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The idea behind the BRAIN Initiative is to gain a deeper understanding of the complex connections in the brain and their relationship with how the rest of the body behaves

The Obama administration announced the BRAIN Initiative today, which is a $100 million research project to accelerate our understanding of the human brain.

The BRAIN Initiative, which stands for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, will be considered one of the administration's "Grand Challenges" of the 21st century. 

The idea behind the BRAIN Initiative is to gain a deeper understanding of the complex connections in the brain and their relationship with how the rest of the body behaves. With this knowledge, medical conditions like Alzheimer's, autism, epilepsy and schizophrenia could eventually be understood and treated more effectively -- with the hopes of one day being cured. 

In addition, this initiative could lead to job creation and economic growth through new innovations and opportunities. 

The BRAIN Initiative is launching with about $100 million in funding in the Fiscal Year 2014 budget. The research is supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Private funding will come into play as well. For example, the Allen Institute for Brain Science will pay at least $60 million annually for BRAIN Initiative projects. 

Many brain-related advances have come through recently, such as that from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). The team used high-speed light sheet microscopy to achieve whole brain imaging of the brain of a fish larva. They were able to image the activity of 80 percent of the neurons in the brain at speeds of a whole brain every 1.3 seconds.

Last year, 
MIT and Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have created a new automated method that pinpoints certain characteristics of neurons in the brain.

Source: The White House Blog





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