One of the biggest challenges today is to understand the human brain and we never have been closer to realize it. More than 130 institutes are taking part in one of Europe´s largest research projects, funded with 1.2 billion Euros: The Human Brain Project.
The aim of this ambitious project is to get an unprecedented insight into the mysterious processes of our brain, and will open a whole new array of possibilities in the diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders and diseases, such as Alzheimer´s, Parkinson`s or Schizophrenia.
One of the institutions working on mapping the brain is the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Within the EU-funded project "Select-And-Act" researchers study the striatum, a special part of the forebrain which controls our motor behavior.
Professor Sten Grillner and his team gained their information by examining the brain of lampreys and rodents. The lamprey belongs to the first vertebrates which emerged about 500 Million years ago, and their simple brain seems to show a model of how our brain works.
Currently one third of the total healthcare costs in Europe and North America are allocated to brain diseases. A better diagnosis and possible treatment could mark a milestone in modern medicine and also reduce the costs of healthcare in the long run.