Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel and the director of the Mitchell Valdés-Sosa Neuroscience Center (Estudios Revolución)
The expansion of investments in the study of neuroscience and neurotechnology, in order to ensure a better quality of life by fighting the effects of aging, with particular attention to the treatment of geriatric disorders that can lead to dementia and other losses acquired with age , was the priority of the recent meeting between President Miguel Díaz-Canel and Cuban academics.
Led by Deputy Prime Minister Inés María Chapman Waugh, the exchange held at the Cuban Center for Neuroscience (Cneuro) saw the participation of its director, Mitchell Valdés-Sosa, and the Minister of Science, Technology and the Environment, Elba Rosa Perez Montoya.
On the occasion, the historical commitment of Commander Fidel Castro to make the island a country of men and women of science was highlighted, transforming trenches such as the Cneuro, in Havana, into important spaces for the production of connectors for respiratory circuits, indispensable to deal with the coronavirus, in the face of medical oxygen deficiency.
The meeting highlighted that it is essential to generate neurotechnological products and services with high added value that contribute to exports and the substitution of imports, making the country independent in this strategic sector. In addition, he stressed that it is necessary to help mitigate the effects of population aging through the introduction of neurotechnologies for the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of dementia, neurodegenerative and chronic non-communicable diseases, as well as sensory dysfunctions associated with ‘aging; contribute to the development of the Cuban educational system through the introduction of neurotechnologies for the identification, early diagnosis and rehabilitation of neurodevelopmental and learning problems of children, as well as the selection and stimulation of scholastic talent. Finally, promote the development of artificial intelligence and other elements of Industry 4.0 and act as a driving force for the development of basic sciences.
“THERE IS A LOT OF POTENTIAL TO DEVELOP”
Evaluating the progress made, Díaz-Canel noted that “there is a lot to work on and organize in all that is done to realize the full potential that the country has in this field.”
Doctor of Sciences Mitchell Joseph Valdés Sosa, member of the Cuban Academy of Sciences and director of the Center for Neuroscience, assessed that there is “a worldwide explosion of research, with the accelerated development of cognitive, social and affective neuroscience, neuroinformatics , neurophysics, brain mapping, neurogenetics, neuropharmacology and many other areas. “” Neurotechnology is starting to develop today like biotechnology in the 1980s, “said the scientist, one of the driving personalities along with his brother Pedro Antonio.” Nell he last decade there has been an increase of over 200% in the number of patents in these disciplines, as a result of increased investment and accelerated innovation, ”added Valdés Sosa.
Approved in 2020 in Cuba, the National Neuroscience and Neurotechnology Program exploits the positive experiences of the National Program for the Creation of a National Research and Development (R&D) Platform in Neurotechnology and the Cuban Program on Brain Dysfunctions and Brain Mapping, since 2019.
Consisting of 27 research and development projects plus innovation, the program involves 24 institutions from BioCubaFarma, the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Education, as well as a dozen national centers, groups and networks.
The doctor. Valdés Sosa discussed some of the Cuban neurotechnology products, such as Audix, Infantix, Estereoflex, Neuroplanus and Neuroepo; and he commented, among other things, on the international collaboration obtained in these sciences, such as the Cuba-China-Canada Brain Project.
Arguing for the results and practical needs that must be met by neuroscience and neurotechnology in Cuba, Doctor of Sciences Francisco Calixto Machado Curbelo, second degree specialist at the Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery and a member of the Academy of Sciences, has highlighted the country’s ability to incorporate neuromonitors into intensive care units. “In intensive and acute care, neurological monitoring of the patient is essential,” he stressed.
According to Curbelo, in intensive care units around the world, doctors are “blind” to what is happening in the brain and this type of equipment should be part of the Cuban monitoring panels in these wards.
Dr Silvia Navarro Quintero, director general of the Central Institute of Pedagogical Sciences of Cuba (ICCP), defended the potential we have to “increase the quality of science-based education with the use of neuroscience” and praised the technologies. to identify neurodevelopmental risks for girls ‘and boys’ learning and talent. These technologies, she stressed, “strengthen the tools for diagnosing learning deficits and neurocognitive profiles”.
Doctor of Sciences Nelson Gómez Viera, member of the Cuban Academy of Sciences and head of the Neurology Service of the Hermanos Ameijeiras Clinical-Surgical Hospital, saved the concrete results that have been obtained in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases in a population that is getting older with each passing day and where dementia, among other problems, is more common.
Doctor of Sciences Luis Velázquez Pérez, president of the Cuban Academy of Sciences, stressed the importance of the progressive development of neuroscience in the country. However, he stressed, this force needs to be harnessed further, and its results need to be accelerated, with more doctoral training and the recruitment of young people.