1 in 3 people will suffer brain illness or injury in their lifetime.
Brain diseases and injuries cost society as much as $2 TRILLION per year in the US and EU.
Brain disorders and injuries cost society more than cancer and cardiovascular disease COMBINED.
1.7 MILLION Americans have Autism.
1.7 MILLION Americans suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury every year.
Approximately 1 million Americans suffer from Parkinson’s disease.
Over 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease.
For every soldier killed in war in 2012, about 25 veterans took their own lives.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is one of the LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH AND DISABILITY in America.
By 2023, over 46 million American adults will suffer from a mental disorder.
53,000 Americans die every year due to Traumatic Brain Injury.
8 teenagers die EVERY DAY in the US from TBI.
Neurological disorders constitute 12% of total deaths globally each year.
There are 5 MILLION Americans living with TBI-related disabilities.
Mental disorders make up 35% of the cost of all non-communicable diseases worldwide.
5.3 MILLION Americans have lifelong disabilities due to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
Direct and indirect cost of TBI is $76 BILLION per year in the US.
Nearly 8% of the US population suffers from POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS in their lifetime.
300,000 soldiers suffer TBI and/or PTS.
Women are about twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.
There is 1 military suicide per day in the US.
FOUR people commit suicide EVERY HOUR in the United States.
In the U.S., serious mental illness causes earnings loss of $193.2 billion annually.
90% of suicide victims have a TREATABLE MENTAL DISORDER.
Nearly 10% of people with SCHIZOPHRENIA commit suicide.
Number one sport per capita for traumatic brain injury is GIRLS SOCCER.
HALF A MILLION children under 14 go to the emergency room every year for TBI.
Funding for brain research from government and pharmaceutical companies is DECREASING EVERY YEAR.
Someone develops Alzheimer’s Disease EVERY 68 SECONDS.
Alzheimer’s Disease is the 6th LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH in US adults.
Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability in children and young adults.
TBI patients are up to 5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
Medicaid and Medicare spend $130 BILLION per year on Alzheimer’s patients.
One in 10 high school athletes involved in contact sports sustain a concussion each year.
Over 400,000 Americans have Multiple Sclerosis.
An athlete who sustains a concussion is 5 times more likely to sustain a second concussion.
People with TBI are nearly twice as likely to report binge drinking.
The lowest rates of Multiple Sclerosis are in countries nearest to the EQUATOR.
20% of U.S. troops returning from combat tours show symptoms of PTSD or major depression.
DEPRESSION is the LEADING CAUSE of disease burden in the U.S.
Nearly 7% of American adults had a MAJOR DEPRESSIVE EPISODE in the past 12 months.
81.1 million people will be affected by dementia by 2040.
Over 2 MILLION Americans over the age of 18 suffer from BIPOLAR DISORDER.
About one in 10 individuals will have at least one epileptic seizure in their lifetime.
TBI victims are 50% more likely to suffer from depression.
Over 2 MILLION Americans have SCHIZOPHRENIA.
Among people with MS, physical disability contributes to a nearly 70% unemployment rate.
The annual medical cost of Schizophrenia in the US is OVER $32B.

Rock Stars Of Brain Science Gather In Boston

Posted on May 23, 2011

(by Carey Goldberg, WBUR, May 23, 2011) I was remarking upon the truly astonishing line-up of luminaries attending Rep. Patrick Kennedy’s major brain conference in Boston today, launching an initiative that aims to take on the brain as a challenge on the scale of JFK’s drive to the moon 50 years ago. “It’s just about everybody who’s anybody,” I said — all the names of federal agency leaders and high-profile scientists I’d covered for years on the brain beat.

Yes, said another attendee, “They really brought out all the rock stars of brain science.”

So call me a groupie, but I homed in on one particular scientist whose work I’ve admired from afar but never covered: Dr. Karl Deisseroth of Stanford. He leads work that many see as a real game-changer in brain science. His best summary: “The combination of genetics and optics to achieve gain and loss of function.” My best simplification: You engineer neurons so that, say, green light turns them on, red light turns them off. Green light: scared. Red light: Not scared any more.

Many at the Kennedy conference have noted that the brain is frustratingly hard to experiment on, stuck as it is inside the skull and endlessly complex. Optogenetics lets us effectively turn things in the brain off and on, to test hypotheses, figure out how ciruits work and someday, perhaps, fix them.

Actually, for mice, that day may already have come. Karl Deisseroth’s team showed this spring that they could apparently reduce the anxiety of a mouse by manipulating it optogenetically. The Times reported earlier this month:

Treating anxiety no longer requires years of pills or psychotherapy. At least, not for a certain set of bioengineered mice. In a study recently published in the journal Nature, a team of neuroscientists turned these high-strung prey into bold explorers with the flip of a switch. The group, led by Dr. Karl Deisseroth, a psychiatrist and researcher at Stanford, employed an emerging technology called optogenetics to control electrical activity in a few carefully selected neurons.

First they engineered these neurons to be sensitive to light. Then, using implanted optical fibers, they flashed blue light on a specific neural pathway in the amygdala, a brain region involved in processing emotions.

And the mice, which had been keeping to the sides of their enclosure, scampered freely across an open space.

Obligatory disclaimer: Manipulating circuits in mice is a long way from doing it in humans. But that’s clearly an aim. Speaking at the conference today, Karl noted that he still sees patients as a psychiatrist, and had worked as a VA psychiatrist earlier in his career. He knows all too well that anxiety is hugely common and that many drugs work poorly or carry side effects. It’s known that a brain region called the amygdala is involved in fear, he said, but what about an anti-anxiety circuit?

It is too intertwined with other circuits for easy conventional testing, “but optogenetics has allowed us to do that and actually find that there is a built-in anti-anxiety circuit that’s fast, precise and potent lying within the seat of anxiety itself.”

“This is an example of how we can now come to a causal understanding of what’s involved not only in disease but in resolution of disease,” he said.

Stay tuned for more of this. The journal “Nature” called optogenetics the “method of the year” for 2010. The journal Science has called it a breakthrough. Perhaps the best indicator of all: Karl notes that optogenetics tools are now at work in some 1,000 labs around the world.

Here’s hoping we’ll someday be able to turn on the blue anti-anxiety light ourselves…