Understanding of the brain and treatment of mental illness and brain diseases are at a transformative crossroads, said Vice President Joe Biden in the William C. Menninger Memorial Convocation Lecture at APA’s 2014 annual meeting May 5 in New York. Biden said passage of the mental health parity law and the release last year of regulatory guidance for the law, along with the new Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, announced by the Obama administration last year, is creating a transformative moment for psychiatry and patients with mental illness.
“We are on the cusp of astounding possibilities,” he said. “I know that we are poised to create the tools to find new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent conditions affecting the brain. And we are on the cusp of identifying the biomarkers for mental illness, designing early prevention treatments for psychosis, and revolutionizing the understanding of the brain circuitry and function. Imagine the possibilities for millions of young people right at the age when they want to explore the world if we have these tools of early detection to prevent mental illness from taking over their lives.”
Biden continued, “Just as we couldn’t imagine how the moon landing would yield technologies for semiconductors and the iPhone, I don’t think we can begin to imagine the breakthroughs that will occur tomorrow as a consequence of this BRAIN Initiative.”
Read more about Biden’s speech here. A video of it can be viewed here. ■