The Campaign Spot

Gingrich Unveils His… ‘Brain Science Initiative.’

This is one of those moments where Newt Gingrich is either innovative and spectacularly ahead-of-the-curve or chasing his own intellectual curiosity at the expense of focusing at what is foremost in the minds of voters. If you’ve ever thought that the federal government needed a “Brain Science Initiative,” Newt’s your man.

Iowa City, IA – Following a meeting with doctors and researchers at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, Newt Gingrich outlined a new Brain Science Initiative that would improve the lives of millions of Americans while saving money and creating jobs.

The Brain Science Initiative builds upon Gingrich’s commitment in the 21st Century Contract with America to reform government in ways that maximize the speed and impact of medical breakthroughs.“Maximizing brain science breakthroughs can offer hope to millions of Americans impacted by Alzheimer’s, autism, Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injuries and more, while potentially saving trillions of dollars and creating thousands of new American jobs,” said Gingrich.

Gingrich pointed out that Alzheimer’s disease represents a $20 trillion combined public and private liability through 2050 and that postponing the onset of the disease by just 5 years could save $6 to $8 trillion.

“There is no single reform that could lower the cost of Medicare and Medicaid on the scale that breakthroughs in brain science could,” said Gingrich.

There are over five million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  Furthermore, Alzheimer’s doesn’t just affect the patient. Caregivers in Alzheimer’s families are twice as likely to have health problems from the stress of taking care of loved ones over a long period of time

.The Brain Science Initiative has four components:

1. A public-private research initiative to map the brain and maximize our understanding of how it works and what effects it.

2. A fundamentally reformed, 21st century Food and Drug Administration which has the mission of understanding emerging new science and accelerating its development from the laboratory to the patient.

3. The elimination of the capital gains tax so hundreds of billions of dollars in new investments pour into the United States, creating a generation of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in founding and growing companies that deliver brain-related medical treatments worldwide.

4. Developing an integrated public-private partnership to use new technologies to minimize the stress of caregiving and maximize the potential for independent living for those with brain disorders.

This four part initiative will be developed in detail over the next few months in collaboration with brain scientists, doctors, dedicated institutions, and advocates.

It’s kind of the quintessential Gingrich statement, isn’t it? Big, unexpected, involving cutting-edge science, involving government and business working together (either a force multiplier to achieve a grand and worthy goal, or a formula for crony capitalism), a cost-effectiveness justification based upon future savings triggered on spending more now, and of course, details to come.

It sounds terrific at points – but is this something the country needs? Or can afford? Or that cannot be handled by the private sector and existing U.S. government research programs?


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