Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Obama Proposes Major Brain Research Initiative

The Obama administration is proposing a major new scientific effort to understand the human brain and map its activity in a way similar to what the Human Genome Project did for genetics.

The New York Times today reported that the project, which the administration has been looking to unveil as early as March, will “include federal agencies, private foundations. and teams of neuroscientists and nanoscientists in a concerted effort to advance the knowledge of the brain’s billions of neurons and gain greater insights into perception, actions and, ultimately, consciousness.” The project could help unravel the mysteries of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s, as well as find new therapies for a variety of mental illnesses. It is expected to be part of the president’s budget proposal next month, and the Times quoted scientists and representatives of research institutions who said they had participated in planning for what is being called the Brain Activity Map project.

The details are not final, and it is unclear how much federal money would be proposed or approved for the project in a time of fiscal constraint or how far the research would be able to get without significant federal financing.

The Times article is posted here. For information on brain research and its relationship to understanding mental illness and substance abuse see Psychiatric News here.



The content of Psychiatric News does not necessarily reflect the views of APA or the editors. Unless so stated, neither Psychiatric News nor APA guarantees, warrants, or endorses information or advertising in this newspaper. Clinical opinions are not peer reviewed and thus should be independently verified.