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Obama's brain initiative asks for extra $4.5 billion

By Tim Sandle     Jun 14, 2014 in Science
Washington - A committee for the U.S. BRAIN Initiative (a neuroscience research program), has said that taxpayers should provide a further $4.5 billion in funding.
President Barack Obama’s BRAIN Initiative was launched earlier in 2013 (as Digital Journal reported). The project aims to generate a comprehensive picture of the human brain’s structure and function. The project is co-ordinated by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). The project has proved controversial with some scientists who claim that the costs involved will deliver few benefits and that the money could be better spent elsewhere (as the New York Times discussed at the time of the project's launch).
The BRAIN Initiative has already received investment of $40 million from NIH and there is a request in to Congress from President Obama for $100 million. To add to this, a report from a BRAIN Initiative advisory committee says the real price tag to accomplish the program’s goals is $4.5 billion.
The BRAIN project is an acronym for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies. It has the goal of mapping the activity of every neuron in the human brain. This means, over time, a map would be produced of the approximately 100 billion neurons in the human brain.
In the report, the committee states: "Our cost estimates are extremely optimistic. Developing a single new stimulating or recording device for humans up through FDA [Food and Drug Administration] approval might cost $100 million or $200 million, and this is not represented in our budget estimates. We believe that the BRAIN Initiative can catalyze the first steps of this process."
The goals of the project can help to further understanding for many serious neurological diseases. However, the U.S. government needs to determine if these goals are affordable.
More about Obama, Brain, Neurological, Alzheimer's
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