The brain is the most complex organ in the human body, and the one that defines who we are. It is also one of the least understood -- what does it mean to have a healthy brain, what changes should we expect from the genetic footprint, through childhood and adolescence, as we get older or if we suffer brain damage? Cognitive, behavioural, electrophysiological and haemodynamic measures can help to define a healthy brain, but nothing is as individual as a brain, and the answers to this question can only come from a detailed and multidisciplinary characterisation of each individual. Working across the basic and translational divide, in concert with new advances in medical science, will enable the CHBH to define the characteristics of a healthy brain in order to achieve a new level of personalised healthcare.
Understanding the brain in health and pathology is one of the great challenges facing twenty-first century science.
- Today one in four people in the UK has a mental health condition.
- A 2014 OECD study found that mental health issues cost the UK around £70 billion each year – or 4.5% of GDP.
- Research conducted by the Alzheimer’s Society, for its report Dementia UK: Second edition, showed that there are around 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. The cost to the UK economy is £26 billion a year.
- The latest prevalence studies of autism indicate that around 700,000 people in the UK may have autism – or more than 1 in 100 in the population.