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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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Outdated Methodes?
By Freakie on 4/2/2013 3:00:17 PM , Rating: 3
Unless most of that funding is going to genetics and genome biology research, diseases and conditions like Alzheimer's, autism, and schizophrenia are going to be affected very little by this initiative. Genetic research is how we are going to be able to cure those kinds of diseases, and watching them develop will not have a huge additional impact on that research. For epilepsy then yes, this can provide very effective treatments and great insights into how to manage that condition, but it's such a small thing compared to those other three. If this truly is just a mapping initiative to developed more detailed understanding of brain-firing activity, then I feel like it is a very big waste of money, money that should be going to research that can revolutionize medicine, instead of give a more advanced understanding of only one part of it.

But, then again, if they were doing genetic research then not only would conservatives freak out over "playing god" but the ultra-all-natural liberals would just continue to object to modifying themselves through artificial means. "Mapping" neural activity is probably much more safe politically... But still, would be such a damn waste.




RE: Outdated Methodes?
By Freakie on 4/2/2013 3:19:30 PM , Rating: 3
Ok, gonna rephrase that a bit. It's not a waste, no matter what I am sure this will help many people and change lives. I just feel like the money could be spent on research that could do even more for brain disorders and diseases and such.


RE: Outdated Methodes?
By daboom06 on 4/2/2013 6:10:27 PM , Rating: 4
basic research is useless more often than applied research is, but basic research also inspires orders of magnitude more applied research projects. quickest advancement in science would be achieved by a mix of both.

only spending money on applied research will eventually stall progress.


RE: Outdated Methodes?
By jtemplin on 4/2/2013 6:19:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
basic research is useless more often than applied research is, but basic research also inspires orders of magnitude more applied research projects.


So you are saying its useless until its not useless? Deep stuff man.

I don't even want to know on what basis you make that judgement.


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