Neuroscience Research: Initiatives to Help Victims of Trauma and PTSD

I spent the morning at a presentation on neuroscience hosted by Pennsylvania Congressman Chakah Fattah and Dr. Philip Rubin, the Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences in the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the Executive Office of the President of the United States. As you may have heard, investment in brain research is growing, and President Obama has designated $100 million to discover the depths of the amazing human brain and how it functions. We could gain insight into how to help victims of trauma and PTSD.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if neuroscience could cure brain diseases?

Congressman Fattah leads a new initiative in neuroscience research.
Congressman Fattah leads a new initiative in neuroscience research.

One thing we rarely talk about in modern civilization is small pox because a French chemist/microbiologist, though severely criticized, discovered a vaccination to prevent it. Yet vaccinations have become so prominent a treatment that we almost take for granted that small pox, anthrax, rabies and other diseases are now preventable. Will that be the case with neuroscience and brain disease?

I pondered this question as I listened to Congressman Fattah and Dr. Rubin speak about the Fattah Neuroscience Initiative (FNI), the first federal interagency collaborative focused on neuroscience.

The FNI is an attempt to unite government agencies, the private sector and selected others to focus on prominent conditions such as Alzheimer’s, stroke, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, depression, traumatic brain injury and other brain-related issues that affect millions of Americans. The impact of these diseases on our population is expected to grow in the next few decades unless we press forward for solutions. Imagine if we could find a way to cure PTSD!

We have made advances in the neuroscience of the brain.

Yet, there is just so much more to learn. I know in our processing of PTSD, childhood trauma and adult trauma, huge strides made are beginning to offer hope. Some promising therapies and treatment options have changed our whole way of thinking.

As I understand the potential of this latest research and coordination of efforts, I am excited to see how this may change the way we treat brain-related diseases and trauma. The right understanding of the brain and its functions could offer profound insights into treatment or even cures for neurological issues confronting many American families.

In light of what I have seen, I believe that this is a worthy investment of our resources.

If the FNI can be consistent, focused, non-partisan, unbiased and embracing of the best of our scientific collaborative practices, I am extremely hopeful that our children, families, professionals and thousands of patients will have new opportunities to prevent and/or eliminate certain neurological injuries and diseases.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to say one day that these efforts made neurological impairments and diseases a non-issue! I applaud the effort. I hope we can persevere then celebrate the results together. What a great opportunity.

Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network

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