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Obama Administration Unveils The BRAIN Initiative

WEDNESDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Following the presentation of a new research initiative designed to map the human brain, set out in the State of the Union address, the Obama administration has unveiled the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, according to a White House press release issued April 2.

Congress has been asked to commit $100 million in the President's Fiscal Year 2014 Budget for this 10-year project, which aims to accelerate the development and application of new technologies to help record and map neurotransmission and complex neural pathways, and ultimately to find ways to treat, cure, and prevent neurological disorders.

The BRAIN initiative includes key investments to start research; in 2014, the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation will support about $100 million in research. Strong academic leadership has been selected to define detailed scientific goals and a multi-year plan for achieving these goals. Key private sector parties will also be involved in the initiative, including the Allen Institute, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Kavli Foundation, and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. The Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, under the direction of the President, will explore the ethical, legal, and societal issues pertaining to the research initiative.

"This initiative has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of neural circuits, providing the fundamental knowledge that is critical for developing treatments for a host of neurological and psychiatric disorders," Dr. David Fitzpatrick, scientific director and chief executive officer of the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, in Jupiter, Fla. said in a statement.

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