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Improving Our Brain Health

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Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013 6:30 am

Scientists tell us that the brain is the most important component of the human body. It determines the rate of our heartbeats, our mobility, our sight, our memories, our speech patterns and a number of other significant functions. When there is no longer any brain activity, the human body is declared clinically dead.

Perhaps the most significant institution in the country that studies the human brain is the Center for Brain Health within the University of Texas at Dallas system, located at 2200 West Mockingbird Lane. There researchers are studying how the brain functions and the roots of its learning process, how to protect the brain from disabling diseases, how to restore brain function once damage has occurred and methods to construct healthier brains.

During a meeting with its founder and chief director, Dr. Sandra Chapman, members of my staff and I learned that the Center was working with three major groups that are crucial to the wellness of our society. They are soldiers returning from battle, school children and senior citizens. Soldiers are being taught how to make smooth transitions from activities on battlefields. Emphasis is placed on teaching them how to become successful and productive members of civilian society.

A program titled “Teen Smart” demonstrates to young people how to think critically, and suggests paths that prepare them for the future. The program for seniors helps them to develop skills that assist with decision making, and identifies ways to recognize and divert cognitive decline.

The Center’s programs are not only important for North Texas, but are relevant and necessary for the entire nation. They give us hope. The focus of the scientific research at the Center includes autism, strokes, brain injury, attention deficit disorder, addictions, post-traumatic stress, and Alzheimer’s disease. Funding from the stimulus package passed by Congress has enabled the Center to conduct important and necessary research.

Most recently the Center’s highly regarded Medical Science Director, Dr. John Hart, published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that is helpful to the National Football League and its players. Under his leadership, the Center has launched an institute for professional athletes that researches brain health issues associated with sports related brain injuries.

There is no other place in the country, I believe, where the intracacies of the brain are being studied and researched like they are at the Center for Brain Health. Before long scientists from across the world will be coming to the Center to witness and emulate its programs.

This amazing facility is located in the Congressional District that I am proud to represent, and I encourage all of you to become familiar with the vital work that it is doing.

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