Brain Disorders

The brain is susceptible to many different disorders that strike at every stage of life. Developmental disorders such as autism and dyslexia first appear in early childhood. Psychiatric diseases such as depression and schizophrenia are typically diagnosed in teens or early adulthood, although their origins may lie much earlier in life. And, as we age we become increasingly susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and other diseases.

Brain disorders are among the most serious health problems facing our society, causing untold human suffering and enormous economic costs. They are also among the most mysterious of all diseases, and our ignorance of the underlying disease mechanisms is a major obstacle to the development of better treatments.

What is needed is not simply more ‘me-too’ drugs, but new therapeutic approaches that are based on a fundamental understanding of brain mechanisms. Our translational efforts must therefore rest on a strong foundation of basic discovery research – the engine that drives new practical applications.

At the McGovern Institute we are approaching this challenge at many levels, from molecules to mind, from basic work on animal models to behavioral and imaging studies of human patients.

The Poitras Center for Affective Disorders Research, established in 2007 through a generous gift by Patricia and James Poitras ’63, has allowed us to examine the causes of depression, bipolar disorder, and other major psychiatric disorders.

Learn more about how our research is contributing to the understanding of:

Read more about the global disease burden and economic cost of brain disorders.

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