Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA-02), the Congressional champion for brain science research, addresses the Parkinson's Action Network Forum today to advocate for additional research and recognition for the million-plus Americans who suffer from this debilitating disease.
"America has been made aware of the effects of Parkinson's as we see it in celebrities like Michael J Fox, athletes like Muhammad Ali, public servants like Janet Reno or religious leaders like Billy Graham," Fattah tells the Forum to launch its three day conference in Washington.
"But there are one million more Americans whose names we don't know, whose faces we don't recognize or stories we don't hear. They must also be our focus as our finest scientists and doctors work toward better treatments and, ultimately, a cure for Parkinson's Disease," he said.
Congressman Fattah addresses the Parkinson's Action Network Forum today at 6 p.m. at the Washington Plaza Hotel, Federal Hall, 10 Thomas Circle in Northwest Washington.
"And while Washington seems focused on the so-called "sequester' crisis of the moment, we must keep our eye on the ball: Funding and promoting scientific, medical and neuroscience research is a critical function of our government," Fattah said in prepared remarks.
"I am working every day to keep this issue at the forefront of the Congressional agenda. As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and champion for neuroscience research, I will keep leading the fight for this critical priority," Fattah said.
The Philadelphia Congressman is author of the Fattah Neuroscience Initiative to raise the priority, awareness and funding for brain diseases and injuries as well as cognitive learning research.
Advancing the aspect of neuroscience that deals with how children learn, Fattah today will also attend the GradNation Summit luncheon hosted by the America's Promise Alliance at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. The program, which includes Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, focuses on "The Early Brain and Early Childhood Development."
"My interest in how children learn -- and the determination that every child must have the opportunity to develop to full potential -- led me to the brain science that informs cognition, brain development and learning disabilities," Fattah said. "That is one of the critical yet overlooked areas facing neuroscientists as well as educators."
Fattah leads the fight in Congress to increase federal resources for neuroscience research and to direct the White House to coordinate the efforts of 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.
After Fattah won bipartisan support for legislation to raise the national priority for neuroscience, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy established the interagency Working Group on Neuroscience.
"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."