Untreated brain disorders – be they drug addiction, ADHD, memory loss or brain injury – account for 13 per cent of the world’s global health burden.
The Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences (MICCN) will focus on four key areas that are critical to the wellbeing of Australians yet are having a greater impact on the health (and health budget) of the nation:
- Addiction – to drugs, gambling, alcohol and OCD
- Attention – such as in children with learning difficulties such as Autism
- Memory – such as age related changes in memory, and recovery from brain injury such as stroke
- Sleep – such as sleep related occupation risk (drowsy driving/shift work), insomnia etc
The MICCN recently received the largest single philanthropic donation ever provided to Monash University, as evidence of the importance of the new Institute. The gift from the David Winston Turner Endowment Trust, valued at $5.25 million, will support ongoing research into the area of addiction.
According to Director, Professor Kim Cornish, the MICCN will combine cutting edge research with experts from a broad range of disciplines and faculties as well as working with clinical and industry partners. “The MICCN will use innovative approaches to understand how the brain works. More importantly our aim is to take those discoveries to the clinic and workplace – eventually to become used in industry and community,” she said.
“The human brain contains tens of billions of cells, and they last from conception to death. Understanding how they work both when they operate well and poorly is the key to improving the health of many Australians.”
President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AO said the MICCN demonstrated the University’s commitment to translating ground-breaking research into benefit for the community. “Monash is recognised internationally for its research in mental health. The MICCN transforms how we engage with industry to address this area of growing concern in the field of world health,” she said.
Dr Alan Finkel, Chancellor of Monash University believes that the focus of the MICCN on the human brain is an important step in delivering real health benefits to Australians and globally.
“The human brain is complex beyond measure. Not surprisingly, brain and mind disorders represent an enormous burden on our society and addressing them is the biggest medical challenge we face. By bringing together talented experts and focusing on specific areas, the new Institute will push the boundaries of our understanding and treatments,” he said.