The Land :: www.TheLandOnline.com

Nuts & Bolts

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
Nuts & Bolts
  • Expo takes precautions to prevent spread of virus
    An outbreak of a potentially deadly equine virus will mean some empty stalls at the upcoming Minnesota Horse Expo.

    April 14, 2014

  • CNHI papers honored for spot news, enterprise journalism

    Newspapers in Norman, Okla., Anderson, Ind., and Andover, Mass., are among those honored in the Best of CNHI 2013.

    April 3, 2014 1 Story

  • touch.jpg Divorce is on the rise, and it's the baby boomers' fault

    A new paper from demographers at the University of Minnesota found that the age-standardized divorce rate has actually risen by an astonishing 40 percent since 1980.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Newborn.JPG Census: U.S. has fewest births since 1998

    The U.S. recorded the most deaths in its history and the fewest births since 1998, resulting in the lowest population gain from natural causes in 35 years, an analysis of 2013 Census Bureau estimates released Thursday shows.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • dog-sunglasses.jpg Do animals have a sense of humor?

    Right now, in a high-security research lab at Northwestern University's Falk Center for Molecular Therapeutics, scientists are tickling rats. Their goal? To develop a pharmaceutical-grade happiness pill. But their efforts might also produce some of the best evidence yet that humor isn't something experienced exclusively by human beings.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: X-Ray released of tree trimmer with chainsaw embedded in neck

    Not only did the tree trimmer who got a chainsaw caught in his neck survive, he climbed down the tree by himself after the accident.

     

     

    April 3, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-02-20 at 4.23.54 PM.png Get ready for spring with these 3 apps for gardening

    Even if it's still cold out, it's almost time to start planning a spring garden. Whether you have a full backyard garden you eat from all summer or just a few tomatoes and herbs on the porch, these apps will have you make the most of your garden

    February 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Data breach hits Target's profits, but that's only the tip of the iceberg

    In its first financial release since the December breach that enabled the theft of millions of customers' payment data, Target said profits fell 46 percent and that the breach had already cost the retailer $17 million. The final tally will be bigger, the company said, but it's unclear by how much.

    February 28, 2014

  • Dwindling Midwest high school grads spur college hunt

    A waning number of high school graduates from the Midwest is sparking a college hunt for freshman applicants, with the decline being felt as far away as Harvard and Emory universities.

    February 28, 2014

  • Six reasons childhood obesity has fallen so much

    A major new paper appearing in Wednesday's edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that childhood obesity - age 2 to 5 - has fallen from 13.9 percent in 2003-04 to 8.4 percent in 2011-12.

    February 28, 2014

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
The Land's Twitter Feed