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Nation Must Invest in Brain Research, Gingrich Tells NJ Health Professionals

The Honorable Newt GingrichThe Honorable Newt Gingrich told neuroscience and health care professionals that investing in brain research will save billions of dollars in future medical costs — and he urged them to embrace the coming explosion of health care technology.

“I believe that investment in brain research will, in fact, do more than any other single investment to reduce the cost of health care in the next 30 years,” Gingrich said. “Think about autism, Alzheimer's Disease, epilepsy, traumatic brain injuries, Lou Gehrig's disease.”

Gingrich spoke to more than 400 neuroscientists, physicians and health care professionals at the Capital Institute for Neurosciences’ 5th Annual Neurosciences Conference in Atlantic City on April 19. In his keynote address, he said he supported the $105 million federal initiative to research the brain, recently announced by President Obama, but he called the effort “timid. We need to do so much more.”

Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives and former presidential candidate, spoke on “Medical Technology and Its Future Impact on the Medical Community.” He is the author of “Saving Lives & Saving Money.”

The former Speaker said the government must focus on long-term savings in health care and not just the short-term investment.

“How much do we now spend on Yellow Fever? Nothing. Our investment paid off in the long-term,” he said.

He cited examples where technology saves future health costs. He noted a recent case at the Capital Institute for Neurosciences where a 51-year-old woman fully recovered from a massive stroke solely because of a breakthrough emergency stroke intervention. He said the intervention saved potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in rehabilitation costs, lost wages and taxes.

The three-day conference, which took place in April, focused on the latest in treatments for stroke, aneurysm and other neurologic diseases and injuries. Topics included brain development in the normal and autistic child, athletes and cerebral concussion, and advances in neurosurgical treatments for stroke and aneurysm.

Gingrich said the innovators who think creatively and who challenge themselves to ask the big questions will succeed. He noted the advances at the Capital Institute of Neurosciences he learned about while researching for his talk. Specifically, the Institute has the nation's only emergency department dedicated exclusively to the treatment of brain emergencies. It also trains EMTs to diagnose stroke in the field, dramatically speeding treatment upon the patient's arrival at the hospital.

“In New Jersey you are working against the grain. That's what we need,” Gingrich said.

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