Medical Campus leaders stress need for research funding to congresswoman

David L. Brody, MD, PhD, describes to U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville, findings from research into traumatic brain injuries experienced by military personnel. Hartzler visited the School of Medicine on Wednesday to discuss medical research and how it is funded. (Credit: Robert Boston)

U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville, visited Washington University School of Medicine on Wednesday to learn more about research taking place on the Medical Campus and to hear campus leaders’ thoughts on the need for research funding. The congresswoman is a member of the House’s armed services, agriculture and budget committees.

Hartzler first met with David L. Brody, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology. The two discussed his research involving military personnel with brain trauma and the impact such trauma has initially and in the long term on health and well-being. They also discussed research involving concussions, Alzheimer’s and the Human Connectome Project, a brain-mapping endeavor to link brain connectivity to human behavior.

Brody stressed to Hartzler the need for continued research — even in peacetime — into the effects of traumatic brain injury on military personnel. Findings from such research not only stand to help veterans but are likely to shed light on brain injuries and diseases affecting civilians, as well, he said.

Hartzler also visited with Alzheimer’s disease experts John C. Morris, MD, David M. Holtzman, MD, and Virginia Buckles, PhD, and Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. Morris is the Harvey A. and Dorismae Hacker Friedman Distinguished Professor of Neurology and director of the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center; Holtzman is the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and head of the Department of Neurology; and Buckles is a professor of neurology.

The group talked about Alzheimer’s research on the Medical Campus, current clinical trials and the need for more funding to continue and build upon research, particularly as baby boomers age and the number of Alzheimer’s cases rises.

Hartzler shared that her mother had died of Alzheimer’s in January, and her mother-in-law had died of the disease last year. “This is just something we’ve got to find a cure for,” she said.

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