JARA-BRAIN: Investigating Psychological and Neurological DiseasesPeter Winandy
With JARA-BRAIN, new strategies shall be developed for the prevention, diagnosis and therapy of psychogenic and neurological cerebral diseases by closely interlinking basic research, clinical research and technological-methodological competences.
Psychogenic and neurological diseases of the brain have - besides the impact on the persons concerned and on relatives - great influence on health care policy, costs and social systems. The number of diseases will be increasing even more than before due to the demographic development.
With JARA-BRAIN, new strategies shall be developed for the prevention, diagnosis and therapy of psychogenic and neurological cerebral diseases by closely interlinking basic research, clinical research and technological-methodological competences. This will generate new research areas and qualifications and thus for example "clinician scientists."
The aim is to establish a quick translation of research findings into clinical tests and, where applicable, application and definition of preventive measures. The translational centre for brain diseases deals - among others - with predicators, that is biomarkers, for psychogenic and neurological diseases by imaging and neurophysiological testing – MRT, PET, MEG – as well as to find genetic characteristics for the specification of individual disease risks and individual course of disease.
Furthermore, the employment of technical systems, for example cerebral pacemaker, shall be accelerated and the utilisation of technological innovations in imaging and translation into clinical applications shall be promoted. Focal areas area neurodegenerative diseases – Dementia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's –, schizophrenia and affective diseases, as well as development impairments. Here, the focus is on three time frames: upper age, third decade of the life-cycle and youth and infantile ages.
JARA-BRAIN consolidates the existing collaboration between numerous projects between the RWTH faculties of engineering, physics, informatics and medicine on the one hand and corresponding institutes at the Forschungszentrum Jülich on the other. One of the three foci of medicine at RWTH Aachen University is "Clinical Neurosciences". The Forschungszentrum Jülich has also defined "health research" and disposes of unique equipment – imaging systems, research bed ward, 9,4 T-MR-PET-Hybrid Systems currently under way.
Founding members of JARA-BRAIN are 20 clinics and institutes of RWTH Aachen University and all neuroscientific institutes of the Forschungszentrum Jülich.
The challenges of translational neurosciences cannot be solved within the framework of traditional project durations. Two JARA-BRAIN institutes were established at RWTH Aachen and Forschungszentrum Jülich on April 1, 2016, to enable long-term programmatic collaboration. The aim of the institutes is, particularly, to systematically develop the chances for clinical neurosciences that have arisen from the new methods in molecuar, systemic, and computational neuroscience. This will be achieved by embracing the concrete use for patients and by creating new therapeutic approaches.