Investment will support patients with traumatic brain injuries
From the office of Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (Westchester/Rockland), the Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, announced a $475,000 National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) grant for the Burke Medical Research Institute in White Plains to help improve sight in people with trauma-induced neurological injuries.
“Every day, some of our nation’s most cutting-edge medical research is being performed right here in the Lower Hudson Valley,” said Congresswoman Nita Lowey. “I am proud to fight for federal resources for the Burke Medical Research Institute and other outstanding local facilities whose important work keeps New Yorkers healthy while dramatically improving health outcomes across the country. Funding for NIH has nearly tripled since I joined the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds medical research, and I will continue working to increase the $2 billion the NIH pumps into New York’s economy each year.”
The $475,000 grant will be used as seed money for a device that improves sight in people with neurological injuries. This specialized equipment was developed from studies of children who have sustained traumatic brain damage as a result of car accidents or falls from a bike. Patients are shown pictures or other stimulants and asked to visually track them across a screen. Music plays when the images are tracked properly but stops if they are followed incorrectly. Because these patients’ extensive brain damage has left them unable to communicate what they see, the device helps doctors understand what is being perceived visually while also stimulating and improving the patient’s visual system.
“We are thrilled,” said Dr. Rajiv R. Ratan, Executive Director of the Burke Medical Research Institute. “While much of what we are doing here promises improvements in clinical care in five or ten years, this new piece of equipment can improve care almost immediately.”
NINDS is a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) whose mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. It supports and conducts research on the normal and diseased nervous system; fosters the training of investigators in neurosciences; and seeks better understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of neurological disorders. NINDS serves as a prime source of neurological information for scientists, clinicians, and the public.
Lowey fought to include a $2 billion increase in NIH funding in the December 2015 year-end omnibus government spending bill.