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Reducing the burden of neurological disease and mental illness

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The key to finding solutions for brain disorders is cooperation and collaboration, from the laboratory to the clinic

Australia is challenged by the rising economic and social costs of neurological disease and mental illness, which together account for one-third of the total disease burden in Australia.1 The financial cost of these disorders — about $45.5 billion annually14 — does not take into account the emotional impact and social isolation they cause. Many are chronic conditions with limited options for even ameliorative treatment, so that research into finding new approaches to their management is urgently needed. Translation of research into improved clinical practice, however, requires a continuum of process, including basic research, application of research findings, clinical trials, and implementation. Involving both basic researchers and clinicians in this process is crucial to its success. The Australasian Neuroscience Society (ANS; www.ans.org.au) recognises this need both by representing neuroscientists and clinicians in Australia and New Zealand active in neuroscience and mental health research, and by acting as a conduit for clinicians to interact more closely with researchers to achieve their shared goals.