President Obama takes a question on CFS at a public meeting in Reno, Nevada: 21 April 2011

April 22, 2011

President Obama was answering questions at a public meeting in Reno, Nevada, on 21 April 2011. This one on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was asked by Courtney Miller, who was sitting in the audience with her husband Bob. We'll publish the White House's answer when we see it.

Q    Mr. President, my name is Courtney Miller (ph).  And I want to thank you for returning science to the national priority.  And I need to ask for some help for my family.  My husband has chronic fatigue syndrome, which is an illness very much like multiple sclerosis.  And we spend billions of dollars in this country on roughly a million patients for disability and Medicare and lost tax revenue and lost productivity, and we spend less than $6 million for NIH research on this illness.  And I’m asking you for my husband and my kids, who want their father to be able to go to their baseball games, if there’s a way to make improvements on that.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, let me, first of all, say that you are absolutely right that we’ve tried to put science back where it belongs.  (Applause.)  I am a Christian and a person of faith, and I believe that God gave us brains to figure things out — (applause) — and that we’ve got to use science to make life better for our families and our communities and this planet.

That’s one of the reasons why part of the Recovery Act was reinvesting in National Institute of Health — NIH — which does a huge amount of the basic medical research that ends up then creating so many of the scientific advances that are making our lives longer and making our lives better.

Now, I will confess to you that, although I’ve heard of chronic fatigue syndrome, I don’t have expertise in it.  But based on the story that you told me, what I promise I will do when I get back is I will have the National Institute of Health explain to me what they’re currently doing and start seeing if they can do more on this particular ailment.  Okay?  (Applause.)

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