Every March, we celebrate Brain Awareness Week, a global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. This year, I am especially excited as support for efforts to better understand the brain seems to be gaining tremendous momentum.
A recent U.S. News & World Report article notes that presidential candidates from both parties have talked publicly about the need to spend more on medical research, and Congress has for the first time in a dozen years significantly increased the budget for the National Institutes of Health, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency that conducts research and awards grants to research institutions. And the president’s budget request for 2017 includes $195 million, an increase of $45 million, for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.
Additionally, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced that — following years of uncertainty surrounding the causes, effects and treatments for concussions — members of Congress will work with staff members and medical experts from a variety of backgrounds to review these injuries and their implications this year.
This collaboration is precisely what’s needed right now. Tremendous efforts have been directed toward better understanding how the human brain works and fails to work, especially over the last decade. But we have only begun to scratch the surface. We need to make some changes in order to get to the next level.
Published on The Hill March 14, 2016