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National Institute for Translational Neuroscience


To developed new treatments and effective means to prevent human diseases a must be the main goal of the health systems of a nation. This objective is easily established when the system effectively translates findings in biomedical research to clinical practice and uses them on decision makings in health policies. The translational research is the basis of this kind of progress constituting a continued process that can be divided into two domains. The first involves the direct application of discoveries coming from research laboratories to the development of studies in human beings. These preclinical translational investigations are frequently established through the use of animal models, tissue culture, human and animals cell samples or through experimental systems studying biological molecules including DNA, RNA and proteins. The second translational domain puts together all the results from those studies and tries to apply them in clinical practice, in an attempt to improve health conditions of the population and facilitate the adoption of the best medical practices by the community. As recognized by the leading scientific journals and by the main funding agencies, neuroscience is the field of the biomedical sciences that grows more rapidly in the developing world. This observation is also valid for our country. In fact, neuroscience is always in evidence in multidisciplinary meetings, has relevant presence in journals of major impact such as Nature and Science, promotes the attraction of large groups of young students and permeates the media and the public interest through discussions of questions of fundamental importance. Brazilian neuroscience has expanded substantially in the last fifteen years and today occupies a relevant position, as observed by international scientific publications. However, differently from that observed in developed countries, Brazil does not have a national network related to neuroscience research, necessary to group in a formal way the efforts of the main researchers acting in the area. The creation of an institute as the one proposed here would add enormous strategic importance for neuroscience because only the collaborative work of these research groups will allow the consolidation of a critical mass needed to boost science to the highest quality. This will reflect in transfer in an efficacious way through the Public Health System, the knowledge and innovations discovered in the research laboratories to the entrepreneur sector and to the society in general. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), psychiatric and neurological diseases are important causes of mortality and constitute 15 to 20% of total global deaths. On the other hand, and due to the chronic course of most of these diseases, their costs, as estimated in DALY (Disability-Adjusted-Life-Years), is one of the highest when compared to other groups of diseases (ex. HIV/Aids, Cancer and Heart diseases), representing approximately 6.5% of total costs (Neurological Disorders, WHO 2006). This picture becomes even more significant when one takes into consideration the aging rate of the population, that according to projections from WHO, will increase in 12% the costs associated with neurological diseases up to the year 2030. Among the neurological pathologies, those more relevant regarding its total impact on the population health are, epilepsies, Alzheimer' s disease and other dementias, cerebral vascular diseases, Central Nervous System tumors, Parkinson's Disease, motor system disabilities, as well as retinopathies and infectious and inflammatory disease. In this sense, the incidence of cerebral diseases, known as nervous diseases (Alzheimer's, drug dependence, anxiety, depression, epilepsy and so on) increases with age and affects approximately 40% of the United States population (annex 1). The picture gets even more frightening when we also consider psychiatric anomalies such as schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disease and antisocial personality disorders, more and more associated with changes in cerebral physiology… (AU)

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