Obama to Unveil Initiative to Map the Human Brain

President Barack Obama is launching the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) research initiative, which aims to record and map brain circuits to advance neuroscience and improve treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injuries. The Obama administration has designated BRAIN as a grand challenge of the 21st century and committed $100 million in initial funding to the project in 2014. The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the National Science Foundation will work on the project, and an NIH working group led by Rockefeller University’s Cori Bargmann and Stanford University’s William Newsome will develop a plan, time frame, specific goals, and cost estimates. New technology will be created to simultaneously record as many as hundreds of thousands of neurons, and novel theoretical approaches, mathematics, and computer science will be necessary to handle the resulting data volume, Newsome says. In addition, Obama will require a study of the ethical impact of the anticipated neuroscience advances in question. Proponents believe the initiative’s impact on science and technology could be equal to that of the Human Genome Project and the launch of the Sputnik satellite in the 1950s.

More info: New York Times (04/02/13) John Markoff; James Gorman

Esta entrada fue publicada en Ciencia y programación. Guarda el enlace permanente.

2 respuestas a Obama to Unveil Initiative to Map the Human Brain

  1. Jackie Campos dijo:

    The project has some big money and some big science to build on. Allen pumped another $300 million into his institute’s brain mapping initiative a year ago, and has published freely available maps of the human and mouse brains. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute built a whole research campus devoted to brain science, called Janelia Farm, in Virginia.

  2. While several questions were concerned with BRAIN funding, other questions about how the project’s findings would be made public, and whether brain-mapping should begin on organisms simpler than humans, were also posed. Users also brought up ethical issues associated with such research, and asked how the initiative’s findings might be translated into clinical or technological use.


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