European Dana Alliance for the Brain

News Archive

Richard Morris Gives Kavli Prize Lecture
At the 2014 Kavli Prize Popular Science Lectures, which brings scientists to Oslo to discuss a variety of science topics, EDAB member Richard Morris, DPhil., FRSE, FRS, gave a lecture entitled, "The Making, Keeping and Losing of Memory."

Spiros Efthimiopoulos BAW Partner Interview
In a Brain Awareness Week Partner interview, EDAB member Spiros Efthimiopoulos, Ph.D., discussed the BAW involvement and activities of the Hellenic Society for Neuroscience (HSfN) and gave advice to BAW partners and fellow neuroscientists about how they can appeal to various demographics and become more involved in public outreach.

May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser win Nobel Prize
Norwegian EDAB members May-Britt Moser, Ph.D., Centre for Neural Computation in Trondheim and Edvard I. Moser, Ph.D., Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience in Trondheim, and British-American researcher John O'Keefe, University College London were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain."  Their discovery of grid cells, border cells, and how they communicate within a complex navigation system reveals a better understanding of spatial awareness, memory and decision-making and has implications for treating Alzheimer's disease. 

Alim Louis Benabid wins Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award
EDAB member Alim Louis Benabid and DABI member Mahlon R. DeLong, M.D., were awarded the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for developing novel techniques of deep brain stimulation of the subthalmic nucleus by surgically implanting a "brain pacemaker" that can reduce tremors and restore motor function in patients with advanced Parkinson's disease.

The William Safire Seminar on Neuroethics at 2014 FENS Forum of Neuroscience, Milan
Jointly presented by EDAB and the International Neuroethics Society (INS), the seminar, entitled "Basic research on the human brain.  How far can we go?  How far should we go?" was moderated by Barbara Sahakian, FMedSci, University of Cambridge and President of INS. Speakers included Petra Huppi, MD, Geneva University, Itzhak Fried, MD, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, and Vincent Walsh, University College London. The speakers, all experts in their fields, discussed several topics including MR imaging for understanding developmental brain disorders - a translational approach; single neuron recordings in neurosurgical patients, and cognitive enhancements and human brain stimulation: when does scientific laziness become fraud? See also, How Far Should Brain Researchers Go? by Moheb Costandi.

Barbara Sahakian
Barbara Sahakian
;William Safire Seminar on Neuroethics
L to R: Itzhak Fried, Petra Huppi, Vincent Walsh, Pierre Magistretti

FENS 2014 Neuroethics Press Conference
A press conference on the neuroethics of "Recording and Manipulating the Brain: How far can we go?  How far should we go?" was held during the 9th FENS Forum of Neuroscience in Milan, Italy on July 7, 2014. The speakers, Barbara Sahakian, INS President, Petra Huppi, MD, and Vincent Walsh, FMedSci, were also participants in the William Safire Seminar on Neuroethics - see above.    


Three Win Awards for Neuroscience Outreach
Three awards inaugurated by EDAB were presented at the meeting of the Federation of Neuroscience Societies (FENS) on July 7, 2014. 

     Dr. Mara Dierssen (Spain) was presented with the Dana/EDAB Neuroscience Outreach Champion, also known as the David and Hillie Mahoney Award for an Individual's Contribution to Outreach
   Mary G. Baker, MBE received the Dana/EDAB Lifetime Achievement Award for Outreach on Behalf of Brain Research
   The Hellenic Society for Neurosciences was presented the EDAB-FENS Brain Awareness Week (BAW) Excellence Award 

  Outreach Awards 
L to R: Marian Joëls, Mara Dierssen, Mary Baker, Ed Rover, Hillie Mahoney,
 Spiros Efthymiopoulos, Barbara Gill, Pierre Magistretti 

 Cerebrum Feature "Mapping Your Every Move" by Edvard and May Britt Moser
 EDAB members Edvard Moser and May Britt Moser, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, discuss the most advanced surveillance system you will ever find is built into your own brain and nurtured by evolution. It comes equipped with a coding system that stockpiles and maps your lifetime of events in high definition. Through new research tools and insights, scientists are gradually coming to understand this coding system and its intrinsic mathematical principles.

EDAB Inaugurates Neuroscience Outreach Program Awards
 EDAB, in collaboration with FENS established two prizes to reward public outreach projects and special contributions by individuals and organizations. The winners of each award will receive Euro 2,000.  For more information, click on links below:

     The Dana/EDAB Neuroscience Outreach Champion, also known as The David and Hillie Mahoney Award for an Individual's Contribution to Outreach will be awarded to an individual -- an artist or politician, not necessarily a scientist -- who has significantly contributed to the promotion of brain awareness, through continued outreach efforts over a period of years.
     The EDAB-FENS Brain Awareness Week (BAW) Excellence Award will recognize the outstanding presentation of a BAW outreach program in the past two years by an organization. 

EDAB members win the 2014 Brain Prize  
The Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Foundation’s € 1 million Brain Prize recognizes highly original advances in research on the nervous system. The 2014 Prize was awarded to EDAB members Giacomo Rizzolatti, Italy, Stanislas Dehaene, France, along with Trevor W. Robbins, UK, for their pioneering research on higher brain function.

Tenth Annual Successful Aging & Your Brain Event presented on 21 May at the Royal Society
On May 21, EDAB presented a Successful Aging & Your Brain program at the Royal Society.  Dr. Paul Howard Jones, Reader of Neuroscience and Education at University of Bristol Graduate School of Education, gave a lecture on Technology, Well-being and the Brain. This was the tenth annual Successful Aging & Your Brain event presented by EDAB.  Play an audio clip of the event below or click here


The Liberty of Knowledge: Remembering Rita Levi Montalcini 
February 4, 2014, New York City, Public Event and Reception
9 am - 1 pm, "Exploring Nerve Growth Factor", Italian Cultural Institute
5 pm - 8pm, "A Young Jewish Scientist in Fascist Italy", Center for Jewish History
See article based on above event "The Discovery and Potential of Nerve Growth Factor" 

Ninth Annual Successful Aging & Your Brain Event presented on 22 May at the Royal Society
On May 22, EDAB presented a Successful Aging & Your Brain program in collaboration with University of the 3rd Age (U3A) at the Royal Society. Professor Tom Kirkwood, Newcastle University Institute for Aging and Health, gave a lecture on Enriching Your Future to an audience of over 200 people at the Royal Society. This was the ninth annual Successful Aging & Your Brain event presented by EDAB.  

      Powerpoint presentation 
    Audio of the lecture  
  Audio of the lecture Q&A  

EDAB Member Rita Levi-Montalcini Dies - Shared Nobel for Work on How Neurons Grow
Italian neuroscientist Rita Levi-Montalcini’s 1952 discovery of nerve growth factor, a molecule that promotes the survival and differentiation of neurons, was key to understanding how diseases such as tumors and dementia develop.

The William Safire Seminar on Neuroethics at the FENS Forum of European Neuroscience in Barcelona


In recognition of his early involvement and support for the field of neuroethics, EDAB renamed its neuroethics seminar at the July 2012 Barcelona meeting of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), The William Safire Seminar on Neuroethics.

Jointly presented by EDAB and the International Neuroethics Society, the seminar’s topic was “Invading the Brain: What Are the Ethical Issues on Invasive Treatments for Brain Disorders?” Panelists included: Helen S. Mayberg, M.D., Emory University; professor John Rothwell, University College London; Damaan Denys, University of Amsterdam; Roger Barker, University of Cambridge;  and EDAB executive committee member Carlos Belmonte, who served as the moderator.

The speakers, experts in the fields of deep brain stimulation, cell transplantation, and gene therapy, discussed the potential for these techniques in treating debilitating brain diseases as well as the ethical issues that can arise from their use.

If you are interested in learning more about the William Safire Seminar in Neuroethics further information is available in the resources below.

      The Ethics of Invasive Treatments for Neurological Conditions  
    Full audio of the seminar
    Full transcript of the seminar
    Full PowerPoint Presentation
    Full PowerPoint with Seminar Audio

Neuroscientists and the Law 
The Royal Society recently released a report, entitled Neuroscience and the Law, that focuses on the impact of neuroscience research on the practice of law. Several members of the European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB) were members of the Working Group that produced the report, including Professor Alan Baddeley, Sir Michael Rutter, and EDAB Executive Committee member Professor Wolf Singer. The report is part of a larger project called Brain Waves, which aims to investigate advances in neuroscience and their effects on society and public policy. Brain Waves is overseen by a Steering Group, chaired by EDAB Executive Committee member Professor Colin Blakemore.

For some years we have known that we are living longer and Governments have long been warned about the social and economic consequences of an ageing population.  A new report by the European College on Neuropsychopharmacology and the European Brain Council talks of a financial ‘ticking time-bomb’ across Europe.  And the problem is now: one in three people in 2010 suffered a brain disorder or was caring for somebody with one - and the figure is rising.

The report, entitled, ‘The size and burden of mental disorders and other disorders of the brain in Europe 2010’, was published in European Neuropsychopharmacology (2011 21, 655–679). Hans-Ulrich Wittchen and colleagues from 19 European centres carried out a study covering 30 countries (the European Union plus Switzerland, Iceland and Norway) with a combined population of 514 million people.  They investigated all major mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders, insomnia, addiction and schizophrenia,  and several neurological disorders, including stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Previous studies underestimate the burden of brain disorders in the EU which currently costs Europe almost €800 billion a year.

The true size of “disorders of the brain” is considerably larger yet less than one third of all cases receive any treatment.   The cost of treating brain disorders, such as depression, insomnia, Parkinson's and stroke, has more than doubled in just six years, according to the study.

Lead author of the report, Professor Wittchen, from the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, said: “We have to address two high priority issues. First, the immense treatment gap for mental disorders has to be closed. Because mental disorders frequently start early in life, they have a strong malignant impact on later life. Second, both groups of disorders share many common mechanisms and have reciprocal effects on each other. Only a joint approach covering the spectrum of disorders of the brain across the lifespan will lead to an improved understanding of the causes and improved treatments”.

The most frequent disorders are anxiety disorders (14 percent), insomnia (seven percent), major depression (almost 7%).  More than four percent are alcohol and drug dependent.  Attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorders occur in five percent of young people, and one percent of people aged 60-65 has dementia, rising to 30 percent among those aged 85 and above.

The ECNP and the EBC are calling for action to be taken as a priority to include substantially increased funding for basic, clinical and public health research in order to identify better strategies for improved prevention and treatment for disorders of the brain as the core health challenge of the 21st century.


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