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Gradually losing control of your body is something that patients with neurodegenerative diseases must learn to live with. Lorenzo Rossi, an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patient is coming to terms with his condition. Andrea Niutta has multiple sclerosis and has been using a wheelchair for almost twenty years. He attends neuromuscular reeducation therapy at Valduce Hospital in Costa Masnaga near Milan. He has accepted to test a new kind of neuroprosthesis developed by a European research programme in Italy and was surprised by the results.
Published: 20 January 2014
A robotic arm developed by a team of European researchers goes some way towards giving severely paralysed people some independence. The arm can be controlled intuitively, meaning the person just has to think about using their arm for it to move.
Published: 9 October 2013
Hallucinations have been the seeds of inspiration of legendary filmmakers such as Luis Buñuel, Terry Gilliam or David Lynch. Auditory hallucinations are a major symptom of schizophrenia. These inner voices people hear in the absence of any external acoustic input can be very disruptive for health and for social life. Professor Kenneth Hugdahl, who holds an ERC Advanced grant, has developed an IPhone app to help patients to re-focus their attention. Based at the University of Bergen in Norway, he participates in the Horizons for Social Sciences and Humanities conference in Vilnius on 23 and 24 September 2013 and exposes the first results of his ERC project.
Published: 30 September 2013
Substantial progress has been made in the development of treatments for a particular brain disease, thanks in part to an EU-funded project. The X-ALD project focused on achieving a better understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms leading to 'X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy', a disorder which results in the accumulation of long chain fatty acids in tissues throughout the body but especially in the central nervous system.
Published: 24 September 2013
Through collaborative work, an EU-funded research team aims to uncover how neural circuits are genetically encoded and how neuronal computation controls behaviour. It has also set out to give some of Europe's brightest young scientists the chance to cooperate with colleagues in other countries and push forward our understanding of the brain.
Published: 11 September 2013
Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's. Its main symptoms are: shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty maintaining an upright posture. More than one million people suffer from the effects of this disease in Europe today, and this is forecast to double by 2030. Economically, the impact is significant: Parkinson's costs Europe an estimated € 14 billion a year.
Published: 5 September 2013
We have developed so called brain-computer interfaces which allow the user to control different devices and programmes without hands, by means of the users thoughts.
Published: 1 August 2013
Treating schizophrenia presents huge challenges and those involved see first-hand how this diverse medical condition causes huge suffering and requires complex and costly care, often over a lifetime. In the Netherlands, Prof. Jim van Os is heading up an exciting and ambitious international research project that brings together professionals, patients and their families who depend on each other to unlock new answers and approaches to treatment. There is so much that we don't yet understand about it and current treatments are inadequate, so there is a real motivation to work together and solve more bits of a complicated puzzle.
Published: 18 July 2013
How is it possible to rewind life and take cells back to their embryonic state? Enter the world of stem cell generation and regenerative medicine! This field of science for medical treatment is at the forefront of technology and therapeutics, and is controversial. The potential to replace damaged cells in the brain, and even to enable recovery of lost functions, in devastating conditions such as Parkinsons disease and Huntington's disease, holds amazing hope for sufferers. The scientists involved in the NeuroStemCell project are faced with the daily challenge of big unanswered questions, together with pressing ethical issues.
Published: 8 July 2013
Brain research has made unprecedented progress over the years, with Europe at the forefront of scientific advances. But more can be done. This comes from Alzheimer's Disease International who issued their report on the Global Economic Impact of Dementia. They estimate that if dementia care were a country, it would be the world's 18th largest economy, ranking between Turkey and Indonesia.
Published: 19 June 2013