Integrative Neuroscience Association: who are we, and why now?
Neuroscience will transform science and medicine, as well as education, business and technology over the next 50 years. Today, the field of neuroscience encompasses the study of brain processes at different scales: from the study of molecular and cellular dynamics to behavioural, computational, network science and clinical applications, mainly for the treatment of mental health (usually psychiatric, but also psychosomatic, psychological, neurological and other) conditions.
Neuroscience investigates the brain at both a structural, as well as a functional level, aiming to understand how brain activity affects cognition, decision making in everyday life and health from early childhood to later age.
In order to understand our activity, it is necessary to recognize how broad neuroscience is; as is our professional members’ background. Our members’ expertise ranges from the sub-fields of neurobiology, neuropsychology, computational neuroscience, behavioural neuroscience, neuroeconomics and beyond.
One of our co-founders explains the difference between these many sub-fields here (in Lithuanian): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNMT0jEjm-U
Why now, why in Lithuania?
Neuroscience, as well as neurobiology, neuropsychology and computational psychiatry, remains a new and underrecognized clinical and scientific field in Lithuania. Neuroscientific applications in various fields, even if taught or utilised, usually remains isolated in separate university departments, or sequestered from fruitful collaborations with entrepreneurs, technologists or clinicians. Collaboration remains rare; yet is critical to integrating diverse perspectives for enabling clinical and educational development and access.
With our international scientific, educational and pedagogical, as well as investigative and clinical experiences we, the co-founders of the Integrative Neuroscience Association, want to spread and encourage the application of neuroscience for diagnostics, treatment and prevention. We believe that both mental and physical health are critical to living fulfilled and healthy lives; our professional network aims to develop and spread this view through our activity.
To that end, our activities follow three main pathways:
Science and innovation;
Advocacy and equity.
We believe that it is every researcher and clinician’s duty to spread their knowledge and expertise to all members of the civil society. Often, however, there remains a knowledge gap between the activity of researchers and clinicians, and their communities, which limits both the spread and access to knowledge and innovative ideas. Bridging this gap is one of the fundamental aims of the Association.
Many people in developed countries now have access to a large amount of often contradictory information. In order to understand or even use it, however, people may feel a lack of prior knowledge, terminology or familiarity with the subject matter. Insights from brain sciences, though, can be applied to not only better understand addiction and mental illness, but also to develop educational programs for the developing child or later life care for the elderly, as well as to improve organisational and business efficiency processes.
In order to increase the usage of those insights across fields, backgrounds and interests, we will organise journal clubs, where experts will clearly and concisely present and discuss both critical and ground-breaking discoveries in the fields of neuroscience, neuropsychology and beyond. Our members will also be active members in the public and media, with this website providing an additional engagement platform for sharing accessible articles and opinions, organising open discussions, and developing educational activities.
Science and innovation
In recent years, scientific research has experienced a steady rise in Lithuania, receiving increasing attention and support. The field of integrative neuroscience and neuropsychology, especially with regards to its potential for clinical application, still lacks that attention and recognition, however. With our activity, we will spread the knowledge about the newest technologies and insights in neuroscience and neuropsychology, aiming to involve our Association’s members, as well as those across civil society, in active development of scientific technologies and their application in educational programs in universities and beyond through collaborations across industries and fields.
Advocacy and equity
We view our purpose, in the broader sense, as an advocacy initiative to encourage and support psychological wellbeing in Lithuania using the most recent scientific and research insights. We want to support clinicians working holistically, encourage children, students and young adults, as well as professionals from a diversity of fields, to become involved and curious about neuroscience, broadly, regardless of prior knowledge, education or prejudice. We are committed to achieving this purpose by organizing member-led open events and talks, providing accessible information and organising community events, competitions, hackathons, and other formats to encourage participation.
Get involved with our activities; join us if you work in neuroscience, neuropsychology, psychiatry or a related field; and reach out with any questions!