U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Tim Murphy (R-PA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) sent a letter this week urging full funding for the National Institute of Health's (NIH) Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The request for funding builds on the strong bipartisan effort to improve our understanding of the brain and the goals of the 21st Century Cures Act that was signed into law late last year. Pascrell is also co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force.
"One in three Americans will have a brain or nervous system disorder sometime in their life and the cost of treating neurological disorders is more than $500 billion each year," the lawmakers wrote. "These statistics are grave, and regrettably we do not currently know enough about the brain to begin to meet this health and economic challenge."
Ultimately, the technologies developed through the BRAIN Initiative, which was initiated by former President Obama, will help reveal the underlying pathology of a vast array of brain disorders and provide new therapeutic avenues to treat, cure, and even prevent a wide variety of neurological and psychiatric conditions, including schizophrenia and suicide, that afflict up to 50 million Americans.
Learn more about the BRAIN Initiative here.
Read the letter below.
Dear Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro:
We are writing to respectfully request that your subcommittee include robust funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.
Brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, epilepsy, schizophrenia, depression, and traumatic brain injury, are projected to be some of the most disabling and costly chronic diseases in the 21st century. One in three Americans will have a brain or nervous system disorder sometime in their life and the cost of treating neurological disorders is more than $500 billion each year. These statistics are grave, and regrettably we do not currently know enough about the brain to begin to meet this health and economic challenge. The BRAIN Initiative seeks to change that.
Led by an inter-disciplinary team of scientists, the BRAIN Initiative is a joint private-public effort. The Initiative will continue to foster development of technologies to reveal the underlying pathology of brain disorders – both neurological and psychiatric. By understanding and mapping the human brain, we will enter a new era of discoveries of treatments, cures, and methods of prevention of these disorders that afflict up to 50 million of our fellow Americans.
Robust funding of the NIH, and subsequently the BRAIN Initiative, will enable the United States to remain a leader of biomedical research and to address the devastation wrought by neurological disorders. Thank you for your attention to this important matter, and we look forward to the subcommittee’s effort to successfully fund this critical Initiative.