Featured: The Brain

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The brain is the center of the human nervous system.

It processes information gathered by our senses. It controls our body temperature, heart rate, and breathing. It manages everything we do, say, think, and feel. When the brain does not function properly, the consequences often are profound.

Boston University School of Medicine is a recognized world leader in the study of the brain and brain disease. Important areas of brain research at the medical school are:

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy

By documenting the link between head injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy—a brain disease that is similar in many ways to Alzheimer’s disease—researchers at BUSM put themselves at the forefront of what has become a national movement to make sports safer for participants. Since 2008, their findings have already prompted the NFL, which in April 2010 donated $1 million to the support the school’s research,  to change its rules to better protect players from brain injury. Supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the NFL, and the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, researchers at BUSM are now studying how traumatic head injuries can develop into chronic, debilitating brain disorders. Read more »

Alzheimer’s disease

Many projects at School of Medicine’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center—one of 31 such centers in the United States funded by the National Institute on Aging—are pushing the boundaries of knowledge into this deadly disease. One research team found, in the lens of the eye, the toxic protein that triggers Alzheimer’s, offering hope for an diagnostic test that could detect the disease so early that treatment could prevent the onset of symptoms. “This is an exciting time, because we are now at a stage of our investigations where there is truly hope for the effective treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Robert Stern, co-director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical and Research Program. Read more »

Parkinson’s disease

For more than three decades, the Parkinson’s Disease Center at Boston University Medical School has been helping patients and families.  At the center, researchers develop new drugs and therapies, which are tested there in clinical trials. Researchers collaborate with patients and families to craft comprehensive care plans. Through treatments offered at the center, many patients recover skills they had lost to the disease. Read more »

Autism

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every 110 newborns has autism. Due in part to improved diagnosis, it is the fastest-growing developmental disorder in the U.S. and around the world. Boston University Medical School, supported by grants from organizations like National Institutes of Health and Autism Speaks, has long been a leader in research into autism. More than 20 years ago, two faculty members confirmed for the first time a biological basis for autism. Today, Boston University researchers are helping to develop important new weapons in the intensifying battle against autism, including tools for early diagnoses. Read more »