World Brain Week is celebrated during the month of March to raise awareness among the world’s population about the importance of brain health and to highlight neuroscience as a fundamental pillar for understanding how to prevent and treat disorders and diseases of the nervous system, which is essential for maintaining the overall health of all people.

The brain is a complex organ that centralizes the activity of the nervous system, which is made up of millions of neurons that allow the regulation of all brain, body, and mind functions:

  • It controls vital functions such as breathing, blood pressure, and body temperature.
  • Controls higher cognitive functions such as memory, perception, and learning.
  • Executes the ability to think, feel, and reason.
  • Receives and processes information from the senses.
  • Controls body movements.
  • Controls our behavior and emotions.

The nervous system works not only to produce thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, but also to control important bodily functions, such as breathing. There are more than 1,000 disorders of the brain and nervous system:

  • Intellectual and developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome.
  • Behavioral disorders, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
  • Learning and reading disabilities.
  • Mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and addiction.
  • Degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Niemann-Pick disease.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders, such as muscular dystrophy and stroke.
  • Structural defects, such as neural tube defects, including spina bifida, hydrocephalus, and myelomeningocele.
  • Injuries, including traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury, and the body’s processing of pain.
  • Cancer, including brain tumors such as paragangliomas.
  • Immune system disorders, including HIV/AIDS.
  • Epilepsy, seizures, and stroke.

Studying the nervous system leads to advances in understanding our basic biology and how the body works. Neuroscience can help researchers find ways to prevent or treat problems that affect the brain, nervous system, and body. In addition to studying the normal development and activity of the nervous system, neuroscience studies diseases, disorders, and injuries that affect parts of the nervous system, how it develops, and how it functions.

Experts envision several scenarios for the future development of neuroscience:

  • Developments in neuroimaging techniques will provide more information about the different types of cells in the brain and their connections. This will allow a deeper understanding of various diseases and the functioning of mental processes such as memory and sleep.
  • We will soon see the development of technological tools to predict diseases, which will make it easier to better manage them and individualize treatments for each patient.
  • Cure incurable diseases: Experts predict that by 2026, the major causes of Alzheimer’s disease will be identified, and treatments will be available to the general public, and that a cure for Alzheimer’s will be found just a few years later.
  • The field of mental health will be one of the most advanced in the medium and long term. Specifically, they predict that less invasive treatments for central nervous system disorders will be developed. Experts predict a better understanding of the neural basis of mental illness.