Commentary: Science builds foundation for treating brain disease

Understanding and treating brain diseases is essential for the health of society. Neurological or psychiatric disorders afflict an estimated 1 billion people worldwide. These conditions exact untold emotional and economic costs on individuals, families and their communities and are felt all too acutely in California. Today, more than 588,000 Californians over 55 are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2030, this number will swell to more than 1.1 million. About 1 in 20 adults in the state suffer from a serious mental illness — a number that’s even higher in children. How can we reverse these sobering statistics? Answers lie in research. Advances in human health begin with federal investments in the basic research that underpins scientific discoveries. These discoveries enable private investments from venture capitalists, the biopharmaceutical industry and philanthropists. The recent $500 million gift from the Helen Diller Foundation to UCSF exemplifies…

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