With the oncoming aging of Baby Boomers, brain conditions like stroke and Alzheimer’s disease are among the greatest challenges of the 21st century. Georgetown University and the MedStar National Rehabilitation Network are collaborating to create a new Center for Brain Plasticity and Recovery. The aim of the Center is to harness and expand our existing strengths in research and patient care in order to develop groundbreaking approaches to restore brain function for patients. The Center will focus on the study of neuroplasticity, the biological process underlying the brain’s ability to learn and develop and a potential recovery tool in conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, and dementias such as Alzheimer’s. Our long-term aim is to stimulate the brain to recover from damage, preserving and restoring neurologic function.
We will begin by applying these new approaches to brain injury resulting from stroke, one of the most common neurological disorders and the most common cause of disability in this country. We also anticipate that these novel treatment strategies will improve the retention and recovery of cognitive abilities in Alzheimer’s Disease, by invoking the brain’s resilience mechanisms and by augmenting recovery from the small strokes and vascular injuries that contribute to dementia.
This Center begins at a time when cutting-edge research suggests that we are on the brink of new solutions. Our ambitious goal requires a rare interdisciplinary integration of neuroscience research across the spectrum, from genetic and molecular to behavioral and cognitive levels of analysis and from basic science to clinical application. The University has unique characteristics that make such integration possible. Paired with the world-class clinical research and patient care resources at National Rehabilitation Hospital, the new Center will be a national pioneer in the basic and translational science of brain repair.