Public Release: 

Advances in brain research poised to dramatically change society

George Mason University

What:

World-renowned scientists are convening at George Mason University to make the case for a "decade of the mind." This event will launch what is anticipated to be a $4 billion public research initiative aimed at reaching the next levels of understanding the human brain. This research will have dramatic implications on national health and economy.

A plenary session with the presenting experts, moderated by The New York Times science writer George Johnson, will explore the future of brain study and the scientific innovations and medical breakthroughs it could make possible in the next 10 years. The Decade of the Mind event is hosted by Mason's Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study.

Who:

A complete line-up of speakers is available at http://krasnow.gmu.edu/decade.

When:

May 21-22, 2007 Plenary session, Tuesday May 22, 2007, noon - 1:30 p.m., EDT

Where:

George Mason University, Johnson Center Cinema 4400 University Drive Fairfax, Virginia 22030

Why:

In the United States, more than 5 million people are living with Alzheimer's disease according to the Alzheimer's Association. The number of people affected by this fatal disease will only increase over the next 10 years as early onset Alzheimer's begins to affect the baby boomer generation. What if we could manage Alzheimer's disease with targeted treatments in a similar manner to how HIV is treated"

One in 17 Americans currently suffer from a serious mental illness, the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for people 15-44 years old according to the National Institute on Mental Health. What if we could develop new, more effective therapies for treating mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder"

Thousands of American soldiers serving in Iraq have been injured or killed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). These devices frequently target U.S. military vehicles and convoys. What if military vehicles were able to operate unmanned and autonomously"

The "Decade of the Brain," declared by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, produced immense advances in brain research including the development of MRI scanners and progress in our understanding of Alzheimer's disease and mental illness. With these advances and new insight into the human mind, a new dedicated 10-year research initiative would enable the scientific community an opportunity to understand more about the human mind than ever before and tackle some of society's most pressing problems.

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About the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study

The Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study seeks to expand understanding of mind, brain and intelligence by conducting research at the intersection of the separate fields of cognitive psychology, neurobiology and the computer-driven study of artificial intelligence and complex adaptive systems. These separate disciplines increasingly overlap and promise progressively deeper insight into human thought processes. The institute also examines how new insights from cognitive science research can be applied for human benefit in the areas of mental health, neurological disease, education and computer design.

About George Mason University

George Mason University, located in the heart of Northern Virginia's technology corridor near Washington, D.C., is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with national distinction in a range of academic fields. With strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, information technology, biotechnology and health care, Mason prepares its alumni to succeed in the workforce and meet the needs of the region and the world. Mason professors conduct groundbreaking research in areas such as cancer, climate change, information technology and the biosciences, and Mason's Center for the Arts brings world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Its School of Law is recognized by "U.S. News and World Report" as one of the top 50 law schools in the United States.

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