Long before the turn of the last century, when German physician Dr. Alois Alzheimer identified a collection of brain cell abnormalities as a disease, neurodegeneration has been recognized as a major health problem. Conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, as well as lesser-known conditions, affect millions of people and strike at the heart of what makes us human: the ability to think, to feel, to remember and to communicate with those around us.
There are no cures – and few treatments – for neurodegenerative disease. As a result, family members can only provide palliative care, while they watch their loved ones’ mental and physical condition deteriorate. The direct costs of physically caring for the victims of these diseases runs in the billions of dollars. The emotional cost is incalculable. As the average age of the population in developed countries increases, this problem will only get worse, making the search for treatments and cures an ever-more urgent priority.
Bar-Ilan University encourages collaboration between researchers from varying disciplines who are investigating neurodegenerative diseases. Some of these researchers are examining specific diseases; others specialize in the biological factors common to many disease conditions.
Some study the changes in the brain that mediate symptoms; others study genes and molecules known to be behind them. Some use stem-cell biology to develop replacements for damaged nerve cells; others use nanotechnology to create implanted devices that improve brain function. Finally, some groups are helping to design new molecules that will help deliver specially designed drugs to the parts of the brain affected by these diseases.
At Bar-Ilan, advanced, multi-disciplinary research is shining a new light on the dark mysteries of neurodegenerative disease. By working together, BIU scientists are closing in on uniquely integrated answers to critical neurological questions.
At Bar-Ilan, advanced, multi-disciplinary research is shining a new light on the dark mysteries of neurodegenerative disease.