Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA-02), the Congressional champion for brain science research, addressed a forum of Japanese and American scientists today on the Fattah Neuroscience Initiative and the significant neuroscience initiatives of the Obama Administration.
"Brain Computer Interfaces" was the topic of the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology's Ninth Annual Forum at the City Club of Washington, which brings together scientists from the two nations. Participants represented many federal science agencies and American and Japanese academic research.
"The potential of this new interface research is limitless," Fattah said. "We have the real possibility for improving the quality of prosthetics, restoring muscle control to those with injuries or congenital conditions, or improving piloting skills."
Also participating was Dr. Philip Rubin of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Rubin leads the Interagency Working Group on Neuroscience set up last year after Fattah won bipartisan Congressional approval for its establishment and mission.
"The workings of the human brain have been called the last frontier for science," Congressman Fattah said. "There is a growing consensus, both in the United States and worldwide, that much more needs to be done in brain research. We're at a tipping point. There have been significant advances but we still only know about one percent of what we need to know."
Fattah is the leading Democratic Appropriator and advocate for neuroscience, scientific research and national laboratories. He has led the fight to increase federal funding for neuroscience research and to direct the White House to coordinate the efforts of government agencies engaged in such work -- including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"With tens of millions of Americans suffering brain injury and disease themselves, or having brain disease impacting their families, neuroscience research must be at the highest level of national priority," Fattah said. "The Fattah Neuroscience Initiative promotes that emphasis, which is rising significantly everywhere -- in Congress, in our government, universities and medical institutions as well as internationally."
Fattah's advocacy on the world stage includes an address to policy makers and stakeholders at the Embassy of Israel last fall in Washington. His topic was advancing the cause for international public-private collaboration in neuroscience research, especially between the United States and Israel.
In addressing the Israel-American Collaborations Conference, he cited the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (known as the BIRD Foundation) for its 35-year history of positive collaboration with U.S. firms on energy and medical devices.
Fattah said BIRD partnerships are prospering in his hometown of Philadelphia and elsewhere. Fattah has reviewed a clinical trial of a BIRD-supported device that assists paralyzed people to walk again at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.
The Fattah Neuroscience Initiative promotes research and discovery across brain cognition, development, disease and injury. It also calls for developing public-private partnerships in brain science research.
Link for more information on the Fattah Neuroscience Initiative: