Obama Unveils Brain-Mapping Project, In-depth Look at Treating Autism, Epilepsy and Other Neurological Disorders

First Posted: Apr 02, 2013 10:03 AM EDT

Obama unveiled his brain-mapping project that could point to potentially new strategies to help deal with illnesses including Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and autism.

The White House has referred to the launch of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies or BRAIN Initiative as a "bold, new" move "designed to recognized our understanding of the human brain."

"If we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the best ideas," he said last month in his state of the union address. "Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy."

According to the White House, this project will begin with a $100 million investment in 2014, although scientists who inspired the idea are not as concerned with finances, but more interested in harnessing new technologies to help uncover new health advances.

Many groups will be providing money to the project, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's brain mapping project, which aims to find a way to take pictures of the brain in action in real time, according to NBC News

Researchers are hoping this will provide an in-depth look into treating and preventing certain brain disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, autism and schizophrenia.

The $100 million funding will come from the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation, the White House said.

"Federal research agencies will partner with companies, foundations, and private research institutions that are also investing in relevant neuroscience research, such as the Allen Institute, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Kavli Foundation, and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies," the White House said in a statement.

"These technologies will open new doors to explore how the brain records, processes, uses, stores and retrieves vast quantities of information, and shed light on the complex links between brain function and behavior." 

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