Monday March 28th 2011 » 14:30 - 17:15

Chairperson : Richard Frackowiak (Professor, University of Lausanne)

Scientific sessions :
Harnessing modern computing to brain imaging: implications for psychology, neuroscience and neurology
Talk 1 : Visualizing the impact of education on the brain
» Stanislas Dehaene (Director of the INSERM-CEA Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit)

Talk 2 : Predicting brain responses: The blue brain project
» Richard Frackowiak (Professor of Neurology, Head of Clinical neurosciences department CHU Université de Lausanne ,SWITZERLAND)

Talk 3 : Industrial scale image analysis – the future of neuroradiology
» John C. Mazziotta (M.D., PH.D, Large Scale, Probabilistic Atlases of the Human Brain, Brain Mapping Center David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA)

Round table : Understanding brain function: implication for society and the future
Moderator : Richard Frackowiak (Professor, University of Lausanne, SWITZERLAND)

Panelists :

Wolf Singer (Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult., Director, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research)
Alim-Louis Benabid (Scientific Advisor, CEA-Grenoble)
Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg (Director, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim)
Alan Gara (Chief architect, Blue Brain Project, IBM)
Don Deyo, (Vice President, Product Development & Technology)

This session is designed to examine the present and future implications of our new ability to examine human cognition, emotion and action by scanning the brain. Brain scanning allied with computer analysis means that it is possible to identify specialised brain areas and more importantly still how such areas interact in networks to generate feelings, hopes and actions.

New, more sophisticated and sensitive scanners open the door to making reliable observations in the brains of individuals.

The exponential increase in computing power that is a reality of our age now makes it possible to envisage industrial scale scanning for pre-clinical screening of brain diseases. Some of these, such as the brain degeneration in Alzheimer's disease, can be picked up early, before symptoms arise.

But the top super-computers now have the power to go beyond this phase. It is possible to envisage building a "brain" in a computer so that it can be challenged and its responses recorded to predict what might happen in human brains in the same situation. The mass of information collected by scientists daily about the structure and function of brains needs to be marshalled into accessible databases to feed the construction of life-like models of the brain on computer chips.

Such artificial but realistic brains might represent ideal models for drug development or for predicting the effects of surgery in individuals in addition to allowing safe experimentation designed to predict how the brain works in different situations.

The speakers will introduce some of these present and futuristic concepts

The Round table will bring together leaders in the field and confront them with the implications of such advances for individuals and society, inviting discussion of political, libertarian and social consequences. The present applications of concepts and methods linking brain scanning and computer technology and scope for further advances will be discussed by those, like the most advanced computer engineers, surgeons and psychiatrists, who are thinking about where things will go from here.

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