BGU Researcher Discussing Treating Brain Diseases
May 13, 2014
Jewish Journal — About 30 percent of the world’s population suffers from brain disease such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, epilepsy, tumors and traumatic brain injury.
“For decades, researchers were focusing on brain cells. Perhaps that was the wrong approach,” said Prof. Alon Friedman, chair of BGU’s Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience, at a recent event at Edgewater Estates in Boca Raton.
Prof. Friedman, a neurophysiologist and neurosurgeon, is looking at the possibility that diseases and injuries that affect the brain could be treated through the blood-brain barrier.
“Some forms of brain disease are vascular in origin and might be treated early before symptoms appear, or before massive cellular death begins,” he said.
Part of Prof. Friedman’s research to understand how brain disease develops and part is treating patients with neurological disease.
He was part of the team of researchers at BGU’s Brain Imaging Research Center that did magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans on the brain of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who was incapacitated by a brain hemorrhage about eight years ago.
Sharon’s family thought he heard and understood what was being said to him and that he responded to the environment. The tests proved that Sharon could hear but researchers and doctors are not sure that he understood, according to Prof. Friedman.
Prof. Friedman also mentioned brain trauma in professional football players in the United States, an area of increasing concern for players, the NFL and doctors. There is vascular disease that the player doesn’t know about,” he said.
Prof. Friedman and his research team are initiating clinical trials to try to diagnose vascular diseases and treat them.