The human brain is the most complex and enigmatic biological structure on Earth. With around 86 billions of neurons interconnected, this fascinating organ, matrix of the nervous system, is the main center of regulation and control of our body activities, able to determine cognitive, sensory, motor, emotional and social behavior.
The importance of the brain, organ which defines individuality and is crucial for understanding the human being, boosts Neuroscience research worldwide, unifying scientists and drawing the attention of the whole society.
"Neuroscience is a result of the association of traditional disciplines such as anatomy, histology, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, neurology and psychiatry. Within a few decades, neuroscience had produced undeniable scientific progress and knowledge about the nervous system, largely due to the technological advances in emerging disciplines.
There is no doubt that this development will continue in the upcoming decades, not only towards knowledge about the functional organization of the normal brain, which is still partial, but also regarding neurological and psychiatric disorders, many still with poor therapeutic approaches.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 5% of individuals over 65 year old will have Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most prevalent form of dementia caused by a progressive degeneration of brain circuits. In developing countries, such as Brazil, life expectancy increases rapidly. The aging of our population makes us estimate that at least 100,000 citizens will become AD patients every year. In addition, hundreds of millions of people are affected annually by other brain disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, tumors, stroke, schizophrenia and autism, amongst several others. In addition, there is an obvious interest about the normal function of the human brain, considered by many, as one of the main frontiers in modern science.
We face the same challenge of explaining, the physiological mechanisms that give rise to perception, memory, attention, and which are ingredients or facets of what we call consciousness. This challenge depends not only on empirical findings derived from discoveries about the morphology and physiology of the nervous system, but also a conceptual effort that can integrate into a seamless picture the enormous complexity of the processes that characterize the neural activity.
There are two main challenges of current neuroscience. On the one hand, more pragmatic, there is rush to develop therapeutic approaches to cure or mitigate the suffering of those, maybe all of us, who suffer from some dysfunction of the nervous system. On the other hand, conceptual and inseparable from the basic science, lies the challenge of understanding the nervous system in its fullness, its evolutionary past, its functional complexity and nature of the conscious process that it seems to come so mysteriously."
The "Miolo" project is intended to involve society to envisage science through an artistic point of view that explores the human behavior and reveals the complexity of the symbol of reason, emotion and, some would dare say, the soul.
We truly appreciate the collaboration of invited artists and researchers who kindly provide their works and, through them, give us the opportunity to think about this fascinating topic and about ourselves.
Owen Davey, Igor Morski, Leon Keay, Anthony Tremmaglia, Elisa Ancori, Diego Max, Cindy Stelmackowich, Cristiano Siqueira, Victor Maristane, Catherine Lepage, Mataone, Billy Reynolds, Greg Dunn, Shoshanah Dubiner, Antonio Peticov, Eugenia Loli, Marne Grahlman, Richard Mia, Thadé, Hristo, Dani Sanchis, Bedelgeuse, Alessandro Gottardo, Aleks Klepnev, Fabio Q., Edwige Massart & Xavier Wynn, Ulisses Saravalle, Deborah Stevenson, Jazzberry Blue, Antonio Mora, Jake Fried, Lisa Nilsson, Noah Scalin and Glòria Fort Mir.
Free translation of part of the article "Pensando o futuro da Neurociência”, published at USP Magazine by Dr. Luiz Roberto G. Britto and Dr. Marcus Vinicius C. Baldo, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Institute of Biomedical Science, University of São Paulo - USP.