Health Significance of TNP Research
The need for translational neuroscience research is evident when one considers the magnitude of public health problems that derive from neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Based on recent estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) Burden of Disease project, total disability in the United States , as well as in other economically advanced nations worldwide, from all neuropsychiatric conditions, far exceeds disability from every other category of medical conditions, including cardiovascular diseases and malignant neoplasms. Depression, substance abuse, stroke and dementias are among the leading nervous system disorders causing disability, with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and migraine also ranking high in disability-adjusted life years.
According to 2004 Michigan Department of Community Health Statistics, about 100,000 Michigan residents suffer from schizophrenia, and a similar number from bipolar disorder. In Michigan, about 200,000 citizens are living with a disability due to traumatic brain injury (TBI); 240,000 citizens have dementia (Alzheimer’s disease is the most common); and neurological stroke was the third most common cause of death in Michigan with 5,282 deaths.
Also, untreated substance abuse costs the State of Michigan over $2 billion annually, is viewed as a “common denominator for most of our negative social conditions,” and has become a priority for developing prevention and treatment programs.
These disorders are projected to increase in prevalence over the next several decades as lifespan increases and demographics change. Therefore, the need for translational neuroscience research, and well-trained graduates in this broad field who can address “real-life” clinical issues, is expected only to increase nationally and at the state level.