Congressman Fattah Addresses U.S.-Israel Neuroscience Collaborations

Sep 12, 2012, 14:34 ET from Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), the Congressional champion for brain science research and author of the Fattah Neuroscience Initiative, addresses policy makers and stakeholders at the Embassy of Israel tonight – his third appearance of the day advancing awareness and research for neuroscience.

Fattah will be advancing the cause for international public-private collaboration in neuroscience research, especially between the United States and Israel. His address is in conjunction with the "Accelerating U.S.-Israel Neuroscience and Neurotechnology Collaborations Conference" held in Washington today.

Earlier today, Fattah addressed a Capitol Hill briefing on "Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease and Dementias." He co-hosted the bipartisan luncheon, which was organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Dana Foundation, with Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif).

This morning, Fattah participated with other House members, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell and Army Vice Chief of Staff General Lloyd Austin III in a discussion on "Brain Injuries on the Battlefield and the Playing Field." Last week the NFL announced a $30 million grant for government-sponsored research into brain injuries through the National Institutes of Health, and the league is collaborating with the U.S. Army on traumatic brain injury research.

"With tens of millions of Americans suffering brain injury and disease themselves, or impacting their families, neuroscience research must be at the highest level of national priority," Fattah said. "The Fattah Neuroscience Initiative promotes that emphasis, which is rising significantly everywhere – in Congress, in our government, universities and medical institutions as well as internationally.

"Partnerships between Israeli and American neuroscientists, institutions and pharmaceutical firms are a valuable addition to this effort," Fattah said. "Today's conference on U.S.-Israel collaborations for neuroscience is an important advance. Israeli scientists and medical experts are already performing cutting edge research in this field – partnering with United States entities will mean more progress."

Fattah noted that the Collaborations Conference lead sponsor, the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (known as the BIRD Foundation) has a 35-year history of positive collaboration with U.S. firms on energy and medical devices. Fattah met on Tuesday with Eitan Yudilevich, Ph.D., BIRD Foundation's Executive Director, and Aviv Ezra, Counselor, Congressional Affairs at the Embassy of Israel. 

Fattah said BIRD partnerships are prospering in his hometown of Philadelphia and elsewhere. Fattah has inspected a clinical trial of a BIRD-supported device that assists paralyzed people to walk again at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.

"BIRD has an excellent record for matching Israeli and U.S. entrepreneurs and scientists – and achieving real success," Fattah said. "Now they are applying that match-making ability to neuroscience in a major way."

Congressman Fattah authored the language signed into law last December that establishes the Interagency Working Group on Neuroscience under coordination of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy – a significant increase in the federal government's prioritizing of neuroscience research.  The Fattah Initiative promotes research and discovery across brain cognition, development, disease and injury. It also calls for developing public-private partnerships in brain science research.

Link for more information on the Fattah Neuroscience Initiative:

SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah