's quality of life the most. So hoping to dig deeper into those understudied symptoms to hopefully help the lives of patients in the future.”
One area of research that is making particularly promising strides is the study of the effects of herpes on humans. By better understanding the clinical disease that results from herpes, researchers are finding new ways to treat this condition and reduce its severity.
Another area of focus is Alzheimer's disease, which affects millions of people around the world. Researchers are working to uncover the first steps in understanding this disease and developing new treatments that can slow or halt its progression. With one researcher saying they hope to solve “the problem of brain miscommunication, when regions in the brain are not talking in synchrony there is mental illness. So we're trying to understand how this happens so we can help individuals that suffer from schizophrenia or Alzheimer's disease and so we hope to cure mental illness one day with the research that we do.”
The side effects of antiretroviral drugs are also a focus of research, with scientists exploring new ways to minimize the negative impact of these drugs on patients.
In addition to these diseases, researchers are also exploring the impact of prenatal COVID-19 exposure on the fetal brain, a highly controversial area of study. The goal of this research is to better understand the neurological consequences of this exposure and to help improve the health of babies and children born to mothers who have contracted the virus.
In the field of neural technology, researchers are looking to help paralyzed people. A researcher who stopped by our booth said, “I'm working on neural technology in medical devices to help bring people some more autonomy in their lives. Paralyzed people can’t communicate so that’s what I’m doing.”
At Auburn University, researchers are working to translate ages between species to better understand the effects of medicines and treatments in different animals. This will help to improve the accuracy and safety of medical research and ultimately lead to better health outcomes for everyone.
The basic physiology of Parkinson's disease is another area of focus, with researchers working to understand this complex and debilitating condition and develop new treatments that can improve the lives of patients.
Finally, researchers are exploring the impact of aging on Alzheimer's disease and other degenerative conditions, with a focus on how the brain changes as we age and how these changes can be managed to improve health and reduce the impact of disease.
We only spoke to a fraction of Neuroscience '22 and they make up an even smaller percentage of the world wide scientists that are working hard to make medical discoveries for all of everyones sakes. Through their tireless efforts, they are exploring the frontiers of neuroscience and solving some of the biggest mysteries of our time. We can only wait and see what these incredible people accomplish.
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