Neuroscience encompasses a broad range of disciplines applied to understanding the normal functions of the nervous system, what neural changes occur as a result of injury or the onset of neurological disorders, and the development of effective treatments to restore neural function or prevent degeneration.
Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are a group of disorders that cause progressive degeneration of neurons in the brain. They are incurable, generally strike in mid-to-late life, and cause debilitating effects such as memory deficits, poor control of movement and problems with attention and thinking. The statistics are alarming – more than 44 million people are afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease worldwide, and this is forecast to reach 100 million by 2050.
A lack of effective treatment options is driving research into new therapies that can slow or arrest disease progression. New treatments are also desperately needed for other neurological conditions derived from traumatic brain injury and stroke.
In addition to the search for pharmacological agents, there have been important developments in restoration of neural function through brain computer interfaces (BCIs) pathways. This is a rapidly emerging field that combines the latest technology and implantable devices to develop robotic prosthetics, mobility controls and communications capabilities.