On “Back to the Future Day,” the White House is publishing a letter by Michael J. Fox about the state of Parkinson’s disease research. The letter details the latest research into Parkinson’s and related conditions, and also touches on a series of online conversations the White House is holding about medical research.
In the letter, Fox writes:
We’ve come a long way since 1985. When Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled thirty years into the future, we could only imagine the innovations we take for granted today–new ideas and technologies that have completely changed the way we live, learn, and work.
Back then, if you’d told me that I’d go from talking on a cell phone to talking cell biology, I would never have believed you. But today, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is helping to spearhead research collaborations to speed a future in which in which we can treat, cure, and even prevent brain diseases like Parkinson’s.
So what’s possible in another 30 years? Call me an optimist, but I believe that by 2045 we’ll find the cures we seek–especially because of all the smart, passionate people working to make it happen. Doctors and researchers around the world are developing new tools to improve the diagnosis and treatment of brain diseases, to tailor treatments–for all illnesses–through precision medicine, and to make life better for millions of people. This truly is the stuff of the future.
“Together, we’ll make neurological illness a thing of the past. And if we all eventually get hoverboards, well–that’s a bonus,” Fox added.
Co.Design recently featured work on new pens for Parkinson’s patients, and Fast Company detailed collaborations by Intel and the Michael J. Fox Foundation to create wearable technology for those with Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s disease affects more than a million people in the United States, and five million worldwide. According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the rate of Parkinson’s in the United States is expected to double by 2030 due to an aging population. Todd Sherer, the CEO of the Fox Foundation, told Fast Company that research is crucial because age is the top risk factor for Parkinson’s.
The White House has been funding extensive research into both precision medicine and mapping the human brain, both of which could lead to radical new treatments or even a cure for Parkinson’s and related conditions.