Niagara Gazette

Community News Network

April 2, 2013

Obama outlines human brain-mapping initiative

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Tuesday outlined a government-sponsored initiative to map the human brain, casting the proposal as a way to discover new cures for neurological disease and strengthen the economy.

"Ideas are what power our economy," Obama said in announcing the proposal from the White House East Room. "When we invest in the best ideas before anyone else does, our businesses and our workers can make the best products and deliver the best services before anyone else does."

The project would use about $100 million in federal money over the next fiscal year to begin a long-term effort to better understand the brain. Those funds will be included in Obama's budget proposal, scheduled for release next week, and will be combined with annual private-sector investments of roughly an equal amount.

Obama has spoken frequently during his presidency, including in his most recent State of the Union address, about using federal money in partnership with academia and business to foster projects with broader economic and social benefits.

The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative represents one of Obama's most ambitious efforts to do so.

Obama cited the computer chip and the Internet as projects that began with government help, and he cited Alzheimer's disease, autism and post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by American troops as afflictions that could be better understood, if not cured, through this initiative.

"As humans we can identify galaxies light years away, we can study particles smaller than an atom, but we still haven't unlocked the mysteries of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears," Obama said.

Obama's proposal, and the budget it will be a part of, comes as the federal government struggles with the effects of the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration that took effect last month. On Tuesday, he again called for those cuts to be reversed, warning that they threaten to stifle innovation for a generation of young scientists.

 "We can't afford to miss these opportunities while the rest of the world races ahead," he said.

Much of the federal money - about $40 million would pass through the National Institutes of Health over the coming fiscal year.

At the same time, four nonprofit foundations have committed their own money to be partners in the program: the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Kavli Foundation and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Another $50 million would be allocated to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, the Pentagon department that pioneered the Internet.

Under the proposal, the National Science Foundation would receive about $20 million over the next fiscal year.

According to the administration's outline of the program, those funds would be directed toward research that explores the activity of neural networks, invests in the data-analysis projects needed to sift through the large volume of information scientists expect to gather, and examines "how thoughts, emotions, actions, and memories are represented in the brain."

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Church's denied request for National Guard visit draws national attention

    A Missouri church finds itself in the middle of a media storm after the Missouri National Guard, citing short notice and time constraints, was not able to fulfill a request last week to appear at the church’s vacation Bible school.

    August 1, 2014

  • 20140727-AMX-GUNS271.jpg Beretta, other gun makers heading to friendlier states

    In moving south and taking 160 jobs with it, Beretta joins several other prominent gunmakers abandoning liberal states that passed tough gun laws after the Newtown shooting.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page