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Congressman lauds cooperation with Israel on brain research
By NIV ELIS
10/23/2013
US cooperation with Israel on brain research is an opportunity to find solutions to serious disorders such as Alzheimers.
 
WASHINGTON – US cooperation with Israel on brain research is an opportunity to find solutions to serious disorders such as Alzheimers, autism, epilepsy and bipolar, US Congressman Chaka Fattah, fresh off a visit to Israel, told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday.

“What’s important is to note how this relationship portends a gigantic opportunity for the world to get ahead of these diseases and disorders,” he said. “The reality is that if we can get people working together, then we can solve these problems.”

Fattah, whose congressional district is in Pennsylvania, was in the Israel to keynote BrainTech Israel 2013, Israel’s first international brain-tech conference.

In his address, he reiterated the US’s staunch commitment to neuroscience research and discussed the ongoing development of President Barack Obama’s BRAIN Initiative, launched last spring. The Initiative plans to invest $110 million in 2014 toward human brain research.

That’s money well spent, said Fattah, who serves as the ranking member on the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science.

“The US can benefit because we spent $205 billion on Alzheimers care alone,” he said, “and another $500 billion on mobility from strokes or neuro-related disorders.”

Next to the US and the EU, Fattah believes Israel is the most important partner for that cooperation, and he will host a meeting in Washington in November for major players from all three to further cooperation.

“There are two areas where Israel has a singularly extraordinary level of capability,” Fattah said. “One is machine-brain interfaces, [and the other is] therapeutics.”

Apart from Israel’s research and innovation in the field, he said one of the keys going forward is increasing international cooperation.

“I’m very interested in having an open-source classification of brain disease and disorders to be a world standard, so there’s a uniform definition,” Fattah said. “Through agreements countries could expand their bases for clinical trials, helping medical studies progress. These are the real tangible opportunities for us to build on.”
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