Dem praises Israel's brain advancements
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Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) on Thursday praised Israel’s advancements in neuroscience research, saying the U.S. has its work cut out for it in curing diseases of the brain.

“Fifty million Americans have dementia and other brain illnesses,” Fattah said at BrainTech 2015, a conference on neuroscience and brain technology that took place in Tel Aviv this year. “To gather together the minds that exist and see how we can tackle these ailments together, that is the work that is in front of us; to have a map of the human brain, an understanding of the roadways and an understanding of the traffic on the roadways.”

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The Pennsylvanian is the lead Democrat on the House Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations subcommittee, which manages federal expenses for agencies like the National Science Foundation.

He also chairs the Fattah Neuroscience Initiative in Washington. The policy group coordinates research across federal agencies on brains and neural diseases and injuries.

“The U.S. and Europe may have more breakthroughs in neuroscience, but you have to put that in perspective,” Fattah told The Times of Israel. “The U.S. has 350 million people, and there are 28 countries in the European Union. Israel is third behind these countries in its neuroscience developments, but per capita it is way ahead of everyone.”

Former Israeli President Shimon Peres, who helped launch BrainTech, also spoke at this year's event.

“We have in Israel right now over a hundred companies that are dealing with the brain, we have brain faculties in every university,” Peres said. “This is only the beginning. We are a startup in the brain.”

Fattah on Thursday said Israel could take a major role in future neuroscience advancements.

“The U.S., Europe, Japan, China and many others are contributing to this,” he said. “But there’s no denying the great contributions Israel has made in neuroscience, which is why I am here — and plan to keep coming back until some of these big questions and problems are solved.”