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China Brain Project to Launch Soon, Aiming to Develop Effective Tools for Early Diagnosis of Brain Diseases

Jun 17, 2016     Email"> PrintText Size

China Brain Project, which focuses on the study of basic mechanisms underlying cognitive functions of the brain, early diagnosis and intervention of brain diseases, and brain-machine intelligence technology, will start operation soon, said Mu-Ming Poo, the director of the Institute of Neuroscience, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The China Brain Project is a 15-year project targeting major scientific discovery and technological development by 2030. The government plans to incorporate substantial reforms in the funding and management systems in association of the Project, in order to ensure success of the Project, added Poo.

Currently, the societal burden caused by neurological and psychiatric disorders constitutes about 28 percent of the total burden inflicted by all diseases in the world. If no effective treatments of brain diseases emerge in the coming decades, the entire medical care system in the world is likely to collapse by 2050.

"Our goal is to develop effective tools for early diagnosis of brain diseases and use early intervention approaches to prevent or delay the onset of these diseases," Poo said.

Poo, a 67-year-old Chinese American neuroscientist, is the recipient of the 2016 Gruber Neuroscience Prize for his seminal discoveries regarding the molecular and cell mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity in the brain.

The award will be presented to him in San Diego on November 13 at the 46th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

The Gruber International Prize Program honors individuals in the fields of Cosmology, Genetics and Neuroscience. The Neuroscience Prize honors scientists for major discoveries that have advanced the understanding of the nervous system.  It is one of the highest awards in this field.

"Through his innovative and ingenious experiments, Mu-Ming Poo has greatly advanced knowledge of mechanisms of brain plasticity‐ the ability to form new connections or change the strength of existing ones driven by our experiences of the world‐ in nerve cells," says Dr. Carla Shatz, Bio‐X, Stanford University. "He has enhanced our understanding of how synapses, the special junctions between nerve cells so crucial for all brain functions, are reinforced or weakened by neural activity." (Shanghai Daily)

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