FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | April 2, 2013
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Applauds President Obama for Advancing Far-Reaching Brain Mapping Project
NEW YORK, NY— The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA), a leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to optimal care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families, today applauded President Obama’s announcement to invest $100 million in ground-breaking research that will map the human brain. The “BRAIN” (Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative, an idea that the President first noted in his State of the Union address earlier this year, is aimed at uncovering new ways to treat, prevent, and cure brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injury.
Statement by Carol Steinberg, acting chief executive officer of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America:
“The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America applauds President Obama for committing substantial research dollars toward the better understanding of the human brain and for his continuing recognition of the public health crisis posed by Alzheimer’s disease.
“The BRAIN Initiative is an exciting development and a potential game changer in unlocking the mysteries of Alzheimer’s disease. This far-reaching project holds the promise of providing deeper insights into concepts such as cognitive reserve, ultimately leading to ways to treat or even prevent Alzheimer’s disease. It is just the shot in the arm that both scientists and families need right now, especially in light of flat research funding for Alzheimer’s disease and the threat of this devastating disease overwhelming more and more Americans.
“AFA’s hope is that funding for the BRAIN Initiative is the start of a pipeline of stepped-up funding for other research toward an effective treatment and cure of Alzheimer’s disease as well as for care-related support services for individuals with the disease and their caregivers. In addition to investing in larger initiatives that have the potential for big payoffs in the future, we need to continue to fund research farther along in the drug development process so that families can embrace treatment and prevention in their lifetimes.
“Bolstered by the strength of the new BRAIN Initiative, now is the time for all Americans to press forward to ensure that the goals of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease are implemented to the relief of current and future generations.”
Statement by Jacobo Mintzer, M.D., chairman of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Board, and professor at the College of Health Professions, Medical University of South Carolina:
“I was delighted by today's announcement regarding the BRAIN Initiative. Today we start a journey full of expectations and unknowns.
“Where will the understanding of brain functioning lead us? Will it be possible to understand how the brain processes information, how lesions in the brain alter cognitive networks, and how the brain overcomes them? Will we be able to intervene in the process? Will we discover how pharmacological treatments affect this process?
“Regardless of the destination, the journey will provide yet unknown scientific insight that will change the paradigms that we use today to treat brain diseases.
“The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, which has been a pioneer in establishing the development of strategic alliances to attack Alzheimer's disease, strongly supports this model of cooperation between government and the private sector. It is only through a shared commitment that our community can explore this frontier and secure solutions.”
Currently, Alzheimer’s disease, which results in loss of memory and other intellectual functions, affects as many as 5.1 million Americans and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Advanced age is the greatest known risk factor.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national nonprofit organization that unites more than 1,600 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include counseling and referrals by licensed social workers via a toll-free helpline, e-mail, Skype, and live chat; educational materials; a free quarterly magazine for caregivers; and professional training. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-232-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.
Contact: Amanda Hirschhorn