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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 March, 2004, 16:53 GMT
10m brain centre for Cardiff
Brain scan
Scientists will use sophisticated equipment to study the brain
A 10m centre of excellence for research into the human brain is being set up in Cardiff.

Scientists there will soon be able to use state of the art technology to unravel the mysteries of the human brain after a multi million pound grant was granted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

It could bring improved treatments to people suffering from Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia and other disorders.

The funding was given as the result of the coming merger between Cardiff University and University of Wales College of Medicine.

The centre is expected to open at the end of next year.

Known as Cardiff University Brain and Repair Imaging Centre, it will feature the latest scanning equipment which will help scientists to gain a better understanding of how the brain works and what happens when people suffer injuries to the brain.

Other medical conditions will also be under scrutiny at the centre including various psychiatric and neurological disorders.

Brain facts
1m in UK suffer head injuries a year
More than 100,000 British people have a stroke
MS affects 85, 000 people in the UK
750,000 people in the UK have dementia

Experts also hope that the centre will help the development of improved treatments for medical conditions including strokes.

It will be the first in the UK to combine two types of sophisticated non invasive brain imaging equipment solely for research.

The systems called Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Magneto encephalography will look at everyday mental processes.

"In bringing together these two highly sophisticated pieces of equipment, we are creating a facility as advanced as any of its kind in Europe or North America," said project director Professor Peter Halligan.

"The combination of these systems will put Cardiff, and Wales, at the international forefront of developments in brain imaging for the cognitive, social and clinical neurosciences."

The facilities will allow Cardiff and Wales to compete internationally and attract world-class researchers, said the professor.

The DTI has awarded 8m and further funds have been made available by the universities.

The Minister for Science and Innovation at the DTI, Lord Sainsbury, said: "This award for new ground-breaking equipment recognises the outstanding work that Cardiff University and the University of Wales College of Medicine have already carried out in the field of brain research."

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