The journal Nature has declared this the decade of psychiatric disorders. Leading neuroscientists, including our own Nobel laureate Edvard
Moser, believe the greatest breakthroughs in neuroscience will come in psychiatry.
Nansen Neuroscience Network has looked at Norwegian neuroscience research and psychiatric research in the light of the international developments – Do we invest enough? Are we good at it? What can we improve on?
Norway has built up some of the best neuroscientific research environments in the world, and we have specific initiatives for mental health. Through this, Norwegian research contributes with important knowledge on the brain and brain disorders. We have highly competent research on the areas that are expected to produce the major breakthroughs. The Norwegian research is primarily directed towards understanding brain function and what goes wrong during brain disorders, and so far little towards bringing forward new treatments. The innovation rate is currently low, but this should increase with greater investments like NORMENT.
Norwegian NeuroImaging Initiative (NORNI) was established in 2011. The background was a wish to standardize protocols for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in Norway, so as to facilitate research, innovation and better use of resources in the health care sector.
As a part of NORNI, the National Competence Centre for fMRI made a survey to map the use of MRI in the assessment of dementia, brain tumours and psychiatry in Norwegian Hospitals. The mapping resulted in an overview of the most used MR machines and MR sequences in use. The overview can be found here.
NORNI now works with MR specialists around the country to develop standardized protocols and find ways to implement these in the clinic and research. The project group consist of Ole A. Andreassen (UiO and OUS), Asta Håberg (NTNU and St. Olav’s Hospital) and Mona K. Beyer (OUS). NNN has the coordinator role in the project.
Dementia is one of our prioritized disease areas. In 2013, we conducted a mapping of Norwegian research and development on dementia, resulting in the report “Næring for hjernen”. In addition to an overview of Norwegian research groups and companies working in this field, the report includes an analysis of what it will take to translate the great research into products that can be of benefit to patients. The report is continuously being updated and will also be translated into English. The report was published at our national symposium #demens2013 – Kan vi løse demensgåten?, where around 120 participants gathered to hear about and discuss dementia research and which role Norway can play in the search for new ways to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure dementia.
We continue to work closely with the dementia community. We regularly inform about the various funding schemes that are of interest for dementia researchers, such as Horizon 2020 and EU Joint program – neurodegenerative disease.