4-5 November 2011, EMBL Heidelberg, Germany

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About | Recorded talks | Interviews of selected speakers


Neurological and behavioural disorders present a major global health problem, and are prevalent among all age groups, social groups and cultures. The World Health Organization estimates that 25 percent of individuals develop one or more mental and/or behavioural disorders in their lifetime; depression alone is among the leading causes of disability, affecting about 121 million people worldwide. The 2009 World Alzheimer Report, released by Alzheimer's Disease International, predicts that the global prevalence of dementia which affects more than 35 million will almost double every 20 years to 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050.


Mental illness not only causes grief and harm to individual sufferers, their families and friends, but it also has considerable consequences for societies and economies. According to the WHO, neuropsychiatric conditions, together with sense organ disorders, dominate the overall burden of non-fatal disabling conditions.

The 2011 EMBO | EMBL Science & Society Conference will discuss the extent and societal impact of mental illness. Experts from a wide range of disciplines will explore the implications of mental disorders for individuals and for society and explain the latest scientific knowledge about their causes and treatments. The conference will also debate a number of difficult topics including the definition of mental disorders, financial interests in their diagnosis and treatment and controversial therapies.

After a scene-setting keynote talk by UK social scientist Nikolas Rose, the conference will address the different issues in four main sessions and panel sessions where the audience and the speakers engage in lively discussions.

The tradition of the event is to promote understanding and dialogue between a wide range of professionals and members of the public.

All are welcome to attend!


Alessandra Bendiscioli
Chair, Organizing committee
EMBO Science & Society Programme T. + 49 6221 8891 119