White House Goes Back To The Future For Parkinson's Awareness

Wednesday, October 21, 2015, marks an important day in American film history, and the White House is taking note for a very good cause. On this day 30 years ago, Marty McFly joined Doc Brown in traveling to the future in Back to the Future Part II, and the day is now known as Back to the Future Day.

To commemorate the day, the White House has joined up with a number of organizations to take a closer look at some important innovations throughout time. Most notably, they've chosen to team up with the Michael J. Fox Foundation to bring more awareness to Parkinson's disease, the progressive autoimmune disease that attacks the nervous system.

Michael J. Fox is calling for an end to neurological diseases in the next 30 years.
Michael J. Fox is calling for an end to neurological diseases in the next 30 years. [Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images]As part of the day's events, the White House has published a letter by Michael J. Fox that talks about the current standing for the research being conducted on Parkinson's and similar conditions. The letter reads as follows.
"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."

He also mentioned at the end of the email that with all of our technological advancements, we shouldn't have any problem ending neurological illnesses.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research was funded shortly after the Back to the Future actor developed the disease in 1991, just after he finished filming the last movie in the Back to the Future trilogy. His foundation is dedicated to furthering research and education on Parkinson's disease, which affects more than 10 million people worldwide.

Michael J. Fox steps out for 'Back to the Future' showing after having contracted Parkinson's disease.
Michael J. Fox steps out for 'Back to the Future' showing after having developed Parkinson's disease. [Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]Their research has shown that the rate of Parkinson's in the United States is expected to double in the next 15 years, thanks to an aging population. This isn' t something the American people want to see, and the White House is getting on board with raising awareness in order to find treatment.

Their Back to the Future Day events aren't only revolving around Parkinson's, however. They'll be holding discussions with some of the top researchers and medical professionals in the field in order to make a reality out of Fox's dream to make neurological diseases a thing of a the past.

The White House's events also include conversations about autonomous vehicles, the future of women in STEM, a Google Hangout discussing the human brain, and the innovations of 3D printing. All in all, the events taking place are meant to take a look at many of the innovations we've enjoyed since Marty McFly traveled to the future in 1985.

They also want to discuss their goals and plans for advancing these innovations to a brand new level in the next 30 years. The conversations held during the White House's Back to the Future event will be posted online through videos and transcripts for everyone to follow.

[Image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]