Science

White House drops $100M to help scientists map the human brain

The White House just announced a new research initiative focused on mapping the human brain, which sadly, does not involve a magic school bus.

The initiative, officially called the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, or BRAIN for short (get it!?), will receive $100 million in funding when it launches in 2014. Its long-term goal is to find out how things react to brain cells — with a eye for finding better treatment for Alzheimer’s and epilepsy and making great advancements in the field of neuroscience. Senior officials in the Obama administrations told the New York Times that the initiative was comparable to the Human Genome Project that maps human DNA.

Right now, brain researchers can only record a few hundred neurons, which is done by inserting wire into an animal or human brain to record the electrical activity as brain cells communicate with each other. The new BRAIN initiative is seeking to record thousands of neurons as well as figure out how to process all the data that comes from it — thus touching on not just Neuroscience, but also computer science and engineering.

The BRAIN initiative is also grabbing support from other government organizations, including Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Science Foundation. The initiative is one of many mention President Barack Obama in his 2013 presidential address, in which he reinforced the importance of scientific research and advancement.

Check out a video from the White House below that explains the future of the BRAIN initiative embedded below.

Brain image via Shutterstock

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