Neurosurgery deals with refined brain functions in a robust way. Neurosurgical conditions are managed uniformly with similar solutions for large groups of patients. Current medical evidence is based on generalized parameters and population outcomes with limited attention to individual biological variation. However, very few unique individuals fit perfectly in one mold. Moreover, cognitive and affective symptoms have been neglected.
We lack understanding of how mental phenomena reflect material states in the brain, and how these affect coping and readjusting. Individual variation of pathophysiology, psychology and values is increasingly acknowledged with an ensuing need to target therapies. Effective strategies to understand and optimize individualized neurosurgical therapy require (1) individualized biological, chemical and genetic causal explanations of neurosurgical pathophysiology and (2) knowledge of the neurosurgical patients' cognition and emotion and how biological processes interfere causally with cognitive and emotional processes.
These unmet needs are symmetrical to those in neuroscience and neuropsychology. Experimental data and observations must be applied to humans, but hypotheses in neuroscience are only relevant to the extent that they can be corroborated in humans. Hence, basal science requires collaboration with neurosurgery for corroboration of experimental models and understanding human brain function.
Head of PERNS
Tiit Mathiesen is leader of PERNS, professor of neurosurgery and academic chair. His research areas include meningiomas, inflammation and medical ethics. He is editor-in-chief of Acta Neurochirurgica and has clinical experience mainly in skull base, meningioma-surgery, third ventricle and vascular diseases.
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