Epilepsy Foundation Statement on the BRAIN Initiative
WASHINGTON, April 2, 2013 – The Epilepsy Foundation is excited epilepsy will be addressed as part of the new BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative. The goal of BRAIN, as announced by President Obama today, is to "help researchers find new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury." The initiative – launched with approximately $100 million in the President's Fiscal Year 2014 Budget – calls upon the private and scientific community to form partnerships to further this research. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) also announced a goal last week to "work with all relevant stakeholders to consider how incentives could hasten the development of new prevention and treatment options for neurological diseases and disorders, and to recommend options for such incentives."
"This has been a monumental week for neurological research, and it comes at a critically important time when overall biomedical research funding is facing budget cuts. President Obama has made a strong statement with the BRAIN Initiative that we cannot allow slow progress on neurological conditions like epilepsy, and that the United States remains at the forefront of all scientific research," said Epilepsy Foundation President & CEO Phil Gattone. "New treatments and innovative therapies are so critical for families across the country impacted daily by epilepsy's devastating effects, to veterans of armed services returning from conflict with brain injuries that often lead to seizures and epilepsy."
The Epilepsy Foundation has been a continued champion of the National Institutes of Health, and supports funding for a cure and better treatments for epilepsy. Each year the government spends $30 billion on medical research at the National Institutes of Health. Yet just ½ of 1% is spent on epilepsy. Funding is needed to make progress against epilepsy and improve health outcomes. As the 2012 Institute of Medicine report Epilepsy Across the Spectrum noted, epilepsy is the 4th most prevalent neurological disorder, yet "gets less funding than the other neurological disorders when adjusted for prevalence."
The BRAIN initiative is an important step to increase that investment in neurological and epilepsy research. During more than 40 years of service, the Epilepsy Foundation and its generous supporters have channeled more than $50,000,000 into epilepsy research.