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article imageObama's BRAIN project ideas unveiled

By Tim Sandle     Dec 21, 2013 in Science
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has outlined the types of projects it intends to fund through the federal BRAIN Initiative, and is requesting applications. The project has proved controversial in some quarters due to its cost and expected benefits.
President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative was launched earlier this year (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 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.
This week the NIH announced requests for applications from scientific institutions in relation to five “high-priority” research areas outlined by a planning committee earlier this year. These priority areas include technology and methods development to enable a better understanding of the human brain — from studying individual neurons to imaging the entire organ.
It will be interesting to see how the research progresses and what the implications of the research findings are. Digital Journal will report on the major findings in 2014.
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