BrightFocus Urges FDA to Expand Neurodiagnostic Tools To Help Families and Researchers

  • Press Release
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Knowledge is Power, Haller Tells FDA Panel

Clarksburg MD—Saying that people of all ages are increasingly wanting to empower themselves through greater knowledge of their health, BrightFocus Foundation President and CEO Stacy Pagos Haller today urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to strongly support expanded use of neurodiagnostic tools to assess cognitive function.

“Knowledge is power,” Haller told an FDA public workshop examining the subject, saying that these tools can both give important information to families affected by these diseases, as well as provide valuable data to researchers studying the efficacy of drugs and other treatments. Moreover, she said, with 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 each day, this generation that greatly values knowledge and empowerment is now approaching the onset of age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.

Haller said that as families gather together during the holiday season, this is often when they notice changes in a loved one and may consider the need for a medical evaluation. Because Alzheimer’s still remains “both shrouded in stigma and under-diagnosed,” Haller said that high-quality and readily available diagnostic tools “can help convert these conversations into greater knowledge and action.” It is critically important, she said, to develop new tools to help people monitor their brain health and take steps to manage their risk.

Neurodiagnostic tools can help caregivers, who are under such pressure that they are often the “second victims” affected by these diseases, noted Haller. Neurodiagnostic tools could help caregivers better monitor their own health, as well as integrate their own observations into the assessment of the person with the disease.  Data from the caregiver could be very helpful to researchers studying both the disease and its related impacts, Haller said.

Haller called on the FDA to support an environment that encourages continued research and the development of much-needed tools and devices. She urged the agency to “embrace the uncertainty” in order to keep pace with a rapidly-changing field.

BrightFocus Foundation drives innovative research worldwide and promotes public awareness to end Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. BrightFocus, which earlier this year announced a record $11 million in new research grants to cure diseases of mind and sight, is currently managing a global portfolio of over 150 research projects. For more information, see or call 800/437-2423.