Robert T. Gonzalez 4/02/13
President Obama announced plans this morning for a long-term research project to improve our understanding of the brain. Comparing it to the Human Genome Project, Obama said the brain-mapping initiative could lead to cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s and autism, while fueling economic growth and job creation. Here’s what you need to know.
The announcement has been hotly anticipated since mid-February, when The New York Times reported the President would soon seek funds from Congress to “examine the workings of the human brain and build a comprehensive map of its activity, seeking to do for the brain what the Human Genome Project did for genetics.” At the time, we and others speculated that Obama’s plan would resemble a so-called Brain Activity Map (a.k.a. “BAM”) project outlined last year in the journal Neuron, and that the Administration might seek billions of dollars from Congress to set things in motion.
In fact, Obama announced this morning that the project will be called the BRAIN Initiative. The initial price tag: a paltry (relatively speaking) $100 million.
BRAIN stands for “Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies,” and the last word in that acronym is a telling one. When we spoke with Rafael Yuste (one of the neuroscientists whose advice the Obama Administration has sought in planning the initiative) back in February, he told us that the endeavor would be first and foremost “a technical development project.” The ultimate goal of the BRAIN may be to create a functional map of neuron activity throughout the human brain, but charting such a map is – as of today – impossible.
Read more: here
Need to see map of a politicians brain…