There are approximately 86 billion neurons in the human brain. Each of them exchanging signals with thousands of other neurons creating a network of connections and circuits forming the central nervous system, which controls almost every function of the body. When neurons stop functioning and die, the network in that part of the brain stops working properly, resulting in devastating neurodegenerative diseases.
In the past few decades, we have seen enormous advancements in our understanding of the brain, central nervous system and neurodegeneration, with treatments becoming available for a number of neurological diseases. But with the brain, the most complex organ in the body, which governs every emotion, thought and movement, is it realistic to think our success in understanding some areas of neurology could be applied to others?
For Chris Henderson, Ph.D., Head of Research at Biogen, it is a resounding yes. “But it’s not an ephemeral exploration of the brain,” he says. “It’s about experience both in research but also in developing treatments. When you’ve done this multiple times for a number of diseases, you are able to carry that knowledge forward and start connecting the dots.”