Neuroscience is entering a new era of discovery that could yield dramatic advances in our understanding of the human brain, and our treatment of neurological and mental health disorders. Success will depend on forging a new model of global neuroscience. The Canadian Brain Research Strategy can provide a roadmap to getting there. It draws on our rich scientific history, robust research talent and collaborative culture to transform the future through brain science.
The Challenge: Understanding the Brain
Understanding the brain is one of the greatest—and most urgent— scientific challenges of our time. The massive burden of brain disorders such as autism, neurodegenerative diseases, depression and addiction is acute and growing.
1 in 3 Canadians – will be affected by a brain or nervous system illness, disorder or injury in their lifetime.
$61 Billion annually – Total cost of neurological and mental health disorders to the Canadian economy.
At the same time, technology is rapidly changing every facet of the way we live, including how we learn, communicate and perhaps even think. Only through advances in brain research will these challenges be addressed.
The Opportunity: A New Era for Neuroscience
There is ample reason for optimism. A revolution in neuroscience is underway, yielding new insights into how the brain works. But much more needs to be done.
Scientists know more about the universe than they do about the human brain, which has more internal connections than there are stars in the Milky Way. Unravelling this complexity will not be done by individual scientists working harder alone. Instead, spurred by this grand challenge, multidisciplinary teams of brain researchers should come together to discover how the brain gives rise to a rich tapestry of thoughts, feelings and actions. The benefits would be profound.
Beyond improving human health, a coordinated effort to understand the brain will fuel innovations that can be applied to the understanding of any complex system. Such an effort will also expand the boundaries of technology, driving the development of new tools to benefit science and society, such as next-generation machines and generalized artificial intelligence.