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Brain mapping scientists to convene in San Antonio

Public events scheduled

"HBM 2000," the sixth annual meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, will be held June 13-16 at San Antonio’s Municipal Auditorium. The conference is hosted this year by the Research Imaging Center, a state-of-the-art research facility devoted to the science of brain mapping at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC).

In advance of HBM 2000, a free program for the public begins at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 11, at the San Antonio Public Library Auditorium, 600 Soledad Plaza. Two distinguished visiting scientists, from Harvard and UCLA, will discuss "Mapping the Brain in Health and Disease" and "Imaging: The Working Brain." (See attached flyer.) High school and university educators are invited to attend these lectures and to view scientific poster presentations throughout the week at Municipal Auditorium. The public also is invited to a symphonic concert, to be performed by the San Antonio Symphony’s San Antonio Brass, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 14, at Municipal Auditorium. Joseph Wiley and Sons, Publishers, is sponsoring the free concert.

"HBM 2000 will bring more than a thousand scientists from the international brain mapping community to Texas," said Peter T. Fox, M.D., director of the Research Imaging Center and professor of medicine, psychiatry and radiology at UTHSC. The visiting scientists will consider nearly a thousand scientific abstracts in 12 categories, including attention, memory, cognition, emotion, language, neurological disorders, psychiatric disorders, perception and physiology. "Brain mapping" involves functional and structural assessment of the brain, with an emphasis on non-invasive measurements.

"This annual conference is a direct expression of the needs of the brain mapping scientific community," Dr. Fox said. "The Organization for Human Brain Mapping was created in 1995 specifically for the purpose of providing a venue for dissemination of findings and interactions among scientists in this burgeoning field."

Brain mapping started in the early 1980s. Today, researchers in this field are studying diseases of the brain and associated syndromes such as epilepsy, stuttering, depression, anxiety, head trauma, chromosome disorders, and cancer and its treatments.

With the launch of the Health Science Center’s Research Imaging Center in 1991, San Antonio gained preeminence in the young field. The first Brain Map Workshops were offered in the Alamo City in 1993 and 1994. The inaugural meeting of the Organization of Human Brain Mapping was held in 1995 in Paris. Subsequent annual meetings have been in Boston, Copenhagen, Montreal and Dusseldorf, Germany. Meeting sites rotate every other year between North America and Europe or Asia.

Growing numbers of physicians are incorporating brain mapping studies and findings into their clinical practice. "Clinical disciplines involved in human brain mapping include neurology, psychiatry, neurosurgery, neuropsychology, basic neuroscience and psychology, as well as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Electroencephalography (EEG), Magnetoencephalography (MEG) and optical imaging," Dr. Fox said.

The meeting opens with the invited Talairach Lecture, named after the Frenchman Jean Talairach, an early pioneer of human functional brain mapping. The featured Talairach speaker is Pierre Magistretti, Ph.D., of the Institute de Physiologie at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.

"The speakers and facilitators for HBM 2000, including Lawrence Parsons, Ph.D., of our Research Imaging Center, represent some of the finest institutions for brain mapping research in the world," Dr. Fox said.

Contact: Will Sansom