The scientific framework of the Foundation is neuroscience – which from our perspective could be subtitled “the biology of pain”.
Warfare creates pain as its inevitable by-product: both the pain of physical injuries, and unseen “cognitive” pain.
We know that when pain is properly treated from its onset, it doesn’t usually persist. But from our neurosurgical work at the John Radcliffe Hospital, we also know that after physical wounds have healed, chronic and unbearable pain develops, that cannot be relieved, even by high doses of opiates. Cognitive pain (without physical causes) seems also to conform to this same principle.
This very unpleasant reality gives us a clear mission: to learn how and why the brain generates this purposeless pain, and then develop methods of relieving it.
Without coordinated scientific efforts, the complexity of factors that cause these distressing and often life-destroying conditions cannot be unraveled.
Once we learn what is happening within the brains of the people we send to war, we can develop preventative procedures, and treatments. This work will help to prevent the long-term chronic debilitating conditions that affect hundreds of thousands of British veterans.
Our initial project is therefore aimed at the largest number of affected people, veterans with chronic or delayed PTSD – to find out what’s happened with them, and how best to help them.
The effects of disasters are similar to those of war, for which the results of our work are also relevant.