Sunday, March 22, 2009

Legislation Introduced

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) recently introduced legislation in both the Senate and the House to help scientists advance their understanding of the human brain and develop new treatments and cures for the millions of Americans who suffer from neurological diseases, conditions, and disorders. The bills referred to as the “National Neurotechnology Initiative Act of 2009” (S 586 and H.R 1483) are also being supported in the House by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Florida), Bob Filner (California), and David Wu (Oregon).

“Neurological disorders take a terrible toll on victims and their families,” Senator Murray said. “Yet despite the number of people who suffer from neurological conditions, we still have only a limited understanding of how the brain works and how best to treat injuries and illnesses. Thousands of troops returning home from battle are suffering from PTSD and TBI and the time is now to make a federal commitment to coordinate and fund neurological research.”

Representative Kennedy acknowledges that while researchers have made great strides in neuroscience, there is still much that is unknown about how this extremely complex organ works which means that we need to bring greater attention to brain-related illnesses.

The Senate and House bills would increase funding to NIH, help to remove bottlenecks in the system that would speed up research, help to coordinate neurological research across federal agencies by creating a blueprint for neuroscience at NIH, and streamline the FDA approval process for life-changing neurological drugs without sacrificing safety.

According to Senator Murray and Representative Kennedy, the Act would also provide economic benefits and help to create jobs in the emerging field of neurotechnology. In addition, better treatments could be developed that may reduce healthcare costs for everyone.