We spoke to neuroscientist and former Society for Neuroscience president Eric J. Nestler, M.D., Ph.D., about the bipartisan nature of biomedical research, his hopes for the future of addiction and depression, new findings on stress and depression, and more in the latest Dana Alliance member Q&A. These Q&As are part of a regular series of in-depth interviews that give readers a look into the outreach, research, and interests of the preeminent neuroscientists that make up the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.
On why his institution, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, prioritizes outreach, Nestler said:
Neuroscience is especially important. Five out of the top ten causes of disease burden worldwide are brain disorders: depression, dementia, stroke, psychosis, and addiction. In fact, depression is the leading cause of disability across the globe. Today’s entire Medicare budget will be consumed solely by caring for individuals with dementia within a couple of decades if no dramatic improvements in treatment or prevention are devised; dementia will consume our society…
It is a responsibility for every neuroscientist to help spread the word to the general public. They can do so by writing OpEd articles for local newspapers, by volunteering to teach public school students about the brain, by speaking at events sponsored by patient advocacy groups, and by getting involved in—and leading—their institution’s outreach efforts to the community. The Society for Neuroscience provides a uniquely effective vehicle through which neuroscientists can get involved and make a difference. Some of us may want to leave this to others, but that is an enormous mistake. Each of us must do our part in showing our local and national communities the excitement of neuroscience and its importance for the future physical and economic health of our country.
To read the full interview, click on the above image. For more Q&As with members of the Dana Alliance, visit the Member’s News and Views page on dana.org.
– Ali Chunovic