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Friday, May 27, 2011

The Next Frontier Conference and Neuroscience Research

Wednesday May 25, 2011 was the 50th anniversary of a speech by President John F. Kennedy who called out to Americans to support the extraordinary effort to reach and explore the moon:

“...I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth...” (President John F. Kennedy, May 25, 1961)

Wednesday also was the final day of the Inaugural Next Frontier Conference, convened to discuss the present state of neuroscience research and to provide a call to action to accelerate research and treatment progress, particularly for brain disorders affecting soldiers and veterans.

Conference participants included Vice President Joseph Biden, NIH Director Francis Collins, NIMH Director Thomas Insel, NINDS DIrector Story Landis, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and Conference Co-Director and former U.S. Representative Patrick J. Kennedy.

Mr. Kennedy, leader of the One Mind Campaign and a Sponsor of the Mental Health Parity Bill, is the recipient of this year's CPDD Distinguished Service Award, to be presented at the CPDD Plenary Session on Sunday, June 19, 2011. On Monday afternoon, June 20, he will present a Presidential Special Lecture entitled: We Must Be of One Mind for Research.

Mr. Kennedy has likened the challenges and urgency necessary to develop better treatments for brain disorders to those confronting America at the time of his uncle's call for moon exploration:

“The One Mind campaign is modeled on the space program’s unification of disparate applied-science and engineering disciplines over the coming decade –– with a goal of integrating the health-care work of widely-scattered specialists in biology, brain surgery, genetics, addiction, spinal cord injury, computer imagery and many more fields.”

An informative article on the One Mind Campaign can be found in the Providence Journal, which focuses on improving treatments and findings cures for brain disorders sustained by our servicemen and women and veterans.

According to the Next Frontier, 100 million Americans are affected by brain disorders, including 300 thousand servicemen and women and veterans, and thus there is great urgency to advance neuroscience research to treat all Americans.

CPDDBLOG welcomes CPDD member’s thoughts on this issue.

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