For the last 10 years, Rep. Silvio Conte (obituary, Feb. 10) was a vigorous supporter of increased federal funding on neurological and mental disorders. These disorders devastate the lives of millions of Americans and cost the U.S. more than $3 billion a year. In his leadership position, Conte, year in and year out, led the efforts in Congress to increase our understanding of the brain and to cure devastating disorders such as stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia. He and I worked together as honorary chairmen of the National Foundation for Brain Research, and I know the depths of his interest in this area.
His efforts to promote research on the brain were enhanced by his sponsorship of a resolution passed by Congress which declared the 1990s as “The Decade of the Brain.” This resolution has served to focus international efforts on the search to understand the last frontier in medical science--the human brain. For many thousands of physicians and scientists, Conte was their hero. For millions of patients, his efforts were a source of great hope. His contribution in this area will be one that lasts for over a decade as the research which he originated comes to fruition.
At a time of deep cynicism about Congress, Conte’s commitment and concern in that area should be an inspiration to all citizens of the United States.
National Foundation for Brain Research