A "moon shot initiative" to uncover the mysteries of brain function received significant support from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is recommending that the project be funded to the tune of $4.5 billion over the next 12 years.
A federal report recently released by NIH states that the money will be necessary to fully implement the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The new federal funding would be released over 10 years beginning in fiscal year 2016. NIH already announced an investment of $40 million in fiscal year 2014, and President Obama has made a request for $100 million for NIH's component of the initiative in his fiscal year 2015 budget.
According to a news release from NIH, the initiative will focus on 7 major efforts: determining the roles of different brain cell types in health and disease, generating brain "circuit diagrams," producing a dynamic picture of brain function, linking brain activity and neural circuit dynamics to behavior, creating a framework for understanding mental processes, developing technologies to understand brain disorders, and integrating findings to discover "dynamic patterns of neural activity."
"As the Human Genome Project did with precision medicine, the BRAIN Initiative promises to transform the way we prevent and treat devastating brain diseases and disorders while also spurring economic development," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD. "While these estimates are provisional and subject to congressional appropriations, they represent a realistic estimate of what will be required for this moon shot initiative."
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