Brain research wins support

Brain research wins support

The University of Minnesota has received a $35 million donation for a groundbreaking study of adolescent brain disorders. Dr. Jakub Tolar, dean of the Medical School and vice president for clinical affairs, said he believes it is one of the first studies of mental illness in young children in a university setting. The study continues the school’s work on the holistic approach on the subject. 

“We can look at early adverse events such as a parent in prison or if they have depression or an addiction and then change the environment around them,” he said. “You can then get the child normal stimuli from the outside to support a normal functioning brain.” 

The donation continues the long relationship with the university’s largest single donor, the Minnesota Masonic Charities. The contribution will establish and name the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain, an interdisciplinary initiative focused on the early diagnosis, prevention and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders in early childhood and adolescence. It will be housed in a facility near the university. 

The university’s Medical School and College of Education and Human Development will study how the brain grows and develops during early childhood and adolescence, the formative years when the brain is most receptive to positive intervention, Tolar said. 

The group will research autism, ADHD, cognitive delays, drug addiction and severe depression, conditions that can often be identified early and have lifelong consequences. 

The Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain, which is expected to open this fall, will form a research partnership with M Health Fairview, University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital and the University’s Biomedical Discovery District. The 10.2-acre property includes a two-level building with a hospital, clinic and support spaces. 

(Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune)