White House unveils brain research plan

April 2, 2013 at 1:23 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 2 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama announced a research initiative to revolutionize our understanding of the human mind while creating jobs.

The BRAIN -- Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies -- Initiative was unveiled by the president at the White House Tuesday morning.

The initiative will accelerate the development and application of new technologies to produce dynamic pictures of the brain that show how it records, processes, uses, stores, and retrieves vast quantities of information, and shed light on the complex links between brain function and behavior, a White House release said.

The ultimate goal is to help researchers find new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury.

The initiative will receive investments in 2014 totaling $100 million from the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation.

The president said funding for research and the jobs it creates was vital to keep America at the forefront of science.

"When our leading thinkers wonder if it still makes sense to encourage young people to get involved in science in the first place because they're not sure whether the research funding and the grants will be there to cultivate an entire new generation of scientists, that's something we should worry about," he said at a news conference.

"What we do know is if we keep investing in the most prominent, promising solutions to our toughest problems, then things will get better. And if we keep taking bold steps like the one we're talking about to learn about the brain, then I'm confident America will continue to lead the world in the next frontiers of human understanding," he said.

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