AIDS is a relatively minor plague compared to the epidemic of dementia that will occur around the world in the coming decades, said leading brain researcher Prof. Richard Frackowiak on Wednesday. He was speaking at a symposium on brain research at the Fifth Presidential Conference at Jerusalem’s International Convention Center.

Frackowiak told the overflowing audience that the future of brain research lies in the creation of a hospital database to contain complete records of all brain-disease-related patients from around the world. If available to all researchers and scientists, this information would improve diagnosis accuracy.

“Dementia is a disease that is going to be like a plague in our aging population,” said Frackowiak.

“It’s going to be worse than AIDS – much worse, economically, personally. Each of you undoubtedly has someone who is already losing their memory or developing some other neurological disorder.”

The British-born scientist – director of clinical neuroscience and head of the neurology service at CHUV University Hospital in Lausanne – conducts research on the functional and structural architecture of the human brain in health and disease.

He is also codirector of the Blue Brain Project with Prof. Henry Markram. The project aims at building a virtual model of the human brain, neuron by neuron, so that scientists will better understand the hundreds of different brain diseases, from Alzheimer’s to schizophrenia, and develop effective ways to treat them.

Frackowiak was part of a panel also composed by narrator Prof. Eilon Vaadia, director of the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences at the Hebrew University, Prof.

Yadin Dudai, a leading neurobiologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Markram, a neuroscientist at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology and Hebrew University Prof. Idan Segev, a leading participant in the project and an expert in computational neuroscience.

In the afternoon physicians and scientists examined the future of medicine, including personalized medicine and proteomics.

A Health Page feature on the scientific sections of the conference will appear on Sunday, June 30.

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