Mapping the human brain with care

By Kevin Woo, Special to Alzheimer’s Speaks | February 22, 2013

During his most recent State of the Union address President Obama outlined an ambitious plan to invest billions (with a B) to map the human brain. Perhaps most of America missed the significance of his idea but, in essence, he challenged this generation to unlock the mystery of neurons and synapses just like President Kennedy challenged his generation to put a man on the moon and bring him back safely.

Obama’s plan is, of course, good news to for Alzheimer’s community. With government funding and private research from academic institutions, biotech, and pharmaceutical companies it’s possible that we can find a cure for Alzheimer’s. But until then more than five million families each year face the difficulties of having a loved one diagnosed with the disease.

Five million.

By 2050 it’s expected that 15 million people will have the disease.

Fifteen million.

Mr. President, on behalf of the Alzheimer’s community I want to thank you for making Alzheimer’s research part of your second term agenda. But we also need to find a way to use some of the money and invest it in Alzheimer’s care. We need to train healthcare and social workers, assisted living facility employees and businesses how to work with Alzheimer’s patients compassionately.

Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s Disease isn’t going away. But we need to invest in providing the best care possible so that those who have the disease can live with dignity.

8 Replies to “Mapping the human brain with care”

  1. He may have mentioned it, but we need the dollars to support the research!

    Why is everyone looking at the one word he said in that paragraph and not what he was really talking about. He was talking about products not cures! This whole section was about energy (read the last line). The president did not say he would do anything. He said now is the time and now is not the time. He did not say let’s increase the NIH budget and include it in the affordable care act; at double it’s current level and increase Alzheimer’s research dollars to $6 billion annually.

    When he referenced Alzheimer’s; he was not talking about specific research on Alzheimer’s, but was talking about general research on the human genome.

    “If we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the best ideas. Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned 140 to our economy. Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer’s; developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs; devising new material to make batteries ten times more powerful. Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race. And today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy.”

      1. Lori,

        Do you really believe that they will make significant changes to Alzheimer’s research in 2013 or 2014? He was talking about (Primarily) – Green Energy!!!!

      2. HI Richard,
        It’s hard to say. All the researchers are hopeful, but then they have to be if they want to secure funding. I believe it will require more public support and action on a grassroots level to truly grab the needed attention of our leaders to get sufficient funding required. Alzheimer’s is just one of many programs being professionally lobbied for. Don’t get me wrong, I know that lobbying is necessary, but it fails to have the emotional impact I believe is needed to grab governments attention in these times of budget reductions.

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