The brain is the most complex network of neurons and synapses, and brain diseases continue to puzzle and challenge scientists and researchers across the globe. Neurodegenerative conditions rank in the top 10 causes of death worldwide and are the number one cause of disability in Canada. The organ that makes us self-aware and intelligent also fails us at an alarming rate.
More than 100 researchers at Western University delve into this issue every day. Collaborating across faculties, with partners at home and abroad, Western’s research community is tackling the critical challenge of solving the complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors that cause brain disease.
This series provides a snapshot of the exciting, world-leading neuroscience research at Western – a continuing journey to gain a deeper understanding of the brain, discover new treatments, and ultimately achieve lifesaving cures for the most complex brain diseases, from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to epilepsy, autism spectrum disorder, multiple sclerosis and more.
Western neuroscientists and neurologists are combining efforts to develop more efficient ways to test the effectiveness of medication for neurodegenerative diseases – the leading cause of disability in Canada.
Emma Duerden and her team are taking a novel approach to a thorny problem: why anxiety is prevalent among people with neurodevelopmental disorders, and how neuroscience can help decode autism’s many puzzles.
Dr. Jorge Burneo was drawn to epilepsy research by two factors: its potential to improve patients’ lives and to take back valuable knowledge to his native Peru, where epilepsy rates are three times higher than in Canada. Today, as co-director of Western’s epilepsy program, Burneo has realized his early aspirations, impacting lives in Canada, his homeland and beyond.
An interdisciplinary research team is working to improve the current, multi-step system of diagnosing Parkinson’s by using biomarkers to help speed up the process and treat patients sooner.