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Congressman Kennedy calls for neuroscience ‘moonshot’

by  /  19 November 2010

Sharing stories about his own family’s struggles with neurological disease, Patrick J. Kennedy, a Democratic Congressman, on Monday called for a focused national program to uncover the causes and treatments for brain disorders.

Kennedy advocates a much greater investment in neuroscience research, as well as more data-sharing and the creation of public-private partnerships to prevent, diagnose and treat neurological diseases. He calls for the creation of a Human Brain Genome Atlas, a Brain Observatory, and a Human Neurotaxonomy Project that would pool data from diverse research groups.

Speaking at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego, he compared the initiative to his uncle John F. Kennedy’s challenge to Americans to send a man to the moon within a decade. The challenge today, Kennedy said, is devoting comparable resources and a shared sense of national purpose to investigating “inner space”— the complex neurological mechanisms that lead to disorders such as autism, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

For more reports from the 2010 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, please click here.