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Rep. Pascrell Applauds President Obama's Brain Research Initiative

Press Release

Location: Paterson, NJ

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, today applauded Presidents Obama's unveiling of an initiative designed to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain. Launched with approximately $100 million in the President's Fiscal Year 2014 Budget, the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative aims to help researchers find new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy.

"I am thrilled to see President Obama prioritize the treatment and prevention of brain disorders like TBI through this new initiative," said Rep. Pascrell. "We learned more about the brain in the last few years than we have over the last century, and this additional investment in research has the potential to bring relief to the individuals and families battling with injuries like TBI. Brain injuries can affect anyone, from our bravest soldiers to our youngest athletes, so we must ensure they have access to the resources they need. By investing in research, we are making a commitment to protecting all Americans that suffer from this silent epidemic as well other devastating neurological conditions."

Just last month, Rep. Pascrell reintroduced the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Act, legislation that advances the treatment and prevention of TBI. The bill was introduced as dozens of organizations from across the country descended on Capitol Hill to participate in the 12th annual Brain Injury Awareness Day. The annual event, hosted by Rep. Pascrell, educates Members of Congress and their staffs on the full range of effects of brain injury, the challenges and recoveries of persons living with brain injury, and the services and supports available to them.

Congress first passed the TBI Act in 1996 to help individuals with TBI, and their families, gain access to rehabilitation, long-term care, and community and family supports often needed for return to home, work, school and community activities. The law has been reauthorized and amended twice, in 2000 and 2008.

President Obama's BRAIN Initiative includes:

* Key investments to jumpstart the effort: The National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the National Science Foundation will support approximately $100 million in research beginning in FY 2014.

* Strong academic leadership: The National Institutes of Health will establish a high-level working group co-chaired by Dr. Cornelia "Cori" Bargmann (The Rockefeller University) and Dr. William Newsome (Stanford University) to define detailed scientific goals for the NIH's investment, and to develop a multi-year scientific plan for achieving these goals, including timetables, milestones, and cost estimates.

* Public-private partnerships: Federal research agencies will partner with companies, foundations, and private research institutions that are also investing in relevant neuroscience research, such as the Allen Institute, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Kavli Foundation, and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

* Maintaining our highest ethical standards: Pioneering research often has the potential to raise new ethical challenges. To ensure this new effort proceeds in ways that continue to adhere to our highest standards of research protections, the President will direct his Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to explore the ethical, legal, and societal implications raised by this research initiative and other recent advances in neuroscience.

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