Letter: Research money

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The Independent Culture
Research money

Sir: Robert Fisk's moving piece, "A case of incurable optimism" (30 September), painted a compelling picture of his parents and must have pulled at the emotions of many who, like him, have recently lost someone dear to them.

There is one issue, however, on which we feel we must set the record straight. The Medical Research Council in 1997/98 spent a total of pounds 55.8m on neuroscience and mental health research, of which a total of pounds 2.9m was devoted exclusively to work on Parkinson's disease and nerve regeneration. The MRC in its Scientific Strategy has recognised the need to develop the field generally. This depends crucially on strengthening the number and quality of the workforce of trained UK researchers in clinical neurosciences, especially in neurology, which we have made a specific priority.

We are as anxious as Robert Fisk that more effective treatments, preventative measures and eventually, hopefully, a cure are found for this debilitating condition.


Director, Corporate Affairs

Medical Research Council

London W1