Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Huge Brain-Mapping Project Announced by Obama

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer

02 April 2013 Time: 10:26 a.m. Share2
neural progenitor cells in the brain
Neural progenitor cells cultured from the developing brain.
CREDIT: Carol N. Ibe And Eugene O. Major, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

President Barack Obama announced a new research initiative this morning (April 2) to map the human brain, a project that will launch with $100 million in funding in 2014.

The Brain Activity Map (BAM) project, as it is called, has been in the planning stages for some time. In the June 2012 issue of the journal Neuron, six scientists outlined broad proposals for developing non-invasive sensors and methods to experiment on single cells in neural networks. This February, President Obama made a vague reference to the project in his State of the Union address, mentioning that it could "unlock the answers to Alzheimer's."

In March, the project's visionaries outlined their final goals in the journal Science. They call for an extended effort, lasting several years, to develop tools for monitoring up to a million neurons at a time. The end goal is to understand how brain networks function.

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