This story originally appeared in UCLA Today, a discontinued publication.

UCLA hosts major conference on curing brain diseases and disorders

Event to feature leading scientists, Glenn Close, Mayor Villaraigosa, others

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Top researchers from UCLA will join fellow neuroscientists, advocates and policymakers at a three-day conference to promote a common cause: Combining the world's best scientific minds with the sharing of resources and information to transform our understanding and treatment of brain diseases within 10 years.
 
The inaugural annual "Meeting of the One Mind for Research Campaign: Curing Brain Disease," presented by the independent nonprofit One Mind for Research, will take place from May 23 to 25 at Covel Commons on the UCLA campus.
 
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Garen Staglin, co-founder of One Mind for Research and a longtime UCLA supporter, will deliver opening remarks at the conference, which will also feature presentations by actress Glenn Close and former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy. In a series of talks and panels, leading scientists and researchers will discuss how to accelerate the next generation of innovative neuroscience discoveries.
 
"Our country is facing a growing and very costly burden as a result of diseases and disorders of the brain," said Staglin, whose support established the Staglin IMHRO (International Mental Health Research Organization) Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at UCLA. "At this inaugural conference, we outline and review for the first time exactly what that burden means for our country. We hope it will stimulate new donors and investment for research."
 
 
At UCLA and the UCLA Health System, world renowned for their interdisciplinary research and education enterprise, scientists and scholars are devoted to understanding complex human behavior, from the genetic to the behavioral. It is therefore fitting, said One Mind for Research leaders, that UCLA participate in the campaign conference.
 
Among the UCLA experts at the event will be Dr. Peter Whybrow, director of the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and executive chair of the UCLA Department of Psychiatry; Dr. Daniel Geschwind, a professor of neurology and psychiatry who holds UCLA's Gordon and Virginia MacDonald Distinguished Chair in Human Genetics; and Dr. Nelson Freimer, a professor of psychiatry and director of UCLA's Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics.
 
Brain diseases are the No. 1 cause of adult disability globally, afflicting one out of every three people in some form. Among psychiatric diseases, for example, major depressive disorder is the most prevalent, disabling about 5 percent of the population to some degree annually. Among veterans returning to the U.S. from service overseas, 300,000 are estimated to suffer from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
 
Beyond the emotional pain endured by these individuals and their families, the total lifetime treatment cost is estimated at about $3.3 trillion. Combined with the burden of dementia care for the nations' growing elderly population — currently $400 billion annually and expected to triple by 2050 — the cost will soon prove beyond the ability of the U.S. economy to handle, unless these diseases are addressed now, conference organizers said.
 
For a full conference schedule and list of speakers, visit http://bit.ly/HCKkqB.
 
Among the participants and topics:
 
Thomas Insel
Director of the National Institute for Mental Health
("Neuroscience for Mental Health: Lost in Translation?")
 
Patrick Kennedy
Former U.S. congressman and co-founder of One Mind for Research
("Political Science: Healthcare Parity Campaign")
 
Michael Milken
Milken Institute
("Achieving Fast Cures")
 
Glenn Close
Actress and advocate
("The Science of Stigma")
 
 
"During the past year, we have made enormous strides in building our team of partners to take on this emerging national and international challenge," said One Mind CEO Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, U.S. Army (Ret.). "This conference brings together an international coalition of renowned neuroscientists, policymakers and advocates, all striving to end brain-related illnesses in our lifetime."
 
At its launch last year, One Mind for Research set out a global scientific roadmap for curing diseases of the brain within 10 years. From that roadmap, and in conjunction with its partners, One Mind is introducing a major program to address traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); the program will be the first of many aimed at achieving a world free of brain disease. These efforts are prototype programs to dramatically improve treatments for TBI and PTSD patients while also establishing broad collaborations within the neuroscience community.
 
One Mind for Research, with the help of its global stakeholders, gathers resources, communicates priorities and promotes a culture of sharing in order to eliminate stigma, transform policy and allocate resources that enable and accelerate basic research, translational science and care delivery by creating multidisciplinary teams that will transform both our understanding and treatment of brain diseases within 10 years
 
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of nearly 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer 337 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Six alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.
 
The UCLA Health System is among the most comprehensive and advanced health care systems in the world. Consistently ranked among the top five hospitals in the nation and the best medical center in the western United States by U.S. News & World Report, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is at the cutting edge of biomedical research, and its doctors and scientists are leaders in performing pioneering work across an astounding range of disciplines — from organ transplantation and cardiac surgery to neurosurgery and cancer treatment — and bringing the latest discoveries to virtually every field of medicine.
 
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