Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Obama Launches Brain Research Program, Vows Major Investment

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for neuroscience to advance,” said APA President Dilip Jeste, M.D., after attending a White House meeting at which President Obama announced a new initiative to further research on the human brain. Such advances can ultimately benefit patients with psychiatric disorders, Jeste told Psychiatric News.

The BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative will link research supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. “The president will set aside $100 million in next year’s budget for developing knowledge about how the brain functions through the use of innovative neurotechnology,” Jeste said. Private foundations will also contribute substantial funds.

"This new public-private partnership initiative offers a great opportunity to accelerate the support of research that can lead to breakthroughs for the treatment and ultimately prevention and cure of mental illness," said Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., editor in chief of Psychiatric News and president of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, who also attended the White House meeting.

"The more we know about the brain, the more we will know about brain diseases, including serious mental illnesses,” said Jeste, a professor of psychiatry and neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego.

“It will take a lot of effort to achieve this,” he said. “It is more complicated than the human genome project, because that had an outcome in mind. Here, we don’t have an outcome in mind. That makes it much more challenging and, at the same time, much more exciting.”

To read more about the latest developments in brain research, see Psychiatric Newshere. For a fact sheet from the White House about the BRAIN Initiative, click 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 Clinical opinions are not peer reviewed and thus should be independently verified.