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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 August 2007, 23:46 GMT 00:46 UK
Project to boost brain knowledge
Human brain
The project will further understanding of brain conditions
A 40m study to improve scientist's understanding of how the brain works has been launched.

It is hoped the five-year project by experts from six Scottish universities will boost study of conditions such as stroke, schizophrenia and Alzheimer's.

Scientists will use state-of-the-art equipment to create images of the brain.

The money will also be used to bring leading researchers from across the world to Scotland.

The project will be known as The Scottish Imaging Network: A Platform for Scientific Excellence (SINAPSE).

The partnership of experts from Aberdeen, Dundee, St Andrews, Stirling, Glasgow and Edinburgh universities will collect data on brain information including structure, function and brain waves.

It will be retrieved using technology which includes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET).

About 35m of its total funding has been provided by the universities, with a further 6.3m secured from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and 700,000 from the Chief Scientist Office.

'Distressing conditions'

It is hoped that five new chairs will be created across the universities, and that the project will be able to retain the best Scottish graduates.

Dr Richard Lerski, from Dundee University, said: "The SINAPSE collaboration opens up new and exciting possibilities to further our understanding of the mind and the diseases that affect the mind.

"Partnerships such as SINAPSE are essential to push forward new discoveries aimed to support the development of treatments which will be of great benefit to patients in Scotland and beyond."

Professor Joanna Wardlaw, of Edinburgh University, added: "Several key advances in medical imaging originated in Scotland, so we are continuing what is a strong research tradition.

"Working together, we can make new discoveries for the benefit of all patients, which would be hard to make by working alone."

SFC chief executive Roger McClure said: "The potential benefits to individuals and their families of understanding better these distressing conditions are enormous."




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