Stroke victim Sen. Mark Kirk praises Obama’s BRAIN initiative

Chris Moody
Political Reporter
The Ticket

Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, who last year suffered a severe stroke but has since returned to the Senate, says he supports President Barack Obama's new proposal to invest federal dollars to study the human brain.

"Having suffered an ischemic stroke, I understand the importance of investing in science and technology to better understand our brain's circuitry and neurological interactions," Kirk told Yahoo News. "The new BRAIN initiative, which includes fostering partnerships with private institutions, will help bring us closer to learning more about mapping the most powerful, innovative tool in our bodies. After meeting with the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke [NINDS], I hope the research from the BRAIN initiative will continue to help doctors and scientists better understand strokes, their effects, and long-term health impacts."

Obama on Tuesday unveiled the initiative, which will devote $100 million toward research on the brain in hopes of providing new insights into diseases and ideally leading to new cures and methods of treatment. The proposal will be a part of the president's budget proposal, to be released later this month.

"There's this enormous mystery waiting to be unlocked," Obama had said when he announced the program. "And the BRAIN initiative will change that."

In late January 2012, Kirk underwent neurosurgery after the stroke. After less than a year of treatment, the senator was able to climb the 45 steps of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., to re-enter the chamber for the first new legislative session in early January.