Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The BRAIN Initiative: Why brain mapping matters

Image Source: news.yahoo.com

President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) pushes for brain mapping as a way to seek treatment for brain injuries and brain-related diseases, like Alzheimer’s and autism.

In brain mapping, the anatomy and function of the brain and spinal cord are examined “through the use of imaging (including intra-operative, microscopic, endoscopic and multi-modality imaging), immunohistochemistry, molecular and optogenetics, stem cell and cellular biology, engineering (material, electrical and biomedical), neurophysiology, and nanotechnology.” These procedures will provide an image of not only the structure of the brain but also its cellular and subcellular elements.

Image Source: nydailynews.com

One of the strong supporters of the brain mapping initiative is the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics, which believes that brain mapping will revolutionize the healthcare industry as there will be reduced healthcare costs and morbidity. More jobs will also be created through biotech spinoffs.

The National Institutes of Health notes that the BRAIN Initiative is a timely project. Although there have been scientific breakthroughs in the last decade that explain how the brain works, treating neurological and psychiatric diseases will require a new generation of tools that will allow researchers to record signals from brain cells more frequently and efficiently.

The BRAIN Initiative will be launched next year with a federal funding of $100 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the National Science Foundation.

Image Source: foxnews.com

Follow this blog dedicated to neurosurgeon Dr. Aria Sabit for more relevant information about the brain and spinal cord.


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