The BRAIN Initiative: A Project for mapping brain activity

The BRAIN Initiative was in news recently as an Indian neuroscientist Partha Mitra in the United States was awarded EAGER research grant..

Created On: Aug 21, 2014 12:53 ISTModified On: Aug 21, 2014 12:57 IST

BRAIN Initiative: Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative

The BRAIN Initiative was in news recently as an Indian neuroscientist Partha Mitra in the United States was awarded EAGER research grant under this initiative to map the human brain. The BRAIN Initiative aims at transforming our understanding of the human brain.

Importance of BRAIN Initiative

Despite the progress in neuroscience, the fundamental causes behind the neurological and psychiatric disorders remain unknown due to the complexity of human brain. In order to develop effective ways to help cure the devastating conditions of Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, depression and traumatic brain injury, researchers need to understand how the brain functions.

BRAIN Initiative will enable researchers in getting appropriate information on the brain structure and its functions.

Funding of the BRAIN Initiative

To make BRAIN Initiative work out, three key institutions have come up to fund President’s Financial Year 2014 budget. These Institutions are:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH): It would be responsible for blueprint programme for Neuroscience Research. It will pool resources and expertise from fifteen NIH institutes. NIH intends to allocate approximately 40 million US dollars in Financial Year 2014
  • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA): In Financial Year 2014, DARPA plans to invest 50 million US dollars with the motive of understanding the functions of the brain. It would develop new tools to capture and process dynamic neural and synaptic activities. DARPA will also appoint experts to look at the ethical, legal and societal issues surrounding neurotechnology.
  • National Science Foundation (NSF): The most significant role in the BRAIN initiative will be of National Science Foundation.  With the intent to invest 20 million US dollars, NSF would carry out the development of molecular-scale probes that can find and trace the activity of neural networks and a clear understanding of how thoughts, emotions and memories are represented in the brain.  

Possible Outcomes

  • Better understanding of mechanisms that cause Parkinson’s disease to facilitate improved preventions and cures
  • Development of preventive solutions for Tarumatic Brain Injury
  • Creation of high-tech job opportunities for Americans  in the revolutionary industries of future

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