Only recently did neuroscience break free of its neuro-centric approach which has been so embedded in the field – it even forms its name. Neuroscience = the wonderful world of neurones. Or so we thought.
Today, we now know that the unsuspecting 90% of our brain formerly termed as ‘just glue’ is in fact, active, adaptable and very, very important.
The revelation of the various different roles played by glial cells, which include much more than being sticky, support cells, has revolutionised the way we think about the brain and has huge implications for future research and developments.
Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ADHD, autism, depression and schizophrenia are all ‘A-lister’ disorders that capture much of the public’s attention and have had their fair few sensationalist headlines. However, they are not the only areas where further neuroscientific developments could have a real, tangible impact on patients.
It is worth remembering that it is in fact headache disorders that are the most common neurological disorders worldwide. Headache disorders are ranked by the World Health Organization as one of the top 10 most disabling conditions and estimates a €43 billion ‘headache’ burden in Europe alone.
So while it might not make your front-page news, all great journeys start with a single step and as our understanding of all things neuroscience flourishes, perhaps a headache really will be just as mundane as its public media presence would have you believe.