Originally posted on TED Blog:
Regenerative neurologist Siddharthan Chandran asks whether we can repair the damaged brain. Here’s the problem: Humanity is facing an epidemic of fast-progressing, devastating neurological disease such as Alzheimer’s, motor neuron disease, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and Huntington’s. Collectively, this is one of the biggest public health threats of our time. Over 35 million people are affected, and the global annual cost is $700 billion and rising — greater than 1% of global GDP.
Chandran shows two clips of one of his patients, John, who, speaking through a respirator, explains that difficulty breathing in 2011 led to the diagnosis of motor neuron disease. In the second video, 18 months later, he explains that weakness in his legs means he now often uses a wheelchair, illustrating not only the devastating consequences but the shocking pace of the disease — a fit adult man rendered chair and respirator dependent in 18 months.