Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics endorse President Obama's support for Human Brain Mapping research; nominating him for prestigious Pioneer in Healthcare Policy Award

Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:34am EST

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LOS ANGELES,  Feb. 18, 2013  /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last Tuesday, in his
State of the Union address, President Obama said,"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. We need to make those

The  Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics (SBMT),  one of the world's most
prestigious and fast growing global multidisciplinary biomedical associations,
endorses President Obama's support for investing heavily in brain mapping
translational research now, and agrees that the successful effort to put a man
on the moon is an appropriate analogy. "We share President Obama's vision; The
Society has been at the forefront of translational research in brain mapping for
the past decade, with its roots in translating state-of-the art NASA/Space
technologies into neuroscience in order to rapidly identify solutions for
wounded warriors and civilians with neurological disorders," said  Babak Kateb,
Founding Chairman of the Board of SBMT, President of the Brain Mapping
Foundation, Senior Editor of  PLoSOne-NeuroMapping and Therapeutics  and Editor
of  The Textbook of Nanoneurosurgery, Director of  National Center for
Nano-Bio-Electronics and a research scientist at the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical
Institute of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in  Los Angeles.  

"SBMT broadly defines brain mapping asencompassing the study of the anatomy and
function of the brain and spinal cord through the use of imaging (including
intraoperative, microscopic, endoscopic and functional approaches),
immunohistochemistry, molecular & optogenetics, stem cell and cellular biology,
engineering (material, electrical and biomedical), and Nanotechnology," said 
Michael Roy, President of SBMT (2012-13), Ret. US Army Colonel, and a Fellow of
the American College of Physicians. He continues, "Imagine searching for your
house using Google maps. First you get a big picture of the city, then the
neighborhood, and ultimately you can distinguish not only your own house, but
details like the color of the cars, and pedestrians on the street. Likewise,
Brain Mapping provides not only imaging (the big picture) that delineates the
structure and function of each region of the brain, but also the fine details of
cellular and subcellular elements within the brain such as genomics and

With support from the  Brain Mapping Foundation, members of Society for Brain
Mapping and Therapeutics have been able to successfully translate many space
technologies from diverse agencies and organizations into neuroscience. For
example, an  electronic nose to identify dangerous chemicals in space has been
applied to "sniff out" cancer cells, while  use of  Carbon nanotubes  show
promise for potential drug delivery for brain cancer therapy,  Infrared
thermagraphy  can improve intraoperative tumor delineation, and  intraoperative
UV  imaging can enhance brain tumor detection.  

Such translational research has regrettably received less funding in recent
years due to the NIH budget cuts and clearly foundations do not have the
resources to foster such translational medical research on a large scale. All
scientists are also dealing with lack of funding mechanisms to support the
translation of advanced science and technologies into biotech spinoffs, which
could create many new jobs in the US; this gap is infamously called the "valley
of death."  

"When we are talking about space technology to map the human brain we are not
talking about science fiction or a fantasy land. We are talking about
technologies, which are already available and could revolutionize the healthcare
industry by reducing cost and morbidity, increase efficiency while creating jobs
through biotech spinoffs. Our members have done this in last 10 years with
amazing results but we need more private and government partnership and
investments in this area, which could save the country billions of dollars in
the future," said  Babak Kateb. He continues, "We have significantly advanced
the introduction of new clinical trials for patients with Alzheimer's disease,
and worked closely with the US military in order to rapidly find solutions for
our beloved wounded warriors who are suffering from devastating neurological
disorders. We also need to form a National Data Repository for Neuroscience,
which could track progress and help the agencies and scientists be more
efficient while eliminating duplications.

The Society has been always supportive of sound bipartisan healthcare policies,
which could reduce the cost of healthcare and increase the efficiency of
healthcare delivery while creating jobs in the US through spinoffs. Therefore,
in last 10 years, SBMT has presented numerous key policymakers with prestigious
"Pioneer in Healthcare Policy Awards." Among the past recipients are former
Governor Schwarzenegger (R) for his role in California Stem cell initiatives,
and the honorable Senator  Ted Kennedy  (D) for his remarkable leadership in the
healthcare policy arena. This year the Society has nominated the Honorable
President Obama, the Honorable Congressman  Earl Blumenauer  (D-chair of the
Congressional Neuroscience Caucus), the Honorable Congresswoman  Cathy McMorris
Rodgers  (R-Co-chairwoman of Congressional Neuroscience Caucus) and Congressman 
Jim Moran  (D-the U.S. Representative for  Virginia's 8th congressional
district) for their significant roles in advancing neuroscience research and
improving healthcare for both wounded warriors and the civilians in the US.   

"We are truly impressed by remarkable work of these nominees, which has been
translated into life saving modalities for many patients who are suffering from
neurological disorders. We look forward to work with all of them in order to
make sure our compatriots (military and Civilians) will have access to the best
state-of-the-art diagnostics and treatments in the near future," said Ret. Vice
Admiral  Adam Robinson, Former Surgeon General of the US Navy, member of the
board of SBMT and Brain Mapping Foundation.

The 10th  Annual meeting of the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics will
be held at the  Baltimore  Convention Center (May 12-14, 2013). The Congress
consists of over 200 invited speakers and 40 scientific sessions covering
neuro-oncology, neuroradiology, neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer,
Parkinson's, ALS,...) , autism, spinal disorders, and neurotrauma including
concussions and chronic traumatic encephalapothy. "We have brought together some
of the finest scientists in the field of neurotrauma and other areas in order to
address major neuroscience problems in a multidisciplinary way," said  James
Ecklund, SBMT program committee member, Professor of Neurosurgery, and Chairman
of Neurosciences for Inova Health System in  Virginia. He continued, "experts
from many associated fields need to work together in order to have a significant
impact on our current neuroscience challenges including prevention, diagnostics
and treatment of complex head injuries of wounded warriors and football players.
The Society's annual meeting creates this unique consortium environment which
fosters collaboration between many diverse disciplines while simultaneously
helping all attendees update their neuroscience knowledge."

The 10th  Annual world Congress for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics is jointly
sponsored by International Society for Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Medicine
(ISMRM) and SBMT. 2009 World Congress was jointly sponsored by American
Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and SBMT. To submit an abstract or
to register for this prestigious and world Class scientific event please visit: 

About Brain Mapping Foundation:

Brain Mapping Foundation  (BMF) is a non-profit 501c3 charitable organization,
which is establish for the purpose of facilitating multidisciplinary brain and
spinal cord research and expediting integration of cutting-edge technologies
into the field of neuroscience. BMF is focused on translating state-of-the-art
technologies from NASA, DOD and industry into neurosurgery in order to bring the
most advanced medicine to wounded warriors.


Leo Balthazor:
Tel: 310-500-6196

SOURCE  Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics

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