Scientists welcome proposal for brain research


Associated Press

Posted on April 2, 2013 at 12:30 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists are hailing today's proposal from President Barack Obama that Congress spend $100 million next year to start a project that will explore details of the brain.

Obama says it's a step toward finding better ways to treat such conditions as Alzheimer's, autism, stroke and traumatic brain injuries.

The White House says the idea would require the development of new technology that can record the electrical activity of individual cells and complex neural circuits in the brain "at the speed of thought."

The director of the National Institutes of Health says the $100 million request is "a pretty good start for getting this project off the ground." A working group at NIH would define the goals of the effort and develop a multi-year plan to achieve them that would include cost estimates.

David Fitzpatrick, who heads the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, says Obama's request for research money is "spectacular." He says current brain-scanning technologies can reveal the average activity of large populations of brain cells, but that the new project would be on an "entirely different scale." He says it could pay off someday in treatments for a long list of neurological and psychiatric disorders.

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174-w-36-(Mark Smith, AP White House correspondent, with Francis Collins, director, National Institutes of Health and President Obama)--President Obama is proposing a $100 million dollar bid to map the operations of the entire human brain. AP White House Correspondent Mark Smith reports. (2 Apr 2013)

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170-a-13-(President Obama, at East Room announcement)-"how we remember"-President Obama says the budget he sends Congress next week will include $100 million to fund a new effort to map the brain's function, which is still largely shrouded in mystery. (2 Apr 2013)

<<CUT *170 (04/02/13)>> 00:13 "how we remember"

GRAPHICSBANK: Human brain over texture, lettering "BRAIN MAPPING", finished graphic (2 Apr 2013)

GRAPHICSBANK: Barack Obama, as US President, responds to a comment in the East Room of the White House, graphic element on gray (2 Apr 2013)

APPHOTO DCSW107: President Barack Obama responds to a comment as he is introduced in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 2, 2013, where he announced the BRIAN, Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies proposal. The president is asking Congress to spend $100 million next year to start a new project to map the human brain in hopes of eventually finding cures for diseases like Alzheimer's. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (2 Apr 2013)

<<APPHOTO DCSW107 (04/02/13)>>