AAN Applauds Obama Administration's Brain Research Initiative

April 2, 2013

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The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) supports the Obama administration’s new brain research initiative, set to launch in 2014 with $100 million in federal funding.

The initiative, announced by the White House on Tuesday, April 2, will be known officially as Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, or “BRAIN” for short. The Obama administration has designated this as a grand challenge of the 21st century, much as the Human Genome Project was named a grand challenge of the 1990s.

“We are very excited by the administration’s commitment of much needed support for research into the brain diseases that devastate the lives of so many people,” said AAN President Timothy A. Pedley, MD, FAAN. “Our American Brain Foundation has emphasized funding the most promising research by the best and brightest young neurologists who are just starting their academic careers.  Since 1993, the Foundation has provided more than $18 million dollars in research grants and supported more than 110 investigators. We welcome the President’s ambitious initiative and the critical backing it provides to the neuroscience community. We look forward to learning more about this project, and we are committed to assisting the administration in any way we can.”

AAN CEO and Executive Director Catherine M. Rydell, CAE, attended the White House announcement on Tuesday along with other leading participants in the field of brain research as the administration outlined the goals of its plan.

Brain disease affects 1 in 6 Americans, or 50 million people in the US. The annual economic impact is $400 billion dollars. The cost of caring for patients with neurologic disease is currently about 300 times the research investment, yet funding for research into cures for brain disease is becoming scarce at a time when tremendous treatments are on the horizon. Funding of the National Institutes of Health is at an all-time low, as federal funding for research through NIH has decreased every year since 2003.

The AAN is the world’s largest association of neurologists, with more than 26,000 members committed to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. Learn more at www.aan.com and www.CureBrainDisease.org.