Neuroscience has become one of the most dynamic areas in biomedical research. It is a set of scientific disciplines that research the function, structure and biochemistry of the nervous system and the human brain.
Neuroscience focuses on the study of the human brain from multiple areas
Disciplines ranging from psychology and pharmacology to biology and neurology, among others. Learning about the functioning of the human brain will allow us to improve our understanding of learning, interpersonal relationships and the extension of intellectual life. It will also help us to discover the dysfunctions caused by neurodegenerative diseases. The most outstanding advances in neuroscience are related to the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
And that is because the fields of application of neuroscience are very broad and varied:
- Education. Understanding the functioning of the brain will help us to learn about the mechanisms we use to acquire knowledge. It is now known that a person’s emotional state influences the functioning of the brain, just like stress. It is also important to work on experiences, because that makes learning much more meaningful. All of this research is aimed at improving the educational system and the way we learn, which will undoubtedly contribute to revolutionising teaching practice.
- Economy. Why do we make a decision? What influences it? Understanding these mechanisms can be a powerful tool in the world of business, finance or marketing.
- Psychology. With advances in neuroscience, psychology applies new techniques to improve the well-being and quality of life of people. It also helps explain addictions and how to treat them.
- Neurodegenerative diseases. Understanding the brain and its functioning also enables us to find out where and why it fails. This makes it possible to act in these areas to help people with cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease and strokes.
Advances in neuroscience
It should not be forgotten that there are many diseases and disorders that affect the nervous system and originate in the brain. According to the World Health Organisation, neurological diseases affect more than 1 billion people and the cost of these diseases is estimated to be more than 1 trillion euros a year in the European Union.
The field of neuroscience technology is advancing rapidly. From brain implants that provide mobility to people with tetraplegia and intelligent prostheses that help the movement of the limbs to brain stimulators with electric currents that allow neuronal recovery after a stroke. This research will allow great advances in neurorehabilitation. Work is currently being carried out with virtual reality and exoskeletons.
Another example of the advances in this relationship is a research study by Yale University. Scientists from this university have been able to display the density of the connections of the cerebral neurons. A great achievement since the brain is made up of 86 billion neurons that communicate through 100 trillion synapses. Knowing this density enables improvements in the diagnosis of epilepsy. And will also help to better understand other disorders such as Alzheimer’s, autism and schizophrenia.