The INECO Foundation fosters scientific research, professional training, awareness and community education in order to promote the well-being of patients with neurological and psychiatric problems, their families and community.
The many still unanswered questions regarding the human brain are a direct result of the complex reality in which we live. The INECO Foundation dedicates all its resources to develop and find answers that have a potential impact on our daily lives and the quality of life of those who have been affected by neurological or psychiatric disorders and those accompanying them. Therefore, the Foundations research projects are always carried out keeping in mind the theoretical and practical implications of their findings.
I believe in the development of scientific research in Argentina as one of the keys to consider the future of an increasingly large country and an ever better society.
Letter from our President
Thank you for your interest in the INECO Foundation. It is with great honor that I invite you to visit our website to appreciate the progress we have made in the field of cognitive neurosciences in Argentina and the rest of our continent. As you will be able to read from our history, the INECO Foundation was conceived in a country otherwise dominated by psychoanalytic trends in order to provide an intellectual top-notch space where researchers from the basic sciences could come together with experts in different fields of medical neurosciences to produce exciting research that could advance the understanding of the brain while improving the diagnosis and treatment of different neurological and psychiatric conditions. Whether you are a health professional, a researcher, a patient or a caregiver, I hope you will find our work useful to you academically, professionally or personally and we look forward to sharing our experiences and collaborating globally. I invite you to check our website periodically, as we continuously update our records to reflect our work in research, community awareness, and professional training/education. I also suggest you follow us on Twitter @INECOArgentina and Facebook /INECOArgentina to keep up with our activities through the social networks.
If you are interested in helping our Foundation, please visit the “How to Help” section to learn about philanthropic opportunities.
Best wishes and thank you for your interest in the INECO Foundation.
The INECO Foundation
Founded in Argentina in 2008, hoping to lead the development of neurosciences worldwide, the INECO Foundation supports research programs aimed at understanding the neurobiological basis of the most complex cerebral processes, and promotes academic projects directed at enhancing the prevention, detection, and treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders. With these objectives in mind, the activities carried out can be divided into three main areas: conducting leading scientific research on human cognition neuroscience, offering scientific training to specialists, and raising awareness among the community. Based on the conviction that state-of-the-art knowledge helps people live better and believing this can be achieved through interdisciplinary work, research projects with social impact and international relevance are our objective.
Therefore, scientific research is the backbone of the INECO Foundation. Since its conception, the passion, conviction and dedication to studying the human mind and conveying these findings to society have been its core principles, which hold true to date. Within the INECO Foundation, biologists, engineers, physicists, linguists, psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, and many others, work together to carry out internationally relevant research aimed at increasing and expanding our comprehension about brain functioning and mental illnesses from an interdisciplinary perspective. Its success in achieving this goal can be measured in the almost 400 scientific papers its researchers have published in the most prestigious neuroscientific journals, such as Nature Neuroscience, World Psychiatry, Lancet Neurology, Nature Human Behaviour, JAMA Neurology, Brain, Neurology, Nature Reviews Neurology, and the Journal of Neuroscience, among others. It is also worth noting their 745+ participations in national and international congresses, where both researches and posters have been presented.
INECO Foundation’s research activities are framed within the Instituto de Neurociencia Cognitiva y Traslacional (INCYT, Institute of Cognitive and Translational Neuroscience), which is in turn framed within Favaloro University, INECO Foundation, and CONICET. INCYT is an internationally renowned center of excellence in translational cognitive neuroscience, where scientists with different academic backgrounds work together to link clinically-focused theoretical models and basic research on cognitive neuroscience for individuals who suffer from neurological or psychiatric cognitive disorders. Furthermore, INCYT promotes synergy between basic research on animals (cognitive molecular biology) and human clinical practice. It also supports neuroscientifically-based technological and innovative developments.
All of INECO Foundation’s lines of research share as common ground the assessment of impairments experienced in several brain disorders, aiming at establishing neurocognitive markers which could facilitate their early pre-clinical detection. This knowledge is also applied to potential technological, educative or health-related applications. The main current lines of research include:
- Neurobiological bases of social cognition: this line of research focuses on abilities that allow us to interact socially, such as emotion recognition, empathy, cooperation, social decision making, and moral cognition. Likewise, we carry out research on the neurocognitive bases of these abilities, on their relationship with body signal monitoring, and on the development of several neuropsychiatric disorders is carried out.
- Neurobiological bases of language: within this line of research, the relationship between language and other cerebral functions, such as movement or perception, is explored. The bilingual brain is also studied, to learn how two languages are organized within a single brain and how the development of translation and interpretation expertise modifies the neurocognitive processes involved in language processing. Also, diagnostic batteries are being developed to assess speech difficulties in adults and children. Furthermore, processing differences between males and females are being studied, to establish whether they are inherent or cultural.
- Neurobiological bases of memory and other cognitive functions: this line of research seeks to understand how memory and other cerebral functions, such as awareness, cognitive development and musical processing, work. Some of the research questions studied are: How do we learn?, How do we forget?, and Can memories be erased?
- Genetic, neurological and behavioral interactions among neurodegenerative diseases and other neusopsychiatric disorders: this line of research explores from a multidisciplinary approach the clinical, neuropsychologic, neurophysiologic, imaging and genetic information of healthy subjects and patients with different diseases in early stages, in order to learn more about these disorders throughout their progression.
The scientific team at the INECO Foundation employs several suitable techniques to carry out research on the brain and its behavior. These different methods are applied together with traditional approaches, depending on the hypothesis tested. This combination makes it possible to integrate the specific information provided by each method and, as a result, to better understand the relationships between our brain and behavior.
Some of the research is done through recordings of the brain’s electrical activity using high-density electroencephalography (EEG) equipment. This method allows scientists to assess how the global electric activity of the brain changes when doing a given task (also known as event-related potentials studies), study how brain regions communicate (connectivity analysis), and even apply sophisticated tools to discriminate, through electric signals, among patients and control subjects. This technique, however, is not precise in terms of where the brain activity originates. To circumvent this limitation, nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is also employed. Though MRIs is possible to precisely register the volume of a brain area, the specific areas associated with certain cognitive ability, and the way these couple to form brain networks. We also have one of the few groups that works with intracranial recordings, an outstanding method within neuroscience that employs recordings obtained with depth electrodes in humans. This method warrants the best temporal and spatial resolution (i.e., it measures brain activity in milliseconds– and can pinpoint the source of brain activity within millimeters, respectively) in current research on humans. In our quest for innovation, in 2016 we incorporated non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) to our research methods. Through this technique, it is possible to increase or decrease the excitability of a neural group while performing a specific cognitive task. The goal is to assess whether changes after stimulating certain areas affect an individual’s performance of a task and, therefore, to infer the relationship between said region and certain behaviors. It is also a powerful neuro-rehabilitation technique for several brain disorders, as it helps recovering and treating sensory, motor and cognitive processes.
As we understand that interdisciplinary interactions result in more and better researches, we also reckon the importance of institutional collaboration for scientific progress. Accordingly, the members of the INECO Foundation carry out research projects together with different national and international centers. Within Argentina, we work closely with the Di Tella University Laboratory of Integrative Neuroscience, the Favaloro Foundation Neuroscience Institute, and the Philosophical Research Center, as well as various CONICET institutes and executing units. In terms of international partnerships, we are proud to collaborate, among others, with:
Regionally: Adolfo Ibanez University (Chile); Autonomous University of the Caribbean (Colombia); Geroscience, Mental Health and Metabolism Center (Chile); National University of Colombia at Manizales (Colombia); Neuroscience Group of Antioquia (Colombia); San Pablo Catholic University (Peru); Social and Cognitive Neuroscience Center, Adolfo Ibanez University (Chile); University of Antioquia (Colombia); University of Santiago de Chile (Chile); University of Valle (Colombia); Xavierian University (Colombia).
Internationally: Biological Psychology Laboratory, Dickinson College (United States); Center for Social Neuroscience, University of Chicago (United States); Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD), Australian Research Council (Australia); Cognitive Neuroscience Study and Research Center, University of Bologna (Italy); Florida Hospital (United States); Heriot-Watt Memory Laboratory (United Kingdom); Laboratory for Behavioral Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, University of Geneva (Switzerland); Morality Lab, Boston College (United States); NeuRA (Australia); NEUROCOG, University of La Laguna (Spain); Neuropsychiatry Center at the Turkish University Hospital (Turkey); Parkinson Institute (United States); Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute (Australia); Psychological Sciences Faculty, University of Manchester (England); School of Medicine at UCLA (United States); Section of Geriatric Psychiatry, University of Heidelberg (Germany); Sunnybrook University Health Sciences Centre, part of the University of Toronto (Canada); University of Cambridge (England); University of Chicago (United States); University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom); University of Mainz (Germany); University of Oviedo (Spain); University of Udine (Italy); University of La Laguna (Spain); Watson Research Center, IBM (New York).
Working hard within the field of scientific research is only part of the activities carried out by our team at the INECO Foundation, who also regularly offer professional development training to specialists. To do so, a collection of training activities take place, both on-site and on-line. Regularly, seminars and workshops for professionals of all areas are delivered with the participation of well-known national and international neuroscience specialists. Furthermore, weekly athenaeums are held, where clinical and research issues are shared and discussed, promoting interdisciplinary debates and, in the long run, developing new research questions. Students interested in being trained and developing an interdisciplinary approach for their professional practice can apply for an internship system at our facilities. Along the lines of professional exchange and development, every year the INECO Foundation organizes the International Neuroscience Symposium in Buenos Aires (Argentina), with the attendance of the main experts on cognitive neuroscience all over the world. The purpose of this Symposium is for specialists to review the latest brain research findings, and discuss the main areas of basic and clinic neuroscience. To promote the access to knowledge, the Symposium is held on-site and also streamed live on-line. Furthermore, our specialists travel regularly to different parts of Argentina to train specialists and give talks at institutions interested in knowing more about or being trained in the different areas of specialization of the INECO Foundation. To date, 500+ seminars, workshops and training sessions have been held, 500+ athenaeums have been presented, and 7 editions of the International Symposium have been organized.
Believing in the importance of public communication/disclosure of science, we also offer activities for the general public. This training modality allows the community to learn about topics that affect their daily lives, thus promoting a pro-active attitude towards health promotion.
At the INECO Foundation, we believe that access to knowledge allows people to live better and, therefore, public dissemination is our third fundamental area. The scientific findings resulting from the hard work at the INECO Foundation laboratories go full circle when informed to society. Scientific evidence has shown that better informed societies suffer from fewer illnesses and, in case of sickness, pathologies are less severe. In this vein, we carry out several measures aimed at educating, informing, and improving social knowledge of brain functioning and several neurological and psychiatric disorders, their prevention and treatment.
One of these public disclosure areas is Talks to the Community. They are weekly activities held each Thursday at the INECO Foundation building in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, directed at informing the latest developments and findings on different pathologies and topics related to the brain. People can attend in person or access the live streaming on-line. We also offer guiding and training workshops for patients’ families. These workshops are spaces coordinated by an interdisciplinary team at INECO, in which the families of patients suffering from neurological and psychiatric disorders or brain damage can converse and exchange knowledge. At every meeting, each family member can gather new information to improve their life together, through experience sharing, guidance, and training.
While at the INECO Foundation we consider the needs of patients and their families, we also strive to raise awareness among the general public. Each year, we conduct several campaigns to attain high-impact mass dissemination of topics related to brain functioning, and neurological and psychiatric disorders. Particularly, we expect to inform and overthrow myths about these topics which, in turn, may help to promote early disorder diagnosis. A great example of these activities is our Alzheimer’s Walk, which every year manages to bring Alzheimer’s disease to the forefront. This is an activity that the public has embraced, so nowadays it is organized in different cities of Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Colombia. So far, we have held 425+ talks to the community and 341+ workshops, and launched 67+ awareness campaigns.
A key task when disseminating scientific knowledge to the community is broadcasting it in the press and other media. Through our press area, the members of the INECO Foundation have participated in 800+ news stories about neuroscience in local, state, national and international print media, radio broadcasts, and TV shows. Apart from presence in the media, the INECO Foundation has backed the publication of scientific dissemination books, such as those written by its President, Dr. Facundo Manes (Usar el cerebro [Using the Brain], El cerebro argentino [The Argentinian Brain], and Neurociencias para chicos y grandes [Neurocience for Kids and Adults]), and INCYT and LPEN Directors (Qué son las neurociencias [What is Neuroscience]). The community has reacted positively to these publications, which placed INECO in the bestseller’s lists of the country.
Besides our participation in traditional media, we use the Internet and social media platforms to create awareness and communicate, seeing the strength of digital tools. As a result, the impact and reach of our actions is amplified in a more direct, fast and interactive way. Through our Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts, we promote our activities, talks, and events, and share informative content. Thanks to our presence in social media, we have reached over 1.5 million people, a number that is predicted to grow steadily in the medium term.
All of the research, training and disseminating efforts by the INECO Foundation have impacted greatly on the community. From a scientific point-of-view, we helped bring neuroscience to the forefront. Historically, Argentina has had a strong psychoanalytic tradition, where specialists were divided into two groups: on the one hand, excellent healthcare professionals dealing with neurological, psychiatric and neurosurgical disorders and, on the other hand, psychoanalysts. INECO Foundation’s hard work, its help in the establishing of the Neuroscience Institute at the Favaloro Foundation and, more recently, the INCYT, have started reverting this tendency. Nowadays, psychology students ask for cognitive training and patients look for answers from an interdisciplinary approach.
Although it is a private institution, the INECO Foundation makes efforts to promote public policies based on scientific knowledge that can help the population as a whole. As examples of this work, it is worth mentioning the joint efforts made by the Neuroscience and Education Institute at the INECO Foundation and the Ministry of Education of Argentina to develop neuroscience and education related briefs, which were distributed to all Argentinian teachers. These briefs addressed different relevant topics for teacher work in the classroom, such as literacy, emotions, executive functions, metacognition, and many more. In the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, we worked with the Ministry of Culture to train museum guides to help Alzheimer’s disease patients during their tours. As these past experiences were productive, we keep working on new points of contact between neuroscience and the general population. To do so, we are developing, together with the Government of the Province of Buenos Aires, a Coordinating Unit for Mental Capital Development. This unit’s objective is to develop interventionist policies based on scientific evidence, coordinate existing policies from different governmental agencies, and promote the importance of long-term investment for the development of cognitive, social and emotional abilities in children. We should also mention our on-going research about the effects of cocaine paste (paco) consumption aimed at developing specific and effective therapeutic strategies. The lack of pre-clinical and clinical studies on its mechanism of action and effects means there is no specific treatment for this social issue yet. Consequently, the INECO Foundation is trying to bridge this gap.
The INECO Foundation finds pride in being a self-sustained organization, financed by means of different fund-raiser events. Nowadays, the main funding sources are the annual fund-raiser dinner, the earnings collected though the on-line training catalog, and donations from individuals and companies. The money raised is used to cover all of our operating costs, as well as conducting the various activities offered, such as the community talks and workshops. Likewise, the research area is partially backed by several research grants that acknowledge the prolificness and professionalism of our researchers and their scientific production.
While the INECO Foundation is centered on the development and dissemination of neuroscience, at INECO we implement all of our knowledge in the treatment of our patients. From a strong cognitive stance, our specialists diagnose, assess, and treat cognitive and behavioral disorders of different origin. Whether dealing with progressive, acquired or traumatic disorders, at INECO we strive to reach accurate and early diagnoses. To achieve this, we use an interdisciplinary approach following the criteria used by experts in each area and evidence-based medicine. Patients can access a wide range of specialists in different fields, such as neurologists, psychiatrists and psychologists, working as a team to diagnose pathologies and provide personalized treatment to make their lives better.
The progress to date has left an important mark on the scientific field and on the general public. We have done cutting-edge research, trained outstanding professionals, worked together with our community around scientific knowledge, and improved the quality of life of thousands of patients. We have proven that improvement is always better when working as a team, so we keep promoting interdisciplinary relationships. Thanks to the hard work of everyone involved, the INECO Foundation is nowadays a recognized world-wide leader in neuroscience.