A Dana Foundation-sponsored lecture by Maria Karayiorgou, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University’s Mind Brain Behavior Institute, was a mind boggling, roller coaster ride on the track where neuroscience is pinning much of its hopes: genetics.
Karayiorgou’s lecture was a bit like a trip down Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole: the more she and her colleagues uncover, it seems, the further away they are from definitive answers. One reason: The average adult human brain has 80 billion neurons; each neuron has multiple connections. Those connections may number in the trillions, or even quadrillions. Meanwhile, of the 20,000 genes recently discovered in the Human Genome Project, 80 percent relate to the brain.