Mental illness and diseases of the brain are ignored and misunderstood. These remain major challenges for medical research.
Psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders are major causes of death and disability, and current treatments and care costs the UK around £77 billion every year. Despite the major personal and family suffering caused by these disorders, modern medicine has yet to have any significant impact in prevention or cure. We need better treatments and a better understanding of the root causes and mechanisms of mental health disorders.
The estimated cost of dementia in the UK alone is estimated to be £17 billion a year, more than cancer and heart disease combined. With an aging population, this figure is set to rise to £50 billion within the next 30 years.
Improving care and treatment for people with mental health problems requires the same rigorous approach to research as demanded for tackling physical illness.
Despite the huge burden that poor mental health and neurodegenerative disorders represent to society and the great potential arising from recent advances in neurosciences and genetics, the possibilities remain untapped and research is under-funded. We need better treatments and prevention and this will require better understanding of causes and mechanisms. This requires collaborative, inter-disciplinary efforts to bring cutting-edge neuroscience to bear on these illnesses.
Why are there few effective treatments for patients suffering from psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases? Cardiff University is committed to answering this question and to tackling this issue in a radical way by bringing together worldleading specialist researchers from across the disciplinary boundaries to form a new, pioneering University Research Institute. It has invested £30M in it's new home - the Hadyn Ellis Building at Maindy Park. This building will house neuroscientists both at the Research Institute and the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Geonomics who are developing new models of psychiatric and neurological disorders as well as a specialised neuroscience clinical research facility and this will bring genetics, neuroscience and clinical research together on a single site.